Meyer emerging as option for bullpen

Meyer emerging as option for bullpen

MINNEAPOLIS -- Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer has been dominating as a reliever at Triple-A Rochester, and has emerged on the Twins' radar as an option to help fortify the bullpen.

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Meyer, ranked as the No. 24 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, was moved to the bullpen on May 25 after posting a 7.09 ERA in eight starts. He's excelled in his new role, posting a 0.55 ERA with 19 strikeouts and six walks in 16 1/3 innings as a reliever.

Manager Paul Molitor is aware of Meyer's newfound success, but noted that it's still a new role, so the Twins might give him a little more time to settle in before he's called up.

"The step he has taken in the bullpen has been relatively short in duration," Molitor said. "The reports are really good. He's throwing it over and throwing hard and using his offspeed pitches. Obviously, when we talk about people who might help us, his name will come up, invariably. So we have an awareness of him."

Whereas the starting pitching has been strong for the Twins this season, the bullpen entered Monday with a 3.84 ERA, which is tied for 22nd in the Majors. But Molitor said the Twins still don't plan to rush Meyer to the Majors just yet.

"You always proceed cautiously," he said. "We'll proceed slowly with him. As we need help and he's deemed ready and shows consistency, which he has been doing, he'll be in consideration."

General manager Terry Ryan has also been impressed by Meyer, but noted that the Twins don't believe the move to the bullpen is permanent. He could, however, see Meyer getting a taste of the Majors as a reliever this season.

"He's doing pretty good," Ryan said. "He hasn't had too many issues. He's thrown it over the plate, and he seems to have taken to some of the stuff you worry about when you try to make a switch. But with all that being said, we haven't given up on him moving back to starting eventually. But he could come up here as a reliever."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.