Scouting Padres Prospect #55: Ryan Meaux

While Geoff Blum was helping the Chicago White Sox win a world series, the player he was traded from the Padres for, Ryan Meaux, was quietly assuming a bigger role in the minor league system.

Irony showed itself later in the year when Blum was re-signed by the Padres and Ryan Meaux was also inked as a six-year minor league free agent, giving the Friars both ends of the deal.

The left-handed reliever brings the customary fastball, curve to the table and has been developing a changeup over the last year.

"He is a guy that has a good arm," former director of player development Tye Waller said. "He has been a consistent pitcher. He is a fastball, curve, working on the changeup. I know he told me he is working hard on the change."

His fastball displays a sinking action and his curve has some bite but it may be the changeup that decides his eventual fate. A newer pitch to his arsenal, command of it will allow him to play off the fastball and get the better hitters swinging for the fences on the change of pace.

"He has an average fastball and average curve – lefties are hard to find and you can get by with his stuff," minor league field coordinator Bill Bryk said.

After having his progress halted in 2004 when he was used as a starter with less than spectacular results, the 27-year old was put back in the bullpen and continued to exhibit traits that make him an interesting pitcher.

It wasn't that long ago, 2003, that Meaux was on the 40-man roster with the White Sox.

But Meaux has been a little too hittable at times, and it is the lack of an effective third pitch that has allowed batters to key on the fastball or curve.

In 15 games with Mobile after the trade, Meaux surrendered runs in three games, including one four-run outburst. Seven of the 16 hits he yielded came in two of those outings.

"I like him," Bryk admitted. "I saw him briefly this year. I think he can be a big league long/middle guy. He has enough. He has three pitches – average major league pitches."

With Double-A Birmingham, the Southern League affiliate of the Sox, Meaux gave up runs in 15 of his 38 appearances, including five of his last six before the trade. In ten of those outings that produced runs against he gave up two or more – an indication that he had a tough time stopping the bleeding.

Being re-signed as a minor league free agent with an invite to camp is an indication of how the Padres feel about this lefty.

He has not pitched above Double-A but will be given the opportunity to excel in Portland and compete for a bullpen spot, either out of spring training or when the inevitable injury hits. Getting there will depend on the work he puts in this off-season and his showing come March.

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