No. 14 RHP Tyler Bashlor
B/T R/R HT 6-0 WT 197 lbs Age 4/16/1993 (24) Drafted 11th Round, 2013, Bonus 550K
Level A+/AA Age Dif 0.9/-0.3
A+ 34 G, 35 IP, 4.89 ERA, 10 SV, 33 h, 19 ER, HR, 21 BB, 61 K, 1.543 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, 15.7 K/9
AA 12 G, 14.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 SV, 7 H, 4 BB, 23 K, 0.750 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 14.1 K/9
Fastball 75 Curve 55 Control 45 Overall 60
In a conventional farm system, you usually don’t rank a reliever very high on a top prospect list, but Tyler Bashlor is an exception to this rule due to his high potential. Drafted in 2013 out of South Georgia College, Bashlor was known as a converted position player with a big fastball as a starter that reached 92-94 and touched 97, but little control and a slurve that really didn’t take shape.
While the package didn’t seem polished, there was enough potential there for the Mets to dole out a very large bonus of 550K to the Georgia righty. After a poor start in 2013, posting a 5.74 ERA and being effectively wild with a 12/18 BB/K in 15.2 innings, Bashlor succumbed to the same fate most pitchers do: Tommy John Surgery.
For his case, it took two years to return from TJS, skipping the 2014 and 2015 seasons, before appearing in Columbia for 2016 and throwing even harder than he did before. He enjoyed an effective campaign, pitching to the tune of a 2.50 ERA in 50.1 innings, while continuing to characterize the phrase “effectively wild,” with a 4.9 walks per nine and 11.8 K/9. When he was called up to High-A St. Lucie at the end of the season, he was knocked around further, leaving a sour note to a nice bounce-back season.
Bashlor came back hungry, but was unlucky in St. Lucie, with .444 of balls in play falling in for hits, while his overall batting average against was .248 in 35 innings pitched at St. Lucie. However, his strikeout rate was off-the charts, striking out 15.7 per nine innings. While his strikeouts were incredible by any measure, he still managed to walk 5.4 per nine. Nevertheless, the Mets felt they had seen enough to send him to Double-A Binghamton to end the year. In Binghamton, a switch flipped, and he showed excellent control, giving up only four walks in 14.2 innings pitched, and struck out 23, without giving up a run.
In this clip above, Bashlor hit 98 with ease. Kudos for the video, provided by the ever-so-wonderful Ernest Dove.
Bashlor has always been known as a flamethrower, touching 97 in college and working in the low-to-mid 90s, but when he returned from Tommy John he was touching 98. For a while, his velocity had inconsistency, which would be understandable when shaking off the rust from TJS and being relatively new to pitching, but most recently had a consistent velocity of 95-97, according to Baseball Prospectus. Even though on average, Gerson Bautista throws harder, Bashlor had the best fastball in the Mets system.
In addition, he had a pitch that looked like a slider in college, but always maintained a slurvy motion throughout his time in the minors. That changed in his final few months of last season as he gained shape, and it turned into a hard curveball with plenty of bite. He had always been effectively wild, walking 30 in 51 innings as a starter in college, and that didn’t change until the final few months of last season. His over-the-shoulder throwing motion, with a high leg-kick provide nice sink and dip to his curveball.
After a two year hiatus, Bashlor returned to show why the Mets spent over half a million on him in 2013. While I imagine they wanted him to be a starter, this outcome is pretty freakin’ sweet as well, with the opportunity to improve further on his curve with Dave Eiland and Mickey Callaway. Bashlor has potential to be a high upside reliever, with the likelihood of closing down the road in Orange and Blue, should he keep his command in form. He should report to Binghamton, with the possibility of maybe even jumping to Vegas in the coming year, but the Mets will most certainly feature him in spring training.
No. 13 LHP Anthony Kay
B/T L/L HT 5’11 WT 186 lbs Age 3/21/1995 (22) Drafted 1st Rd, 31st overall, 2016
Bonus $1.1 million Level N/A Age Dif N/A
Fastball 55 Breaking Ball 45 Changeup 55 Control 50 Overall 50
Lucky number 13. Anyone who has paid attention to Mets drafts throughout the years may remember Anthony Kay, another lefty who hailed from Long Island, and attended Ward Melville where Steven Matz was drafted out of in 2009. Kay was drafted by the Mets in the 29th round in 2013 and passed on $170,000 to attend the University of Connecticut. While this may be risky for many high school players, the gamble for Kay paid off, as he improved his draft stock by leaps and bounds and was selected 31st overall three years later. Kay transformed into UConn’s ace in three years, pitching to a 2.65 ERA in his junior year over 17 starts, striking out 111 and walking 37 in 119 innings.
