Minnesota Twins prospect Alex Meyer doesn’t have much trouble standing out in a crowd. He stands 6-foot-9 and is a former Indiana Mr. Baseball who played college ball at the University of Kentucky. In recent offseasons, Meyer has attracted attention in a novel way by moonlighting as a substitute teacher in his native Indiana for roughly $60 a day.
Meyer received an invitation to the Futures Game this year when fellow Twins pitching prospect Trevor May was injured and unable to play. There was some pregame buzz over the possibility of Meyer throwing 100 mph -- a barrier he has cracked numerous times in the minors -- but it never came to fruition. Then again, he didn't get much of an opportunity.
Meyer induced a lineout to Gabby Guerrero with his first pitch in Sunday's 3-2 win for the U.S. He gave up a single with his second pitch to Renato Nunez before inducing a double-play ball on his first offering to Jorge Alfaro.
The final inventory: Four heaters at 97, 97, 98 and 97 mph, three outs and a very gratifying day.
The Twins have long been known for drafting and developing command-and-control pitchers in the Brad Radke mold, but Meyer and May could provide a different look if they can establish themselves behind Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes in the rotation. For all the talk about his velocity and wipeout slider, Meyer is just looking to refine his mechanics and become a more effective pitcher at age 24. He adopted the same mindset in the Washington Nationals' chain before coming to Minnesota in a trade for outfielder Denard Span in November 2012.
“You try to keep some of it in the tank," Meyer said. “I’ll watch guys like Justin Verlander and Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer and other power guys and see what they do to be successful and try to learn a little bit from them. You're not out there to throw as hard as you can. If you need to throw the ball by somebody, you can always reach back and get a little extra. But if you try to do that with every pitch, you’re not going to be starting for too long."