Can Meadows repeat last season’s success?

by Gary Shelton on February 27, 2020

in general

Rays' Meadows attempts to repeat his numbers./STEVEN MUNCIE

Thursday, 4 a.m.

For a year, he was a star.

For a year, he was the finest offensive threat that the Tampa Bay Rays had.

Now, the question for Austin Meadows is basic: Can he do it again?

A year ago, Meadows wasn't just good. He was splendid. He hit .291. He had 33 homers. He drove in 89 runs. He made the All-Star Team. He became part of the shining example of how to make a trade (or, in the case of the Pittsburgh Pirates, how not to).

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And now, it is time for a sequel.

The Rays are depending on it.

Oh, I know what you're thinking. A player doesn't have statistics like Meadows had over 530 at-bats and have it turn out to be a fluke. Still, one-year wonders do exist in the major league baseball. Remember Mark Fidrych? Remember Joe Charboneau? Remember Chris Coghlan?

If you want to make an argument for Meadows, go back to last June, his worst month of the season? In June, Meadows hit just .206 with no home runs and six RBI. He struck out 33 times.

Still, he rebounded, and finished with a .378 average in September as the Rays drove for the playoffs. His nine home runs were his best month of the season. That rebound in itself should suggest that Meadows won't wither and fade.

Still, how good can he be?

I saw seven projections on Meadows (Composite, Rotochamp, Steamer, Zips, ATC, The Bat and 2019) for the coming season. Not one of them had him with as high an average, as many homers or as many RBI. Still, all of them had him with at least 25 homers, at least a .269 average and at least 80 RBI. I suspect the Rays would take that line right now.

As for Meadows? Hey, he's 24. I'm sure he's thinking about another All-Star game, and inflated statistics all around.

After all, no one thinks about going backward.

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