Last year, the Mets had plenty of pitching talent throughout their minor leauge system. Many Mets fans became acquainted with the sheer depth of that talent when Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo were called up, and they helped the Mets capture the top Wild Card spot.
What may interest Mets fans is Gsellman and Lugo may not be the pitching prospects with the highest ceilings. In fact, the two pitchers who do were pitching in Brooklyn last year – Thomas Szapucki and Justin Dunn.
The left-handed Szapucki was the Mets 2015 fourth round draft pick. The 20-year old pitcher from Toms River, New Jersey just had a dominating 2016 season in the minor leauges. In his time between Kingsport and Brooklyn, Szapucki was 4-3 with a 1.38 ERA, 0.885 WHIP, and a 14.9 K/9.
When talking to Mike Rosenbaum of MLB Pipeline, the Mets Director of Minor League Operations Ian Levin said of Szapucki, “He just overwhelms guys with stuff. The fastball is powerful, sitting in the mid 90s with plus life, and the breaking ball speaks for itself — that thing is a hammer. His changeup has really come a long way, too. He started playing with it last year and made some adjustments that allowed it to take off for him.”
The Mets are similarly enthused about their 2016 first round draft pick Dunn. After splitting time between starting and relieving for Boston College, the Mets began the process of making the electric 21-year old right-handed pitcher from Freeport, New York into a full time starter.
In eight starts and three relief appearances for Brooklyn, Dunn was 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, and a 10.5 K/9. Certainly in the short time Dunn pitched last year, he got everyone excited about his prospects. That includes the Mets.
On Dunn, Levin said, “Justin has such good stuff and such an electric arm, so I’m excited — our whole staff is excited — to see what he can do in a full season of pro ball now that he’s gotten that acclimation period over with. He was impressive last year, and we can’t wait to see what he can do this year.”
Seeing both of these guys pitch, Mets fans can hardly wait for them to join the major league rotation where they too will have the same opportunity the Mets pitchers have done over the past few seasons. That is transition from prospect to becoming a pitcher who pitches the Mets into the postseason. Given their dominance, that may happen sooner rather than later.