The road to professional baseball is never an easy one. For 19-year-old Casey Meisner, a right-handed pitcher from Houston, his answer to challenges has been hard work and adjustments. After having a superb spring training, Meisner found his way on the 2014 Brooklyn Cyclones roster.
I don’t think a lot of people expected me to be here, he said. But I worked really hard my off-season, pushed through, try to get stronger.
I was strong the whole way and kept trying to pitch at my best every outing and I guess that would be what earned me a spot, just working hard and pitching the way I need to.
Meisner was drafted by the New York Mets in the third round of the 2013 June Amateur Draft. He spent last year playing for the team’s minor league affiliate in the Gulf Coast League (GCL). He pitched just 10 times in the rookie league, but the potential was there. He observed a few flaws in his game, including pitching out of the stretch. With practice, Meisner believes it has become his greatest improvement.
I was kind of worried about my stretch, working out of it when there was a runner on. I was kind of weak with some of my pitches, but in the off season and instructional league for about three weeks after our season ended in the GCL, we worked on nothing but stretch and I actually feel more comfortable on the stretch and with all my pitches, he said. Now when a runner gets on, I’m not worried about what I’m doing wrong.
At six-foot-seven, Meisner tries to use his height as an advantage when taking the mound. I throw way up top, not side armed or three quarters, he said. Im really up top and down hill.
Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa, who has coached at both the minor and major league level, sees plenty of promise in the tall right-hander.
He couldn’t possibly have had a better spring, he said. He’s a young kid, just one year removed from high school. He throws 93 miles per hour and he’s got a very good change up. In spring, he developed a good curveball to go with it. For a youngster, he has a pretty good feel for the strike zone and dominant stuff.
Gamboa also compared Meisner to a former all-star he saw while working for the Kansas City Royals, Mike MacDougal. Meisner has better control than MacDougal ever did, Gamboa noted. We expect big things out of him.
Meisner is looking forward to the challenge of pitching in front of a strong minor league fan base. I like the pressure honestly, he said. I look forward to the adrenaline that goes through my body so I’m pretty excited.