Alex Meyer Selected in First Round by Nationals
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- One of the most decorated performers in Kentucky baseball history, junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer has been selected with the No. 23 overall pick in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals, it was announced by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday night at the MLB Network Studio 42.
With the 23rd overall selection in the draft, Meyer has become the highest draft pick in Kentucky baseball history, since Chad Green’s No. 8 overall selection in the 1996 MLB Draft. Meyer became the fourth overall first round pick in UK baseball history joining Green, James Paxton (2009, No. 37 overall) and Joe Blanton (2002, No. 24 overall).
“I am extremely excited to be selected by the Washington Nationals,” Meyer said during a teleconference on Monday night. “I don’t think it could have happened to a better organization. Obviously you can see them on the rise with the prospects they have been selecting over the last few years with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and obviously this year they selected (Rice third baseman) Anthony Rendon with their first pick (No. 6 overall). It is pretty special to be selected by a club like that and I couldn’t be happier.”
A native of Greensburg, Ind., Meyer had a dynamic season as UK’s Friday-night starter. A 6-foot-9, 220-pound righty, Meyer led UK in starts (14), wins (seven), ERA (2.94), complete games (four), complete-game shutouts (two), innings pitched (101), strikeouts (110) and opponent batting average (.222).
A 20th-round pick of the Boston Red Sox out of high school in 2008, Meyer became the first UK starter selected to the All-SEC team since Chris Rusin in 2008 after the league coaches tabbed him second-team All-Southeastern Conference. He finished the year as the SEC leader in strikeouts, strikeouts looking (48), innings pitched per game (7.21), complete games and complete-game shutouts. Meyer ranked second in the SEC in innings pitched, ninth in ERA, eighth in wins, second in strikeouts per game (9.8) and fifth in opponent batting average.
With 110 strikeouts in 2011, Meyer became the 10th player in program history to fan 100 or more in a season, ranking eighth in UK single-season history. Meyer, who ranked No. 9 in the NCAA in strikeouts, owns a 13-12 career record in 211.1 innings, striking out 253 the fifth-best total in UK career annals.
“Coming to campus everyone knew I was going to be a huge project from the beginning,” Meyer said. “I knew my stuff was good when I got here it just needed to be fine tuned a little bit. When coach (Gary) Henderson brought me in he just laid out exactly what his plan was for me. We did a good job of accomplishing it. It took a little longer for us then we would have hoped for but we got it done, it was just a long process. He did a great job with me of teaching me the game of pitching. I came from a small town and didn’t know too much about it, I was just throwing the ball. Coach Henderson really helped me out to develop into a pitcher and helped me get to where I am today.”
A two-time SEC Pitcher of the Week and a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week in 2011, Meyer finished the year on a blistering pace, totaling six consecutive quality starts and owning a 4-1 record and a 1.97 ERA in those outings. Meyer owned 10 quality starts in 2011, posting a 6-3 record and a 1.88 ERA in his quality outings. Over his final three starts, Meyer went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA, including wins over No. 1 Vanderbilt, Georgia and No. 4 Florida. Meyer faced off with the four SEC division winners, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt during 2011 and dominated, posting a 3-1 mark with a 1.36 ERA in those starts, allowing only 19 hits in 33 innings.
Since UK burst onto the college baseball scene in claiming the SEC Championship in 2006, Kentucky has boasted a bevy of draft selections, including a school-record seven selections following a 44-win season in 2008. Since 2006 and including Meyer’s pick, the Wildcats have had a total of 35 players selected in the MLB Draft or signing a free agent contract. Since 1965, UK has had a total of 147 players drafted or sign a free agent contract, with 24-percent of the 147 total players coming since the 2006 season.
The MLB Draft will resume on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the remaining 49 rounds. Several UK stars are expected to be selected on Day 2 and Day 3 of the draft, which will be live on MLB.com.
Breaking Down Meyer’s 2011
• Became UK’s first All-SEC starting pitcher since Chris Rusin in 2008 and just the ninth pitcher in program history to earn All-SEC accolades and the first UK starting pitcher with a sub 3.00 ERA since Greg Dombrowski’s 10-win season and 2.88 ERA in 2006.
• Led UK in starts (14), wins (seven), ERA (2.94), complete games (four), complete-game shutouts (two), innings pitched (101) and strikeouts (110).
• Finished the regular season as the SEC leader in strikeouts, strikeouts looking (48), innings pitched per game (7.21), complete games and complete-game shutouts.
• Ranked second in the SEC in innings pitched, ninth in ERA, eighth in wins, second in strikeouts per game (9.8), fifth in opponent batting average (.220) and 11th in runners picked off (two).
• With his 110 strikeouts in 2011, became the 10th player in program history to record 100 or more strikeouts in a single season.
