Rising Mets Prospects: Pair of Relievers on the Horizon

Position Players

Raphael Gladu, OF
Level (Age): Columbia (22)
Stats: .295/.344/.378, 10 2B, 3 3B, 20 RBI, 10 SB, 3 CS
MMN Rank: NR

Since having a slow start to the season, Gladu has been a much more dangerous hitter at the plate. In fact, during his recent hot stretch, Gladu set the Fireflies record with a 23 game hitting streak.

During that hitting streak, Gladu hit .365/.415/.494 with seven doubles, two triples and nine RBI. During the times, he was reaching base, Gladu was a threat on the bases not only stealing seven bases in this stretch, but by being a heady base runner who could take the extra base on a single or extra base hit.

One thing incredible about Gladu’s play was after an 0-for-4 finally broke that long hitting streak, he responded by once again hitting at an incredible pace. Over this last two games, Gladu is 4-for-6 with a double and an RBI.

Last year’s 16th round draft pick is hitting much better than many anticipated, and he is showing perhaps more speed than most expected. As he progresses, it will be interesting to see how the Mets use him going forward. For now, he has played all three outfield positions and played them well.  It should be noted, he has also played second base in Kingsport and in college.

Overall, Gladu is an example of a player who has made adjustments, and he is getting the most out of his ability.

Ali Sanchez, C
Level (Age):
Columbia (21)
Stats: .256/.280/.388, 10 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, SB, CS
MMN Rank: 49

Sanchez was once seen as a very talented defensive catcher with the tools to break out offensively one day. In many ways, Sanchez’s raw ability had him possibly emerging as the Mets catcher of the future. The optimism he would put things together fell by the wayside as Sanchez suffered season ending hand injuries in successive years.

Initially, it did not appear as last year’s season ending surgery was going to allow Sanchez to develop as a complete player. However, we have seen glimpses of the player many thought he could be over the past week.

Over the past seven games, Sanchez is 11-for-28 with three doubles, two homers, and six RBI.

While Sanchez has been hitting like this, he has been better than ever behind the plate. So far this season, he is throwing out 43 percent of base stealers while putting up an unheard of 10.32 range factor at the position.

Another note with Sanchez is the Columbia starting rotation has probably been the biggest bright spot for the Mets minor leagues this season.  Sanchez has certainly played a role in that being an exceptional receiver who is giving his pitchers the confidence they can throw any pitch in any count with him back there.

Honorable Mention: Binghamton Rumble Ponies SS Levi Michael has improved gradually each month of the season, and so far he is hitting .318/.412/.500 in the Month of June after a .315/.378/.483 May.

Pitchers

Drew Smith, RHP
Level (Age): Las Vegas (24)
Stats: 4-1, 2.70 ERA, 3 SV, 1.110 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 8.9 K/9
MMN Rank: 23

Smith, the return from the Lucas Duda trade, is having the best season out of all the right-handed relief prospects obtained by the Mets last season.  What makes his season more impressive than the other six relievers is Smith is performing well in Las Vegas.

This is one of the reasons why Sandy Alderson tabbed Smith as a player who could potentially be a reliever who could be brought up to help the Mets bullpen.

What makes Smith’s season so intriguing is he is doing it a number of ways.  He is a guy that has been brought in to get the last out of an inning to get the 51s out of a jam, and he has been used for 3.0 innings. In fact, since being called up to Las Vegas, 11 of his 20 appearances have been for more than one inning.  This is the type of a versatile reliever Mickey Callaway seems to covet in his bullpen.

Callaway should also covet a reliever who can throw the ball in the mid 90s.

Since being moved to Triple-A, Smith has had 17 scoreless appearances.  Considering one of those appearances was actually a spot start, Smith has been unscored upon in 17 of his 19 relief appearances.  Simply put, he is a guy you can trust to go out there and either keep your team in the game or keep the lead.

Daniel Zamora, LHP
Level (Age):
Binghamton (25)
Stats:
1-1, 3.18 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 12.7 K/9
MMN Rank:
NR

Zamora got roughed up in his second relief appearance of the season, which is skewing his season stats. Since that one relief appearance, Zamora has gone on a stretch where he has allowed just three earned runs over 21.0 innings pitched (1.29 ERA).

Over that same stretch, Zamora has been practically unhittable. In addition to limiting batters to a .181/.241/.260 batting line, he has been striking out 13.3 batters per nine.  A major reason why is he is pounding the strike zone, throwing strikes 66 percent of the time.  That has led to a career best 5.00 K/BB ratio.

One other interesting fact is Zamora has yet to allow a homer this season.

Another interesting fact is the projected LOOGY has better splits against right-handed batters (.196/.241/.255) than he does left-handed batters (.233/.313/.419). Part of the reason for the relative struggles against left-handed pitching is them having an unsustainably high .385 BABIP against him.

Put another way, Zamora is going out there and he is dominating the Eastern League competition, and it’s very possible his numbers are going to improve as he has some better luck.

Honorable Mention: Columbia Fireflies RHP Joe Cavallaro leads the South Atlantic league in wins (7).  Part of the reason why is he has a sterling 2.06 ERA and 1.005 WHIP.

About John Sheridan 689 Articles
John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we're seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.