Reviewing Baseball America’s 2018 Top 30 Mets Prospects: #5 Thomas Szapucki

The Mets #5 prospect had an early end to his 2017 season thanks to Tommy John. He took all of 2018 to recovered (this was planned, it’s even written in his Baseball America 2018 scouting report) and he finally returns next year.

In 2017 there was a lot of buzz around Thomas Szapucki. He made himself known over 9 starts in 2016 with a 0.62 ERA over 29 innings in Kingsport and a 2.35 ERA over 23 innings in Brooklyn. The start of his 2017 season was derailed due to shoulder issue and he pitched 6 games, 29 innings with a 2.79 ERA before needing Tommy John.

His numbers looking great, in the minors he has a 2.27 career ERA with a 1.02 WHIP. But this is over 83.0 innings in 5 seasons where he has missed considerable time due back stiffness, shoulder problems and now a season and a half with Tommy John. His stuff is good, it’s just a massive question as to how he bounces back from Tommy John and can he pitch a full season.

BA gives him a 55 ranking with a 60 fastball, 50 curveball, 60 slider, 45 changeup and a 45 control. The high ranking fastball/slider is a calling card for the Mets system that loves sliders as an out-pitch.

Baseball America closed with saying that he easily could have been the #1 prospect last year if he had a full, healthy season and still sees him as a #3 type starter. The Mets are desperate for starting pitching prospects, especially since the Cano/Diaz trade sent Dunn to Seattle. At 23 years old, and coming off Tommy John, I imagine that if Thomas is healthy this year he has an inning cap that takes him off the field around August. He probably should go straight to Binghamton but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets keep him St. Lucie for a month or so, especially considering the temperatures in Binghamton and the length of time he has missed from the field.

If he has a strong, healthy campaign, he should be in Syracuse during the 2020 season and then make either a late 2020, 2021 major league debut.

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