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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Eighteen

What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, August 5th to August 11th?

MLB: All Star Game-Futures Game
Peter Alonso at the 2018 MLB All Star Futures Game
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Pitcher of the Week: Garrison Bryant

2018 Season: 8 G (5 GS), 31.2 IP, 31 H, 19 R, 15 ER (4.26 ERA), 13 BB, 41 K (Rookie)

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (Rookie)

The Mets selected Garrison Bryant, a tall right-handed pitcher out of Clearwater High School in Clearwater Florida, in the 36th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. A two-sport athlete at Clearwater High School, Bryant was heavily scouted both as a pitcher for the school’s baseball team and as the starting quarterback of the school’s football team. After his senior season on the gridiron, Bryant was offered a scholarship to play collegiate football for the University of North Florida. Impressed enough by his size, athleticism, and excellent performance on the mound, in which he put up a 2.49 ERA in 70.1 innings while striking out 80 batters and walking 28, the Mets offered the 6-foot-4-inch right-hander $100,000 to turn down a chance to play college football in favor of playing professional baseball.

As they do with most of the prep pitchers that they draft, the Mets assigned Bryant to the Gulf Coast League for the entire 2016 season. A more raw prospect than most because of his history as a two-sport athlete, Bryant struggled in his first taste of professional baseball, allowing nine runs on 15 hits in 8.1 innings pitched. Despite his struggles in the complex league, Bryant was assigned to Kingsport for all of the 2017 season and saw similar results, putting up an ERA of 8.76 in 37.0 innings split between the bullpen and the rotation. While the results were not necessarily what the Mets hoped they would be, Bryant did provide some reasons for optimism in his second professional season. He struck out 33 hitters in 37 innings while being a little over two and half years younger than the average player at the level.

Bryant was assigned to Kingsport again in 2018, and has begun to see better results on the field. After a disastrous stretch of four starts in which he gave up 13 runs in 17 innings pitched, the 2016 draftee has been on fire for most of the last month. Since June 19, Bryant has posted a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched primarily out of the bullpen. He’s also seen his strikeout and walk numbers improve dramatically in that span, striking out 10.43 per nine innings, while walking only 2.45 per nine innings. These improvements carried over to the best start of Bryant’s young career on August 6, in which he threw 6 innings of no-hit baseball against the Elizabethton Twins. He would lose the no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning, after surrendering a single to the Twin’s Yunior Severino, but would finish the inning without allowing any additional baserunners. Despite losing the no-hitter, Bryant ended up earning the first win of his professional career on Monday, allowing just one hit and striking out seven in six scoreless innings of work.

One of a number of promising pitching prospects in the lower levels of the Mets organization, Bryant is among the most raw. As an amateur, Bryant complemented his mid-80s fastball with an 11-to-5 curveball, and a promising, but still quite raw change-up. He throws from a high 34 arm slot, uses a high leg-kick, and “tucks his body in slightly” during his wind-up, according to Amazin Avenue’s own Steve Sypa. The Mets certainly hope that the tall right-hander adds velocity as he continues to grow into his big 6-foot-4-inch frame. If the velocity does increase, and he continues to refine and improve his command, Bryant will certainly find his name alongside some of the other intriguing young arms in the system on organizational top prospect lists in the near future.

Hitter of the Week: Peter Alonso

2018 Season: 112 G, 401 AB, .289/.405/.571, 116 H, 24 2B, 1 3B, 29 HR, 67 BB, 110 K, 0/3 SB (Double-A/Triple-A)

Week: 5 G, 20 AB, .400/.500/.850, 8 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB (Triple-A)

Since last winning Minor League Player of the Week in week eleven of the minor league season, Peter Alonso has had a busy month and a half. After struggling in his first few weeks in the Pacific Coast League, the big first baseman has returned to dominant form since returning from the All Star break, hitting .324/.387/.714 in 119 plate appearances in that time span.

Alonso also participated in the 2018 All-Star Future’s Game at National’s Park, putting his prodigious power on display both in batting practice before the game, and in his two plate appearances during the game. During the seventh inning, Alonso crushed a two-run home run to left field off of Phillies top prospect Adonis Medina. The mammoth homer would prove to be one of the most unique ever tracked by Statcast, as it was the only home run in Statcast’s short history with an exit velocity of more than 113 mph and a launch angle of more than 40 degrees.

While Alonso’s offensive performance has certainly put him into consideration for a call-up to the major league roster, the Mets seem reluctant to promote him. On Friday, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that the Mets were “leaning toward not calling up Peter Alonso in September” and electing to keep him in Triple-A for the rest of season. The Mets have cited both service time considerations and his below-average defense at first base as their primary reasons for keeping him down. Regardless of their reasoning, it seems a bit shortsighted to keep a player of Alonso’s caliber in the minor leagues during what has proven to be a lost season for the major league club. If the Mets are serious about contending in 2019 and beyond, they should definitely plan on promoting Alonso to the big league club before the season is over.

This is Peter Alonso’s fourth time winning Minor League Player of the Week honors, having won in weeks three, seven, and eleven. He will no longer be eligible for the award in future weeks because of the McNeil Rule.

Past Players of the Week

  • WEEK ONE 2018 (April 5-14): Justin Dunn/Ty Kelly
  • WEEK TWO 2018 (April 15-21): Chris Viall/Quinn Brodey
  • WEEK THREE 2018 (April 22-28): Chris Viall & Tony Dibrell/Peter Alonso
  • WEEK FOUR 2018 (April 29-May 5): Marcel Renteria/Jeff McNeil
  • WEEK FIVE 2018 (May 5-May 12): David Peterson/Jhoan Urena
  • WEEK SIX 2018 (May 13-May 19): Joe Cavallaro/Jeff McNeil
  • WEEK SEVEN 2018 (May 20-May 26): Mickey Jannis/Peter Alonso
  • WEEK EIGHT 2018 (May 27-JUNE 2): N/A
  • WEEK NINE 2018 (JUNE 3-JUNE 9): N/A
  • WEEK TEN 2018 (JUNE 10-JUNE 16): Justin Dunn/Wilmer Flores
  • WEEK ELEVEN 2018 (JUNE 17-JUNE 23): Nabil Crismatt/Peter Alonso
  • WEEK TWELVE 2018 (JUNE 24-JUNE 30): Drew Gagnon/Jeff McNeil
  • WEEK THIRTEEN 2018 (JULY 1-JUNE 7): Jaison Vilera/Jeff McNeil
  • WEEK FOURTEEN 2018 (JULY 8-JUNE 14): Jason Vargas/Blake Tiberi
  • WEEK FIFTEEN 2018 (JULY 15-JUNE 21): Tony Dibrell/Tomas Nido
  • WEEK SIXTEEN 2018 (JULY 22-JUNE 28): Luc Rennie/Mark Vientos
  • WEEK SEVENTEEN 2018 (JULY 29-AUGUST 4): Michael Gibbons/Mark Vientos