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Mets Spring Breakout Notes

This past weekend all 30 MLB teams participated in the first of what promises to be an annual ‘Spring Breakout Game’ featuring each organization’s top prospects. It’s a terrific idea in general and the Mets-Nationals game on Friday March 15th offered some glimpses at players who will be seen at CitiField in the near and not-so-near future.

The game featured 7 of the top 100 prospects in MLB including three from the Nats – OFs Dylan Crews and James Wood, and IF Brady House. The Mets sent out four of them in INF/OF Jett Williams, OF Drew Gilbert, INF Luisangel Acuna, and 1B/OF Ryan Clifford.

For the Mets Williams and Acuna are shortstops, but since that position is the property of Silver Slugger and Gold Glove finalist Francisco Lindor, both players will need to play elsewhere if they are going to play for the Mets.

Dominic Hamel looked sharp striking out House in the first inning and touching 97 MPH with his fastball, but he ran into some trouble in the 2nd. Clifford had a nice opposite field RBI double in the first inning. In the 2nd Nationals prospect pitcher Cole Henry dominated in striking out Alex Ramirez, Connor Houck, and Jesus Baez.

Mets RHP Tyler Stuart had the second-best ERA in MiLB in 2023 and while sporting a fastball at 97MPH, induced three ground balls from the overmatched Nationals hitters. Another heralded Mets pitching prospect Blake Tidwell’s fastball hit 98 MPH, but he struggled a bit in the 4th inning giving up an RBI single. The Mets struck right back in the bottom of the frame when catching prospect Kevin Parada drilled an RBI single to right field scoring Ryan Clifford, tying the game 2-2.

The Mets have their own two-way player in Nolan McLean and the RHP pitched a scoreless inning also topping out at 98 MPH on the radar gun and a slider that averaged 3229 RPMS. The highest RPM in MLB last seasons was Reds Lucas Sims’, at an average 3002 RPMS on his slider. Yes, that’s eye-opening since it’s a player most Mets fans have never heard of. McLean said he’d like to talk with Shohei Ohtani about what it takes to be a two-way player.

2023 draft pick Brandon Sproat, making his pro debut, disposed of the Nats on six pitches striking out two. His fastball hit 99 MPH. 

In the bottom of the 5th OF Rhylan Thomas, who will start the year either in Binghamton or Syracuse, had a nice hit that preceded SS/2B Jeremy Rodriguez’ opposite field RBI giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. Yet another young player Vincent Perozo, acquired in the 2019 International draft, delivered a broken bat RBI single to extend the Mets lead to 4-2. OF Marco Vargas, acquired in the Tommy Pham trade, walked twice and scored a run.

This 7-inning game saw Mets 2021 2nd round draft pick 21-year-old Calvin Ziegler, an owner of an elite spin rate on his pitches, struck out two Nationals to ‘close it out’.

The Mets pitchers looked good and displayed big-time arms which should help put a smile on the faces of the Met’s expectant fan base.

The outcome of a spring futures type game is insignificant but what can be taken away from this inaugural version of the Spring Breakout? The pitchers in general threw hard, looked confident, and were effective. The hitters displayed a willingness to both take pitches and showed an ability to go with the pitch and hit the ball to the opposite field. One thing is for sure, the Mets minor-league system is much improved over where it was just 12 months ago.

You can watch the condensed version here: https://www.mlb.com/video/condensed-game-nationals-vs-mets-spring-breakout

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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