In a matchup of 2020 first round Draft picks, it was Max Meyer who outshined his competition as Double-A Pensacola edged out the Rocket City Trash Pandas, 3-2, in 10 innings at Blue Wahoos Stadium on Tuesday night.
"It was kind of cool to go one-on-one against him a little bit," Meyer said. "He’s a really good pitcher obviously, and I said, 'what’s up,' to him before the game and, yeah, I’m happy that we’re both here in Double-A and doing pretty well.
"But I was in the locker room before the game and someone just told me, hey, you know Detmers is going today and I didn’t know then."
The third-ranked Marlins prospect put together the best outing of his young career as he scattered five hits and a walk while fanning a career-high nine over a career-long 5 2/3 frames. The righty tossed 55 of his 84 pitches for strikes.
Meyer yielded a leadoff base hit to Torii Hunter Jr. to begin the game, and after the speedster swiped second, it set up the Trash Pandas with a runner in scoring position and no outs. However, MLB Pipeline's No. 22 overall prospect coaxed Michael Stefanic into a groundout to second that moved Hunter to third, and then he escaped the jam by whiffing Orlando Martinez and David MacKinnon.
Meyer made quick work of the second, navigating around a two-out base hit from Anthony Mulrine to notch another pair of strikeouts and get through the frame on just 13 pitches. It was a similar outcome in the third, as the 22-year-old recorded the first two outs on three pitches before issuing a five-pitch walk to Stefanic, who never advanced into scoring position after Meyer won an eight-pitch battle with Orlando Martinez by getting the outfielder to swing through a 3-2 fastball.
"I was able to land my slider a lot more. And I feel like when I got that pitch down, the game works pretty easy for me," Meyer said. "Had my fastball working too. I was getting more life to it. So, I felt good out there. I just gotta improve a little bit on 0-2 fastballs. Just been leaving them down the middle a little bit, but I was happy with what happened today."
The 2020 No. 3 overall selection notched his third two-punchout frame in the fourth, working around another two-out knock. From there, Meyer settled in to retire the side in order in the fifth as part of a string of six straight outs. But the final out in the sixth would elude him as he was pulled after allowing back-to-back singles to MacKinnon and Mitch Nay. He was relieved by Zack Leban who induced a popup to short from Gavin Cecchini to end the inning and preserve Meyer's line.
The Minnesota product did not factor into the decision after Rocket City rallied with two outs in the ninth to tie the game and send it into extras. Over three starts this season, Meyer is 1-0 with 16 strikeouts to just four walks over 14 2/3 frames. He is sporting a 3.07 ERA and Tuesday marked his second scoreless outing.
"It’s fun seeing all these guys ... we were like five college draft picks and, you know, we’re all starters so it’s awesome to see other guys do well," Meyer said. "And you’ll hear [2020 third-rounder Zach McCambley] went seven inning no-hit (for High-A Beloit) and stuff like that. So, we all really love when each other do well and it’s fun to try to go up and one-up each other, but we’re on the same team so it’s awesome to root for him and check in on him every time."
Reid Detmers, the second-ranked Angels prospect, took the ball on the other side and settled in after a rough opening inning -- where he yielded a home run to Peyton Burdick as part of two-run frame -- to post four straight scoreless innings, including fanning the side in the fourth. MLB Pipeline's No. 61 overall prospect was removed after allowing a pair of runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk while whiffing six over five frames. He threw 60 of his 89 pitches for strikes and did not factor into the decision. The 10th overall selection in last year's Draft amassed 17 strikeouts and just four walks over 11 1/3 innings pitched this season.
Burdick played the hero for Pensacola as he bookended the Blue Wahoos' scoring. The 12th-ranked Marlins prospect finished 3-for-5 and laced the game-winning RBI double to center in the 10th inning.