• Twins trade Denard Span for Nationals' 2011 first round pick

    The Twins announce that they have have traded Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for pitcher Alex Meyer, a 2011 first round draft pick (23rd overall).

    The big-bodied Meyer, 6'9" and 220, spent last year split between A and High-A, striking out 26.6% of batters faced, walking just 8.6% and produced a 2.86 ERA which led to an invite to the Futures Game.

    Fangraphs.com had an excellent write-up on Meyer, noting that his 97-98 MPH fastball is very impressive in addition to his slider - which Baseball America considered the system's best after the 2011 season. From the Fangraphs.com's article, here's Mike Newman's (Scouting the Sally) scouting report on Meyer's secondary stuff:

    Meyer mixed in an upper-80′s slider with tight, late break. At its best, his arm action was identical to that of his fastball and it profiled as at least an above-average pitch. However, Meyer’s inconsistent mechanics caused him to intermittently drop his elbow or collapse his back leg leading to at least a handful of “hangers” up in the zone. Repetition and experience may help to iron these issues out, but once again, Meyer’s size and previous track record leaves questions as to how seamless those adjustments will be.

    The most surprising aspect of Meyer’s outing was a changeup which was significantly better than expected. At 87-88 MPH, it was a harder change, but his arm action and late drop leaves the projection of an average third pitch — a key for projecting a starting pitcher. Once again, his command was inconsistent causing him to leave the pitch up and out to right-handed hitters too often, but it’s a strong starting point to build from.
    Newman went on to say that the name that popped into his head the most was "Matt Clement" - a promising pitcher who never lived up to the hype.

    Following his draft in 2011, Baseball America's Aaron Fitt said this about the right-hander, noting caution of mechanical issues which plagues taller pitchers:

    Talk about a guy with huge upside, that is Alex Meyer. I saw him at the Houston College Classic this year. I believe the Nationals director of scouting, Kris Kline, was there also. His fastball was hitting the mid-90s and he can run it up to 97-98 mph with life, and he has an explosive breaking ball.

    It was a power knuckle-breaking ball. He called it a knuckle-curve. It really looks more like a slider most of the time. It is a mid-80s mph pitch that can just be a wipeout offering. It is one of the better breaking balls that you will see out there when he has got it going.

    He is making progress as a pitcher. There is risk with this guy. He is 6-foot-9 and like many tall pitchers there are a lot of moving parts. There is a lot going on in that delivery. It takes a lot for those guys to put it all together.

    He reminded me a lot of Andrew Brackman, who was a basketball player at N.C. State who also played baseball. When Brackman was on in college, he was dominant. But again, there is a lot you've got to harness with those tall guys."

    Clement and now Brackman? Uff. Not the most impressive comparables. Still, as Fitt said, there is high-upside there, potential to be a top-of-the-rotation guy - something the Twins don't have now, nor deeper in the farm system. Given his age (23 in January), there's an outside possibility that Meyer could be ready to join the rotation sometime in 2014.

    In trading Span, the Twins free themselves of a $4.75 million commitment for 2013 and $7 million in 2014 ($6.5M plus a $500,000 buyout).
    Comments 321 Comments
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      1. Sano
      2. Buxton
      3. Hicks
      4. Meyer
      5. Arcia
      6. Rosario
      7. Gibson

      Not a bad farm system.
      Considering our farm system was one of the worst ranked a couple year back it doesnt look to bad at all.
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      The Twins need some potential elite pitching - and I think 2015 looks more likely for a guy currently in high-A Ball. They have a glut of talent in the outfield. This trade makes uber-sense. Pitchers can blow out their arms, and that may happen with this guy. BUT, that doesn't mean the Twins shouldn't stock up on potentially good and great pitching. An outfield of Parmalee in right, Revere in Center and Willingham in right is not much of a downgrade (especially if Revere's arm continues to show growing strength). Other good (maybe great) outfielders waiting in the wings.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Meyer’s a bit of a lottery ticket. Legitimate upside, legitimate concerns about his future role, and at least another year of development before he’s ready to contribute in Minnesota. Meyer’s a Top 100 prospect, and if you think he’ll stick as a starter, probably a Top 50 guy. The Twins got a real talent back in return for Span, but it’s a talent with too many question marks to be the piece they’re getting back in return for a three win player under team control at a fraction of his market price.
      Fangraphs likes the trade a lot more for the Nats, however.

      Span for a top 50 prospect seems totally reasonable; I can't imagine the Twins acquiring Meyer if they don't he will start.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Great stuff. This lowered the payroll, acquired a young arm, and made room for younger players while not sacrificing any prospects. There are never guarantees but this looks like a great move.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      This is the kind of trade with which I trust Terry Ryan. Trading an established guy for a lower level minor league guy with some upside. I don't know if Meyer is more than a "C" prospect at this point, and his real test should come when he gets to AA next year, but that may be why he's available.

