Who is Marcelo Mayer?

July 11th, 2021

Marcelo Mayer, who shot up to the top of MLB Pipeline’s Draft rankings thanks to a tremendous senior season at Eastlake (Calif.) High School, was the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft by the Red Sox. An 18-year-old shortstop that already possesses a big league frame, Mayer has potential five-tool talent across the board and positioned himself alongside fellow shortstop Jordan Lawlar as the top prep school position player in the country.

Here are some things to know about this budding star:

FAST FACTS

Primary position: SS
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 188 lbs.
Bats/throws: Left/right
Birthdate: Dec. 12, 2002 (Age 18 on Draft Day)
High school: Eastlake (Calif.)
Hometown: Chula Vista, Calif.
College commitment: USC

He has some serious comps

Listening to scouts describe Mayer’s game is essentially hearing them rattle off the best shortstops playing in the Majors. At 6-foot-3 and 188 pounds, Mayer could follow the current trend of big, athletic shortstops who have revolutionized our conceptions of who can play the position. Dodgers star and 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager’s name is thrown around often with Mayer’s as a tall, lefty-hitting shortstop.

MLB Pipeline has graded Mayer’s hit tool at 60 on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale, tied for the top grade in this year’s Draft class. Chipper Jones and Carlos Correa have also come up in offensive conversations, but Mayer’s defensive instincts and strong arm (he also received a 60 grade for the glove) have also drawn major comps.

“He’s like a combination of Seager and [Giants shortstop Brandon] Crawford for me,” an NL national scout told MLB.com in June. “But his body and the ease to the game he shows is more [Manny] Machado-esque.”

One aspect of Mayer’s game that scouts mention over and over again is how fluid and easy he makes the game look, bringing the ultra-smooth Robinson Canó in as yet another comp. That’s an impressive handful of stars to look up to, though Mayer himself has pointed to a more local superstar, Fernando Tatis Jr., as his favorite player. Tatis turns heads nightly at Petco Park in San Diego, about a 20-minute drive from where Mayer has been doing the same at Eastlake in nearby Chula Vista.

Still Mayer, to his credit, is looking past the lofty expectations those comps hold and is hoping to carve out his own style.

“I like to see it as, ‘I’m my own player,’" Mayer told Prospects Live last year, “and I’m going to do the best I can the way I am. I do like the way Tatis and [Francisco] Lindor play. They have fun and they play with a lot of passion. But with swing mechanics and stuff like that, I just do what I do.”

He’s following in the footsteps of a San Diego legend

Eastlake is becoming well known as a budding big leaguer factory in the San Diego area. Padres fans likely recognize Eastlake as the alma mater of San Diego’s own Adrián González (recently retired with 317 career home runs) and González’s older brother, Edgar, who also played for the Padres in 2008-09.

Eastlake also recently featured another star shortstop, Keoni Cavaco, who’s currently with Low-A Fort Myers after the Twins selected him with the 13th overall pick in the Draft two years ago. Mayer and Cavaco were teammates in ‘19, when Mayer was a sophomore and Cavaco helped lead Eastlake to a CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship.

Eastlake also produced another star infielder in Ben Ramirez (Class of 2017), who went on to star at the University of Southern California. Ramirez’s name could also be called at this year’s Draft.

He put one heck of a bow on his high school career

Mayer, who committed to USC himself, just led Eastlake to another CIF title in June. He finished his senior season with a .392 average, 46 runs scored, 45 RBIs and 14 homers -- just one shy of Adrián González’s single-season record at Eastlake.

Eastlake’s season came to an end with a loss to Ayala in the CIF Southern California Division I playoffs, but Mayer did all he could to keep his team in it. Eastlake was able to load the bases for Mayer in the final inning, setting their star up for a grand slam in his final high school at-bat.

“I was going up there trying to hit a home run,” Mayer admitted afterward, “and I got the pitch to do it.”

He’s part of a shortstop superclass

Mayer and Lawlar are not alone as top Draft prospects. Wake Forest (N.C.) High’s Khalil Watson and Winder-Barrow (Ga.) High’s Brady House also reside within the top 10 on MLB Pipeline’s big board.

Though shortstop is arguably the most premium position-player spot on the diamond, seeing that many high school shortstops go that early would still be rare. The 1973 Draft is the only edition that featured four prep school shortstops within the top 10, and it started off with Hall of Famer Robin Yount (third overall to the Brewers), followed by Johnnie LeMaster (sixth, Giants), Gary Roenicke (eighth, Expos) and Pat Rockett (10th, Braves).

“We’ve all played with each other several times,” Mayer said to MLB.com of his fellow three star shortstops in this year’s class, “starting from our freshman year going to USA Baseball. You try to pick their brains while they pick your brain, but I really just go out and play my game. I don’t really focus on anyone else, I just try to handle my own game.”

He picks his spots well on the bases

Mayer, as we mentioned earlier, has potential five-tool talent in the big leagues -- but he admitted to MLB.com’s Jim Callis that his footspeed is the one area he’s trying to improve upon the most. Scouts have graded Mayer’s speed as average to perhaps a tick above average, though no one has doubts that he possesses the range to stick at shortstop in the Majors. Still, while speed might arguably be Mayer’s worst tool, he got the most out of his legs in his senior season by stealing 18 bases across 34 games.