Lou’s Spring Training Player To Watch: Daniel Meadows
By Lou Olsen
Over the next few days, each of the RtB staff writers will be introducing you to players you may have never heard of, but you need to know. Today, you will be learning about Daniel Meadows from me. Over the next few days, you will also meet Dan Merklinger, Amaury Rivas, and Brock Kjeldgaard.
The goal of these articles is for the four RtB writers to keep an eye on each of our guys over the course of Spring Training (from now on it will be referred to as ST) and give you frequent updates. As ST continues, we will keep you informed on how each of these youngsters are developing and if they have a shot to make the big league roster in 2012. These are also players who we each believe will be big league players at some point in their careers, which is why we are going to start keeping an eye on them now.
So, without further adieu, let’s meet Daniel Meadows. (but for the sake of Baseball-Reference…Dan Meadows)
The first thing you need to know is that he goes by Daniel, not Dan. The second thing you need to know about him, he is afraid of whales. For the record that is not a type-o, the guy is genuinely afraid of whales.
Daniel Meadows is a left-handed pitcher, who was born in Katy, Texas on November 3rd of 1987. Daniel is a towering 6’6″ and weighs a solid 223 pounds. He is what has recently become the “prototypical” Brewers pitching prospect, based on his height and weight. Meadows was drafted in the 49th round of the 2008 draft, from the very prestigious Temple Junior College. At the time that he was drafted, he had the choice of joining the Brewers or attending Texas Tech to continue working on his repertoire. Three seasons later, I think it is safe to say that he made the right choice.
Meadows has three pitches, at least that I know of. His best pitch is his slider, which has amazing movement and clocks in around the mid-80’s. By comparrison, his fastball is hovering right around 90 mph, so that slider is moving and hard for batters to pick up. The 3rd pitch is his off-speed pitch, which is not spectacular, but he throws it for strikes. Fact of the matter, Daniel throws strikes. In his 3 years of minor league experience, Dan has averaged almost one K per 9 innings, while only allowing 2.7 walks per 9 innings.
Daniel is not projected to be a starter in the big leagues. Granted, he did get a few starts in Rookie and Single-A ball (Helena and Brevard County) Truth is, he just does not have enough speed on that fastball to start in the major leagues. It does not help him that he only has two other pitches to pair with that heater. In my mind, and the mind of the coaching staff of the Huntsville Stars and Nashville Sounds, Meadows is a left-handed relief specialist.
2011 was his first season in Double-A (Huntsville), he appeared in 21 games out of the bullpen (0 starts). Daniel posted a 1.51 ERA, recorded 6 wins, and only gave up 7 ER’s. That was more than enough for him to get the bump up to Triple-A (Nashville). His time in Nashville was not quite as dominant, but still impressive for a 24 year old reliever…who was drafted in the 49th round. Meadows made 20 appearances at Nashville, with a 4.04 ERA, 35 K’s, and just 13 walks. Like I said, not quite as dominant as he was with the Stars, but he has moved through the system so quickly that it is hard to ignore this kid.
When you look at a prospect, especially a pitcher, you want to see them move quickly from one level to another. Sometimes pitchers will pitch down to their opponents, that is not what is going on with Danny boy. Whether he has elite “stuff” is irrelevant. The guy has dominated on the mound, and he has done it at every level of the Brewers organization. All that is left is the big show.
If there was ever a time for a left-handed reliever to make the opening day roster, this is the season. Manny Parra and Zack Braddock are the only two left-handed relief pitchers on the 40-man roster. Both of those pitchers are coming off seasons in which they missed huge chunks of time (Parra due to injury, Braddock due to a mysterious sleep disorder). If I am the Brewers, I am watching how Meadows performs in his opportunities this spring. There is a reason that he was invited to ST this year. Something tells me that they did not do it just to fill some roster space.
I picked Daniel as my guy to watch, because he is an underdog. In 2008, Meadows was the second to last player picked by the Crew. Talk about getting a steal in the late rounds?!?! This is one of those guys who flys under the radar, until he is in the big leagues. Then, before you know it, everyone knows who he is. Once spring games start, I will be very curious to see how they use him and how frequently. In my mind, Meadows has probably the best chance of any “new” player to make the opening day roster.
Over the next few weeks, I will keep you updated on how he is performing. If all goes well, he will be wearing blue and gold come the end of April. Good Luck Daniel!!!