The Mets’ 13th-round pick was yet another lefty, P.J. Conlon, a pitcher out of the University of San Diego. Short, with an athletic build, Conlon stands 6 feet, 175 pounds, so there are no delusions of projection here. What you see will have to be enough.
Conlon has an interesting story. He’s a native of Northern Ireland whose family left for California to escape the conflict there. He joined the Toreros in 2013, beginning his freshman season in the bullpen but eventually emerging as the team’s ace in the second half of the season. Over ten starts and 15 relief appearances, Conlon went 9-1 with a 2.16 ERA, striking out 71 batters over 87.1 innings while walking 28. It was a very encouraging start. Although he took a small step back in 2014, he emerged as USD’s best pitcher again in 2015, when he posted numbers fairly identical to those from his freshman year. So the Mets are getting a pretty consistent three-year performer.
And it’s the performance they are betting on because the scouting reports are luke warm. Conlon doesn’t have premium velocity, a killer breaking ball, or a tempting changeup to offer. His fastball can hit 92, but typically sits 86-90. He also brings an average mid-70s curve as his go-to out pitch, but also throws a changeup and slider to some effect. All in all, it’s a pretty hittable arsenal, even in the West Coast Conference, so it speaks to his ability to pitch that he’s been successful.
And that’s what scouts mostly talk about in connection to Conlon. They like his demeanor on the mound, and the way he’ll mix and match his speeds and locations to maximize the effects of his limited toolset. He genuinely knows what he’s about on the hill.
Mechanically, he’s mostly clean. He strides aggressively toward home plate, but there is some length to his arm action and a bit of the dreaded inverted W. He slings the ball from a three-quarters arm slot which does give his pitches some nice movement, particularly some sink. All in all, it’s a mixed bag, and the motion may preclude him from starting.
Otherwise, he’s a polished product, and perhaps the one player in this draft most likely to see Double-A. Whether he gets any higher is more difficult to guess, but, when in doubt, bet on the lefty.