Mets Minors: Thomas Szapucki and other wasted years

Normally my posts are in a positive light. We focus on who is doing particularly well in a given level and speak to their optimistic future. Today we are changing gears to talk about years that have gone wrong.

Thomas Szapucki is a promising pitcher who emerged in 2016 as a potentially elite young arm in the Met system. He reached the Top 10 Met prospects in most lists and seemed poised to have a great season, hopefully ending with time in Port St. Lucie.

Instead, Szapucki began the year on the disabled list. He battled back from injury to post up 6 decent starts only to be sidelined for the rest of 2017 and much of 2018 with Tommy John surgery. This isn’t the end of the world but it does put a major drag on the development of a pitcher who seemed ready to start moving along.

Desmond Lindsay, another Top 10 prospect, started the year in Columbia but things did not start well. He just couldn’t seem to get things going on the offensive side of the baseball in a slump that seemed to last into the beginning of June.

Then, just as his numbers (except of course his preponderance of strikeouts) begin to improve, he undergoes Ulnar Nerve Transposition Surgery. On the one hand, perhaps his struggles were linked to the injury but, on the other hand, this puts a nail in the lid of an already terrible season.

Justin Dunn, the Met’s top pick from the 2016 draft had a promising start to his minor league career in Brooklyn. In 2017, things have not gone well for him either. He pitched so poorly he was demoted to the bullpen and after a brief respite where he started to pitch better the troubles came back with a vengeance. He’s going to stay in the Top 25 prospects based on his draft pick status but his year has been about as bad as any I’ve seen in a “Top Prospect” for this organization.

AAA: Las Vegas 51s

Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are waiting on a call – With the trade deadline later today it would not shock anyone for Smith (whose path is already clear) and Rosario to be on their way to Queens shortly.

AA: Binghamton Rumble Ponies

David Thompson has cooled – After a down year I’m not sure how the Mets handle his development.

P.J. Conlon stays smooth – Watching rotation-mate Chris Flexen move on to the majors, Conlon enjoys the friendlier competition at AA.

Corey Oswalt keeping pace – Between the three pitchers who succeeded for the Mets in AA their depth for 2017 looks to be much improved.

A+: Port St. Lucie Mets

Tim Tebow asks, “What now?” – The publicity stunt has yileded a player who seems to be able to perform at Advanced A (5-7 years later than advisable) so the Mets need to determine if this mad experiment goes on.

Patrick Mazeicka back in swing – He’s hitting again and has likely done enough to earn a promotion to AA next season.

Peter Alonso is still red hot – Be excited about this kid.

Merandy Gonzalez bids farewell – After an excellent season the Mets trade him for A.J. Ramos.

A: Columbia Fireflies

Andres Gimenez deserves notice – He’s one of the only offensive players who has done anything positive for the Mets in this league.

A-: Brooklyn Cyclones

Where is David Peterson? – The Mets officially signed Peterson back on 7/7/17 but he’s not pitched in the minors yet.

R2: Kingsport Mets

Rigoberto Terrazas has excelled – In his last 10 games he’s hitting .514 with only 2 strikeouts.

Wagner LaGrange needs patience – He’s got some power but LaGrange needs to get his OBP to shine a little brighter.

Juan Uriarte still hitting – He’s got power and the ability to make contact. Could be a nice prospect if he can last as a catcher.

Jeremy Vasquez isn’t a prototypical Met – Met prospects aren’t usually pure power hitters. It’s kind of refreshing.

R1: GCL Mets

Jaison Vilera is doing things right – His K/9 is an even 9.0 and he’s not walking many hitters.

7 comments for “Mets Minors: Thomas Szapucki and other wasted years

  1. TexasGusCC
    August 1, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Nice rundown Dave. Could you do a mid-year top 25 or so list without the skinny, just names, to see where the system stands? From my point of view, it has taken a big step backwards this year as many of the top 10 guys have disapponted and many players like Buccera or Cecchini (although there was talk early on that he was injured) are not progressing.

    • David Groveman
      August 1, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Not done with a ton of research and analysis but this is where I’d say the top 25 sits…ish

      1. Amed Rosario, SS
      2. Dominic Smith, 1B
      3. Peter Alonso, 1B
      4. P.J. Conlon, LHP
      5. David Peterson, LHP
      6. Chris Flexen, RHP
      7. Gavin Cecchini, IF
      8. Thomas Szapucki, LHP (Likely to miss 2018)
      9. Patrick Mazeicka, C
      10. Nabil Crismatt, RHP
      11. Corey Oswalt, RHP
      12. Andres Gimenez, SS
      13. Desmond Lindsay, OF (Out for 2017)
      14. Jordan Humphreys, RHP
      15. David Thompson, 3B
      16. Marcos Molina, RHP
      17. Anthony Kay (Back in 2017)
      18. Jhoan Urena, 3B
      19. Rigoberto Terrazas, OF
      20. Tomas Nido, C
      21. Jeremy Vasquez, 1B
      22. Justin Dunn, RHP
      23. Juan Uriarte, C
      24. Hansel Moreno, SS/3B
      25. Tim Tebow, OF

      • August 1, 2017 at 11:29 am

        I know you’ve been a fan of Mazeika ever since the Mets drafted him but he’s not a top 10 guy. Nido was better last year at Hi-A than Mazeika is this year at the same level. And Nido was a year younger and a better defensive player. And after his torrid start, Mazeika has a .256/.374/.316 line over his last 278 PA.

        • David Groveman
          August 1, 2017 at 11:33 am

          To my own self… I must be true.

          If I had more time things would probably shift more but Texas Gus requested this and I threw a “rough draft” together for him.

  2. TexasGusCC
    August 1, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Ok, thank you. Surprised Gimenez wasn’t in the top ten as an 18 year old hitting .290 in A Ball, but ok. Hard to say if the system as a whole or even the list has taken a step back due to the early rounders like Lindsey and Dunn struggling, but a good point of reference when looking at box scores.

  3. Eraff
    August 1, 2017 at 10:34 am

    I see “Sydd Finch Becerra” has dropped. He was the Brown Paper Wrapped Gift–Looks like Tarzan, Hits like Jane.

    • David Groveman
      August 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Probably falls to the 26-30th player range

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