Professional Right-Handed Pitcher
The road to Ben Meyer’s professional baseball career has been a winding one. He’s pitched in the United States. He’s pitched in the Netherlands, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Japan is on the calendar.
How did a former Division III position player prepare himself to get on the mound in California, Amsterdam and Prague?
He went where guys go to get better.
“I just needed maybe a couple more miles per hour and some more polish to get out there,” Meyer said. “Driveline is the name brand for those things. You hear about guys going there and getting better.”
Meyer didn’t really play much as a position player at Claremont McKenna College. He was given an opportunity to get on the mound from time-to-time, but totaled just 15 appearances in three seasons and accumulated a 7.88 ERA with an 85 mph fastball.
After COVID and graduation ended his college career, he started pitching in a men’s league in California. He dominated on the mound, in a way that made him feel like he definitely had something he could work with.
He started looking around at pro leagues in Europe.
His men’s league stuff wasn’t going to play over there, though. So that’s when the first trip to Driveline happened, for about a month in 2021 before he headed over to the Netherlands to play for UVV Utrecht, a developmental team.
He pitched well, and a seven-inning, 13-strikeout game against the Hoofddorp Pioniers, who play in the highest league in the Netherlands, earned him an invite to pitch for that club in 2022.
The jump to the bigger league made Meyer realize he had a bigger jump to make himself, and after he struggled through the 2022 season with Hoofddorp, he came home to spend eight straight months at Driveline.
He and Driveline pitching trainer Eddie Yost started digging into the details, and a true professional pitcher started to emerge.
When Meyer first came to Driveline, he was trying to throw a four-seam fastball with rise. The metrics showed it was flat, and at 85 mph, not a great pitch. So they made a switch.
Meyer and Yost also ditched his old 12-6 curveball in favor of a cutter that profiled better with his new sinker, and tweaked the grip on his changeup to get a bit more horizontal movement.
Armed with a new repertoire headlined by a 90 mph sink piece, Meyer headed back to the Netherlands this past summer for a bullpen role with the Amsterdam Pirates. He shoved, to the tune of a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings out of the ‘pen.
On top of that, his 85 mph four-seam fastball that turned into a 90 mph sinker is now a 94 mph sinker thanks to his continued dedication to training. And thanks to a chance outing in front of the right scout, Meyer has an invitation to pitch in Japan this winter.
“I pitched against the Czech Republic World Baseball Classic team [during Prague Baseball Week], and there was a Japanese scout there who asked me to come out and play in their winter league,” Meyer said.
Right place, right time, with the right stuff because of the right training. Some would call it luck. They shouldn’t. These things happen because the work Meyer put in allowed him to be in those spots.