Angels Are Re Sculpting Alex Meyer, Will It Work?

Every organization develops their players in different ways. The Angels acquired a pitcher who had already gone through development, but saw that they could make changes to help him become a healthier and more complete pitcher. Alex Meyer is the new talk of the town in Anaheim, and the Angels feel they've found a gem.

ANAHEIM -- Phone rings, is answered and the voice on the line says, "you've been traded."

It's a common occurrence, and particularly on the final day of the trade deadline. For Alex Meyer, it was a surprising phone call.

"I had no idea," said Meyer. "I was definitely excited and looking forward to having the opportunity for a fresh start."

That was what Angels' GM, Billy Eppler, told the 26-year-old right-handed pitcher, who was in need of a change. In his short stint at the Major League level, Meyer had allowed 11 runs in 9.2 innings, and was recovering from a shoulder injury.

Once a top prospect in two different farm systems, Meyer had found himself as the key target in a trade that sent himself and Ricky Nolasco to Anaheim, and Hector Santiago and prospect, Alan Busenitz, to Minnesota. Injuries had taken Meyer from top prospect status, to recovering relief arm.

The Angels made immediate plans to help secure the health of Meyer's shoulder and make other quick changes to turn him into a more efficient pitcher, and not as a reliever, but as a part of their future rotation.

"There's definitely stuff in regards to my shoulder and health that they think they can help to prevent further injuries down the road from occurring," Meyer continued, "which is a great thing for me."

While rehabbing his shoulder, Meyer went from the Twins' facility in Florida, to the Angels' facility in Arizona, where he met Eric Munson, who serves as a rehab coordinator for the Angels. After a full body evaluation, Munson pin-pointed what needed to be corrected to take away the stress from Meyer's shoulder.

"It's my full flexibility that's been a little bit tight everywhere. I've never really been the most flexible guy, kind of just roll out there, do my stretches and go, so whether it's going from my hips to shoulders to my calf or ankle mobility, he looked at everything. He put together a plan together for every day to loosen stuff up."

Another struggle to Meyer's game was his command and control. Throughout his minor league career, he walked nearly four-per-nine. The Angels found a way to correct this by changing his mechanics in a slight way.

"It's all about being under control and not pulling off so hard on the front side. A big part of that is keeping my arm slot up and not lowering it down and pulling across and yanking it down on every pitch. They've been pretty clear over here on what they can correct, making sure I keep a direct line to home plate is gonna be something to help command and overall consistency."

With the season winding down, Meyer will only get a few more starts beyond the one he had on Wednesday, where he allowed one run in just over three innings. The focus now is on his, and the Angels' future.

"If we can continue to work on those things over the next four or five starts, and build some confidence and repetition and muscle memory to be able to go into next year and not have to think about things like that and just go out and pitch. I won't have to think about, 'I've gotta do this to correct this or stay back.' For me, it just needs to become second nature and not think about it that much."

With a dire need for arms in 2017, Meyer will come to Spring Training ready to compete for a starting job, a role he wasn't given during his time with Minnesota.


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