One of the guys we have had a close eye on this spring is reliever Evan Meek. I wrote this post detailing the injury he suffered last year and the loss of velocity he encountered. Meek getting back to 2010 form is huge for this year’s Pirates team, but we haven’t really seen it quite yet this spring.
Meek has thrown 4.2 innings thus far and has given up four earned runs on six hits for an ERA of 7.71, not too great on paper. However, three hits and three runs came in his first outing of the spring in .2 innings against Toronto on March 4th. Since then, he has gone four innings giving up just one run (it was a solo home run) and has four strikeouts in those innings.
While the numbers have been good since his first outing, he still doesn’t have the velocity he used to. He has consistently been in the 90-92 range with his fastball. It’s possible that Meek is holding back a little bit since these are the first game-innings he’s throwing of the season, so the velocity could grow when he starts really ramping it up with some adrenaline when the regular season starts. However, I’m not sure he’s ever going to be a guy that can throw 97-98 again; he might be strictly limited to 95-96 maximum from here on out.
I’m not a doctor or anything like that so I don’t know any of this for sure, but it’s not a good sign that his fastball has been three miles per hour lower since the surgery, and it hasn’t improved so far this spring.