As an “appetizer” to the MLB All-Star Game featuring Marlins rookie Trevor Rogers, right-hander Max Meyer and left-hander Jake Eder took the Coors Field mound Sunday afternoon in the 2021 Futures Game, where they faced some of the American League’s finest young talent (full rosters here). Thanks in small part to their contributions, the NL won the seven-inning contest, 8-3.
A consensus Top 100 prospect in baseball, Meyer came in to begin the top of the second inning. He retired Adley Rutschman (Orioles) on a shallow flyout and issued a walk to Nick Pratto (Royals). His fastball velocity peaked at 96.2 miles per hour, according to Baseball Savant. The seven pitches he threw included five heaters, one changeup and one of his signature sliders, which had 44 inches of vertical break. Meyer was replaced by Dodgers farmhand Andre Jackson.
Eder ought to be getting Top 100 consideration of his own as the summer progresses. He kicked off the top of the seventh with a swinging strikeout of Pedro León (Astros) before allowing a single to Riley Greene (Tigers) that snuck through the right side of the infield. His pitch mix was similar to Meyer’s—five fastballs, one breaking ball and one changeup—and his max velo was comparable (96.4 mph). Greene came around to score later in the frame against NL pitcher Ethan Small, causing Eder to be charged with an earned run.
Both pitchers were given aggressive assignments entering their first seasons as professionals. At Double-A Pensacola, the vast majority of opposing batters are older than them and have hundreds of MiLB games under their belts. Yet in near-identical workloads—54 innings pitched and 215 batters faced for Meyer; 54 1⁄3 innings pitched and 219 batters faced for Eder—they rank one-two among all Double-A South qualifiers in earned run average. That production made their selections to the Futures Game roster a no-brainer.
A late-season major league call-up is highly unlikely for these 2020 draft picks, as general manager Kim Ng acknowledged when addressing the media last month. Starting pitching is already an area of strength for the team. Talented as they may be, neither Meyer nor Eder can reverse the fortunes of the last-place Fish who entered the All-Star break at 39-50. Besides, those promotions would create a 40-man roster headache (Brian Anderson is due back from the 60-day IL soon, other prospects will require 40-man protection prior to the Rule 5 draft, etc.).
Health permitting, they’ll likely break through to The Show during the first half of the 2022 campaign.