RHRP Trey Cobb
I was extremely impressed by Cobb last summer in Brooklyn, following his selection in the eighth round of the draft from Oklahoma State. In 27.1 innings with the Cyclones, the 23-year-old recorded a 1.13 WHIP and struck out 30 batters against 10 walks. He showed a solid command of his sinking fastball, which frequently hit 95 mph, and was able to use his slider as an effective out pitch. It’s a ways away, but Cobb could be one of the first members of the Mets’ 2017 draft class to reach the majors.
OF Jayce Boyd
I agree with the notion that Boyd deserves more respect and inclusion in Mets minor league discussions, but the 27-year-old is running out of chances to convince Mets brass that he deserves an opportunity at the next level. In fact, 2018 is Boyd’s last shot (with the Mets at least), as he will become a minor league free agent after this season should he fail to reach the major leagues. Boyd isn’t at the top of the depth chart, and although his knack for getting on base is desirable, the Mets will have Matt den Dekker, Zach Borenstein, and even Kevin Kaczmarski on call in Las Vegas.
RHRP Joseph Zanghi
Zanghi, a former catcher, has quietly been one of the best relievers in the Mets’ low minors after the team signed him as a free agent in February of 2016. Strong and well-built, Zanghi has a fastball that has been clocked anywhere from 93 to 98 mph and a plus slider. In two seasons between Brooklyn and Columbia, Zanghi has posted a 1.88 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and an excellent 10.8 K/9. His downfall comes when the fastball sits straight, which happens more than he probably would like, and leads to loud contact. Zanghi will anchor the St. Lucie bullpen in 2018.
Moreno got off to a blazing start in the Gulf Coast League last summer, and was quickly summoned to Kingsport, where he found limited success. Still, the 21-year-old managed to finish in the top 10 among stateside Mets minor leaguers in OPS (.360, min. 250 PA). It’s worth being cautious with Moreno; he’s yet to show any consistent power (although his 6’4″, 180 frame suggests he might still fill out) or patience at the plate, and the defensive upside is certainly limited.
RHRP Ryder Ryan
Acquired last August from Cleveland for Jay Bruce, Ryan joined Columbia and put together eight solid outings before the end of the season. Throwing 94-97 mph, the former UNC Tar Heel was shaky in his debut, but then posted 11 consecutive scoreless innings in which he struck out 11 batters. While he isn’t one of the big-name relief prospects acquired in 2017, Ryan has shown, when he has his best stuff, to be particularly effective against left-handed batters.
RHSP Matt Cleveland
The Mets spent $400,000 on Cleveland, their 12th-round selection in 2016, and have been easing him into the professional ranks since. The Connecticut native spent his debut season and 2017 in the Gulf Coast League, where he has combined to record 19 strikeouts and 18 walks in 32.0 innings, although he improved to a 1.01 WHIP last summer. The pre-draft reports were solid enough that Cleveland is worth keeping tabs on in 2018, when he will likely take the mound in Kingsport.
RHRP Eric Hanhold
Another post-July 31 acquisition last year, Hanhold was sent over from Milwaukee after the minor league season had concluded. Imposing on the mound, Hanhold, 24, has spent the last two seasons at the Hi-A level, where he has collected three strikeouts for every base on balls over 165.0 innings. However, Hanhold has been unable to keep his hits allowed to a minimum, giving up over 10 base knocks per nine innings in both 2016 and 2017. This year’s spring training, his first opportunity to pitch in front of the Mets’ player development staff, will be crucial in terms of his opening day assignment, which could be Binghamton with a strong showing.
LHRP Kyle Regnault
Regnault has been lights out at each of his stops in the Mets’ system, after they signed him from independent ball in October of 2014. In three seasons, the southpaw has racked up 2.81 K/BB, allowed five home runs in 151.2 innings, and secured a 2.55 ERA. Regnault went to the Arizona Fall League in October and was simply dominant, striking out 17 and walking three in 12.2 innings. He’ll be 29 for the entirety of the 2018 season, but a lack of left-handed pitching depth should provide him with an opportunity to break through after an arduous journey to get to this point.
Only Travis Taijeron posted a better ISO (which measures raw power) than Dirocie in 2017, who blasted 11 home runs and 19 doubles for Kingsport. The glaring downside is that Dirocie whiffed an impressive 93 times in 237 at-bats, a 39.2% rate. If he can improve his below-average plate discipline, Dirocie could become one of the top sluggers in the Mets’ organization, which would complement his plus defense in center field nicely.
The 18-year-old Beracierta was an under-the-radar international free agent signing in December of 2015, but he put up a superb .327/.397/.403 line in his Dominican Summer League debut. After being rewarded with a Sterling Award, Beracierta was promoted to the GCL Mets in 2017, where he found the league to be much more difficult. He’s got solid power when he makes contact with the ball, but he’ll need to put on more muscle as he gets older.