Former Gophers pitcher Max Meyer makes MLB debut for Marlins

In his MLB Debut, Meyer lasted 5.1 innings against the Phillies Saturday.

Pitcher Max Meyer walks off the field as his teammates fist bump to his successful inning during the game against UCLA on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers won 3-2.

Ellen Schmidt

Pitcher Max Meyer walks off the field as his teammates fist bump to his successful inning during the game against UCLA on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers won 3-2.

by Alex Karwowski

In 5.1 innings of work, former Gophers star pitcher Max Meyer conceded five earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts against the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday, marking his first career start in a Miami Marlins uniform.

The Marlins announced on Twitter Thursday that 2020 No. 3 overall pick Max Meyer would be joining the team as a pitcher and put into their starting rotation.

Meyer debuted as a relief pitcher for the Gophers, tying the program record with 16 saves as a true freshman in 2018. He developed into an elite starting option, closing out with a team-low 1.95 earned run average and team-high 46 strikeouts as a junior, leading the Big Ten in that category.

The Marlins selected him as third overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft following three seasons with the Gophers. His slider was one of the best pitches in the draft, and his fastball was in the mid-90s.

Hailing from Woodbury, Minnesota, Meyer quickly rose through the Marlins’ organization’s minor league system, pitching for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Jupiter Hammerheads and most recently the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

His rapid development resulted in a call up to the big leagues. In his first game with the Marlins, Meyer came out with a 94.7 mph four-seamer as his first pitch, which resulted in a strike. His first strikeout ended a 10-pitch battle with Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins and came on his patented slider.

Meyer held the Phillies scoreless until the fourth inning. He gave three straight two-out hits, and the Marlins were then down 2-0.

“He has a really good slider. Obviously the swing-and-miss stuff — his fastball is good, he mixed the changeup in when he needed to. I thought he threw the ball really well, especially for your first start,” Phillies catcher Realmuto said to MLB.com.

Realmuto said Meyer seemed confident and in control on the mound, adding that Meyer could be a good pitcher for a long time.

“Almost everybody you see now has good stuff,” Marlins head coach Don Mattingly said to MLB.com. “You see these guys with stuff, and it’s a guy that has the understanding of how to get better, and the belief in himself to continue to work, to learn to keep always evolving and what that means here. Those are the guys that end up being the better guys.”

Meyer concluded his MLB debut game with five earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts over 5.1 innings. Overall, he totaled 53 strikes and threw 79 total pitches.

Although the Marlins came up short 10-0, Meyer proved to be a promising young pitcher in the MLB.

“He’s going to have to go through it and get to a point where he can figure out where his adjustments are. Every guy I’ve ever had has gone through that process. I love his stuff. I love the competitive nature,” Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said to the Miami Herald on Friday.