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Thread: Meek, Change or Stay...?

      
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    Default Meek, Change or Stay...?

    An interesting question answered by Dejan today. There's legit points for both sides of the argument, although I'd tend to keep him as a reliever right now and for the foreseeable future. Although, a switch to a starter wouldn't totally shock me and wouldn't totally upset me.

    http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/i...eek-as-starter

    Q: Hi, Dejan. Your recent feature on Evan Meek raised a question in my mind. Your article pointed out that Meek is a rare reliever with a legitimate four-pitch arsenal. If that is the case, has there been any thought to stretching Meek out to make him a starter?

    This would seem to make sense on many levels.

    First, while you surely do not want to mess with a good thing in the bullpen, an effective starter is much more valuable than a setup guy or even a closer. Besides, what good is a closer if you don't have the starting pitching to make him useful?

    Second, the Pirates, other than some recent draft picks, have virtually no right-handed starter with power arms in the system and none close to being major-league ready.

    Sean Epstein of Cheswick

    KOVACEVIC: Before getting to your main point, Sean, let me note that Hayden Penn actually has pitched really well for Indianapolis of late, as one look at his official page will show. Penn qualifies as both a power arm and, because of being in Class AAA, as major-league ready.

    Meek has a plus fastball and slider, in the scouting vernacular and he can throw a curve and change, though those do not get used nearly as often. He also has shown to be effective in 10 multiple-inning outings this year, so it’s not as if he has run out of gas after three batters. Moreover, he began in the Minnesota system as a starter, as the article noted, so there is some history.

    That said, I wouldn’t expect a switch, especially now that he has achieved legitimate All-Star status in this role.

    You will see very few such switches after a reliever has become established in the majors and, when you do see them – take the Yankees’ back-and-forth with Joba Chamberlain – they tend to end up with the pitcher back in the bullpen. Not always, though. The Cardinals have done really well, to say the least, in moving Adam Wainwright into the rotation after he made 61 relief appearances and zero starts in 2006.

    Why is it rare?

    The primary reason, certainly as it relates to power pitchers, is that velocity will drop when going from relief to the rotation. That is why baseball people look not only at the velocity of a pitcher but also the amount of effort that goes into generating that velocity. Charlie Morton, for example, throws 95 mph without breaking a sweat, and he can do so in later innings. Same with Kevin Hart when he was healthy. That trait just has to be there.

    As a counter example, Danny Moskos puts a ton of visible effort into his delivery, which is why he is pegged as a reliever even though, he, too, has a full arsenal of pitches. Going all-out for three or four batters is fine, but trying it all night is a prescription for losing a ton of zip.

    Meek is seen as a free-and-easy type – almost mentioned by the former San Diego scout in the story – but he also make a very large priority of velocity and discusses that all the time. This isn’t one of those –all-that-matters-is-location guys. He looks at the gun. And it would be easy to wonder what kind of an effect it would have to look up and see 92 mph on a regular basis.

    A final point: The Pirates have not exactly been piling up the successes among their starting pitchers. So, as I mentioned about being cautious about authorizing any future trades given the recent history of negligible trades, that might apply, too, to something like this. Better be sure.

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    No way do I see him moving to starter...maybe to closer sometime down the road, but he lives on a fierce heater that just couldn't be maintained for a full 9-innings. He's also had injury problems previously that I think would make it difficult to attempt to stretch out his arm and have him go to the 100 pitch mark.

    If anything he goes to closer in the future.
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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    And PS: the Joba Chamberlain experiment--the one most like what would be going on with Evan Meek--did not go so well for the Yankees.
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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    No way do I see him moving to starter...maybe to closer sometime down the road, but he lives on a fierce heater that just couldn't be maintained for a full 9-innings. He's also had injury problems previously that I think would make it difficult to attempt to stretch out his arm and have him go to the 100 pitch mark.

    If anything he goes to closer in the future.

    I agree with you Benny, for that exact reason.

    I do think however that it's a legit discussion as I could see both sides of the argument.

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    Quote Originally Posted by vandelay industries View Post
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    I agree with you Benny, for that exact reason.

    I do think however that it's a legit discussion as I could see both sides of the argument.
    I think if the Pirates attempt that they may in fact cause more harm than good........and its an act of desperation. It was for the yankees with Chamberlain and it would be for the Pirates...the Pirates need to develop starting pitching in the minors and get some in trades/free agency if they need....not attempt another act of desperation.

    Just my opinion though.
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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    I'm sure this isn't even something that's being considered. Meek has never started a game above the A ball level. Since 2006 he's gone more than 2 innings twice (both 3 inning appearances). He's thrown 50 pitches in a game once in the last 3 seasons.

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    I think a lot of people underestimate the value of a pitcher who can enter a game in the 6th, 7th, or 8th inning and shut down the opposition. It is not a glorified role for sure but one which is absolutely necessary when the starters only go 6 innings. We have this huge propensity to pull the plug on a starter after 6 as soon as the slighest hitch is seen.

    Meek has shown that. The fact that he has already thrown more innings than anyone else is a testament to his durability..and doing it at a very high level is icing on the cake. So no to moving him to a starter's role. I'm thinking closer would be even better.

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    Closer, when they trade Dotel!

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    Meek should stay in the 'pen. As a starter he would need to go through the lineups multiples times and still keep his velocity. You would see 2-3 mph dropoff in overall velocity if he was a starter.
    Rather than converting Meek to starter, why not think about converting Charlie Morton to the bullpen? It would allow him to uncork it for one inning at a time and he could probably hit 96-97 on a consistent basis without worrying about seeing the lineup the second time around.

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    I agree with what most of you people are saying. Meek is successful as he is. Let him stay there and improve the other areas of need. Even with Karstens, he's a number 5 starter, fix 1 and 2.
    Last edited by CROSSBONES; Jul-06-2010 at 03:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    The question seems to be based on the idea that Meek has a 4 pitch arsenal. I don't think he actually does. I'm pretty sure he throws 2 and maybe a third on occasion. I don't think I've seen him throw a change all year, and if he's throwing two breaking pitches then there's very little differentiation between the two.

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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    The thing is that the Pirates need to figure out how to address their starting pitching problems by getting starting pitchers...not by acting out of desperation and throwing a good reliever into a role he has little likelihood of succeeding in.
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    Default Re: Meek, Change or Stay...?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    The thing is that the Pirates need to figure out how to address their starting pitching problems by getting starting pitchers...not by acting out of desperation and throwing a good reliever into a role he has little likelihood of succeeding in.
    Well said.

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