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.
9. Jack Leathersich, LHP
Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 23.7
Acquired: 5th round, 2011
2013: 58.1 IP, 37.5 K%, 16.5 BB%, 51 H, 3 HR
Date(s) seen: 4/12/13 and 4/14/13 vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR)
5/21/13 and 5/22/13 @ New Britain Rock Cats (MIN)
4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
The short of it: Leather rocket continued to post those outlandish K-rates, but this year he had a BB-rate to match.
The long of it: Leatherisich is still posting the video game peripherals, but the arsenal doesn't match the numbers. He works out of the stretch exclusively, and despite starting in a bit of a crouch, gets pretty good extension for a shorter pitcher. Standard lefty crossfire delivery (steps towards first, throws across his body), which gives him some deception. Fastball explodes out of the hand. Leathersich was only 90-92 early in the year, but the velocity ticked up as the season went on. In my July look he sat 91-93 and touched 95. Breaking ball also ticked up in velocity as the season went on and got a bit sharper, but it is still kind of slurvy and tends to show itself early. Ended up 79-81 in my last look. High effort mechanics with a stiff landing leg, but not anything unexpected for a reliever. Control comes and goes, tends to leave the fastball up when he's really flying off to the third base side. With the move to Triple-A, the walk and hit rates both ballooned. Same thing happened to another mostly-deception guy (Armando Rodriguez). Leathersich has better stuff and will pitch in the majors, but I don't see a much of an impact arm here unless the breaking ball makes real strides.
The projection: Middle reliever
Risk Factor: Low. Lefty velocity will get plenty of opportunities. Command/control will determine ultimate future.
What’s next: Leathersich is pretty close to major league ready, but given the premium the Mets player development system puts on strikes, expect him to be back in Vegas until he gets the walk rate down.
What I'll be looking for in 2014: Strikes, more of them.
Bonus video (with notes from Alex Nelson)
"It's tough to get a great look at him due to the way he hunches his body up and the sheer speed of his arm--it's very quick--but his mechanics are definitely tailored to provide as much velocity as possible from a short frame. He takes a long step and still has a long arm action in the back that does slow him down and could foretell a shoulder injury in the future. However, while most pitchers with long arm actions tend to let their bodies get in front of their arms, Leathersich's does catch up because of his armspeed. That's not optimal but it could be worse. The fact that he's a reliever helps assuage the red flags for future arm injury, but they are there. There's also some deception here because of the way he hunches his body over and the fact that he only opens up at the last instant; it's a bit of a different look and it should make him more difficult to hit. I am worried about command, however. He lands on his front leg way too stiffly and the fact that he throws a little across his body impacts command substantially. He's had some control issues in the early going, and I think it's a fair concern."