Friday, June 26, 2015

Alex Meyer, relief pitcher

Alex Meyer in his four-pitch outing in the Futures Game
last July at Target Field.
There I go again, assuming that the Twins will -- finally -- get back to the 12-man pitching staff they say they prefer.

I predicted Thursday morning that Danny Santana was about to return to the big club. Instead, the spot opened by the demotion of Michael Tonkin will be filled by Alex Meyer.

Which is quite alright with me. Meyer as a starter hasn't forced the Twins to bring him up even when he was going good, and this spring he was the opposite of good. The Twins moved him to the bullpen about a month ago with a bloated 7.08 ERA. Nine relief outings later, he's pared that ERA down almost two runs (5.11).

Terry Ryan insisted when the bullpen move was made that this was temporary, that the Twins still see Meyer as a starter. I opined at the time that it might be time to abandon that notion. Meyer is 25 and it's time for the Twins to start getting something out of the Denard Span trade.

Granted, the Twins didn't trade Span for a set-up guy, but right now they have at least eight starters who should rate ahead of Meyer -- the five currently in the rotation, Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco and Jose Berrios.

We shouldn't expect Meyer to be thrown immediately into high leverage situations, but if he maintains the command of his fastball-slider arsenal that he's displayed as a reliever in Triple A, that will come soon enough.

The Kansas City Royals the last few years have demonstrated that if the power arms in the bullpen are powerful enough, the LOOGY role -- Left-handed One Out GuY -- is basically irrelevant. Given the ineffectiveness of Brian Duensing and Aaron Thompson in recent weeks, it would benefit the Twins to get to the same point.

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