No. 1 prospect Meyer puts in work vs. fellow young talent

February 23rd, 2024

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins fans knew someone special must have been on one of the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium back fields by the number of organizational golf carts present on Friday afternoon.

Top prospect Noble Meyer threw 34 pitches across two innings of a simulated game while facing fellow prospects Troy Johnston, Victor Mesa Jr. and Paul McIntosh, who were visiting from big league camp.

“It's awesome,” Meyer said. “It's really cool to have that spotlight from guys like that, and just know that I'm seen by them, because these are guys that I hope to be playing for and with in a couple of years.”

It marked the second time Meyer has thrown to batters so far this spring, and he has enjoyed picking the brains of the more experienced players. In fact, he was able to implement things he learned from his previous feedback by striking out Mesa on an elevated fastball.

The 19-year-old Meyer has seen the data that shows his fastball doesn’t have a high vertical break, but the approach angle from where he throws and the spin will play well at the top of the zone and complement his breaking stuff better. The pitch’s sinking action also can get batters on the bottom quadrants.

“I think [feedback] really helps my game because I can see or I can like, work on what they're seeing and try to use that to my advantage,” Meyer said. “It's awesome. It kind of gives me a chance to see, ‘What do I need to be at? And like, ‘What's the next level like?’ And just how to climb.

“Fastball was great on the outside corner to lefties, and then working inside, and then the changeups to righties were really good. Got them off their balance, and then I could throw a fastball back inside, and that seemed to be a really good plan of attack for most guys.”

While Meyer, ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 57 overall prospect, continues to get his work in away from the stadium field, he is on track to take that mound in the inaugural Spring Breakout on March 15, when Marlins and Cardinals prospects will face off in an exhibition.

“I haven't heard much about it, but I'm excited for it if I'm in it,” Meyer said. “It's new, correct? It looks awesome. I'm excited.”

Puk impresses on back fields
“He throws a [cutter] now?”

Jazz Chisholm Jr. uttered those words while watching southpaw A.J. Puk’s warmup throws prior to live batting practice on Friday morning. Chisholm, Vidal Bruján, Nick Gordon, Jesús Sánchez, Josh Bell and Xavier Edwards got their first look at the reinvented Puk on a back field.

Puk, who added a changeup and a cutter to complement his fastball/sweeper arsenal, is hoping to start for the Marlins in 2024.

“That's one of those things, just coming out as a starter this spring, I can't just be a two-pitch guy -- fastball/sweeper like I was last year,” Puk said. “I worked on the splitter a lot the previous year, and I kind of banged it in the season last year, just because my arm slot was a little lower than it is now. Now with it being up a little more, I'm able to get on top of that a little better and just get that depth that I want.”

Based on the uncomfortable at-bats and swings, Puk’s stuff is nasty. Chisholm and Sánchez struck out. Bruján and Gordon broke their bats. Afterwards, the hitters went up to Puk to embrace him.

“They're excited to see just kind of the stuff that I've been working on to become a starter, and I was able to just execute it and [make] some good pitches against them,” Puk said.

Puk is slated to make his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Dressing up
Luis Arraez is a distinguished Major Leaguer, but he added something unique to his résumé on Thursday night: presenter. Arraez introduced Dominican merenhouse group Ilegales at Premio Lo Nuestro 2024.

The 36th Lo Nuestro Awards recognized the most popular Spanish-language music of 2023. They were held at the Kaseya Center, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat.

Worth noting
The Marlins signed right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp. The 28-year-old had a 5.44 ERA in 32 games (30 starts) in the big leagues from 2021-22 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.