University of Kentucky pitcher Alex Meyer had an excellent instructional league camp with the Nationals in Viera, Fla., and now prepares for his first professional season.
The 6-foot-9, 220-lb., right-hander struck out 110 hitters in 101 innings last season with the Wildcats, and features what the Nationals call three plus pitches: a fastball, slider and change up.
Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said the 23rd overall selection in June's draft did not have too much pitching activity prior to his signing in mid-August, so Viera was the first real chance the Nationals got to see him on their terms.
Under the direction of Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams, the Nationals decided to make a slight change to Meyer's delivery, which will allow him to use his imposing size to generate more leverage.
"We made a small adjustment to his front side," Harris said. "This will allow him to deliver his pitches more north-south instead of east-west.
"(Meyer) has a quick arm. The ball jumps out of his hand. This adjustment creates more angle in deception to his pitches, maximizing his natural height. If you imagine his delivery more as coming down like a ferris wheel, it makes it very difficult for the hitter to get anything on his swing."
Pitchers like Randy Johnson, Chris Young, Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad are just a few of the examples of tall hurlers who have used their height to make their stuff even more difficult to read out of the hand, much less hit.
The fact that the Nationals saw something in Meyer's delivery they wanted to adjust and did not delay in making the change shows the first-round selection may be closer to moving quickly into live game work with spring training a mere three months away.