Hitter of the Week
2019 Season: 31 G, 120 AB, .267/.338/.475, 32 H, 10 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 13 BB, 24 K, 0/0 SB, .297 BABIP
Week: 6 G, 23 AB, .348/.375/1.000, 8 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 1 BB, 7 K, 0/0 SB, .333 BABIP
Patrick Mazeika was drafted by the Mets in 8th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Stetson University. In his three years there, he hit a cumulative .348/.469/.484 in 174 games, and with a smooth, quick line drive swing, many believed he would be able to hit for a high average as a professional as well. He was assigned to the Kingsport Mets post-draft, and hit an impressive .354/.451/.540 in 62 games with the Kingsport Mets. He followed that up in 2016 by hitting .305/.414/.402 in 70 games with the Columbia Fireflies. In 2017, he spent the majority of his season playing with the St. Lucie Mets and hit .287/.389/.406 in 100 games there. He was promoted to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at the end of the season and hit .333/.391/.571 in six games, giving him a cumulative average of .290/.389/.416 for the year. The 24-year-old Mazeika began the 2018 assigned with the Rumble Ponies and had a subpar season by any measure, hitting an underwhelming .231/.328/.363. He has rebounded in 31 games so far this season, and is currently hitting .267/.338/.475.
Part of the reason Mazeika both struggled in 2018 and is more than halfway to his career high in home runs through 31 games is because he had his swing mechanics altered in 2018. In high school and college, he had a smooth, level, line drive swing. There wasn’t much power in it due to a lack of plane, and as such, the Mets began working with him to add more loft to it. Mazeika struggled to adapt for much of 2018, but has clearly since become more comfortable with it, hitting for a strong average and hitting for power.
The added power is a point in his favor, but even with it, it is hard to see a clear path to the major leagues for Mazeika. Drafted as a catcher and spending the majority of his career behind the plate, the 25-year-old has split the 2019 season between catching and playing first base, and DHing. Part of the reason for that is because he is sharing playtime with Ali Sanchez, a defensive-minded catcher, but part of that is because Mazeika is still rough behind the plate. His caught stealing percentage is currently one of the highest in the Eastern League thanks to a quick exchange and pop time to mask a fringe-average arm, but he does not move particularly well behind the plate and does not receive or block balls as well as a result. He does not have enough power to fit the profile of the prototypical first baseman, and his defense behind the plate is still a work in progress, giving him a profile that would seem to be a hard fit on a major league roster, as he does not fill the needs of a backup first baseman or a backup catcher.
Pitcher of the Week
2019 Season: 8 G (8 GS), 43.2 IP, 22 H, 7 R, 6 ER (1.24 ERA), 16 BB, 45 K, .196 BABIP
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER (0.00 ERA), 1 BB, 8 K
This is the second time that Kay has been player of the week. In addition to pitching well for two weeks, he has pitched well for the entire 2019 season. Coming into the season, Amazin’ Avenue ranked Kay the Mets’ tenth best prospect, and their fourth best pitching prospect, behind Franklyn Kilomé, Thomas Szapucki, and David Peterson. At this point, with a fastball that sits in the low-90s, a changeup that has returned to form, and a 11-5 curveball that has continued developing, it isn’t much hyperbole to say that he has passed the injured Kilomé, the recovering Szapucki, and the underwhelming Peterson in organizational rankings.
In terms of pitching depth, while he has been dominant in the Eastern League, it is unlikely that we see Kay make his major league debut anytime soon. While they are two very different pitchers, Chris Flexen was extremely dominant in the Eastern League in 2017, but struggled in the majors when he was promoted. Expect the lefty to be promoted to Triple-A Syracuse in the near future, and for him to spend time there, meeting the benchmarks the organization wants to see from him before promoting. I think it is all but certain that Kay sees major league time this season, but in what capacity will depend on how he performs in Triple-A and how the Mets perform.