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Marlins Make Max Meyer Their Man

When Marlins scouting director DJ Svihlik walked out of Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 28, he knew he’d found his man.

The Marlins drafted Minnesota righthander Max Meyer with the third overall pick Wednesday night. Texas A&M lefthander Asa Lacy was widely considered to be the top pitching prospect in the 2020 draft, but the Marlins had Meyer pegged as their pick for months.

“That’s the most athletic college pitcher in this draft with the most electric stuff and he’s just about major league ready,” Svihlik said. “That’s it.”

Svihlik and the Marlins scouting staff were plenty familiar with Meyer after watching him pitch for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team after his freshman and sophomore years. Svihlik dispatched some of his most trusted scouts to watch Meyer’s season-opening start against Oregon at the Angels College Classic in Tempe, Ariz on Feb. 14. That night, Meyer touched 102 mph with a low-90s slider and had the entire stadium buzzing.

“I’m sitting at Auburn watching Tanner Burns,” Svihlik said, “and I got a call saying ‘you will not believe what this looks like now.’”

Svihlik made a point to see it for himself. Two weeks later, he went to Minnesota to watch Meyer’s start against North Carolina. Meyer’s final line that night: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 14 K.

That night, Svihlik knew Meyer was the player he wanted.

“You sat there and you looked at the scout to your left and you looked at the scout to your right and everybody was going, ‘Have we ever seen this before?” Svihlik said. “It was electric. You had guys going, ‘Is this the best slider we’ve ever seen?’ It was that type of deal. When you see that as a scout, you know when you’re seeing something special and you say we gotta have it.”

Though Meyer is slightly undersized at six feet tall, Svihlik cited Tim Hudson, Roy Oswalt, Sonny Gray and Marcus Stroman as similar- sized righthanders who became aces, and believes Meyer is at that level. For a more direct comparison, he went even further back.

“Maybe a young David Cone,” Svihlik said. “David Cone when he was early in his career and had electric stuff, he’s like that.

“There’s been a lot of really successful 6-footers who have dominated in college so we leaned right into that market and said, ‘This is unique.’”

Cristian Pache Gettyuseme

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