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Thread: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

      
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    Default Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    "Evan Meek’s Maturation
    by David Golebiewski - May 20, 2010

    Since the Minnesota Twins signed him for $180,000 as a product of the now defunct draft-and-follow system back in 2002, Evan Meek has both tantalized and frustrated his employers. But now, with his fourth organization, Meek may soon inherit a prominent role in the ‘pen.

    A stocky 6-0, 220 pound right-hander known for touching the mid-90’s with his fastball, Meek was nevertheless released by the Twins in 2005 after he walked 36 batters in 18 innings in the Low-A Midwest League. The San Diego Padres picked up the Bellevue (Wash.) Community College product, stuck him in the starting rotation and watched him whiff (8.7 K/9) and walk (4.8 BB/9) the yard in the High-A California League in 2006. In August of ‘06, Tampa Bay acquired Meek as the PTBNL in a deal for Russell Branyan. Shifted to relief in 2007, he punched out 9.3 batters per nine frames in the Double-A Southern League, but walked 4.6 per nine as well.

    Tampa didn’t place Meek on the 40-man roster after the season, leaving him subject to the Rule V Draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates, impressed with Meek’s work in the Arizona Fall League, snagged him with the second overall pick in the Rule V proceedings.

    For the first month of the 2008 season, Meek flailed to the tune of seven K’s, 12 walks and three wild pitches in 13 innings for Pittsburgh. He was behind in the count before you could say “Marmol”–Meek’s first pitch strike percentage was 44.3, compared to the 58 percent major league average.

    Still, the Pirates were intrigued enough to work out a trade with the Rays so that Meek could be sent down to the minors. In 57.1 combined frames between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, he punched out eight hitters per nine innings and induced a ground ball 60 percent of the time. Most importantly, Meek issued just 2.7 walks per nine innings.

    Last season, Meek began the year back at Indy but got the big league call in late April. When he took the mound, the outcome of the game was already largely determined–Meek’s Leverage Index was 0.63, lowest among regular Pirates relievers. Showcasing 93 MPH heat, a hard 90 MPH cutter and low-80’s breaking stuff, Meek had 8.04 K/9 in 47 IP, burning worms at a 52.1% rate. But alas, control remained elusive. He walked 5.55 per nine frames, posting a 4.18 expected FIP (xFIP). A left oblique strain shut Meek down in mid-August.

    In 2010, the 27-year-old has been a revelation. Sure, he has been lucky to post a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings pitched–he’s eventually going to surrender a home run, and he isn’t likely to strand 85.2 percent of base runners all season. But Meek has legitimately been one of the best ‘pen arms in the majors. With his fastball up a tick in velocity, he has 9.35 K/9, 2.42 BB/9 and a 52.2 GB%, owning a 2.83 xFIP that ranks within shouting distance of San Francisco’s Brian Wilson (2.77 xFIP) and Kansas City’s Joakim Soria (2.71 xFIP). That’s not to suggest that he’s suddenly on the same plane as the Giants’ mohawked stopper or the Mexicutioner, but Meek is pitching marvelously.

    While he’s doing a slightly better job of locating this season, raising his percentage of pitches within the strike zone from 51.9 percent in ‘09 to 53.1 percent in 2010, the big difference is that Meek is getting batters to chase his stuff off the plate for the first time. As a Rule V selection, Meek garnered outside swings just 13.2 percent of the time. Last year, his O-Swing was still below average, at 22.1 percent. But in 2010, he’s getting hitters to hack at 28.2 percent of his out-of-zone offerings.

    As Meek continues to mow down hitters, he’s earning the trust of Pirates manager John Russell. In April, Meek’s Leverage Index was a custodian-level 0.66. But in May, his 1.66 LI trails only closer Octavio Dotel. He’s also being deployed often for multi-inning stints, with seven of his 19 appearances lasting a full two frames. It took a while, but Pittsburgh’s patience with Meek is paying dividends."
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...ks-maturation/

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    I've never looked or paid attention to the Leverage Index stats. I remember looking at a similar stat a couple of years ago trying to figure out which BP guys were being used in important situations/pressure situations and not...

    Meek being putt into these situations and producing like he is makes his stats even more impressive.
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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    I always thought, even at the time, that it was odd that the Rays gave him up for nothing after the Pirates returned him. Even if he didn't work out at the time he was a 25 year old with an explosive arm who they didn't even have to carry on their 40 man for the year. It never made sense to me that they didn't let him take a shot at turning it around in their organization.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    I always thought, even at the time, that it was odd that the Rays gave him up for nothing after the Pirates returned him. Even if he didn't work out at the time he was a 25 year old with an explosive arm who they didn't even have to carry on their 40 man for the year. It never made sense to me that they didn't let him take a shot at turning it around in their organization.
    you brought up something that I meant to mention in my previous post...

    Evan Meek is a great example of why you don't give up on someone like Lastings Milledge and Lastings Milledge has the higher ceiling and potential.

