Mets Minors: Thomas Szapucki and short season squad

The news is in and it is final, the MLB has canceled the minor league season for 2020. The Mets will need to pause the career progress of a number of their most promising players (Ronny Mauricio, Matthew Allan, Francisco Alvarez etc…) as the world reacts to the Covid-19 situation and we hope they will be able to pick up baseball activities in the fall or winter leagues. In the meantime, the Mets have a player pool of 60 with which to assemble their team for the shortened MLB season.

Should the season go as planned the Mets will not use too many prospects in this shortened season but we might see a little from Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Kevin Smith, Ali Sanchez, Thomas Szapucki, Franklyn Kilome and Jordan Humphreys either way. Today’s article is going to talk about the prospects the Mets are carrying on their 60 man squads and who might make an impact in the shortened season.

Thomas Szapucki, LHP – The pitcher who just turned 24 last month had a fairly decent shot of earning his way onto the major league roster had the 2020 season not gone awry. Having lost almost two entire seasons to injury, the talented lefty had a strong return to action in 2021 though he barely sniffed AA and only threw 36 innings in Advanced A.

The beauty of the Mets putting him on the squad is that he has already lost two developmental seasons thanks to injury and to lose another for Covid-19 would be maddening. After a strong return to baseball in 2019 it’s good to see the Mets throwing the dice with a player who might be asked to step into the rotation in 2021 and beyond.

Because he’s had the injury history the Mets would normally be worried about how many innings Szapucki could manage but with the starting pitcher depth charts having only a handful of players with upside, it’s good to see the Mets making a move to add someone who could become a Top 3 starter on the team.

There is also a chance that the Mets give him some innings in the bullpen since they are carrying fewer left handed options but I don’t see the Mets shifting him. Instead, should injuries take place to the starting rotation Szapucki becomes an option with far greater upside than Walker Lockett or Corey Oswalt.

Franklyn Kilome, RHP – A player coming off injury, Kilome came to the Mets from the Phillies in one of their frequent fire sales. Kilome had a brief, and successful run with the AA squad before that injury and was looking to hit the ground running in 2020 to regain some momentum.

With the minor league season cancelled, Kilome is easily the highest ceiling bullpen prospect the Mets had in their system. While he still has a chance to make a run at starting, his 2020 role will come in relief where his power arm could give the Mets another high caliber option instead of throwing out Tyler Bashlor or Jared Hughes.

Andres Gimenez, SS – The Mets have very few options for starting at shortstop. If Amed Rosario is to get injured in 2020 they can get a few games out of Luis Guillorme or Max Moroff but there is only one player on the roster outside of Rosario ready for the role.

That being said, the Mets are not likely to allow him to play in the majors unless Rosario gets injured or sees his defensive numbers once again tank. If Gimenez is playing games it has more to do with Rosario than with the Mets desire to start their younger prospect.

Ali Sanchez, C – The Mets have a history of having catchers who don’t play great defense. Sanchez doesn’t strike many as a great prospect but his defensive numbers make him a useful cog in the baseball machine. The Mets will hope to keep Wilson Ramos healthy but have Sanchez ready to slot in as a defensive replacement.

The issue with Sanchez is that he is staring up at both Tomas Nido and Rene Rivera. The Mets are actually more likely to call on Patrick Mazeika if Ramos is hurt which isn’t a good sign for anyone you’d want to call a “prospect” in your system.

Jordan Humphreys, RHP – Unlike Szapucki, Humphreys didn’t manage to make much of his 2019 season after recovering from injury. In fact, he only played 2 innings. Humphreys has very little shot of finding himself on the field for games in 2020 but I think the Mets liked the idea of getting this promising prospect back into the swing of games and saw an opportunity to do that.