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  • Is Trevor May Paving the Way for Alex Meyer?


    Ted Schwerzler

    Before the 2013 major league baseball season, the Minnesota Twins dealt talented outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere to new organizations. In sending Revere to the Philadelphia Phillies, Ruben Amaro gave the Twins two pitchers in return.

    Image courtesy of USA TODAY Sports- Brad Rempel

    One was a former rookie phenom, Vance Worley, but the bigger chip was perceived to be prospect Trevor May. With Span being dealt for Alex Meyer from the Washington Nationals organization that same summer, the two prospects would forever be linked.

    The book has already been written in regard to what the Twins would eventually get out of Worley. Having been a key piece of their immediate rotation, and then going on to be a complete bust, he has since resumed his career in Pittsburgh with the Pirates.

    The two prospects however were always thought to be the prizes. Meyer was regarded as a front of the rotation arm who could really bring it, and May was seen as a solid middle of the rotation contributor. Now a few years later, it's May who has spent time in the big leagues with Meyer still on the farm. It might be fair to ask whether or not May is laying out the blueprint for the Twins and Meyer.

    May was a fourth-round draft pick out of high school, and played in parts of seven minor league seasons. He made his major league debut with the Twins down the stretch in 2014 and he struggled mightily. Over the course of his minor league career however, he owned 4.4 BB/9 and 10.5 K/9 ratios. His 3.90 minor league ERA wasn't going to set the world on fire, and a 1.341 WHIP left something to be desired. After looking strong for the majority of the 2014 season however, the Twins gave him his chance.

    In 2014, May started nine games for the Twins and owned a 7.88 ERA, far from where you'd like a pitcher to sit. He competed in spring training before the 2015 season, and ultimately lost out on the fifth starter role. Injuries then vaulted him into the starting rotation in April, and since, he has been a completely different pitcher. A 4.15 ERA is a significant change, but the 3.05 ERA following his first start, has really gotten him in his groove. Owning a 2.65 FIP (fielding independent pitching) mark, as well as 6.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 ratios, seems to look like he's almost reinvented himself.

    There's little reason to believe that Meyer is knocking on the door of the major leagues. He's been up and down in most of his starts for Triple-A Rochester in 2015. However, outside of a hot streak in 2014, May allowed the jury to be mostly out on him as well. Looking at how May has transformed and transitioned to the big league game, Meyer could potentially fit the same mold.

    A first-round draft pick out of Kentucky, Meyer is 25 and has pitched in four professional seasons. He's compiled a 3.32 ERA with a 1.285 WHIP and owns 10.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 ratios. While indicative of a better track record than May, it's Meyer's recent output that has burned him. In 2015, Meyer has thrown to a 5.61 ERA, 1.792 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, and 6.3 BB/9. Hard to categorize as anything less than a debacle, it might be time that Meyer is actually getting bored with his current level.

    Sure, it's a brazen thing to suggest, but there's no doubt that at a point, development and advancement intersect. Meyer has struggled with his command over the course of his professional career, but has also shown periods of dominance. Having posted three seasons of ERA's under 3.52, it may be worth seeing if Meyer can make the same strides as May. While potentially unconventional, working through some struggles at the major league level may make some sense. After all, May owned what was considered far from pinpoint accuracy on the farm, and is now posting the best numbers of his career.

    There's no doubt that Alex Meyer is waiting for his opportunity, and the Twins are hoping he claims it. For an organization that has made several more-than- questionable roster decisions due to tenure or scholarship, they may have reached a place where a 6' 9"-sized gamble makes sense.

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    Um, let me phrase this nicely. This would be a really bad idea. First of all, the guy is struggling at AAA which means he would likely be crushed in the bigs. I'm unclear where people have gotten the idea that somebody that can't make it in AAA will suddenly thrive in the big leagues.

     

    Most importantly the Twins are winning. Let minor leaguers figure it out in the minors. The Twins no longer need be some sort of AAAA development team.

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    You only bring a guy up that is maybe struggling, on the edge, if you are fielding a losing team. Or maybe if you need that spot starter for a double-header. But with Milone as the sixth starter and Santana in the wings...well, who knows. It would be nice if they did give Meyer a quick shot if someone goes down. But he does definitely have to work thru something at AAA.

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    Um, let me phrase this nicely. This would be a really bad idea. First of all, the guy is struggling at AAA which means he would likely be crushed in the bigs. I'm unclear where people have gotten the idea that somebody that can't make it in AAA will suddenly thrive in the big leagues.

    Most importantly the Twins are winning. Let minor leaguers figure it out in the minors. The Twins no longer need be some sort of AAAA development team.

     

    He didn't exactly look bad at AAA last year. 

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    And now? (Which is what we are discussing)

     

    "that somebody that can't make it in AAA will suddenly thrive in the big leagues."

