The Mets have announced the re-assignment of three pitchers to minor league camp: RHP Ryley Gilliam, LHP Kevin Smith, and RHP Adonis Uceta. That brings the total number of players in major league camp to 49.
Gilliam, who ranked No. 19 on Amazin’ Avenue’s list of the team’s top 25 prospects for 2020, appeared in four games this spring, with three strikeouts and two walks in 4.0 innings pitched and an 11.25 ERA. The 23-year-old split his time across High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A last year, struggling to get good results at the higher levels despite decent peripherals, with a 6.05 ERA in 38.2 innings across the levels despite double-digit K/9 numbers on the back of his fastball-curveball combo. He had better fortune in the Arizona Fall League, with a 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings there, maintaining his strikeouts while lowering a walk rate that skyrocketed in his first Triple-A foray. He could start 2020 in Syracuse and will pitch in Queens at some point this year.
Smith had some poor outings this spring, as well, with a 7.71 ERA in 4.2 innings alongside three strikeouts and a pair of walks. Coming in at No. 12 on our top prospects list, Smith’s role going forward is more opaque. The soft-tossing lefty has had decent numbers on the back of good extension and a solid slider. His challenges are with right-handed hitters, who he walked frequently and struggled to keep off balance with his changeup. In his age-23 season, Smith’s task with will be to find a way to consistently work through the order two-to-three times.
Lastly, there is Uceta, whose incremental development finally touched Triple-A last year. Though he fell outside our top 25, the soon-to-be 26-year-old will likely begin the year in Syracuse. His fastball consistently works in the 94-to-97 range out of the bullpen, with a changeup that our Steve Sypa calls “one of the best in the minor league system.” Uceta has a 7.20 ERA in 5.0 innings this spring despite eight strikeouts and just two walks. Without a 40-man spot, he’s likely behind Gilliam, among others, on the depth chart.