Although he has received consistent at bats in the University of Minnesota lineup, it is clear that Max Meyer‘s future is on the mound. Meyer, a right-handed pitcher, has shown versatility, filling the role of both closer and starter at high levels in college.
A small physical frame caused Meyer to drop 34 rounds in the 2017 draft. His hometown Minnesota Twins finally drafted him, but he honored his college commitment. Now, he looks primed to be a top-ten pick.
He stands six feet tall, weighing 185 pounds, but he possesses tons of potential. His role as a freshman was closer. That year, he tied the school record with 16 saves, and he added another seven in the summer with the US Collegiate National team. As a sophomore, he became a starter out of necessity one month into the season, and he did not disappoint. He pitched to a 2.11 ERA, and he was pitching to a 1.95 ERA before his junior season was postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Max Meyer wields a strong three-pitch repertoire with his worst pitch showing plus potential. Both his fastball and his slider grade as 70/80. Scouts say his slider is the best in the draft, and it can range from 87-91 MPH with wipeout movement. Meyer also has the ability to add and subtract depth to the pitch.
His fastball can touch 100 MPH, but it typically sits in the 93-97 MPH range. He has the durability to maintain the velocity on the pitch deep into games. The fastball, slider combination are a display of pure power that led to many superb statistics regardless of if he was starting or relieving. In 148 innings pitched for Minnesota, he recorded a 2.13 ERA, 0.939 WHIP, 11.4 K/9, and a 4.56 K/BB.
Meyer did not use his changeup much in college although he was incorporating it more in 2020 prior to the pandemic. It shows good fade and can develop into a quality pitch.
Meyer throws a lot of strikes and his time in college has allowed him to understand how to attack hitters, which is an added bonus for a power pitcher such as himself.
There are concerns about whether Meyer can start at the next level. The main reason is due to his undersized frame, the same reason why teams passed on him out of high school. Despite his success as a starter in college, the lack of size and success as a closer could lead teams to try him out as a reliever in the long term.
However, the concerns about his size may be overstated, according to his current college pitching coach. Ty McDevitt recently spoke with CBS about why he would not be concerned about Meyer’s size.
“He’s just so adaptable,” McDevitt said. “He’s shown that he’s outrageously durable and he really doesn’t have any kind of arm tiredness, soreness…At the end of the day, I think it’s crazy to think his size is a deterrent from him being a starter.”
Max Meyer compares well to the New York Yankees Luis Severino. Severino is two inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than Meyer, but he throws an identical arsenal. Severino primarily throws his four-seam fastball, which averaged 97.6 MPH in his last full healthy season of 2018. He maintains his velocity deep into games, hitting the high-90s in late innings, similar to Meyer. Severino backs it up with a slider that sits in the high-80s that generates a lot of swings and misses.
Ironically enough, there were also questions about Severino’s future as a starting pitcher earlier in his career, just like Meyer. He was developed as a starter, but a rough start to the 2016 season saw him demoted Triple-A. He was brought back to make 11 relief appearances where success and an uptick in velocity led some to question his future role on the team. Those questions were put to rest when he took third in the AL Cy Young voting the next season as a starter. Meanwhile, the question still remains about Meyer’s future role.
Max Meyer possesses the stuff, athleticism, fluid delivery, and ability to repeat his mechanics in order to thrive at the next level. The big question will be if teams look past his size to develop him into a full-time starting pitcher.
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