      I am disappointed that the Twins didn't get any pitching or middle infielders to help them next year.
      How could you call Meyer a "C" prospect, the guy hits 98 MPH as a starter and looks to have 3 plus pitches (not to mention size, good minor league results etc)? He was widely considered the 2nd best prospect heading into 2013 of the Nats farm class.

      Meyer is clearly the best pitching prospect the Twins have and ranks somewhere between Hicks and Arcia but ahead of Rosario and Gibson, you wouldn't call those guys C prospects right??
    1. jtrinaldi's Avatar
      jtrinaldi -
      Ill go

      1. Sano
      2. Arcia
      3. Rosario
      4. Buxton
      5. Meyer
      6. Hicks
      7. Gibson
      8. Kepler
    1. Big City's Avatar
      Big City -
      Wow, surprising it's not a more MLB ready SP like Delgado or Leake, neither of whom I was all that excited about. Good to see we just added our future potential #1. God bless Span, he's a great guy and a really good baseball player and he'll definitely be missed but this was best for all parties. I'm shocked this move didn't happen at the Winter Meetings but maybe TR has something else cooking for Willingham and/or Morneau. Still 3-4 spots left to fill in the rotation, what's going to happen next???
    1. TwinsFanInPhilly's Avatar
      TwinsFanInPhilly -
      Sickels had him as a B in his 2012 book - FWIW
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      This is the kind of trade with which I trust Terry Ryan. Trading an established guy for a lower level minor league guy with some upside. I don't know if Meyer is more than a "C" prospect at this point, and his real test should come when he gets to AA next year, but that may be why he's available.

      I am disappointed that the Twins didn't get any pitching or middle infielders to help them next year.
      How could you call Meyer a "C" prospect, the guy hits 98 MPH as a starter and looks to have 3 plus pitches (not to mention size, good minor league results etc)? He was widely considered the 2nd best prospect heading into 2013 of the Nats farm class.

      Meyer is clearly the best pitching prospect the Twins have and ranks somewhere between Hicks and Arcia but ahead of Rosario and Gibson, you wouldn't call those guys C prospects right??

      Not to get all "Deadspin" on you Dave, but +1. How is a team's #2/#3 prospect be considered a "C" prospect???
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Meyer’s a bit of a lottery ticket. Legitimate upside, legitimate concerns about his future role, and at least another year of development before he’s ready to contribute in Minnesota. Meyer’s a Top 100 prospect, and if you think he’ll stick as a starter, probably a Top 50 guy. The Twins got a real talent back in return for Span, but it’s a talent with too many question marks to be the piece they’re getting back in return for a three win player under team control at a fraction of his market price.
      Fangraphs likes the trade a lot more for the Nats, however.

      Span for a top 50 prospect seems totally reasonable; I can't imagine the Twins acquiring Meyer if they don't he will start.
      That's because Cameron is strictly a numbers guy (unless it comes to his beloved Mariners of course)

      Yes, Span had a very impressive WAR that was bolstered by a very strong UZR. But lets be honest, Span benefited a TON in 2011 and 2012 from having Revere in the OF as well. Notice how his UZR in CF doubled from 2010 to 2011/2012?

      This isn't saying Span isn't a good CF, just that he isn't as great as the defensive metrics would lead you to believe. The Twins did the right thing in this case by trading him while his value was high, as much as I like Span he did have his warts, injury issues for one, and in both 2010 and 2011 he failed to reach a .690 OPS.

      I think its a very fair trade, and if Meyer can reach his potential or anything close it ends up a win for the Twins since:

      1. They have a stop gap CF in Revere.
      2. They have a couple stud CF's who should be ready within a year or two.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Big City View Post
      Wow, surprising it's not a more MLB ready SP like Delgado or Leake, neither of whom I was all that excited about. Good to see we just added our future potential #1.
      Is Meyer projected as a potential number 1?
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      I think Bonnes has been spending too much time with Cory Cove....a "C" prospect???
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post

      How could you call Meyer a "C" prospect, the guy hits 98 MPH as a starter and looks to have 3 plus pitches (not to mention size, good minor league results etc)? He was widely considered the 2nd best prospect heading into 2013 of the Nats farm class.

