Mack – Some ‘Minor’ Observations: The Starters


Good morning.

Tom Brennan and I have been creating weekly minor league update posts that, in my opinion, sort of duplicate our efforts in many area…. So, we have decoded to break this into two categories.

I will handle the position that I have always held closest to my heart… starting pitchers.

Tom will handle the rest of the positions.

And Tim Tebow.

So, here goes after week two…

First, a statement. Those of you that have read me in the past know that I wrap my heart around starting pitchers. You can’t draft enough of these guys in the high rounds, especially college juniors that are ready to step up to a full season team the year after being drafted. If you don't wind up using them they can still become great trade chips to get you the position players you need to build the final pieces of your team.

We have a great rotation in Queens, but they are getting older and costing the front office more every season. We need three more studs to come out the system in the next 3-4 years. That doesn’t sound like much. You are drafting 40 players a year and signing additional pitchers out of Latin America.

Well, you know, it isn’t asking much if you pick and develop the right guys.

This weekly series will take a peek at our ‘Red Star’ top prospect starters, and our ‘Blue Star’ teammates that are showing the ability to step up some day. All are true pitching prospects.

Las Vegas - 

Vegas started the season with a rotation Oswalt, Flexen, Conlon, Mickey Jannis, and Zack Wheeler. Wheeler was sent to Queens, leaving an opening for Drew Gagnon and A. J. Griffin to fight over.

This is a bad team, playing in a horrible stadium, under severe pitcher limitations. A pitching prospect’s nightmare.

I can’t wait until 2019 when we move our AAA franchise back to New York State and we can return to giving these guys an equal fighting chance against the players that bat again them.

We have two 'red' prospects here...

Corey Oswalt  -   Oswalt spent more time this week on the tarmac than he did on the bump. Still, he pitched well against El Paso in week two and has a combined stat line of: 2-starts, 1-1, 3.00, 1.11, 9-IP, 12-K, 4-BB. Oswalt doesn’t overpower you, but he consistently throws his fastball in the 92 range. A great AAA start so far.

Chris Flexen  – I was very high on Flexen throughout his minor league career and had him listed high on my prospect rankings… until he headed to Queens last year. He equally got off to a bad start in his first outing this spring here in Vegas, but has rebounded a little during the second time around. Stat line: 2-starts, 1-1, 4.91, 1.64, 11-IP, 8-K, 2-BB. He needs to step up his game.

P.J. Conlon   – We may have a problem here. Conlon blew up in El Paso this past series and let’s remember, El Paso is not one of those rare air cities we all make excuses for. Vegas pitches pray for these kind of away game so they can lower their inflated ERA’s and WHIP’s. Well, ain’t gonna happen this week for P.J.  Two week stat line:  2-starts, 0-0, 6.75, 1.39, 9.1-IP, 12-K, 2-BB.

Binghamton - 

            The Rumble Ponies already have had two ‘weather’ outs this April. Up there, we never are sure if it’s rain, hail, snow, or zombie apocalypse that we are dealing with.

            There are two ‘blue prospects’ here.

            Nabil Crismatt – You can’t ask for a better start than what Crismatt has punched out so far:  2-starts, 1-1, 1.74, 1.16, 10.1-IP, 12-K, 2-BB. We really hope we don’t rush this kid and push him into a bad situation in Vegas. Let the 23-year old build his game in New York State.

            Marcos Molina – Molina pitched his first outing last Monday: 5-IP, 4-ER, 5-K, 1-BB, 7.20. Rain has prevented his second, which be today. Let’s hope for a rebound here.

St. Lucie - 

            This was going to be such a dominant pitching staff this year. Then, the arm injuries took over. Three of our ‘red’ arms remain on the DL as I type.

            First, the two prospects that aren’t.

            Justin Dunn – Wednesday:  5-IP, 2-H, 0-R, 7-K, 3-BB, 0.00

                        So, are you happy with a 0.00 ERA after two starts? That’s right… two week stat line:  2-starts, 1-0, 0.00, 1.10, 10-IP, 14-K, 3-BB. This puts Dunn as the front runner for the ‘first one up’ in 2020. Let’s hope he keeps this going this season.

Harol Gonzalez – Speaking of excellence, here is Harol’s two game stat line… 2-starts, 0-0, 0.90, 1.20, 10-IP, 8-K, 4-BB. Knowing Gonzalez as I do, I’m sure he is working on any control issues that could be raising his base on ball levels. Still, and excellent 1-2 punch with Dunn.

David Peterson – Peterson had some kind of unreported arm problems in spring training, causing the Mets to shut him down. Reports are that he will be back on the bump before the month is over.

Thomas Szapucki – Szapucki is recovering from TJS and probably is lost for the 2018 season.

Jordan Humphreys – Humphreys also had TJS, but we might see him in the second part of the season… but no promises here.

All three of these guys are very important to the future of this team and none should be rushed back.

Columbia - 

            There is some good pitching going on down here these days (Joe Cavillaro 2.08/1.00, Jake Simon 2.45/1.00, Tony Dibrell 2.70), but there really is only one true pitching prospect here.

Anthony Kay – Kay is off to a wonderful start in his professional debut: 2-starts, 0-0, 2.70, 0.80, 10-IP, 9-K, 2-BB. They are not rushing him, so far only allowing him an average of five innings an outing. I expect this to continue for the next couple of weeks.

Current rankings…

           Three great pitchers… 1. Dunn, 2. Gonzalez, 3. Kay

           Work Needed… Conlon.


           The Noah Syndergaard start on Sunday was the 15th time in 65 starts that he gave up one run or less and did not get the win.


Thomas Brennan said...

Starting with your last comment first, Thor having 15 starts out of 65 with 1 run or less without a win, that is a malady that has also hurt Harvey and deGrom badly over the years. Way out of the norm.

I am hoping that a very solid offense, and a solid, bordering on strong, pen will cut their frustration rate way down on these well-pitched outings...and that when they allow 1 run or less this season, they will win at least 90% of them.

Great list, Mack, but I would add Tony Dibrell in there too - I think he is on the verge of showing that he is very, very good.

I will likely do my minors update on non-starting pitcher types this coming Friday. We will make quite a tag team!

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I am keeping an eye on Dibrell.

Mike Freire said...

Nice write up, Mack.

I wonder if Jannis' issues are Vegas related.......it is well known that breaking balls do not act the same in that environment. I wonder if it has a similar effect on the knuckle ball?

I still view PJC as a lefty specialist at the MLB level and not a future member of our rotation......sort of like Blevins.

The upper levels of the AA and AAA pitching staffs should be quite crowded in 2019 and 2020, once everyone gets back from the DL, etc. I think we will fill your mandate of 3 or 4 new starters, by then.

Mack Ade said...


2 things

1. I agree on Conlon

2.the screwball ain't screwin

Thomas Brennan said...

One more to add, Mack....Chris Viall. Look what he did last nite....11 Ks in 5 IP.

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