10. Chris Flexen, RHP
Height: 6'3", Weight: 215 lbs
Acquired: 14th round, 2012 draft
2015: GCL Mets 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K; Brooklyn 12.1 IP, 15 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 8 BB, 13 K; Low-A Savannah 33.2 IP, 28 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 7 BB, 33 K
Chris Flexen was an overslot 14th-round draft pick in the 2012 draft and put himself on the prospect radar with an excellent 2013 season in Kingsport, where he posted a 2.09 ERA while striking out about eight batters per nine and walking less than two per nine. He didn't make the 2014 top 25 list (credit to Steve Sypa for having him 24th), but he probably would have landed somewhere in the 26-30 range. He was aggressively assigned to Savannah to start 2014 and struggled, posting a 4.83 ERA while striking out just 14.5 percent of opposing batters and walking almost as many. The bulk of those struggles came early on, he pitched much better in June, but he ended up getting shut down after a June 28 start and had Tommy John surgery soon thereafter.
Flexen was back on the mound in 2015 as early as June 24, less than a year after the surgery. They were conservative with him at first, slowly stretching him out before assigning him back to Savannah on August 8. Back in Low-A a little over 13 months since his last start there, Flexen was fairly dominant. In six outings, he allowed more than two runs just once and had one outing in which he tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 10 while walking none.
I recently went back and watched his first start back in Savannah and came away impressed. His fastball, which touched 95 this year, had late life and some arm-side tail that led to lots of defensive swings and weak contact. He has a tendency to pitch up in the zone with the fastball and struggled with the command of the pitch when it was down in the zone. The primary secondary offering is his curveball, and it's a really good pitch. He threw a few that were plus and gave the opposing hitter no chance. The consistency on it wasn't perfect, but you can definitely see the makings of an average-to-plus major league offering. Flexen also tossed a couple of changeups, not many, but the ones he threw were effective. It looked like he mixed in a few sliders as well, but the pitch is clearly a work in progress.
It all adds up to a mid-rotation upside if everything, including health, falls into place. The system was gutted last year with all the trades the Mets made, but Flexen could help replenish that void and position himself as a trade chip with a good first half in High-A, where he will almost definitely be assigned.