The Twins will promote right-hander Alex Meyer from Triple-A Rochester for tomorrow’s game, according to a team press release. The Twins’ long-term hope for the towering righty is that he can work out of the rotation, but he’ll presumably join the bullpen for the time being. Fellow righty Michael Tonkin was optioned to Triple-A yesterday.
Acquired from the Nationals in a straight-up swap for Denard Span, Meyer is a 6’9″ power arm that was selected with the 23rd pick of the 2011 draft. Entering the season, the Kentucky alum ranked as the No. 14 prospect in baseball on Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked Meyer 29th, and ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him 30th. Baseball America and Fangraphs were a bit less optimistic, ranking him 62nd and 71st, respectively.
Scouts have been split on Meyer for years, with some feeling that he’s a future closer and others feeling that he can end up at or near the front of a Major League rotation. Meyer can hit triple digits with his fastball and features what many describe as a “wipeout slider” as well, but he’s battled control problems at times in his career and has had some shoulder injuries that have slowed his development.
For all of Meyer’s acclaim, he got off to a dreadful start at Triple-A Rochester this season. In 39 1/3 innings over his first eight starts, Meyer posted a 7.09 ERA with 41 strikeouts against 24 walks. The Twins shifted him to the bullpen in hopes of getting him back on track, and the results have been nothing short of excellent. Since a shift to the ’pen, Meyer has pitched 17 innings and yielded just one earned run with a 20-to-6 K/BB ratio. That promise, coupled with a lack of reliable arms in the Minnesota ’pen, likely means that Meyer will work as a reliever with Minnesota in 2015, if he’s able to stay with the club long-term. A move back to the rotation later down the road, of course, probably shouldn’t be ruled out.
Because it’s late June, Meyer would only be able accumulate 102 days of big league service even if he stays in the Majors through season’s end. That will leave him well shy of Super Two designation and place him on track to reach free agency following the 2021 season (again, that is in the event that he remains at the big league level).
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