TwinsCentric was formed by Twins super-bloggers Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman and John Bonnes. Together they publish at and have authored books, e-books and magazines that provide independent and in-depth coverage of the Minnesota Twins from a fan's perspective. You can contact them at

Read more about them.

TwinsCentric: Meet Alex Meyer

Posted by: Parker Hageman Updated: November 30, 2012 - 10:37 AM

 Yesterday, the Twins traded a known commodity in center fielder Denard Span for the potential of right-hander Alex Meyer, a 6-foot-9, hard-throwing and former first round pick with talents that  have impressed prospect pundits.

While the Nationals get immediately better, the Twins will have to wait to see if Meyer’s talent pans out.

Here’s what we know about Meyer: He can throw in the upper 90s (ooh!) coupled with a devastating breaking pitch (ahh!) and is really super tall (whoa!). Do those three things make him destined for baseball immortality? Not necessarily, after all, two of those three things could have been said about former Twin Jim Hoey.

So what makes Meyer so promising to the Twins?

Off the bat, well, he misses bats - something that has been sorely lacking among the system’s talent. In first professional season, Meyer struck out 26.6% of all batters faced. Comparatively, the starter to throw over 100 innings with the closest strikeout rate within the Twins organization was Liam Hendriks with a 19.9% strikeout rate.

When opponents do make contact, they have mainly put the ball in play on the ground. With a ground ball rate over 50% split between two levels, Meyer has proven that his pitches are difficult to square up. Although grounder rates typically decline some as a pitcher advances up the ladder, Meyer’s current rate is impressive and a good starting point.

Because of his Futures Game outing, albeit a brief, six-pitch endeavor, we have a glance at what sort of action he has on his pitches thanks to the magic of pitch f/x cameras.

The first thing that sticks out is his release point. Naturally, with a big frame at 6-foot-9, you would expect that he would have an equally impressive release point. Unlike fellow vertically imposing hurlers like Jon Rauch (6-foot-11), Meyer does not have a release point that extends above his height limit. Rauch’s fastball release point has averaged 7.1 feet above the ground (remember, pitch f/x captures the “release point” a foot and change after a pitcher lets go of the ball). By comparison, the pitch f/x camera’s that night in Kauffman Stadium said that Meyer’s fastball was being released at 6.6 feet on average - slightly below his overall height.

This means Meyer is coming from a three-quarter slot rather than over-the-top arm action. In this screen grab captures from Mike Newman’s scouting video, you can see where Meyer’s release point is:

3M9bCG2928bB2doO47ij3VqF8On-ICJMCNIYA7JM" />

During his Futures Game outing, says that Meyer’s no-seam fastball, a pitch he threw four of the six times, averaged 99 miles an hour with glove-side run.

Obviously when you are throwing cheddar at 95+ as a starter, the movement is not exactly the focal point that the hitter is grumbling about as he walks back to the dugout. Still, it is noteworthy that Meyer has some very good run on his fastball nonetheless. If you don’t have movement, you end up like Jim Hoey’s fastball which major league opponents can catch up to,

In describing this no-seam pitch, Meyer told’s Andrew Pentis that in college he had thrown a straight four-seam fastball but discovered that he actually threw his “no-seam” fastball -- a two-seam grip in which he positions his fingers closer together off of the seams -- harder than his four-seamer with the added bonus of movement. Combined with his three-quarters release point, this pitch will demonstrate plenty of run.

So, if a hitter actually is able to catch up to this 99er, it is also running either into (if right-handed) or away from (if left-handed) and making it that much more difficult to square up. This is part of the reason why he has been able to generate ground balls in over 50% of balls put into play.

This particular clip of his fastball, captured during a bullpen session while in the South Atlantic League by the aforementioned Newman, shows how his fastball runs down and into right-handers:

What you also see is his ability to dial it up to another level:

Meyer’s fastball does not end up at the catcher’s target (down in the zone) but rather finishes up in the zone. To me, this is reminiscent of some of Justin Verlander’s fastballs. Watching Verlander the years, you see his catcher call for something lower and then have the right-hander simply overpower you with a high fastball.

What makes him more than just a one-trick pony is his devastating knuckle curve he mixes in. While some outlets will frequently refer to this pitch as a “slider” - mostly because it is thrown with a hard velocity and has a sharp, downward break - Meyer actually grips this pitch with a fingernail dug into the horseshoe-shaped part of the ball.

As he describes to Pentis:



"I stick the fingernail of my pointer finger right in the middle of the seam when I wrap my middle finger to the inside of the seam. My thumb is tucked down underneath. When I throw it, I pull down with my middle finger and flick out my pointer finger."

