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  • 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. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Why do they have to free up money for? They just got a new ball park for nothing!
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      [QUOTE=Bark's Lounge;65567]There were not going to be any miracle returns in a Span trade. Did I expect a trade like this, probably not. Am I disappointed in the trade, not really. Who knows, this guy could be a #1 or #2 starter in 4-5 years, he could also be pitching in Independent Ball or working for a construction company in that same time frame.

      I am however very happy for Denard Span. He is leaving a severely crippled franchise and heading to a team that has everything going for it. My guess is that Span flourishes in his new environment and has great team and personal successes.

      Viva Denard Span!!![/QUOThe best post yet , you nailed it .
      I hope this kid is the best pitcher ever, but he is still 3 years away from joing the big club,and a lot can happen
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      assault on fact-based opinion.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      I hope this kid is the best pitcher ever, but he is still 3 years away from joing the big club,and a lot can happen
      Where are people getting this 3 years from? Sickels himself says he could be ready come next season.

      People understand the difference between college starters and HS starters right? There is no reason why Meyer shouldn't spend the majority of this season in AA with a shot at AAA towards the end. If he keeps doing what he has been doing he will be with the Twins come June 2014.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      They don't NEED to free up money, they just did......this trade is about getting a guy with big upside. If Law and Sickels like the deal, I'll take that for now. He'll start in A ball, imo, and move to AA during the year if he's successful at all. AA and AAA in 2014, maybe even MLB. Now that I've read around on him, I think this is the kind of trade I wanted them to make with Span (assuming they could not trade him and another player for Shields or something).
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      assault on fact-based opinion.
      Again with the personal attack? Please attempt to add substance to the forum and break down what part of my posts in question aren't fact-based opinion.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      assault on fact-based opinion.
      Please attempt to add substance to the forum
      I'm digging the irony.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      I hope this kid is the best pitcher ever, but he is still 3 years away from joing the big club,and a lot can happen
      Where are people getting this 3 years from? Sickels himself says he could be ready come next season.

      People understand the difference between college starters and HS starters right? There is no reason why Meyer shouldn't spend the majority of this season in AA with a shot at AAA towards the end. If he keeps doing what he has been doing he will be with the Twins come June 2014.
      I hope this is the outcome. Setting a goal for competitiveness in 2014 over 2013 makes the most sense. I hope the negative reviews that Meyers has received are completely wrong and that Ryan knows more about Meyer than Rizzo does.

      Legitimate question: Who has the most bankable track record on prospects? Is it Sickels, or someone else?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      assault on fact-based opinion.
      Please attempt to add substance to the forum
      I'm digging the irony.
      Ironic that you refuse to debate, but instead attack. That's usually indicative of a losing argument.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      2015 at the earliest...so that's what we are shooting for...
      Barring any setbacks and expecting a standard progression, Meyer will be in AA this season.

      So you expect him to pitch 1 1/2 seasons in Rochester?
      He had 7 starts in A+. AA is probably pushing it. I'm guessing FTM with a midseason promotion... Perhaps they will rush him a bit given that he was pretty good in those 7 starts.
    1. mikeee's Avatar
      mikeee -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      I hope this kid is the best pitcher ever, but he is still 3 years away from joing the big club,and a lot can happen
      Where are people getting this 3 years from? Sickels himself says he could be ready come next season.

      People understand the difference between college starters and HS starters right? There is no reason why Meyer shouldn't spend the majority of this season in AA with a shot at AAA towards the end. If he keeps doing what he has been doing he will be with the Twins come June 2014.
      I hope this is the outcome. Setting a goal for competitiveness in 2014 over 2013 makes the most sense. I hope the negative reviews that Meyers has received are completely wrong and that Ryan knows more about Meyer than Rizzo does.

      Legitimate question: Who has the most bankable track record on prospects? Is it Sickels, or someone else?
      Probably Terry Ryan.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      He had 7 starts in A+. AA is probably pushing it. I'm guessing FTM with a midseason promotion... Perhaps they will rush him a bit given that he was pretty good in those 7 starts.
      I meant that he'll be in AA at some point in the season, not that he'd start there. I'd wager a start in Ft Myers as well.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      At the risk of derailing this thread, and not offering any explanation why, I'd like to just remind everyone what Beane and Rizzo agreed to last year, because it is so ridiculous in comparison.

      Gio Gonzalez: 26, 3 years of team control remaining, 9.4 career RA9 wins over 3+ seasons.

      for

      right-handers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, and lefty Tommy Milone — plus catching prospect Derek Norris. Peacock, Cole and Norris ranked third, fourth and ninth, respectively, in Baseball America’s recent list of the Nationals’ top prospects.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Obviously this move was made with 2014+ in mind, and that is fine, especially since we took upside over "sure thing". But looking further into it, does this really hurt the Twins that much in 2013?

