Prospect Pulse: Who’s Hot/Hotter? Pitchers Edition

For all the really talented starting pitchers the Mets have at each level of the minor league system, the relievers should not be overlooked. We’ve all noted the terrific start the St. Lucie Mets have had this season, and the very good starting rotation they go with. Several of their starters, Cory Mazzoni and Chase Huchingson, have already appeared on the who’s hot list this year. But this week, it’s the relievers who are hot. And that’s what this series is all about: Who’s Hot?

The relievers are scorching hot right now throughout the entire system. And there is no way I can fit everybody in that is actually hot right now. That is why I divided these things into separate posts for the hitters, and for the pitchers, in case you hadn’t noticed.

The corresponding “hitters” piece to this one, came out yesterday and based on the number of comments on the piece no one read it. Now that I think about it there’s probably nobody but me and Joe D reading this one. Hey Joe D! Are you out there? Who’s hot baby? Is anybody out there? Roll call. Anyway, I’ll put a link to the other piece in case you missed it, and I think I’ll put it HERE

One thing you’ll notice with this list of scathingly hot pitchers right now is that they are nearly all relievers this time. Not my fault. It’s just the way it worked out. Look at the bright side, I do these all the time, and next time it might be all starters. Right now, Relievers Rule!

Oh, and if I left your favorite guy off the list, even though he’s hot and you have a really big man-crush on him, TOUGH! Write your own damn post. You see, I used a head-splittingly complicated formula for calculating who is truly hot right now, which actually gave me a head-ache. So your going to have to trust me on this. And you can rest assured that these guys are literally……..on fire.

Collin McHugh (AA) – After Jeremy Hefner, McHugh is perhaps the most advanced and polished pitcher in the Mets farm system this year. He was named the Binghamton Mets Pitcher of the Month for April, and he really has nothing left to prove at AA. Since first being called up to Binghamton in the middle of the 2011 season until now, McHugh has made 24 AA game starts. His record in those games is 12-4 with a 2.60 ERA, so a one-way ticket to Buffalo should be coming his way any time now. His numbers for this year so far: eight game starts, 48.1 IP, 39 hits, 11 ER’s, three HR’s, 42/15 K/BB ratio (42 K’s is good for fifth in the league), an BAA of .217, a 1.12 WHIP (6th in the league), a W-L record of 4-2, and a 2.05 ERA (5th in the league). In his last three starts, he has tossed 21.1 innings, and given up just four ER’s with a 16/4 K/BB ratio.

Zack Wheeler (AA) – The NY Mets top prospect has had a fantastic year so far in AA. His success there is not only solidifying his stature as Mets number one prospect, but will soon start to move him up the MLB rankings as well. Wheeler has been very consistent, and at times absolutely dazzling. I was on hand for his first pitch of the 2012 season. A fastball that lit up the radar gun at 98 mph. Despite a week of rest for a broken fingernail, Wheeler has put up some great numbers this year: seven game starts, 37.2 IP, 25 hits, 9 ER’s, one HR, a 45/19 K/BB ratio (45 K’s is good for 3rd in the league), a .194 BAA, a 1.17 WHIP (10th in the league), a 3-2 W-L record, and a 2.15 ERA (6th in the league). He has never given up more than two earned runs in any single game this year, and could easily be 4-1 had he not gotten a loss in an April 18th game in which he gave up just one run in six innings.

Elvin Ramirez (AAA) – A quick start at AA this year in which he completely over-matched Eastern League opposition, earned Elvin a fast promotion to AAA at the beginning of May. At Binghamton he threw 13.0 IP, giving up two ER’s, on seven hits, and seven walks with 16 strikeouts, an 0-1 record, and a 1.38 ERA. Opposing hitters were hitting just .152 against him. Since his call-up to AAA, he has pitched even better. In 7.0 IP so far for Buffalo, he has given up no runs, and three hits, no walks, while striking out eight, and now the league is hitting just .125 against him.

Jack Leathersich (A+) – Another dominant force that has just been promoted to the Florida State League from Savannah, Leathersich has been a beast all season long. For Savannah the lefty appeared in 12 games, and threw 24 IP, surrendering just 10 hits, two ER’s, no HR’s, with a K/BB ratio of 37/8 (that’s not a misprint, 37 strikeouts in 24 innings) a BAA of .132, and a WHIP of 0.75. His record stood at 0-1 with a 0.75 ERA leading to his call-up to Lucie Saturday.

