Wednesday was a big day for all you prospect watchers out there as the Mets STEP camp officially got underway. This is a program that the Mets hold each year where they invite the club's top 20-30 prospects to spring training early to take part in more specialized workouts.
It's a neat little idea but I love it mainly because it's just about the only time you'll ever see nearly all of the Mets top prospects on one field. And this year, Cyclones pitching coach and former Met Frank Viola is in charge of the pitching side.
Fortunately for us, I was able to catch up with Frank really quickly after yesterday's workout and ask him a few questions about who he's working with and what he's teaching them. Click 'Play' below to listen in on our conversation or read the transcription after the break.
Rob: Basically I'm just wondering how camp's going so far?
Viola: So far, so good. It's early but it's good to see some good young arms before the actual camp opens. There's a lot of cause for excitement for the future of the Mets.
Rob: Of the young guys, has anyone shown you anything so far or is anyone standing out?
Viola: Well it's tough. All 19 guys that are here have their own thing that they bring to the table; that's the reason why they're here. You've got some very talented young kids. Everybody's got their own thing. But a guy like Domingo Tapia, a kid from the Dominican Republic, 20 years old and he's throwing a 97-mph sinker and getting an understanding of it. That's pretty hard to teach.
You have other guys...Zack Wheeler. This is the first time I've seen him since he's been traded over for Beltran and I'll tell you what, this kid's upside is endless too. Those are just a couple of names mentioned right there but as I said, there's a whole bunch of arms in this organization and it's gonna be fun to work with them.
Rob: When you're working with guys this young that are that raw, what's your main message to them?
Viola: Well first of all you have to learn patience. They're gonna make a lot more mistakes. Every day they're gaining experience and the big thing for them is trusting their stuff, realizing that their stuff is good enough to get anybody out. And to be able to repeat their delivery. If they're able to do that, that's gonna move them up the ladder a lot quicker, giving them a chance to put a Met uniform on quicker than people expect.