Mets Minors: Can Thomas Szapucki end ’19 a top five Mets prospect?

MLB.com currently ranks Thomas Szapucki in their Top 10 Met prospects, but at 23 years of age and pitching another injury shortened season in Columbia one might question if this left-handed pitcher even belongs being ranked that high. Consider that Ronny Mauricio (currently on track to finish the year as the #1 Met Prospect) is 18 years old and playing well in the same level. Szapucki is too old to be pitching where he is and has already lost two full years of his own development. What about this pitcher makes people say, “Top Prospect” at all.

Draft Profile:

Some players get ranked highly because they are drafted highly. Players like Brett Baty and Josh Wolf will be ranked in the Top 10 (likely) based on nothing but their draft stock. Instead the Mets took Szapucki in the 5th round of the drafts and lucked into being able to sign him away from a college commitment. He hadn’t ranked higher because he lacked velocity and the assumption from most scouts was that he’d go to college, get his fastball up to speed and then he’d return to the draft as a Top 100 talent. Instead, the Mets signed him for $375,000.00 and sent him to the Gulf.

Kingsport and Brooklyn:

Szapucki was a revelation in Brooklyn. His fastball jumped up in velocity significantly which played off his already great breaking pitches to make him devastatingly effective. His 86 strikeouts in 52.0 innings pitched was off the charts and the crisp 0.88 WHIP made people see an “Ace” tag in the offing. Everything suggested that the Mets had secured a diamond in the rough and people felt very good about the depth of the Mets pitching.

Injuries:

In the Spring of 2017 injury worries began to make themselves known. The Mets shutdown Szapucki and the pitcher opted to try to avoid Tommy John surgery by going through alternative treatments. It even seemed like it might work, with the lefty 29.0 innings towards the middle of the year but it was not to be. Szapucki lost most of his 2017 season to alternative treatments and all of his 2018 season to Tommy John.

Fragility Tag:

Now that Szapucki has spent the better part of two years on the shelf the Mets are treating him as if he’s made of paper-thin porcelain. He’s been used sparingly by the Columbia Fireflies and was only stretched to 3.0 innings for the first time yesterday. As he works back to health the numbers have been shy of his 2016 excellence but have tended to be good throughout his brief showing.

Top Prospect:

The Mets are now working to stretch Szapucki out and we should see him having legitimate starts in his next 2-3 outings. Should he be his 2016 self for the rest of the year it will be hard for people not to kick him up of few Prospect rungs on the ladder. It would be hasty to put a pitcher who hasn’t ever pitched in Advanced A past the likes of Anthony Kay or David Peterson but crazier things have been known to happen.

AA:
Binghamton Rumble Ponies

David Thompson on a Tear – The streaky 3rd baseman is hitting .364 over his last 10 games but his power hasn’t looked as impressive as it should.

Patrick Mazeika is on the Fringes of Relevance – He’s still showing enough with his bat to be an interesting backup option at catcher. A catcher who can hit from the left side of the plate isn’t a bad thing.

A+:
St. Lucie Mets

Jeremy Vasquez Belongs in AA – If only Vasquez played another position he’d probably be in AA already.

DSL:
Mets 1 and 2

Freddy Valdez still looks good – He’s stolen 2 more bases than I ever thought he would and I’d love to see more power but he’s stayed strong throughout.

Federico Polanco is worth noting – The small infielder is a hit machine and has a nice string of extra base hits thanks to his speed and hitting.

Kenedy Corona fits the mold – A speedy center fielder who can get on base and steal a bunch is something the Mets have been lacking since Angel Pagan left.

9 comments for “Mets Minors: Can Thomas Szapucki end ’19 a top five Mets prospect?

  1. TexasGusCC
    June 25, 2019 at 12:48 am

    Hi David. As usual, I have lots of opinions on the future Mets. You’re right in that Szapucki hasn’t done enough to warrant the top ten, but might be by default. After all, Alonso, Kelenic, and Dunn aren’t to be on the list, so even if you replace them with Baty, Wolf and Allen, there is still room for Szapucki, and that’s a shame the farm is so bare.

