Meyer Named Preseason First-Team All-SEC

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer has been named preseason All-Southeastern Conference by Baseball America, it was announced.

Meyer was included as one of three starting pitchers in the SEC in Baseball America’s conference preview. Each preseason, as part of an extensive college preview, Baseball America breaks down each conference and selects an all-conference team and projects the top prospects in the next two MLB Drafts.

Baseball America put Meyer, Vanderbilt ace Sonny Gray and Florida standout Hudson Randall on the preseason All-SEC team among starting pitchers. Meyer was also tabbed as the fifth-best prospect available for the 2011 MLB Draft in the league, behind four Team USA standouts, including Gray, South Carolina outfielder and College World Series MVP Jackie Bradley Jr., Vanderbilt third sacker Jason Esposito and LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook. Bradley was tabbed as the preseason pick for player of the year in the league and Gray as the selection for preseason pitcher of the year.

A native of Greensburg, Ind., Meyer was ranked as the 21st-best prospect available in the 2011 MLB Draft by Baseball America earlier during the college preview coverage.

Meyer, a 6-foot-9, 220-pounder is coming off a season where he led UK in strikeouts (63) and wins (5-3), making just 11 starts after missing three weeks due to illness. In his two-year career, Meyer owns six wins and a save, fanning 143 in 110.2 innings. As a freshman in 2009, Meyer ranked sixth in the NCAA with 12.06 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, helping UK set a school record for team strikeouts.

Throughout his career, Meyer – a 20th round selection in the 2008 MLB Draft – has had several dominating moments on the mound. In 2009, Meyer made three road starts in the SEC with 10 or more strikeouts, including fanning 11 in seven innings at Alabama, after taking a hard-hit line-drive off the shin in the early innings. In 2010, Meyer had four stellar starts, picking up wins over Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and South Carolina, with the Gamecocks later winning the NCAA title. His best outing came when he hurled a career-high seven innings, without allowing an earned run, vs. South Carolina, in his first start after missing three weeks with mononucleosis.  

“Alex Meyer made a lot of improvements in the fall,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “Some of the obvious things that you notice are that his body is much stronger. He has added strength and that has allowed him to control his body on the mound much more consistently. He is able to repeat his delivery. He commands the strike zone much, much better then he has at any point in time. The added strength has allowed him to command his slider at a much higher rate. He can now throw a changeup for a strike. His skill, in terms of creating the pitch, is noticeably better. He has demonstrated much better poise when dealing with runners on base, or giving up base hits or runs. He had a really strong fall for us, we are very encouraged by his progress and we look forward to him being a key member of our staff this spring.”

Kentucky will open up the 2011 season at No. 20 College of Charleston, with first pitch slated for 5 p.m. ET at the Ballpark at Patriots Point. UK will also play Marshall and Miami (Ohio) during the weekend, with all three games broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Dick Gabriel calling the action.