Nationals right-handed prospect Alex Meyer toes the rubber in his sixth start tonight for high Single-A Potomac at Salem.
Meyer has gone 2-1 with a 0.93 ERA in five outings so far for the P-Nats, striking out 26 while allowing just 17 hits and three walks in 29 innings.
Recently, I got the chance to sit down with Meyer and see how his first season has played out, especially his recent promotion to Potomac from low Single-A Hagerstown.
"It has been a transition period," Meyer said. "I felt like I have come in and done my job so far. I am just trying to put our team in the best position to win. Like I told you before, I didn't want to change too much when I came up from Hagerstown. I feel good. I feel like my mechanics are holding up pretty well right now and I want to continue to build off of it."
While with the Suns, Meyer was still pretty impressive, tallying a 7-4 record in 18 starts with a 3.10 ERA. He had 107 strikeouts in 90 innings, with 34 walks.
"I have been able to really flip sides of the plate with my fastball," he said. "That is not necessarily something I have been able to do my whole life. I feel like it is something I have gotten better at as (the) season's went on. I want to continue to be able to do that. That is a huge part of it no matter how hard you throw.
"You see Stephen Strasburg, if he is not locating his fastball, there are times when guys can get a barrel to him. Not that I am Stephen Strasburg by any means, but just saying everybody has to be able to locate their fastball and I feel like I am getting better at that."
Meyer said he learned this important part of his game the last two games, when hitters were able to square up on a few of his pitches.
"That is what has kind of hurt me (recently)," Meyer said. "I would get ahead of a guy but the next pitch I would leave the ball over the plate and they have been able to put a good swing on it. That would allow a run to score. That is something I have to continue to work on, and making sure I am not taking any pitches off. (I need to) still have the same aggression on every single pitch and put it where I want it."
Meyer continues to work on the deception of his curveball. When that pitch is on, it is a powerful weapon and fools hitters.
"The main thing for me is I try to make it look as much as like a fastball out of my hand as I can," Meyer detailed. "I feel like that is why I get a lot of check swings. A lot of guys bounce out of the way because it looks like it's going to be straight and at the last second, it breaks over the plate. As long as I keep it down, it has been a pretty good pitch for me."
Meyer has also seen success with his changeup, which continues to improve.
"Something that has really helped me out lately is I have been able to throw my changeup quite a bit," Meyer said. "This last start I think I threw it more than I have my whole life. I think I threw it more than 20 times. Once I am able to get that going for me, I feel comfortable I can throw that in a fastball (count). It can really change things for you."
Meyer believes he has four starts remaining this season.
"I am happy with where I am at right now," Meyer said. "But again, I am not content. I just want to go out there and continue to get better every time out."
Meyer acknowledged that the Arizona Fall League would be nice invite if he gets the call but also knows he has thrown 119 innings already this season.
Here is the audio from my sit down with Alex Meyer: