Photo by Sean Kahler / Stockton Ports

Oakland A's 2016 top-50 prospects scouting report: Casey Meisner

Our Oakland A's 2016 top-50 prospects list is out. Now find out more about the players on that list. In this piece, a close look at top-50 prospect Casey Meisner. Meisner impressed after a mid-season trade to the A's. Can he continue his upward climb through the minor leagues?

Name: Casey Meisner          
Position: SP
Height/Weight: 6’7’’, 195
Bats/Throws: R/R
Age: 20
How Acquired: Acquired from the New York Mets for RP Tyler Clippard in July 2015

With the Oakland A’s firmly out of post-season contention in July, they unloaded their pending free agents, including reliever Tyler Clippard. The return for two months of Clippard was significant, as the A’s netted a lanky right-handed starter who could impact their rotation in as little as two years.

Casey Meisner has done nothing but put up positive results since he was selected in the third round by the New York Mets in 2013 out of a Texas high school. Meisner posted a 3.06 ERA in the Gulf Coast League in his pro debut and followed that up with a solid stint in the short-season New York-Penn League in 2014.

Casey Meisner stats

Year Team IP ERA H BB K GO/AO HR/9
2015 SAV 76 2.13 59 19 66 0.97 0.7
2015 STL 35 2.83 35 14 23 1.19 1.0
2015 STO 32.1 2.78 27 7 24 0.57 0.3
Career 241 2.88 219 68 208 0.89 0.6

In 2015, the Mets started Meisner off in Low-A with the Savannah Sand Gnats. Despite being younger than most players in that league, Meisner pitched his way into a mid-season promotion by posting a 2.13 ERA and a 66:19 K:BB in 76 innings (12 starts). He continued to pitch well in the High-A Florida State League, putting together a 2.83 ERA in six starts before being traded to Oakland.

The A’s assigned Meisner to High-A Stockton. He struggled during his first three starts after the trade, failing to complete five innings in any of those three outings. Meisner’s turn in the rotation was moved back a few days to give him some time to make a few adjustments. After that, he dominated the Cal League, allowing just two earned runs in 20 innings. He struck-out 19 and didn’t walk a batter during that stretch.

Ports’ broadcaster Zack Bayrouty said it took Meisner a little time to adjust to the idea of being traded.

"The impression that I got was that it really hit him hard that he was traded. He didn't see it coming,” Bayrouty said. “He has great stuff. He's 6'7'' and he has good downward plane on the fastball. His off-speed stuff has looked really good. He really worked on using his change-up. That was a pitch that he used to struggle with. He said that he worked so hard on that pitch that he kind of forgot his curveball, but now that has come back. He has three quality pitches."

Although Meisner looks like a fireballer, his fastball right now sits mostly in the 91-93 MPH range, occasionally touching 94. He has plenty of projection left in his 6’7’’ frame, however, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him add a few MPH to his fastball as he matures physically. What is most impressive about Meisner at this stage of his career is his ability to throw two quality off-speed pitches and command the fastball.

“He can hit both sides of the plate with that fastball,” Oakland A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens said. “The change-up is a potential plus pitch. It has a chance to create swings-and-misses. The breaking ball has good shape. He’ll try to tighten that breaking ball in the future. He’s also intelligent on the mound. He reads hitters well.”

Despite being a flyball pitcher, Meisner has a career HR/9 of 0.6 and he allowed only one homerun in 32.1 innings in the Cal League last season. Despite being tall, Meisner is able to repeat his delivery well. His fastball gets on hitters in a hurry thanks to the downward angle his height is able to generate.

Meisner more than doubled his previous career-high in innings pitched when he reached 143.1 innings last season. The A’s shut him down before the California League playoffs and didn’t have him participate in the A’s fall Instructional League. He is part of the team’s spring minor league mini-camp, so he will get his first “in-camp instruction” with A’s pitching coaches later this month.

Meisner won’t turn 21 until late May, but he is in good position to start next season in the Double-A Midland rotation.

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