The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the most exciting young teams in baseball. In addition to established stars on the major league roster like Justin Upton, Daniel Hudson, and Ian Kennedy, they also have a deep minor league system that has acted as a feeder for new talent. In particular, their minor league pitching depth is very impressive, sporting a vast arsenal of talented young arms. Anthony Meo, who drafted just this past year, is one of these prospects and is considered so advanced that it will not be a surprise to see him in Arizona by the end of the season, and possibly contributing to a pennant winning team.
Meo is a right-handed starter from Coastal Carolina University, who was considered so polished that he was taken by the Diamondbacks after his junior season in the second round (63rd overall pick) of the 2011 MLB draft. Meo made the most of his last collegiate season, posting a sparkling 10-3 record and 2.16 ERA, with 115 strikeouts in 108.1 innings. Even more impressive was the no-hitter he threw in the Big South Conference tournament; the first in the event’s history.
Boasting a fastball that can reach the mid 90’s, a biting slider, and a promising changeup, Meo’s three pitch repertoire is more than enough ammunition to leave him in a starting role. With Hudson, Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Trevor Bauer, and Archie Bradley all either in the majors or with enough talent to be there soon, there is a logjam of talent when it comes to starting pitching in the desert. Things in baseball usually have a way of working out, and talent always rises to the top. Once Meo puts a little professional experience under his belt, he will be poised to make the jump to the big leagues and will trust that a role will be waiting for him when he is ready.
Anthony Meo Interview:
Who were your favorite team and player growing up and why?: Growing up in Rhode Island, my favorite team was the Boston Red Sox. I used to go to Fenway Park a lot while growing up and my favorite player had to be Pedro Martinez. Pedro Martinez was my role model, and when I was younger playing baseball I would always try to be like him. I love the way he pitched and how dominant he was when he was with the Red Sox.
What pitches do you have in your arsenal, and which one do you think you need to improve the most?: The pitches I have in my arsenal are a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and a changeup. The pitch I need to improve the most is my changeup. I have learned through experience the biggest key is keeping batters off balanced and the change up is the most important pitch to do that. Also, being a starting pitcher, you need to have at least an average changeup if you want to be successful.
Can you run through what your 2011 draft experience was like?: Coming into my junior year at Coastal Carolina, I knew I had a chance to be picked pretty high in the draft coming into the season. My goal was to put that in the back of my mind and focus on the team and pitching only. After a long and successful season, I finally got to hear my name called in the draft. It was an amazing feeling because growing up my goal was to always play Major League Baseball!
What was your reaction to being named by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and ESPN as one of the 10 breakout prospects of 2012?: It was really exciting to being named as one of the ten breakout prospects of 2012 by Kevin Goldstein. Now it’s time to focus on what is in front of me and prepare for a successful first season!
What have you done, physically and/or mentally to prepare yourself for your first full pro season?: To prepare myself for my first full pro season I have tried to continue with the same routine I have always done in the offseason. That includes working out, running, long toss, and bullpens. Luckily I was able to get my feet wet last year by playing in the minor leagues at the end of the year to get an idea of what my first season is going to be like. I’m very excited and thankful for the chance to play in 2012!