Alex John Meyer
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 9", Weight 220 lb.
- School University of Kentucky
- High School Greensburg High School
- Debut June 26, 2015
- Final Game July 19, 2017
- Born January 9, 1990 in Greensburg, IN USA
Alex Meyer was a first-round pick in the 2011 amateur draft but struggles with his control prevented him from achieving success in the majors.
Meyer was All-Conference twice in basketball in high school, played football one year and dominated in baseball. As a sophomore in 2006, he was 6-2 with a 1.92 ERA. He fell to 3-4, 3.45 with two saves as a junior. His senior year, he set his school's record for ERA (0.95), going 8-0 with 108 strikeouts but 30 walks in 51 innings. He was named Indiana Player of the Year by Gatorade and Louisville Slugger. He was an Aflac All-America pick. Baseball America rated him as the fifth-best high school prospect in the country. Due to a strong college commitment, he fell to the 20th round of the 2008 amateur draft before the Boston Red Sox took him. Though they offered him over a million dollars (more than some first-rounders), he refused to sign.
Meyer was unimpressive as a freshman at the University of Kentucky given his pedigree, with a 1-4, 5.73 record and one save. He was 8th in the Southeastern Conference in opponent average (.239) and 6th in NCAA Division I in K/9 IP (12.06) but also was first in the SEC with 14 wild pitches. His numbers were even worse in 2010 - 5-3, 7.06 with 63 K and 36 walks in 51 IP; he missed time with illness. He hit 100 mph on the radar gun.
As a junior, Meyer showed big strides at 7-5, 2.94 with 110 strikeouts in 101 innings. He was named second-team All-SEC; he was 9th in the conference in ERA, 8th in wins and first in strikeouts. His 253 career strikeouts were 5th in school history, six behind #4 Brandon Webb. Control was still an issue as he walked 46 and threw 12 wild pitches, but it was a clear improvement over his first couple years.
The Washington Nationals took Meyer with the 23rd pick of the 2011 amateur draft. He was their second selection, after Anthony Rendon; the choice was compensation from the Chicago White Sox for the loss of Adam Dunn to free agency.
Meyer made his pro debut on April 7, 2012, against the West Virginia Power. Starting for the Hagerstown Suns, he turned in an excellent outing, with five shutout innings of two-hit ball. The next time out though, he was rocked for 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning against the Lakewood BlueClaws. He moved to the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League after going 7-4, 3.10, in 18 starts for Hagerstown, and was 3-2 in 7 starts for Potomac. Overall, his first season as a pro ended with a record of 10-6, 2.86 and 139 Ks in 129 strikeouts. On November 29th, he was traded straight up to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for starting centerfielder Denard Span in what was a clear indication of how well he was regarded as a prospect.
Meyer made his major league debut with the Twins during the 2015 season, making a couple of appearances as a reliever with no record and a 16.88 ERA in 2 2/3 innings. He had gone 7-7, 3.52 in 27 games as a starter for the Rochester Red Wings in 2014, then went 4-5, 4.79 in 38 games, but only 8 starts, in 2015. He issued 48 walks in 92 innings in the minors that season, and 3 more in his brief stay in the majors. In 2016, two of his three appearances with Rochester were starts and he was 1-1, 1.04 with 19 Ks in 17 1/3 innings. He made two appearances with Minnesota, including his first big league start, but was charged with a loss and allowed 5 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks in 3 2/3 innings, then went on the disabled list in early May. On August 1st, he and Ricky Nolasco were traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in return for Alan Busenitz and Hector Santiago, in a deal in which the two teams swapped a tandem composed of a veteran starter and a pitching prospect. He returned to action in the Arizona League a couple of weeks later, then after a couple of starts in Class A and AAA, was back in the big leagues with the Angels on September 7th. He made 5 starts, going 1-2, 4.57.
In 2017, Alex got his first extended look in the majors, being used as a starter by the Angels. He also made a few starts in AAA with the Salt Lake Bees. On July 19th, facing his old organization, the Washington Nationals, he had the best outing of his career as he limited them to one hit and one walk in 7 innings, before two relievers completed the one-hitter with a hitless inning each. He was given credit for his team's 7-0 win. However, he was affected by shoulder issues after that and that strong start marked his final appearance of the season. he finished the year at 4-5, 3.74 in 13 starts then underwent surgery for a torn labrum in September, forcing him to miss all of 2018 as well. The Angels waived him at the end of November 2018.
At 6'9", he is one of the tallest pitchers in the majors, and has been compared to a young right-handed Randy Johnson. It took the "Big Unit" some time to get his mechanics under control and to become a dominant pitcher, and Meyer is somewhat similar in that he is able to throw the ball very hard at times, but has had trouble reproducing his motion on a constant basis, resulting in control problems - not only walks, but also leaving very hittable pitches inside the strike zone.