Twins prospects have eye toward the future
FEB 02, 2013 6:31p ET
The 23-year-old May spent the last five seasons in the Philadelphia Phillies' minor league organization. When he wasn't busy pitching, May kept himself — and his teammates — entertained by making music. It's something that's long been a passion of May's, and he says he's always had "obnoxious amounts of music" on his iPod.
A few offseasons ago, he bought some equipment and started making his own beats, mainly electronic music, under the name DJ Hey Beef (a name he said began as an inside joke but stuck with him). While playing at Double-A Reading last season, May even hosted a few postgame concerts at the team's stadium.
"It was just a bunch of five-year-old kids. I play music that not five-year-old kids like or know. … But it was fun, and all the teammates thought it was hilarious," May said. "I'm a baseball guy that plays music. Let me make that very clear. There's been some people confusing the line a little bit. I play music for pure fun. I'm not going on tour or releasing an album."
Like May, Meyer has another interest that has kept him busy when he's not pitching. The 6-foot-9, 23-year-old right-hander spent his last two offseasons substitute teaching in his hometown of Greensburg, Ind.
Two winters ago, Meyer's mom — who works at the school — heard him complain about how bored he was, so she suggested he substitute teach. He's worked with all ages, kindergarten through high school, but says middle school is the most challenging.
"I'm from a small town. There's not too much to do there. It gets you out of bed before 10 o'clock, so I enjoy it," Meyer said. "It's something I've looked into, possibly education, whenever my career ends someday, hopefully in 15 years, 20 years down the road. But it's something that I wouldn't mind getting into."
Meyer's side job as a substitute teacher has already helped him connect with his new boss, Twins general manager Terry Ryan.
"Ironically, I did that when I was a scout. I subbed, and it's the toughest job I ever had," Ryan said. "I admire guys that go out and take that on, because your expertise might be in history, but you're a sub in auto mechanics. Or your expertise might be at the high school level but you sub kindergarten."
The Twins are no doubt hoping May and Meyer put their respective music and teaching careers on hold, at least for a while. The two young pitchers were both acquired this offseason via trades. May was brought over from the Philadelphia organization, along with veteran right-hander Vance Worley, in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere.
Prior to being traded to the Twins, May ascended as high as Double-A Reading in 2012, where he was 10-13 with a 4.87 ERA in 28 starts.
"I started great. I had real high expectations from that first month on, but stumbled a little bit. I look back and think of it as growing pains. I thought I was a much better pitcher at the end of the year, even with the numbers at the beginning of the year, much better at the beginning than the end," May said of his 2012 season. "All in all, a success. It might not have seemed that way on paper because the stumbling happened for a little bit longer than I would have liked. But I feel like I'm definitely closer to my goal than I was going into last year."
Last year was Meyer's first year of pro ball. The Nationals took him from the University of Kentucky in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2011 draft. As a junior at UK, Meyer led the Southeastern Conference in strikeouts with 110 and was 7-5 with a 2.94 ERA.
In his first year with the Nationals' organization, Meyer pitched for Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac, finishing with a combined 10-6 record and a 2.86 ERA in 25 total starts. Meyer fits the bill of a power pitcher, something Minnesota hasn't had many of in recent years. The Twins dealt center fielder Denard Span to the Nationals straight up for Meyer — something that caught the young right-hander off guard initially.
"That's where I was surprised when Mr. Ryan called me and we were talking about the trade. I said, ‘Can you tell me who I got traded for?' And he said Denard Span. I said, ‘And I'm the only one that's coming over?'" Meyer said. "It's pretty cool to be traded straight up for a starting center fielder, especially Denard Span, who's a pretty good ball player. It was a good feeling for me."
The Twins needed pitching, and they certainly acquired plenty this offseason. But it will still be a year or two before May and Meyer can help Minnesota out at the big league level.
In the meantime, the duo will head south to Fort Myers, Fla., for their first spring training with Minnesota and their first change to impress Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
"I just don't want them to do too much," Gardenhire said. "I just want those young men to come in and grab the ball. That'll be the first thing my pitching coach will tell them and I'm going to tell them, we don't want you out here, you throw it 95, don't try to throw it 105. Do the work, watch, keep your eyes open, your ears open, and keep your mouth shut. Pay attention to the veterans, let them do their thing, and learn."
While down in Fort Myers, May and Meyer will share a two-bedroom place together. It will give these two young pitchers a chance to get to know each other as each adjusts to their new surroundings.
And it's safe to say any music blaring from their residence will be the handiwork of May, who ditched his old DJ name and now goes by Mazr.
"He said he'll be in his room most of the time, trying to create some sort of music," Meyer said. "It'll be interesting to see. I don't know too much about music, so I guess I'll pay attention and see."
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