• When Could Alex Meyer Boost the Rotation?

    Meyer's impressive Arizona Fall League performance hints at his path.

    There are plenty of questions for the Twins to find answers to in the coming months. One of the biggest conundrums swirling around the team is trying to figure out who will make up the starting rotation. Kevin Correia seems like the only lock for a starting job but the Twins don't really want him as the staff ace. So what direction should the team go?

    If the season started today, the Twins would likely enter the year with a rotation composed of Kevin Correia, Kyle Gibson, Scott Diamond, Vance Worley, and Sam Deduno. This isn't exactly the most exciting group of pitchers. If this is the starting rotation it seems the team would be destined for another less than mediocre year.

    Luckily, the team does have money to spend. If the Twins are allowed to get back to their 2012 payroll level of $100 million, the club has around $30-40 million in annual value to spend. This would leave the team will the money to go after a couple big name free agents. It certainly doesn't mean the club has to give away money but they do have some flexibility.

    Another solution to add depth to the Twins rotation might be an in-house option. Alex Meyer, the man most likely to get a chance in next year's rotation, just finished pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Last offseason, Meyer joined the Twins organization after being traded from Washington for Denard Span. One year later and he could be ready to make an impact at the big league level.

    Meyer pitched most of last year for New Britain in the Eastern League. He was limited to 78.1 innings (70.0 in NB and 8.1 in a rehab start in the GCL) because of an issue with his shoulder and that was one of the main reasons the club wanted him to build up some innings in the Arizona Fall League. His 11.5 SO/9 rate was the highest of his career and he recorded 100 strikeouts or more for the second consecutive season.

    The Twins were looking for a few things from Meyer in his time in the AFL. His secondary pitches needed some work and the team wanted to see better command-- he walked 32 in those 78.1 innings-- from a pitcher they feel is a front of the rotation arm. He ended up finishing second in the AFL in strikeouts and he did this in three fewer innings than the league leader.

    Reports on his fastball were good but his command and secondary pitches still don't sound like he is ready to make the jump to the big leagues. This likely means Meyer is headed to Rochester to start next season with the potential to make his Twins debut at some point in the second half of 2014. There are kinks to be worked out and the Twins don't need to rush Meyer.

    Minnesota hopes Meyer will be a boost to the rotation at some point in the near future but he needs to continue to work on command and his secondary pitches. This will help him to be a more successful pitcher at the big league level and the Twins need as much help as they can possibly get in the starting rotation.
    This article was originally published in blog: When Could Alex Meyer Boost the Rotation? started by Cody Christie
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      If the question is when could he....I would say right now as no one should be blocking him. But I would say May at the earliest but most likely June.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Reports on his fastball were good but his command and secondary pitches still don't sound like he is ready to make the jump to the big leagues. This likely means Meyer is headed to Rochester to start next season with the potential to make his Twins debut at some point in the second half of 2014. There are kinks to be worked out and the Twins don't need to rush Meyer
      This unfortunately is true of most pitchers who were paraded in the Twins rotation last season. Come spring training, if he is among the top 5 Twins starting pitchers, he should be in Minneapolis. All depends on whether they will sign someone and who will that be. Right now his stuff is pretty much ahead of mostly everyone in the organization as is. And I'd rather see pitchers who throw 88 mph breaking stuff on the dirt on occasion (hint hint) rather than 88 mph "fast"balls down the middle.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      When does the service time discussion start? Ok...how about now. I hope to see him as soon as possible and I see no reason to sacrifice a year of team control to do this. There are many times to go after the FO for not promoting people quickly enough. This is not one of them. Keep him at AAA for however many games you need to keep that year of control.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      I'm on the same line of thinking as Thrylos.

      And honestly, Nolan Ryan and other power pitchers 'learned' in the big leagues.

      He's not going to 'learn' as well in AAA or AA when he makes a mistake. 2013 AAA MVP Chris Colabellos didn't make MLB pitchers pay for those mistakes and he's the best AAA has to offer. Those hitters won't make him pay of mis-locating his stuff like MLB hitters can. As a pitcher, I don't remember when guys swung and missed on pitches they 'should have' hit. I do remember the home runs. And honestly, you don't know what's a "mistake" until you see someone make it a mistake. Michael Wacha gets away with a LOT of location that shorter pitches couldn't, because it's on a different plane. Meyer, in the same sense, doesn't operate on the same 'plane' of location. So where the catcher catches the pitch doesn't matter as much and it's why Michael Wacha dropped to #19 in 2012 when the real story teller was not where the ball was caught, but the path it crossed the plate.

      And I'd honestly rather watch a guy, if he's going to make those mistakes, who touches 96-100 mph on his fastball with swing and miss potential vs. a guy make those mistakes throwing 85-91 mph and has All-Star game Home Run Derby pitching potential.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      He needs to be up from opening day.

      He needs to adjust to the majors with a fresh arm and his best stuff. We don't need him throwing high pitch count games in AAA like Gibson.

      The service time issue should not be a concern for a 24 year old pitcher.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      My guess is he's up in June/July timeframe. I'm fine with that. He could use some AAA seasoning and by then someone will have faultered or gotten hurt. I just hope they really do get some decent names to augment that starting 5. I have no problems starting Correia, Gibson, and Worley, but there needs to be two other guys who are currently not Twins on that list.
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