He's the top prep arm in the Draft -- and he throws 100 mph

July 10th, 2023

This story was originally published on July 5. We have updated it to reflect Noble Meyer being drafted No. 10 overall by the Marlins.

The ball felt good coming out of his hand, as it had throughout that bullpen session last August. But this particular pitch felt a bit different to . So the 6-foot-5, 185-pound Portland kid with the long limbs and spider fingers went and checked the iPad he uses to track his velocities, and there was the noteworthy number staring back at him:

100.2 mph.

The son of two engineers, the right-handed Meyer had engineered his own triple-digit heat.

“I started jumping up and down and yelling,” Meyer said. “It was surreal.”

Surreal is the operative word for a kid who arrived to high school with a pedestrian profile and came out of it as MLB Pipeline's No. 8 Draft prospect and the top prep pitcher on many MLB Draft boards. Surreal is also an appropriate word for a school in Oregon, of all places -- specifically, Jesuit High in Beaverton -- potentially producing the first prep pitcher off the board twice in four years.

In 2020, Jesuit product Mick Abel went 15th overall to the Phillies. On Sunday, Meyer went 10th overall to the Marlins.

“It's a little bit of luck,” said Meyer, who attended the MLB Draft Combine. “I mean, it's a pure chance, but there's also underrated foundations in the Northwest. You’ve got guys who can only throw so many innings per year because of the weather, so you’ve got guys with really healthy arms going into high school because they already aren't able to throw year-round like the guys down in California.”

Meyer, 18, was also quick to credit former Oregon State star and Braves farmhand Kevin Gunderson, who operates an academy called Gunderson Baseball in the area, for getting the most out of himself and Abel.

“He’s probably one of the best pitching coaches in the nation, I would argue,” Meyer said.

But while Meyer, who has committed to the University of Oregon, has undoubtedly had a lot of help to reach this position, there are some self-made elements to his development and success. He inherited an analytical inclination from his parents, Mike and Erica, both of whom are civil engineers, and that prompted him to study the art of pitching on social media.

“So much of it is just watching baseball,” he said. “Like [Jacob] deGrom, someone I’ve idolized who has beautiful mechanics. I’ll watch him to see what he’s patterning and where he’s getting to certain checkpoints in his delivery. That’s kind of where I’ve learned all of it. I’ve always loved math and science. So applying that to baseball gives me my favorite thing.”

Of course, a growth spurt doesn’t hurt, either. Meyer had a big one in high school.

“Freshman year, I was probably 5-foot-11 or 6-foot tall,” he said. “I was tall, but there were people taller than me. But I kept going. And then during COVID, I jumped from 130 pounds to 170.”

The fastball grew, too. It helped him strike out a whopping 149 batters in 69 innings in his senior season while logging an ERA under 1.00.

“I was 78 [mph] when I got to high school,” he said. “That’s good, but it’s not like I was blowing anybody out of the water. But I started climbing, from 78 to 101. So 23 mph. When I got to my junior year, I thought, ‘All right, I’ve got potential. I could have a chance to get drafted.’”

Cracking triple-digits with his four-seamer was an obvious goal that Meyer reached just prior to the start of his senior year. His favorite pitch, though, is a slider with hard bite and spin. He also throws a curveball and a changeup. The deep arsenal, whippy arm action and potential to more consistently crank up the heat as he fills that wiry body out make him an enticing prospect.

Meyer’s ability to analyze his own mechanics and how to maximize them is a tool all its own, and he knows what it will take to ascend up the pro ranks.

“The biggest thing is workload management and being able to go the distance,” he said. “And fastball command. I want to try to work on really getting it in when I need it in or really getting it out when I need it out. One issue I’ve had is when facing a lefty, trying to go in and set up the at-bat on the first pitch, sometimes I’ll pronate too much and leave it over the plate, and it’s horrible. So I’ve got to avoid that.”

Between the age gap and COVID, Meyer has not had the chance to get to know Abel well. But as he went into the Draft hoping to follow in Abel’s footsteps, Meyer attended the event in Seattle to enjoy the moment in person.

“It’s pretty much in my backyard,” he said with a smile. “So it’ll be super fun.”

As fun as hitting 100 mph on the radar gun.