Continuing our series on the Marlins’ top prospects, let’s take a look at the 24-year old right-handed pitcher, Ben Meyer, who finished 2017 with High-A Jupiter.
Meyer was drafted as a college senior in the 29th round (866th overall) in the 2015 draft. The 6’6” Minnesota native out of the University of Minnesota had a successful college career which followed in the footsteps of his father, Bob Meyer. Bob was also a pitcher for the Golden Gophers, and Ben’s brother Reggie is a pitcher at UM now. All in the family, indeed.
In his senior season, he was fifth in the Big Ten in strikeouts and seventh in innings pitched while earning his team’s David Winfield Pitcher of the Year award which helped boost his draft stock.
Meyer recommends college baseball for any high school player with pro ambitions.
“College was great as a transition to pro ball, and off the field you learn to balance your time.”
He has brought these life skills with him to the pros. Since starting in pro ball in 2015, Meyer has been remarkably consistent. When looking through his career statistics so far, several things jump out: low WHIP, good control, and a solid strikeout rate.
In 2017, however, he took his game to another level. His fastball had previously topped out at 93 until this past year, where he topped out at 95.
“I think another year of developing and strength training helped. A tweak in my mechanics strengthened my front side and once that started clicking, I found a couple of extra mph on my fastball, which helps in a lot of different aspects.”
Amongst others, Ben credits Jupiter pitching coach Jeremy Powell in helping sharpen his slider and made it more consistent over the past season.
“Learning how to execute my pitches and throw off-speed pitches in hitters counts has made a big difference.”
Unpacking his stats from last season between Low-A and High-A, he sported 6-3 record and 2.02 ERA. Breaking the stats down further, he gave up only 83 hits and 23 walks in 111 1⁄3 innings. This translates to a WHIP of 0.93. To emphasize the point, that’s only giving up 6.5 hits, 1.9 walks, and 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Not bad at all.
Ben was asked to play in the Arizona Fall League in 2017, and this served as a good test for him. “It was very competitive baseball, so it was nice to see myself stack against better competition,” Meyer explained.
In one game, he threw 3 perfect innings while fanning 6 and topping out at 95 mph.
He will report for his first major league Spring Training on Feb. 14. It will be an exciting time for him, and it will be intriguing to see him develop further while facing the highest level competition. Where he will start the regular season remains to be seen.
“They leave it up in the air,” Meyer said. “The goal is to come into Spring Training ready to go and ready to compete for a job. The coaches always tell us it’s not where you start out, but where you end up that counts.”