Like father, like son.
As the midpoint of his first full season in professional baseball nears, Quad-Cities outfielder Jake Meyers finds himself following in his father’s footsteps.
He previously shared earning all-American honors with his father, Paul, at the collegiate level at Nebraska and now both father and son can share stories about their time playing in the Midwest League.
Paul Meyers was a fourth-round draft pick of the Giants in 1986, making his professional debut for the Clinton Giants that year as a center fielder on the same diamond where Jake Meyers found himself playing center for the River Bandits late last month.
"When we played up in Clinton, the thought crossed my mind that I was standing in the same place where my dad had played," Jake Meyers said. "I don’t think that had ever happened before. Nebraska has a newer stadium, so it was really the first time we had played on the same field."
The experience, he said, "was pretty neat."
Selected by Houston in the 13th round of the 2017 draft, things have been going neatly lately for Meyers with the River Bandits in recent weeks.
A three-hit game against Clinton on Tuesday at Modern Woodmen Park, which included a pair of doubles, helped move Meyers’ batting average to .299 through 60 games with Quad-Cities.
He is currently tied for second in the Midwest League with 18 doubles, tied for third with 26 extra-base hits and is second among River Bandits with 12 stolen bases in 19 attempts.
Meyers has developed a reputation as one of the league’s top defensive outfielders, and with his effort, laundering head-to-toe dirt off of his uniform has become a regular chore for Quad-Cities clubhouse manager Daniel Rose.
It’s all about consistent effort, something that positioned Meyers well in last year’s draft and something that he also learned from his father.
"We talked a little about what to expect in pro ball and how every day would be different and how I needed to be ready for that," Meyers said. "It was a good advice. This is a different game, and you have to be ready to deal with what comes your way."
That hasn’t been an issue for Meyers.
"His play for us in center and the way he has swung the bat, he’s become a leader on our team and has handled it all with ease," Quad-Cities manager Mickey Storey said. "He wasn’t selected for the all-star team, but in my mind he’s had an all-star season. He shows that every day."
The game is in his blood.
His father was an all-American outfielder for the Cornhuskers who went on to reach the Triple-A level in the Giants organization during a career that started in 1986 with 73 games in the Midwest League as part of a team managed by Jack Mull that featured future major leaguer Kirt Manwaring.
Paul Meyers, currently working as a business development manager for an Omaha-based accounting and business solutions firm, spent more than two decades working in athletics administration at Nebraska.
An Omaha Westside graduate, Jake Meyers accepted a scholarship offer during his sophomore year of high school to follow his father to the Nebraska program.
He thrived as both an outfielder and a pitcher for the Cornhuskers.
Before being drafted following his junior season a year ago, Meyers earned all-American honors after batting .297, stealing 20 bases in 22 attempts and leading Nebraska’s starting rotation with a 3.42 earned run average.
He finished the season with an 8-2 record and worked a string of 25.2 consecutive scoreless innings at one point during the season, experience that continues to make a difference.
"I learned a lot from pitching, and I’m glad I got to do that as long as I did," Meyers said. "I’m a pretty competitive person, and the one-on-one battles, I loved that, and I think the experience has helped me develop a better approach at the plate."
Meyers tries to carry that competitive mindset into the way he plays the game now.
He sees room for growth in his consistency and feels like he needs to develop better skills as a baserunner as the season progresses.
"There’s always room to get better, and that’s what I’ve always tried to be about," he said.
Meyers said working with that mindset has been easy to accomplish with the River Bandits.
"We have a team that likes that part of the game. We’re out here early, working to get better and find ways to put ourselves in a position to win games," Meyers said.
In many respects, that is exactly the situation that Meyers’ father told his son to make the most of as his career progresses.
"Great advice," Meyers said. "Be willing to learn, be ready to learn and adjust and make the most of any chance that comes your way. That carries me every day."
Like father, like son.