Interview With Washington Nationals 2011 First Round Pick Pitcher Alex Meyer

By: Andrew Martin

Lately the Washington Nationals have not just been accumulating prospects, they have been stacking them up like cord wood. In the past couple of years they have picked up well known mega prospects in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but they may have gotten their best haul from the 2011 draft, which brought a blend of well regarded hitters and pitchers. Alex Meyer is one of the most highly regarded prospects snatched up by Washington this draft’s haul. Taken with the 23rd pick in the first round, the 6’9 right handed pitcher projects to one day help anchor the top of the Washington starting rotation with Strasburg.

Meyer was originally drafted out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in 2008, but opted to attend the University of Kentucky instead. He was successful throughout his Kentucky Wildcats career. In 2011, his junior year, Meyer went 7-5 with a 2.94 ERA, and an SEC leading 110 strikeouts. Armed with a mid-to-upper 90’s fastball, and a slider and change-up that scouts believe will both be plus pitches, Meyer has the stuff to be a front of the rotation type starter. I recently caught up with Meyer and was able to find out a little more about him and his experiences in baseball. Take a moment to get to know one of baseball’s next top prospects.

How did you first get interested in baseball?
I first got interested in baseball at a very young age. My dad is a big baseball fan and so is my mom. When I was growing up, there was always baseball on at my house. Whether it was the Cubs always being on WGN or if I had to watch the Braves every night on TBS, there was always baseball on TV. I honestly don’t think I went a day, even being as young as 5-6 years old, to where I didn’t watch a baseball game or at least ESPN highlights. I really think this was a big influence on my life.

Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
Growing up, my favorite team was the Seattle Mariners until Ken Griffey Jr. got traded. Then, I started to like the Boston Red Sox. My favorite player was Griffey Jr. without a doubt. I feel like he was everyone’s favorite player at that time. He was fun to watch because he was everything that every young kid wanted to be. He played the game the right way and he had fun doing it.

What was the draft process like this year? How did you know that Washington was interested in you?
The draft process was a lot of fun. I feel like if you don’t just sit back and enjoy it then it can really be overwhelming for people. I had fun with it and my parents were really good about it too. They were always there supporting me telling me that it was my decision on what to do. I knew the Nationals were interested in me, but didn’t know how interested they were until I heard my name selected on TV that night. They did a good job of not “bothering” me with phone calls during the season and just let me play. They did things the right way.

What is it like to be part of the “super prospect group” for Washington, with you, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Matt Purke, etc…?
The group of players that Washington has drafted over the past few years is incredible. To be included with a group of players mentioned above is really humbling for me. It’s an honor to get to play pro ball, but to be able to play with such a good group of guys committed to getting better makes it that much more fun. I’m really excited to get back for the Spring and really get to work again.

What is the best piece of advice or instruction you have gotten as a baseball player?
The best piece of advice that I have gotten in baseball has been this and I believe it to a tee; Baseball is a game of failure. There is so much failure that if you aren’t careful, it can really bring you down. You have to stay positive through the good times and bad. In baseball, a guy can fail 7 times out of 10 and be considered one of the greatest hitters in the game (.300 batting average). Baseball is all about staying calm and positive and the ability to play through the tough times.

What has your experience been like with fans?
It’s been fun. While I was at Auburn (Washington’s Short-A New York Penn League Affiliate) for a short period of time, the fans there were awesome. They were excited for the organization. I didn’t necessarily know what to expect when I got there, but the fans there made us feel welcome and made the experience a fun time.

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