      Span no doubt is a good player, who the Twins will miss but his production it appears is entirely replaceable. On the defensive side of things, Revere is at least as good of an overall defensive player as Span at CF and there is a very good chance that he has significantly better range in the position (quite possibly top 2 or 3 in all of baseball) Obviously his arm is garbage, but in CF I think it is "hidden" a bit and his range more then makes up for it.

      Span certainly had a solid bat, but I don't think we are going to miss it as much as people think. Even with his best season in 3 years Span still posted the 6th best OPS on the team behind Willingham, Mauer, Doumit, Morneau, and Plouffe. I think there is a very good chance all 5 post higher then Span again in 2013. Parmelee should be able to post a higher OPS as well, if he didn't I would be pretty disappointed/surprised. Some may argue that OPS isn't an end all be all and that since Span was a leadoff hitter OBP mattered more. Span finished 4th on the team behind Mauer, Willingham and Jamey Carroll (which is surprising). In addition he was only 9 points higher then both Morneau and Revere. A healthy Morneau should out produce that in 2013, while I actually think Revere regresses a bit. She you are looking at what would be the 5th best OBP guy on your team having to be replaced. IMO in an offensive standpoint Parmelee should be able to come close to that as well.

      In regards to speed, Span had it no doubt, but for every 2 steals he had it seems like he had one pick off. Revere is a better base runner no doubt, but overall the Twins will be hurt a bit on the "speed" category until a guy like Hicks comes up. Good news for the Twins is they didn't exactly run a whole lot anyways.

      All this isn't even factoring in that Hicks could very well be up sometime in 2012 and ultimately be a better fielder, hitter (especially in the power category) and runner then Span.

      So at the end of the day, while strengthening the team in the mid to long term I don't think it hurts the team much in the short term. Revere in CF is an upgrade defensively and it allows to get Parmelee a shot at playing every day. Additionally it makes Hicks and Arcia's path to the majors much easier.

      Pretty solid move and great timing by Ryan IMO as Spans value was unlikely to get any higher.
      A lot of valid points here. Let me add my two cents:

      1) I believe a lot of people, both GM's and fans, have underrated Span for a long time. While not exceptional in any one category, Span was above average in many. The ability to be decent in the leadoff spot is not just about numbers. It is about professional at-bats, table setting, and providing quality while leading the team in PA. Span does all of these things. His ability to play CF and low salary make him a wanted asset.

      2) Span could easily have been one of the nucleus for the next wave. More prospects burn out than excel. While we hope that the Hicks, Rosario, Buxton, et. al. group comes up and produces, the reality is that only 2-3 of them will have any real impact in the majors. Span is a proven MLB commodity that should still have a number of quality years left.

      3) I like the fact the Twins are looking more toward a hopeful 1-2, than another sure 4-5. I think it shows the Twins are willing to take a few risks, something they have been generally averse to in the past. I'm not sure this was exactly how I would have like to see it. I would have like to seen an additional MLB ready #4-5 starter, along with Meyer, to help the team today as well.

      4) Why is everybody convinced Parmalee will be productive at a major league level? He has not exactly torn it up for the Twins in the past. I think odds are better Hicks will be out there before him.

      This smells of a typical TR move, reminiscent of Pierzynski or Knoblauch. Trading a vet for low minors guys, "knowing" they will help you in the future. While we won't have an answer for a few years, I tend to give TR the benefit of the doubt on these types of moves. Span is the type of player that Twins fan's tend to gravitate to. Hard working, better than average, no public dust ups, by all account a stand up guy. I for one will be sorry to see him go.
      1. Valid points, but keep in mind the leadoff hitter often times is only the leadoff hitter once in a game. While "proffesional at bats" certainly are meaningful, at the end of the day if you are a table setter your first and only job should be to get on base (which Span was good/very good, but not great at)

      2. Good point, now if the Twins only had Hicks or Arcia and a bunch of long shots behind them I would be more inclined to agree. The Twins in fact have 3 very good CF prospects, the odds of at least one of them producing at a high level is pretty good. Especially when Hicks and Arica have shown success as high as AA. This isn't even factoring in Revere, who I am not high on but at least has the potential to be a solid stop gap in the meantime. One thing I do know is that the Twins had next to zero high upside pitching in the minors, one of which had TJS and the other pretty much just turned 18. You deal from a strength and build up your weaknesses IMO (10 fold if your weakness is SP)

      3. I mean, yeah, I think we all would prefer more then less, but in reality Span just didn't have that kind of value. A guy who has #5 type upside really doesn't excite me as the Twins are still loaded with those in the minors it seems. (or if they aren't they surely will be again soon) Also I haven't seen anyone actually say who the Nationals should have also included, just a lot of "oh another prospect" or "another pitcher" if someone were to throw some names out there we could maybe all discuss it.

