Eleven players that didn't qualify for our top-60 prospects due to injury still have bright outlooks…
Name: Tyler Mead
DOB: August 15, 1987
At the end of season two, he saw a similar effect but for far different reasons. Pitching over the final month of the season, his velocity dropped as pain began to develop in his throwing shoulder.
Thinking it normal, he went hard in the off-season on a workout program while also throwing a lot. He felt the twinge one day during the off-season and backed off. When he went back at it, the pain was gone but the constant pressure in subsequent days brought it back.
Focused on the back and top of his throwing shoulder, wear was found on the rotator cuff – making it difficult for Mead to raise his arm, much less go through a pitching motion. The effect is swelling of the muscles and a potential bone-on-bone situation.
"Mead is getting to hone in on the machines and strengthen the shoulder, range of motion and long toss program," pitching coach Dave Rajsich said.
What it resulted in was missing all of 2008 – as he continued to work through different exercise programs in an effort to strengthen the muscles surrounding the bone to stabilize the movement when he does return to pitching. He was on hand in Instructs but still not able to pitch.
When healthy, Mead has a fastball that sits in the mid-80s and reaches 88-89 mph. He was hoping to bring his velocity up with his off-season workout program prior to the 2008 season. The fastball has tailing action but the right-hander has a tough time consistently locating it where he wants it.
Behind in the count, Mead is forced to continue to go to the fastball to get back in and can get smacked around as a result.
He has a quality slider that has good tilting action and solid differential from his fastball. It has a little loop but is deceiving coming out of his hand.
Mead does not have a quality third pitch and has worked on producing a changeup that can serve to keep hitters off-balance. Because of his lack of confidence in the pitch, hitters don't have much to look for.
He has a slow delivery and does generate much drive towards the plate. Also, his methodical delivery leaves room for his mechanics to go awry. The Washington native could lose his line to the plate on one pitch and over compensate the next. His arm and body too far forward the next time out and in need of catching up with his mechanical checks the next. The rhythm is lacking to make a consistent delivery and drive towards home.
Conclusion: Mead has lost valuable development time, especially considering his lack of a true plus pitch. Drafted as a high schooler, now is supposed to be the time he is refining those issues to be better prepared for the future.
He has potential with his slider if he can regain fastball command but the injury is a concern. It could be something that continues to bother him and may require surgery to shave some of the bone away. There are a lot of questions here and no easy answers.
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