BP Mets prospect writers Alex Rosen and Tyler Oringer were in Brooklyn on Wednesday for a one-game look at some of the New York Mets’ newest signees.
RHP Briam Campusano
Alex Rosen: Campusano is listed at 6’2,” 174 pounds, but looked to be at least an inch or two shorter out on the mound. He’s a two-pitch pitcher at this point in his career, relying heavily on a fastball/slider combo that has just enough velocity to overwhelm short-season hitters. The fastball sat 90-93 for the entirety of the outing, though it did touch 94 once. It’s got some arm-side run, but ultimately plays half a grade down due to the arm action. His slider sat consistently in the 84-86 mph range and was his go-to two-strike offering.
While the delivery isn’t necessarily bad, the arm action, uh, is. It’s a violent, unnatural motion that, in combination with his stuff, is going to force a move to the bullpen in the future. Speaking of stuff, the Mets are trying to work with Campusano on developing two additional offerings, a curveball and a change. If Wednesday night was any indication though, he still has a ways to go in that department.
Tyler Oringer: Fastball sat at 90-93 mph – topping out at 94 – with noticeable, yet unimpressive arm-side run and was used as his first pitch in most at-bats. Campusano could not locate his fastball, his primary pitch, at all inside the strike zone to righties or lefties and eventually hit a batter in his last inning of work in the fourth.
The right-hander was primarily using a fastball-slider combination, attempting to mix in a curveball and changeup in deeper counts. There was minor break and movement on any breaking pitches to begin with, but by the fourth inning Campusano was hanging pitches in the zone if they weren’t for balls. He is very quick and sudden to the plate out of the stretch and projects as a reliever rather than his starting role in Brooklyn.
LHP Kevin Smith
TO: Smith’s fastball sat at 87-90 mph Wednesday night and had a bit of sink to it. He predominantly worked away to both left- and right-handed bats, but was far more comfortable pitching to lefties and already has nasty movement on his slider, which was clocked in at 80-83 mph.
The Mets’ 2018 seventh-round selection, who boasts a 0.76 ERA and WHIP after Wednesday’s one-inning outing where he struck out two and walked one, could be more than just a LOOGY. Smith throws out of a windup with a pseudo-side arm release and has primarily been used as a long reliever with Brooklyn.
His approach reminded me that of Oliver Perez’s with the Indians this year, but he will need to improve his fastball if he wants to carve out a larger role.
AR: A low-slot lefty out of the SEC (Georgia), Smith was always a likely overdraft candidate despite his obvious deficiencies. He has experience starting in school and has made three starts with Brooklyn this summer, but his long-term home is in the bullpen as a LOOGY. Besides his slider, there’s a real lack of stuff here that’s going to limit Smith’s ceiling.
The stats (0.76 ERA, 28 K, 6 BB, in 23.2 IP) are exactly what you’d expect out of a crafty SEC southpaw in short-season ball. Smith’s slider will flash average to above and the delivery is relatively clean, but his fastball was topping out at 90 mph in just a single inning of work. Sounds an awful lot like the Daniel Zamora starter kit, doesn’t it?
I only saw one change at 79, an offering Smith will need to develop heavily to elevate his future projection. For now, he’s got the ceiling of a future LOOGY for me.
LHP Andrew Mitchell
AR: Selected six rounds after Smith this past June, Mitchell showed more velocity in his two innings Wednesday, as he worked with a fastball in the 91-93 mph range. It had some late life and was tough on lefties, as expected. His breaking ball is a little behind Smith’s at present, but it’s a funky curve that shows promise. I’ll take the velo over the present breaker for now and have Mitchell ahead of Smith on my personal pref list. I don’t think either is more than a LOOGY at the major league level, but Mitchell has the better chance to outpace that projection.
C Nick Meyer
TO: The Mets’ 2018 sixth-round selection certainly leaves a lot to be desired offensively.
Against the opposing right-handed starter Miller Hogan, the backstop was first-pitch swinging in front of a 88 mph tailing fastball away from the zone and grounded the ball to the opposing shortstop, who booted and then bobbled the ball. Meyer, who was clocked 4.68 down the line, was barely safe, but should have arrived a minute before he did. There is a clear lack of comfort at the dish, which was never more evident than in his second at-bat as he looked at 85 for a strike, took an 81 mph-slider for a ball and then reached at a fastball outside the zone before popping it up to first for an out on the fourth pitch of the at-bat. In his third and final turn of the game, Meyer was again swinging at the first pitch and waited on a breaking ball which he lined to center for a single. Despite his one hit, Meyer’s shortcomings were easily recognizable as he lacks no real plate discipline, which is supported by his .282 OBP.
