WHO MIGHT STEP TO THE FORE NOW THAT SO MANY PITCHING PROSPECTS ARE GONE? - Tom Brennan
Man, the Mets had a lot of starting pitching prospects last year. How about a recapof some movement of guys in 2015?
Four promos to Queens:
· Thor called up and in the rotation.
· Matz called up, hurt, but about to join the September rotation.
· Verrett claimed off 40 man, returned to the Mets, on the 25 man roster.
· Robles promoted to the pen after a late season 2014 switch to the pen in the minors.
Eight starters traded: Michael Fulmer, Luis Cessa, Casey Meisner, John Gant, Rob Whelan, Matt Koch, Miller Diaz, Brad Wieck.
That is 12 guys – and I’d not be surprised if I forgot someone.
In any organization, churn 12 guys out and the cupboard is bare. Stripped. Vaporized.
But not the Mets : several quality starters appear to remain – let me list them:
1) Seth Lugo – the hard throwing righty (pictured above) is now in AAA, having a very solid year, and eye-catching are 20 Ks in 12 innings in his last 2 starts. The 34th round from 2011, soon to turn 26, has jumped up the list this year in a big way. See him in Queens next year? Very possibly.
2) Martires Arias – most fans would say “who?” Who could blame them after his lackluster first 5 years in the organization? Two years in the DSL, 3 years in stateside rookie ball showing nothing statistically. You'd look and ask: why is he still here? But tall guys (he is 6’7” or 6’11”, not sure) can develop later – and he’s had a tremendous 2014 and 2015 in Kingsport, Brooklyn, Savannah, and briefly in St Lucie: 14-5, 1.90, 175 innings, 175 Ks. Still walks a few too many, but big strides there for the big man. An article early this summer published by MILB.com quoted his pitching coach (Valdez) as follows: "His fastball is in the low- to mid-90s at times and he gets some good runs and sink to it. Anybody with that kind of stuff is certainly capable of making progress. He has to continue to work on his fastball command and throwing to both sides of the plate and continue to get a better feel for the changeup, because it's the best it's ever been this season." I think Arias is added to the 40 man roster and shows up in Queens in 2017 if he is not traded.
3) Chris Flexen – pitched great after being a 14th round selection out of high school in 2012. Now 21, he endured Tommy John surgery last season, and has come back strong, with a 3-2 record, 2.27, 41 Ks in 43 innings this year. Reputed low 90s fastball with a solid curve.. Another guy who I’d suspect could be ready for Queens some time in 2017.
4) Rob Gsellman – just 22, the tall righty (13th round 2011 out of HS) had a fine year in Savannah in 2014 (10-6, 2.56 in 20 starts), then 13-6, 2.63 in 22 starts so far this year in St Lucie and Binghamton. My only concern with Rob is his relatively low strikeout rate (82 in 133 innings this year) but his 1.07 WHIP this year shows he is truly getting the job done.
5) Marcos Molina – still 20, after a remarkable year in Brooklyn in 2014, where he was the league’s best starter, he developed a sore elbow in 2015 and missed 12 weeks. He pitched well in 3 outings in August, but is back on the DL. Time will tell if this is temporary or if he will undergo the knife – but assuming a healthy return, he is a potential future rotation guy in Queens.
6) Gabe Ynoa – he has stalled in AA, but is still young and throws reasonably hard. Low K and walk rates. I think he figures it out in 2016, & eventually becomes a major league back end rotation guy or a 7th inning guy.
Other guys just a notch below are Ricky Knapp and Corey Oswalt, both with fine 2015 records but allowing a high level of hits. Logan Taylor has shown some promise this year too.
Some guys in rookie ball have had some outstanding games, which to me shows a potential for breakout talent. We’ll see who emerges from that pack in 2016.
All in all, a drop in the quantity and quality of starting pitching prospects – but the cupboard is not bare.
And the above does not consider Mets’ relief prospects, of which there are quite a few goodies.
So don’t have sleepless nights – the state of arms in the minors is good.