Why Ranked Here: Domingo Tapia is big with a seemingly effortless motion that might well generate the best fastball in the Mets’ system. If it’s not the best, it’s top three. He’s regularly 95-96 with the offering and will spark 98 and 99 on the radar gun. It’s a two-seamer with sink and run in to righties, and away to lefties. In 2012, he worked to add a four-seamer to his arsenal to give him something to throw on the glove side of the plate.
His changeup is 88-90 with pretty good arm action. When it’s good, it has a little bit of dive. The movement on the pitch is inconsistent, sometimes it cuts if he does not finish well. Of course, at 88-90, over the middle of the plate, that’s a tempting meatball for opponents. Sometimes it feels like Tapia does opponents a favor when he throws a changeup.
Tapia, with a little more experience could probably be a solid reliever mostly with his fastballs and changeup.
He might need to be because he did not really improve his slider in a significant way over the course of the 2012 season. Tapia throws out of a very low arm slot (pictured at right) and had trouble getting on top of the ball and finding a good release point. There were nights at the end of the year where he barely tried to throw the pitch. St. Lucie Pitching Coach Phil Regan has a reputation within in the system for his mechanical acumen with pitchers, so perhaps he can figure out a slider for Tapia. If Tapia cannot develop a slider, he’s headed to the bullpen.
2012: He was good, he was healthy, but there is little statistical evidence from Tapia of major improvements over the course of the 2012 season.
Dr. Pangloss Says: An elite closer
Debbie Downer Says: A less elite reliever against whom MLB batters sit on the heat until his shoulder gives up.
Projected 2013 Start: Advanced-A St. Lucie
MLB Arrival: 2016
#11 – C Kevin Plawecki
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 215 lbs
Acquired: 1st rd supplemental (Purdue)
Born: 2/26/91 (Carmel, IN)
2012 Rank: NA | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Mets VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Paul dePodesta explained Plawecki’s strengths in a March conversation : “This is a guy at a premium position who has a chance to contribute on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. …. We thought he was an outstanding receiver at Purdue. Really, really soft hands. Made it look easy back there.”
Offensively, dePodesta continued, Plawecki, “Also really controlled the zone. Good bat to ball ability. Felt like he was a guy who could hit for some average, but we also thought there was strength in there. He didn’t hit for a lot of power in college, but we thought that there was power in there. …. We were pleased that Plawecki went out and hit for a little bit of power in the New York Penn League while also playing really good defense.”
While Plawecki’s receiving earns plaudits, his arm is the weakest part of his defensive game. He will have to work hard to be crisp mechanically, and get some help from his pitchers to control opponents’ running game.
2012: Playing with metal bats at Purdue, Plawecki had 31 extra base hits, seven homers and a .219 Isolated slugging percentage in his junior year. Playing with wooden bats in Brooklyn, Plawecki had 15 extra-base hits but seven homers and a .134 isolated slugging percentage in 61 games. Also, he controlled the strike zone as Paul dePodesta talked about, earned 25 walks while striking out just 24 times.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Above-average catcher who plays in a few All-Star Games.
Debbie Downer Says: The power does not play at higher levels and he settles in as a lower tier starter/high-end back catcher.
Projected 2013 Start: Savannah. If he’s a Sand Gnat in August, something has gone wrong
MLB Arrival: Late 2015/Early 2016
#12 – RHP Jeurys Familia
Why Ranked Here: I thought the work Familia had done to clean up his delivery in 2011 was real, and his big fastball/slider combo gave him a chance to start. Whoops.
The good: He throws hard, regularly 93-96 mph. He throws his fastball a lot, and has trouble repeating his delivery, and thus his release point, and thus throwing good strikes with the pitch. His breaking pitch gets called a slider, but when it’s good, sometimes it looks like a tight curveball with depth. Other times, he pulls it, either wide of the strike zone or into the dirt. His changeup was just a non-factor. Watching him in 2012, I often just wanted him to throw his breaking ball more to keep batters honest and get them off his fastball.
Have a little patience with Familia, who could struggle initially in the big leagues. It wasn’t so long ago that Bobby Parnell was running double digit walk rates in AA (2008) and the big leagues (2009), and he’s turned out just fine.
2012: One small evidence of progress for Familia: his walk rate by month in AAA: Mar/April: 20.4%, May 10.9%, June 11.7%, July 8.8%, Aug/Sep: 8.0%. So that’s good. Then he reached the big leagues and walked 17% of the batters he faced (9 of 52). Yikes.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A good hard-throwing reliever and soon.
Debbie Downer Says: He never throws enough strikes to be a quality MLB reliever.
Projected 2013 Start: MLB
MLB Arrival: Now