Not to be outdone, there is another crop of young players who have less recognizable names poised to launch themselves into the upper echelon of the Mets farm system.
We’ve all heard the names of Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, Jack Leathersich, Michael Fulmer and perhaps even Gabriel Ynoa, but there are some lesser-known arms in the system who are worth keeping an eye on.
I stress that this list is in no specific order.
1. Casey Meisner (6-7, 190 pounds, 19 years old, Rookie)
Meisner oozes projectability. His large physical stature gives his pitches a steep downward plane to the plate. The Mets 3rd round pick in 2013 reportedly works his fastball consistently from 90-94 MPH, and he is expected to pick up velocity as he matures. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says that he is impressed with the way that he is able to repeat his delivery consistently despite his length. Meisner may have a future as yet another in a long line of power righties in the Mets’ system.
2013 Stats with GCL Mets: 1-3, 3.06 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9
2. Robert Whalen (6-2, 200 pounds, 20 years old, Rookie)
Whalen appears to be a late round gem, being picked in the 12th round of the 2012 draft. As he has already physically filled out, he is not as projectable as Meisner, but there is still reason to be excited about Whalen. When he was drafted, it was said that he had a decent fastball, but lacked an outpitch to complement it. Well, when Baseball America released its Top 10 prospects in the Mets system in 2014, it ranked Whalen’s curveball as the best in the system.
2013 Stats with Kingsport: 3-2, 1.87 ERA, 0.926 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9
3. Robert Gsellman (6-4, 210 pounds, 21 years old, A+)
Gsellman was another late-round pick by Paul DePodesta and crew, going in the 13th round of the 2011 draft. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but can touch 95 when he wants to turn it on. He also has a decent curveball and changeup to play off of the fastball, both of which should be average to slightly above average offerings. Ultimately, Gsellman doesn’t have a remarkably high ceiling, perhaps that of a Dillon Gee with more velocity.
2013 Stats with Brooklyn, Savannah & St. Lucie: 6-6, 2.58 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 1.9 BB/9
4. Chris Flexen (6-3, 215 pounds, 20 years old, Rookie)
Another late round pick, this time the 14th round of 2012, Flexen teamed with Whalen to provide an electric 1-2 punch at the top of the Kingsport rotation. He has a similar build to Whalen, albeit a bit taller and 15 pounds heavier. When he was drafted, Flexen threw in the low-90s, touching 94, with good command of his slider, curve and changeup. He fell down to the 14th because he was viewed as a 4th or 5th round talent who wanted 2nd round money. Flexen was selected as the Appalachian League Player of the Year by Topps/MiLB in 2013.
2013 Stats with Kingsport: 8-1, 2.09 ERA, 0.942 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 1.6 BB/9
5. Marcos Molina (6-3, 188 pounds, 19 years old, Rookie)
Molina was a Dominican signee by the Mets in January 2012. Parks (whose recent series of tweets inspired this article) describes Molina as an “explosive athlete” who is “ready to step forward” this year. He has a fastball that ranges from 91-96 MPH, but he is still very raw and requires more polish before he can truly step forward, but he is definitely a name to watch.
2013 Stats with Gulf Coast Mets: 4-3, 4.39 ERA, 1.312 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9
Obviously, as with all pitching prospects, there is high volatility and there are no guarantees that these guys will develop into anything special. That being said, these five names are worth keeping an eye on as the 2014 season develops.
Joe Vasile is the voice of the Fayetteville (NC) SwampDogs. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeVasilePBP.