Marlins prospect Meyer shines in pro debut

May 6th, 2021

Marlins third-ranked prospect Max Meyer's highly anticipated professional debut lived up to the hype on Wednesday night in a 2-1 win for Double-A Pensacola over host Mississippi, beginning what could be a quick rise to the big leagues.

The third-overall selection in last June's MLB Draft, Meyer faced the minimum until a two-out single beat the shift in the fifth. He issued one walk and struck out five across five innings on 65 pitches (42 strikes). All but one of Meyer's K's were swinging, and he worked around a leadoff free pass in the third by inducing a double play from the next batter.

According to the MiLB.TV broadcast, the 22-year-old right-hander reached 90 mph on his slider -- considered the best pitch in the 2020 Draft -- and threw his four-seam fastball in the 93-97 mph range. Both fall in line with MLB Pipeline's scouting report. He even sprinkled in his changeup.

“Obviously, the standout performance was Max going five,” Blue Wahoos manager Kevin Randel told broadcaster Chris Garagiola. “He was very efficient with his pitches and seemed to get better as the game went along as well. I think it’s just his persona. It’s like he knows where he needs to be… and he knows where he’s going, most importantly.

"He never pitched in the Florida State League or Low-A. It’s just the Minor Leagues to him, and he feels he needs to be in the big leagues, he’s got the best stuff and that’s just how he pitches, and we saw it [Wednesday].”

Ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 23 overall prospect, his debut was delayed a day because of a rainout. Meyer, who was at big league camp but didn't pitch in a Grapefruit League game, also participated at last summer's alternate training site and the fall instructional league.

"I feel really good where I'm at right now," Meyer said over the weekend. "Now I just think all it is is just going out and getting consistent reps and building up my innings, being able to make my arm feel good every time I go out there. But I feel like I've got the stuff and I've got the confidence. It's just how I can develop my routines maybe a little bit better and keep my arm healthy the whole season."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly, whose ballclub has been playing at the same time as most of the Minor League affiliates, keeps tabs on the prospects on a daily basis. Meyer wasn't the only one to get off to a strong start. Outfielder JJ Bleday (No. 16 overall) went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in his Double-A debut.

First baseman Lewin Díaz (No. 5) and outfielder Jesús Sánchez (No. 6) have homered in each of Triple-A Jacksonville's first two games, with Sánchez going 5-for-5 and falling a double shy of the cycle on Wednesday. They made their MLB debuts during the 2020 season, and saw action in Grapefruit League games this spring. Díaz and Sánchez should return to The Show sometime in '21. Until then, they will continue to develop in the Minors.

"We have an e-mail chain where you can just kind of see the results of each guy, each team, so I follow it, especially the upper levels," Mattingly said. "You get down to the lower levels, guys are a ways away, you catch the names, you hear the names that you don't really follow as much. But those guys that get to Double-A and Triple-A, you kind of follow along, see what's up."