Mailbag: Pitching Prospect Arrivals

Kevin Asks:

 

How far out do you see the following Mets pitchers as being Big League rotation ready?

Wheeler
Familia
Mejia
Fulmer
Tapia

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Wheeler – He’ll be up before the All-Star Break, 2013. And he’ll be damn good.

Familia – He will be back up in the big leagues in 2013. The odds are better that he’ll work out of the pen than as a starting pitcher. He just has not shown the fastball command to go through a big league lineup multiple times.

Mejia – Still needs innings. He’s “flashed” a decent breaking ball, and shown a tempting changeup for years now. If he cannot throw both consistently, he too is headed to the bullpen.

Fulmer – Fulmer will be a young 20 on Opening Day 2013 and he should start in advanced-A St. Lucie. Assume he spends if not all of the year in advanced-A, and he will still need significant time in AA in 2014. If he gets a taste of AAA in late 2014, he’ll start there in 2015. So the earliest possible sighting for Fulmer in the big leagues is the middle of 2015.

Tapia – I had scouts tell me his fastball-power changeup combo was enough to pitch out of a MLB bullpen in 2012. There’s some degree of hyperbole in there, but not much. His two-seam fastball can be just filthy at times – sitting 95-97, and touching 98 with sink and run. As ┬áthe year went on, he added a four-seam fastball to get in to lefties and stay away from righties. His changeup, is often 90ish. He throws out of a low arm slot, which makes getting depth on his slider hard. Scouts fear the pitch will never be average. If it truly does not develop, he’s headed for the bullpen where he might throw 105. Like Fulmer, he too will start 2013 in advanced-A. I could see the Mets moving Tapia slightly more quickly than Fulmer. Depending on need, he might be on the big league radar in a bullpen role by the end of 2014.

 

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