Thursday, April 3, 2014

Oriole #969- Evan Meek

The third new Oriole to make their Baltimore debut on Opening Day was relief pitcher Evan Meek who is now Oriole #969. He was an extremely long shot to make the roster heading into Spring Training, but over eight appearances that covered nine innings  Evan allowed just a single earned run and two hits while striking out ten batters. It was enough to edge out Alfredo Aceves for the final bullpen spot and make the Opening Day 25 man roster. 

Evan's story is an interesting one, as he bounced around the minors in the Twins, Padres, and Rays farm systems from 2002-07 before being selected by the Pirates in the 2007 Rule V draft. He then pitched 156 games for the Pirates from 2008-12, and even made the 2010 National League All-Star team, a deserving honor for a season in which he sported a 2.14 ERA over 70 games for a team that won only 57 games. Of course, every team must have an All-Star representative and there weren't many options on the Pirates team, which partially explains how a middle-reliever made the roster (says the Orioles fan whose team was obligatorily represented only by Ty Wigginton that year). 

Evan began to have some injury problems arise in 2011 and really struggled for the Bucs in 2012, and rode the AAA shuttle for much of the year before being designated for assignment in September. He spent 2013 in the Rangers minors before signing a minor league deal with the O's prior to the 2014 season. 

He didn't have a great performance on Opening Day for the O's as he walked two and struck out one against the Red Sox over two thirds of an inning, but did earn a hold for his effort. Evan seems like an easy guy to root for and I hope he can maintain his spring success now that the regular season is in full effect.

He also made it easy for me to like as he was one of the few players that on my Spring Training trip said he would sign when he came back and actually did so; for those of you who might not know, generally when a player tells you that they will sign on their way back out or something along those lines, you probably have just gotten blown off. It happens all the time so it's not a big deal, but I have to give Evan props for following up. The second card he signed for me is for trade if anyone is interested. 

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