Luis Mateo will Make a AA “Spot Start”

Mateo Cyclones HeadI heard this Sunday night, and Adam Rubin confirms on Monday morning:

Luis Mateo will get a spot start with Double-A Binghamton tonight before returning to Class A St. Lucie. Mateo will sub for Cory Mazzoni, who will miss a start with arm soreness.

There’s a whole lot of interesting stuff here.

  • The nebulous nature of “arm soreness” on Mazzoni. It’s as vague as it gets. However, things like this are why I do not think the slightly built (by professional pitcher standards) Mazzoni can make it through a full season as a starter and why I dropped him in my rankings from #10 last year to #19 this year.
  • The surprise here is that the Mets are going to move Mateo up, after ONE START in advanced-A for what is being billed as a “spot start.”
  • Usually when faced with a need for a spot starter, a minor league team will first pull from their own bullpen or if that is not an option, grab a guy who is less of a prospect from a lower level.
  • The bullpen is not a viable option for Binghamton because that group threw 13.2 innings in the last three games as no starter made it past the fifth inning. Every member of the pen has pitched in the last three days at least once and everyone except Adrian Rosario, has thrown twice in the last four days. Moreover, the B-Mets do not have an off-day until next Thursday, so with games in each of the next 10 days, the team does not really have arms to burn in the ‘pen. Sure, the Mets could have promoted Angel Cuan, who instead started for St. Lucie on Sunday to take the start, but there’s little question that Mateo has a much better arm and resides in a different prospect class.
  •  The Mets skipped Mateo over Savannah and he was dominant in his first start with St. Lucie (6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K) while drawing rave reviews from Pitching Coach Phil Regan. Pitching Coaches often give their pupils positive press, but coming into the year, Mateo’s fastball (which has plus velo and can touch 95) and slider were enough to put him in my and others Top 20 Mets Prospects, but Regan sang the praises of Mateo’s changeup.
  • And sure, if Mateo is successful in AA, there’s no reason to send him back to advanced-A …
  • There’s a developing phenomenon where the Mets are more aggressive with their pitcher assignments than their position players. For example, the team started Michael Fulmer in advanced-A Savannah in 2012, but held Brandon Nimmo from his draft class back to 2013 and Gavin Cecchini a year later, back in extended this year. Once a pitcher is dominating and has made 10 -12 starts at a level in a-ball – he’s gone. Examples include: Matt Harvey, Rafael Montero, Mazzoni, Tyler Pill, Logan Verrett and Jacob deGrom.  Again, Mateo has made ONE a-ball start.

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