16. Harol Gonzalez, RHP
Height: 5’11”, Weight: 180 lbs.
DOB: 5/31/95 (22)
Acquired: IFA, 2014 (Dominican Republic)
2017: Columbia (Low-A): 20 G (20 GS), 126.1 IP, 123 H, 56 R, 50 ER (3.56 ERA), 37 BB, 91 K / St. Lucie (High-A): 3 G (3 GS), 11.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 4 ER (3.18), 3 BB, 9 K
Harol Gonzalez was one of the most exciting storylines in the Mets minor league system in 2016. Having shown a bit of promise in the Appalachian League in 2015 thanks to his stuff and personality, the undersized right-hander seemingly got better and better as the 2016 season progressed, and by the time the year was over, had one of the most statistically dominant seasons in Brooklyn Cyclone history. He spent most of the 2017 season with the Columbia Fireflies and though he ended the season with respectable numbers, was very much up-and-down for the entirety of the season.
After refining his secondary stuff to make major strides during the 2016 season, Gonzalez once again came into the 2017 with improved outlook. His fastball, which sat 88-90 in the 2016 season, gained a few ticks of velocity, and was sitting in the low-90s and holding deep into games, retaining the life and the excellent command it showed in 2016. His curveball also came into 2017 a bit more refined as well, with the 11-5 breaker flattening out less. Rounding out his repertoire are a slider and changeup, but neither project to be better than average, leaving Harol with a wide array of weapons in his arsenal but no true out-pitches.
Lukas Vlahos says:
The surface level results weren't great for Harol in 2017, as his strikeouts took a big dip in Single-A and his ERA was underwhelming. He did, however, add a couple ticks on his fastball and hold it later into games according to scouting reports. The physical limitations are still a problem and the results weren't great, but some better velocity still gives Harol a chance to become a back end starter down the line.
Steve Sypa says:
Harol didn’t fare poorly with Columbia, but he should’ve been better. His velocity was better, his secondary offerings were sharper, but basically everything trended in the wrong direction. He gave up a lot more fly balls- a lot of which went over the fence- so the right-hander is going to have to work on keeping the ball on the ground in order to have continued success going forward.
15. Aconis Uceta, RHP
Height: 6’1”: Weight: 230 lbs.
DOB: 5/10/94 (23)
Acquired: IFA, 2012 (Dominican Republic)
2017: Columbia (Low-A): 29 G (0 SG), 43.0 IP, 23 H, 7 R, 6 ER (1.47 ERA), 16 BB, 47 K / St. Lucie (High-A): 8 G (0 GS), 10.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER (0.84), 3 BB, 15 K / Binghamton (Double-A): 4 G (0 GS), 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER (4.50 ERA), 1 BB, 5 K
Signed by the Mets as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Adonis Uceta was little more than organizational depth for most of his professional career. An underdeveloped two-pitch starter, the right-hander was moved to the bullpen in 2017 and saw his career take off. Pitching mostly for the Columbia Fireflies but getting in a few games with the St. Lucie Mets and ending his season with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Uceta posted a sub-2.00 ERA in almost 60 innings, allowing only 34 hits and striking out more than a batter an inning.
Uceta has a live arm, with a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high-90s. As a starter, his fastball sat in the low-to-mid 90s, but his transition to the bullpen has allowed him to really air the pitch out, though his mechanics are not exactly max effort. He complements the fastball with an above-average changeup that sits in the low-to-mid 80s, one of the best in the minor league system. He rounds out his repertoire with a slider, but despite throwing from a low 3/4 arm slot generally conducive to sliders, Uceta’s is a below-average pitch.
Lukas Vlahos says:
In his first season as a reliever, Uceta dominated competition he was probably too old for as a 22/23-year-old in Single-A. He was even better during a very brief stint in High-A and slightly less impressive in an even shorter stint at Double-A. More high-minors experience is necessary to really judge whether Uceta has a future as a major league reliever or if he's just another converted starter with enough stuff to blitz through the low minors as a closer.
Steve Sypa says:
You can’t just turn any failing starter into a reliever and expect success, but luckily for Uceta, his weaknesses were almost completely eliminated by shifting into the bullpen and his strengths almost entirely played up. Unlike the other relievers on this list, Uceta does not have any kind of major command problems, so of everyone, his career might move the fastest and go the furthest.