I had never watched Meyer pitch until this spring. I had heard about him, but didn’t start looking at players until about January. Pretty much anyone who pitches for Team USA is really good, so I knew he was good. I don’t think anyone realized how good he was. I was impressed and knew he would fly up in mock drafts. In Baseball America’s 2020 Mock 4.0 and Perfect Game’s Mock 2.0, Meyer was selected sixth overall by the Mariners. Behind The Athletic’s paywall, Keith Law had him going to the Angels.
Meyer is a guy that Royals fans need to know because he fits in with Detmers as a possible under slot legit big league arm who can help the Royals improve their draft capital at 32 and 41. Meyer is a guy who could slot into the group with Singer, Lynch, and Kowar as the possible number one pitching prospect in the organization.
Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
Max Meyer wasn’t unknown to scouts but really picked up some helium when he hit 100 mph in his first start of the season. Meyer is also the owner of perhaps the best slider in the country at the NCAA level and he likes to use it. Meyer gets swing and miss after swing and miss with the slider. It starts in the zone and looks exactly like his fastball and then takes a left-handed turn with explosive sink. The pitch looks like it moves two feet away from a right-handed hitter. They often can’t reach it, and if they can, they swing over the top of it.
Meyer has some arm side movement on his fastball. It isn’t a huge mover but it has some late life. Meyer has also been working on his change up. The pitch has sharp arm side movement and some sink coming in about 10 mph slower than his fastball. A lot of credit is given to his time on the US Collegiate National Team for the development of his change up. Meyer has pitched back-to-back summers for the USCNT.
Meyer uses a quick windup lifting his leg waist high. At times, he will alter the speed of his windup to mess with a hitter’s timing. Out of the stretch, he uses a quick leg lift before driving to the plate.
Meyer is playing two-ways for the Golden Gophers serving as their ace on Friday night and designated hitter. Meyer has played in the outfield in the past but it appears the coaching staff is trying to protect his arm so far this season. This is a wise move as his future is on the mound.
Meyer has always been competitive being described as someone who wants to win everything that he does. Not only does Meyer want to win, but he is willing to listen to instruction from his coaching staff on how to get better so he can win more often. Meyer is described as very coachable and always willing to listen. I know those are good traits, but Meyer is going to have to drown out the noise and find coaches to listen to going forward. I have heard stories of top picks getting pulled in a billion different directions by well-meaning coaches with contradicting advice and philosophies. I’m not saying this is Meyer, but when I hear that comment I always have a little concern in the back of my head.
Meyer does need to learn how to be more efficient as a starter to last deeper into games. Part of the problem is his competitiveness. There are times he is so caught up in the match up, he tries to hard to win using up more energy than he needs. If you can get rid of a weaker hitter by throwing him a specific pitch in a specific location, do it and go to the next guy. Take the outs as they come and don’t let anything on the field become personal. Meyer needs to get rid of hitters quickly and that will allow him to go 7.0 innings routinely.
Meyer has already proven his ability to be a closer while as a freshman on the USCNT and at Minnesota. If he doesn’t last as a starter in professional baseball, he no doubt has a high floor as a closer with his slider, 100 mph fastball, and competitiveness. But, you aren’t drafting someone fourth overall to hope they end up in your bullpen. Meyer has the competitive drive and stuff to develop and make it as a starter.
Here are the other guys we’ve written up so far in 2020. Take a look and decide who you would draft fourth overall.
Browse by Date
5/11 – Asa Lacy, LHP Texas A&M
5/12 – Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS
5/13 – Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
5/14 – Austin Martin, CF/3B/SS, Vanderbilt
5/15 – Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
5/16 – Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
5/18 – Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
Image taken from Meyer’s profile on the Golden Gophers website. No credit was given.