• Finished the year ranked eighth in UK single-season history in strikeouts.
• At the end of the regular-season, ranked ninth in the NCAA in strikeouts.
• Earned six total weekly honors during the year, including two SEC Pitcher of the Week accolades and a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honor.
• Owns a 13-12 career record with 211.1 innings, striking out 253. Meyer’s 253 career strikeouts ranks fifth-best in program history, just behind fourth-place and MLB Cy Young winner Brandon Webb’s 259 career strikeouts.
• Left seven inherited runners on base during his 14 starts, with the UK bullpen allowing all seven to score.
• UK bullpen totaled a 0-2, 6.86 ERA in his 14 starts, allowing opponents to hit for a .374 average.
• Had a dynamic six-start span to finish the year, totaling a 4-1 record and a 1.97 ERA with two complete games, holding opponents to a .195 average.
• Over his final three starts of 2011, went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA.
• Had eight career double-digit strikeout games, including four in 2011.
• Start vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt was a 2-0 win for UK the first win over a No.1 ranked team since 2007, with Meyer tossing 110 pitches in the complete-game blanking of the top hitting team in the SEC and the eventual SEC Champions.
• Fanned a career-high 13 in starts vs. Miami (Ohio) and Niagara, tossing complete-game shutouts vs. Niagara and No. 1 Vanderbilt.
• Made three quality starts vs. the three teams that would share the SEC regular-season title, posting a 2-1, 1.50 ERA line in those three starts, with two complete games and only four runs allowed in 24 innings.
• With the four SEC division winners (Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt) and including the complete-game win over No. 12 Arkansas, Meyer totaled a 3-1 record and a 1.36 ERA, allowing only 19 hits and five earned runs in 33 innings (.168 opponent average).
• Meyer’s five losses came in games where UK lost by a combined 10 runs, including a pair of two-run losses and one one-run defeat.
• Tossed a team-high 10 quality starts in 2011, posting a 1.88 ERA and a 6-3 record in his 10 quality starts, striking out 87 in 76.2 innings with a .197 opponent batting average.
• Was great in conference play, totaling a 5-3 mark with a 3.07 ERA and three complete games in 73.1 innings.
• Opponents were held to a .192 average with opponents on base, a .154 mark with runners on and two out, a .231 average with runners in scoring position and a .175 average with runners in scoring position and two out.
• Allowed only 13 extra-base hits in the 78 hits he allowed and only two homers on the year. South Carolina shortstop Peter Mooney hit the first of the two homers off Meyer, a 1-2 pitch to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Auburn slugging first baseman Kevin Patterson connected on the first pitch of the top of the fourth inning on April 8, the last homer allowed by Meyer.
• Opponents tried to steal 16 bases off Meyer in 2011, with eight nabbed stealing and Meyer totaling two pickoffs.
• Allowed 13 of the 37 runs to score on the year after the seventh inning. Owned a sub 2.00 ERA in the second (1.29), fourth (1.93), fifth (1.93), sixth (1.38) and ninth innings (0.00).
• Only 28 of Meyer’s 78 hits allowed in 2011 came as hits into the outfield, with 14 hits going as infield knocks, a team-high.
• Threw first-pitch strikes to an impressive 63-percent of hitters faced in 2011. In 3-0 and 3-1 counts, Meyer tossed 71-percent strikes and in a 3-2 count, tossed 68-percent strikes. By comparison, Meyer threw first-pitch strikes to 52-percent of hitters as a freshman and sophomore.