     

    He has made it to some extent at AAA in the past.  Who knows what is going on with him this year.  Maybe he's frustrated at not cracking the ML team.  Maybe after losing his grandfather and getting sent to the minors, he's feeling disheartened and has no confidence in himself.  I do'nt know what it is, but if I were a betting man, I'd say there's probably something outside of the actual game of baseball that is affecting his ability to perform.  His starts this season have not been inspiring, that's for sure, but you don't completely discredit what he did last year (and in his entire minor league career leading up to it) because of it

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    Maybe it's just time to pull the plug on making him a starting pitcher, and begin to work him into a set-up/closer role. Lord knows we could use some juice in that capacity. With Milone, Rogers, Berrios & Baxendale all looking able to step in if anyone falters, plus Ervin due back in about 6-weeks, the 'pen may be just the place for him anyway.

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    I am in the bored/disgruntled/disappointed camp. Meyer is what he is. He is going to walk people and strike out people when he is in normal operating mode. If anyone thinks they are going to insert Radke like control into Meyers arm they mistaken. Asking him to spot pitches is like asking Tommy Milone to tack on 7mph to the heater. Even if he could, his control is gone. Meyer probably knows this, he also probably knows that the Twins are one of the least likely teams in baseball to allow his style of pitching. He quite likely could feel trapped. Should he? I don't know, I'm not the one riding a bus in Rochester. As to those who think he should realize how "good" the current staff is, and be patient, he has been there and done that.

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    The thought that a guy who looks completely lost right now can just suddenly come up to the Major Leagues and succeed is baffling to me. If he's frustrated that he wasn't called up last year or didn't start the season in the big leagues this year, he needs to get over that. (Note - I don't think this is it at all. Meyer is a good, smart person) But, the thought that a guy who gave up seven consecutive hits in AAA would get called up to the big leagues and get hitters out makes no sense. 

     

    He needs to work through his issues right now. Confidence might be a big part of it. Mechanics might be another. I think that the likelihood of him getting sent to Extended Spring Training to work through mechanics for a few weeks is much more likely than the odds of him getting called up right now. 

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    Not to mention, May has earned an extended look... all starters have bad outings.

     

    Meyer needs to get out of his current funk to even be on the Twins' radar, and rightly so. I think he's a reliever anyway, but he doesn't even look ready for that role yet at age 25.

     

    Yup, and I'd agree that that is all it is, a funk. Meyer is a smart kid, and he'll get there. When he gets there, he can still be very good. Maybe it's as a starter, and maybe it is out of the bullpen, but he'll get there.

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    Again, Gibson made his first Mlb start June 29th 2013, May made his on Aug 9th, 2014. Both had difficult rookie seasons.

     

    If Meyer isn't up by late July-early August, then I'll wonder. If he does come up and struggles at first, we've seen that before. It shouldn't come as a surprise.

     

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    Apparently, I'm in the minority that would like to see him promoted.  My reasoning is that Neil Allen is a better pitching coach than whoever is at AAA (not saying the guy at AAA is bad, just that since Allen is in the bigs, he should be better), and therefore will be of help to Meyer.

     

    My one condition for this happening is that Meyer comes up in a long relief role in the bullpen.  That allows him to work with Allen regularly, and he can be used in low-leverage situations where it's not going to hurt the team.

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    Apparently, I'm in the minority that would like to see him promoted.  My reasoning is that Neil Allen is a better pitching coach than whoever is at AAA (not saying the guy at AAA is bad, just that since Allen is in the bigs, he should be better), and therefore will be of help to Meyer.

     

    My one condition for this happening is that Meyer comes up in a long relief role in the bullpen.  That allows him to work with Allen regularly, and he can be used in low-leverage situations where it's not going to hurt the team.

    Ultimately, that might be the right course of action but Meyer needs to show some consistency before he gets the call. This season, he has walked six guys (!) per nine innings. He has been somewhat better recently but still walked four guys in his second to last start (7 IP).

     

    He doesn't need to be perfect to get the call but he needs to be walking less than four guys per nine innings or MLB hitters will just rest their bats on their shoulders and walk to first base.

     

    The other concern is that he hasn't been striking out hitters at his former clip outside of one dominating start but that's probably indicative that he's working on something to cut down on walks, which is what he should be doing in the minors. Hopefully the strikeouts will return shortly.

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    Yup, and I'd agree that that is all it is, a funk. Meyer is a smart kid, and he'll get there. When he gets there, he can still be very good. Maybe it's as a starter, and maybe it is out of the bullpen, but he'll get there.

     

    Not sure I remember this correctly, but didn't Meyer have a couple really crappy starts in Spring Training after Molitor said his chances at making the MLB rotation were very long?  If that is the case, then it seems like he needs an attitude adjustment.  That's not a bad thing:  the same recommendation was made of me :-)

    I think he still had a lot of potential.  I think a move to the bullpen is a waste of talent. 

