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?
Tommy Hunter was a more recent Mets depth signing and it’s an intriguing one! Hunter was a first round pick for the Texas Rangers in 2007 and made his major league debut with the Rangers in 2010 but he’s more known for being in the 2011 deadline deal that sent Chris Davis to Baltimore for Koji Uehara. He stays in Baltimore for a while until he is traded again in a deadline deal in 2015 to the Cubs for Junior Leake. At this point he starts bouncing around with contracts with Cleveland, Baltimore again, Tamp Bay, The Phillies twice (and for a couple of years) and now with the Mets.
Tommy Hunter was a starter until 2012 when he started to get converted into a reliever, which is where he found his groove (between 2013 and 2014 he had a 2.81 and 2.97 ERA with the Orioles as a reliever). After a fantastic season with Tampa Bay in 2017 (2.61 ERA over 61 games) he goes to the Phillies and has a solid year as a reliever, putting up a 3.80 ERA over 64.0 innings. The following year he has a season ending injury and only logs 5.1 innings, allowing no runs. He started to fight back last year, pitching 24 of 60 games with a 24.2 innings and a 4.01 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 114 ERA+ and 1.135 WHIP.
To be honest, I’m surprised Hunter could only sign a minor league contract with an invitation to camp. His FIP was better than his career number (4.29) and kept up a pretty good streak of his ERA+ being over 100.
This article is being written on 2/16 – important because the Mets just lost Seth Lugo, did not sign Wilson and it is unclear if the Mets were able to sign anyone else. Hunter is an interesting option. He will get a long look over spring to see if there’s a spot for him on the roster. I’m not sure if his Minor League Contract allows him to opt out but he if he is good in spring, but the Mets can’t place him on the roster, I imagine he will want to leave as another team will be for sure interested in him.