Meyer could earn time in Angels' rotation

Former 1st-round pick among leading candidates for 5th starter's job

Meyer could earn time in Angels' rotation

With Spring Training fast approaching, will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Angels squad each day this week. Today's topic: Who might surprise?

The Angels took a calculated risk when they acquired Alex Meyer as the centerpiece of the deal that sent Hector Santiago to the Twins last summer.

Once considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Meyer has seen his stock dip after struggling with shoulder and control issues. But Meyer, a first-round Draft pick in 2011, still possesses plenty of upside, which will make him one of the most intriguing arms to watch when Angels pitchers and catchers report to Tempe, Ariz., next week for Spring Training.

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Meyer will enter Major League camp with the opportunity to compete for the fifth spot in the Angels' starting rotation. The 27-year-old right-hander showed glimpses of his potential during a brief audition with the Angels in September, when he posted a 4.57 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 13 walks over 21 2/3 innings after returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for most of the season.

While Meyer must cut down on the walks, the Angels believe he has the tools to be a quality Major League starter. Meyer still has high-end velocity, wielding an upper-90s fastball and a strong curveball. He also mixes in a changeup, though he has struggled to throw it consistently. At 6-foot-9, Meyer's lanky frame has occasionally made it challenging to repeat his delivery and maintain his mechanics during outings.

Still, Meyer is expected to be in the thick of the competition for the final spot in the Angels' rotation. Veteran Jesse Chavez, who signed a one-year, $5.75 million deal with the Angels in November, will likely arrive to camp as the favorite to win the slot, though a strong spring from Meyer could push Chavez toward a relief role.

Even if Meyer fails to secure a spot in the rotation, he also profiles well as a reliever and could give the Angels an effective weapon to use out of the bullpen.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.