• Twins trade Denard Span for Nationals' 2011 first round pick

    The Twins announce that they have have traded Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for pitcher Alex Meyer, a 2011 first round draft pick (23rd overall).

    The big-bodied Meyer, 6'9" and 220, spent last year split between A and High-A, striking out 26.6% of batters faced, walking just 8.6% and produced a 2.86 ERA which led to an invite to the Futures Game.

    Fangraphs.com had an excellent write-up on Meyer, noting that his 97-98 MPH fastball is very impressive in addition to his slider - which Baseball America considered the system's best after the 2011 season. From the Fangraphs.com's article, here's Mike Newman's (Scouting the Sally) scouting report on Meyer's secondary stuff:

    Meyer mixed in an upper-80′s slider with tight, late break. At its best, his arm action was identical to that of his fastball and it profiled as at least an above-average pitch. However, Meyer’s inconsistent mechanics caused him to intermittently drop his elbow or collapse his back leg leading to at least a handful of “hangers” up in the zone. Repetition and experience may help to iron these issues out, but once again, Meyer’s size and previous track record leaves questions as to how seamless those adjustments will be.

    The most surprising aspect of Meyer’s outing was a changeup which was significantly better than expected. At 87-88 MPH, it was a harder change, but his arm action and late drop leaves the projection of an average third pitch — a key for projecting a starting pitcher. Once again, his command was inconsistent causing him to leave the pitch up and out to right-handed hitters too often, but it’s a strong starting point to build from.
    Newman went on to say that the name that popped into his head the most was "Matt Clement" - a promising pitcher who never lived up to the hype.

    Following his draft in 2011, Baseball America's Aaron Fitt said this about the right-hander, noting caution of mechanical issues which plagues taller pitchers:

    Talk about a guy with huge upside, that is Alex Meyer. I saw him at the Houston College Classic this year. I believe the Nationals director of scouting, Kris Kline, was there also. His fastball was hitting the mid-90s and he can run it up to 97-98 mph with life, and he has an explosive breaking ball.

    It was a power knuckle-breaking ball. He called it a knuckle-curve. It really looks more like a slider most of the time. It is a mid-80s mph pitch that can just be a wipeout offering. It is one of the better breaking balls that you will see out there when he has got it going.

    He is making progress as a pitcher. There is risk with this guy. He is 6-foot-9 and like many tall pitchers there are a lot of moving parts. There is a lot going on in that delivery. It takes a lot for those guys to put it all together.

    He reminded me a lot of Andrew Brackman, who was a basketball player at N.C. State who also played baseball. When Brackman was on in college, he was dominant. But again, there is a lot you've got to harness with those tall guys."

    Clement and now Brackman? Uff. Not the most impressive comparables. Still, as Fitt said, there is high-upside there, potential to be a top-of-the-rotation guy - something the Twins don't have now, nor deeper in the farm system. Given his age (23 in January), there's an outside possibility that Meyer could be ready to join the rotation sometime in 2014.

    In trading Span, the Twins free themselves of a $4.75 million commitment for 2013 and $7 million in 2014 ($6.5M plus a $500,000 buyout).
    Comments 321 Comments
    1. TwinsFanInPhilly's Avatar
      TwinsFanInPhilly -
      Good get!!!
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?12...rst-round-pick
    1. Cris E's Avatar
      Cris E -
      So we now know we're not building towards 2013. There was always this implied "two good starters and we're in it" vibe and this belies that. As much as that seems obvious, if they'd managed to land, say, Santana, McCarthy *and* Meyers there would have been a real shot at .500. Trading top chip Span for non-2013 talent says not to hold your breath for the others either.
    1. mikeee's Avatar
      mikeee -
      Payroll went down some more!
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      I can live with this. We just have to trust that our scouts did their job and that he has a good chance to continue his progression and quickly move his way through the organization. As usual, only time will tell if this is a good trade.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Obviously not a suprise...the trade of Span or his destination. Hard thrower with upside which are both needs for this org.. Don't follow the minors enough to know anything about this guy except what i read.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      I guess this is the right direction.

      How many years before Meyer gets a September call-up?
    1. syves's Avatar
      syves -
      A starter with top of the rotation potential who's a year away is better than a number 3 who's ready now. I'm good with this trade. Now sign some pitchers for this year with the money saved!
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      He's definitely not a "pitch to contact" guy. Upper 90's fastball with an upper 80's slider. Let's just hope he doesn't have a history of arm problems.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      I am a huge fan of this move!
    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      I like it. Trading from a position of excess to fill a void. Makes too much sense not to do it. Here's hoping this guy develops into a Major Leaguer in the next couple years.
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      I've seen him ranked as either the Nats #2 or #3 prospect. On this surface it looks like we got really good value for Span, even if it's a pitcher that won't be ready until 2014. Although I have to wonder if he'll be put on the 40 man, start in AA and be a possibility for a September call up next year.
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      ....And we all know that Bill Smith would have traded him for Kurt Suzuki, so I think we did ok here.
    1. striker_86's Avatar
      striker_86 -
      Great move, we have tons of outfielders....
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Span will be missed in 2013, but we are looking to 2014 and beyond with this move.
    1. jtrinaldi's Avatar
      jtrinaldi -
      Who goes next? Willingham and Morneau at the Winter Meetings?
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Love this move. We really did need to add to our pitching prospects due to the fact have 1 or 2 legit pitching prospects right now. I believe this is TR saying we are going to win this year, but we are building to have a good team in 2014/15. A guy who pitches in the high 90s? Get out of town? Crazy they didnt get a guy who throws a 90mph FB and has an average change up and a curve.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by jtrinaldi View Post
      Who goes next? Willingham and Morneau at the Winter Meetings?
      You have to believe so. Willingham is likely at his peak in terms of value and Morneau might not be, but if we are building for 2014/15 you have to believe we will be hear a bunch of rumors/ posts on this website of possible destinations.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      1. Sano
      2. Buxton
      3. Hicks
      4. Meyer
      5. Arcia
      6. Gibson
      7. Rosario

      Not a bad farm system.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      This is the kind of trade with which I trust Terry Ryan. Trading an established guy for a lower level minor league guy with some upside. I don't know if Meyer is more than a "C" prospect at this point, and his real test should come when he gets to AA next year, but that may be why he's available.

      I am disappointed that the Twins didn't get any pitching or middle infielders to help them next year.
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