Alex Meyer’s first season in the Minnesota Twins’ organization was good (3.21 ERA and a 10.8 K/9 rate in 13 starts for Double-A New Britain) and bad as a shoulder injury sidelined him in early June and he made only five more starts the rest of the season (including three rehab starts). The Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League, and he has looked healthy and now has a 2.74 ERA with 25 strikeouts and six walks over 23 innings after another excellent outing Friday night (one hit allowed over 5.2 shutout innings).
The Twins acquired Meyer from the Washington Nationals in November of 2012 in the trade that sent outfielder Denard Span to Washington, and he immediately became one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. His shoulder issue this year was cause for some concern, but his performance in the AFL seems to have put him back on the radar as a possibility to earn a spot in the Twins’ starting rotation next season and be a mainstay for many years to come.
Meyer should get an invitation to spring training next year, and even if the Twins add a pitcher or two via free agency or trade this offseason only Kevin Correia looks 100 percent locked into a starting rotation spot for next season at this point. Kyle Gibson, Scott Diamond and Samuel Deduno should be in the mix to be in the Opening Day rotation, but no one else that is currently likely to return to the team should be guaranteed anything in that regard.
The Twins generally ease their pitchers into the big league rotation, as even Johan Santana started out pitching primarily out of the bullpen before becoming a two-time Cy Young Award winner. A more recent example is Gibson, who made his major league debut in June, but he was also working his way back to full strength after Tommy John surgery in November of 2011.
Meyer has just 207.1 innings of minor league experience, so it looks likely he’ll start 2014 in Triple-A unless he puts together a spring training performance that makes it impossible for the Twins to consider other options. But apart from any consideration for service time and possibly delaying his entrance into free agency down the road, I expect Meyer to take the mound at Target Field at some point next season.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.