SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Alex Meyer, the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, had a good feeling he would be taken by the Nationals -- even though many experts projected him to be drafted by Washington with the sixth pick. The team ended up taking third baseman Anthony Rendon with that sixth pick.
"I had a pretty good idea the Nationals were interested in me," Meyer said. "They took a chance on me and it worked out that way. I'm excited about it. It's a great opportunity. I'm looking forward to getting things going."
Washington has a reason to be interested. Meyer had a 2.94 ERA and struck out 110 batters in 101 innings for Kentucky this season. His fastball is clocked in the high 90s.
Nationals scouting director Kris Kline went so far as to compare Meyer's stuff to right-hander Gerrit Cole, who was taken by the Pirates as the first overall pick in this year's Draft.
"Both are power guys," Kline said. "Right now Gerrit is more durable, but [Meyer] is going to fill out. He has made great strides from last year to now. He has made tremendous progress."
Meyer is another power pitcher who could join Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation in a couple of years. It's not known where he would start once he signs with the Nationals. It will likely be Class A Hagerstown.
"It's awesome to think about," Meyer said about possibly being the rotation with Strasburg and Zimmermann. "The Nationals are an organization on the rise. They have been doing things the right way. It's exciting for me about playing with those guys."
Before reaching the big leagues, Meyer needs to make some tweaks. He currently works better while pitching out of the stretch.
"Things really improved for me quite a bit in the last year, obviously, but there is still quite a bit that needs to be fixed up quite a bit or tuned up a little bit," Meyer said. "I think it's a matter of strengthening up my body a little bit still. Some of it is going to come down to repeating my delivery and having a consistent arm slot. Once that happens, a lot of things will fall into place for me. We'll continue to improve and everything should turn out pretty well."
It's not the first time Meyer was selected in the First-Year Player Draft. In 2008, the Red Sox drafted him in the 20th round. Meyer doesn't have any regrets not signing with Boston. He said he wasn't ready to play professional baseball at that time, and his parents wanted him to go to college.
"Everything started happening extremely quickly for me," Meyer said. "My parents were helping me out with the whole process. Really, it was more their decision than anything -- which at the time, I was ready for anything, they thought.
"Going to college benefited me. It was the best decision that I could have made at the time. Everything has worked out for me so far. ... I'm less than a year away from graduating. It was a big decision for me, but definitely the right one we could have made."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.