In the mists of time, when the first baseball gods labored over celestial blueprints of golden arms and ethereal magical ace stuffs, one of the baseball gods dreamed of Alex Meyer. "He shall be tall and lean," said the baseball god, "and his fastball shall distort reality due to a velocity daring to infringe upon the speed of light."
"Also," said the baseball god, "he shall have repeatable mechanics, a projectable frame, and a hot girlfriend because a hot girlfriend means confidence."
Honestly, reality is so much better. On Monday, Meyer struck out 11 batters for the second start in a row, holding Charlotte scoreless as Rochester came through with a 1-0 victory. He has now struck out 35 batters in 26.2 innings of work, and by the time he makes his next start won't have allowed a run in more than two weeks.
In his previous outing, Meyer faced a rehabbing Will Middlebrooks - the rehabbing starting third baseman for the Red Sox. This from Brian MacPherson, a Red Sox beat writer for the Providence Journal:
Will Middlebrooks on Alex Meyer: "I asked a coach, 'Who'd he make mad? Why is he here? Are there five guys better than him in Minnesota?'"— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) April 24, 2014
The answer is, of course: no. No, the Twins do not have five guys better than Meyer in Minnesota, and the fact is that they might not even have one.
Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 tackled the issue of why Meyer isn't yet with the Twins, stating:
First off, the Twins will likely wait until at least mid-June when Meyer is safely out of the "Super-2" zone (meaning, he won't be able to accumulate enough service time to become arbitration-eligible a year early). This saves money long-term, and most importantly it ensures the Twins an extra full season of team control.
Secondly, Meyer missed several weeks last season due to shoulder issues. Because of this, he has yet to throw more than 129 innings in a season as a professional. The Twins would be wise to make sure Meyer's shoulder is strong for the long haul. This is more important than rushing him to the big leagues to pitch high-stress innings for a team that probably isn't going anywhere.
While innings pitched, on their own, shouldn't be prohibitive in accelerating a player's promotion, the context with which it applies to Meyer certainly makes it a factor. As tempting as it is to have a potential future ace like Meyer with the Twins tomorrow, it's more important to make sure the player is good for the long term rather than gambling on gains in the short term. That means continuing to get him some experience in an environment where he's a bit more free to work on things while also allowing the Twins to keep an eye on how the arm is progressing.
Having said that, will we really need to wait until June to see Meyer in the Major League rotation? Possibly, but I don't think it's a given. If the organization believes the arm is ready, strong, and healthy, then I do think that the brain trust is significantly inspired to make changes they may not have necessarily been comfortable making in the past. From ownership, through the front office, and down to Gardy, all sides have paid lip service to wanting to do whatever it takes to get better, and if that means finding a spot for Meyer in late May, I think they'll make it happen.
If we have to wait until June to see Meyer, though, at least it's something big to look forward to. Because once he arrives, he's good enough that he may never go back down again.