    25 years old is still young. People tend to forget this. When a player has potential, you hold onto them. you don't hold onto them for their eternity but you certainly shouldn't give up on them at a young age of 25. It doesn't take much for a player to suddenly "get it" especially when experience is the name of the game. with experience comes repetition and comfort, all of these things can add to success where you had struggles one second and the next that potential comes to life. You can't always plan for it or expect it or even anticipate when it happens, you just need to be patience and have some belief. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out but at least you were patient enough to find out. These things can be 50/50 sometimes.

    What is real surprising about Meek is that the impatience came from a normally patient Rays club that is stingy as all hell when it comes to giving away anyone with a smidget of talent and potential
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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Quote Originally Posted by tocchet92 View Post
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    In 2010, the 27-year-old has been a revelation. Sure, he has been lucky to post a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings pitched–he’s eventually going to surrender a home run, and he isn’t likely to strand 85.2 percent of base runners all season. But Meek has legitimately been one of the best ‘pen arms in the majors. With his fastball up a tick in velocity, he has 9.35 K/9, 2.42 BB/9 and a 52.2 GB%, owning a 2.83 xFIP that ranks within shouting distance of San Francisco’s Brian Wilson (2.77 xFIP) and Kansas City’s Joakim Soria (2.71 xFIP). That’s not to suggest that he’s suddenly on the same plane as the Giants’ mohawked stopper or the Mexicutioner, but Meek is pitching marvelously.
    Joel Hanrahan's xFIP is 2.73, right in between those two.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    ok...off topic..."Mexicutioner"....that's now my favorite nickname in all of sports.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    I always thought, even at the time, that it was odd that the Rays gave him up for nothing after the Pirates returned him. Even if he didn't work out at the time he was a 25 year old with an explosive arm who they didn't even have to carry on their 40 man for the year. It never made sense to me that they didn't let him take a shot at turning it around in their organization.
    IMO...

    I think it was out of courtesy to Meek as the Pirates held the cards after claiming him. The Pirates essentially said, "You're not getting him back, we're keeping him. We will keep him on the 25 man roster all year which will hinder his development or you can make a deal and let us send him to the minors. Either way, we're keeping him." The Rays chose to do right by the player after the Pirates made it clear they couldn't have him back.

    Ryanor on the other hand, couldn't be kept. Florida knew the Pirates were over the barrel with roster issues and couldn't keep him on the 25 man no matter what.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    I think the development of Meek and the resurgence of Hanrahan will make Dotel a decent trading chip at the deadline.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Is anyone concerned with the amount of innings Meek is accumulating so far? He's on pace to go over 100 innings which is pretty high for any reliever, let alone a hard thrower like Meek. I think the guy is our top asset but I cringe when he's allowed to pitch two innings at a time or 3 consecutive games.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Wonder if he still turns out to be good in the long run, anyone will give NZH credit for the pickup?

    Seems like we only point out the bad moves. But, the BP seems pretty decent overall this year.

    Also, as kipper pointed out, when we are in a rush to get rid of young guys, it's a good example of how sometimes you still have to wait it out a little. And, ironically, seems like other teams get impatient with young guys... so the Pirates are not alone in that department.

    Plus mine own favorite, rush to get rid of one guy to have someone come up... then ***** when they come up and not do well too (i know this wasn't part of the thread, but needed to say that too)

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Quote Originally Posted by moneytalks View Post
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    Wonder if he still turns out to be good in the long run, anyone will give NZH credit for the pickup?

    Seems like we only point out the bad moves. But, the BP seems pretty decent overall this year.

    Also, as kipper pointed out, when we are in a rush to get rid of young guys, it's a good example of how sometimes you still have to wait it out a little. And, ironically, seems like other teams get impatient with young guys... so the Pirates are not alone in that department.

    Plus mine own favorite, rush to get rid of one guy to have someone come up... then ***** when they come up and not do well too (i know this wasn't part of the thread, but needed to say that too)

    Well wonder no more, already said this was one of his best moves.

    Evan Meek – I give Neal his highest marks in picking this guy up. One of the few times we have heard of the guy with the power arm actually hitting the numbers we heard. Meek really has learned how to pitch this year and not just be a thrower. He is the future closer and I give Neal an A for this move.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Off topic.but watching today's game the Pirates while leading 2-1,just left the bases loaded in the 7th without scoring. They sure leave a pile of runners on.
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Speaking of Meek,he just gave up a homer to tie the game.
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Eric Hinske hits 0 HRs at PNC Park as a Pirate. He has 3 in 16 plate appearances as a visitor.

    Tim Kurkjian was talking about Evan Meek for a few minutes on ESPN this morning. Totally jinxed him.

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    Default Re: Meek: One of the Best ‘pen Arms in MLB

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    Eric Hinske hits 0 HRs at PNC Park as a Pirate. He has 3 in 16 plate appearances as a visitor.

    Tim Kurkjian was talking about Evan Meek for a few minutes on ESPN this morning. Totally jinxed him.
    Hinske was a QUITTER as a Pirates. Next time he comes up I want to see him go down with a high tight one. He went to the bench like he just won the series today. I hate when QUITTERS like him come back and play like they are capable on another team. I would like to hear him answer why he quit on the Pirates last year.

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