Here is Meyer’s knuckle curve grip during the Futures Game. Note the positioning of his index finger:

This downward action created by the grip has caused plenty of swing-and-misses and was rated by Baseball America as the best slider in the Nationals’ organization. While it is absolute filth at times, some of his unstable mechanics, an issue with taller pitchers, caused some problems this pitch.

During his outing this summer, Newman noted that:

Meyer mixed in an upper-80′s slider with tight, late break. At its best, his arm action was identical to that of his fastball and it profiled as at least an above-average pitch. However, Meyer’s inconsistent mechanics caused him to intermittently drop his elbow or collapse his back leg leading to at least a handful of “hangers” up in the zone.

In addition to his knuckle curve, Meyer is developing a change-up which he admits does not have the overall feel for but is working hard on perfecting that pitch. At the very least, the change in velocity -- from the upper 90s to the upper 80s -- gives the opponents something to think about. However, if Meyer is going to progress to the point of being a front-of-the-rotation starter, he will need to have that all-important third pitch. Otherwise his two-pitch fastball-knuckle curve combination has reliever written all over it.

It’s long been said that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. Some flame out, some get hurt and some never adapt. In Meyer’s case, injury is not out of the question, but his skill set is very strong. The Twins organization’s coaches and instructors -- likely those in New Britain -- will be tasked with refining his mechanics and instilling some consistency in them as well as finalizing his change-up in order to maximize his potential as a starter.


At you can read Seth Stoh's piece reflecting back on the Twins career of Denard Span

In non-Span related news, Nick Nelson examines the Winter Meetings, which begin on Sunday.




