We are back once again for another installment of the 2012 MMO Top 20 Mets Prospect list, featuring the number 13 prospect, LHP Darin Gorski. The Mets selected Gorski in the 7th round of the 2009 amateur draft out of Kutztown University (PA). At the time, they drafted a 21-year-old, 6’4″ left-hander, who needed to build strength and stamina, clean up his mechanics, work on his fastball command, iron out his breaking ball, and develop a change-up. Plenty of hard work, and three minor league seasons later and Gorski has elevated his game from a pool of anonymity to center stage, culminating when he was recently named the winner of the 2011 Mets Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.
After signing his first professional contract, Gorski started his career at Brooklyn, logging 62 IP in the 2009 Cyclones rotation. His record was a pretty pedestrian 3-4, with a 4.91 ERA. He had a K/9 of 7.2 and a BB/9 of 3.8. He was sent to Savannah for the 2010 season and upped his innings pitched to 114, working mostly as a starter. But if he made any real progress, it was barely reflected in the numbers: 6-8, 4.58 ERA, a K/9 of 8.6, a BB/9 of 3.4, and a H/9 of 9.9.
When the 2011 season opened for Gorski he had made it to high-A, the Florida State League, pitching out of the St. Lucie bullpen. His first six games there were as a reliever, but what was crucial in his development, was him getting to work with pitching coach Phil Regan. Regan cleaned up Gorski’s delivery seemingly overnight. He added a tic or two to his velocity, cleaned up his slider, and refined his change-up. When injuries and promotions opened up a spot for a starter two weeks into the season, Gorski stepped into the rotation as a true one-two punch, with top prospect Matt Harvey.
As a result of his breakout year, Gorski was named to both the mid-season and post-season All-Star teams for the FSL, was also the Most Valuable Pitcher in the FSL, and MLB.com’s High A ball, Pitcher of the Year. Gorski led the FSL in ERA with a 2.08, to go along with his 11-3 record. He also led the league in WHIP with a 1.00, was 3rd in the league in strikeouts with 140, tied for 4th in the league in wins, and tied for 2nd in the league in CG’s with 3. In 139 IP, his K/BB ratio was 140/29 and the Florida State League hit only .212 against him. His K/9 stood at a career high of 9.1, his BB/9 at a career low 1.9, and his H/9 was down to 7.1.
Gorski’s fastball is normally in the high 80′s, averaging 89, topping out at 90-91. He has had to rely much more heavily on his off-speed pitches and his improved change-up has been key to his recent success. There is nothing for him to prove in A ball anymore, so it’s a foregone conclusion that he will start next season in the AA Bingo rotation. Establishing himself as the top left-handed pitching prospect in the system, Gorski has come a long way in just one year, and he will be scrutinized in ST much more closely than ever before. But even if he is fast-tracked at this point, don’t expect to see him at Citifield in 2012. If he can earn a mid-season call-up to AAA, It could put him in line for a big league debut by the second half of 2013.
Darin Gorski Video Link: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=4674597
Check back Monday for the next entry in the MMO Top 20 Mets Prospect countdown when we feature: #12
My short list includes:
- Wilmer Flores INF
- Reese Havens 2B
- Jordany Valdespin 2B
- Juan Lagares LF
For more on Darin Gorski, Juan Urbina, Jack Leathersich, and the rest of the top Mets left-handed pitching prospects, here’s my earlier piece on the Top Ten Lefties in the system.