The New York Mets selected 17-year-old RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson out of Fort Bend Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas as their second-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.
The now 18-year-old started his pro career in the Gulf Coast League. For the GCL Mets, he pitched 11.1 innings allowing only nine hits, four walks, zero earned runs and struck out 15. His fastball can reach the uppers 90’s, reportedly hitting 99 mph multiple times in his debut.
Woods-Richardson was promoted to the Kingsport Mets to help their playoff push and pitched in two games for them. He allowed three runs in six innings and struck out 11 in that span.
Overall, in his first pro season, the young righty went 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9 and 13.5 K/9 in 34.2 innings. He made seven appearances with four them being starts.
When he was a freshman in high-school, Simeon was overlooked considering his 5’4”125-pound stature. Since he has shot up to 6’3” 210 pounds while increasing his fastball from mid 70’s all the way up to 99 MPH.
He works fast and attacks the hitters with his changeup and sweeping slider to go along with his powerful fastball. I had the privilege of spending a few minutes with Simeon to get to know more about him and his path to baseball.
MMN: Thank you so much for being available for the interview, it means a lot to me and Mets fans.
Woods-Richardson: No problem, of course.
MMN: You were the Mets second round pick in the 2018 draft, how does that make you feel about what the Mets think of you?
Woods-Richardson: It makes me feel very appreciated. I am very humbled that they picked me second round and I love the franchise, I love the organization, I love everything about the Mets. Being in Florida and Kingsport, I saw that they really care about the players. They try to make you a better person.
MMN: That’s one of the priorities of the organization. So how did you find out that you were drafted?
Woods-Richardson: I was sitting at Buffalo Wild Wings with family and friends and we were watching the draft, watching my friends get picked and I wasn’t expecting to go until the second or third day, not the first day.My agent called me and said that the Mets want to select you what do you think? So I talked to my Dad for a second and we said go that’s what we are going to do, so I found out from my agent.
MMN: That must have been pretty surreal for you!
Woods-Richardson: It sure was!
MMN: As a youngster, how were you introduced to baseball?
Woods-Richardson: So my Mom introduced me. I had asthma when I was three years old and I needed to be active so she threw me into baseball and I’ve loved it ever since.
MMN: You are throwing close to 100 MPH as a very young player. How do you generate such great velocity considering your age?
Woods- Richardson: it’s a gifted ability and hard work. You can’t just teach velocity and I’ve always been working on my legs and core since the main power comes from your legs so I’ve been working on core, legs, and stamina so I can maintain that velocity throughout the game.
MMN: You allowed only 9 hits in your first 11.1 innings pitched. That is very impressive. What pitches are your keys to success?
Woods-Richardson: So I learned to never love my changeup. And when I cam to pro-ball, I fell in love with it because that’s my best frame right now. I thought that with so much more confidence than I did over the years and I believe in it more. So that and definitely having a high-velocity fastball helps a lot, but the secondary pitches become your best friend. I also throw a slider and a curveball. My changeup is usually 84-86 MPH, 80-84 on the slider, and 80-82 for the curveball.
MMN: Can you tell us a little about your upbringing?
Woods-Richardson: So it was hard on my Mom because she had to play two roles at once, I was the Mamma’s boy, I and my Mom were real close, and being with her really motivated me to play baseball. I had two families, I had a biological father and a stepfather who raised me but both were active in my life. I love it because I see so many viewpoints on life how you can be raised, all different lessons. I grew up in a Christian household, always grew up in the church, helping my grandmother and father in church and I went to a Christian school so something that is really big on me is religion.
MMN: What motivated you to drop your college commitment and sign with the Mets?
Woods-Richardson: Going in it was a dilemma. My parents were big on education and said, Simeon you have everything paid for, but I said that these opportunities are once in a lifetime, you don’t get another shot and this has been my dream since I was three to become a professional baseball player. I told my mother this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I don’t want to miss it and she said you what, you’re right. I’ve always had three goals i life: get on a varsity team, get a letterman, and play professional baseball. When the opportunity came and I was getting looked at by professional teams I was like this is really happening. On draft day I was like let’s get it because I felt I was both mentally and physically ready for i.
MMN: What players do you idolize and try to emulate?
Woods- Richardson: There have been so many people over the years but I love Aroldis Chapman. He is my idol and I love his mentality because its that I have one pitch, and basically beat my best pitch. That’s how I play. They know that I have a high-velocity fastball, beat that pitch. I also live Max Scherzer because the way he pitches the way he thinks inside the game is just ridiculous. He thinks five steps ahead and that’s what I’m Trying to do.
MMN: What role do you envision yourself in the future, starter or reliever?
Woods-Richardson: Honestly, a starter because I have the longevity, I have the stamina but whatever the team wants me to do I am down for 100%. I am just trying to help the team get better. My goal is to be a starter and a horse in the rotation.
MMN: Will you try to play third base and pitch like Shohei Ohtani?
Woods-Richardson: I would love to but because I am doing so well on the mound, I think I’ll stay on the mound. I had multiple teams look at mean as a hitter and a third baseman, but I think in the long run I’ll be better on the mound.
MMN: How awesome was it to get promoted to Kingsport for their playoff push?
Woods-Richardson: I was pretty excited because my first debut was on that playoff push to help us clinch the playoffs. That outing I went three perfect innings with no hits and I loved it. The atmosphere, the energy, I feed off the energy so the stadium was roaring and it was amazing.
MMN: What is one thing that Mets fans don’t know about Simeon Woods-Richardson?
Woods-Richardson: One thing they don’t know about me is that I’m a big Momma’s boy and I love to cook and bake. I love to do that with her. I always love to do that.
MMN: Thank you so much!
Woods-Richardson: No problem, thank you!