Mets Minors 2017 All Stars: Starting Pitchers Led by Corey Oswalt

By Sam Lebowitz

November 21, 2017 7 Comments

(Jacob Resnick/Mets Minors)

We will be releasing the players we’ve chosen as part of a group voting for the New York Mets prospects that we felt had the best seasons in 2017.

These players are chosen strictly on their numbers and not on their prospect rankings. It’s going to be a four part series with the bench and bullpen still to come. We already released our starting position players.

Here is who we have chosen for the best player at each position for their 2017 performances:

Corey Oswalt

It was a banner year for Corey Oswalt, who led a talented Rumble Ponies team to a playoff appearance and took home both the Mets Sterling Award for Minor League Pitcher of the Year and the Double-A’s Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.

The 23-year-old right-hander won half of his 24 starts, while holding opponents to a .236 batting average and a league-leading 2.28 ERA. The 2012 7th rounder punched out 119 opposing batters in a career-high 134.1 innings. Though Oswalt’s K/9 jumped a full strikeout from 2016 (to 8.0), inducing weak contact remains his strength. His home run rate remained low, as the 6’5” hurler gave up just nine longballs all season.

Harol Gonzalez

In 2016, Harol Gonzalez was nearly unstoppable for the Brooklyn Cyclones. This past season proved to be a different experience for the 22-year-old. He spent the majority of his season in Columbia and fared well, pitching to a 9-8 record with a 3.56 ERA.

Gonzalez’s dip in ineffectiveness can possibly be attributed to his significantly lower strikeout rate, as he dipped from 9.3 K/9 in Brooklyn to 6.5 K/9 this year. Despite his lowered strikeout rate, the Dominican right-hander maintained a solid K/BB of 2.5. Gonzalez was still a consistent arm and a workhorse for the Fireflies, pitching in a career high 137.2 innings.

Miguel Ramirez

Miguel Ramirez is a name that many Mets fans are not familiar with, but if his 2017 is any indication, they may have to learn the name quickly. The 20-year-old spent his season in rookie ball, with the DSL Mets. There, he pitched to a 1.76 ERA in 66.2 innings. However, it was Ramirez’s walk total that truly jumps out. After walking 30 batters in 42 innings in 2016, he walked just three batters this season.

His low walk total helped produce a WHIP of 0.90, the third best mark in the DSL. Ramirez struck out just 53 batters, a number he will need to improve upon as he gets older. Ramirez’s dominant stats, which include 11 scoreless starts of the 14 he made, do not give the full picture. He turns 21 in March, and has yet to throw a pitch in stateside ball. His listed height and weight of 6’1” and 140 lbs. indicate that the right-hander will need to fill out his frame if he wants to continue to improve and build upon his successful season.

P.J. Conlon

After pitching to a 1.65 ERA across two levels last year, Irish-born Conlon faced regression in 2017. At 8-9 with a 3.38, Conlon still had a successful first season at Binghamton, despite not showing the same progress that earned him a Sterling Award in 2016. The jump to a higher level did not affect his strikeout rate, as it remained hovering right around 7 K/9. Conlon saw a slight increase in his walk total, however, the fact that he gave up nine more home runs in six fewer innings than last season should be more of a concern.

It should be noted how the left-hander finished his season. Six of Conlon’s last seven appearances were all in relief. He fared well, not giving up a single run in any of those outings. Conlon, a University of San Diego product, was a 13th round selection in 2015.

Jordan Humphreys

Humphreys only made 13 starts this year across Columbia and St. Lucie, but in those starts he was utterly dominant. The 21-year-old shined as a Firefly, pitching to an ERA of 1.49 in his 11 starts in Columbia. Remarkably, the right-hander allowed one run or less in nine of his 13 starts, and only gave up more than two runs once, in his first of two starts for St. Lucie.

The 2015 18th rounder struck out more than a batter per inning, dispatching 83 batters in 80.2 innings. A big factor in his run prevention was his stinginess with the home run ball, allowing just three  all year. The righty also limited walks, as he only gave up 12 free passes.

If not for Tommy John surgery in August, Humphreys might find himself higher than on Mets prospects lists. His dominance when healthy speaks for itself. Despite the fact that he’s likely to miss the entire 2018 season, Humphreys has youth on his side. He doesn’t turn 22 until next June.

We also considered Marcos Molina, Willy Taveras and decided that Chris Flexen didn’t pitch enough in the minors to warrant consideration.