"Pitching has got to be the foundation in the organization. Everybody wants a good pitcher. The more pitchers we have, the stronger our organization will be."
- Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager

Sunday, August 19, 2007

dan meyer on the comeback trail

he's a little too old to be a top prospect. he's a little too green to be expected to dominate. he's got too long an injury history to project to be a workhorse. but beyond that, this former top prospect is a pretty good bet to be a solid starter.

for those who don't know the dan meyer backstory, this article does a pretty good job of going through it:
Dan Meyer rolled into the operating room thinking he was having a simple exploratory surgery.

When he woke up, the doctor had some startling news for him.

"Your career might be over," Meyer was told...

"It was tough, but you've got to keep strong," Meyer said Thursday before the A's 8-5 win in 10 innings against the Chicago White Sox. "Doubt creeps in there, but you've really got to push it out of your mind. You can't let it overcome you. It really does make a man out of you...."

his career wasn't over, and on friday night, dan meyer made his first major league appearance since 2005. his fastball ranged from 88 to 94, his changup sat around 80, and he wasn't in the game long enough to show much of anything else.

what i was expecting from someone in meyer's shoes was more walks than strikeouts, more hits than innings pitched, and at least one homerun. that being the case, and those expectations ringing true, watching the game on MLB.TV, i can't fault or criticize him too much for his effort.

dan meyer is not a traditional power lefty. while his mid 90s fastball has good life, his breaking ball is very soft, and his changeup is indistinguishable from it.

i'm fairly lax when it comes to pushing a pitching philosophy, but from what i've seen, the safest way to go about developing a pitcher is to find ones in high school that have decent velocity on their fastballs and quality changeups that can keep hitters off balance. ideally, from that point, an organization would evaluate both pitches, and have a coach work with the pitcher to develop a breaking ball whose velocity would be near his better pitch.

for instance, if a certain left handed pitcher's fastball has low to mid 90s velocity, plus lateral movement, while his changeup flashes competance, but is inconsistant overall, i would suggest a breaking ball that is nearer in velocity to his fastball. either a power slider or a splitfinger fastball would be ideal.

instead, meyer throws a slurvy breaking ball in the low 80s that fools noone and sets up nothing.

while this negative has a fairly easy solution in theory (teach meyer a splitter), in practice, teaching him a new pitch after he's had so much arm trouble could be an uphill battle from a purely psychological perspective.

as i've been writing this article, i've had a webpage open in another tab that i wanted to look at, but resisted because i wanted to give my own opinion, first, so i could see where i came out against someone who's closer to the situation than i am. this article, written by nico at athleticsnation.com, has a fairly similar scouting report, but comes to a slightly different conclusion:
Meyer is late-cutting action (on his fastball) away from being an Andy Pettitte protegĂ© in delivery and arsenal—and potential, if he can stay healthy.

i'm not going to say that my suggestion is better, but what do you think:

which solution is best for dan meyer
split-fingered fastball
his breaking ball is fine

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