Tigers summon No. 10 prospect Meadows, in lineup Monday

August 21st, 2023

CLEVELAND -- The core of young hitters that has been powering the Tigers’ offense recently just got a new member. The team announced Sunday night that it will call up outfield prospect Parker Meadows from Triple-A Toledo for Monday’s series opener against the Cubs at Comerica Park. Meadows is in the lineup batting sixth and playing center field.

Meadows, Detroit’s No. 10 prospect and the younger brother of Austin Meadows, batted .256 with 27 doubles, seven triples, 19 home runs, 65 RBIs and an .811 OPS in 113 games for Toledo this season. He also stole 19 bases in 21 attempts, putting him within one home run and one steal of a 20-20 season. A midseason tear put him on the radar for a potential callup, especially following Riley Greene’s left fibula stress fracture, but the Tigers wanted to see better plate discipline from Meadows before making the move.

With Greene still getting occasional days as the designated hitter out of an abundance of caution, plus Zach McKinstry and Matt Vierling getting more playing time in the infield, the Tigers saw an opportunity to bolster the team’s outfield defense and overall speed and see if he’s a better fit in center field in spacious Comerica Park.

The callup completes a long journey through the farm system for the 23-year-old Meadows, the Tigers’ second-round pick in the 2018 Draft. The combination of nagging injuries -- some of them a byproduct of his aggressive defense -- and the cancelled Minor League season during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 slowed his development.

An offseason swing change before the 2022 season, a healthy body and an April promotion to Double-A Erie seemed to provide Meadows a spark for a breakout campaign. He hit .275 with 16 homers, 51 RBIs, an .820 OPS and 17 steals in 19 attempts in 113 games for the SeaWolves last year.

The breakout earned Meadows a spot on the Tigers’ 40-man roster and an invite to Major League Spring Training, where he and his brother were teammates for the first time in their baseball careers. Meadows made an impression with his athletic, instinctive defense and easy speed, but he needed a little more refinement offensively to put the finishing touches on his case for a spot in Detroit.

His arrival gives manager A.J. Hinch options on how to line up his outfield. Though Meadows played all three outfield spots with Toledo, his strongest position is center, which could allow the Tigers an opportunity to use Greene in left and Kerry Carpenter or Akil Baddoo in right. Meadows has had near-even splits against left-handed and right-handed pitchers.

With just six weeks left in the Major League season, Meadows will remain under the 45-day limit for players to retain rookie qualification for next season. The only way he would lose that would be if he exceeded 130 MLB at-bats this year, an unlikely scenario with just 38 games left.