Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Round 1: Alex Meyer, RHP, University of Kentucky

Kentucky Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis:  The 6'9" righty is a big risk/reward project player, but has as much  upside as pretty much any player in this draft.

Thoughts from the community: "Meyer is tall, throws hard, and could be the right-handed version of Randy Johnson. He could just as easily become the next Andrew Brackman. Like most super-tall pitchers, repeating his delivery is the skill he has yet to master. His stuff (high-90s FB, high-80s SL) has had scouts drooling for several years now, despite his mechanical flaws. If he fails as a starter, prospect gurus believe he could still succeed as a reliever, comparing him to Daniel Bard." - Luke Erickson, (@nats_prospects)

Previous analysis and notes: Whether he ends up in the starting rotation or the bullpen is yet to be seen; he has a great arm but poor control thus far in his career. I'm a fan of this pick by the Nats, as Meyer has the upside to be a stud starter, or if that fails, he still has the stuff to become a stud closer. He's far from a sure thing, but could become something special.

Meyer's college stats:
2009: 1-4, 5.73 ERA, 59 and 2/3 IP, 53 H, 45 BB, 80 K, .239 avg against
2010: 5-3, 7.06 ERA, 51 IP, 59 H, 36 BB, 63 K, .285 avg against
2011: 7-5, 2.94 ERA, 101 IP, 78 H, 46 BB, 110 K, .222 avg against

