Daisuke Matsuzaka had his first solid start as a New York Met in Cleveland on Sunday. Met fans were likely happy to get a win and pleased for Matsuzaka even though the former Red Sox star was brought to New York simply to be a starting rotation placeholder for the remainder of the 2013 season.
That fact makes you wonder. With the Double-A and Triple-A seasons now over, would it make sense to elevate a young pitcher from the minor leagues and glean a preview of how they adjust and pitch at the big league level? Of course, the Mets are cognizant of innings limits and wouldn’t risk a preview if it drove a young prospect’s innings beyond their identified ceiling. That fact would eliminate starting pitching prospects like Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard and Logan Verrett.
But, what about Darin Gorski?
Gorski finished an innings shortened season with another brilliant outing in Trenton, a 2-1 loss in the second game of the Eastern League playoffs last Thursday night. After pitching only 13.2 innings in April at Triple-A Las Vegas, Gorski suffered a shoulder injury. The tall lefty was assigned to pitch in Binghamton when it was determined he was ready to pitch in game conditions again.
One could argue that after arriving in Binghamton, Gorski evolved into the ace of the B-Met staff. He started 14 games as a B-Met, throwing just 85.2 innings. With the 13.2 he threw in Triple-A before he was injured, Gorski’s 2013 innings number total just over 99 innings; that’s 40 innings fewer than he pitched in 2012. Gorski’s B-Met stat line begs the questions – rather than Matsuzaka, a guy with no long-term future pitching in Flushing, wouldn’t it make more sense to use September’s meaningless games in Flushing to catch a glimpse of Gorski pitching for the Mets?
At Binghamton this summer, Gorski went 6-1, during the regular season, throwing 78.2 innings with a stellar 1.83 ERA. The southpaw allowed a scant 46 hits, striking out 67 while walking only 22. That was good for an uncanny 0.864 WHIP. Gorski’s resume speaks to potential. Last season, he was a workhorse on the B-Met staff, logging a 9-8 record. That followed an 11-3 year in St. Lucie in 2011 that earned kudos as the Florida State Player of the Year.
In the past, Gorski has struggled keeping the ball in the park; he allowed 12 round trippers in Savannah, 11 in St.Lucie and 20 last season in Binghamton. Although Gorski consistently entices batters to hit the ball in the air, the lanky left-hander seems to have solved that issue allowing only one ball to leave the park this summer in Double-A.
With innings to spare, I’d much rather see Gorski gain big league experience eating September innings than Diasuke Matsuzaka. Left-handed pitching is a valued major league asset on any pitching staff. It would make sense to use a few September outings to better evaluate where Gorski stands in the hierarchy of young Met pitching prospects. For me, win or lose, a major league trial-by-fire pitching preview of a young kid who just completed a remarkable minor league run on the mound makes more sense than handing the ball to a guy who has no real part in the Mets pitching plans beyond the end of the season.
Elevating Darin Gorski to the big squad would send a message to all the young Met minor league pitchers that the front office is paying attention, and very aware of the progress they make pitching in the minor leagues.