On Tuesday the Twins delivered some big news, announcing the long-awaited promotion of top pitching prospect Jose Berrios. He'll take the hill against the Indians on Wednesday night.
A day earlier, another of the organization's most highly-rated young arms was promoted from Triple-A, albeit to much less fanfare.
Despite a successful start to the season in Rochester's rotation, most believe that Alex Meyer will end up in the bullpen. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But if he's going to get a chance to maximize his value in the majors, there's no better time than now to give him that opportunity.
When the Twins sent Meyer to Triple-A in March, they decided they were going to give him one more shot as a starting pitcher. He spent the bulk of last year as a reliever and it appeared that might be his role going forward, but the promise he once showed as a starter has not totally been forgotten.
Granted, it's two starts (and one long relief appearance), but Meyer went to Rochester and did absolutely everything that could have been asked of him. The big righty pitched to a 1.04 ERA in 17 1/3 innings, notching 19 strikeouts and – most importantly – only four walks. In each of his starts he worked at least into the seventh inning with good pitch economy.
His sharp early performance draws a stark contrast against last year, when finding the strike zone was a constant challenge for Meyer from start to finish. Whether the 26-year-old has figured something out or is just on a nice run, it's worth taking a look.
Finding room for Meyer to make at least a couple starts shouldn't be hard. Kyle Gibson and Ervin Santana were both placed on the disabled list Tuesday, and while Berrios and Tyler Duffey will fill their spots for now, there's another purportedly healthy starter in the rotation who could be bumped.
Tommy Milone has failed to complete five innings in three of his four starts. Given his status as a 29-year-old with limited upside on a one-year contract, there isn't a whole lot to gain by continuing to run him out. Moving Milone to the bullpen as a long reliever would be prudent, especially with that unit taking a beating recently.
Give Meyer a few starts and see what he can do. The 7-14 Twins don't have much to lose. If he catches on, and approximates what he was doing in the minors in any way, it could be crucial toward rallying Minnesota back into the mix, and it would also be a monumental development in the big picture.
If he scuffles, then a return to the bullpen and a full commitment to that path would be in order. But why not run him out there and find out what you've got? At this point, defining the roles and true capabilities of the young incoming wave should be the top priority of 2016 for the Twins.
If you're making it out to Target Field for Jose Berrios' debut tonight or for the Tigers series this weekend, please consider picking up a Twins Scorecard, sold at booths in the concourse near the gate entries. They cost only $1 and you can keep score at the game, plus they always feature great content from independent writers curated by the Twins Geek. (As it happens, I wrote the stories both series this week.)