Noble Meyer, Thomas White Are The Latest Rising Marlins Pitching Prospects | Friday Intel


Image credit: Marlins LHP Thomas White (Photo/Tom DiPace)

Despite their overall lack of success, the Marlins are an underrated pitching development factory. Miami hasn’t hit on every prospect, but has played a role in the development of Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Pablo Lopez, Luis Castillo, Eury Perez, Braxton Garrett and numerous others. The Marlins didn’t originally draft or sign all of those players–and some didn’t spend much time in Miami–but the organization certainly has shown the ability to identify and develop pitching at various stages.

Perhaps with this in mind, the Marlins used their first two picks in the 2023 draft on touted prep pitchers in righthander Noble Meyer and lefthander Thomas White. Both were among the top pitchers in last year’s class. You could even argue the Marlins landed the best high school righthander and lefthander in the draft. Both Meyer and White were promoted to High-A Beloit after strong starts with Low-A Jupiter. 

The “top prep pitcher in the draft” moniker is a hit-or-miss demographic in recent years. Dylan Lesko, Jackson Jobe, Mick Abel and Quinn Priester have been a mixed bag over the last five drafts. Only Jobe shows true top-of-the-rotation upside. Prep pedigree has a way of impacting perception within the ranking community. Many of these top prep arms are afforded a longer leash. 

Evaluating Noble Meyer And Thomas White

Meyer is an interesting study, particularly in contrast to White. Meyer is a supination profile who generates significant spin naturally on his breaking stuff. He averages around 2800 rpms on both his curveball and slider. While spin by itself is simply part of the equation, Meyer generates heavy gloveside movement on both of his breaking balls. His 82-85 mph slider is his primary secondary. It has a standout combination of velocity and horizontal break (12 inches). His slider is by far his best performing pitch, both from a swing-and-miss and strike-throwing perspective.

Meyer’s fastball, on the other hand, is a concern. His heater sits 93-94 mph touching 98 mph at peak, but the pitch lacks much vertical break and relies on late armside run as its primary movement characteristic. The pitch falls into the dead-zone shape category, but Meyer’s lack of command for it as arguably the biggest concern.

White’s fastball faces similar questions. It has below-average shape, but more velocity than Meyer’s sitting 94-96 mph. His fastball misses less bats than Meyer’s, but he has shown slightly better command of the pitch. White mixes a pair of secondaries in a sweepy curveball and a changeup. His breaking ball quality has taken a big step forward as a professional. White now spins a curveball around 2700 rpms with 13-14 inches of horizontal break with some drop.

That was something you didn’t consistently see from White during his prep days. His changeup has long been his primary secondary, and while the usage trails both his fastball and curveball he’s shows the ability to consistently land the pitch. White’s changeup is not only his best bat-missing pitch, it’s also the pitch he commands best. 

Both of these starters are tantalizing prospects with midrotation or better upside despite some warts. Each player now ranks in our Top 100 and provide the Marlins some excitement in a thin farm system. 

Finding A Combination Of Stuff And Performance 

Earlier this week I wrote the second part of my examination into how the college run environment is impacting amateur evaluation. After examining the impact on hitting evaluation last week, I dove into the pitching side of things. The takeaway is pitching evaluation in this environment is murky. There’s only a few pitchers with excellent stuff and good performance among the Power 5 conferences. This leads to a decision on draft philosophy. Do you value stuff or do you value performance? The success of each of these approaches is tied directly to your player development and each team’s ability to find players who are a good fit for an organization’s development strengths. 

Squeeze Play Stays Undefeated 

After spending 80% of last weekend glued to the couch and tuned into the NCAA Regionals, I am in a state of appreciation for ESPN’s squeeze play stream. Watching a variety of games at once without having to run four to five separate screens is a modern marvel. In a weekend with so many huge moments, it’s easy to stay up to date and keep an eye on the happenings of multiple games. This isn’t a novel concept in the sports space as American sports fans are intimately familiar with the NFL’s long running RedZone product. Regardless, it’s a great way to stay up to date on a variety of games and the coverage is excellent. 

Is This A Bad Top 100?

Internally, we’ve had an ongoing conversation throughout the season: Where are all the true Top 100 talents? There’s a lack of healthy up-the-middle defenders who are also hitting right now.

It feels like the minor leagues have been in a transition period since exiting the pandemic. Younger players are being pushed to higher levels with the elimination of short-season levels. We’re also seeing more level repeaters. This is often due to over-assignment. We’ve seen several players over-assigned to levels far above their abilities in recent years and it certainly makes it harder to match skills, tools and production.

The Rangers’ Sebastian Walcott is hitting .202/.326/.337 over 48 games with High-A Hickory. He was clearly over-assigned last year and the Rangers returned him to the level. Angels prospect Nelson Rada is another example. The 18-year-old outfielder was assigned to Double-A out of camp and is hitting .220/.283/.241 over 49 games. It remains to be seen how these over assignments will play out long term, but I think it’s had an impact on many talented young players who aren’t afforded the opportunity to succeed against age-appropriate competition. 

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