A CALL TO ARMS – VOL. 8 – MY 12 LOWER MINOR PROSPECT STARTERS by Tom Brennan
OK, OK…let me get right to it. If Mets’ starters were made of liquid, we’d have pitchers and pitchers full of pitchers. (That pun was all wet, I know).
So far, in Volumes 1 through 7, I noted that the Mets, in my opinion have 22 starting pitchers or prospects of varying degrees of potential.
At the risk of being redundant, and primarily for those who missed those 7 Volumes, let me recap:
A list of 22 guys:
Seven current big league starters: Colon, Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Niese, Gee, and Montero. Nothing written about them, you already know it all about ‘em.
Two uber-prospects who on many other teams could be in the starting rotation in April 2015: Thor and Matz. You know these guys too, so let someone else fill you in on these 2 dandy pitchers.
Three dudes who have made quite the case as to being major league ready, or nearly so: Logan Verrett, Matt Bowman, and Tyler Pill. (Volumes 1, 2, 3 of my series).
Three pitchers (well, 4, as it was a tossup on the last 2, so you pick 1 of them), who are a step further down from those above: Erik Goeddel, Gabe Ynoa, Darin Gorski and Greg Peavey. These were covered in Volumes 4, 5 and 6.
Volume 7, I hit on 1 guy (Luis Mateo) whose high promise has run head on into Tommy John, and 5 guys who have, to me, been slightly, or more than slightly, disappointing: (Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia, Matt Koch, Luis Cessa, and Rainy Lara). The latter 2 I was perhaps taking a hard line on, as the disappointment is more due to their earlier strong pitching slipping to average as they’ve moved up to A and AA. On some teams, the latter 2 might still be in that team’s top 10.
Now for Volume 8.
Since the above totals 22 starters, surely there can’t be any more prospects, right? WRONG! Let me add 12 more, bringing us up to a whopping 34 guys, as I zero in more on guys from mid A Savannah southward. I could have split these up into multiple articles, but there are so many, let’s just hit some highlights.
1. Marcos Molina – a name everyone will be talking about soon enough…heck, he is already spoken of. The 19 year old won a Mets Sterling award, is the Mets’ 16 ranked overall prospect on their website, and killed it in Brooklyn in 2014, leading the league in ERA, WHIP and Ks (7-3. 1.77, 76 innings, 0.84 WHIP, 91 Ks). Seems to be a front end rotation guy in the making, mid-rotation at worst. I’m predicting he skips Savannah and heads to St Lucie – if there is room.
2. Rob Whelan – now tossing in the Arizona Fall League, the 20 year old righty had a fine Savannah season (shortened by a hand burn injury early in the season). How fine? 9-2, 1.94, 0.99 WHIP, and 63 K in 70 innings “fine”. Another guy who should be starting out in St Lucie, IMO.
3. Miller Diaz – a fine, if short, season, for Miller, who missed most of June and July. He ended up throwing 68 innings, 1.04 WHIP, 2.25 ERA and 79 Ks in 68 innings. Off to St Lucie in 2015 for the 22 year old righty, IMO.
4. John Gant – 11-5, 2.56, 1.20 WHIP, 114 Ks in 120 innings. Another outstanding season for a righty starter in Savannah, and another St Lucie arm in 2015.
5. Robert Gsellman – A stellar year in Savannah – 10-6, 2.55, 92 Ks in 116 innings. On to St Lucie for the talented Mr. Gsellman.
6. Logan Taylor – back from injury in mid-2014, Logan has done well when healthy since drafted in 2012. Listed at 6’5” ,205, he is 6-4, 2.20, 1.06 WHIP and 109 Ks in 114 innings since turning pro.
7. Corey Oswalt – after an injury which wiped out most of his 2013, Corey rebounded with a 6-2, 2.26 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 67.2 innings, in which he struck out 59. The former 7th rounder in 2012 is 6’4”, 200 and just turned 21.
8. Casey Meisner – a 3rd rounder right out of HS in 2013, Corey finished with a bang in 2014 with 6 fine starts beginning July 29:36 innings, 38 Ksm just 6 earned runs. For the season, the 6’7” righty, who will start 2015 as a 19 year old, ended up a fine 5-3, 3.75 and more than a strikeout per inning for Brooklyn. Certainly Savannah-bound in 2015.
9. Martirez Arias – another 6’7” dude, but who will start next season at 24, Arias rebounded from a poor 2013 to have a stellar season split between Kingsport and Brooklyn: 6-0, 1.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 60 Ks in 57 innings. At his age, the clock is ticking but he got an A++ in 2014, so let’s look for him to move quickly through Savannah to St Lucie in 2015.
10. Andrew Church – Church is the first of 2 highly regarded youngsters settling in in my 10th and 11th slots. Chuurch improved over his first season, but the 2nd rounder from 2013, who will pitch all of 2015 as a 20 year old, has lagged others statistically. Only 31 Ks in 52.2 innings in Kingsport Rookie Ball, ERA of 4.61 and WHIP of 1.65. He has a lot to prove in 2015, but showed modest progress in his last seven 2014 starts (38 innings, just 13 earned runs), so he finished up on a positive note.
11. Blake Taylor – in our “let’s get a lefty on the list” department, Blake (acquired as the PTBNL in the Ike Davis deal, was a 2nd rounder in 2013 like Church. Taylor struggled with his control, and walked 39 vs. just 43 Ks in 62 innings, with a 3.48 ERA. He turns 20 next August, so we hopefully see a blossoming in 2015.
12. Chris Flexen – a 14th rounder in 2012 who had a great year in Kingsport in 2013, and skipped Savannah to start 2014. So far, so good. But he struggled, and then as he was 6th straight good start, he made his last start June 28 before succumbing to Tommy John surgery and had bone chips removed in July. The 6’3”, 215 righty will likely be on the shelf most of 2015, but I added him mostly due to the promise he showed in 2013 and his positive adjustment in June pre-injury. He did have one superb start in Savannah, on June 2, 7 innings, 3 hits, 10 Ks. Get well quickly.
I avoided going down to the Gulf Coast League for any candidates, but even after the 12 above, there were other fine performances in Kingsport by a few other starters, such as Persio Reyes and Jimmy Duff, but I drew the line at those 12 for now. Man, you gotta stop somewhere.
After all that, a guy could use some rolaids, so maybe I’ll write about the relievers soon.
Have a great day.