Jake Meyers finished his Husker career with three homers. He now has two after his second major league start Saturday for the Astros.
The Omaha Westside graduate smashed his first two home runs for Houston, connecting for a solo shot in the third inning then a grand slam in the sixth to finish 2 for 4 with five RBIs as the Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-2. Meyers, called up July 31, was playing in his seventh game, getting the start in right field after Kyle Tucker was placed on the injured list for health and safety protocols.
Meyers’ grand slam came on a 0-1 fastball from Junior Guerra and reached the elevated seats in right field. The shot measured 383 feet with an exit velocity of nearly 102 mph. The last Astro to hit his first two career home runs in the same game was Lance Berkman in 1999.
“I was kind of just looking for a fastball or anything up in the zone to really get in a run. No outs, bases loaded, a guy in scoring position,” said Meyers, whose Astros begin a four-game series at Kansas City on Monday. “I just tried to do a job and help the team out and I hit it really well.”
His first homer was an over-the-middle mid-80s slider he sent the opposite way 396 feet off the wall in right-center.
Meyers wasn’t much of a power hitter in three seasons as a Husker from 2015 to 2017, his three shots coming in 140 college games. But the 25-year-old has turned the power on, connecting for 16 homers at Triple-A Sugar Land this season before his promotion.
Meyers, selected in the 13th round of the 2017 draft, entered the game with two hits in his first 10 at-bats along with a walk and six strikeouts. His previous MLB highlight had come in his first start Wednesday, when he stole a base and scored on a shallow sacrifice fly on a bang-bang play.
“He’s a very stable young man and he’s not overwhelmed by this,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “In spring training, it looked like he might be trying a little too hard and we just have to make sure he stays within himself, gets good pitches to hit, take a good whack at it and don’t miss it.”
Meyers has always hit for a high average.
He led Westside to back-to-back Class A titles in 2013 and 2014, batting at least .440 both years. As an outfielder and starting pitcher for Nebraska, he hit .307 in his career.
He had 20 homers in his first three minor league seasons, as his previous high was nine in 2019, when he split time between High-A and Double-A.
All minor league seasons were canceled in 2020, but Meyers was invited to the Astros’ alternate site last summer.
“It was a huge deal, and I got a lot out of it,” he said before his call-up. “We have fantastic coaches who helped me get a lot better; 2020 ended up being a massive year in my baseball career. I ended up hitting really well in spring training before they shut everything down. ... I think I’ve carried the momentum.”
At the alternate site and during spring training this year, Meyers spent time around Alex Bregman, the AL MVP runner-up in 2019, and other all-stars.
“I was able to pick the brains of some of the best players in the league — (Carlos) Correa, (Michael) Brantley,” Meyers said. “I’m happy how I’m progressing, and I’m just looking forward to getting better.”
This report includes material from the Associated Press.