GREENSBORO, NC – I had a chance to catch up with right-handed starter Justin Meis in between two of his best starts of the 2022 season.
On August 30th, Meis threw seven shutout innings in Greensboro, giving up three hits and two walks, with six strikeouts. A day after I spoke with him, he returned to the mound to throw seven perfect innings across 75 pitches, with seven strikeouts.
Meis started the season in Single-A Bradenton, where he put up a 3.51 ERA in 41 innings. He hasn’t made many adjustments to his game this year, but has been focusing on his execution of each pitch. He has a 4.44 ERA in Greensboro, but has been finishing the year on a strong note.
“I’ve seen some pretty good results lately,” Meis said, a day before the seven perfect frames.
Meis has shown good spin on his slider. That was his pitch in college, and in his debut last year, after being drafted in the tenth round by the Pirates. He made an adjustment in pro ball to get better spin on his four seam fastball. In college he would cut the ball. Meis has been focusing on staying behind his fastball.
“My hand was on the right side of the ball, and I would almost yank across the ball,” said Meis.
Staying behind the pitch has allowed Meis to be better at pitching at the top of the zone, which allows his slider to play up.
“A fastball with a little bit of rise is harder to hit than one that has a little bit of cut,” said Meis. “So that’s just been helpful for me, I can get to the top of the zone a little bit more.”
The focus for Meis this offseason is adding a curveball. This will give him some north-south movement when paired with the high fastball.
“They have to respect the fastball up in the zone, and then I’m able to spin a breaking ball down in the zone,” said Meis. “I think it’s good to keep them off balance.”
Meis is already starting to keep hitters off balance with his current three pitch mix. If he can add another solid breaking pitch, it will increase his chances of remaining a starter in the upper levels.
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.