Mets prospect Franklyn Kilome is recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but he could be a power arm for the Mets in 2020 ...
Weight: 175 lbs
MLB Pipeline Prospect Ranking: 10
2019 Statistics: N/A
Franklyn Kilome was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies out of the Dominican Republic in January of 2013 at a slightly older than normal 18 years old, as he went under the radar and his stuff was not there at 16 to get enough attention from scouts. He did not make his professional debut until 2014 where the Phillies assigned him to their rookie level Gulf Coast League roster where he went 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA across 11 appearances (8 starts).
In 2015, he was assigned to Williamsport. The Phillies decided at this point to make him a full-time starting pitcher, and he posted a 3.28 ERA across 11 starts. He produced a pedestrian 6.6 strikeouts per 9 over 49.1 innings. At this point Kilome really was trying to grow the effectiveness of his offspeed pitches and just struggled to put away hitters.
In 2016, he put together a 3.85 ERA and drastically improved his strikeout rate to 10.2 per 9 innings, in parts due to an uptick in fastball velocity and really taking strides with his breaking ball. After the 2016 season, Baseball Prospectus ranked him as the number 74 prospect in all of baseball.
In 2017, Kilome split the season between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading and posted a 2.83 ERA across 24 starts and 127 innings pitched. Unfortunately, his strikeout rate dipped back down to 7.3 per 9 innings.
In 2018, after making 19 starts for Double-A Reading, Kilome was shipped to the Mets in the deal that brought Asdrubal Cabrera to Philadelphia.
With the Mets
The Mets got rave reviews acquiring a pitcher of Kilome's caliber for a rental Asdrubal Cabrera, who the Phillies intended to utilize in a bit of a utility role. Kilome was ranked as a top 10 prospect in the Phillies system by MLB Pipeline and immediately was thrust in the top 5 on the Mets list for MLB Pipeline.
Kilome started seven games for Double-A Binghamton and posted a 4.03 ERA over 38 innings. He dropped his walk rate from 4.5 per 9 innings to 2.4. He also brought his strikeout rate back up to 9.9 per 9 innings and scouts were excited by how he looked after being acquired. The thought was the Mets might have really stole one here.
Unfortunately, as luck would have it, Kilome started to experience forearm tightness. It was determined that he had a torn ulnar collateral ligament and would require Tommy John surgery and be forced to miss the entirety of the 2019 season.
Prior to getting Tommy John surgery, Kilome possessed a plus fastball that sat in the 93-95 mph range was clocked as high as 97 mph. His curveball flashed plus with big downward tilt in the low 80s. His changeup is a distant third pitch that scouts think could potentially be a respectable third offering that Kilome will need if he wants to fulfill his upside as a starter.
I expect that Kilome will be ready for Spring Training 2020, and that if the Mets want to, they can potentially scrap plans of his development as a starter and turn him into a two-pitch power reliever. He has had issues with walks in the past, but made a mechanical adjustment with the Mets organization that helped his walk rate.
If he is healthy and his stuff comes back, he can potentially be fast-tracked as a power reliever. In short stints, maybe that fastball can be more consistently towards the upper 90s.
While he missed all of 2019, I think Mets fans should not forget about Franklyn Kilome. I am not sure if the surgery will push back his big league timeline to 2021, but I personally am excited to see him get back on a mound and see if he is able to regain the form he was building on before the surgery.