Another lesser talked-about player from the 2021 draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected local product Justin Meis in the 10th round. Meis showed off some impressive stuff in his first look against professional batters back when he made his debut. It was only 17.2 innings, but he struck out 27 (35.6% K%) while holding opponents to just a .203 average. He had a sub-par 11.5% walk rate and 1.02 HR/9, but he looked like he could develop into a decent pitching prospect.
The Pirates moved Meis to the starting rotation, where he continued to post solid results for Bradenton, even if they weren’t nearly as dominant. On the plus side, he bumped his walk rate down to just 8%, but his strikeout rate also took a hit, decreasing to just 23.9%. With a 0.88 HR/9 and 3.51 ERA, Meis was sent to High-A Greensboro but struggled to the tune of a 4.44 ERA, 4.89 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP.
The season had its ups and downs for Meis, but one thing that changed was he was given a larger workload and asked to go through the line-up multiple times. In total, he made 23 starts and pitched 114 innings. Meis has a nasty slider and sits in the 93-95 MPH range. He also showed off a change-up that he can get left-handed batters out with ease.
Meis might work better out of the bullpen. After all, his best stretch of games was as a reliever back in 2021. He certainly has the stuff that he could become one of the Pirates’ better relief prospects if given the chance to pitch out of the pen. Maybe he sees a slight uptick out of the bullpen, sitting closer to 94-97 MPH instead.