Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?
Every once in a while the Mets draft a player who ends up rocketing throughout the system due to a combination of talent, age and talent around the player in the system. Gilliam has gone from Brooklyn in 2018 (he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2018 draft) to Syracuse. The (now) 23 year old righty was half a year below the average age in Brooklyn in 2018, 0.9 years below the average age in St. Lucie (2019), 2.3 years below in Binghamton (2019) and a whopping 4.2 years below the average in Syracuse (2019). Along the way he has posted these stats:
2018 Clemson: 27 G, 38.1 IP, 1.41 ERA, 1.148 WHIP, 12.7 K/9
2018 Brooklyn: 17 G, 17.1 IP, 2.08 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 16.1 K/9
2019 St. Lucie: 7 G, 10.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 13.5 K/9
2019 Binghamton: 12 G, 18.2 IP, 4.34 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 13.5 K/9
2019 Syracuse: 10 G, 9.1 IP, 13.50 ERA, 3.000 WHIP, 11.6 K/9
2019 Arizona Fall League: 7 G, 9.1 IP, 0.96 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, 10.6 K/9
With the exception of Syracuse, he’s performed well at every single level, which is astounding considering how much he had to uproot his life in the last two years to play in so many places. Also encouraging – after a rough stint in Syracuse, he went on to dominate in the Arizona Fall League.
Gilliam has a 95-97 fastball and a high 70’s/ low 80’s curveball and the two pitch combination has allowed him to mow down the competition in the minors. If he starts off in Syracuse ripping through lineups like he was at other levels last year, than we will probably see him in Queens sooner than later (around when the first set of relievers start to falter or get injured). If not, I expect him to be in Syracuse for most of the season. Gilliam is still young and has less years in the Mets system than someone like yesterday’s NRI Preview Matt Blackham and the won’t feel pressure about Gilliam on the roster like they would for other rule V eligible players at the end of the season.
Gilliam of course can write his own story this spring. He’ll get a look at Triple A, Major League and inbetween talent. The Mets will be looking at what progress he made this off-season.