Erik Goeddel (A+) – After a late start to his season, Goeddel made his first appearance on April 20th, and his first game start on April 26th. In all Goeddel has been in five games, four of them starts, and hurled 23 innings altogether. But he has only given up four ER’s on 18 hits with one HR, nine walks, and 15 strikeouts. His record stands at 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA, and his last start on May 16th was his best so far working six innings and giving up no runs, five hits, and no walks, with two strikeouts.

Adrian Rosario (AA) – When Leathersich went up to St. Lucie, it was to replace this guy who was just promoted to Binghamton in time to make his AA debut, and pick up a save in Saturday’s game. Rosario pitched the 10th inning in his first day in AA, with nothing across to earn his first AA save. He had been mind-blowing in his efficiency at St. Lucie locking down the ninth inning every time he was summoned. He appeared in 17 games, firing 20.1 innings while only giving up two runs, one HR, on seven hits, with a 28/7 K/BB ratio, a .104 BAA, a 0.69 WHIP, and a record of 1-0 and an 0.89 ERA, with 11 saves.

Ryan Fraser (A+) – Yet one more reason why St. Lucie has the best record in minor league baseball, and arguably the best bullpen as well. Fraser has been the model of consistency with his performance this year. He’s a no-nonsense guy and a fierce competitor, what you would call a fox-hole guy. This year Ryan has pitched in 12 games, a total of 21.2 innings, given up four ER’s, on 17 hits, seven walks, 13 strikeouts, and a record of 2-1, with a 1.66 ERA.

Hamilton Bennett (A+) – Fox-hole guy number two another fierce competitor, only this one doesn’t throw quite as hard as Fraser and this guy’s left-handed. But he gives a superior effort every time out which is why he has spent a lot of time as a closer in his career thus far. This year Lucie manager Ryan Ellis has used Hamilton as a set-up guy, and because of that he has no saves, but four wins on the season (which ties him for 7th in the league in wins). His record in 11 games stands at 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA, and a terrific K/BB ratio of 17/2 in 16.1 innings of work.

Adam Kolarek (A+) – You want hot? How bout this 6’3″ lefty who has had to battle to get innings with Rosario, Fraser, Bennett, and Co. around. Kolarek has simply dazzled the Florida State going: 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA and four saves. In 19.1 innings he has surrendered 14 hits, two runs, no HR’s, and a staggering K/BB ratio of….wait for it, 30/3. Now after you lift your jaw off the table just think about that for a second. You think this guy has command of his pitches? Nineteen innings, three walks, and 30 strikeouts. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, wow.

Marco Camarena (A) – Working as a middle-reliever, or in a long-man/spot-starter role, it can be hard to pitch consistently well. The nature of your role is not consistent, so how can the team expect you to be? Well for Marco Camarena it doesn’t seem to matter how the Gnats use him, he excels in every role. Need a tough cross-over reliever for the middle innings? No problem. Set-up guy? No problem. Long man? Spot starter? No problem. Marco is your man, and he has a real good arm to go along with that demeanor. His numbers so far this year: 2-0 1.33 ERA, 10 games, one start, 27 innings, 17 hits, four ER’s, five walks, 25 strikeouts, a .181 BAA, and a 0.81 WHIP.

Estarlin Morel (A) – Right after I selected Morel for this hot list, it was announced he’s being put on the D.L. with a shoulder strain. That sucks, especially when you see what he has done so far this year. In his last 10 games, Morel has tossed 16.1 innings, and given up just one run, on seven hits, three walks, and 19 strikeouts. When he was reached for a run in his most recent outing on May 14th, it was the first run he had given up since April 8th. Overall this year, he is 0-1, 2.70 ERA with two saves, and a 22/6 K/BB ratio in 20 innings of work.

Jeffrey Walters (A) – Walters spent time in extended spring training, so he joined Savannah late. And he has definitely made up for lost time too. The hard-throwing righty was activated and made his first appearance of the season on April 24th. He has since been in nine games, tossing 16.1 innings, and he has given up exactly zero earned runs. He has only been touched for eight hits, and three walks, while striking out 17. His BAA is .145, his WHIP is 0.67, and his record is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

If anybody’s out there….and you actually read this piece, leave some kind of mention down below so that I know it’s not just me and Joe D reading this. If there’s nobody out there, and no one is reading this, then leave a comment and let me know you didn’t read this piece. Thank you.