Wait a minute. He’s 6-foot-9. He played at Kentucky. Shouldn’t we contact John Calipari? Or John Wall?
Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer said he knows Washington Wizards star guard Wall pretty well (they had the same academic adviser at UK), and the Wildcats did pretty well without him playing basketball (2011 Final Four appearance), so he will stick instead to throwing 97 mph fastballs, thank you very much.
The tall and lanky pitcher was introduced last week with Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and former North Carolina outfielder Brian Goodwin at Nationals Park and was beaming at the chance to play alongside so much depth.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Meyer said. “I feel like it couldn’t be a better organization, especially with the group they drafted this season and the guys they got the last couple years. It is a great opportunity.”
Meyer said he has a pretty good pitching repertoire and is known for his hard-to-hit fastball.
“I throw a heavy fastball,” Meyer said. “It has a good downward plane on it. I think being this tall helps quite a bit. I stick mostly to a two-seam fastball. I will throw a four-seamer if I need to. If it’s a knuckle-curve, I spike it. It comes in pretty firm. I feel like it is one of my best pitches when I need to get someone out.
“This year, I started throwing a circle changeup, which is really beneficial for me. It changed a lot of things for me. When guys are sitting dead red on a fastball it is pretty good to come in and throw that and catch them off guard.”
Meyer said he wants to concentrate on a couple of things in Viera, Fla., as the season wraps up and instructional league gets under way.
“The main thing for me is to improve on is command which was a lot better at the end of the year this year. I also want to work on that changeup,” he said.
The command seems to be the issue you hear from scouts who have seen him pitch, but he definitely gets rave reviews about his velocity. These are a pair of reviews, here and here, from Meyer’s 2011 collegiate season with the Wildcats.
Last year, Meyer hit 100 mph in the spring and then hit it the first game of the year. On a good night, it is going to be 94 to 97 mph and he’ll have some good downward action.
Meyer believes being selected by the Nationals was big because he believes this organization is on the fast track to getting better quickly by stocking its farm system with young talent.
“Looking at what they did the last couple of years in the draft - it’s obviously proven that they want to do everything they can to win and be as good as any team in the major leagues,” Meyer said. “A team that is moving in that direction anybody would want to be a part of and I am just fortunate to be here. It is a good team to be around.”
Agent Scott Boras said with all the potential Meyer shows, he still can get bigger and more intimidating on the mound, because he hasn’t stopped growing.
“With a player like Alex, he is going to be huge,” Boras said. “I took him to the Los Angeles Dodgers and they said he is not done growing. His shoulders are going to get bigger. He could be 250 lbs.; he is 210 lbs. now.
“So (Meyer’s) development and his physicality, we want him to reach the optimum. Much like (Stephen) Strasburg, Strasburg has grown immeasurably. He has got 50 percent different strength in a year and a half. So you look at how those big men at a young age (can still get stronger).”