22-year-old Washington Nationals' 2011 1st Round pick Alex Meyer came on to pitch in the eighth inning of what was a 16-5 blowout in the U.S. squad's favor in this afternoon's All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. The 6'9'' right-hander was chosen to represent the Nats' organization after going (6-4) in his first 17 pro outings with the Hagerstown Suns in the Low-A South Atlantic League. So far this season, the University of Kentucky-educated pitcher selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 1st Round of the 2011 Draft has walked 34 (3.64 BB/9) and struck out 98 (10.50 K/9) in 84.0 IP, over which he has a 3.32 ERA.
In the first at bat of his outing in the showcase for the game's top prospects, Meyer got a groundout with one pitch, a 98 mph fastball to 19-year-old Red Sox' prospect Xander Bogaerts. An 87 mph 2-2 wipeout slider inside got 20-year-old Chicago White Sox' prospect Carlos Sanchez swinging for out no.2 of the eighth and the US Manager George Brett came out and took the ball from Meyer, ending his All-Star Futures Game experience after just six pitches, four strikes and two outs, but he hit 99 mph on the radar gun while he was out there:
ESPN.com's Keith Law (@KeithLaw) talked about Meyer during his brief time on the mound...
"It's interesting you mentioned the debate over whether Meyer can remain a starter in pro ball," Mr. Law said, "I'd like to at least see him get the opportunity. But there are a couple of questions. One is just command of the fastball. You can see it's got a lot of life to it. And that issue that Rick [Sutcliffe] mentioned about taller pitchers always have a harder time keeping their deliveries together. If you want to command the fastball, you've got to be able to repeat your delivery and Meyer is a good enough athlete, I think he'll be able to do that in time, but you see pitchers, 6'7'', 6'8'' and even taller often take longer to get to the point where they have the body control to repeat their deliveries and thus command the fastball."
SIrius/XM MLB Network Radio host Grant Paulsen (@GrantHPaulsen) talked to Meyer about his mechanics and repeating his delivery after the right-hander came out of the game. "It's a lot better than what it was," Meyer said, "Every start I'm trying to make a stride and just repeat [my delivery], and I feel like I'm doing a lot better job than I was at the beginning of the year. Definitely a lot better than I was in college. In college I really struggled with it quite a bit. Now, I'm realizing that you don't have to go out there and throw as hard as you can every single pitch. Just go out there, repeat your mechanics, hold your body down the mound and just go get them out."