This is the second year where we are walking through the previous season’s Baseball America’s Top Prospect handbook, looking at the all the Mets to see how they are developing against Baseball America’s Projections.
Today we are looking at Tony Dibrell, drafted in 2017, who will be 24 this season. Baseball America noted that the Mets drafted the right handed pitcher because of his “athleticism, projectable frame and quick arm”. He debuted in 2017 in Brooklyn, basically around average age for the league and in 2018 he advanced to Columbia, also around the average age for the league.
2017 Brooklyn: 12 G, 19.2 IP, 5.03 ERA, 28 K, 1.373 WHIP
2018 Columbia: 23 G, 131.0 IP, 3.50 ERA, 147 K (tied league lead), 1.267 WHIP
Baseball America concludes their 2019 preview for Dibrell by looking at he currently projects and where he could be. He has an above average fastball and has a slider/change-up that show “above average potential”. They project him as a 5th starter / swingman (thus the 45 grade and high risk ranking) but end with “has the potential for three above-average pitches and thus has ‘overachiever’ written all over him”. So what happened in 2019?
2019 St. Lucie: 17 G, 90.1 IP, 2.39 ERA, 76 K, 1.209 WHIP
2019 Binghamton: 9 G, 38.2 IP, 9.31 ERA, 37 K, 1.862 WHIP
Tony was the average age in St. Lucie and dominated the league. He was 1.3 years younger than the average player in AA and struggled in his 9 games. His time in St. Lucie saw some of his best games in the minor leagues. It’s also worth nothing that this is the first time in his professional career that he changed leagues/cities during the season. Given his struggles at the next level, we are assuming he’ll start out again in Binghamton. At 24 years old, and with a taste at of AA already, I think this is the season we’ll see if Dibrell reaches a ceiling of a 5th starter type player or if he is able to move that conversation in a different direction.