On Monday afternoon, it was reported that Alex Meyer was being called-up by the Minnesota Twins. Though his role with the team hasn't been reported as of this writing (the team's most immediate need is in the bullpen), he was scheduled to start on Tuesday for the Triple-A Red Wings. Rotoworld is reporting that Meyer will be in a long relief role for the time being. Here is what Matt Powers had to say about the towering righty in our Twins top-ten:
Alex Meyer has great stuff but struggles with his command, leading to big league hitters and upper level minor leaguers hitting him hard. He moved to the pen and started to see better results. His value at this point is higher as a reliever that racks up strikeouts, but there is still a small possibility that he ends up starting again. I'm not going to own him now in anything but the deepest AL only leagues, but he's worth keeping an eye on.
It has been quite the fall for Meyer, who was a consensus top-100 prospect for several years, peaking at number 14 on Baseball Prospectus' pre-season 2015 list. The 26-year-old's stuff has never been in question; he works with a 95-plus MPH fastball with good movement and one of the best sliders that you will ever see (as well as a workable change-up). However, his control and command are subpar at best, and his mechanics have never been terribly consistent. This results in too many walks, as well as a surprising amount of loud contact when he loses his release point, leaving quite a bit over the heart of the plate. Many blame this on Meyer's size, as he checks in at 6'9" and 230-plus pounds.
In many respects, Meyer reminds me of another gigantic right-handed power pitcher: Dellin Betances. The Yankees set-up man moved into the bullpen in his age-25 season, just as Meyer did, where his incredible stuff played up significantly. The regular repetitions worked wonders for Betances, as his command woes rarely cropped up in short bursts. While I am not so bold as to suggest that Meyer can step into the Twins bullpen and emerge as one of the best relievers in baseball, I do believe that he has everything that one could ask for in a light's out, shut down, [insert cliche here] reliever.
The question at this point seems to be how the Twins perceive Meyers' future. Plenty of starters have figured things out in their late 20s, and it may be shortsighted for a team that is going nowhere to give up on a starter that has such a loft ceiling. At the same time, however, Meyer's mechanics have improved at a snail's pace (if at all), and it isn't unrealistic to expect him to be something special out of the bullpen in fairly short order. It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds in the coming months.
For now, Meyer's fantasy value seems relatively low. He should rack up strikeouts, but he won't be in the position to pick up holds or saves from the outset. Given the injury to Glen Perkins and the general ineffectiveness of the Twins bullpen, though, the opportunity for more may well be there for the taking.