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  • 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. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I don't think anyone is claiming Myers is some sorta of sure deal, but he is certainly the best pitching prospect the Twins have had since Matt Garza. (Gibson could be close if it weren't for the injury)

      When was the last time the Twins had a guy in the system who could throw 98 AND get it over the plate?
      I don't know what he'll be, I like the tone of the move. They aren't going to take a lesser talent just because it is more major league ready - they took a guy that projects to be here in about 2015.

      What I find funny is how far of a cry this is from Span for Shields. We had some rather adamant posters around here about Span's value.
      I was on the James Shields boat, but even I knew it would take more then Span to land him, I believe I said Span+Rosario?
      At least with a guy like Meyers you potentially get a half dozen or so years of mostly cheap team control. Shields would have been most likely only a two year potential fix (but a very good one at that)

      I disagree on 2015 as well, I don't see any reason why he can't be ready sometime in 2014. From what I read he should be able to move from A+ into AA/AAA pretty quickly.
    1. Buddy14's Avatar
      Buddy14 -
      The real question remains to be answered. How will the Twins go about turning this guy into a soft tossing pitch to contact guy?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      KLAW had him number 3 in Washington going into the year, at work so cannot look more for more recent. Today in his chat he said he thought Span was worth a "mid rotation starter".
    1. CC7's Avatar
      CC7 -
      good move, gives us one one of the better farm systems in the mlb
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      KLAW had him number 3 in Washington going into the year, at work so cannot look more for more recent. Today in his chat he said he thought Span was worth a "mid rotation starter".
      So Klaw was about right in projecting Spans value.
    1. powrwrap's Avatar
      powrwrap -
      I like this trade <crosses fingers> Hard-throwing starting pitcher with high K rate. Man, the Nats must really like Span having previously been rumored to be interested in him in 2011 as well. I wonder if this is the first guy in the Nats system the Twins asked for? If not, I'd like to know who it was...
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      As I said early in the off-season, they should deal Span for a young guy with a high ceiling. I will miss him, as I like to watch him play. Let's hope the scouts are right....and that they use the money saved to sign two legit pitchers.
    1. The Greatest Poster Alive's Avatar
      The Greatest Poster Alive -
      This is a good move. As some of you have seen I am one of Span's biggest supporters, as well as one of Revere's biggest detractors. Also, on principle I was opposed to trading Span for the sake of selling high, I believed that unless we were given a fair offer Span is the type of player you hold.

      All that considered I think the Twins got a fair return for Span. Meyer projects as a strikeout pitcher, something the Twins are sorely lacking. The Twins did a classic baseball trade, took an organizational strength (Centerfield) and traded it for an organizational weakness (power pitching).

      Whether Meyer pans out is up in the air, he's a prospect... plenty of guys more highly regarded than Meyer will do worse than he will, plenty of guys ranked below him will perform better.

      I trust the Twins judgement of centerfielders, and I believe that they see something in either Revere (or more likely Hicks) that they can let Span go to strengthen the future of the rotation.

      I will miss Dspan. Will probably pick up a discount T-shirt with his number on it soon.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      Yeah at this moment 2013 looks just as bad as 2011-2012. But it does give you a chance to dream of a rotation of Meyers, Barrios, Gibson, Diamond and maybe Hendricks or someone else in 2015.

      Having Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Kepler, Barrios all arrive around the same time should be exciting. With Hicks and Parmalee already in the majors that is youth movement with some depth. Now some will flame out and others will probably rise up and join this group, but this has the opportunity to be a strong core going forward. Some holes out there still that will need to be filled, but it sure looks better then it did last December.
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      If the Twins are smart, they'll have Alex Meyer undergo Tommy John surgery tonight...
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      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.
      How could you call Meyer a "C" prospect, the guy hits 98 MPH as a starter and looks to have 3 plus pitches (not to mention size, good minor league results etc)? He was widely considered the 2nd best prospect heading into 2013 of the Nats farm class.

      Meyer is clearly the best pitching prospect the Twins have and ranks somewhere between Hicks and Arcia but ahead of Rosario and Gibson, you wouldn't call those guys C prospects right??
      Top 50 prospects are all B's or better.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SirLoin View Post
      If the Twins are smart, they'll have Alex Meyer undergo Tommy John surgery tonight...
      Not before they completely breakdown his mechanics in order to "fix" him.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Fwiw, Sickels ranked Meyer 28th overall pitcher in his preliminary list this year, so #50-65 overall seems about right:

    1. Knotholemike's Avatar
      Knotholemike -
      Now the Twins only have about $70M in obligations for 2013, and Blackburn, Span and Morneau represent another $27M in obligations gone after next year. Although Meyers fills a glaring hole in the upper levels of the farm system he's probably not likely to be ready to join the rotation until 2015. I actually like this move for the Nationals much better than Atlanta's signing of BJ Upton. The Nationals have sluggers but really needed a quality lead-off man and center fielder. They get that in Span. But, I'm gonna miss the skinny version of Darryl from the Office patrol center at Target field.
    1. drivlikejehu's Avatar
      drivlikejehu -
      Span is a very solid player at a premium position. This is definitely not a great return on paper. A 1-for-1 trade for an MLB-ready guy is one thing, but this is someone who hasn't pitched above A-ball. The Twins need guys like Meyer in their system but Span was one of the few assets they had and one interesting but flawed prospect isn't good enough.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Currently fighting back tears right now...oh no here they come. Good luck to my once favorite Twin and new favorite former Twin. Pretty good deal both ways, but I wish we could have added some marginal prospects to that package. Nationals just got a fantastic player and their lineup got so much better.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      i just don't get the mentality of trading a major league good centerfielder with a great value contract for someone who may never make it to the bigs at all. span should have been traded for a proven pitcher, and one that can help now, not "maybe" in a few years. what a waste of trading chip. and still no pitching for the twins 2013 season.
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      i don't like the "return" for span either.....1 A-ball pitcher for a good major league CF/Lead-off hitter....Geez, stop trading with Washington. Rizzo has our number. Maybe Washington will re-sign Capps and trade him back to us...
    1. The Greatest Poster Alive's Avatar
      The Greatest Poster Alive -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      Currently fighting back tears right now...oh no here they come. Good luck to my once favorite Twin and new favorite former Twin. Pretty good deal both ways, but I wish we could have added some marginal prospects to that package. Nationals just got a fantastic player and their lineup got so much better.
      would a few scrap heap relievers/MIF'ers really have changed your perseption of the trade? This organization is LOADED with scrap heap reclamation prospects. Twins need top end talent... not longshot prospects
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Where is Seth?

      I want to read what Seth has to say about this trade!

      I'm happy... I like what I've read... Hopefully I'll be happy with what I eventually see. Was hoping for an arm that we would see this year and maybe we will. He came out of College so he was 22 in his first year of pro ball. If you consider that there isn't much competition between him and the majors in our system... He could move thru AA/AAA fairly quick... Even for the Twins.

      It all depends on that Fastball/Slider Combo of his. If he hangs some zero's and produces some K's. What would prevent him from moving up by the end of the year?

      I'm happy but I'll wait to hear what Seth says.
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