LEXINGTON, Ky. — Former Kentucky baseball All-Southeastern Conference starting pitcher Alex Meyer has been ranked as the sixth-best prospect in the talent-rich Washington Nationals organization by Baseball America, it was announced on Wednesday morning.

A first-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Nationals in June, Meyer was tabbed as the 23rd overall player selected in the draft, the second-highest draft pick in UK history. Meyer, a native of Greensburg, Ind., was ranked as the sixth-best prospect in the Nationals system, checking in as the third-best pitching prospect, behind righties A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock. Meyer signed at the August 17, 2011 MLB signing deadline, missing the 2011 minor league season but participating in MLB instructional league. The Nationals system includes one of the richest collections of talent in baseball, featuring Cole, Peacock, lefty Matt Purke, outfielder Bryce Harper, third baseman Anthony Rendon and outfielder Brian Goodwin.

A 6-foot-9, 220-pound right-hander, Meyer wrapped up his three-year career in 2011 as a second-team All-SEC starting pitcher. As a junior, Meyer made 14 starts with four complete games, posting a 7-5 record and a 2.94 ERA. In 101 innings, Meyer allowed only 78 hits with 110 strikeouts.

During the 2011 season, Meyer finished the regular-season as the SEC leader in strikeouts, strikeouts looking (48), ranking ninth in ERA, fifth in opponent average (.222), second in innings pitched and eighth in wins.

Meyer, a 20th-round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft out of Greensburg High School, finished his career with a 13-12 record and a 4.72 ERA in 39 games and 36 starts, striking out 253 in 211.2 innings. Meyer ranks fifth in UK career history in career strikeouts.

“Meyer sat at 94-97 mph and broke 100 on occasion with his four-seam fastball last spring, though he topped out at 93 in instructional league,” Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt, who covered Meyer in college, said in his prospect breakdown. “He mixes in a 91-93 mph two-seamer with above-average life when it’s down in the zone. He uses a knuckle-curve grip to deliver an 82-88 mph slider that’s a wipeout pitch at times. He also has improving feel for his 84-86 mph changeup. Meyer could be an ace starter or a flamethrowing reliever in the mold of Daniel Bard. He’ll likely debut in low Class A.”

With a trip to the low Class A Hagerstown Suns likely for Meyer in his first professional season, the former UK star could return to Lexington to face the South Atlantic League Lexington Legends for 11 games during the 2012 season.

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