Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Prospect #22: RHP Casey Meisner
Previously Unranked in preseason, ranked 23rd at July reranking
Acquired from the A's for Josh Lucas
THE QUICK WRITE UP
When Meisner first entered the A's organization he was a highly-touted prospect. He was 6'6" with a good fastball/slider/curve combo and it looked like he'd progress quickly. At one point he was even considered a top 10 prospect in their above average organization.
But like with so many other tall and lanky pitchers, repeatability of his mechanics has become the bane to success for Meisner. I'm 6'0" tall and I can hardly control my body. I can't imagine what it is like to have an addition 7 inches and still be in any kind of control of myself.
The Cardinals acquired Meisner right before the minor league season started and they were smart to keep Meisner at extended spring training instead of assigning him to an affiliate at the start. It gave them a chance to work with him and clean up some of the mechanical errors that he had displayed in the past.
Meisner made his season debut on April 25th and he seems to have gotten better with each start. The walks are still kind of high but they've improved as his season has progressed, aside from one four-walk start. he's shown the ability to go deep into games about 50% of the time and it's been better of late.
One thing that I like about him is that his big frame and arm action really helps to add to the movement and motion of his breaking pitch. I'd imagine that this get's on right handed hitters pretty quickly:
Meisner is close to being ready for the next test. There's a very good chance he'll be at Springfield by the end of the season. If he continues to control his mechanics and work deep into games then he'll work his way up this list quickly. (MEISNER HAS SINCE BEEN PROMOTED TO SPRINGFIELD)
WHY TO GET EXCITED
His size. He's 6'7" and 195 pounds (good).
What I really like about Meisner is how his size and release point work with his slider. He's big, so he's on top of hitters, even though he doesn't throw over the top. But his release point and arm location guide the slider and create deception.
After a down 2017 season, Meisner has cleaned it back up, improving on nearly every statistical category.
I love pitchers that throw both a curve and a slider. If Meisner gets control/command of both then he's going to be a force.
He's really done a great job of cleaning up his mechanics.
His fastball and his slider work amazing together. His change up and curve are both interesting, but still a work in progress.
He's holding hitters to a batting average against of .226.
When Meisner finishes his curve ball it's an easy "plus" pitch. It's effective against both lefties and righties.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
His size. He's 6'7". It's hard for pitchers of that size to repeat their delivery and their mechanics. That's a lot of body to stay in control of.
He's age-appropriate for the league, but I would like to see how he looks at AA. He's ready for the challenge and he's in need of it.
This is the most control Meisner has shown in years and he's still walking nearly 3.5 batters per nine innings. That's too many.
His stats are better, but he's doing it at a level below where he was in the prior season. He should be better than he was in 2017.
He is a flyball pitcher. He only induces grounders about 35% of the time.
Meisner's home runs allowed has spiked this season. That's of paramount concern because he's pitching in the most pitcher friendly league in the minors.
The easy, and completely lazy, comparison for Meisner's ultimate, 5% ceiling is former major league journeyman Chris Young because of their matching stature. Meisner throws harder than Young ever did, but I'll leave it there because that's as obvious and as easy as it gets. I guess if I'm going to go a little more realistic, the 20% chance of making his true ceiling, then we are talking about Jon Rauch.
Thank you to Fangraphs for the stats.
Thanks For Reading!!