    But, in the top-5, I would say Mauricio is getting the attention, but Ali Sanchez deserves the top spot if he finishes the year hitting at the levels he is at right now. A lights out defender at catcher that hits .280-.290 and has some power while being shouting distance of the MLB? He has to be #1. Kay is a good bet to be in the top 5, Mauricio and Giminez should sneak in there and there is room for this draft’s top performer. The second five would start with Peterson, (hopefully) Vientos, then the last two months will decide the last three spots between Woods-Richardson, Newton, Szapucki, Wolf, and Allen. One thing is certain, Kilome and Junior Santos will probably be out of the top ten. Disappointed to see Santos is in the bullpen of Kingsport, along with another Santos, LOL. Good luck when seeing box scores!

    I’m ecstatic at the start Gregory Guerrero is on, but I’d like to see him in the outfield. Playing him at second base is a shame. He has the arm for third base, let’s put him on the grass. Hopefully this is a re-acclimation period and this will happen sooner rather than later.

    Valdez is hitting only .213 and it seems like both DSL teams that started out like gang busters have hit a rather long slide. However, I don’t know where Alvarez is or Hernandez for that matter.

    Lastly, major props to Gavin Cacchini as he attempts an injury comeback and has started his rehab in Brooklyn.

    • TexasGusCC
      June 25, 2019 at 1:05 am

      Just saw that Valdez is up to .262. A good weekend helped, I guess. And Junior Santos started tonight’s game after pitching out of the bullpen last week…

      How about the Binghamton tricks? A day after Peterson starts and goes 6 innings, he’s the opener for the next game; he throws a perfect inning, then Jannis comes in and throws the next 8 innings of great pitching in a 2-1 win! I like stuff like that!

      • June 25, 2019 at 8:32 am

        Hey Gus,

        Sanchez is on the rise, sporting a .429 BA over his last 10 games but it’s fairly hollow batting average. He doesn’t walk much, doesn’t show much power and (not surprisingly for a catcher) has no speed. If he can be a .700 OPS hitter he’s a starting MLB catcher on the basis of his defense… so… yeah, you can be excited.

  2. June 25, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Metsense and I saw Kingsport last night.

    Junior Santos started and gave up 2 runs in the first inning. If his RF could have held onto the ball – on a tough play – he wouldn’t have given up any. He looked raw but geez, he’s 17. If he holds his own in the APPY this year, that will be a great thing.

    He was relieved by Nate Peden, who warmed up in the first three innings before coming on in the fourth. We were up the RF line right by the bullpen and they let us stay right on the rail. We could have shook his hand, we were that close. Anyway, Peden looked like he had good stuff in the pen but he got knocked around. Thought the guy who was protecting them from a foul ball was a coach but he was the next pitcher in. I felt like Peden threw too many pitches in the pen.

    Probably the nicest surprise was SS Sebastian Espino, who looked good both offensively and defensively. Guerrero looked good, as did 1B Christopher Pujols. Regnault was the DH but he didn’t make any impression. Certainly looked like a catcher. Jaylen Palmer looked like an athlete but didn’t have a good game at the plate.

    With all of these guys worth seeing, might try to see them when they play in Danville.

    • TexasGusCC
      June 25, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      🙂

      Wow, great recap. Sounds like fun. I’ve learned to enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the minors more than the more finished product majors. Why would a coach have a guy warming up for three innings? There must be a reason… Maybe to be absolutely sure they were warmed up when they came in so they don’t get injured? Did you notice how long the other guys warmed up for before they came in?

      • June 25, 2019 at 6:17 pm

        The other guy didn’t warm nearly as long. And even when he was warming, it wasn’t non-stop. He would throw a pitch and then turn around and watch the game action before throwing another pitch.

  3. June 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Welcome to the Mets:

    GCL started today.

    Adrian Hernandez – 2/5 with a stolen base
    Brett Baty – 1/4 with a double
    Francisco Alvarez – 2/4 with 2 doubles and a walk

    • TexasGusCC
      June 25, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      LOL, I forgot all about that team when I wrote last night, and then this morning I remembered the GCL and wondered if those guys were going there. Thanks for letting us (and me) know that they are underway. Baty is playing already? Excellent. When is Allen signing? The Mets have $2.53MM reasons to pass up on college and its rigors, and start younger while not risk falling in the draft; $2.5MM is still first round money, just lower down.

      Question: Allen is supposedly “advised” by Scott Boras. Isn’t it illegal to get any counsel when you are an amateur, or you lose your amateur eligibility? I know that others do it too, but it doesn’t get out that they do…

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