After finishing the minor league season on the IL with Double-A Binghamton, Mets LHP prospect Thomas Szapucki will not pitch in the Arizona Fall League -- as was originally planned -- reports Tim Healey of Newsday.
Healey quoted a team official who said the Mets were going to give Szapucki's arm "a rest for a little while."
It is quite possible the Mets shut Szapucki down in the last few days of the season simply because of the amount of innings he had pitched in what was his first season back from Tommy John surgery, but there is no word yet regarding why he won't be pitching in the AFL.
Szapucki, 23, had a very successful season, across three levels for the Mets in 2019, posting a 2.42 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with 72 strikeouts in 61.2 innings (18 starts, three relief appearances) in Low-A Columbia, High-A St. Lucie, and Double-A Binghamton.
Due to this being Szapucki's first season back from injury, his innings per start were limited in a strict way, with his longest outing being the 6.0 innings he tossed on Aug. 21 in the final start he made for St. Lucie before being promoted to Binghamton.
In his only start for Binghamton, on Aug. 26, Szapucki tossed 4.0 strong innings, allowing just one unearned run on two hits while walking one and striking out four. The 81 pitches he threw during that start were a season-high.
While Szapucki had his career sidetracked before this season due to Tommy John surgery, he still has the upside to be an above average part of the Mets' rotation.
Szapucki's prospect ranking in the Mets' system (No. 12) is not indicative of his potential.
"Szapucki has the makings of a very effective three-pitch mix when he's healthy," according to Szapucki's MLB.com scouting report. "His explosive fastball is electric with plus life, and he throws it in the 92-97 mph range. His power breaking ball can be a second plus pitch which freezes hitters and misses bats. There's a solid changeup in there as well, one with terrific fade and sink, though it was less consistent than the other two offerings."