MEYER CAREER BIO
• SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll (2009)
• 20th round draft pick in 2008 (Red Sox)
• SEC Academic Honor Roll (2010)
• First-team preseason All-SEC (Baseball America)
• Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week (2/21/11)
• SEC Pitcher of the Week (4/25/11 & 5/9/11)
• NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week (5/10/11)
• CollegeBaseball360.com National Player of the Week (5/11/11)
• College Baseball Hall of Fame National All-Star Lineup (5/12/11)
• CollegeBaseball360.com National Player of the Week (5/24/11)
• Second-team All-SEC Starting Pitcher (coaches)
Had a dynamic junior season, earning second-team All-SEC accolades as a starting pitcher in a vote of the league coaches … Led the Wildcats in starts (14), wins (seven), ERA (2.94), complete games (four), complete-game shutouts (two), innings pitched (101) and strikeouts (110) … Finished the regular season as the SEC leader in strikeouts, strikeouts looking (48), innings pitched per game (7.21), complete games and complete-game shutouts … Meyer’s 49 strikeouts looking were tops in the SEC with Steven Gruver ranking second with 29 looking punchouts … Ranked second in the SEC in innings pitched, ninth in ERA, eighth in wins, fifth in opponent average (.220) and second in strikeouts per game (9.8) … With 110 strikeouts in 2011, became the 10th UK pitcher in program annals to record 100 or more strikeouts in a single season, ranking eighth in program history … Finished the regular season ranked ninth in the NCAA in strikeouts … Earned six total weekly accolades during the season, including two SEC Pitcher of the Week honors … With 253 career strikeouts, moved into fifth place in UK career history … Left a total of seven runners on base during his 14 starts, with the UK bullpen allowing all seven to score and owning a 0-2, 6.86 ERA in his starts … Became the first UK starting pitcher with an ERA below 3.00 since Greg Dombrowski’s 2.88 ERA in 2006 … Allowed only 13 extra-base hits in his 78 hits allowed and just two homers (South Carolina’s Peter Mooney and Auburn’s Kevin Patterson) … Owned 10 quality starts on the year, totaling a 6-3, 1.88 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 76.2 innings (.197 opponent average) … In 10 SEC starts, totaled a 5-3 record and a 3.07 ERA with three complete games in a league-best 73.1 innings … Had a stellar six-start streak to end the year, posting a 4-1 record and a 1.97 ERA with two complete games during the stretch … Over his final three starts, went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA … Made three quality starts vs. the three teams that would share the SEC regular-season title, posting a 2-1, 1.50 ERA in those three games, with two complete games and only four runs allowed in 24 frames … With the four division winners (Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt), Meyer totaled a 3-1 mark with a 1.36 ERA, allowing only 19 hits and five earned runs in 33 innings, with opponents hitting .168 … Suffered five losses on the year, with all five coming by a combined 10 runs, including a pair of two-run defeats and a single-run loss … Held opponents to a .192 average with opponents on base, a .154 mark with runners on and two out, a .231 average with runners in scoring position and a .175 average with runners in scoring position and two out … Learned to control the running game as a junior, with 16 runners attempting to steal and eight caught stealing, with Meyer nabbing two runners on pickoffs … Allowed 13 of the 37 runs on the year to score after the seventh inning, owning a sub 2.00 ERA in the second (1.29), fourth (1.93), fifth (1.93), sixth (1.38) and ninth innings (0.00) … Only 28 of Meyer’s 78 hits allowed in 2011 came as hits into the outfield, with 14 hits going as infield knocks, a team-high … Meyer threw first-pitch strikes to an impressive 63-percent of hitters faced in 2011. In a 3-0 and 3-1 counts, Meyer tossed 71-percent strikes and in a 3-2 count, tossed 68-percent strikes … Had four 10 or more strikeout games in 2011, including two career-high 13 strikeout outings … Turned in the best start of his career vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt, lifting UK to its first win over a No. 1 ranked foe since 2007 … Went a complete-game shutout vs. Vandy in a 2-0 win, allowing only five hits and one walk … Struck out 10 in a complete-game win over No. 12 Arkansas and fanned 10 in seven innings at LSU as part of the ESPN Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week … Struck out 13 in his season debut, touching 100 mph on the radar gun and allowing only three hits and one earned run vs. Miami (Ohio) … Struck out 13 in a complete-game shutout win over Niagara on March 12 … Pitched UK to SEC wins over Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Florida … Struck out nine and allowed only one run in seven innings in a win at No. 4 Florida, with the Gators needing to win to clinch outright share of the SEC title.
Dynamic talent battled mononucleosis during the middle of the season, returning late in the year … Started in 11 games, missing three weeks due to illness … Appeared in one game in relief, in an effort to get work in after a long, early-season layoff … Totaled a team-high tying five wins, going 5-3 with a 7.06 ERA … Pitched 51 innings, allowing 59 hits and 36 walks, striking out 63 … Had a 2-1 record and a 6.90 ERA in seven SEC games, tossing 30 innings with 22 walks and 37 strikeouts … In seven home games and six starts, totaled a 4.55 ERA and a 4-1 record … UK won six of Meyer’s 11 starts and in those six wins, he went 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA, striking out 36 in 30.1 innings … Was 5-1 with a 5.68 ERA in 10 day games … In his 11 starts, minus the one relief appearance, went 5-2 with a 6.30 ERA, striking out 62 in 50 innings …Had a team-best four pickoffs … Started the season strong, going five innings in his season debut against Virginia Tech, allowing four hits and two earned runs, walking three and striking out eight in his first win against a division I team (won vs. Georgetown College in 2009) … Went 5.2 innings against Bowling Green for his second win, allowing two earned runs and striking out six … Took first loss of year at San Diego State in a matchup against All-American Addison Reed and Hall of Fame coach Tony Gwynn, going 4.1 innings and allowing seven runs with seven strikeouts … With his next start over a week from his last appearance at SDSU, UK used Meyer in relief against Evansville to get some work … Worked a shutout first inning with less than 10 pitches against Evansville, before running into trouble in his second frame, allowing five runs in the loss … Rebounded for a strong outing against IPFW for the win, tossing five innings and allowing one run … First SEC game of the season, saw 10-strikeout performance, fanning 10 in 6.2 innings in a win on Sunday, allowing three runs and two walks …Had third consecutive strong outing of the season at Vanderbilt, going six innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out six … Started at Arkansas in a series finale rubber match … In the top of the second inning at Arkansas, UK put up five runs for a lead, before Arkansas rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the second … Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn was quoted as saying after his start in Fayetteville that Meyer hit 100 mph four times during the game … Despite pitching with mononucleosis against Alabama, before the illness was discovered, Meyer went 5.1 strong innings, allowing three runs, three walks and striking out seven, with all three runs coming as inherited runners scoring of the UK bullpen in the sixth inning … After sitting out three weeks, returned against eventual NCAA Champion South Carolina, hurling his best outing of the year in helping UK win the crucial series … Tossed seven pressure-filled innings against USC, allowing only four hits and three unearned runs, walking three and striking out six without allowing an extra-base hit … Struggled in his final two outings of the year, going one inning and allowing two runs and four walks against LSU and going 2.1 innings at Georgia on Friday night, allowing seven hits, five runs and four walks, striking out three.