Philadelphia 24 4th Qtr 0:56
Washington 24
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Phoenix 99 FINAL
New York 90
Portland 27 1st Qtr 2:27
New Orleans 11
Utah 19 1st Qtr 3:34
Charlotte 23
Atlanta 7:00 PM
San Antonio 7:30 PM
Indiana 8:00 PM
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Arizona 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 2 1st Prd 8:52
Buffalo 0
Philadelphia 0 1st Prd 12:26
Toronto 2
Ottawa 1 1st Prd 13:32
Montreal 0
Washington 0 1st Prd 7:55
New Jersey 0
Tampa Bay 0 1st Prd 8:10
NY Islanders 0
Florida 1 1st Prd 10:11
Pittsburgh 2
NY Rangers 0 1st Prd 8:45
Carolina 1
Chicago 0 1st Prd 6:14
Columbus 0
Nashville 7:00 PM
Calgary 9:00 PM
St. Louis 9:30 PM
San Jose
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
South Alabama 65 FINAL
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 77 FINAL
Villanova 82
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
St Bonaventure 69 FINAL
Binghamton 51
Montreat 64 FINAL
Campbell 90
Delaware 74 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
South Florida 62 FINAL
Florida State 75
Vanderbilt 60 FINAL
Georgia Tech 65
SC State 71 FINAL
Houston 63
Missouri 59 FINAL
Illinois 62
Truett-McConnell 55 FINAL
Jacksonville 84
Toledo 83 FINAL
McNeese State 69
Elon 71 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 64
Drexel 68 FINAL
Penn State 73
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Albany 64 FINAL
Yale 60
PSU-Beaver 74 FINAL
Longwood 106
Eastern Ill 60 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Indiana 82 FINAL
Butler 73
Marshall 58 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
Lafayette 69 FINAL
Kansas 96
Oral Roberts 63 FINAL
Memphis 78
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Delaware State 70 FINAL
Oregon 83
Fla Atlantic 56 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
Arkansas Tech 57 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 94
Howard Payne 50 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 89
Kennesaw St 53
St Josephs (IN) 54 FINAL
Chicago State 77
Eastern Mich 77 FINAL
Missouri State 65
Kentucky 83
UC Davis 81 FINAL
Air Force 75
Houston Baptist 67 FINAL
UC Riverside 78
Davidson 80 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 68
USC Upstate 53 FINAL
Miss State 51
NC Central 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 60
Illinois State 77 FINAL
Murray State 89
Louisiana 85 FINAL
Northwestern St 89
Oakland 77 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
Detroit 55 FINAL
Rhode Island 69
Presbyterian 60 FINAL
UT Martin 77
Monmouth 74 FINAL
Wagner 66
Southern U 39 FINAL
Wyoming 57
Iowa State 83 FINAL
Drake 54
Wake Forest 50 FINAL
Florida 63
High Point 80 FINAL
James Madison 71
Texas Southern 71 FINAL
Michigan State 64
New Hampshire 60 FINAL
Sacred Heart 73
Northeastern 78 FINAL
Santa Clara 72
Huston-Tillotson 56 FINAL
Texas State 90
Purdue 63 FINAL
Notre Dame 94
Prairie View 44 FINAL
Sam Houston St 61
Xavier 56 2nd Half 10:01
Auburn 49
Bluffton 11 1st Half 12:27
Akron 23
NJIT 19 1st Half 8:50
Central Conn St 19
Hofstra 9 1st Half 14:00
Columbia 13
Boston Univ 7 1st Half 14:20
Dayton 12
Iona 25 1st Half 9:11
George Mason 27
Valparaiso 15 1st Half 9:48
IUPU-Ft Wayne 20
Texas A&M 14 1st Half 9:09
Kansas State 23
Morgan State 16 1st Half 11:39
Manhattan 14
Saint Josephs 28 1st Half 8:30
Marist 9
East Carolina 9 1st Half 9:57
UNC-Wilmington 15
Richmond 17 1st Half 10:00
Pepperdine 13
La Salle 18 1st Half 8:50
Towson 10
Incarnate Word 11 1st Half 12:48
CS-Bakersfield 6:30 PM
Idaho State
Iowa 6:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Long Beach State 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St 7:30 PM
Lehigh 8:00 PM
Arizona State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Weber State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
St Edwards 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
NC State 8:30 PM
West Virginia
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
Fresno State 9:00 PM
Montana State 9:00 PM
Ball State 9:00 PM
San Diego St
South Dakota St 9:05 PM
Utah State
Stanford 10:00 PM
Utah 10:30 PM
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 10 3rd Qtr
Air Force 20
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
Alabama A&M 47 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Central Michigan 45 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 80
Nebraska Omaha 50 FINAL
Creighton 67
Western Carolina 83
Houston 65 FINAL
Nicholls 47
St Thomas Aquinas 45 FINAL
Army 70
St Bonaventure 72 FINAL
Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
Missouri 79 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Robert Morris 59 FINAL
Cornell 70
Air Force 44 FINAL
Abilene Christian 80
Hampton 53 FINAL
James Madison 85
American Univ 64 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 52
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 68
Tenn Tech 49 FINAL
NC A&T 54
Presbyterian 45 FINAL
NC Central 33
Penn 58 FINAL
Drexel 67
Lipscomb 38 FINAL
Xavier 62
Vermont 40 FINAL
Green Bay 60
Charleston Southern 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 80
Ohio Christian 62 FINAL
Akron 97
Jacksonville 62 FINAL
Murray State 80
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Iona 58
Indiana 88 FINAL
Oakland 61
Indiana State 64 FINAL
SMU 55
Denver 51 FINAL
Purdue 65
TX-San Antonio 48 FINAL
Texas Tech 64
Middle Tennessee 79
Campbell 66 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 55
Florida A&M 67 FINAL
SE Louisiana 69
Northwestern St 61 FINAL
Jackson State 62
Lehigh 61 FINAL
Arizona State 81
Valparaiso 65 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 77
Liberty 60 FINAL
Minnesota 74
Wofford 60 FINAL
North Florida 68
Montana State 61 FINAL
Washington St 82
Marshall 56 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 69
Morgan State 40 FINAL
Chattanooga 55
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Harvard 67
Furman 51 FINAL
(15) Georgia 58
(18) Michigan State 65 FINAL
(9) Baylor 84
Ohio U 52 FINAL
Massachusetts 59
Prairie View 48 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 86
Toledo 64 FINAL
Southern Ill 48
High Point 57 FINAL
(12) Nebraska 83
Winthrop 20 FINAL
Wichita State 66
William Jewell 59 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 52 FINAL
Utah 67
Southern Utah 51 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 76
San Jose St 62 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Northridge 65 FINAL
San Diego State 54
Norfolk State 36 FINAL
East Carolina 65
Saint Peters 49 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 59
Northwestern 44 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 92
Arizona 60 2nd Half 0:17
Stephen F Austin 69
Oral Roberts 31 2nd Half 11:00
Wisconsin 52
Florida Atlantic 49 2nd Half 4:05
New Mexico St 39
La Salle 38 2nd Half
Georgia State 38
(16) Oregon State 43 2nd Half 20:00
Nevada 25
Sacred Heart 32 1st Half 6:14
Villanova 14
Delaware 20 1st Half 7:30
Cincinnati 17
Troy 21 1st Half 6:03
Tennessee St 21
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Washington 7:00 PM
Pacific 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Old Dominion 7:00 PM
Austin Peay 9:00 PM
Lewis-Clark State 9:00 PM
(21) Miss State 9:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question