I recently had the opportunity to speak to Al Skorupa and Chris Blessing from Bullpen Banter. They’re both really good guys and they do a great job covering the minors. I highly suggest you check out their site.
I originally contacted them to get a feel for their thoughts on Mets prospects in general. They provided me with some great insight, and I started to notice an interesting pattern– they both seem to agree that the Mets have some really intriguing bullpen arms. Here’s some names that were mentioned and some thoughts:
- Jack Leathersich can throw up in the mid 90′s (though was low 90s when I saw him in Spring) and misses bats. Potential set up guy. [Al Skorupa]
- Leathersich has struggled with his command from the moment he joined the organization. As he climbs the chain, his walk rate continues to escalate. Strikeout rate is fantastic. His fastball looks like it’s a high 90s pitch due to some deception but he sits in the 91-94 range. [Chris Blessing]
- Matt Koch got off to a great start before cooling off. Was pretty damn good at Louisville, too. Nice middle relief type with a chance for more.
- Seen Luis Cessa, Miller Diaz over the last year and in Spring. Most of Brooklyn’s rotation last year fit reliever mold, but they’re really good arms who could play in the bigs. Not necessarily exciting guys, but useful pieces with a chance at more. The guy I saw start last week for Brooklyn, Dario Alvarez, K’d 12 and threw pretty hard. Reliever all the way, and third pitch (split change) needs work, but he was tough.
- John Magliozzi from Florida is a Tim Collins type reliever. Small guy with a lot of attitude (in a great way)! Solid stuff. Slingy mechanics and just so-so command a lot of days but I really believe in him. Up to 93, but typically around 91. Slider, curveball, changeup all show flashes. Bulldog who attacks hitters. Scouts loved him up here.
- Jeff Walters was pretty damn good. Worked at 96 with some arm side run. Slider with tilt, 2-seamer and changeup both moved the same way and he located pretty well. Kept ball down. Some effort in delivery, but he looked like he could get major leaguers out right now.
I know this isn’t the most exciting news for fans looking for something to give them hope, but I think this is vitally important for the future of the Mets. Having solid bullpen arms that are young and cost-controlled for several years can allow the Mets to allocate available funds towards fixing the offense and potentially locking up our young starting pitchers to long-term contracts. Far too often teams give long term, big money contracts to relievers and they rarely pay dividends.
(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)