The Detroit Tigers recently went out and grabbed some outfield help by acquiring Austin Meadows in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. The deal itself appears as a fleecing from the early thoughts. Giving up a prospect that the Tigers did not quite have a spot for and a competitive round draft pick for someone who immediately benefits the outfield was a strong move.
He’s not going to go win an MVP award in 2022 for the Detroit Tigers, but in the wake of Riley Greene’s injury, Meadows will provide a lot of benefits. Meadows’ will be a better option than Victor Reyes and was a quality move overall.
But Meadows has more to him than being a quality upgrade and some excellent insurance for the outfield as the Tigers look to compete. Let’s take a deeper dive into Meadows and what he can bring to the lineup day in and day out.
Meadows has a lot to be excited about but also has some drawbacks, though he’s still going to bring a plethora of value. The Tigers are trying to compete in 2022, and Meadows is just another piece to an extremely impressive offseason.
Analyzing Austin Meadows’ fit with the Detroit Tigers.
Meadows was coming out of a 2021 season where he slashed .234/.315/.458 with 27 home runs and 106 RBI over 142 games played. As was mentioned in the initial trade piece, Meadows has been inconsistent, and his move to Detroit should hopefully allow him to settle in and perform steadily.
The former ninth overall pick in the draft has been in the league for some years now, and he’s got the experience that helps make him an even more attractive option. Looking at Meadows’s abilities in the batters’ box, there’s a lot to like with the power numbers.
His zone swing percentages make it pretty clear what Meadows’s approach is at the plate. Meadows looks to drive the ball on the middle to the inner third of the plate. His spray chart also shows that he is trying to pull the baseball and pull it for power.
When he does barrel it up, which he ranks in the 53rd percentile of the league, it’s loud contact. However, his ability to drive the baseball is excellent, and his exit velocity rankings are in the top 30% of the league; there are some drawbacks.
Meadows is in the top half of the league for both whiff rate and chase rate, which is not the best. He was punched out 122 times over 591 at-bats in 2021, so his swing decisions could use some fine-tuning.
Similar to Javier Báez, there will be a nice added boost of power to the Tigers lineup, but it’s going to come with some more strikeouts. While Meadows is less streaky than Báez, so a 4-for-4 day with a home run and two doubles being followed up by an 0-for-5 day with three strikeouts may not be the norm; Meadows is still going to have some swing and miss issues.
The Tigers certainly got an upgrade with Meadows, and after diving deeper into his Baseball Savant profile than the off-the-cuff reaction to a slash line and prior knowledge, I still think the Tigers won this deal.
It will be nice to have the added punch of Meadows bat in the lineup day in and day out for the team going into 2022, especially knowing they have Riley Greene up their sleeve still, too, when he gets healthy. It’s a fun time to be a Detroit Tigers fan.