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Scouting report: Marlins' Max Meyer


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Right-hander brings blazing fastball and wipeout slider to Minors

When Don Mattingly announced in March that Max Meyer wouldn't appear in Grapefruit League action this spring, it meant Marlins fans once again had to muster their patience and wait yet a little longer to see one of the most exciting pitching prospects in the game face professional competition.

It also made a certain undeniable sense. The 22-year-old right-hander arrived in the pro ranks the year there was no Minor League season. Were he to take to the hill in spring camp, he'd be in the spotlight without having thrown so much as one pitch in a competitive game since March 6, 2020, when he was dealing for the University of Minnesota. Suffice it to say, the talent differential of opposing batters between the two outings would have been stark.

"Obviously, we like those guys and we wanted them to experience this. But we don't want Max coming over to an 'A' game and trying to throw 100 [mph]," Mattingly told MLB.com. "We want him to get ready to pitch this season, continue his development, and we think there's a real risk with those young guys kind of trying to impress and doing too much too early. It's a danger in camp, and that's something we're going to stay away from them."

But that doesn't mean Meyer hasn't already justified the organization's expectations -- and the fans' excitement -- for him. Meyer began his collegiate career as a closer, and he dominated in that role for the collegiate national team in the summer of 2018 by recording seven saves in eight appearances. The young righty stretched out to become a starter the next year and returned to Team USA, fanning 10 and walking two while allowing an unearned run over three starts -- including a shutout turn against powerhouse Cuba.

Over that time, Meyer's slider became one of the most devastating offerings in amateur ball.

Combined with his top-tier fastball, that gives him a one-two punch that should play anywhere. If his changeup, slightly above average heading into his first Minor League campaign, takes even a tiny step forward in development, Meyer will make Miami fans so happy that they'll forget all about how long they had to wait to see him pitch competitively in the teal of the Marlins and their affiliates.

Here's what the experts at MLB Pipeline have to say about Meyers:

Scouting grades (20-80 scale):

FASTBALL: 70
SLIDER: 70
CHANGEUP: 55
CONTROL: 55
OVERALL: 55

"Meyer made an immediate impact at Minnesota, tying a school record with 16 saves as a freshman in 2018 and leading the U.S. collegiate national team with seven that summer, then continued to dominate after moving into the rotation as a sophomore. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings during the truncated 2020 college season and went third overall in the Draft, matching Hall of Famer Paul Molitor as the highest pick in Golden Gophers history. After signing for a Miami-record $6.7 million, he participated in alternate camp and instructional league.

"Meyer had the best pitch in the 2020 Draft, a wipeout slider that reaches the low 90s and with which he can add and subtract depth. He also can blow away hitters with a four-seam fastball that sits at 93-97 mph, clocked at 98 in the ninth inning of one start last spring and tops out at 100. He surprised the Marlins with his feel for a changeup that he didn't need much in college, and his mid-80s offering with fade could give him a solid third option.

"Though Meyer is listed as just 6 feet tall, he has erased any concerns about whether his size would prevent him from becoming an impact starter. He's strong and athletic, showing the ability to repeat a fluid delivery and fill the strike zone with premium stuff. A tough competitor who got semiregular at-bats in Minnesota's lineup, he should move quickly through the Minors."

 

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