The Miami Marlins made fans, and perhaps more importantly, one of their top prospects very happy on Thursday night. The team posted a video of Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp manager Daren Brown relaying the news to Max Meyer that he’d received the call to pitch at the MLB level with the Marlins.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 15, 2022
Meyer recently worked his way back from a ulnar nerve irritation injury before getting this well-desvered call. He will reportedly make the start for the Marlins on Saturday at home versus the Philadelphia Phillies, a team Miami’s chasing the in the Wild Card race.
Marlins (Finally) Call Up Max Meyer
The Marlins find themselves three games back of the final NL Wild Card spot after splitting a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates this week. Miami (43-45) continues to deal with injuries and ineffectiveness among their pitchers outside of Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez, which only added to many Marlins fans clamoring for Meyer’s call. The timing here coincides with a pivotal three-game series with the Phillies before the All-Star break.
Max Meyer finally getting the call from the Marlins puts one of baseball’s top pitching prospects on display. MLB Pipeline lists Meyer as Miami’s No. 2 prospect, behind only 19-year-old phenom Eury Perez. He’s MLB Pipeline’s No. 21 prospect overall.
With Triple-A Jacksonville, Meyer dominated competition for stretches of the season. His first six starts the season, prior to the issues surrounding his injury, saw Meyer post a 1.72 ERA over 31.1 innings pitched. He allowed just six earned runs over those six starts, registering 39 strikeouts along the way. Meyer handled Atlanta Braves slugger Ronald Acuña Jr. during that stretch.
It’s clear that the ulnar nerve irritation, which eventually landed him on the IL, affected his next two starts. Meyer adjusted his approach and mechanics to deal with the discomfort, ultimately to disappointing results. But after a month to heal and recuperate, Meyer found his form once again with Jacksonville.
During his rehab stint in Jupiter, Meyer told MLB.com: “I’ll get my shot, and I’ll be up there for a long time.”
In the four starts before this Marlins promotion, Max Meyer looked ready. He went 18.1 innings with 21 strikeouts and just four earned runs (1.96 ERA). Opponents managed a meager .119 batting average against in those starts.
Meyer’s Path to the Majors
The Marlins selected Max Meyer with the third overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft out of the University of Minnesota. He was the first pitcher off the draft board and started his time in Miami’s system with Double-A Pensacola in 2021. (There was no minor league season in 2020.)
With the Blue Wahoos, Meyer earned the Double-A South Most Outstanding Pitcher award. He did so following a season where he registered a 2.41 ERA and 113 strikeouts over 101 innings.
In 2022, Meyer made 12 starts for Triple-A Jacksonville, posting a 3.72 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 65 strikeouts over 58 innings. He averaged 10.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings, registering a 28.4 percent strikeout rate along the way. He induced ground balls at a 50 percent rate this season, and kept his walk rate to just 8.3 percent.
In his 35 minor league starts, Meyer pitched to a 2.77 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, recording 199 strikeouts in those games.
Meyer sports a repertoire of three pitches, including a dominant, wipe-out slider many scouts called the single best pitch in the 2020 draft. His fastball velocity sits in the mid-to-upper-90s and has touched triple digits. This third pitch is a changeup, which the organization wanted to see him develop ahead of his promotion.
There’s been some talk of Meyer ultimately being a bullpen arm, but the Marlins maintain they view him as a rotation piece.
“I see Max as a starting pitcher,” Marlins amateur scouting director DJ Svihlik said on Wednesday. “We knew when we selected Max, there was that reliever-starter conversation. Any starter of that caliber with that kind of two-pitch combination can go into the back of a bullpen.”
Svihlik did note: “I see Max as a playoff starter.”
A spot on Miami’s 40-man roster opened recently when the Baltimore Orioles claimed reliever Louis Head off waivers. The Marlins need to add Meyer to the 40-man prior to his scheduled start on Saturday.