BLUF: Has both starter and closer profile thanks to imposing size and fastball.
The Player: Alex Meyer (RHP, Washington Nationals) – Always an enigmatic prospect, Meyer was popped in the first round (23rd overall) by the Nationals last year, ultimately signing at the August deadline. He debuted with Low-A Hagerstown in 2012 and immediately began to put things together with a 3.10 ERA in 18 starts, allowing just 68 hits and 34 walks in 90 innings while striking out 107. He was promoted to High-A Potomac in the second half and posted a 2.31 ERA in seven starts.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (College 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-9, 220): Huge frame. More basketball player frame than pitcher. Easy 6-foot-8, could be taller. Long, lean and athletic. Has room to bulk up without jeopardizing flexibility and movement. Difficult body for pitchers to handle.
Delivery/Mechanics: When things are in sync, Meyer can look fluid and even graceful delivering the ball. He is a good enough athlete to repeat his delivery, but his long limbs can make it difficult. His long stride gets out of whack at times and his arm slot will vary, particularly on his breaking ball. He stays surprisingly compact throughout much of his delivery, but when he unleashes his limbs, things can go awry.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 98, Low – 92, Average 94-95, Grade – 70/70
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 98, Low 91, Average 93-95, Grade – 70/70
Fastball (FB) Movement: Tons of angle thanks to extreme height and long arms, despite moderate three-quarter arm slot. Two-seam FB will show some hard boring action and can get in on RHH. Four seam has explosiveness up in the zone and gets on hitters quickly because of length. Angle and natural life could lead to near elite movement with more consistency. Grade – 60/70
Overall Fastball: Little velocity projection remaining but already can reach elite level and can work consistently in the plus-plus range. Movement makes pitch play up even more and FB alone can dominate good hitters. Future elite pitch when all factors are considered. Grade – 70/80
Slider (SL): Though unintentional, shows two variations. Intended SL shows hard, darting movement with both horizontal and vertical components. Excellent two-plane break. Bat misser. Unintended SL is shorter with less movement. Often results from his inconsistent release and not staying on top of the ball. Both pitches work and can give him different looks. True plus SL now. Could actually play a little sharper in short bursts where he airs it out. Grade – 60/60
Change-up (CH): Pitch has improved since early in college career. Still decidedly below average but shows occasional flashes. Lacks velocity separation and arm speed can slow at times. Too firm and lacks movement as a result. Doesn’t trust the pitch in tight spots. Never shown tremendous feel. Likely show-me pitch that can compliment more reliable pitches. Grade – 30/40
Control: Drastic improvements in 2012. No longer Rick Vaughn. Improve the consistency of his delivery and arm slot to allow for better strike throwing. FB has movement and velocity to just be thrown in the zone and trusted to get outs. Should have average to above-average control with continued refinement. Will likely always have bouts of wildness when delivery gets out of sync. Grade – 40/50
Command: Rarely shows ability to locate FB or SL. No command of CH. Delivery and body is not conducive to command profile. Solid athlete that has made good strides already but below-average command is max projection. Grade – 30/40
Summation: Size and FB stand out. Enormous physical presence. Carries an air of intimidation. Aggressive pitcher that likes to attack, though inconsistent mechanics can prevent required command to attack the way he likes. FB has near elite average velocity and plays up with tons of angle and life on the ball. FB has out-pitch potential at higher levels. SL is true plus and should gain some consistency. Two-plane breaker that provides second swing-and-miss offering. CH lags behind. Not a huge fan of feel for soft stuff. Pure power arm and must improve feel and sequence. Can get outs by overpowering hitters. Has two-pitch starter profile in the middle of a rotation but could also be elite reliever that closes games. Reliever profile stands out more.
Relative Risk: Moderate. History of pitchers his size succeeding is short, but raw stuff is so good and he has already improved dramatically.
Future: Skipped through two levels in professional debut this season and should open the 2013 season at Double-A. With success on the field, a promotion to Triple-A seems likely next year and a Major League debut should not be ruled out, particularly if the organization is willing to try him in a relief role. He should be up in 2014 no matter his role.