Hard throwing righty Gerson Bautista made his major league debut earlier this week with a scoreless inning (struggled on Thursday night though) while Jacob Rhame was up with the New York Mets earlier this season and Jamie Callahan pitched last September.
All three of those right-handed relievers were acquired by the Mets during the trade off of veterans last season and another one of those arms could be in the big leagues soon, righty Drew Smith.
Smith, 24, came to the Mets when they shipped first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays. Smith entered the season as our No. 23 ranked Mets prospect after finishing the 2017 season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
The former third round pick of the Tigers in 2015 was fablous down the stretch for Binghamton last season with a 1.80 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 15 innings.
Smith received an invite to big league camp but had an uneven time this spring with a few good outings and also gave up a few uncharacteristic long balls. Given he had only 18.2 previous Double-A innings the Mets sent him back to Binghamton to start the 2018 season.
He didn’t stay there long, after only 4.2 innings with only three baserunners and six strikeouts he was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas on April 14. Smith has impressed in two outings for the 51s with 4.1 scoreless innings and four strikeouts.
Smith is a guy that sits mostly 94-96 mph with his fastball that is perceived to be even faster because he throws across his body and hides the ball well. His best secondary pitch is his breaking ball that’s a strikeout pitch at times. He’s worked out some previous control issues and keeps the ball in the park.
Outside of the scouting report, his minor league numbers are absolutely incredible with a 1.76 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 5.9 H/9, 2.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9. Smith has allowed only two home runs (one to Peter Alonso) in 148.2 minor league innings.
Now, with the Mets using relievers more aggressively this season there will be fresh relievers coming up often like we’ve already seen with Corey Oswalt, Hansel Robles and the aforementioned Bautista.
I absolutely believe we see Smith this season, the question becomes when and likely part of the reason he hasn’t been yet is he would have to be added to the 40-man roster to do so.
Should also note that Ryder Ryan (Jay Bruce trade) has yet to allow a run in 7.2 innings this season for the St. Lucie Mets and has a 18.2 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to last season. Right-hander Eric Hanhold (Neil Walker trade) has flashed plus stuff this year getting his fastball up to 99 mph and throwing a sharp slider for Binghamton where he as seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings.