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The 10 best Mets minor league pitchers I saw this year: 5, Daniel Zamora

Counting down the best minor league pitchers I saw in 2018.

Daniel Zamora
Steve Sypa

Disclaimer: This is a ranking of the best players that I saw during the 2018 season. I saw a wide cross-section of teams in 2018, seeing the Kingsport Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, Columbia Fireflies, and Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but I did not see the GCL Mets, St. Lucie Mets, or Las Vegas 51s, nor did I attend every single game of the teams that I did see. As such, this is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. If a player is not on the list, I either did not see him, or considered the listed ten players better.

Name: Daniel Zamora

Team: LHP

Position: Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Born: 4/15/93 (25)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 195 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/L

Acquired: Trade (Pittsburgh)

2018 Season: 40 G (1 GS), 51.2 IP, 37 H, 20 R, 20 ER (3.48 ERA), 16 BB, 69 K, 1 HBP, 0 BLK, 1 WP, .291 BABIP (Double-A)

Date(s) Seen: June 20 @ Trenton (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)

The Man

Zamora attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California. For his career there, he posted a 1.96 ERA in 160.1 innings, allowing 139 hits, walking 34, and striking out 131. As a senior, he posted a 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings pitched, allowing 69 hits, walking 19, and striking out 72 and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He did not sign with Toronto and instead attended SUNY Stony Brook. In his first season there, Zamora made fifteen starts and posted a 4.95 ERA in 83.2 innings, allowing 80 hits, walking 31, and striking out 77. He missed the entire 2014 season due to a torn labrum, but returned to the mound in 2015 as a red shirt sophomore. He barely missed a beat, appearing in fifteen games and posting a 3.00 ERA in 81.0 innings, allowing 75 hits, walking 35, and striking out 80. The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Zamora in the 40th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, and the southpaw signed with them.

He made his professional debut with the West Virgina Black Bears and posted a 2.66 ERA in 20.1 innings, allowing 21 hits, walking 4, and striking out 25. He was promoted to the West Virginia Power in 2016 and posted a 3.46 ERA in 39.0 innings, allowing 32 hits, walking 15, and striking out 45. The 24-year-old left-hander began the 2017 season with the Bradenton Maurauders and spent the majority of the season there, getting promoted to the Altoona Curve and playing in a pair of games there to end the season. He posted a 1.76 ERA in combined 56.1 innings, allowing 50 hits, walking 19, and striking out 63.

That winter, Zamora was traded to the Mets in exchange for Josh Smoker. He began the 2018 season with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and made 40 appearances with them. The southpaw posted a 3.48 ERA in 51.2 innings, allowing 37 hits, walking 16, and striking out 69. On August 17, his contract was selected by the major league club and Zamora was promoted to the Mets. He appeared in 16 games with them, posting a 3.00 ERA in 9.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 3, and striking out 16.

The Pitcher

Zamora throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, pitching from the far first base side of the rubber. His delivery has some funk and deception, throwing across his body with a long arm action wrapped behind his back. His fastball sits 89-92, generally settling in around 90 MPH, with sink. He complements his fastball with a sweepy slider that sits 78-80 MPH. His slider is by far his best pitch, generating the majority of his swing and misses. He is confident in the pitch to throw it in any count and anywhere in the zone, backfooting it to right-handers and getting left-handers to go fishing down and away. Zamora’s control of both his fastball and his slider comes and goes.

Looking To 2019

Zamora not only made the major leagues, but he was surprisingly effective against MLB hitters. Because his fastball is below average, his margin of error is very small. The southpaw needs to improve upon his control of both pitches. If the Mets do not sign an additional left-hander to bolster the bullpen, Zamora should start the 2019 season in the big league bullpen.