by Dave Nichols, photos by Cheryl Nichols
The Potomac Nationals, the High-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, feature two of the top three picks from the Nats’ 2011 MLB draft class. On Sunday, RHP Alex Meyer was the starting pitcher for the P-Nats, while Anthony Rendon started at third base and hit third in manager Brian Rupp’s lineup.
Meyer, 22, a 6’9″ right-hander out of the University of Kentucky, was the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 draft . He features a mid-90s fastball, a plus slider and a work-in-progress changeup. On Sunday against the Winston-Salem Dash, he relied heavily on a devastating fastball to overpower his High-A opponents. His slider was wildly inconsistent, but the few good ones he managed were sharp with a late break. He barely threw his change, a pitch that will determine if he stays a starting pitcher as he moves up the minor league ladder.
Very few batters squared up against Meyer’s fastball on Sunday. The hardest hit ball led to the only run scored against him. Michael Earley, Winston-Salem’s left fielder and sixth-place hitter tripled to the deepest part of right center field in the fifth inning off Meyer. Meyer was able to get a ground out to hold Earley at third, but a medium deep fly to right fielder Kevin Keyes brought the run home without a close play.
All told, Meyer gave up just that one run on four hits over six innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven. In five starts for Potomac, Meyer has given up just four runs total (three earned) in 29 innings pitched for an ERA of 0.93. He’s struck out 26 and walked six. he has yet to allow more than one run in any of his appearances for Potomac. In the first half, he went 7-4 for Hagerstown with a 3.10 ERA in 18 starts with a 107/34 K/BB rate.
Anthony Rendon, 22, was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has missed most of the season rehabbing an ankle injury sustained very early in the season. He’s played seven games for the P-Nats, hitting .333/.462/.714 in 26 plate appearances so far.
Unfortunately, on Sunday Rendon only got two at bats. He was called out on strikes both times by home plate umpire Rich Gonzalez, first on a ball high and outside, then on a ball he had to jackknife out of the way from in the second at bat. Rendon was aggravated after both calls, and on the second, pointed to where he thought the pitch was, earning himself an ejection. Both calls were clearly bad, but a player simply can’t show an umpire up like that — unless he wants and expects an ejection to make his point.
As for the ballgame, Meyer left trailing 1-0 after six innings. Potomac’s bullpen proceeded to get lit up, with Adam Carr allowing four earned runs on five hits — without retiring a single batter. The P-Nats ended up losing 7-0 to Winston-Salem.
It was also Washington Capitals Day at the P-Nats. For our photo gallery of the events, please click here.
Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.