Why Ranked Here: Mazzoni slips seven spots from a year ago because I view his future as a bullpen piece. As a starter, he regularly sat 91-92 with his fastball in 2012. However, early in games he would throw harder say 92-94 early and he had the ability to reach back for a batter a time – like say against a rehabbing big leaguer for 94 or 95. Mazzoni is a relatively slight 6’1” and just does not have the bulk and stamina to maintain that kind of premium velocity as a starter.
His secondary offerings, a slider and a changeup are fine if unexceptional.
2012: Mazzoni made a dozen starts in advanced-A before getting a look at AA where his ERA was below league average. The major statistical issue: no strikeouts. He fanned under 7 batters per nine at both levels, including a 16.1% strikeout rate in double-A. By my count, there are exactly two Eastern League pitchers in the last five years who have gone on to become major league starters with a double-A strikeout rate below 17%: Vance Worley and Ricky Romero. By the time both guys reached the majors they had increased their strikeout rates above 18%. Mazzoni, pitching the way he did in 2012, does not miss enough bats to be a Major League starting pitcher.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A nice middle reliever
Debbie Downer Says: A nice piece of my AAA bullpen
Projected 2013 Start: AA Binghamton
MLB Arrival: 50/50: late 2013 or 2014
Why Ranked Here: When I finalized this list, I thought that McHugh was an injury or two, and a good spring away from earning the #5 spot in the Mets’ rotation. McHugh is about halfway there with Santana done for the season and Shawn Marcum looking a little shaky for his first start with biceps tendonitis. McHugh did not do his part, getting roughed up this spring. As meaningless as Spring Training stats should be, that could have been the difference between a trip to Queens and Las Vegas.
McHugh has a full repertoire: he uses both a two and four-seam fastball both with similar velocity at 89-92, sitting 90-91. That’s a little short, but playable. He throws his soft curveball (70 mph) a lot, like a quarter of the time and uses his 85 mph cutter, which acts more like a slider, regularly as well.
I confess a little bit of bias with respect to Collin McHugh. He’s a smart pitcher, who gets the most out of his abilities, delivers thoughtful responses to questions, is funny on twitter and is one of the really nice humans I’ve met around a baseball field. He’s an easy guy to root for.
2012: McHugh cruised through AA before a mid-season promotion to AAA. In AAA, alarmingly, his home run rate doubled over his AA rate and his walk rate rose to 9.3%. He just does not have the stuff to issue more walks than MLB average. Promoted to the big leagues at the end of August, he put together one great start in his MLB debut, and then did not record an out in the fifth inning in any of his subsequent starts. In the big leagues, he allowed well over a hit an inning and 2.1 HR/9. No pitcher in baseball who pitched enough innings to qualify for the MLB ERA title gave up homers at that rate.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A nice, durable backend starter
Debbie Downer Says: A homerun machine who will spend more time in AAA than the big leagues over the next six itinerant years of his professional career.
Projected 2013 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: Oh, he’ll be back at some point in 2013.
|2012 MiLB Total||2.91||25/25||148.34||123||53||48||12||46||135||7||8|
Both photos in this post courtesy Michael Baron of MetsBlog.