MMN Top Mets Prospects 17-15: Molina Looks to Regain Top Prospect Status

By Matt Mancuso

January 19, 2018 9 Comments

17. RHP Nabil Crismatt 

Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 222 Level: St.Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R Age: 12/25/93 (23) Age Dif: -0.2

Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent in 2011

2017 Stats: 6-13, 3.95 ERA, 26 G, 25 GS, 1 CG, 3 SHO, 145.2 IP, 89 K, 1.35 WHIP, 2.22 BB/9, 8.7 K/9

Crismatt began his 2017 campaign being thrust immediately into the fire. He pitched for his native Colombia in the World Baseball Classic in March and performed admirably, allowing two runs in three innings against a lineup stacked with MLB All-Stars.

The rest of his season didn’t go as well and Crismatt ended with slightly below-average results. Playing for the St. Lucie Mets, he recorded a 3.95 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in 145.2 innings. He dominated during the first half of the season, but his inexperience as a starter was evident in the second half as he struggled to a 5.74 ERA.

The 23-year-old has steadily risen through the Mets system and has developed one of the best changeups in the system. His fastball is a serviceable pitch that he can control well. He has a funky delivery that helps him deceive hitters. However, Crismatt still needs to develop a third pitch in order to succeed in the major leagues.

Crismatt’s other strength is his repeatable mechanics which allows him to limit walks. He didn’t generate many strikeouts this year, however, his 5.6% walk percentage has helped negate his inability to strike out batters. His quirk is a quick pitch, a tool that has been successfully incorporated by Jeurys Familia and Hansel Robles.

Crismatt will likely headline a solid Binghamton rotation in 2018.

16. RHP Gerson Bautista

Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 170 Level: St. Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R Age: 5/31/95 (23) Age Dif: -.1

Acquired: Acquired from the Red Sox along with Stephen Nogosek and Jamie Callahan for Addison Reed

2017 Stats: 0-1, 1.26 ERA, 10 G, 5 SV, 14.1 IP, 20 K, 0.91 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 12.56 K/9.

Out of all of the pitchers acquired in the Reed deal, Bautista has the most upside. While his 5.16 ERA for Salem in 2017 shouldn’t excite anyone, his 10.52 K/9 and 3.68 FIP were acceptable numbers. Following the swap, the 22-year-old appeared for the St.Lucie Mets and pitched 14.1 innings, only allowing two runs. He demolished righties with St. Lucie, just permitting a .148 average.

Bautista’s dominance is carried by his electric 100 mph fastball. His repertoire also includes an effective slider and mediocre changeup. Although his changeup isn’t an effective pitch yet, his slider has potential to be an out pitch. If he learns to command those pitches in the future, he may become a serviceable big-league set-up man.

Bautista’s flaw is his inability to repeat his mechanics, which creates his control issues. Nevertheless, his ceiling is as high as any reliever in the Mets system. The Mets just added him to their 40-man roster this offseason and they hope he will continue his success with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies next year.

15. RHP Marcos Molina

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 208 Level: St. Lucie Mets and Binghamton Rumble Ponies

B/T: R/R Age: 3/8/95 (22) Age Dif: -3.2 (Binghamton)

Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent for $100,000 (January 2012)

2017 Stats: 5-10, 3.21 ERA, 18 G, 17 GS, 2 CG, 106.2 IP, 86 K, 1.13 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 7.5 K/9

In 2015, Molina looked to be the next frontline starter to materialize from the Mets system. However, injuries and infectiveness over the past few years have ruined some of his prospect luster.

After the 2015 season, it was revealed that Molina had suffered a torn UCL and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2016 season. He returned to start the 2017 campaign with St. Lucie and pitched well there, allowing four runs in 26.2 innings. He finished off the season in Binghamton, and while his ERA was high, his peripherals pointed to a solid season.

His 2017 season was a mixed bag. Although he stayed healthy, his results and a diminished amount of strikeouts didn’t please many scouts. Before his surgery, he was hyped up as a strikeout machine, but he only accumulated a 7.3 K/9 and 89 strikeouts in 2017. His velocity, previously sitting in the mid to high 90s, was down a few ticks as well.

Although Molina throws two above-average pitches, his future most likely lies in the bullpen. He shows the ability to repeat his mechanics well, however they betray him due to his lack of ability to generate any power from his lower half of his body. He improved them after his surgery, but probably not enough to fulfill his ceiling as a front-of-the-line starter.

He’s had a nice run as a starter for the past few years, but will most likely appear in the bullpen in the major leagues. Nevertheless, he’s still on the Mets 40-man roster and will be one of the first pitchers the Mets call up when they need a spot starter this upcoming season. Molina has had a rough few years but looks forward to a healthy 2018 season.

Previous Rankings:

50-41 Led by Jacob Rhame

40-36 Led by Wagner Lagrange

35-31 Led by Gregory Guerrero

30-26 Led by Juan Uriarte

25-21 Led by Adonis Uceta

20-18 Led by Jordan Humphreys

  • Nessim Toledano

    Let’s see what Molina does this year before exiling him to the bullpen too early. You’re misrepresenting what he did last year, and being too harsh on him. A little lesson for those younger readers and writers who do not remember the days when Tommy John surgery meant two full years on the DL before returning to the mound: While recovery times have improved immensely and pitchers can be very effective when they first return, many pitchers still don’t reach full effectiveness until they are almost two years removed from the surgery.
    As for Molina, after a bumpy start in AA in June, he improved significantly in July and continued to improve in August. If you’d followed the team, you’d have seen that without even looking at the numbers. Even without following them or the player, a look past the main stat page and at his splits would have shown you that. Overall, he posted a 1.06 WHIP after the all-star break with the league hitting just .225 against him while he went 6 or 7 innings in every single outing.
    I mean this constructively, so please take it in that light. Its not good enough to view some numbers on the main stat page and jump to conclusions or invent your own perceptions. It is best to then vet your theories with a little more research and consideration before forming those final perceptions and committing them to writing.

  • Molina is such a huge kid to see in person. Big strong kid. Since hes still young I’m down for however Mets want him to develop.

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  • Jason Mercado

    agreed. Thought he was trending upward towards the end of the season and going far into the game. He doesn’t throw 100mph but he goes deep into games and hasn’t shown why he should be in bullpen as of yet. I think he’s on a list of guys in minors that gets a spot start if/when injuries occur.

  • Jason Mercado

    Guys like Bautista & Drew smith could be contributors this season to the bullpen.

  • Nessim Toledano

    Trending upward is exactly right. I agree he will be on that list, tough he might be at the end of that list right now. He’s probably in the same pool as Flexen and Oswalt, with those probably being veiwed as a little more advanced than him right now. But they’re so close that the order can change in spring training or a month into the season.

  • Nessim Toledano

    Perhaps. But it won’t be for a while, yet – there are a lot of other relievers ahead of them on the depth chart. Smith isn’t on the 40-man roster yet. Unless he absolutely breaks the door down, one would think the mets will try and work through their existing options before adding him in.
    Bautista is on the roster, but he’s coming from single-A. There are currently ten other relievers on the 40-man roster ahead of him, plus the fairly good chance that one, or even two of last year’s many starters will be sent to the pen.

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  • Jason Mercado

    True. I forgot Drew wasn’t on the 40 man.