Is it something in the water in Brooklyn? We’ve all heard the hype about the Cyclones’ magnificent rotation in 2012, but Brooklyn also produced an outstanding group of relievers last year. Although many, if not most, major league relievers come from the ranks of failed minor league starters, this group of successful relievers may produce a few contenders for spots in minor league starting rotations on their way up. Others will remain solid prospects for major league bull pen spots in the future.
Matt Bowman – A 13th round pick in the 2012 First Year Player Draft, out of Princeton, the Mets were impressed with Bowman’s athleticism. In addition to a low-90s fastball that hit 95 mph during his pre-Draft workout with the Mets, Bowman features a hard slider, curveball and changeup. Assigned to Brooklyn, Bowman did not disappoint, making one start in his 12 appearances, posting a 2.45 ERA and a sub 1.00 WHIP while striking out just over a batter an inning. Most impressive, however, is that he allowed only two walks over 29.1 innings. With Brooklyn’s starting rotation of 2012 moving up to Savannah in 2013, Bowman’s performance earned him a spot in Brooklyn’s starting five (or six) this year.
Logan Taylor - The Mets took Taylor in the 11th round last year, and he had an extremely successful debut in Brooklyn, with an ERA of 0.93 and WHIP of 0.672, two walks, and 19 strikeouts in 19.1 innings, resulting in a K/BB ratio of 9.50. He has a nice 6’5’’ frame, weighing in at a sturdy 230 lbs, leaving him a little room to fill out even more. Taylor has a fastball in the low 90’s, a nice looking curve, and a fair amount of polish, which makes him one of the more promising arms the Mets drafted in 2012. Bowman, too, is likely to remain in Brooklyn, probably as a 5th starter.
John Mincone – One of the organization’s major surprises in 2012, Mincone came to the Mets via the independent Frontier League, after spending two rather unimpressive seasons in the Cubs farm system. In Brooklyn he rejuvenated his career, posting a 1.82 ERA, a 0.843 WHIP and a 4.83 K/BB. Perhaps the best part of Mincone’s season was that he was nearly unhittable, giving up just 5.78 hits per nine innings, ranking fifth out of about 55 eligible relief pitchers in the system. With his impressive performance, Mincone may have taken the next step to a long-term role as a LOOGY.
Paul Sewald - The Mets 2012 tenth rounder, Sewald shone as a member of the University of San Diego rotation last spring, and arguably became the Cyclones' top reliever following the draft, posting a 1.88 ERA in 23 games, a WHIP under 1.00, and an amazing 0.6 BB/9. Despite the 10.99 K/9, the 22-year-old is more of a finesse righty, which doesn't always play out of the 'pen, so don't be surprised to see him get a chance at starting.
Tyler Vanderheiden - A submarine pitcher, Vanderheiden might be 2012’s version of Jack Leathersich. The Mets took him in the 19th round last year, and he already has a niche that he’s hoping will carry him to the big leagues. In 22 innings for Brooklyn last summer, Vanderheiden had a 0.82 ERA, giving up less than a hit per inning. Although not as prolific a strikeout artist as Leathersich, Vanderheiden was a ground ball machine. While his ceiling is not in the stratosphere, he knows his capabilities, accepts his role, and realizes what he has to do to get to the majors, and that means a lot at this stage in his career.
David Wynn – Perhaps an even bigger surprise than Mincone, Wynn was signed by the Mets as an undrafted free agent after a season for Mid-American Christian University, where the California native gave up 98 hits in 80 innings while recording an ERA of over seven. Wynn took full advantage of the opportunity, adapting quickly to the Brooklyn bullpen. He was almost unhittable, giving up only 4.3 hits per 9 innings and posting a 1.44 ERA.
Almost as impressive as the starting rotation in Brooklyn, these six men are worth keeping an eye on as they progress through the Mets organization.