While this seemed completely fortuitous for Kay, unfortunately, like many college pitchers, he was probably overworked. In the subsequent physical during negotiations, an MRI showed fraying in his elbow, causing him to take a pay cut of about $900,000, and allowed the Mets to sign 11th rounder Cameron Planck for a $1,000,001 bonus. Kay then went under the knife in the subsequent offseason and missed all of last year.
According to many of his pre-draft scouting reports, Kay was a semi-polished pitcher who looked like he could move quickly through the minors. While he is on the smallish side, being around 5’11”, he has a thick frame and a smooth, repeatable delivery that provides hope that he can stick as a starter.
Kay’s velocity pre-Tommy John jumped in his junior year from the low 90s to sitting closer to 93 and touching 94 and 95 miles per hour often, but doesn’t hold that all game. Kay’s changeup is his best offspeed offering, showing the ability for a high differentiation between the fastball and it at 82-86 with some nice late break, but has had trouble not keeping the same arm slot while throwing it, according to Keith Law’s pre-draft report.
His third pitch is a slider, that comes in rather slurvy, so there is a bit to tinker with. Left-handers are notoriously troublesome with control early on, but Kay showed excellent body control, and the ability to throw all three pitches for strikes in college and posted exemplary numbers when it came to control. Kay noted pre-draft that he models his game on Andy Pettitte.
Anthony Kay will be ready to go next season after pitching in the Mets Instructional League in September with little limitation. Whether or not his velocity will return, and he can shake off the rust after a year’s hiatus remains to be seen, but he is expected to start at Full-Season-A Columbia and try to traverse the system from there.
No. 12 RHP Corey Oswalt
B/T R/R HT 6’5″ WT 250 lbs Age 9/3/1993 (24) Drafted 7th rd, 230th overall, 2012
Bonus $475,000 Level AA Age Dif -1.3
12-5 W-L, 2.28 ERA, 24 GS, 2 CG, 1 SHO, 134.1 IP, 118 h, 34 ER, 9 HR, 40 BB, 119 K 1.176, 2.1 BB/9, 8 K/9
Fastball 55 Curve 50 Slider 45 Changeup 50 Control 55 Overall 50
In the entire Mets minor league system, there was no pitcher who had a better season than Corey Oswalt, who led the Double-A Eastern League by .64 points over the next-best, 2.92 ERA. The top performance warranted an add to the 40-man roster, and the Mets some needed depth after suffering multiple pitching injuries in 2017.
While being absolutely dominant in Double-A, it took Oswalt a long time to get to this point, and five years of development thus far, without showing too much upside. Oswalt was memorable to draft freaks like myself, because when he was drafted, you could audibly hear the team celebrating over the intercom about his pick, and it turns out, Paul DePodesta went and personally scouted him.
A projectable, newly converted shortsop at 6’4″ 210 lbs, and touching 88-92 with a smooth delivery, there was much to work with for developers, which enticed the Mets to spend $475,000 to buy him out of his commitment at UC Santa Barbara.
Signed out of high school, Oswalt had a rough time at Kingsport in 2012, his first go-around, but proceeded to rebound statistically and battled injuries in his second go-around at advance rookie ball. He then had an excellent and underrated season with Brooklyn, pitching to a 2.26 ERA in 11 starts and 12 games overall. Oswalt was overshadowed by an emerging Marcos Molina, and Casey Meisner at Brooklyn, who each claimed top prospect statuses while Oswalt took the back seat.
He did well in the following year at Single-A Savannah, posting a solid 3.36 ERA in 128.2 innings pitched, but only struck out 98 batters during that time. Corey’s prospect status, however was put into jeopardy while in St. Lucie after he lost 10 weeks to a shoulder injury that was never really fully explained. To make up for lost time, the Mets sent him to the Arizona Fall League, where he pitched reasonably well against some of the minor league’s best, with a 3.33 ERA in seven starts, while striking out 21 in 27 innings. A healthy Oswalt used that as a jumping off point to dominate the Eastern League last season, and vaulted himself up the Mets prospect rankings.
Oswalt’s performance outshines his scouting report, which took a step up from his high school days only slightly. His frame is huge, standing in at 6’5″, 250, with good athleticism off the mound. Oswalt’s velocity improved a grade from 88-92 to 90-94, touching 95 at times during his time developing and growth.
While he had had no breaking balls to start with, neither his curve, nor his slider really grade out as anything more than average, though the former has flashed above at times. He’s had some feel for a changeup, but it doesn’t grade out more than average either, with not much velocity differentiation. His smooth, high three-quarters delivery allows him to throw for strikes with ease on all four pitches, and gives some sinking action that allows him to induce ground balls, allowing some hope that he can stick around for more than a few innings. Overall, Oswalt isn’t very flashy, but he does have the ceiling of a back-end starter or a mid-upside reliever.
He should be part of the starting depth at Triple-A this year, and still has plenty of time to prove his mettle and hopefully add some more bite or depth to one of his breaking pitches.