He is a defense first guy and did frame some questionable pitches for strikes. Today, some backup catchers in the majors hit sub-.200, so he has a shot.
AR: Ever heard of Jake Rogers, the glove first and second backstop in the Tigers organization? Well that’s Nick Meyer, except the overall defensive package isn’t nearly as strong, and the bat lags well behind even that of Rogers.
Meyer stole the low strike all night on the home plate umpire and was even surprisingly agile blocking to both sides, but I got two average (2.00+) pop times and his accuracy just wasn’t there. As for the bat, let’s just say it’s not a great sign when your college hitter is OPS’ing .559 in the New York Penn League. He doesn’t strike out (13%), but there’s well below average power and too much weak contact at present.
The offensive bar at catcher is so low that Meyer still projects as a big league backup, but the package here isn’t incredibly enticing.
OF Ross Adolph
AR: When a Day 3 guy flashes potential major league tools in addition to the performance, you’re probably going to hear about him. Adolph earned the rare Jeffrey Paternostro Mets draft pick stamp of approval after his look earlier this month, so naturally I had some expectation of what I was going to see from him on Wednesday. Well, Adolph went hitless in three at-bats, dropped a fly ball in foul territory and was thrown out at third trying to take an extra base. In other words, Adolph played his worst game of the summer. Yet I still thought he was the best player on the Brooklyn roster, and frankly, it isn’t particularly close.
You’re not writing a six anywhere on the card, but there’s enough here to believe Adolph is a future major league contributor in the outfield. He’s got deceptive speed underway and an arm that wouldn’t look entirely out of place in right. At the dish, Adolph has some sneaky pop due to via some strong wrists and subsequent bat speed.
The ceiling’s limited, but Adolph was a terrific find in the 12th round and is arguably a Top 15 prospect in the system right now.
TO: Adolph went 0 for 3, was thrown out at third and took two noticeably bad routes to balls in right field.
All that being said, the hype surrounding him is visible. At 6’1,” 205 pounds, the 21-year old possesses a very athletic build and quick feet. The results were not there on Wednesday, but his swing and approach at the plate are promising. His athleticism appears to be his best trait allowing him to be good (but not great) in each aspect of the game. A solid find for the Mets nonetheless.
2B/OF Carlos Cortes
TO: Along with Adolph, Cortes clearly has one of the more advanced approaches to hitting on the Cyclone roster. Though he finished without a hit, the Mets’ ambidextrous throwing second baseman/outfielder has a clean, compact swing and waits for his pitch. The University of South Carolina alum is a clear pull side hitter and may have to balance out a bit as he rises the ranks. He didn’t barrel up any balls in Wednesday’s showing, but does show a potential for solid power.
Cortes’ second at-bat showed his poorest tool – his run. On a slow ground ball on which he was doubled up, Cortes ran an abysmal 4.7 out of the left-handed batter’s box. At just 5’8”, 200 pounds, his strides are short and clunky. He could potentially stick at second base with decent range and did flash some potential there. Nonetheless, I would not trust the fleet-of-foot Cortes in the outfield as he has a natural inability to cover ground.
AR: Cortes is a stocky 5’8” with some seriously slow feet that impact his range out at second. I had Meyer, a catcher, 4.68 out of the right-handed box and then got Cortes 4.7 flat out of the left-handed box. He didn’t look too smooth out at second, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now, as he’s played a ton of outfield as an amateur.
Nevertheless, the bat is what you’re buying here, and there’s already an advanced approach with some bat speed. Hudson Valley had the shift on him even with a runner on first – not out of the ordinary for an affiliate of the Rays – but his pull heavy approach could get him into trouble if the power never develops as expected.
I didn’t love what I saw, but Cortes is an SEC performer and I’m simply unwilling to jump to an early conclusion. He’s a prime “check back next year” candidate for me.
1B Chase Chambers
AR: Large adult sons like Chase Chambers can absolutely rake in college (.395/.500/.652, 17 HRs) and still drop to the 18th round. It’s of this writer’s opinion that the Mets could’ve done far worse than grab Chambers and his power potential that late.
The swing’s long and I have my doubts about how the power will play in Double-A, but he’s actually a pretty decent defender at first and isn’t as slow as I’d been led to believe. I’m intrigued and of the belief that there’s a non-zero chance Chambers has a major league future ahead of him. I’m willing to admit it’s highly unlikely, but this was an underrated grab late in the draft.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports