Finally, it happened. To face the Phillies on Saturday, the Marlins will call up 23-year-old right-hander Max Meyer to make his highly-anticipated MLB debut. Meyer represents a powerful addition to a Marlins starting rotation that is already good, posting a 3.56 ERA that is ranked fifth in the Majors and second in the National League.
Meyer was a fast riser to the Major Leagues. He was drafted in 2020 and made the jump after one-and-a-half season and 172 innings, just like his talent would have projected.
Why should you be so excited to see Meyer take the mound for the Marlins for the first time? Let’s take a look…
1. Meyer has thrived in the Minors
After finishing with a 6-4 record, a 2.27 ERA, and 130 strikeouts over 111 innings during his Minors debut in 2021 across Double-A and Triple-A, Meyer picked up where he left off this year. After his first six outings in Jacksonville, the Minnesota born was sporting a 1.72 ERA and a .429 OPS allowed through 31 1⁄3 innings and 39 strikeouts.
Then, he had two consecutive ugly outings and he was injured with right ulnar nerve irritation that made him miss one month of action. However, since he came back to Triple-A, Meyer has been lights out again: 1.96 ERA, .374 OPS allowed, and 21 punchouts over 18 1⁄3 innings.
His overall MiLB numbers: 35 starts, 9-8 record, 2.77 ERA, 61 walks, 199 strikeouts, 172 innings, 1.11 WHIP, 0.7 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 10.4 SO/9.
2. He’s got prospect pedigree
The Marlins invested more in Meyer ($6.7M signing bonus) than any other draftee in franchise history. The righty was selected third overall in the 2020 MLB Draft—after Spencer Torkelson (Tigers) and Heston Kjerstad (Orioles)—and was the first pitcher off the board. He will be just the fourth 2020 first-rounder to become a major leaguer, along with Torkelson, Reid Detmers (Angels), and Garrett Crochet (White Sox).
“When I just got drafted, I felt a little pressure,” Meyer said on Friday’s Bally Sports Florida broadcast, “but then when I go out and know that everything’s the same—it’s just a baseball game—it kinda takes all that away.”
Meyer is the second-best prospect in the Marlins organization according to MLB Pipeline, behind only Eury Pérez. In the opinion of scouts, his slider is his best pitch (with a 65 grade) and it is followed by his fastball (60) and his changeup (50). Meyer’s fastball velocity has trended in the right direction this season, sitting in the mid-90s and reaching triple digits when needed. Meyer brings the flames!
3. Dream rotation coming together
Meyer is the latest player to debut from a brilliant Marlins system, one that has proven particularly proficient at developing MLB starting pitchers. The timing of his call-up should give hope to Marlins fans that the front office has some common sense. Miami already had a full starting rotation in the Majors, but made room for Meyer anyway for the right reasons: he has the potential to be even better than their existing options. With a 2022 postseason berth still a possibility, they are putting as much talent on the field as possible.
For 2023 and beyond, the Marlins should have plenty of great starting pitching candidates. Sandy Alcántara will lead a group that could feature not only Meyer, but Pablo López, Trevor Rogers, Sixto Sánchez, Edward Cabrera, Jesús Luzardo, and the phenomenal Pérez, who will be just 20 years old that season.
Saturday should be a special day for Meyer, the Marlins, and their fans. Try to make it to the ballpark early to soak it all in!