R/R – 6’4” 195 – 1s ’08 (UNC Wilmington) – b. 10/13/86
This one’s simple: for me, Brad Holt is the best pitching prospect in the Mets system. Holt has a perfect pitcher’s frame and uses it to generate a plus fastball (93-95 mph) that he has learned to locate. His breaking ball made significant progress over the summer as he tightened up a slurvy offering from college into a sharp curveball. The pitch is still inconsistent, but Holt’s progress leaves room for optimism. Holt almost never threw his changeup in the NYP because he didn’t need it. If he’s going to develop into a top of the line starter, that pitch must at least become usable.
In 2008, Holt became the 4th Cyclone to lead league in ERA joining luminaries such as LHP Ross Peeples 1.34 (2001), RHP Bobby Parnell 1.73 (2005) and RHP Dylan Owen 1.49 (200 07).
Likely '09 Start: St. Lucie rotation
R/R – 6’0” 165 – NDFA – b. 10/11/89
Hey, look, over there, it’s a 95 mph fastball from an 18 year old. Yeah, that’s kinda a big deal. Mejia, who was 93-95 when I saw him responded well after the Mets promoted him from the GCL to the NYP. His second pitch is a firm changeup in the 87-89 mph range, while his curveball (75-76 mph) was his third offering. The Mets were impressed not just by his physical gifts, but by his mental acumen and the ease with which he adapted to and thrived in new competitive situations. His delivery has some effort in it prompting standard concerns about durability and command.
I wrote about Mejia at length and posted video here.
Likely ’09 start: 50/50 Savannah/St. Lucie Rotation
R/R – 6’3” 190 lbs – 22nd Rd ’08 (Fresno Pacific) – b. 9/22/86
Schwinden had a very nice professional debut. However, add in those unearned runs to his earned runs, and his ERA jumps by over a full point to a still impressive, but less eye-popping 3.03. I saw him for two unspectacular innings on a night when he was overshadowed by Brad Holt. He located his 88-90 mph fastball to succeed.
As a 22nd round draftee, Schwinden will be forced to prove himself one level at a time.
Likely ’09 start: Savannah
R/R – 6’5” 230 lbs – 13th Rd ’08 (Illinois) – b. 8/3/86
By any statistical marker, Scott Shaw had a tremendous professional debut in 2008. He was fourth in the NYP in strikeouts, issued very few walks, and had an ERA below three.
Shaw accomplished this primarily by commanding his fastball. In July, I saw Shaw pitching 87-90, mostly at 88-89, with more 87s as his pitch count rose and he tired. His secondary pitches included a hard curveball around 77 mph and a changeup in the low-to-mid 80s. He used both pitches very infrequently in the outings I saw. Because his fastball command was so strong, he didn’t need to go to his secondary pitches much against rookie ball hitters.
Likely ’09 start: St. Lucie