The evaluation of the Denard Span trade to the Washington Nationals hasn’t garnered the type of return the Minnesota Twins had envisioned when they dealt away their starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter last winter, but the main asset acquired in the deal—right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer—is finally starting to get healthy and the Twins are hopeful that the prized youngster can regain his form and end 2013 on a high note. Meyer is believed to be one of the best arms in the Twins’ organization and the team had hoped he would make it to Triple-A by the end of the season; however a shoulder injury has hampered those plans and set Meyer back for the season.
Meyer was pitching relatively well for Double-A New Britain by posting a 3.69 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and a 1.31 WHIP this season before his shoulder injury shut him down on June 1, so it isn’t as if Meyer wasn’t pitching well or that he doesn’t have the capabilities to dominate a game when healthy. That should provide some comfort to Twins’ fans who may be concerned about the talent level of some of these top young arms, but the shoulder injury to a pitcher, who has a power arm, certainly doesn’t inspire great confidence to an organization who is relying heavily on Meyer to anchor the staff in the upcoming decade.
Despite the shoulder injury, Meyer has finally gotten back on the mound for the Gulf Coast League Twins as of late and he has picked up right where he left off by racking up seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings over a couple rehab appearances. There is a chance that Meyer could make another start for Double-A before the season is over, but the Twins might opt to take a more cautious path with Meyer in order to prevent further injury the rest of the season.
If Meyer is healthy, there is a realistic shot that he could be pitching in the majors for the Twins by late next season, but that is a huge if. Meyer certainly has the stuff and makeup to pitch and dominate in the upper levels of the minors, but he will still need to develop his full arsenal as a pitcher if he wants to succeed in the majors. I wouldn’t be too concerned with his shoulder injury this season, but I would be cautious about bringing Meyer back. In the end, I still believe Meyer has the capabilities of being a very dominant pitcher for the Twins if he can remain healthy; but as we have seen with pitchers in the past, if they cannot stay healthy, it doesn’t matter how dominant they are when they actually pitch.