Cal Poly Baseball in Review — Nick Meyer and Slater Lee

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Updated: July 22, 2017

Slater Lee (Senior, Pitcher)

Season Synopsis

In his fourth and final year at Cal Poly, Lee dropped his delivery to more of a three-quarters arm slot and provided a reliable relief option for Larry Lee (no relation). Lee’s added funk and savvy pitching helped him to sport a career-low 2.86 ERA and strike out over 11 hitters per nine innings. Lee struck out 54 batters while walking just 15 and finished the season with a 4-2 record. His high-leverage innings down the stretch helped Cal Poly overcome a slow start to finish the season with a .500 record in 2017.

Evolution

Slater Lee’s evolution into a relief pitcher was somewhat unexpected. As a freshman, Lee’s complete game, two-hit shutout of defending national champion UCLA and Cal Poly’s subsequent series win was a big statement in the Mustangs’ 2014 season. That season Cal Poly probably had its best season ever in Division I with Lee starting 11 games. While Lee’s strong start as a freshman didn’t carry over into subsequent seasons, Slater showed some strong makeup, retooling over the course of the next two seasons into something of a super utility pitcher. As a senior, his 20 appearances were third most on the team.

Nick Meyer (Sophomore, Catcher)

Nick Meyer, post-mustache in 2017. A leader on the Cal Poly team, Meyer is poised for his junior season in 2018. By Owen Main

Living up to high standards

Last season, Lucas Clark (the Tribune writer who used to be on the Cal Poly beat) asked me whether Nick Meyer was the best defensive catcher in recent Cal Poly memory. “Well,” I explained, “There’s this guy named Chris Hoo. He won the national gold glove. He’s probably the standard that other Cal Poly catchers will be measured against for a long time.” 

So, the biggest credit I can give Meyer is this — he seems some very Hoo-like in his stability and approach. Larry Lee gave Meyer the reigns as a true freshman and he hasn’t looked back. 

Though he hit just .255 in 2017, Meyer started and played in 55 of Cal Poly’s 56 games (a few in right field) and hit two home runs while driving-in 31. He struck out and walked just 17 times each and his bat to ball skills are really solid. Balancing that hit tool with an effort to drive the ball harder and farther will be something to look for from Meyer in 2018.

National Team and beyond

This summer, Larry Lee is an assistant coach on the US Collegiate National Team, and he brought his catcher. Meyer was used mostly as a backup on the USA team, but he did throw out three of seven would-be base stealers. The experience could provide some confidence and insight for Meyer, who should be an up-the-middle cornerstone in 2018.

If Cal Poly is going to move forward from a few disappointing seasons in a row, they’ll need Meyer to take another step too. Meyer has always had very good bat control, but he’ll need to be more steady at the plate. Defensively, he was probably the second-best catcher in the conference last year and could compete for that crown in 2018. He takes a lot of chances, but he cut his throwing mistakes down in 2017 and figures to take another step in 2018. Having talented juniors in baseball is like having talented seniors in other sports. Meyer will be one of a hand-full in 2018 for Larry Lee. 

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