Catching an Ace: A scouting report from Noble Meyer's batterymate
Brock Leitgeb is going to Michigan and knows its going to be a while until he faces someone like his classmate.
KEIZER — Something this Alaskan has thoroughly enjoyed about living in the Lower 48: the quality of high school baseball here in Oregon is outstanding.
The first event I covered for The Oregonian as an intern was a 2010 Clackamas vs. Barlow game, when Cavaliers’ ace Ben Wetzler mowed through the Bruins lineup for 14 strikeouts in a 4-0 win.
Wetzler was throwing in the low-90s, nobody could touch his breaking pitches and Clackamas had a sound enough defense behind him to make it a brisk evening of work — for players and reporter. You just don’t see arms — or error-free innings — like that up north.
A few weeks later, Cleveland took Wetzler in the 15th round before he elected to attend Oregon State and put together an All-American career.
Here 13 years later, I made it a point to go see Noble Meyer pitch last month. Meyer is, well, a freak. He’s 6-foot-5, touches triple-digits on the gun with an easy delivery and has a slider scouts call big league ready. He’s an Oregon commit who will most certainly not be attending Oregon.
On Sunday, he’s expected to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
I saw him pitch in the state championship game against West Linn, a game in which he allowed two hits in the first inning and none the rest of the game. He struck out 14. And Jesuit lost 2-0.
But that’s beside the point.
Because all that I kept thinking throughout that entire game was how in the world does a high school kid catch that. I mean, you could hear the pop of the glove echo around the stadium.
So I caught up with Brock Leitgeb, who has caught Meyer off-and-on for the last four seasons at Jesuit. Leitgeb is signed to play for Michigan, and knows it might be a long, long time until he sees stuff quite like his former batterymate.
Alger: So, what’s it like catching a 100 mph fastball?