Welcome back to the Baseball Prospectus Mets Prospect Watch! This weekly column will take a look at one pitcher and one hitter from each level of the Mets organization and offer thoughts on their performance thus far, as well as a brief scouting report with a future outlook.
Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A)
Pitcher: Bobby Wahl
The 26-year-old Wahl came over to the organization in the Jeurys Familia trade and made his Mets debut Thursday against the Braves. It wasn’t his major league debut, as he appeared in seven games for Oakland last season, but this figures to be the beginning of an extended stay for the right-hander.
Wahl fits the Mets relief profile to a T, throwing a mid-90s fastball and a sharp slider. His fastball sits 95-98 and will touch triple digits with above-average movement. The slider sits in the mid-80s and is his go-to out pitch. He’s effectively a two-pitch reliever, though he does have a change that shows signs of usefulness. Wahl could be a high-leverage option sooner rather than later, or he could be ticketed for a career in middle relief. It all depends on how his below-average command plays at the major league level and how well he can suppress walks.
Hitter: Jack Reinheimer
The Mets scooped up Reinheimer off waivers after the Arizona Diamondbacks needed to do some roster shuffling with their trade deadline acquisitions. The light-hitting utility man was a fifth-round pick of the Mariners in 2013 but spent the past four seasons in the Diamondbacks organization.
Reinheimer offers a similar skill set to utility players already on the Mets 40-man roster, making the waiver claim highly questionable. His best skill is his versatility, as he’s capable of playing every infield position, as well as some outfield. He has some contact skills, but he has well below-average power and doesn’t project as an impact bat in the majors. Clearing a 40-man spot for Reinheimer likely cost Kevin Kaczmarski his roster spot, a bad tradeoff for an organization seemingly always in need of outfield depth in the upper levels of the minors.
Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A)
Hitter: Will Toffey
Toffey was the other prospect to come over from Oakland in the Familia deal. A fourth rounder out of Vanderbilt last year, Toffey has already reached Double-A despite middle-of-the-pack numbers in A-ball. He’s reportedly dealing with a serious shoulder injury that will require surgery this offseason, leaving many wondering why having him play through an injury for a month is necessary.
Toffey doesn’t fit the traditional third base profile – he’s hit before power- but he could develop into a second-division regular if everything breaks right. Wahl was the so-called “prize” of the deal though, so anything Toffey contributes would be considered a bonus.
Pitcher: Franklyn Kilome
The real prize of the Mets deadline dealings, Kilome has tantalizing stuff that he hasn’t been able to fully piece together yet. He owns an explosive mid-90s fastball and a potential plus-plus curve, two offerings that give him a fallback option in the bullpen if it ultimately never comes together as a starter. Kilome’s command is what’s currently holding him back, as he’s averaging over 4.50 BB/9 in Double-A for the second straight season.
The Mets will try to develop Kilome as a starter and that they should, as there’s still starter potential here. The Phillies clearly weren’t convinced he’d ever reach his ceiling, but the Mets actually have a decent track record developing pitchers with this sort of profile. It was the perfect buy-low opportunity and the Mets rightly took advantage. Here’s hoping the player development staff can get Kilome back on the right track.
Brooklyn Cyclones (Short-Season-A)
Pitcher: Jaison Vilera
Vilera hasn’t allowed an earned run since July 5, a streak spanning four starts and 26.2 innings. With a pristine 0.78 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 46 innings, Vilera has certainly put his name on the map this season.
The 21-year-old right-hander is running a 50% groundball rate to go along with his 10.96 K/9. He features a fastball/changeup combo that’s simply too advanced for short-season ball. Vilera shouldn’t be in Brooklyn any longer and the Mets would do well to promote him to Columbia before seasons end.
GCL Mets (Rookie Ball)
Pitcher: Simeon Woods-Richardson
He’s only made three appearances this summer but SWR is showing the premium velocity that enticed the Mets to draft him in the second round of this year’s draft. The pre-draft reports noted inconsistent velocity that often dipped into the 80s, but I’d heard he popped late and the early returns confirm that.
Woods-Richardson has been sitting in the mid-90s, even touching 99 a handful of times in a relief appearance in July. He’s also cleaned up his delivery some, as it doesn’t feature the same violence it did just a couple of months ago. All positive signs for the 17-year-old who will likely pitch the 2019 season in Brooklyn, though he does have an outside chance of reaching Columbia.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports