Max Meyer Dazzles In Pro Debut To Lead Blue Wahoos To Season-Opening Win Over Mississippi

May 6, 2021

Max Meyer was sensational for the Blue Wahoos in his much-anticipated professional debut as one of the baseball’s top prospects.

The relievers who followed were nearly as good.

It meshed perfectly into a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in Pearl, Miss. against the Mississippi Braves in a season-opener unlike any other. This one followed 605 days from the last Blue Wahoos’ game, following the 2020 shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic.

The opener also began Pensacola’s new era as the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate.

Meyer, a Minnesota native, who became the third overall pick by the Marlins in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, showed no sign of nerves or rustiness in his near flawless performance.

He yielded just one hit in five innings and two baserunners, while recording five strikeouts. He dazzled in front of a crowd of 2,307 at Trustmark Park, which included his parents, who traveled from Minnesota to see the special moment.

“Obviously, the standout performance was Max going five (innings),” said Blue Wahoos manager Kevin Randel. “He was very efficient with his pitches and seemed to get better as the game went along as well.

“I think it’s just his persona. It’s like he knows where he needs to be… and he knows where he’s going, most importantly. He never pitched in the Florida State League (High-A) or Low-A. It’s just the minor leagues to him and he feels he needs to be in the big leagues, he’s got the best stuff and that’s just how he pitches and we saw it (Wednesday).”

He was followed by three Blue Wahoos relievers – Sean Guenther, Anthony Maldonado and Colton Hock, who combined to allow just four hits, one walk and five strikeouts.

In the ninth, Hock earned the save with the M-Braves potential, game-winning run on first base. Hock, a fourth-round pick by the Marlins in 2017 out of Stanford, gave up a two out single and walk to get into trouble. But he then recorded the final out when getting next batter CJ Alexander to ground out, ending the game.

Meyer, meanwhile, was pitching in his first game that counted in 424 days – all the way back to March 6, 2020 as a junior at the University of Minnesota when he pitched what became his final collegiate game against Utah before the COVID-19 shutdown.

After waiting an extra day, following Tuesday’s rainout, Meyer flashed why he entered as the No. 23-rated overall prospect in all minor league levels by

The only hit Meyer allowed was a single in the fifth inning. He yielded just one walk and faced one batter above the minimum, leaving a memorable first impression. Both his slider and fastball were spot on. He kept hitting the corners with his fastball and the slider was curve-dropping into an unhittable pitch.

“The first two innings were nice, he’s was getting some swing and miss on his slider, but they weren’t really landing in the (strike) zone when he wanted to,” Randel said. “But about the third inning, he started landing some more breaking balls and he just got better as the game went along.”

The Blue Wahoos got their two runs in the first two innings. JJ Bleday, the Marlins No. 1 pick in 2019 out of Vanderbilt, drove in Victor Victor Mesa, who led off the game with a triple on the second pitch.

In the second inning, Lazaro Alonso laced a one-out single to score catcher Nick Fortes, who led off the inning with a double. The Blue Wahoos had four hits in the first two innings, but the M-Braves pitched check Pensacola on four hits the rest of the way.

“I think right away, right of the bat, just the offense getting going,” Randel said. “First time competition, underneath the lights, in however many days and we put up some good at bats early.”

The teams will play five more games before the Blue Wahoos return to make their home debut on May 11 against the Birmingham Barons.

by Bill Villona, Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Photos for, click to enlarge.


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