Will Middlebrooks wonders why Alex Meyer is still in Triple-A
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Minnesota Twins starters have mostly struggled in 20 games this season, but here's some good news: Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer dominated Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday night, striking out 11 in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
Meyer walked three and gave up three hits -- all singles -- in the outing, and he was pulled after reaching the 100-pitch mark, which is the most he has thrown in four starts for Rochester so far this season.
Meyer now owns a 3.48 ERA with 24 strikeouts, eight walks and only 17 hits allowed in 20 2/3 innings for the Red Wings, and most of that damage came in one bad start.
Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who is currently on a rehab assignment with Pawtucket, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Meyer and apparently came away very impressed.
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
Middlebrooks is right. The Twins don't currently have five better starters than the 24-year-old Meyer, but that doesn't mean he's close to a call-up.
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.
But wouldn't that mid-90's, sinking fastball look good at Target Field?