Three Reasons Why Alex Meyer Is A Huge Haul for The Twins
For all the analysis and educated opinions I didn’t fit into that piece, read … well … what is below: three reasons why Meyer was a huge one-man haul for the Twins (OK, aside from the fact that he stands 6-foot-9, 230 pounds).
- The tangibles: The Twins don’t produce starting pitchers with this kind of repertoire on their own. For the full details of Meyer’s three-pitch mix, check out the “Prospect Pitch” I interviewed Meyer for last September. Here is the short version of it: a no-seam fastball between 93 and 98 mph that is consistent movement-oriented pitch; a spike curveball between 83 mph and 89 mph that is nasty when commanded; a changeup between 87 and 90 mph that is merely average at this point. It will be — and has already been — argued by some baseball writers, wonks that Meyer has not proven that he can be a Major League starter as opposed to a Major League reliever, but with those pitches and his makeup, I find it much more likely that he remains in a five-man rotation. About that makeup…
- The intangibles: I interviewed Meyer twice in one July week this year (when he won his Class A Advanced debut; when he struck out nine over six scoreless innings in his first post-Futures Game outing) and, in each of my dealings with him, he has struck me as the kind of confident kid that is going to excel in Majors no matter what. Now I’m not saying that every reporter-friendly right-hander is destined for big league success (Gerrit Cole, for one, is an unimpressive interviewee but looks like the Pirates’ next ace, while the ever-engaging Trevor Bauer struggled in the bigs this year), but in my four seasons covering baseball (two at MLB.com and two here at MiLB.com), I have noticed that the ballplayers who can be themselves, know themselves and are therefore better, more resilient ballplayers than their peers. When I think of this, I picture the affable Adam Wainwright doing a broadcast interview on the top step of his dugout … during a World Series game … on the day before he was due to pitch. Come to think of it, the tall, lanky Wainwright has a similar demeanor and repertoire to Meyer. Maybe the former is a good comp for the latter going forward.
- The replacements: I get it, Denard Span is a good player in the prime of his career and only (only?) due $21 million over the next three seasons. I get it. I get it. I get it. But if I am the Twins, I make this deal anyway, and I’m tickled to do it. My third and final reason why: They have about as much young outfield depth as an MLB org could ask for. In addition to center field replacement Ben Revere and current corner outfield options Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee, Minnesota has three prospects that are a full season in the Minors or less away from the Majors: Aaron Hicks, who is a strong bet to be as good or better than Span, in center and Joe Benson and Oswaldo Arcia manning the corners. (It could also be said that, if all goes well, Meyer will be emerging as the Twins’ ace just as 2012 first-round draftee Byron Buxton, another multi-skilled center fielder, is earning his first big league callup.) Hicks, Benson and Arcia are all among the Twins’ top 10 prospects, and they helped the org to move on without Span.
For a diverging perspective on the Meyer-for-Span swap, read this. I don’t agree with all of it. But there is some sound reasoning. See what you think. Let me know in the comment section.