There are many ways for athletes to pass time in the offseason, but very few choose to work a tough job for low pay. This is what makes Minnesota Twins minor league pitcher Alex Meyer unique.
According to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star, the 23-year-old starting pitcher has spent the past three offseasons working as a substitute teacher in the Greensburg school district outside of Indianapolis, including at his very own Greensburg High School.
However, the University of Kentucky alumnus wants a career to fall back on in case things do not go according to plan with baseball. He told Woods:
Being able to be a substitute teacher puts me in a real-life atmosphere and lets me know if this is something I really want to do or not. So far, it is.
Hopefully, I'm able to play baseball and have a nice, long career. But you never know what's going to happen with that. So you've always got to be able to have something on the ready.
The good news is that his baseball career appears to be on the right track at the moment. After being selected with the 23rd overall pick of the 2011 draft, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Denard Span. According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, Twins general manager Terry Ryan was very excited about the deal:
It's difficult to get these types of guys once they're up near Triple-A or their rookie years in the big leagues. So we went and got a guy who pitched in the Carolina League this year. I don't know if you waited much longer, you'd have a shot at this guy.
He's got four pitches with velocity and size, and he throws it over. So I'll let him dictate where he's going to end up in which spot in the rotation and all that. But he's certainly has the capability of providing some quality innings.
Meyer is already proving his GM right with a strong 2013 season that saw him post a 2.99 ERA in 78.1 innings across 16 starts. He also had an impressive 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com rated the 6'9" right-hander as the No. 32 prospect in all of baseball following the 2013 season. He also predicts that he will make his major league debut at some point in 2014.
At his current pace, Meyer will not need to worry about a second career.
Still, it is impressive to see a player so young thinking so clearly about his future. Even some of the best baseball prospects fail to make it in the big leagues, and many of them are unprepared for the next stage of their lives.
However, Meyer appears to have found something he loves to do and benefits the community at the same time. It is clear that no matter what happens, the Indiana native will be just fine.
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