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    Not sure I remember this correctly, but didn't Meyer have a couple really crappy starts in Spring Training after Molitor said his chances at making the MLB rotation were very long?  If that is the case, then it seems like he needs an attitude adjustment.  That's not a bad thing:  the same recommendation was made of me :-)

    I think he still had a lot of potential.  I think a move to the bullpen is a waste of talent. 

     

     

    It would be an immense waste of talent.  But you gotta remember that he's already 25.   If he doesn't make the club in the next year or two he's toast.

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    This makes three full seasons with the Rochester Red Wings. If he doesn't get promoted soon, he should run for city council. :)

    Point for that.

    Big difference between May and Meyer.  Even though his career minor league stats don't blow you away May had a very, very good 2014 season especially before he was out for a month with injury.   Meyer has a good enough minor league track record that he doesn't need to have a whole season of success to be deemed ready but how about 3 quality starts in a row?   That seems reasonable.    I was skeptical about Hick being sent down because I doubted his ability to hit from the left side and was afraid if they sent him down he would never find his way back and his right handed bat asset would be wasted.   I give him complete credit for earning his way back and have no problem whatsoever with Meyer earning his way up also.  Sometimes it is just up to the players to perform.     It is a good point about getting him up here to work with Allen but lack of control does not play better out of the pen.  IMO, Allen may well be by far the biggest factor in he Twins turn around.   Much bigger impact than anything Molitor is doing, and I like Molitor.

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    Suggesting that Meyer has struggled at AAA because he was demoted and therefore deserves a promotion to MLB is the kind of thinking that leads to Carly Fiorina running for President.

    Actually unmitigated greed, and an unbelievable ego are probably more responsible. One thing it was not was honest self evaluation!
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    If one believes any of the posts that were on here over the last few years, Meyer should have been brought up several times, but was passed over for far less talented pitchers. This would cause quite a few players to go into a funk. It's easy to sit here and say he should simply pitch his way out of it. It's quite a bit harder when you thought, and at times rightfully so, that the phone should have rang long ago. If the Twins were playing the service time clock, maybe they got burned? As a player, simply waiting for an injury to happen, since it seems that performance replacements are as rare as hens teeth, compounds the frustration. And in conclusion, remember that we are talking about replacing a pitcher in what was in all likelihood the worst pitching staff in MLB to years running. This was not the Cards staff he was trying to break into!

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    Three?  Last year was Meyer's first in Rochester (May's first as well).

    oops... Correct this will only be his second full season in Rochester. That mistake was like dropping a lazy fly ball...

     

    The better the Twins pitch, the harder it is to go to bat for Meyer (so to speak). Hopefully something clicks in his head and he finds some mental toughness and turns it around like he is capable of.

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    One of two things has to happen for a guy to get the call to the show.  He needs to perform at a level that makes it impossible to keep him down or somebody on the big team needs to perform at a level that makes it impossible to keep him up.  Unfortunately for the big guy neither of these things are happening at the present time.  He can only control one of them and I would think most of us are hoping that the other does not happen. 

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    I think (hope) that Meyer's role eventually is front-end starter.  However, if he is having mechanical, confidence issues would it be a good idea to have him work through that temporarily in the bullpen? As a starter he only gets to pitch once every 5-6 days against real competition and he if pitches poorly he is out of the game and has to think about for all those off days ruining confidence.  As cerebral of a game as baseball is, thinking has gotten lots of guys into trouble.  If he can pitch out of the pen for a few weeks he can pitch an inning or two every other day and some consecutive days and maybe get a little rhythm with his mechanics as well as building confidence on successful outing and having much shorter "thinking time" after bad outing.  That is what I would like the Twins to at least try.  Working on mechanics in side sessions and actually facing real live hitters in a game are much different.  So get him as much live game action as possible to have him regain whatever it is lost and let him repeat it over and over for a while.  Then put him back in the rotation.

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    I agree with those that feel Meyer should be brought up to the parent club. He has been pitching since he was a young kid at different levels with great success. Instead of tinkering with his style try to find what made him successful at the the University of Kentucky and even last year. When he sees the Twins sign guys like Stauffer and Graham he probably tells himself what do I have to do to get even a "cup of coffee" with the Twins.

    I would just tell him to feel comfortable and throw hard and just hit the plate and let the natural movement take over.

    What would a few weeks in majors hurt? Maybe his confidence will come back.

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    A major problem with bringing Meyer up to be in the bullpen is Graham. We have to keep Graham on the 25-man or else lose him back to the Braves, and right now Graham is just not anyone his manager can rely on in a tight game. Having a second "project" taking up a seat on the bullpen bench makes for a pretty thin staff when the starter goes less than 6 (*cough*Nolasco*cough*Pelfrey*cough*).

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