Keep an eye out for Max Meyer in 2024

December 18th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Earlier this month during the Winter Meetings, Marlins manager Skip Schumaker namedropped a player he is looking forward to seeing in 2024:

As Schumaker put it, Miami’s path to success lies in its rotation -- and in the starters on the way. Meyer, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s No. 3 prospect, was just six innings into his Major League career when he tore the UCL in his right elbow on July 23, 2022. He hasn’t pitched in a game since then while he’s been recovering from Tommy John surgery. 

“It makes me more hungry,” Meyer told “My name has probably been left out for a really long time because I've been hurt this whole time, and just getting those little comments again, kind of making me feel like I'm actually back and me getting on the mound and about to face hitters and talking about me a little bit more, it just keeps adding fuel to the fire. 

“I have all the confidence in the world right now in what I can do. … I'm just ready to get back. I'm fired up that people still remember me. I'm going to turn some heads when I get back.”

If there’s one adjective to describe Meyer, it’s confident. But after undergoing the procedure on Aug. 9, 2022, his self-assuredness suddenly evaporated. It took another hit this past summer, when his arm flared up.

Meyer had been trending toward a rehab assignment by season’s end until a setback in July. An MRI revealed no structural damage, so Meyer rested for a month in order for the inflammation to subside before throwing again.

“‘What am I even? What am I here for? I can't even do anything,’” Meyer recalled telling himself. “So [it was] just hard to go in every day and take things slow. As I kept getting healthier and healthier, once I kept throwing more and more, I was like, ‘Oh wait, I am Max Meyer.’ I feel like I'm one of the best pitchers out there, honestly, when I'm hot, so just keep getting back to that mentality. I was able to kind of conquer that, honestly. I feel like Tommy John is more conquering your mental side than your physical.”

This offseason, Meyer has been throwing 4-5 times a week under the supervision of Blizzard Baseball in Minnesota. His trainers, Jeff and C.J., work with the Marlins to tailor a program specific to him. He has thrown about half of his 12 bullpens, which consist of either two or three ups to build endurance, in preparation for Spring Training. Meyer expects to face live batters soon.

Armed with a four-seamer, slider and changeup, Meyer has been working on a sinker with slower velocity – similar to a “really hard changeup.” He also has been able to control the cut on his four-seamer more.

“It's like riding a bike,” Meyer said. “When I got back on the mound, I was able to go through my motion again, my windup and look at some video and correct some of the things that I didn't like and look back at my college video of when I was throwing 100 [mph] feeling great every single day. Kind of going back to that a little bit while still having some stuff that I’ve got to make sure that my arm won't hurt again.  

“Once I was able to get all those mechanics figured out, it's pretty much just exactly where I was back when I was feeling healthy, where it's all about just me executing pitches and I don't feel like I'm awkward out there on the mound. I feel fluid again. Everything's been feeling good.” 

Meyer, who turns 25 on March 12, will find the big league club in a different stage than when he last pitched. The Marlins aren’t rebuilding, rather coming off their first postseason appearance in a full season in 20 years. But they will be without ace Sandy Alcantara (Tommy John surgery) for the 2024 campaign, so the collective effort from the pitching staff will be more important than ever. 

“I just want to provide every day, just doing my job, whatever role I'm in,” Meyer said. “I want to just go in and do my job, and then come out and do the same thing every day and be the same guy every single day. I want to be a guy that they can count on every time. Like Andrew Nardi had a great season, like Braxton Garrett -- two really good guys, and they'd show up every day and you knew what you were going to get from them, and you could always count on them. I want to be one of those guys.”