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The Meyer Factor

The A's have four legitimate Rookie of the Year candidates in Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher, Dan Johnson and the likely favorite Huston Street.

But they could've had five. Dan Meyer, the gem of the Tim Hudson deal, got injured early on in the season and tried to pitch through it. It didn't work. He wound up shut down until late in the season when he was on a restricted pitch count. His final numbers in Sacramento looked like this: 89 IP, 5.36 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and a 2-8 record.

Meyer was supposed to be part of a triumvirate of stud first full-year starters for the A's this year. If everything broke right. Danny Haren and Joe Blanton carried out their end of the deal, but Meyer's injury derailed him.

This is what John Sickels had to say about Meyer in his The Baseball Prospect Book, 2005 going into the season:

I like this one a lot. Dan Meyer has a 90-93 MPH fastball, and a sharp slider. Last year he improved his changeup from mediocre to above-average, making him a complete three-pitch starter. His control is sharp, he has good mound presence, and does well under pressure. Statistically, everything was great last year, his ratios at both Double-A and Triple-A coming out just fine, although there was just a slight slippage in his H/IP at Richmond, though nothing to be concerned about given the sample sizes involved and the nature of the statistic. I think Meyer is ready to compete for a Major League job. If he gets enough innings, he will be a Rookie of the Year candidate. The A's feel the same way; he was acquired as the key prospect in the Tim Hudson trade with Atlanta. Grade A-

Don't take Sickels' grade lightly. He gave Ryan Howard a B+. Conor Jackson a B+. And our own Joe Blanton a B+ - he also said, "although initial adjustment troubles are possible". Sickels doesn't give out that A- easily (don't know if I mentioned this before, but the only book Billy Beane had on his desk when I interviewed him in his office was Sickels' book).

If Meyer has regained his health and eventually his form, he could become a part of the A's 2006 rotation. This could ultimately be a part of the decision whether or not to trade Zito. Only the A's front office and Meyer himself know how he feels. But that could be a factor in some of the decisions make as the offseason choices loom.

Call it The Meyer Factor, if you will, and it will probably be a factor during this hot stove. How much? That remains to be seen.