With position players complete, it’s time to turn our attention to pitchers. Again, we’re ranking Mets prospects by position; this will be the backbone of my overall Mets Top 41 ranking.
We begin our pitcher look at one of the thinnest areas in terms of numbers in the Mets’ system: left-handed starters. Six lefties made 13 or more starts for the Mets in 2013: Steven Matz (21), Mark Cohoon (21), Alex Panteliodis (19), Darin Gorski (16), Kevin Canelon (14) and Angel Cuan (13).
– Canelon was a 19-year-old repeating the Dominican Summer League for the third-straight year.
– Cohoon enjoyed his fourth go-around in AA Binghamton where he had a 3.99 ERA and gave up 146 hits in 119.2 innings. He owns a career 6.77 ERA with a 55/41 K/BB ratio in 102.1 innings.
– Panteliodis ran a 4.75 ERA in advanced-A St. Lucie in 2013 with a 56/29 K/BB ratio in 102.1 innings while allowing 129 hits. That’s a 12% strikeout rate.
– Cuan is a little soft-tosser who made 15 relief appearances and 12 starts for St. Lucie in 2013 and one start in AA Binghamton with a 3.57 ERA. He throws strikes with a mid-80s fastball, slurve and changeup.
One or all of Cohoon, Panteliodis and Cuan could break Spring Training in the AA Binghamton rotation. None are likely to ever be useful big league starters.
LHP – Starters
1. Steven Matz
2. Darin Gorski
1. Matz. Steven Matz, the Mets’ second round pick in the 2009 draft is the left-handed jewel in the system. In 2013, he was not just healthy, for the first time, but effective. If everything breaks right, he’s a rotation regular and a good one. I saw lots of Matz in Savannah in 2013 and wrote about him regularly (here, here and here). Anyway, he combines plus fastball velocity (92-95, touching 97) with a changeup that flashes plus. He throws inside very, very aggressively. His breaking ball is a work in progress in that he has gone back and forth between a slider and a curve in the last year. His fastball command will come and go, although by the middle of the year in Savannah, it was on more than off.
2. A year ago at this time, things were looking good for Darin Gorksi: he’d been placed on the Mets’ 40-man roster for the first time in November 2012 following a solid year in AA. With some success in AAA in 2013 and that 40-man spot, a big league debut in 2013 seemed like a real possibility. And then Gorski was outrighted off the 40-man roster in Spring Training. Then in his age 25 season, ran into trouble in Vegas. In 13.2 innings, he allowed 11 runs on 17 hits and walked nine while fanning seven. That’s a whopping 26 baserunners in 13.2 innings. Gorski had shoulder problems that kept him out for six weeks and when he was healthy rolled through the Eastern League wit ha 1.83 ERA in 78.2 innings with 67 strikeouts against 22 walks and just 46 hits allowed. His velocity was back down to the mid-upper 80s. While his change has really nice armspeed, any mistake or even well located heater, can be (relatively) slow-moving prey against advanced hitters.