Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
While everyone is focusing on the overcrowded NY Mets bullpen which will be bursting at the seams once Vic Black and Bobby Parnell complete their rehab assignments, there is now a parallel situation evolving in the starting rotation for the AAA Las Vegas 51s. With the somewhat surprising announcement that Rafael Montero was being demoted to Las Vegas to be stretched out to become a starter once again, it makes a high quality and full rotation in Sin City overcrowded.
Although Noah Syndergaard is still most analysts’ first choice as the Mets’ top pitching prospect, a case could be made for Steve Matz as well. Regardless, whichever one you call number one and number two, they’re there until injuries or trades open up spots in Queens. Neither have had the eye popping type of starts that everyone is expecting of them, but the season is young and no one in the PCL is looking forward to seeing either of these young men on the mound.
Following closely behind is Ivy Leaguer Matt Bowman who has not exactly started right up where he left off last season with a rather ugly 2 starts in which he’s yielded 11 earned runs. Now take small samples with a grain of salt as he finished 2014 with 3-2 record over six starts with a respectable (by PCL standards) 3.47 ERA.
The flip side of Bowman is soft tossing lefty Darin Gorski who has shown flashes of brilliance at the AA level before injuries took him off the prospect path. His short trials in AAA have not been kind in the past but this year he’s started off 2-0 with a tidy 1.80 ERA. Given the fact he’s not on the 40-man roster and was not claimed when bumped from there last year, he may be the one who gets pushed to the bullpen. At age 27 he’s organizational filler despite how well he performs.
Finally there is Tyler Pill. He pitched to a 9-5 record for AA Binghamton last year with a better than 4:1 K to BB ratio while sporting a 3.83 ERA. His first foray into the hitter’s paradise was a brutal one game, finishing with a AAA ERA of 7.71. This year hasn’t started out much better with his first game resulting in 4 earned runs over 5.1 IP. At age 25 he’s probably going to have to improve in a hurry or make the transition to the bullpen.
With lefty Jack Leathersich off to a phenomenal start in 2015 – 3 games, 2.2 IP, 7 Ks, no walks and a 0.37 WHIP – it may not be Gorski who gets bumped. After all, lefty Scott Rice is already out there in the pen. My guess is Pill gets the bullpen assignment to see if his high K numbers can work in short spurts better than he’s been able to deliver as a starter.