By STEVE KRAH
A dozen years after Alex Meyer donned the jersey of the Indiana Bulls travel baseball uniform as a player, the former big league pitcher is helping the organization as an assistant coach.
“I hope that I bring an extra set of eyes and somebody (Bulls players) can talk to,” says Meyer, 30. “I’m not too removed from playing. I want to help them through the recruiting process. I want to give them somebody they can trust. I don’t want them to think I’m giving them the run-around on anything.”
The Washington Nationals picked right-hander Meyer in the first round (No. 23 overall) of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2015 with the Minnesota Twins and pitched for the Twins in 2016 before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels late in that season. He also pitched for the Angels in 2017.
Pitching coaches that worked with Meyer included Neil Allen and Rick Anderson with the Twins and Charles Nagy and Rick Honeycutt with the Angels.
“They were all great,” says Meyer. “The majority of the time when I was (in the majors) my coach was Charlie Nagy. He was awesome. He related to me really well.
“I was a nervous kid when I was up there. He put things into perspective and helped me quite a bit.”
While he had little interactions with Twins manager Paul Molitor, Meyer spent more time around Angels skipper Mike Scioscia.
“He’s another guy I loved,” says Meyer of Scioscia. “He’s old school. What he brought to the team was awesome. He was not afraid to jump somebody. He demanded things be done the right way. The way he went about it, I definitely respected.”
Meyer pitched in 22 big league games (19 starts) and went 5-8 with a 4.63 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings.
After retiring from pro baseball in July 2019, Meyer became a sales representative for BSN Sports and does much of his work out of his Greensburg, Ind., home.
Alex and Kyra Meyer have been married close to five years and have two sons — Roman (2) and Max (8 months).
Meyer’s BSN manager is Quinn Moore, who coached him during his 17U and 18U travel ball seasons with the Indiana Bulls — before and after committing to the University of Kentucky.
Moore asked Meyer to help with the Bulls this fall and plans call for him to coach within the organization next summer.
Meyer is a 2008 graduate of Greensburg Community High School, where he played baseball for Pirates head coach Scott Moore. He played basketball for two seasons each for Keith Hipskind and Stacy Meyer and earned all-Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference honors three times as a forward-wing type of player.
“(Moore) made it fun,” says Meyer. “He kept everything loose. It was a very, very enjoyable place to play.
“(Hipskind and Meyer) had a huge impact on me. They had different styles, but very good things, Coach Hipskind was kind of an old school and tough. I like the way he went about his business. He wanted to get every ounce out of his guys that he could. Stacy had a little bit more of a modern approach but was still hard on us. He demanded excellence. He could really break down a team and help you prepare.”
As a Greensburg senior on the diamond, Meyer went 8-0 with a 0.95 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 51 innings. He was named Indiana Mr. Baseball and the Indiana Player of the Year by Gatorade and Louisville Slugger.
He was selected in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox, but chose to wait on his professional and played three seasons at Kentucky (2009-11).
“I was young,” says Meyer. “I needed to go to school. I needed to learn how to be on my own a little bit and to grow as a baseball player.”
He grew in the game while also adding three inches to his stature in three seasons. He was about 6-foot-6 when he left high school and 6-9 at the end of his college days.
“It was about an inch every year,” says Meyer. “It kept me busy trying to stay accustomed to my body to try to learn how it moved.
“Being tall, you want to use that to your advantage. You want to have that good plane on your fastball.”
He pitched from a three-quarter arm slot at Kentucky and was a lower three-quarter at the end of his pro career.
With Gary Henderson as his head coach and Brad Bohannon his pitching coach, Meyer appeared in 39 games for UK (36 as a starter) and went 13-12 with a 4.73 ERA and 253 strikeouts in 211 2/3 innings.
Meyer says standing on the mound for the Wildcats and facing batters in the Southeastern Conference helped him develop mental toughness.
“I had to learn how to deal with a little big of failure and stay positive,” says Meyer. “That was a huge part of it for me.”