      Meyer is clearly the best pitching prospect the Twins have and ranks somewhere between Hicks and Arcia but ahead of Rosario and Gibson, you wouldn't call those guys C prospects right??
      Entering the 2012 season, BP ranked him 5th overall among the Nationals prospect, giving him 3 stars, which is a C prospect. BA ranked him 6th overall. And I don't see a lot in his numbers last year to have changed that opinion of him. I won't dicker between calling him a C+ or a B-, and I hope he's a C prospect with some upside, but a K/9 or 9 in High-A isn't exactly other-worldly stuff, no matter what his velocity.

      I don't know that I would rank him in the same area you would. I'm also far from sure he'll be a top 50 prospect, or even top 100. But I'll admit, I'm far from an expert on the status of minor leaguers.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwinsFanInPhilly View Post
      Sickels had him as a B in his 2012 book - FWIW
      Yup, and that was prior to a very strong 2012 season with a 9.7 k rate, 1.101 WHIP and 2.86 ERA.

      He is a B/borderline B+ prospect at this point who has some nice upside.
    1. Anorthagen's Avatar
      Anorthagen -
      I am sad about seeing span go, but I knew it was for the good of the team. It also lowered the payroll, which was good. But I really think Ryan should have tried to get somebody who is ready or already in the big leagues, instead of a guy who can't help us till 2014.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I like Meyer as the centerpiece although I wish we could have gotten one more player back.

      I don't think it'll hurt the club that much going from a Willingham/Span/Revere outfield to a Willingham/Revere/Parmelee outfield. We lose some OBP but, hopefully, Parmelee or Plouffe (or Hicks/Arcia) can develop some pop.
    1. luke829's Avatar
      luke829 -
      I just have to wonder what Bill Smith would've done in this type of situation (shudders)
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post

      How could you call Meyer a "C" prospect, the guy hits 98 MPH as a starter and looks to have 3 plus pitches (not to mention size, good minor league results etc)? He was widely considered the 2nd best prospect heading into 2013 of the Nats farm class.

      Meyer is clearly the best pitching prospect the Twins have and ranks somewhere between Hicks and Arcia but ahead of Rosario and Gibson, you wouldn't call those guys C prospects right??
      Entering the 2012 season, BP ranked him 5th overall among the Nationals prospect, giving him 3 stars, which is a C prospect. BA ranked him 6th overall. And I don't see a lot in his numbers last year to have changed that opinion of him. I won't dicker between calling him a C+ or a B-, and I hope he's a C prospect with some upside, but a K/9 or 9 in High-A isn't exactly other-worldly stuff, no matter what his velocity.

      I don't know that I would rank him in the same area you would. I'm also far from sure he'll be a top 50 prospect, or even top 100. But I'll admit, I'm far from an expert on the status of minor leaguers.
      You realize that prior to 2012 he had exactly 0 pitches thrown for a major league organization right? How is "nothing he did" in 2012 worthy of ranking him higher? He had a very successful 2012 IMO and it isn't all about k rate (even though a 9.7 k/9 is in fact pretty good, especially when he has a respectable BB rate, a great WHIP and a solid GB rate of about 55%)

      I'm not trying to start an argument or anything, I just think his 2012 bumps his value up quite a bit.
    1. mikeee's Avatar
      mikeee -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post

      How could you call Meyer a "C" prospect, the guy hits 98 MPH as a starter and looks to have 3 plus pitches (not to mention size, good minor league results etc)? He was widely considered the 2nd best prospect heading into 2013 of the Nats farm class.

      Meyer is clearly the best pitching prospect the Twins have and ranks somewhere between Hicks and Arcia but ahead of Rosario and Gibson, you wouldn't call those guys C prospects right??
      Entering the 2012 season, BP ranked him 5th overall among the Nationals prospect, giving him 3 stars, which is a C prospect. BA ranked him 6th overall. And I don't see a lot in his numbers last year to have changed that opinion of him. I won't dicker between calling him a C+ or a B-, and I hope he's a C prospect with some upside, but a K/9 or 9 in High-A isn't exactly other-worldly stuff, no matter what his velocity.

      I don't know that I would rank him in the same area you would. I'm also far from sure he'll be a top 50 prospect, or even top 100. But I'll admit, I'm far from an expert on the status of minor leaguers.
      Jim Hoey threw the ball hard too.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anorthagen View Post
      I am sad about seeing span go, but I knew it was for the good of the team. It also lowered the payroll, which was good. But I really think Ryan should have tried to get somebody who is ready or already in the big leagues, instead of a guy who can't help us till 2014.
      I'm reading into this, that TR really liked this guy. I think this really is a big hit to our 2013 lineup. We now have a below average Def outfield with both Parmelee and Willingham playing everyday. I also think Span was a much better lead off guy than Ben will ever be.

      Again, TR must really be high on this guy to give up span and know we are in for a rocky 2013 on the field.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.