RHP, St. Lucie Mets (A+)
Height, weight: 6'7", 190
Age (2015 season age): 20
Acquired: 3rd round, 2013 ($500,000)
Date(s) seen: 7/3 vs. Jupiter Hammerheads: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
2015 so far: A: 76 IP, 59 H, 66 K, 19 BB, 6 HR / A+: 35 IP, 35 H, 23 K, 14 BB, 4 HR
Profile and Mechanics
Meisner is a tall, rail thin righthander. He uses a (very) tall and fall delivery with a long stride and stiff landing leg. He sort of folds himself over at the waist to get to his release point and throws across his body some. This grants him a bit of deception, but often negatively impacts his command. Overall, the arm action is loose, and the ball comes from a three-quarters slot. Meisner is athletic for his size. He has quick feet, moves well fielding his position, and has a solid pickoff move. You are going to hear "projectable" thrown on him a lot, but given his narrow frame I just don't know how much more mass he will actually add.
Meisner's fastball ranged from 88-93 and he sat 91-92 early. He maintained his velocity fairly well throughout the start, although there were more 89s and 90s later on. When he is mechanically sound, he is a strike-thrower who can spot the ball down with some plane, but he has issues repeating due to his long levers and slight crossfire delivery. When he struggled getting the ball to the release point, the fastball was more upper 80s, up in the zone, and flat. Given his height and delivery, I wonder about how much more velocity he will find, and how much better the command profile will get, but there is a major league fastball in here due to the plane/deception he is presently showing on the pitch.
Current grade: 40 (Below-average)
Future grade: 55 (Solid-average)
Meisner's primary secondary offering was a curveball that ranged from 72-78. He would soften it to spot for a strike and threw the harder one, as a chase pitch down and away to right-handed batters. Overall the offering is slurvy, with more loopy tilt than 11-5 break. He casts it a bit out of his hand so it can be soft and show early. He can also really only run it away gloveside right now. When he got in trouble later in the start, he leaned heavily on the curve, throwing it early in the count and doubling up with the pitch more. In comparison to the changeup, it is easier to see him tightening up this pitch as he develops, but it still has a ways to go.
Current Grade: 35 (Well-below-average)
Future Grade: 50 (Average)
More Minor League Mets
Meisner struggled with his changeup most of the night. It came out of his hand fairly flat and true, though with enough velocity separation at 79-80 to keep barrels off it for the most part. He threw one late in the start with some good fade, but that's the only one that I could point to that even flashed fringe-average. He showed a better one in Brooklyn at times, but like the breaking ball, there is a lot more development needed here.
Current Grade: 30 (Well-below-average)
Future Grade: 40 (Below-average)
The optimistic projection
50: 4th starter
The likely outcome
40: 5th/6th starter or middle reliever
Meisner put up very nice numbers as an age-appropriate pitching prospect in some very friendly pitching environments. And there is a major league starter projection in here for sure. He is just a very long way away from that right now, which makes it a risky profile even before you get into the stuff. And the stuff is a little light for me at times. You have to be willing to bet on a tick more velocity, a tighter breaking ball, and a bit more feel for the change to get him to the optimistic projection. That's a lot of things that have to go right. The ball comes from a tough angle and he gets a deep release point, so I think there is some sort of major league future in here, but the mechanical issues and secondary stuff limit the upside for me.
What do you think of the trade, Jeffrey?
Any time you trade a potential major league starter, even a back end one, for a reliever rental there is going to be some consternation. I do think the Mets' specific situation (Familia logging a lot of innings, Mejia not available for playoffs, not much behind the two of them), makes this a necessary move. There is some level-setting here, too, as I think the general feeling was someone like Michael Fulmer or Robert Gsellman, both of whom I rate over Meisner, were going to be in the deal. It is possible that Meisner turns into a decent major league starter and the A's "win" the trade if you will. But given the Mets' current situation I can't fault them for this deal. Meisner is a legitimate pitching prospect, but the Mets have some depth in this type of arm, so dealing from it over a similar quality bat was not a bad idea.