In 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Evan Meek was an All-Star and appeared to be emerging as a long term bullpen anchor for the Bucs.
The 2010 season was a miserable one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, it was one of the worst in franchise history. That will happen when a team goes 57-105 like the 2010 Bucs did.
2010 would prove to not be a complete waste of a season, though. Young players such as Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabta, Neil Walker, and Pedro Alvarez, who went on to be key cogs on the team making the postseason from 2013 – 2015 would begin to emerge in 2010. Another player that appeared to be emerging as a part of the new core was reliever Evan Meek.
Meek became a Pittsburgh Pirates via the Rule 5 Draft at the 2007 MLB Winter Meetings. After a pair of up and down seasons in 2008 and 2009, Meek put it all together for the 105 loss Pirates in 2010.
In a whopping 80 innings across 70 games, Meek posted a 2.14 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 9.6% walk rate, and a 21.6% strikeout rate. He also did a great job keeping the ball in the ballpark allowing just five home runs. A big reason for this was due to opposing hitters making hard contact off of Meek just 21.0% of the time.
Meek’s performance in 2010 landed him a spot on the National League All-Star team. There was no denying that Meek was deserving of being the Pirates’ representative in the 2010 Mid-Summer Classic.
Following his excellent 2010 season, Meek was just 27-years-old. All signs pointed toward him emerging as a key cog in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this is not how things would work out.
With his large workload from 2010 undoubtedly playing a role, injuries began to pile up for Meek. While he posted strong numbers with a 3.48 ERA, 3.75 FIP and a 0.44 HR/9 in 2011, injuries limited him to just 20.2 innings of work.
Control issues, something he struggled with in 2008 and 2009, started to return for Meek in 2011. He walked a career-worst 12.0% of batters faced in 2011. In 2012, this number dropped but was still a poor 10.5%.
With his fastball velocity dropping, Meek was limited to 12 innings of work in 2012. He posted a 6.75 ERA and a 4.59 FIP in these 12 innings of work. Meek’s struggles led to him being optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on May 1. He returned to Pittsburgh on July 21, but was sent down again on July 26.
After struggling at the Triple-A level, Meek was designated for assignment in September. After the season ended, he elected to file for free agency.
Meek spent the 2013 season with the Texas Rangers Triple-A club. In 2014, he returned to the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, posting a 5.79 ERA in 23.1 innings of work. He then pitched in the KBO in 2015 before spending the 2016 season on the independent circuit to end his professional career.
While Meek’s career ended on a sour note, he will forever have ‘2010 National League All-Star’ on his resume.