CEDAR RAPIDS, IA — Twenty games into his professional debut at short-season Vermont, the Oakland A’s 10th-round pick in the 2017 draft suffered the unthinkable … a painful knee injury that ended his short run in the New York-Penn League.
So, while many ballplayers are focused on making a good first impression on their respective organizations, outfielder Jack Meggs has maintained the simplest of approaches.
“My biggest thing coming off an injury is staying healthy,” said Meggs, who tore a ligament in his leg that attaches the knee-cap to the femur. “I always looked at that growing up as a kid and would kind of giggle when people would say all they want to do is stay healthy for the year. But I suffered an injury last year that put me out for the remainder of the season, so for me, staying healthy and being on the field was my main goal. I worked hard in the weight room to get back to 100 percent.”
Beyond that, Meggs has believed in the game plan that got him drafted in the 10th round out of Washington in the first place. As he’s gotten his legs underneath him (literally), his numbers have improved markedly.
After producing a slash line of just .156/.308/.219 over the first month of the season, Meggs increased that to .265/.315/.482 in 23 games during the month of May. This month has treated the former Husky standout even better, as he’s hit .321 with an OPS of 846 in 16 contests.
The result has been a solid line in a Low-A league that can wreak havoc on young hitters. Meggs’ slash line currently resides at .262/.339/.423.
“Early on, I knew it would be a tougher hitter’s league and had to battle through that,” he said. “I just wanted to have a good approach going in. I didn’t get off to the best start I wanted to, but I hung with it. I didn’t really change that much. I settled down and relaxed a little bit, trusted myself and my swing and approach. Here I am right now in a good spot to keep on moving forward and grinding through this league. I’m having fun and keeping things simple. I’m doing whatever I can to help my team win.”
As his hitting metrics have improved, Meggs has gotten a better handle on what to expect of Midwest League pitching through 50 games and 168 plate appearances.
“I’m adjusting to the off-speed,” he said. “They’re going to give you a pitch in an at-bat, so my whole thing is not missing the fastball and that pitch you’re looking for. It’s not like college or summer ball where guys are going to go fastball heavy. You have to pick out your pitch you can hit and do damage with. Learning how to do that and not overcompensate when you get that pitch is a big deal for me.”
Although his short-season stint lasted just 20 games, a stretch in which he slashed .290/.370/.449 across 81 plate appearances, Meggs said the MWL and NYPL are two very different circuits.
“There are some high school arms and young arms at Vermont … guys are just trying to throw that fastball by you and they might not have had the best command,” he said. “You can find yourself in a lot of hitters counts.
“Here, guys can flip in that curveball and throw that change-up or slider whenever they want. You have to be a smart hitter and have a good approach. You have to be okay with getting out sometimes and going down with your approach, because it has gotten you this far and can get you to the next level.”
In the midst of the best stretch of his pro career, Meggs said he hopes to sustain that through the next two months and put himself in position to head west next spring.
“I want to hit well, help our team win and hopefully move up through the ranks like every player’s goal is,” he said. “You want to get out of Beloit and get to Stockton, Midland and Nashville. I’m putting my head down and trying to get to the next level.”
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