Wednesday night proved to be a historic night for the Gophers' baseball program.
Junior right-handed pitcher Max Meyer was selected No. 3 overall by the Miami Marlins in 2020 MLB Draft, making him the highest Gopher selected since Paul Molitor was taken with the third pick in the 1977 MLB Draft. Dave Winfield, who was selected fourth in 1973, is the only other Gopher to be selected in the top-five.
"It is unbelievable with two legends, Molitor and Winfield, to be in that same category," Meyer said in a Zoom call with media on Wednesday night. "I always had a good feeling about going to the Marlins but draft day comes and you never know ... it feels great to be a Marlin."
Meyer is also the highest University of Minnesota pitcher ever selected, eclipsing Glen Perkins, who was drafted No. 22 by the Minnesota Twins in the 2004 MLB Draft. He is the ninth Gopher to be selected in the first round, most in the Big Ten Conference.
An hour after the the selection, the moment hadn't quite sunk in for Meyer.
"Not right now, we're just hanging out and celebrating a little bit. But, definitely when my head hits the pillow tonight it's going to sink in," he said. "I've been playing this game my whole life and this has been my dream since I was a little kid and it just came true today. It was a very special moment."
In the abbreviated 2020 baseball season, Meyer went 3-1 with a 1.95 earned run average in four starts. In the 27 2/3 innings pitched, Meyer struck out 46. He finishes his career as a Gopher with a 2.07 ERA in 46 appearances, 15 of which were starts. Meyer's career ERA ranks fourth all-time at Minnesota and he owns the third-most saves in program history with 18.
It isn't the first time Meyer has had the chance to turn pro. Coming out of high school in 2017, Meyer was selected in the 34th round by the Minnesota Twins. Opting to stay in college to improve his stock, Meyer increased his fastball velocity from the high-80s to nearly 100 miles per hour. He also added a changeup to his repertoire of pitches which includes a knee-buckling slider that sits in the low-90s.
Because of Meyer's experience working out of the bullpen, the Woodbury native has a chance to rise through the minor leagues quicker than most prospects and could potentially pitch out of the major league bullpen later this year if the MLB has a season.
Meyer also took time to thank the Gophers coaching staff.
"They've done so much for my physical and mostly mental side of the game. I look at Ty [McDevitt] and Pat [Casey] like brothers. They've been with me, they text me every night if I need something. John Anderson is the ultimate wizard, he's getting everybody ready for the next 50 years of our lives and he's done a tremendous job with me and I can't thank him enough. Those guys are all like brothers to me and they'll be there for me whenever I need them.