      4. I don't think anyone is convinced he is a sure thing, nor have I heard anyone claim he is. Though he has certainly earned himself a look based on three things: A strong MLB stint in 2011. A dominant AAA season last year, and somewhat solid production after his recall to the Majors in late August. (.753 OPS- not world beating, but showed improveent) You are right though, there is a chance that Hicks could be a regular before Parmelee. But in that case, we still have Revere (and Arcia +more in the wings) and Revere is at least a decent stop gap and you can always find a corner OF with pop on the FA market for somewhat cheap (see: Willingham and Doumit)
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I'm wondering if people upset with the trade are more upset with the return or how far away the return seems? Had the Twins gotten Tijuan Walker, who is far away but a top ten prospect, would some of you folks still be disappointed? Serious question not trying to provoke.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      I hope this kid is the best pitcher ever, but he is still 3 years away from joing the big club,and a lot can happen
      Where are people getting this 3 years from? Sickels himself says he could be ready come next season.

      People understand the difference between college starters and HS starters right? There is no reason why Meyer shouldn't spend the majority of this season in AA with a shot at AAA towards the end. If he keeps doing what he has been doing he will be with the Twins come June 2014.
      2013 AA
      2014 AAA
      2015 Maybe minnesota twins, if he continues to progress
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      At the risk of derailing this thread, and not offering any explanation why, I'd like to just remind everyone what Beane and Rizzo agreed to last year, because it is so ridiculous in comparison.

      Gio Gonzalez: 26, 3 years of team control remaining, 9.4 career RA9 wins over 3+ seasons.

      for

      right-handers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, and lefty Tommy Milone — plus catching prospect Derek Norris. Peacock, Cole and Norris ranked third, fourth and ninth, respectively, in Baseball America’s recent list of the Nationals’ top prospects.
      I'm not so sure what is so ridiculous about that, if anything it shows how high of value a major league ready #2 has. Gonzalez was one of the best 5 pitchers in the game this year. Span highly likely won't even be one of the top 5 CF in baseball this year (if that is the comparison you are trying to draw)
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by mikeee View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      I hope this kid is the best pitcher ever, but he is still 3 years away from joing the big club,and a lot can happen
      Where are people getting this 3 years from? Sickels himself says he could be ready come next season.

      People understand the difference between college starters and HS starters right? There is no reason why Meyer shouldn't spend the majority of this season in AA with a shot at AAA towards the end. If he keeps doing what he has been doing he will be with the Twins come June 2014.
      I hope this is the outcome. Setting a goal for competitiveness in 2014 over 2013 makes the most sense. I hope the negative reviews that Meyers has received are completely wrong and that Ryan knows more about Meyer than Rizzo does.

      Legitimate question: Who has the most bankable track record on prospects? Is it Sickels, or someone else?
      Probably Terry Ryan.
      So it it's Ryan, given his track record on minor league progression rates, Sickels predicting a Meyers call-up in 2013 is a non-starter, right?

      Given these facts, the most optimistic scenario appears to be June 2014, and the cautious, go-slow Twins could easily hold that off to Sep. '14 or sometime in 2015.

      The other concern I have is the Twins track record of pitchers breaking down and Meyers mechanics issues. Recipe for disaster if not handled better than past history of tall Twins power pitchers who ended up on serious DL time.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      I'm wondering if people upset with the trade are more upset with the return or how far away the return seems? Had the Twins gotten Tijuan Walker, who is far away but a top ten prospect, would some of you folks still be disappointed? Serious question not trying to provoke.
      How about a little of both. The Twins have both current and future needs. The Braves gave up two pitching prospects, one very good, for a career #4-5 starter and a journeyman OF. It would have been nice to sweeten the pot and addressed a 2013 need through a multiple player deal.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      At the risk of derailing this thread, and not offering any explanation why, I'd like to just remind everyone what Beane and Rizzo agreed to last year, because it is so ridiculous in comparison.

      Gio Gonzalez: 26, 3 years of team control remaining, 9.4 career RA9 wins over 3+ seasons.

      for

      right-handers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, and lefty Tommy Milone — plus catching prospect Derek Norris. Peacock, Cole and Norris ranked third, fourth and ninth, respectively, in Baseball America’s recent list of the Nationals’ top prospects.
      Duly noted.
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