The Tyler Clippard saga has come to an end. Rumors were aswirl that he would be reuniting with the two teams he had previously played for as the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals were reportedly in hot pursuit. At the end of the day, the New York Mets swooped in with their bevy of young arms at their disposal.
It appears that the Oakland As are entering a rebuild mode, with first Scott Kazmir going and now Clippard. That is good for Billy Beane and the crew, because the young arm they acquired from the Mets is still very much a work in progress. But that progress has been exciting.
Which of their talented young arms did the Mets have to send to the Oakland Athletics?
From the outside looking in, it may seem like the Oakland As could have gotten more than a 20-year old right hander who has yet to throw a pitch in Double-A. Don’t be fooled, Meisner has the goods to succeed and make it to the big leagues. It just won’t be any time soon.
Meisner was selected in the third round of the 2013 draft. He put together a nice season with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2014 going 5-3 over 13 starts while posting a 3.75 ERA and striking out 67 in 62.1 innings. He finished the year with a WHIP a tad bit higher than desired at 1.36 but that didn’t seem to concern the Mets.
Meisner was amid a solid 2015 before being traded Monday evening. He sat at 10-4 over 18 combined Sally and FSL starts, with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He has somewhat struggled with command since being promoted to St. Lucie, posting the highest walk rate (3.60 per nine) of his young career. He has also posted his worst strikeout per nine rate thus far in the minors at 5.91.
Despite receiving a C+ from John Sickels heading into 2015, Meisner was still considered a top 20 prospect in the Mets system. He also came into the season with serious sleeper potential.
Part of the reason is his age and frame. At 20 years of age, Meisner has time to grow into his massive 6 foot 7, 190 pound frame and add some heat to his fastball and the rest of his arsenal. Meisner entered the league with a fastball that regularly sat in the high 80s and since his first season, has already added a few ticks to his velocity. His fastball now tops out around 94 mph, and he throws in the low 90s consistently.
His curve — which looks a bit more like a slider — has improved dramatically since his debut year and has become a useful secondary pitch, though as Meisner grows, so should the accuracy of the pitch. His changeup still needs some work in the consistency department, but Meisner is still a project and won’t be asked to fill any rotation spots in Oakland anytime soon.
As with most tall, lanky, young pitchers, Meisner is still working with consistencies in his delivery. The improvement he has shown since entering the Mets system is certainly trending in the right direction and he should find that repeated motion and be an able strike thrower.
It seems that he also may have to learn how to pitch around hitters as opposed to simply pitching to them. This adjustment may be a factor as to why he has seen an increased number of walks per outing. It’s quite possible that he isn’t necessarily more "wild", but instead learning the ins and outs of the strike zone.
While Meisner’s past few starts have shown some concern, it is important to keep in mind that the young righty has thrown a significant amount of innings more than he has in his first two professional seasons COMBINED. A combination of being at a higher level as well as his first full season has certainly shown his weaknesses, but by no means does it mean that he is any less the pitcher that he was at the start of 2015.