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The 11 best Mets minor league pitchers I saw this year: 8, Garrison Bryant

Counting down the best minor league pitchers I saw in 2019.

Garrison Bryant
Steve Sypa

DISCLAIMER: This is a ranking of the best players that I saw during the 2019 season. I saw a wide cross-section of teams, attending Kingsport Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, Columbia Fireflies, and Binghamton Rumble Ponies games, but I did not see the GCL Mets, St. Lucie Mets, or Syracuse Mets, 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 players better.

Name: Garrison Bryant

Team: Brooklyn Cyclones/Columbia Fireflies

Position: RHP

Born: 12/03/98 (20)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 190 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/R

Acquired: 2016 MLB Draft, 36th Round

2019 Season: 15 G (12 GS), 77.0 IP, 51 H, 25 R, 24 ER (2.81 ERA), 15 BB, 76 K, 4 HBP, 1 BLK, 7 WP, .233 BABIP (Short-A/Low-A)

Date(s) Seen: June 29 (5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, BLK), September 1 (5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 WP)

The Man

Born in New Hampshire, Garrison Bryant and his family moved to Florida so that he could better position himself to get a scholarship to play football in college. After being scouting and interviewed by a variety of schools, he eventually decided on the New Mexico Military Institute, where he would be all but guaranteed to play quarterback. He pitched at Clearwater High School as well, and Mets scouts happened to catch him pitching while scouting another player. They were so wowed that they contacted Bryant and informed him of their intention to draft him in the 2016 MLB Draft. The Mets selected him in the 36th round and offered him $100,000 to forgo his commitment to college and play baseball professionally. He accepted and the right-hander went from pursuing a football career to playing baseball professionally. Extremely young for his age, the 17-year-old was assigned to the GCL Mets, and for the first time, baseball was more than just a hobby. He spent the next two years with the Kingsport Mets, and while the numbers were not particularly great either year, he improved in virtually every pitching category in 2018 as compared to 2017. He made a single appearance for the Columbia Fireflies at the beginning of the 2019 season, but otherwise spent the entire season with the Brooklyn Cyclones as the ace of the pitching staff. In 75.1 innings, he posted a 2.39 ERA, allowing 49 hits, walking 14, and striking out 75.

The Pitcher

Throwing from a three-quarters arm slot, Bryant is not an overpowering pitcher. His fastball sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s, generally 87-91 MPH, with a decent amount of arm-side run. His go-to secondary is a circle change that sits in the low-80s. The breaking ball he threw in high school, a loose thing halfway on the spectrum between curveball and slider has developed into more of a slurvy slider, sitting in the high-70s with loose spin. He hopes to tighten the pitch up and then work on refining his curveball, giving him two distinct breaking pitches to use during games. Bryant is able to locate all of his pitches, and is able to maintain both his fastball velocity and his command deep into games, averaging roughly 70 pitches and five innings over the course of the 2019 season with no visible ill effects.

Looking to 2020

Bryant has nothing left to prove in short-season ball. After a pair of so-so season with the Kingsport Mets in 2017 and 2018, he had a coming out party in 2019. While a lot of that is due to the pitching environment of MCU Park and of the New York-Penn League as a whole, Bryant himself has put in a lot of work developing his pitches and improving himself as a pitcher. He should begin the 2020 season with the Columbia Fireflies.

The List

9: Tylor Megill

10: Nick MacDonald

11: Josh Hejka