One of the New York Mets top prospects made his first Double A start in 2012. Find out who it was, how he did, and what other prospects had performances of note in this week's Mets Minor League Update.
Pitcher Of The Week: Zack Wheeler (7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 Ks, Win)
Zack Wheeler is the Mets top prospect, and profiles as a good number two starter at the big league level. Just 10 days from his 22nd birthday, he doesn't have much more to prove in Double A, and will probably be promoted to Triple A at some point this season.
This week he had an impressive performance, in a winning effort against the Eastern League's top hitting team – the Trenton Thunder. He struggled a bit with walks, but fanned 8 batters in 7 innings, and allowed only 2 hits.
Hitter Of The Week: Aderlin Rodriguez (.462, 2 Double, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 3 BBs 6 Ks, 1 SBs)
The 20-year-old Rodriguez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. He blasted 17 homers in 131 games for the Savannah Sand Gnats last season, but stuck out 106 times and his average was near the Mendoza Line, at .221. He has some of the best raw power in the Mets system, but severely lacks almost every other tool necessary to be a major leaguer, at this point in his career.
To go along with his power, he has an above average arm, but he's horrific in the field and on the base paths. If he makes the necessary adjustments, he could turn out to be a replacement level starter at one of the corner infield spots. His on-base percentage has hovered around .300 during his time in Low A – that's not going to cut it, especially for a below average runner and defender.
Top 10 Prospect Spotlight: Jenrry Mejia
The 22-year-old Mejia pitched 3 innings for the Binghamton Mets and allowed only one run, despite giving up 6 hits. He also stuck out 3.
Mets fans should be fairly familiar with Mejia, because he appeared in 33 games for the Mets in 2010. His stint in the majors wasn't great, with a 4.62 ERA and nearly as many walks (20) as strikeouts (22) – he hasn't been back since.
He's coming off Tommy John surgery, so he'll be handled carefully in the minors and remain there until he's fully healthy again. Once he eventually returns to the majors, he'll be used strictly as a reliever. Before the injury, Mejia had potentially two or three plus pitches, including a fastball with high velocity and late movement. He's always struggled with control, but he still has the ceiling of a good late-inning reliever – assuming he fully recovers from TJS.
Top Prospect Spotlight: Jack Leathersich
Leathersich was a 5th round pick of the Mets in 2011. The soon-to-be 22-year-old struggled with control and mechanic issues, as a starter at UMass-Lowell, but has shown great improvement as a reliever in the Mets system.
In 2011, Leathersich pitched 13 innings for the Brooklyn Cyclones with an ERA of 0.71 and an absurd 26:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In college, his fastball topped out in the low 90s, but as a reliever he's running it up in the mid-to-high 90s, and his curveball is considered a plus pitch already.
2012 marks Leathersich's first full season as a minor leaguer, and the early returns look promising – he's picked up where he left off in the New York-Penn League last season. In 24 innings, he's struck out 37 batters, walked only 8 and owns a miniscule 0.75 ERA. If his production remains at this level, he should progress through the Mets system very quickly, and become a late-inning force in the Mets bullpen in a mere two or three years.