Astros: Jake Meyers is not your everyday star prospect
Last week, I marveled at the energy that Jake Meyers had brought to the Houston Astros‘ big league squad after his recent promotion from Triple-A Sugar Land. With another week in the books, it is not just energy that Jake is bringing to the table anymore.
Filling in for Kyle Tucker, who fell to the IL due to health and safety protocols, Jake Meyers is suddenly on an offensive tear. Since August 14th, the right-hander is slashing .341/.375/.614 with three home runs and six RBI over 32 plate appearances.
Jake Meyers’ recent success has caught some buzz, while his minor-league production placed him among the top Astros’ prospects.
With Meyers’ recent success, I’ve seen fans on Twitter who are befuddled with popular prospect evaluators on why he wasn’t on any national prospect rankings or radars. Well, as much as I’ve enjoyed Meyer’s game this season, he really shouldn’t have been in those conversations.
Looking specifically at past roles with teams at each level and his production during that time, Jake Meyers really did little to deserve big prospect status beyond this season. I believe that makes what Meyers is doing on the field now all the more impressive.
Meyers played collegiate baseball at the University of Nebraska, where he was doing his best Shohei Ohtani impression. Meyers was Nebraska’s go-to, “Sunday” left-handed starting pitcher and starting center fielder.
The right-handed hitter had a pretty significant drop in extra-base hits from his sophomore to junior years as a Cornhusker. Interestingly, that drop in power was concurrent with the amount of starts he had on the mound that season. Unfortunately, splitting time between those positions likely made it difficult for scouts to fully asses his tools and talent level.
The Astros took notice of Jake Meyers, though, selecting him in the thirteenth-round with 391st overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Meyers ultimately opted out of his final year of NCAA eligibility to sign a contract with the Astros to begin his professional career. It wasn’t smooth sailing from there. While he still hadn’t caught the eye of those big media prospect evaluators, he was turning heads within the organization.
Meyers had never slugged over .500 in any minor league seasons prior to his time with the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters. However, he managed to impress with his work at the plate. He started turning weak ground outs into solid line drive hits, working counts and getting on base. Additionally, he was already showing flashes of being a solid, defensive outfielder.
For the more casual observers of the game, Jake Meyers seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate at the Triple-A level, slashing .343/.408/.598 with sixteen home runs for the Sugar Land Skeeters this season.
Building on the aforementioned work, Meyers began turning singles and doubles into home runs. He was showing poise and patience at the plate. He was even making dazzling plays on the base paths and in the outfield. Meyers was doing everything he could do to get noticed by James Click and the Astros’ major league club.
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In a trade that sent Myles Straw to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Phil Maton and a prospect, many fans, myself included, weren’t sure where it left the Astros with the centerfield position. In hindsight, it makes total sense that James Click saw Jake Meyers (along with Chas McCormick) as an equitable replacement Straw.
Since his promotion to the big leagues, Meyers is slashing .341/.375/.614 with three home runs and eleven runs-batted-in. While that’s only through forty-four at-bats, Jake Meyers is starting to validate all the hard work and development that he has had in the minor leagues. Getting a little more into the numbers, albeit small sample size, they’re not a fluke.
Many young guys have no problem hitting fastballs around, Meyers showing that skill that himself. However, the more interesting case is the success Meyers has against breaking pitches. At the major league level, he has an XBA of .247 and XSLG of .583 on breaking pitches this season… further proving that Jake Meyers is fighting to stay.
Dusty Baker said Sunday that he expects Tucker to return from the injured list “hopefully midweek,” Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. So, with that, and Chas McCormick being day-to-day after injuring his hand before Saturday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, Jake Meyers will have plenty of game time to try and continue his success.
Next up, Jake Meyers and the Houston Astros will take on the the Kansas City Royals in Houston starting on Monday, August 23rd. How well Meyers plays down the stretch here could certainly force some tough decisions by Dusty Baker on who to start when the club is at full-strength.
That said, as your conductor, I am going to say all aboard, because the Jake Meyers Hype-Train is leaving the station.