Became UK’s Sunday starter for the opening SEC series against eventual NCAA Champion LSU … Pitched in 13 games with 11 starting assignments, starting nine of UK’s SEC games … Totaled a 1-4 record and a 5.73 ERA, totaling one save … Pitched 59.2 innings, allowing only 53 hits and 38 earned runs, striking out 80 hitters … Ranked sixth in the NCAA with 12.06 strikeouts per nine innings … Ranked eighth in the SEC with a .239 opponent batting average, ranking 11th in strikeouts and eighth in pickoffs (three) … Among qualifying pitchers, allowed the fewest hits of any hurler in the league … Led the league with the fewest doubles (three) and triples (zero) allowed … Also ranked first in the league with 14 wild pitches, ranking fifth in the league with 10 hit batters … Struck out 64 in 43.1 innings in SEC play … Without four bad starts that saw him allow four or more runs, had a 1-2 record and a 3.18 ERA in 39.2 innings, allowing only 24 hits with 46 strikeouts … Had outstanding outings at LSU, at Ole Miss and at Alabama … At LSU, in his first career SEC start, tossed five innings, allowing just two hits and three runs, walking five with six strikeouts, exiting the game to a standing ovation from the LSU faithful … Against South Carolina, tossed five innings, allowing three hits and one run, walking six and striking out four … At SEC Champion Ole Miss, had a career outing, going 6.1 innings, with five hits and two runs allowed issuing just one walk and fanning 10 … Had the best outing of his career at the SEC’s leader in batting average, Alabama, going seven innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs, walking one and striking out 11 … In a must-win game at Florida, with UK needing a win to clinch a post-season berth, went five innings with two walks and a career-best 12 strikeouts … In his second career start against Georgetown College on March 10, tossed six hitless innings, walking one with six strikeouts … Opened his career with three innings in relief against James Madison in the Caravelle Resort Invitational in Myrtle Beach, S.C., allowing three runs … In his first career start against Eastern Kentucky, tossed 4.1 innings with two runs, six walks and six strikeouts.
Aflac All-America and Louisville Slugger High School All-America selection … Rated as the No. 5 prospect in all of high school baseball by Baseball America … Ranked as the No. 2 prospect by Baseball America at Perfect Game’s National Showcase in Cincinnati … Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year and Louisville Slugger Indiana Player of the Year … Named Indiana Mr. Baseball and first-team all-state … Posted a 0.95 ERA and a 8-0 record in 51 innings as a senior, striking out 108 and walking 30 … Holds school records for most strikeouts in a season, career and lowest season ERA … Earned EIAC Conference MVP honors and EIAC All-Conference accolades in 2008 … A member of the Indiana Bulls travel team over the summer, Meyer played in the East Coast Professional Showcase in Lakeland, Fla., in August … As a junior, Meyer went 3-4 with two saves and a 3.45 ERA … In 47 innings in 2007, he allowed 28 hits, 27 of which were singles, and held his opponents to a .172 batting average … Of the 206 total batters faced, Meyer struck out 72 as a junior … In 2006, as a sophomore, Meyer went 6-2 with a 1.92 ERA …Three-year letterwinner for coach Scott Moore at Greensburg High School … A two-time all-conference basketball player, played all four years, playing football as a freshman.
Full name is Alex John Meyer … Born January 3, 1990 in Greensburg, Ind. … Son of David and Sandy Meyer … Has a brother, Eric (18) and a sister, Kristen (23) … Has a cousin, P.J. that played college basketball at Mount Saint Josephs.