20. Christian James, RHP
Height: 6’3”, Weight: 210 lbs.
DOB: 5/24/98 (19)
Acquired: 14th round, 2016 Draft (East Lake High School, Florida)
2017: Kingsport (Rookie): 11 G (11 GS), 51.2 IP, 54 H, 29 R, 24 ER (4.18 ERA), 16 BB, 58 K
Drafted by the Mets in the 14th round of the 2016 Draft, Christian James looked excellent in his professional debut with the GCL Mets and looked even better in an extended run with the Kingsport Mets in 2017. Before what seemed like fatigue set in in late July and early August, the young right-hander had an ERA under 1.00, was limiting batters to a .151/.213/.233 batting line, and had sterling peripherals.
James’ fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out at 94 MPH with good tailing action. He complements the heater with a curveball and a changeup, both of which project to be average or possibly even better offerings. The changeup has inconsistent fade but comes out of his hand well. The curveball sits in the high-60s with loopy 11-5 break, and while not necessarily a strikeout pitch, it gets strikes and is a serviceable pitch. He has confidence in all of his pitches, and goes after hitters.
Throwing from a low 3/4 arm slot, James produces an inverted-W, which can lead to stress on the elbow and shoulders, but is otherwise mechanically sound.
Lukas Vlahos says:
James's results were impressive at Kingsport, striking out more than a batter per inning and holding his walks below three per nine innings. The upside probably isn't as high as Hutchinson, but there's a potential middle of the rotation arm here, and possibly more if he improves his mechanics and sees his velocity jump.
Steve Sypa says:
James got overshadowed with the signings of Matt Cleveland and Cameron Planck, but so far, he’s had the best showing. I feel like he was probably getting by in 2017 by blowing his fastball past inexperienced hitters since both of his secondary pitches are still more serviceable pitches than strikeout pitches, but James is only turning 20 in May and still has plenty of time to develop. Depending on how he performs during spring training, I could see the Mets being a little aggressive with him and assigning him to the Columbia Fireflies to start the season.
19. Jordan Humphreys, RHP
Height: 6’2”, Weight: 220 lbs.
DOB: 6/11/96 (21)
Acquired: 18th round, 2015 Draft (Crystal River High School, Florida)
2017: Columbia (Low-A): 11 G (11 GS), 69.2 IP, 41 H, 12 R, 11 ER (1.42 ERA), 9 BB, 80 K / St. Lucie (High-A): 2 G (2 GS), 11.0 IP, 17 H, 6 R, 5 ER (4.91 ERA), 3 BB, 3 K
Though selected as the top pitcher of the Kingsport Mets in Amazin’ Avenue’s review of the 2016 Kingsport Mets, Jordan Humphreys’ breakout 2017 season came as a much-welcome surprise. Before a torn UCL ended his season and prompted Tommy John surgery, Humphreys was one of the best pitchers in the system, forming a fearsome twosome with Merandy Gonzalez on the Columbia Fireflies.
His fastball sat in the low-90s, topping out around 95 MPH. He showed good command of the pitch and was able to locate it in all four quadrants of the strike zone. His changeup was his best secondary pitch, sitting in the low-to-mid 80s. He maintained his arm speed and didn’t telegraph the pitch, giving it deception, but it didn’t get much fade. He also threw a curveball, which needed to be tightened up from the slurvy form most held.
Lukas Vlahos says:
Yet another injured arm for the Mets in 2017. Humphreys was having a breakout season with an almost 10:1 strikeout to walk ratio that likely would have landed him in the top 10. Instead, the right-hander will sit out until 2019, when he can hopefully continue to strike out more than a batter per inning while doing an excellent job of limiting free passes.
Steve Sypa says:
Humphreys pre-Tommy John was a fine pitcher, but I was probably more down on him than most because I was trying not to buy the hype of his numbers. I saw a guy that was probably physically maxed with his fastball velocity and, at best, had a pair of two averagish pitches. Nothing wrong with that, and it’s certainly a good profile to have in the system, but nothing that screamed high upside. Given his Tommy John surgery, here’s hoping that he can return to that very same profile.