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TwinsCentric: Should we be worried about Alex Meyer?

Posted by: Nick Nelson Updated: June 25, 2014 - 9:28 AM

The rosters for the MLB Futures Game were announced on Tuesday. Representing the Twins organization will be Single-A pitcher Jose Berrios and Double-A slugger Kennys Vargas.

None of Minnesota's "Big Three" will be participating. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano obviously have been injured, and Alex Meyer -- the team's top pitching prospect and its greatest hope for a top-of-the-rotation starter -- simply isn't having a very good season.

That's fairly worrisome, especially when you look at his recent performance.

Back in late April, it appeared that Meyer had turned a corner after reportedly learning a new changeup grip from his teammates. In his fourth and fifth starts of the season for Class-AAA Rochester, the lanky right-hander was as dominant as could be, striking out a combined 22 hitters over 12 2/3 innings while allowing no runs on five hits.

At that point, Meyer was perhaps one or two more strong starts away from joining the big-league rotation and making a major impact. Yet, since that high point in his season, he has largely been a mess.

In 10 starts since the beginning of May, Meyer has a 4.43 ERA and 1.54 WHIP, and has completed six innings in an outing only twice. He continues to miss bats with his high-end stuff (he ranks second in the International League with 83 strikeouts) but that's really the only aspect of his game that you could point at as being close to MLB-ready.

The short outings are the biggest red flag. As a 24-year-old top prospect, Meyer is at a point where you'd like to see him facing some big-league competition, but the Twins aren't going to call up a guy who is routinely unable to complete five or six innings at Triple-A. Granted, his pitch counts are being watched closely, but he hasn't been effective. In his last three starts, the righty has failed to even reach the fifth.

This raises an uncomfortable question: Is everything OK physically?

It's hard not to wonder, considering that Meyer missed two months last year with shoulder soreness. Right now, he's laboring through short outings, struggling to throw strikes and uncharacteristically giving up bunches of hits. In his latest start for Rochester, he coughed up multiple home runs for just the second time in his pro career.

This is just strange to see from a player of his caliber. If his problems are mechanical, the coaching staff has got to find a way to get him straightened out. If there's an injury at play, well, that's just beyond depressing considering the way things have already played out this year with Sano and Buxton.

On the bright side, the Twins have had plenty of positive developments down on the farm. Berrios, who has been absolutely inhuman down in Ft. Myers (2.05 ERA, 10/6 K/9), ranks highly among them. Trevor May also continues to pitch well in Triple-A, providing another MLB-ready option with upside and making Meyer's setbacks a little easier to stomach.

But, as I've often stated, I believe that Meyer is the single most important prospect in the organization, so as long as he continues to scuffle through short outings, it's going to be tough to get excited about the Twins' short-term outlook.

They need more front-end talent in the rotation and nobody fits that profile better than a healthy, effective Alex Meyer. Despite some flashes, we simply haven't seen that guy consistently.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 Top 8th Inning
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 8 Bottom 7th Inning
Arizona 5
Atlanta 40 2nd Qtr 6:01
Charlotte 45
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 2nd Prd
Carolina 0
Florida 0 1st Prd 2:59
Montreal 0
Ottawa 0 2nd Prd
Toronto 0
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Columbus 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Colorado
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 50 2nd Half 10:34
Wisconsin 57
Canisius 7 1st Half 14:39
NJIT 8
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
Kentucky
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 1st Half 5:00
D.C. 0
Sporting Kansas City 1 1st Half 6:00
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 0 1st Half 36:00
Columbus 0
Portland 7:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Colorado 7:30 PM
Houston
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 34 1st Half 1:38
(6) Tennessee 28

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