'It's unreal': Top Draft picks Meyer, Alderman take in loanDepot park

July 22nd, 2023

MIAMI -- A few years ago, one of Marlins manager Skip Schumaker’s neighbors in Southern California moved to Oregon and couldn’t stop talking about a local high school pitcher named Noble Meyer. He was adamant that the teenaged righty would be a Day 1 pick one day.

The Marlins wound up selecting Meyer, who was ranked as the top prep pitcher in the 2023 MLB Draft, 10th overall on July 9. Decked out in Marlins gear, Meyer met Schumaker on Friday afternoon at loanDepot park after signing with the organization. According to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, Meyer’s bonus is worth $4.5 million (pick value: $5.4753 million)

“I get that a lot from parents, and that never usually happens, and then this comes around the last couple months,” Schumaker said. “He's like, ‘Dude, I think he's a top 10 pick.’ So then I started researching the Draft a little bit, saw who he was, and obviously we really liked him. Didn't think he'd fall to us, which was obviously great. Here he is today. Kind of full circle. Kind of a weird story, but kind of a cool story as well.”

Joining Meyer cross-country were those who have been with him every step of the way: his parents, brother and girlfriend. After hanging out with reliever Andrew Nardi and others during batting practice, Meyer was eager to get his professional career started.

The 18-year-old was set to leave for Jupiter, Fla., on Friday night in time for Saturday’s orientation. He hoped to throw off the mound or play catch on Sunday.

“I'm just ready to get back out there and start playing,” Meyer said. “I haven't faced batters since the beginning of June, so I can't wait to do it in a Marlins uniform.

“It's a little scary,” Meyer continued. “I'll admit that, but I'm so excited. It's kind of drowned out by the thought of getting to play professional baseball.”

Also in attendance was second-round pick Kemp Alderman, who took hacks during the final round of batting practice. The Ole Miss outfielder was accompanied by just his mother, because his dad got sick the day before and couldn’t travel, and his brother returned from Army camp the same day he flew out.

“It's unreal. It's awesome,” Alderman said. “This is what I worked for and dreamed of my whole life, and this is just another step moving forward. Glad the Marlins took a chance on me, and I'm here now, and it's awesome, and just ready to get back to work and head to Jupiter tonight and get after it.”

Alderman, who models his game after Pete Alonso and fellow small-town Mississippi kid Hunter Renfroe, had only ever been on a big league diamond twice before: both times at Chase Field in Arizona.

As fate would have it, the 20-year-old previously visited loanDepot park in a different capacity. When the eventual national champion Rebels had a rainout during the 2022 Miami Regional, they came to watch a game in support of program alumnus Nick Fortes.

“I've been here before in the stands, but on the field is better,” Alderman said.