From Matt Garrioch, MLB Bonus Baby, 7/17/2011: "Alex Meyer is a 6'9", 200 LB athletic right handed pitcher who has had a hard time maintaining his mechanics. This season things seemed to come together for him. He routinely throws 95-96 and can hit 100 on occasion. Along with that, he has an 85-89 MPH slider that is nearly unhittable at times. They are both MLB plus pitches right now and still have room for improvement. He also improved on his change this year as well and it looks like it could be a useful pitch at the major league level opening up the possibility of him being a starter,which makes him more valuable that a set up man or closer. He needs to be watched, because his mechanics could go haywire quickly due to his long arms and legs but he could also be a front end of the rotation starter."
From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "6-9 monster with 95+ fastball and impressive slider made strides with his command this year, and his changeup is good enough for him to remain a starter. Could be a number one type if it all comes together"
From John Sickels, Minor League Ball/Baseball Nation, 6/6/2011: "He touches 100 MPH on his best days and works consistently in the mid-90s, mixing in a good slider and workable changeup. Meyer still has command issues at times and doesn't always repeat his mechanics consistently, but his ceiling is one of the best in the draft. He's matured emotionally and how has a strong mound presence. Ideally he would develop into a number two starter, although if command is a long-term problem he could end up in a bullpen role. It is unusual to find an arm with this kind of upside with the 23rd pick in the draft, testimony to how deep this class truly is."
From Satchel Price, Beyond the Box Score, 6/6/2011: "Armed with the kind of raw stuff that only Gerrit Cole can match at the college level, Meyer struggled in his first two years with the Wildcats before his command and control finally began to improve during his junior season. Meyer brings two ridiculously good pitches in his fastball and slider, and has a pretty clean delivery for someone that stands 6-foot-9. There's very legitimate No. 1 upside here, although Meyer may take a couple years to reach the majors."
From Robbie Knopf, I Sports Web, 6/5/2011: "As you would expect from his big frame, Meyers throws in the mid-90′s with his four-seam fastball with some nice late movement, but his fastball is not even his best pitch. He also features a nearly unhittable slider in the mid- to high-80′s that looks like a strike before suddenly breaking out of the zone and making hitters look bad as they flail and miss by a couple of feet with their swings. His third pitch is a changeup in the high-70′s that is a straight pitch and it needs work, but it still has a nice speed variation with his fastball and if a hitter is looking slider, they could take the change for a strike. Meyer’s weaknesses are pretty much the same as his strengths. His big figure makes him a scary pitcher to face, but it has also has made his mechanics inconsistent, leading to control struggles. His fastball’s late movement sometimes hinders him from throwing it for a strike. His slider forces tons of swings-and-misses, but he doesn’t often throw it in the zone for a strike looking. His changeup may provide a good change of speeds, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to hit than his other two pitches. A hitter could be overwhelmed by his fastball and easily hit his changeup."
From Reed MacPhail, Fangraphs, 5/27/2011: "As expected, the biggest problem with Meyer was his command. Even though the results were good, his performance could aptly be qualified as “effectively wild”...Surprisingly, Meyer showed much better command of his slider than he did with his fastball. He was able to consistently break his slider off the outside corner of the strike zone, generating a lot of swings-and-misses. While Meyer struggled with his fastball command, he appeared much more comfortable throwing away from right-handers than he did coming inside. While Meyer has made strides in refining his command since high school, it will be hard for him to ever have even average command. His arms are simply so long that it’s difficult for him to keep everything in sync. His arm action is long in the back, and I think the somewhat unorthodox delivery will makes it especially difficult for Meyer to command the ball. Meyer will also have to make strides to control the running game, as the length in the back of his delivery causes him to be slow to the plate. When it comes right down to it, I don’t envy the scouting directors picking in the 6-12 range who will have to make the call on Meyer. He has the size and stuff to be an absolute force in a big-league rotation, and he’s made encouraging strides over the last three years, but he’s still raw. While he could be great, you can see him as the type of pitcher who’s lack of command forces a move to the pen. While his fastball-slider combination could make him a shutdown closer, in this highly regarded a draft class, you’re probably looking for more value out of a top-10 pick."
From Jonathan Mayo,, 5/27/2011: Quotes from Meyer: "I finally quit growing this year and started putting on weight, but it started with being confident out there and attacking the strike zone and not giving the hitters too much credit. You have to attack them as much as they want to attack me. You learn from your past. It can be the best teacher for you. And I think it was. I knew guys would take pitches and try to get my pitch counts up. The main thing is location and keeping the ball down. I truly believe that. When you try and pitch instead of just throw, it really makes it easier for you. I think it's a big reason why I was successful this year. Baseball has so much failure in it. It's how you come back from it," Meyer said. "I'm not saying I had a perfect season, but it was definitely better than the last two seasons. I think that's been huge for me. When you go through failure, you're going to know how to deal with it, how to respond to it. I feel I went through quite a bit of failure, more than I wanted to, I grew from it, I got stronger, I'm a more mature baseball player because of it."
From Charlie Fliegel, The Nationals Review, 5/18/2011: "He has a complex delivery that has lead to serious control issues. He has issued plenty of walks, and may never be able to bring down the walk total enough to be a great pitcher. Keith Law mentions, though, that his command and control have improved, and there are positives in his delivery. To me, this means he may be a work in progress, but there is room for the right pitching coach to make him better. Still, many fear that he will be a walk machine. Keith Law’s summary was a good combo of the hopes and fears about Meyer: Meyer’s lack of track record hurts him, and even with the improved control he was walking a guy every other inning until his last few outings, but it’s top-10 or top-5 stuff with No. 1 starter upside. But if the Nats are looking for a starter, even if he’s great they may not get it. According to Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus: One scout summed him up best by saying, 'He’s either a number one, a shutdown closer, or doesn’t get out of Double-A.'"
From Matt Garrioch, MLB Bonus Baby, 5/13/2011: "Alex Meyer is an impressive pitcher on the mound. His fastball pops and his slider is just nasty but so is his delivery. He is so tall that if his mechanics just get off by a little bit, he could be a mess, but when he is on, his stuff is phenomenal. I don't think I could pull the trigger on him in the top 15 picks though."
From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 3/30/2011: "Composite ERA in Kentucky games is about 4.75 so he is pitching quite well for context, although the walk rate is rather high. Mid-90s fastball and above-average curve stand out, but command and mechanical issues keep him from Gerrit Cole/Sonny Gray status. A certain first-round pick in most drafts, might drop to supplemental in this one but upside is impressive."
From Stephen Goff, Houston Examiner, 3/7/2011: "Despite his struggles, Meyer has tremendous growth potential and could be on the road to a successful major league career once he gains more confidence in his fastball location, slider, changeup and two-seam fastball, thus leading to greater consistency. He's a big, imposing right-handed pitcher who combines a 94-96 mph fastball with an above-average curveball, making him a classic, raw-power arm that utilizes a repetitive, low-effort tall delivery. 'I like to attack with the fastball,' Meyer said. 'I feel like it’s an out pitch. I feel like I have enough velocity on it to get by some guys. I throw a knuckle curveball. I try to stay on top of it to get more of a 12-6 action. There are some I hook a little bit and end up getting a slider action. It’s something I need to get more consistent at doing. I'm also starting to throw a better two-seam fastball and changeup. It has helped to change my game.'"

Follow @AlexMeyer17 on Twitter.

According to John Manuel of Baseball America, Meyer signed for a $2 million SB.

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