Tuesday, May 21 2024

SNY contributor Joe DeMayo answers fan questions in this edition of the Mets Minor League Mailbag…

Gotta feature Jonah Tong in some capacity, right? Those strikeout numbers are unreal. I thought I noticed a couple of big strikeout games last year too. Is he the Mets’ fastest rising prospect? – @scottngelfand

Tong, a native of Canada, was the Mets’ seventh-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Tong burst onto the draft scene with his performance at the MLB Draft League, where he was ranked as the top pitching prospect. The Mets signed him for $226,000, which was full-slot value for the No. 209 pick.

Shortly after Tong was drafted, then-vice president of amateur and international scouting Tommy Tanous joined Jacob Resnick and I on Mets Prospective and called Tong “an upside pick. Fastball sits 92-93 with an old-school 12-6 curve. It was an opportunity to get very big upside inside of the top 10 rounds.”

That upside has been showcased through his first two starts this season for Low-A St. Lucie. In 8.1 innings, he has only allowed three hits and one unearned run while walking five with a whopping 21 strikeouts. He has also generated 35 swings and misses. Although it is a small sample, he clearly shows the ability to miss bats.

In his most recent outing, Tong showcased a four-pitch mix, with a fastball averaging 92.8 mph and topping at 97.2 mph. He also threw an upper-80s cutter, a mid-70s curve approaching 2,800 rpm, and sprinkled in a couple of mid-80s changeups. He will need work on control and command, but as a raw talent he is someone to keep an eye on in 2024.

Given what some would say were lackluster 2023 seasons, who has more on the line this season in Double-A? Kevin Parada or Alex Ramirez – @MetsStitches

This is a great question. The real answer is both, but since I must pick, I will go with Ramirez. He was a prospect that a year ago I had thought he was going to push himself among the top 50 prospects in the sport, but he posted a .627 OPS repeating High-A Brooklyn, and that knocked him down to No. 18 in my top 30 prospects list.

He worked hard this offseason, voluntarily going to the Mets’ complex in the Dominican Republic five days a week to work on his swing mechanics — specifically shortening his swing. The Mets still believed enough in the talent that they added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from potentially being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

In the early going this year for Double-A Binghamton, Ramirez is slashing .320/.357/.560 (.917 OPS). We should not overreact to basically a week’s worth of games, but if Ramirez can put the above-average across the board raw tools together at only 21 years old, he can easily jump back onto the prospect radar.

From @hvilla292: What does it take for Christian Scott and Mike Vasil to get the call up to the big leagues?

These are two different questions in one. In talking to evaluators, Scott is in his own tier among Mets pitching prospects right now. Through two starts for Triple-A Syracuse, Scott has amassed 19 strikeouts and 31 swings and misses in 9.0 innings pitched. He primarily utilizes a four-pitch mix with a fastball sitting 94-96, touching 97, with two distinct breaking balls in a gyro slider and sweeper to go along with a split-changeup. Most importantly, Scott locates all four of these pitches, with a minor league career walk rate of 2.0-per-nine.

I personally believe Scott, from a talent standpoint, is very close to, if not big league ready right now. I do think the Mets would like to get him some more upper minors innings, as he only has 71 innings at Double-A or above. With that said, I think Scott will be getting plenty of big league innings in 2024, and it could perhaps come sooner than some would expect.

Vasil, on the other hand, simply has to perform better at the Triple-A level before he merits consideration for a call-up. After his start on April 13, Vasil has an 11.42 ERA through three starts. It is just three starts, but coming off of a tough adjustment to Triple-A in 2023 where he had a 5.30 ERA in 12 starts after pitching well for Double-A, there was hope that the experience in Triple-A would benefit him this yea. It hasn’t yet.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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