This is the second part of our four part series in which we choose our 25 man roster from the Mets minor leagues based strictly on their numbers and not on their prospect rankings. The first part addressed the “starting lineup.” The following two parts will address the bench and the bullpen.
Missing from this list is Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, who had their struggles in AAA. Regardless of their AAA numbers, both Lugo and Gsellman have been thrust in the Mets rotation where they have combined to go 6-3 with a 2.64 ERA in nine starts and 10 relief appearances. With their pitching, they have kept the Mets afloat and helped thrust them in a Wild Card spot. Coincidentally, both Lugo and Gsellman appeared on last year’s Mets Minors All-Star Starting Rotation with Gsellman taking the top spot and Lugo being named the fourth starter.
Here is who we have chosen as the starting rotation based on their 2016 performances:
* team listed is the team player finished with at the end of the season
1. P.J. Conlon (St. Lucie Mets)
Conlon started the year dominating in the Sally League for the Columbia Fireflies. In 12 starts for the Fireflies, he would go 8-1 with a 1.84 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He would be named the Sally League’s Pitcher of the Week ending June 11, 2016. He would also be named to their All-Star Team.
Conlon would be promoted and pitch even better for the St. Lucie Mets. In 12 starts, he went 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Between the two levels, he was 12-2 with a 1.65 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. His combined 1.65 ERA was the best full season starter ERA in the minor leagues this season.
The 22-year old Conlon was the Mets 2015 13th round draft pick out of the University of San Diego. Mets Minors ranked Conlon as the Mets Midseason 28th best prospect.
2. Thomas Szapucki (Brooklyn Cyclones)
Szapucki made tremendous strides this year dominating at two levels of the minor leagues this season. He started out this season playing in the Rookie League for the Kingsport Mets. In five starts, he was 2-1 with a 0.62 ERA and 0.86 ERA while striking out a whopping 14.6 batters per nine innings. He was promoted to Brooklyn where he went 2-2 with a 2.35 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in four starts. He continued to strike out batters at an exceptional rate striking out 15.3 batters per nine innings in the New York Penn League. Overall, Szapucki made nine starts between both levels going 4-3 with a 1.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and a 14.9 K/9.
The 20-year old Szapucki was the Mets 2015 fifth round draft pick out of William T. Dwyer High School in West Palm Beach, Florida. Mets Minors ranked Szapucki as the Mets Midseason seventh best prospect.
3. Harol Gonzalez (Brooklyn Cyclones)
Gonzalez was perhaps the most dominating pitcher in the New York Penn League going 7-3 with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 13 starts and one relief appearance. Gonzalez led the league in ERA and strikeouts (88). He also ranked third in wins, second in inning pitched (85.0), and tied for second in WHIP.
The 21-year old Gonzalez was signed by the Mets as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Mets Minors ranked Gonzalez as the Mets Midseason 27th best prospect.
4. Ricky Knapp (Las Vegas 51s)
Knapp started the season at the Advanced A Level St. Lucie Mets, and he would make his final start of the season with the AAA Las Vegas 51s. The reason was Knapp’s mastery at each level of the minor leagues this season.
In 15 starts and one relief appearance with St. Lucie, Knapp was 9-4 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. From there he would make six starts with AA Binghamton showing better control going 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Between these two levels, Knapp was 13-5 with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. When incorporating his three spot starts for Las Vegas, Knapp was 13-6 with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Knapp would be the first Mets pitcher on the season to pitch a complete game shutout.
The 24-year old Knapp was the Mets 2013 eighth round draft pick. If he is not added to the 40 man roster, he will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
5. Andrew Church (Las Vegas 51s)
This season Church was one of the few Mets in the entire organization to pitch multiple complete games. In his nine starts for the Full Season A Columbia Fireflies, Church was 5-2 with a 2.22 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. The highlight of his time with the Fireflies was a complete game shutout in his return to the Fireflies after a stint with the St. Lucie Mets. After what had been two good starts to start the year with Columbia, Church made six starts in St. Lucie going 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, and a complete game.
Church pitched so well he was rewarded with a relief appearance (was supposed to be a start) at the end of the year with the Las Vegas 51s. Overall, Church made 15 starts and one relief appearance going 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.
The 21-year old Church was the Mets 2013 second round draft pick out of Basic High School in Henderson, Nevada. Mets Minors ranked Church as the Mets Midseason 25th best prospect.
Other starters considered were Nabil Crismatt (2.47 ERA and 0.88 WHIP), Andrew Barbosa (1.15 ERA, 0.91 WHIP), Ivan Santana (9-1, 1.89), Briam Campusano (1.76 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) and Casey Delgado (8-3, 3.39 ERA).