The Minnesota Twins promoted right-handed rookie pitcher Alex Meyer to the major league roster this morning. He replaces reliever Michael Tonkin, who has been optioned to Triple-A Rochester.
Meyer was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2011 as a first-round pick from the University of Kentucky. He was traded to the Twins for Denard Span in 2012 but missed half of 2013 with a sore shoulder, though he was effective (3.21 ERA, 84/29 K/BB in 70 Double-A innings) when on the mound. Healthy for most of 2014, he posted a 3.52 ERA with a 153/64 K/BB in 130 innings for Rochester but was not promoted to the major leagues in September due to concerns about his workload and a late-season dead arm period.
Meyer had a chance to make the big league roster in spring training this year but was instead sent back to Rochester. He struggled as a starter in April (6.27 ERA) and May (7.26 ERA) but was moved to the bullpen in June and has been excellent since, posting a 0.53 ERA with a 20/6 K/BB in 17 relief innings.
Very tall and lanky at 6-9, 220, Meyer works in the 94-98 range and has been clocked as high as 100 at times. He uses a knuckle-curve as his primary breaking pitch but has had inconsistent results with his change-up. Like many tall pitchers he has issues with command and mechanical consistency, sometimes leading to outcomes that don't match his physical talent.
Although there is still talk of Meyer being a starter long-term, he does seem to fit well in the relief role. His command seems better in shorter doses and bullpen work may help him avoid future arm trouble. If the command is there he could be a dominant closer in time.