12. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP
Height: 6’3”, Weight: 210 lbs.
DOB: 9/027/00 (18)
Acquired: 2nd Round, 2018 Draft (Fort Bend Kempner High School, Texas)
5 G (2 GS), 11.1 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 ER (0.00 ERA), 4 BB, 15 K, .321 BABIP (Rookie-GCL)
2 G (2 GS), 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER (4.50 ERA), 0 BB, 11 K, .417 BABIP (Rookie-APPY)
As a freshman, Simeon Woods-Richardson didn’t exactly fit the image of a baseball player. Standing 5’4” and weighing 125-pounds, the right-hander was far from an imposing presence on the mound, and his low-to-mid-70s fastball didn’t exactly lighting up the radar gun. Between 2014 and 2015, his freshman and sophomore years, he underwent a massive growth spurt, growing about eight inches and gaining almost 40 pounds. With the additional size and weight came additional velocity on his fastball. Additional growth through his junior and senior years has turned the youngster into one of the better high school pitchers available in the 2018 draft class. Still, Woods-Richardson did not expect to be selected by a major league team on the first day of the 2018 MLB Draft, so when the Mets picked him with their second-round pick, the 48th pick overall, it came as a complete surprise- he was at a party with his family at a local Buffalo Wild Wings his agent called him to tell him that he had been selected. He had a commitment to the University of Texas but elected to sign with the Mets and play professionally after receiving a $1.85 million bonus, roughly $400,000 over slot value. The 17-year-old right-hander made his professional debut with the GCL Mets and was impressive in the 11.1 innings he pitched there. He did not give up a single run, allowed 9 hits, walked 4, and struck out 15. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets to end the season and in 6.0 innings posted a 4.50 ERA, allowing 6 hits, walking 0, and striking out 11.
At 6’3”, 200-pounds, Simeon Woods-Richardson has a solid frame for a pitcher. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, and gets good extension with his stride, falling off the mound and whipping his arm to generate velocity. When his arm gets too deep and he drifts, he loses command of his pitches, but he generally is able to pound the zone and command his pitches. He is an intense competitor, highlighted by his propensity to work fast, attack hitters, and throw inside, brushing them back when necessary.
At the time he was drafted, there was some confusion as to how much velocity his four-seam fastball had. Woods-Richardson himself claimed he could hit 97 MPH, scouting services vouched as high as 95 MPH, and other scouts and evaluators were claiming the pitch was backing up into the high-80s-to-low-90s during the spring. The right-hander has since put any doubts to rest with his performance in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues, regularly touching the upper-90s. In addition, he also throws a two-seam fastball in the high-80s that features tailing action with generous sink. In addition to the fastballs, he regularly throws a curveball, slider, and changeup, an arsenal that would be large for any pitcher, let alone a 17-year-old. The curveball is his best secondary, a big 11-5 bender in the low-70s. When the he is able to consistently get on top of the pitch, it has plenty of break and changes hitters’ eye levels. The changeup sits in the high-70s and is projected by scouts and evaluators to become an average or better pitch with more use. The slider, which sits in the high-70s with sweepy, lateral break, is his least developed pitch. Like the fastball, consistency has been a problem for Woods-Richardson’s secondary stuff as well.
Steve Sypa says:
Woods-Richardson was a somewhat puzzling pick on draft night, being absent from the draft boards of pretty much everyone that early, but the more I dug into his profile, the more I liked. I was a bit concerned about the conflicting reports regarding his fastball velocity, but his performance in July and August put a rest to any concerns about a diminished fastball. More than anything, I like the edge that the right-hander brings with him to the mound. When he is toeing the rubber, Woods-Richardson is in charge. He’s still got a long way to go, but with the potential his stuff can flash and the attitude that he has on the mound, the kid could go far.
Lukas Vlahos says:
When the Mets took Wood-Richardson on the first day of the draft, it suggested a severe lack of preparedness. Perhaps they were trying to float several other guys to their second pick and failed, but no one expected Woods-Richardson to go in the second round. However, what could’ve gone down as a very Metsian blunder now looks at least marginally interesting, as Woods-Richardson has pushed his velocity in the upper-90s and flashes a potential plus breaker. It’s a reliever profile currently- young, two pitches, bad mechanics- but there’s a potential major leaguer here.
Kenneth Lavin says:
The early returns on Simeon Woods-Richardson, the Met’s second round draft pick in the 2018 draft, have generally been pretty positive. The big right-hander from Texas has already seen his fastball run into the mid-90s, and has already shown a better breaking ball than reports from his amateur days suggest. The Mets assigned him first to the Gulf Coast League, where he didn’t allow a single run, and struck out 15 hitters in 11.1 inning pitched. He ended up being promoted to the Appalachian League at the end of the season for the Kingsport Mets’ run to the playoffs, and held his own as one of the youngest pitchers in the league. He would end his time in Kingsport having put up a 4.50 ERA in 6.0 innings pitched with 11 strikeouts and no walks. One of the youngest players in the 2018 draft, Woods-Richardson is very far away from the big leagues at this point in time, but if his pro-debut was any indication, there’s a pretty good chance he ends up being well worth the wait.