Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer probably won't make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training, but if the 6-foot-9, flame-throwing right-hander continues pitching like he is so far at Spring Training, it's going to be a tall order keeping him in the minor leagues for long.
Sunday marked the second day of live batting practice at Twins Spring Training, and the combination of Oswaldo Arcia, Alex Presley and Aaron Hicks had a difficult time taking swings against Meyer.
"He runs it up there pretty good," Presley said, the Pioneer Press reported. "It looks like he's got some stuff going on there. I've never seen him pitch in a game, but there are certain things you see that you know are going to translate (to the majors)."
Meyer is the 28th best prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. His fastball reaches the high 90s and he has an explosive curveball to keep hitters off-balance. In addition, he's developing a pretty good change-up. The same list ranks Twins prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano No. 1 and No. 4 overall.
Meyer is competing with Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond for the last spot in the starting rotation. Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey are considered locks in the starting five.
Manager Ron Gardenhire told Rhett Bollinger of TwinsBaseball.com that Meyer is a long shot to make the team.
"Whether he's ready for this or not, he'll tell us -- he hasn't pitched in Triple-A yet," Gardenhire said. "I don't want any player coming into Spring Training thinking they don't have a chance. But he's a long shot just because he didn't pitch a lot of innings last year, and we want to make sure we do the right thing. But he has a definite chance sometime throughout the year to pitch [in the Majors]."
He pitched in only 16 games last year after a shoulder injury sidelined him for the final two months of the season. He returned from the injury and impressed scouts at the Arizona Fall League, but between the Twins Gulf Coast rookie league and Double-A New Britain, Meyer went 4-3 with a 2.99 earned-run average. He struck out 100 hitters in just 78 1/3 innings.