Dominic Hamel made noise in his senior year of college after he set a Dallas Baptist record with 136 strikeouts. The Mets drafted him in the 3rd round back in 2021. His Mets career took off in 2022 where he pitched in 14 games (63 1/3 innings) for St. Lucie where he had a 3.84 ERA and 1.216 WHIP. He was one year older than the average player in the Florida State League. This led to a promotion to Brooklyn where he dominated over 11 starts (55 2/3 innings), posting a 2.59 ERA and 1.078 WHIP earning the Mets 2022 Organization Pitcher of the Year award.
He spent the entirety of last season with the Rumble Ponies, tossing 124 innings with a 3.85 ERA and 1.266 WHIP. Despite facing better hitters last season, his K/9 rate improved going from 11.0 K/9 across both levels in 2022 to 11.6 last season (his career best was his senior year in college where reached 13.4 K/9). More importantly, Hamel improved on his control last year going from a 4.1 BB/9 down to a 3.6 BB/9.
The next logical step for Hamel is Syracuse and depending on how this season goes for the Mets, he has a non-zero chance of making the rotation (obviously based on his performance). You could make an argument that Hamel’s age could force him to get promoted if needed to this year. He’s currently 24 and will turn 25 during spring training. The other prospect pitchers the Mets invited to camp this year are in the same boat. Mike Vasil is 23 and will also celebrate a birthday during spring training. Christian Scott, who has been rising through the Mets rankings this past year, is 24 and will turn 25 in June.
MLB Pipeline had Hamel listed as the #16 prospect in the Mets system at the end of last season (their 2024 listings were not available yet. Mets Minors has him listed as #14 (published at the end of 2023). MLB Pipeline identifies Hamel as a pitcher who loves RPM. His slider rotates 2,800-3,000 times per minute. Will this fool major league hitters though? That’s ultimately the question we’ll want answered this spring.
Hamel, like Vasil and Scott are on the cusp of making big league squad and we’ll get a good luck at all three pitchers at the start of spring. Hamel doesn’t have the most overpowering stuff but can put a notable spin on the ball. I’m going to be looking for two things from Hamel this spring (and start of the minor league season). First, can he continue to strikeout more players while decreasing his walks? Second, can he get major leaguers to swing and miss / generate weak contact against his slider and curveball? We’ll find out soon!