Jake Meyers struggled through his spring training audition to seize an open outfield spot. His luck did not improve at the Astros’ alternate training site, where he spent the first month of the 2021 season nearing a crossroads.
Houston drafted Meyers in the 13th round in 2017 from Nebraska. After two full minor league seasons, the 25-year-old remained on the organizational hierarchy due to his elite speed and outfield defense. Only an offensive breakthrough stood between him and the big leagues.
He recognized it during a rough stretch at the alternate site, just before shipping out to Triple-A Sugar Land.
“From that moment on, I realized every at-bat every day needs to be important and have emphasis every day,” Meyers said.
Meyers authored the sort of resurgence many with the team anticipated he could. He slashed .343/.408/.598 in 304 plate appearances, curtailing his strikeout rate while improving his plate coverage.
Between High-A and Double-A in 2019, Meyers struck out 104 times in 430 at-bats while hitting only .249. Pitchers often beat him inside, and Meyers relied on early-count fastballs to survive. Once opponents noticed, he needed to make an adjustment.
“I kind of would tie myself up in one area, whereas this year I did a little bit better job of being able to set an approach and execute it,” Meyers said.
Meyers’ resurgence compelled the Astros to trade everyday center fielder Myles Straw at the deadline. Meyers took Straw’s spot on the major league roster and has all but usurped starting duties from Chas McCormick.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Meyers slugged .478 and had an .811 OPS during his first 123 major league plate appearances. He cemented a spot on Houston’s postseason roster, completing his somewhat unforeseen rise.
— High-A Asheville shortstop Freudis Nova tore the ACL in his left knee and had surgery in September. The Astros expect him to be out until the middle of 2022.
— Righthander Forrest Whitley resumed a throwing program at the Astros’ complex in West Palm Beach, Fla. in September after having Tommy John surgery in March.