Name: Franklyn Kilomé
Weight: 175 lbs.
Acquired: Trade (Philadelphia Phillies)
2019 Season: N/A
Franklyn Kilomé was signed by the Phillies as an 18-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in January 2013, and his career as a professional baseball player began one year later. Skipping the Dominican Summer League, the right-handed pitcher made his professional debut for the GCL Phillies and had a solid showing for himself, posting a 3.12 ERA in 40.1 innings. Over the next few years, he worked his way up the Philadelphia minor league system, pitching for the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Lakewood BlueClaws, the Clearwater Threshers, and Reading Fightin Phils. He began the 2018 season with the Fightin Phils, his second season playing for the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate. Through 19 starts, the 23-year-old posted a 4.24 ERA in 102.0 innings, allowing 96 hits, walking 51, and striking out 83. In late July, just before the trading deadline, the Phillies traded right-hander to the Mets in exchange for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. The Mets assigned Kilomé to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and he went on to make seven starts with them, posting a 4.03 ERA in 38.0 innings, allowing 31 hits, walking 10, and striking out 42. After the season ended, the right-hander was set to pitch for the Leones del Escogido, a team in the Dominican Winter League. He never made it, as the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in late October, costing him not only the chance to pitch for the Leones del Escogido but the entire 2019 season.
Kilomé utilizes a low-effort delivery, raising his hands above his head during his windup, tucking his body behind a high leg lift, and throwing from a three-quarters arm slot. Control issues are a problem that Kilomé has faced throughout his professional career. From being unable to keep his upper and lower halves in sync, to failing to repeat his release point, to not being able to harness the movement on his fastball and curveball, pounding the zone has long been the right-hander’s Achilles heel and is the biggest hurdle between him developing into a solid mid-rotation pitcher or maddening reliever that cannot be trusted in high-leverage situations.
He has a quick arm, and pushes off of the mound well, generating plus fastball velocity. Before his Tommy John surgery, the pitch sat in the low-to-mid-90s, topping out at 97 miles per hour. In addition to velocity, the pitch had some glove-side movement and a bit of sink. While it had plenty of velocity and a bit of movement, Kilomé’s fastball surprisingly did not have a particularly high swing-and-miss rate and was sometimes quite hittable. His curveball was his go-to pitch when swings-and-misses were needed. The pitch generally sat in the high-70s-to-low-80s, with Kilomé able to add and subtract a little bit of velocity and manipulate the depth of its 12-6 break. Coming into the 2017, the pitch was more average-ish, but as the year progressed and the right-hander became more proficient manipulating it, it began flashing plus. He rounds out arsenal with a firm changeup that that around 80 miles per hour, but the pitch was not well developed and lagged far behind his fastball and curve in effectiveness. Like his curve, it began the 2017 season as a below average pitch, but improved as the season progressed and could eventually end up becoming an average offering. It was a below-average pitch when he was last able to pitch, but like his curveball, it improved as the 2017 season progressed and could eventually become an average offering in the future.
The Mets made a flurry of trades over the last couple of years, and arguably, Franklyn Kilomé has been the only decent return. Had he not unexpectedly tore his UCL in October 2018 and needed Tommy John surgery, he could have conceivably made his major league debut, as he was already knocking on the door. Primarily a fastball-curveball pitcher, curves often take a little time to return to form after Tommy John surgery, so we’ll have to cross our fingers that he is able to get back on track quickly after missing the 2019 season.
Killomé is just about the only piece left from the Mets sell-off trades over the last couple seasons that has a real shot to be a major league contributor. He missed all of 2019 while recovering from Tommy John, essentially ensuring his future as a reliever. That move was all but a foregone conclusion even pre-injury, however, meaning that all we’re waiting for at this point is some evidence that he’s made a full recovery from surgery (a department Mets prospects don’t have a stellar track record in). If things go right, Killomé’s three-pitch could be a valuable weapon out of the Met pen down the stretch.
Killomé was tentatively slated to factor into the Mets rotation depth plans in 2019 before it was announced that he would miss the entirety of the season recovering from Tommy John Surgery. When the Mets received Killomé in the trade that sent Asdrubal Cabrera to the Phillies halfway through 2018, he primarily used an above average fastball that sat in the low to mid-90s and a killer 12 to 6 curveball to get hitters out. It remains to be seen if the stuff will make it all the way back after surgery, but Killomé will certainly factor into the Mets plans this season if it does. The lack of a third pitch, coupled with his poorly timed elbow problems, may make a move to the bullpen appealing for the Mets moving forward, especially if they decide that they would like to limit his workload and allow him to move a little more quickly now that the surgery is behind him. The combination of his plus fastball and curveball should help make him a pretty valuable reliever if the bullpen ends up being his home, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he ends up pitching high leverage innings for the Mets this upcoming season.
Killomé was a good get for Asdrubal Cabrera when they got him from Philadelphia in 2018, but we have barely seen him as a Mets prospect since then. He pitched in a grand total of seven games before he tore his UCL and needed Tommy John surgery, which also ended his 2019 season before it started. There is still a decent amount to like about him, assuming his recovery is a good one. He has two very good pitches in his fastball and his curveball, and I think he has a future as a legitimate reliever. The control issues and the lack of a third pitch probably make his future as a starter a pipe dream, but the Mets need relievers and Killomé has potential there.