The draft is only a few weeks away – June 6th be exact. Instead of the #1 pick for the 3rd year in a row, the Nats have the 6th pick. Mock drafts and speculation have put Alex Meyer squarely in the lap of the team, so I’ll start previewing potential draft picks with him.
Meyer is a 6’9″ RHP from the University of Kentucky, that’s right, 6’9″. He’s got a mid-90s fastball that can reach 98 or 99 mph at times. Because he’s so tall, when his fastball is on it becomes even harder to hit that your typical mid-90s fastball that can reach 98 or 99 mph. As a Junior this year, he struck out 101 in 94 IP, which is pretty impressive. He also has a great slider that can fool hitters.
The other thing that everyone likes to point out about the tall fireballer is his lack of consistency. He has a complex delivery that has lead to serious control issues. He has issued plenty of walks, and may never be able to bring down the walk total enough to be a great pitcher. Keith Law mentions, though, that his command and control have improved, and there are positives in his delivery. To me, this means he may be a work in progress, but there is room for the right pitching coach to make him better. Still, many fear that he will be a walk machine.
Keith Law’s summary was a good combo of the hopes and fears about Meyer:
Meyer’s lack of track record hurts him, and even with the improved control he was walking a guy every other inning until his last few outings, but it’s top-10 or top-5 stuff with No. 1 starter upside.
But if the Nats are looking for a starter, even if he’s great they may not get it. According to Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus:
One scout summed him up best by saying, “He’s either a number one, a shutdown closer, or doesn’t get out of Double-A.”
More disturbing than the lack of certainty to me (which is there with all draft picks) is the fact that he might not even profile as a starter to some scouts. Obviously Keith Law’s take is different, but there’s a bit of disagreement on this guy.