Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ex-Twins watch: Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer

Last summer the Twins disposed of Ricky Nolasco, who over three seasons and 56 starts wth Minnesota had pitched to a 5.44 ERA, His FIP -- Fielding Independent Pitching -- wasn't nearly that bad, but that had been true of Nolasco at his previous teams as well.

The Twins got back Hector Santiago from the Angels in exchange, but to do so they had to

  • throw in some cash to even out the salaries involved and
  • toss in Alex Meyer, once a top prospect.
Neither requirement was anything close to a deal breaker.

We Twins fans are pretty familiar (and pleased) with Santiago's 2017 season. He got shelled Sunday in Cleveland, but even that debacle leaves the lefty 4-2 with a 3.80 ERA. His career ERA is 3.84, so Santiago this year has been pretty much what he was in Chicago and Anaheim: a six-inning lefty who walks a few more than you'd really like.

Nolasco, meanwhile, got the Opening Day start for the Angels and is now 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA. His strikeout rate is noticably higher so far than is typical for him, and for once he;s outperforming his FIP. He's also given up 13 homers in 45.2 innings, which is ... a lot. Nolasco has long been a confounding pitcher, and this continues.

More noteworthy in my eyes is Meyer, the 6-9 righty who never put it together in Minnesota. Mike Scoscia has him in the rotation, and each of his four starts has been better than the previous:

  • April 21: 3.2 innings, 2 runs
  • May 4: 4 innings, 6 runs
  • May 9: 5.1 innings, 3 runs
  • May 14: 6.1 innings, 1 run

In all, 19.1 innings over the four starts and 21 strikeouts. Also 14 walks. He's 2-1 with a 559 ERA (the Angels scored seven runs in two of his outings). He's also had four starts in Triple A at Salt Lake, a difficult pitching environment; he had a 6.16 ERA in the PCL and got called up anyway,

He certainly hasn't cemented himself in the Anaheim rotation, but it appears he's getting a legitimate opportunity to see if he can find a way to use his impressive stuff effectively in the majors.

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