In a recent article for MiLB.com, Kelsie Heneghan began revealing their rankings of the pitching talent in all thirty farm systems. They started with their bottom ten, and sure enough, the Mets were in there at 23rd.
After the Mets’ position players were ranked 25th recently, it looks like the state of the pitching in the current farm system isn’t much better, and the combination of the two show why the farm system is in such bad shape as a whole.
The article was quick to note that the Mets’ pitching prospects have suffered a lot of injuries, with Marcos Molina missing all of 2016 and Anthony Kay having still yet to throw a professional pitch.
I think the two biggest hits to the system are the Tommy John surgeries for Thomas Szapucki and Jordan Humphreys, two pitchers who have put up exceptional numbers in the minors recently only to see them on the shelf. Now, both their paths will be delayed over a year, and there will continue to be struggles and uncertainties once they return.
Still, this current group is not without its quality arms. With Szapucki and Humphrey’s great minor league numbers and talent, they’re still too guys who could eventually become part of the Mets’ future plans.
After talking about injuries, the article states, “But, hey, top pitching prospect David Peterson did well in a very brief (3 2/3 IP) pro debut and Chris Flexen advanced from Class A Advanced to the Majors in 2017, so they have some bright spots.”
Peterson was the Mets’ first-round draft pick in 2017, and the 6’6″ southpaw has already considered by some scouts as not just the Mets’ top pitching prospect, but their top prospect overall. He still has a long way to go, but he is definitely a prominent name to watch going forward, and has even earned some Chris Sale comparisons. Being 22 already, a strong performance in A ball could skyrocket his development.
While they’re right about Flexen, he struggled badly in the Majors and will need some seasoning in Triple-A if he’s going to become a quality Major League pitcher. What they don’t mention, however, is that after Flexen, there is a surprising amount of depth which gives the Mets’ pitching a small boost over its position players, as well as over the other seven farm systems they were ranked ahead of.
They still have the highly talented Justin Dunn, who has struggled so far but is not ready to be labeled as a bust. After him, they have an abundance of hard-throwing right-handed relievers, such as Tyler Bashlor, Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista, Jacob Rhame, Adonis Uceta and Drew Smith, to name a few.
All of these guys are still works in progress, but they all have potential as set-up men or closers with their 95+ mph fastballs and high strikeout totals.
I haven’t even mentioned Corey Oswalt yet who is coming off being named the Mets Minor League Pitcher of the Year and will likely be one of the first calls if the Mets need a starter from Vegas.
There is a lot of unproven talent and potential in this system, and some good performances from a few of these guys could lead to a higher ranking in the future.
Ultimately, the overall current state of pitching in the Mets’ minor league system is not great, but if guys can rebound from injuries and others can live up to their potential, there’s certainly hope for the future.