Gophers star pitcher Max Meyer feels ‘best ever’ heading into MLB Draft
Every week is about the same for Max Meyer these days: Monday through Friday, the Minnesota Golden Gophers pitching star and soon-to-be first-round draft pick works out at a facility, comes home and knocks out a few Zoom calls and phone interviews with inquiring media or Major League Baseball teams.
A year ago, Meyer would have found that to be “crazy.” MLB teams want to talk to him? Now, he has gotten used to the drill.
“It’s so fun to talk to these guys and let them know about myself and listen to what they have to offer for their organizations,” Meyer said. “It’s awesome. It’s something I’ve worked for pretty much my whole life. It’s pretty much a dream come true having them talk to me.”
Meyer, who is a projected top-10 draft pick by most outlets heading into the June 10 MLB draft, is currently a coveted commodity.
“I’ve definitely sat back and said, ‘Wow,’ ” the former Woodbury (Minn.) High School star said. “Some days, it’s kind of stressful, I guess, getting all these calls, but you’ve got to look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and something you can tell your kids and grandkids about. I’ve been really appreciative for everything that’s been going on.”
Still, Meyer also appreciates his weekends, and the reprieves they provide during one of the biggest periods of his baseball career.
“I like to fish and take my mind off everything, because that’s a little downtime that I have to just relax, go to my cabin or hang out with my buddies,” he said. “It’s been fun and I’ve found ways to stay busy.”
And productive. That hasn’t been the easiest thing for athletes during this pandemic, but Meyer has found a regimen that works for him. It includes a commitment to working out … and eating. Heading into his junior season, the Gophers’ star pitcher weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 to 185 pounds. After the past couple months of “going pretty hard” after the Gophers’ season was canceled amid coronavirus concerns, he is up to 200 pounds — a long-time weight goal of his.
“I’ve just figured out I’ve got to force feed myself, I guess, because I’m a guy that struggles to put on weight,” Meyer said. “I usually eat about four to five meals a day, pretty big meals, and I’ll try to get something good in before bed, but it’s pretty much anything I can really get my hands on is good.”
Meyer said this is the best he’s ever felt, so he’s excited to get back on the mound. The right-handed pitcher recently was named a 2020 All-American by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, as was Gophers teammate Zack Raabe, but it’s been a while since he’s gotten a chance to pitch.
“I’ve been throwing and everything is coming off my hand the best it’s ever been,” Meyer said. “So I’d like to see the gains I’ve made over these last couple months, too.”
Will he be able to put that work to the test after the draft? That remains to be seen. The minor league baseball season is very much in doubt because of the coronavirus. But Meyer hasn’t let his uncertain immediate future impact his approach.
“I just kind of hopped back on my winter routine, because we worked out five days a week,” he said. “I just started my return-to-throw program a couple weeks ago, so I’m lightly getting back into it, and if I get drafted, and they want me to go somewhere, I’ll be ready to go. But I won’t be bullpen or, I guess, ‘live’ ready, so they’ll have to work me in there. I’m just taking it one day at a time and hearing when I need to be ready. I feel like if they give me a date, I’ll be ready to go then.”