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2014 Mets Draft Scouting Report: LHP Joel Huertas

Puerto Rican southpaw Joel Huertas was the Mets' 16th-round selection in the 2014 draft. He has below average velocity and fastball command right now, but his fastball has some life and his body still has projection left. He's a project, but as a signable prep pitcher, he offers good value at this stage of the draft.

In the 16th round, the Mets selected Puerto Rican left-hander Joel Huertas. Huertas is another long-term project, offering plenty of projection. Right now, Huertas has below average velocity, throwing 86 to 89 and brushing 91, but there’s hope he’ll add another couple miles-per-hour to get his fastball into the average range as he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame. What velocity he has now comes pretty easy, as there’s room for him to stride a little further and be more aggressive toward the plate overall.

His command and breaking stuff are also works in progress. His fastball has some life to it, with both sink and armside run, but that also results in an inability to command it, though his control isn’t awful. There’s hope that as he gets better coaching and more experience that he’ll naturally learn how to locate better. Otherwise, there are one or two obvious mechanical fixes, like shortening his arm action--he has some length in the back that really slows down his delivery--or reducing his shoulder tilt, which would be a last resort. He’s a good athlete, so there is hope he’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments.

As for the breaking ball, it’s usually pretty slurvy right now, That isn’t a bad thing when it’s intentional, but he’s aiming for a hard curve and just not getting on top of the pitch enough. He shows a feel for it by occasionally spinning a good one, and he has time to learn. He’s also toying around with a changeup.

I’m surprised that Huertas wasn’t taken off the board a little earlier, likely due to his being long ways away from the majors and his upside being only that of a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever. That said, he is seen as pretty signable, lacking a college commitment.