The best Mets pitching prospects I saw this year: #12 Julian Hilario

Bryan Green

The countdown of the best Mets prospects we saw this year continues with Savannah swingman, Julian Hilario.

Disclaimer (because someone will ask why a player I didn't see isn't on this list): This is a ranking of the best Mets prospects I saw in person this year. This is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. I did not see Las Vegas, St. Lucie or the GCL team this year. If a player is not on the list, it is most likely because I did not see him. Otherwise, all rankings are consistent with how I would order the players within the Mets system. Oh yeah, and I am not a scout.

12. Julian Hilario, RHP

6'1", 190

Bats/Throws: R/R

Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 23.7

Acquired: International Free Agent, 2009

2013: 86 IP, 21% K, 7.5% BB, 84 H, 5 HR

Date(s) seen: 4/18/13 @ Lakewood Blue Claws (PHI): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

The short of it: Big body, big arm, big command issues.

The long of it: You want to talk about an eye-popping performance? Hilario was the one Brooklyn arm I missed last year, and although Jason Parks had been reasonably impressed in his 2012 look at him, I didn't have high hopes for a 22-year-old in a Sally League bullpen. Hilario came on in relief of Gabriel Ynoa and promptly struck out four of the six batters he faced. He mixed a fastball that touched 95 with a mid 80's change that married good arm action with solid depth and fade. The Lakewood batters had absolutely no chance. So why isn't the final stat line that good? Well after talking with Toby Hyde, it seems that Hilario's command comes and goes, mostly goes. I caught him on a good command night, though he was living up in the zone. Fastball has enough late life on it that he can get away with it up against A-ball hitters. That will change as he moves up levels. I still like him as a two-pitch relief candidate, but he wasn't young for the league, and that body is...problematic.

The projection: Middle reliever

Risk Factor: High. Command needs major work, older arm against younger competition.

What’s next: Savannah tried him as a starter later in the season, but he lost velocity there (also per Toby), and I suspect Hilario will return to the pen in St. Lucie.

What I'll be looking for in 2014: Command improvements, and for the numbers to start to match the stuff.

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