Justin Meis grew up in the township of Bethel Park, some 30 minutes south of PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Like a lot of kids in Pittsburgh, Meis was a fan of his hometown Pirates. “I have been to a ton of games [at PNC Park]. I have been going my whole life,” Meis told Pittsburgh Baseball Now.
As it was for many people around his age who are Pirates fans, there is one player and a couple seasons that surely stand out. “My favorite player was Andrew McCutchen,” Meis said. “His MVP year and the years when they had the playoff appearances, I was in middle school so I would watch all those games with a bunch of friends.”
After graduating from Bethel Park High School, he attended Eastern Michigan, where he pitched three seasons for the Eagles. Then last July surrounded by his family, the team that Meis grew up cheering for selected him in the 10th round of the MLB Draft.
“Draft day was unbelievable. It really didn’t sink in for a few days until it really hit me that I would be staying home in Pittsburgh,” said Meis. The Pirates signed the right-hander for $127,500, and Meis officially joined the organization and began his professional career.
He began pitching out of the bullpen for the Bradenton Marauders, a role that was new to him, and he impressed in his first taste of pro ball. In 10 games in 2021, Meis successfully adjusted to the life a reliever, and posted an impressive 2.04 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
The 22-year-old continued his momentum from last season while making the switch back to his more familiar role in the rotation for Marauders. Meis went 3-4 with a 3.51 ERA and 42 punch outs in 10 games (seven starts) spanning 41 innings for Bradenton to begin his 2022 season. Thanks to his strong performance, the Pirates promoted him to High-A Greensboro on Tuesday.
Meis is surely excited for the opportunity to face more advanced competition as he joins his new teammates and coaching staff in Greensboro, with the end goal of reaching the big leagues with the Pirates in his mind.
As he continues to work his way up the organization, Meis just wants to take it day by day and continue to improve each day. “That’s my main goal this year, continue to improve and get better each start. I think if I can do that, everything else will take care of itself,” he said.
Looking at the big picture, Meis does have a specific goal in mind, and it’s one every Pirates fan wants to see come to fruition. “My ultimate goal is to bring a World Series back home to Pittsburgh,” he said.
With his promotion to Greensboro, the Pittsburgh-native is one step closer to being able to help the Major League club hoist a World Series trophy for the first time since 1979.