by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Twins’ Alex Meyer was often discussed in our Prospect Power Rankings this past season, given the issues in the Twins rotation and strong season he was having. It was never to be, though, as a shoulder injury helped shorten his season. Instead the 2011 first round selection threw 130.1 innings at Triple-A, posting relatively impressive numbers.
Obviously it’s his 10.57 K/9, and 10.45 for his minor league career, that grabs our attentions. Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 certainly gave a positive review of his arsenal recently:
“Meyer’s arsenal is impressive with a fastball that sits in the mid 90’s, a plus slider that really gets a lot of swing and misses, and a change-up that looks pretty good as well. Given his size, he throws with tremendous downward plane and can induce a ton of ground balls. The ground ball rate did back-up in 2014 but was still strong at a 1.83 G/F ratio.”
As Wilson notes, Meyer has done a good job of generating groundballs as well. Last season he was at 45.3%, though he had been even better coming up through the minors (49.5% for his career). You put that type of number, along with the strikeouts, in the friendly confines of Target Field and there is a lot to get excited about…
However Meyers struggled with his control last season with a 4.42 BB/9. While he hadn’t been that bad previously, a 3.73 mark at Double-A in 2013 certainly doesn’t instill much confidence. Of course Meyer is big, listed at 6’9″, and taller pitchers often take time to find consistency with their control. The real question is, when will it come? It’s hard to assume it will suddenly appear in 2015, though hopefully he can start moving in the right direction.
That’s the one thing truly holding him back, as if he can find the strike zone consistently he’d have all the makings of a quality Major League starter.
Of course, the real question is his health. Even prior to 2014 Nick Nelson of the Star Tribune (click here for the post) wrote:
“The larger concern is health. Meyer was limited to 13 starts with the Rock Cats last year due to a shoulder injury that cost him about two months of the season. He came back and pitched well at the end of the year, carrying that over into the AFL, but shoulder soreness can be a lingering malady for many pitchers.”
The fact that he had inflammation in his shoulder late in 2014 isn’t going to help ease any concerns.
While he should make his debut in 2015, he will likely be limited to 165 innings or so. Considering he could easily start at Triple-A, as well as face control issues, it’s hard to get overly excited. There’s clear upside and the strikeout potential puts him on radars, but don’t get too excited at this point. There’s a better chance he fully breaks out in 2016.
Sources – Minor League Central, Prospect 361, Star Tribune
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