AFL Reports: Pitchers, Part One

Kiley shares notes on the pitchers that he scouted on day one of the Arizona Fall League, including a report on hard-throwing righty Alex Meyer.

Glendale-Mesa, Tuesday

Alex Meyer moved up my mid-season top 50 MLB prospect list late in the process when a scout passed along that he'd seen Meyer sitting 96-100 mph late in the season. My expectations were high when the 6'9/220 Meyer threw the first pitch of the Arizona Fall League and it didn't let me down at 99 mph. He sat 98-100 in the first and lost a tick or two through the next few innings, but the pitch has plus life and is an undeniable 80 on the 20-80 scale. His slider flashed 65 potential with cross-plate, three-quarters late bite but, as you hear me say with hitters often, long arms create problems with consistency and body control and Meyer had trouble consistently breaking off that best version of his slider. He threw the pitch at 87-89 mph and I have it as a 55 now pitch with 65 potential.

Meyer also threw a handful of changeups at 86-88 mph that flashed 55 potential but often big power pitchers with hard changeups will have some trouble with consistency of the pitch as Meyer did. He's a very good athlete that has a clean arm and no mechanical red flags along with good posture at release. Meyer's motion is a little more arm heavy than I like to see and he slings at a three-quarters slot that gives away some of his plane, but that's nit-picking. He'll always have some issues that come with his size and he may eventually end up in the bullpen if those problems get worse. That said, he's flashing #2 starter upside here if he can add some starter traits to the top-of-the-line raw ability here.

I'll run through the rest of the pitchers from this game quickly as the middle innings of AFL games can become a conveyor belt of above average fastball, average slider, below average command AA relievers. The Twins had another solid arm come in for an inning in righty Trevor May. The former Phillies draft pick has good size at 6'5/215, is a bit drop and drive in his delivery, but the delivery and his arm work. He sat 92-94 and threw both a slider and changeup at 82-84 mph. May's changeup was average and his slider was above average, so the starter ability is here, but the command and flyball tendency still worry me a bit.

Starting opposite Meyer was Angels lefty Michael Roth, former College World Series hero for South Carolina. The stuff doesn't standout (86-88 mph, fringy slider, above average changeup) for the 6'1 lefty but his command is above average and he's made a career of beating expectations. Marlins lefty Edgar Olmos has steadily added velocity each time I've seen him and sat 90-94 in a multi-inning relief outing in this game. His slider and changeup were both 82-84 mph and both were mostly fringy but the slider was average at times. He's got good size at 6'4 and a solid delivery but looks like more a swing man at this point. I left this game a little early to get across town to see BP at the next game and missed Cubs 6'4 Cuban righty Armando Rivero. A scout passed along that he was what I had been told to expect: a reliever type with some effort, a low 90's fastball and solid off-speed stuff.

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