2/21/17

Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: # 5 Tom Szapucki

11 comments



Tom Brennan – TOP 25 METS’ PROSPECTS: # 5 Tom Szapucki


One can only hope that Kevin Kaczmarski and Tom Szapucki don’t quit Mets baseball to open up a law firm (Kaczmarski and Szapucki, LLC) in Poland. 

Kidding aside, one of the minor league’s biggest pleasant surprises of 2016 was Tom Szapucki.  Drafted in the 5th round out of high school in 2015, the fireballing lefty barely got to the minor league mound, and what he did on it (while very short) may have led some to think “busted pick.”  2.1 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs.  Ugh.  But no walks and 3 Ks, a glimmer of what was to come. 

2016 was sheer dynamite for the 6’2”, 205 Szapucki.  He started out pitching in Kingsport like Sandy Koufax on a rehab assignment (5 starts, 29 innings, 2 earned runs, 47 Ks).  Time to promote Mr. Koufax – off to Brooklyn Szapucki went.  

Results?  Boring, you know, same old Koufax-like dominance: 23 IP, 6 earned runs, 10 hits, 39 Ks, striking out 10 or more in his last 3 starts.  A man against boys.   Of the 6 earned runs in Brooklyn, 4 came in his last start in which he went 5.1 IP, fanned 10, and allowed 3 hits and 3 walks.  OK, yep, that’s his bad start. 

Overall, before he was disappointingly shut down as a precaution due to a cranky back in mid-August, he compiled 52 IP, and had 86 K (14.9 K per 9 innings), just 26 hits allowed and a 1.38 ERA.  Only his 20 walks served notice that he is not yet ready for enshrinement in Cooperstown. 

I just have this funny feeling that like PJ Conlon, who threw 20 brilliant innings for Brooklyn in 2015, only to follow it up with the lowest ERA in all of baseball in 2016 spanning Columbia and St Lucie, Szapucki is going to pick up where he left off and torch full season A ball in 2017 in similar fashion. 

He just needs to refine command of his already good secondary pitches to complement the 97 MPH heater – and take care of that back.  My prediction?  If healthy, he fans 200 this year, in which he turns 21 in June. 

Assuming healthy progress, he could be another elite joining the starting Mets rotation by 2019.  Wait, we already have a ton of great starters?  Oh well, we’ll figure something out.

11 comments:

Reese Kaplan said...

His arrival may coincide with the departure of Matt Harvey. Problem solved.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

To be honest, Szapucki snuck up on me and it was you that pointed out his prospect potential.

I look forward to the potential of the Columbia rotation... Szapucki, Justin Dunn, Merandy Gonzalez, possibly Cameron Planck.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack add in Harol Gonzalez, the other Gonzalez who had a great starting season at Brooklyn. Harol, who over a 10 start mid-season stretch, allowed zero runs 5 times, 1 run twice and 2 runs once, and 3 runs once, and also fanned 10 or more 3 times. His ERA climbed to 2.01 with a final shaky start. He led the NY Penn league in ERA and K's (88).

That could be a sensational Columbia rotation. If not Planck, Humphreys. Whew.

Eddie Corona said...

Szapucki is the Key to the next level of starting Pitchers... He I beleive has the highest potential and thus could be the Bridge from Harvey to Thor to Szapucki ... I really like the other Guys but the special ones have "IT"... What ever that is...

Hobie said...

Pronunciation?

__puck_ as in hockey-puck, pook or ouke?

Richard Jones said...

I know it might be a demotion in a sense but I would give Viola a raise to go back down and follow Szapucki and Dunn back up the system. Kind of how it worked out with Matz. In recent time the Mets have had more then there fair share of top pitching prospects actually make it. Harvey, Syndergaard, deGrom, Matz, Wheeler, Fulmer, Gsellman, and Lugo. That's a pretty good track record even with the injuries. Are they just fortunate or are they doing something right? I feel if it is that their doing something right Viola is a big part of it. Szapucki and Dunn have the arms to justify the investment.

Eddie Corona said...

good idea Richard

Thomas Brennan said...

Richard, THEY ARE DOING A WHOLE LOT OF "RIGHT" WHEN IT COMES TO PICKING PITCHERS.

I think he pronounces his name Zah-puck-I.

Hopefully he treats hitters like a bug ZAPPER

Richard Jones said...

Is it just a good job picking or is there something there also doing right developing?
Looking back at MLB top ten pitching prospects over the last 5 or so years there where a lot of pitcher ahead of some of the Mets current pitchers that never had anywhere near their success.

Mack Ade said...

pucki as in fucki

Thomas Brennan said...

Richard, they clearly are picking pitchers really well...credit where credit is due.

Mack is hooked on phonics!

It will be so interesting to see if a Szapucki might possibly be better than Matz (who on a number of teams would be an SP1 or SP2).

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