WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: Washington Nationals 2011 Draft picks Alex Meyer #17, Anthony Rendon #23 and Brian Goodwin #24 are introduced to the media at Nationals Park on August 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Alex Meyer was a 6'7' right-hander when the Boston Red Sox drafted but failed to sign the pitcher in the 20th Round of the 2008 Draft. Meyer grew two inches while in college at the University of Kentucky and was 13-12 over three seasons pitching for the U of K Wildcats, striking out 253 batters (10.77 K/9) in 211.1 innings on the mound. In his junior year, in 2011, Meyer was (7-5) in 14 starts with 46 walks (4.09 BB/9) and 110 K's (9.77 K/9) in 101.1 IP. The Washington Nationals selected Meyer with the 23rd pick of the 2011 Draft after having selected Rice 3B Anthony Rendon with the first of three 1st Round picks they had last June. "He's a big power right-handed pitcher," D.C. GM Mike Rizzo said on the night of the Draft, "He's got three plus pitches in the future. He's got two present plus pitches." The Nats' scouting director, Kris Kline, told reporters that Meyer had a chance of becoming a "top-of-the-rotation starter," or, "Worst-case scenario, you've got a [Daniel] Bard-type reliever with a better slider and somebody that you bring in at the back of your bullpen that can dominate."
The Nationals, according to Asst. GM Roy Clark, considered taking Meyer with the 6th overall pick and worried that he wouldn't be around when the 23rd selection arrived, but he was and the Nationals then signed the towering right-hander to a $2M dollar deal, which was oddly the same amount he'd turned down after the Red Sox had selected him with the 622nd pick three years earlier. On the advice of his parents, Meyer had turned down the Red Sox' offer, a decision he told reporters was, "... the best decision that I could have made at the time," adding that, "... even looking up today, obviously I feel like it worked out for me so far."
Things seem to be working for Meyer thus far in his first professional season as well. Over his first 14 starts for the Class-A Hagerstown Suns, the right-hander is (6-3) with a 3.33 ERA, 28 walks (3.58 BB/9), 77 K's (9.85 K/9) and a .218 BAA in 70.1 IP. As the Nationals announced this afternoon via Twitter (@NationalsPR), the 22-year-old starter was also named the South Atlantic League's Pitcher of the Week after back-to-back strong starts in which he threw a six inning shutout against the Hickory Crawdads and struck out nine in 5.0 IP against the West Virginia Power:
RHP Alex Meyer tossed 6.0 shutout innings on 6/12 and K'd 9 on 6/17 to earn South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors @HagerstownSuns— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 18, 2012