Written by: Danny Brackman
Follow him on Twitter: d__brack
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
State of the Miami Marlins
Before jumping into Mr. Max Meyer, a bit of info on the Marlins…
If anybody told you at any point before the 2020 season (or even during the first few weeks of it) that the Miami Marlins would end up making the playoffs and winning a series, even with the expansion, you’d have likely told them they were crazy. After the passing of Jose Fernandez and the fire-sale of the rest of the team (Yelich, Stanton, Ozuna, Realmuto) a few years ago, the Marlins were able to scrap together 120 wins…total through the ’18 and ’19 seasons.
Nevertheless, the Marlins somehow overcame as much adversity as possible en route to their Wild Card appearance, all while trading for former All-Star Starling Marte and promoting top prospects like Sixto Sanchez and Jazz Chisholm along the way. What would’ve been seemingly overly-aggressive moves in a different year, the Marlins made things work. Making the playoffs after the years these teams had recently is undoubtedly a significant achievement, and I with the direction the organization has been trending in hiring Kim Ng, I doubt they will be complacent going forward. And now, the Marlins have another shiny new toy to bring to the show in the near future with their 1st round selection in Minnesota RHP Max Meyer.
Why Meyer Is So Good
A fastball that reaches triple digits, a power slider with late horizontal break, and a firm change-up that darts the other way? It’s easy to see on paper why Max Meyer was an early day 1 pick. Under the hood things look pretty solid as well–mechanically Meyer is very clean and he is able to generate great raw spin rates on his fastball and slider. He is also an elite athlete with incredible body control, mobility, and functional strength. This year transitioning to a starter’s role full time as a junior, Meyer was able to record 4 starts for 27.2 innings before the cancellation of the NCAA season. In those 27.2 innings, he was able to pile up an utterly ridiculous 46 strikeouts to just 8 walks. Those Ks weren’t coming in stat-piling lopsided games either–his 4 starts were against Oregon, TCU, North Carolina, and Utah.
Some evaluators claim the change-up is only a fringe/average offering, and while that may be true at times where it flattens out and doesn’t have as much horizontal break, just watch that video please. That pitch could’ve been the best offering for some of the arms drafted this year. Meyer is able to pronate and rip down hard which gives the change tons of arm-side break. For it being his third offering, I would say Meyer is in a pretty good spot. While he typically prefers to back-foot a slider to lefties in most situations over the change, that third pitch will be a necessary offering as he works his way through professional lineups as a starter.
Summary & Dynasty Outlook
Max Meyer has openly stated during interviews that he doesn’t focus on analytics and data capturing, which ironically is likely what led to him getting drafted as high as he did. Elite raw spin rates and exceptional extension both add deception to Meyer’s offerings, and optimizing certain areas like the fastball spin efficiency will likely lead to even better results for the electric right-hander. The Marlins made a massive investment in Meyer, and even though Derek Jeter & Co. have received a hefty share of flak over the past couple years, I have a feeling this is one move that is going to pay off. I would expect Meyer to spend the majority of the 2021 season in AA ball, but if the Marlins are in contention for a wildcard spot again towards the end of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them aggressively advance Meyer up the ladder.
For those who own Meyer in their dynasty leagues, he is one of the few pitching prospects in baseball I’d be comfortable holding on to for the long haul. He will probably move quickly through the minors and there is even a chance makes his debut next year, though there are others like Edward Cabrera and Braxton Garrett who are likely ahead in the pecking order. Due to the options the Marlins have for their rotation, they have the luxury to hold off on being too aggressive with him. If you don’t own Meyer, I’d consider using this to your advantage and buying before it’s too late–he has the capability to make a significant impact once he’s up. For FYPD purposes, he was the first pitcher off the actual draft board so I’d be confident taking him as the first arm there as well, especially with what the Marlins have been doing.
Max Meyer is the type of athlete who can carry his abilities late into his playing career, so I would urge patience if he takes time or struggles initially. He isn’t close to a finished product, and that has me even more excited for what’s to come. In all, Meyer is one of the premiere pitching prospects in the game and it shouldn’t be long before he’s down in Miami doing what he did up in Minnesota.
Featured Image: Fishstripes.com