The Mets’ 20th-round selection, Jim Duff, pitched for Division II’s Stonehill College in Massachusetts but grew up on Long Island as a Mets fan. While that’s certainly nice to find in a prospect, I think the Mets were more intrigued by his size, control. and sinker.
Duff is yet another big pitcher. Standing an intimidating 6 feet, 6 inches tall, Duff doesn’t throw very hard at 86 to 90 miles-per-hour, but there is some hope that he’ll eventually add a little velocity. He can be a little tall and fall, and given his length, I’d like to see him start his momentum earlier and drive more toward the plate. Doing so could squeeze out a little more oomph from his right arm. Otherwise, he could still add a little muscle. Luckily for him, he might not need a whole lot more, because he generates lots of sink on that fastball, a benefit of having long arms. He’s a groundball machine who only gave up one home run this season. His other pitches lag behind and neither his breaking ball or change figure to reliably get hitters out, as evidenced by his relatively low strikeout rate.
The other thing the Mets have to like is his control. A strike-thrower to an extreme degree, Duff has some of the best control of any pitcher in this draft. In 83 innings this year, Duff walked five batters. Outstanding no matter the competition faced. What will be more important for Duff, however, is whether he can command his sinker, not just throw it for strikes. Professional hitters will be able to hit high-80s heat, and unless he’s able to consistently pound his fastball down the bottom of the strike zone, he won’t be able to succeed, no matter how tall he is.
He’s interesting for a 20th-round pick, and the Mets are hoping that he’ll improve with more experience and better coaching.
That will do it for the individual reports. From this point forward, I'll be covering guys five at a time to help speed things up.