Right-hander Corey Oswalt may have pitched himself onto the Mets' 40-man roster this November thanks to a stellar 2017 season.
Oswalt, a seventh-round pick in 2012 out of high school in San Diego, is 10-5 with a 2.41 ERA in 22 starts for Double-A Binghamton this season. He has struck out 102, and has a 1.20 WHIP and .242 opponent batting average in 123 1/3 innings in 2017.
Oswalt would need to be protected this winter, or he again would be exposed to the Rule 5 draft after going untaken last November.
Chris Flexen, picked in the 14th round of the 2012 amateur draft by the Mets, also out of high school in California, was added to the 40-man roster last winter to shield him from Rule 5 selection, and made his MLB debut July 27.
The 6-foot-5 Oswalt recently enjoyed a 12-start unbeaten streak. His recent success included retiring the final 20 batters in a two-hit, seven-inning shutout against Trenton on Aug. 3. Oswalt started for the East Division in the Eastern League All-Star Game.
He throws four-seam and two-seam fastballs that range from 90 to 95 mph. He also possesses a curveball, slider and changeup.
Oswalt represented the Mets in the Arizona Fall League alongside Tim Tebow last offseason, going a solid 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in seven starts.
"It's tough competition, so it was a good confidence-booster going into this season having pitched well there," Oswalt said. "I'm always confident in my stuff, but it only helps pitching and having success against the top competition in baseball."
Oswalt had produced a 4.12 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) with St. Lucie in 2016.
"From the beginning of this season, actually a little bit into spring training, I've been working with our pitching coach, Glenn Abbott," Oswalt said. "We just made a couple of mechanical adjustments. I'm more direct to home plate. I used to throw a little bit across my body, but now I'm more direct, and it simplified my windup, and helped and translated into the game. And just getting older and stronger, it's just kind of all come together now."
Oswalt primarily had been an infielder in high school, and had signed with UC Santa Barbara for college as a shortstop/third baseman before the Mets selected him as a pitcher. He had only really began pitching for his prep team as a senior, because he had a strong arm and his team needed help on the mound. That background may explain why Oswalt has slugged two home runs this season with the Rumble Ponies. He's 2-for-11 on the season, with the pair of solo shots and six strikeouts.
"I'm pretty pumped about that," Oswalt said. "I always had power, just because I was a big kid."
Organizational Leaders (Position Players)...
Average: Rigoberto Terrazas, Kingsport, .348; Wagner Lagrange, Kingsport, .331; Dominic Smith, Vegas, .330; Amed Rosario, Vegas, .328; Guillermo Granadillo, Brooklyn, .310; Jeremy Vasquez, Brooklyn, .302; Juan Uriarte, Kingsport, .299; Walter Rasquin, Brooklyn, .292; Patrick Mazeika, Binghamton, .292; Kevin Taylor, Binghamton, .291.
Home Runs: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 25; Dominic Smith, Vegas, 16; Pete Alonso, St. Lucie, 16; Cody Decker, Vegas, 14; David Thompson, Binghamton, 14.
RBI: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 78; Dominic Smith, Vegas, 76; Dash Winningham, Columbia, 65; David Thompson, Binghamton, 63.
Steals: Champ Stuart, Binghamton, 33; Jacob Zanon, St. Lucie, 29; Jose Miguel Medina, Brooklyn, 25; Walter Rasquin, Brooklyn, 24; Patrick Biondi, Binghamton, 21.
Organizational Leaders (Pitchers)...
ERA: Jaison Vilera, GCL Mets, 1.75; Merandy Gonzalez, St. Lucie, 1.78; Corey Oswalt, Binghamton, 2.41; Briam Campusano, Kingsport, 2.81; Harol Gonzalez, St. Lucie, 3.48; PJ Conlon, Binghamton, 3.54; Mickey Jannis, Binghamton, 3.81; Yeizo Campos, GCL Mets, 3.95; Christian James, Kingsport, 4.05; Nabil Crismatt, St. Lucie, 4.14.
Wins: Merandy Gonzalez, St. Lucie, 12; Andrew Church, St. Lucie, 10; Casey Delgado, Binghamton, 10; Jordan Humphreys, St. Lucie, 10; Corey Oswalt, Binghamton, 10.
Saves: Cory Burns, Binghamton, 18; Adonis Uceta, Binghamton, 13; Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 11; Tyler Bashlor, Binghamton, 11.
Strikeouts: Nabil Crismatt, St. Lucie, 134; PJ Conlon, Binghamton, 102; Corey Oswalt, Binghamton, 102; Andrew Church, St. Lucie, 92; Harol Gonzalez, St. Lucie, 92.
Adam Rubin (Facebook | Twitter | Contact) has covered the Mets since 2002. He previously worked for the Daily News and ESPN. He also serves as assistant athletic director for strategic communications at NYIT. He is a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the University of Pennsylvania.