Mets RHP prospect Tony Dibrell has emerged this year for High-A St. Lucie, and has a chance to be a rotation option for the big club down the road if he can conquer Double-A...
Weight: 190 lbs
MLB Pipeline Mets Prospect Ranking: 17
2019 Statistics: 2.05 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 4-3 record in 57 innings pitched over 11 starts while allowing 45 hits, 25 walks and striking out 51.
Tony Dibrell was born in Alpharetta, Georgia and grew up with an athletic older sister named Adrienne. His mother and father allowed Dibrell and his sister to play any sport they wanted to. Dibrell grew up playing baseball, soccer, football, basketball and he even dabbled in gymnastics. He attended Chattahoochee High School, where he played both baseball and football his freshman year before giving up football and starting to play exclusively baseball.
His high school coach Tim Lemons was his most influential baseball coach growing up. Lemons was a draft pick of the Kansas City Royals and played three years in the minor leagues. Dibrell credits Lemons with helping his development on-field while also preparing him for life off the field. He said a lot of the things that Coach Lemons said to him he heard again in college and pro ball. Being able to get that message that would prove to be consistent throughout his baseball maturation had a big impact on him.
Coming out of high school, Dibrell received no interest from professional teams but knew he could play Division 1 college baseball. He decided to enroll at Kennesaw State as it was the perfect match of a quality program and proximity to his home.
Dibrell had a tough freshman year coming out of the bullpen, posting a 5.06 ERA. He took a bit of a step forward his sophomore year, posting a 4.64 ERA and striking out 66 batters. After his sophomore year he went to the famed Cape Cod League and in eight starts posted a 1.64 ERA while striking out 36 batters. This is when he finally started to get some attention from pro teams.
Going into his junior season, Dibrell started to have conversations with every MLB club. He started 14 games and posted a 2.45 ERA and threw three complete games while striking out out 103 batters in 95.2 innings. Going into the 2017 MLB Draft, he had not had much contact with the Mets. But once the third round started, he started hearing more and more from them. Shortly before the Mets were on the clock in the fourth round it became apparent that it was a possibility the Mets would take him. With the 127th pick the Mets pulled the trigger and drafted Dibrell.
With the Mets
After signing with the Mets, Dibrell was sent to Brooklyn where he pitched out of the bullpen and posted a 5.03 ERA in 12 relief appearances. In 2018 the Mets sent him in his first full pro season to Low-A Columbia, where he got the opportunity to be in the rotation. Getting on the every fifth day type of rotation and everything in between was an adjustment for him,and he was much more successful -- posting a 7-6 record with a 3.50 ERA. He threw 131 innings, allowing 112 hits and 54 walks while striking out 147.
In 2019, Dibrell was assigned to High-A St Lucie, where he has gotten more comfortable and is more consistently executing his pitches. He has a 4-3 record with a minuscule 2.05 ERA in 11 starts. I would think a promotion to Double-A Binghamton should not be too far in the future for the 23-year-old.
Repertoire and Future
Dibrell possesses a four-pitch-mix headlined by a fastball that will sit in the low 90s and touch 96 mph. His top secondary offering is a mid-80s slider that has late action, and he uses it to get strikeouts. His changeup and curve both flash above average but need to develop some more consistency as he matures.
The one thing Dibrell needs to improve on is his walk rate. As a professional, his walk rates have been 3.7 per 9 innings in 2018 and this year 3.9 per 9 innings. He has the makings of a No. 4 type starter who was compared by Jim Callis of MLB.com coming out of the draft to a young Edwin Jackson -- who has had a 17-year big league career.
When Dibrell gets promoted to Double-A, it will be his biggest test yet. I have a lot of belief in the build, the delivery and the arm talent, but I want to see how he fares against upper-level minor league competition. MLB.com ranks him No. 17 in the Mets system and I personally have him closer to the Top 10 than that. If it all breaks right, Dibrell can be in the conversation to be a part of the Mets starting pitching depth as soon as 2020.