Alex Meyer Scouting Report (2014)
Former first round pick Alex Meyer is expected to be a rotation savior in Minnesota. Having scouted him once before as a member of the Washington Nationals organization, it was an opportunity to assess growth over two years. In an odd turn of events, the Twins are 32-35, but just 5.0 games out of first place in the American League Central. With the signing of Kendrys Morales, is Meyer the next reinforcement to reach Minnesota?
Listed at 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, Alex Meyer presents as all legs and arms on the mound. Limbs flail about in his delivery creating deception and perceived effort. The top-100 prospect finishes by falling to the first base side, coming across his body. it’s messy and effective at the minor league level, but raises red flags. Meyer successfully leverages his size into power stuff — arguably the biggest scouted this year, but the sum of the parts isn’t much different from the Alex Meyer seen in 2012 as a member of the Single-A Nationals.
Meyer opened the game against the Gwinnett Braves with a 92-94 MPH fastball, dialing it up to 96 once or twice. When down in the zone, the pitch featured late sink and the right-hander showed the ability to bury it under the hands of same-handed hitters. As the innings passed, the top-100 prospect began to throw harder, sitting 96-97 MPH. Legit 75/80 grade velocity from a starting pitcher is a rare occurrence, but Triple-A hitters barreled Alex Meyer’s fastball anyway — especially up in the zone. This is a common trait amongst abnormally tall starting pitchers whose fastballs flatten out at the letters.
It will probably never happen given his height, but Meyer’s fastball will play at an elite level if he can learn to pepper the bottom half of the strike zone. For now, it flashes plus-plus, but command issues persist.
At 83-85 MPH, Alex Meyer’s slider presented as another weapon if only he had the ability to fully command it. When kept low and to the outer half, Triple-A hitters had no chance, resulting in wild swings-and-misses. But like the fastball, Meyer hung a few and the pitch flattened out when left at the letters. At its best, the slider featured depth and late tail away from right-handed hitters. And with his arm action and fastball velocity, hitters have no choice but to look hard stuff and adjust.
In 2012, Alex Meyer’s change-up was more advanced than expected. In this look, the 83-85 MPH pitch was commanded fairly well, but featured little movement. Plus, his arm action slowed and the right-hander remained taller through the follow through. At present, it’s a below average pitch, but acceptable third offering if he can learn to waste it low-and-away from hitters.
On paper, six scoreless innings and eight strikeouts is a dominant performance for Alex Meyer. In reality, the outing left concerns about how effective he’d be at the MLB level. If opposing hitters concede the bottom half of the strike zone to focus on mistakes left above the belt, Meyer will struggle because of his command and the fact big league hitters won’t miss as often. If a Gwinnett Braves team full of potential bench players and Quad-A types handles fastballs up, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Dariel Abreu will make Alex Meyer pay dearly.
After Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson, the Twins rotation has been atrocious. With a better starting five, the team would be flirting with first place, so one has to wonder how long the organization will keep Meyer and Trevor May in Triple-A. In Minnesota, the top-100 prospect will be given every chance to remain a starter and he’ll need time to adjust. Alex Meyer was similar to the player scouted in 2012. forcing questions about whether he can develop into the 2/3 starter the fastball/slider combination indicates. Ultimately, inconsistency may force Meyer into the closer role where he has the stuff to excel.
Projected Role Number 2/3 Starter on 1st Division Team / Closer Stuff In Bullpen Fastball 70 70 Slider 60 60 Change-up 40 45 Control 50 60 Command 40 45
Owning Alex Meyer
In recent years, pitchers with big, straight fastballs has struggled to adjust at the MLB level. Kevin Gausman, Trevor Bauer, Julio Teheran and others had to return to the minor leagues and make adjustments before achieving any level of success. Alex Meyer will endure growing pains, meaning his value is peaking at the moment. Astute fantasy baseball owners will deal Meyer now, and buy back in once he’s been hit around a bit. Eventually, Meyer will settle in as a quality MLB pitcher, but it will take time and a possible chance in role.
16 Jun 2014 / Mike Newman / 2
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