Name: Franklyn Kilomé
Weight: 175 lbs.
Acquired: Trade, July 27, 2018 (Philadelphia Phillies)
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 underwent Tommy John surgery in late October, costing him the entire 2019 season. He returned to the field in 2020, and in part thanks to his own developmental path and in part due to the pandemic-shortened season, made his Major League debut. Appearing in four games out of the bullpen, Kilomé posted a 11.12 ERA in 11.1 innings, allowing 14 hits, walking 9, and striking out 13.
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, and it sat in that similar band after returning to the most post-surgery. In addition to velocity, the pitch had some glove-side movement and a bit of sink. His curveball is his go-to pitch when swings-and-misses were needed, throwing a low-80s curveball that flashes plus with sharp, 12-6 break. He rounds out arsenal with a firm changeup that that sits in the low-to-mid-80s that shows some promise and could eventually end up being an average offering with additional development.
John Thomas Ginn was a dominant pitcher at Brandon High School, named to numerous honorary teams, earning all-American, all-state, all-region, and all-district honors multiple times. In the 2018 MLB Draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him with their first-round selection, 30th overall, reportedly offering him $2.4 million, an offer slightly over the MLB-assigned slot value of the pick. The right-hander was torn between forgoing his commitment to Mississippi State University or going pro, but ultimately decided to forego the money in order to attend college. In his 16 starts in his freshman year, Ginn posted a 3.36 ERA in 80.1 innings, allowing 69 hits, walking 18, and striking out 103. For his performance, he was named to numerous honorary teams, won a handful of prestigious awards, and was named Freshman of the Year by the SEC. The 2020 season was a lost year for all players, as COVID-19 caused the baseball season to end prematurely for all high school and college players, but it was especially bad for Ginn. After a single outing against Wright State, a brief, uninspiring outing that saw him allow two earned runs in three innings, he began experiencing soreness in his right arm, a problem that had bothered him on-and-off in 2019 but had never really impacted his ability to pitch. Mississippi State head coach Chris Lemonis delayed his next start, but the right-hander ended up being diagnosed with a torn UCL, necessitating Tommy John surgery. The Mets selected Ginn with their second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the 52nd player selected overall, and ended up signing him for $2.9 million, almost double the MLB-assigned slot value of $1.4 million.
Ginn throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot with a simple delivery that has been toned down since his high school years. He still throws with some effort, but his mechanics overall have improved at his time at Mississippi State. When the Dodgers drafted him in 2018, there were concerns that he would be a reliever long-term, but his success as a starter in 2019 has reduced such concerns.
Prior to Tommy John, Ginn had an explosive fastball that sat in the low-to-mid-90s and topped out in the upper-90s. In addition to healthy velocity, the pitch also featured plenty of life and sink. He complemented the pitch with a slider and a changeup. His slider is his best secondary pitch, a wipeout breaking ball with two-plane depth sitting in the mid-80s. While his changeup is not as advanced as his slider, it is a potent pitch as well, with plenty of tumble and fade and generally featuring roughly 5-10 miles per hour of velocity differential from his fastball. The slider is graded by many evaluators as a true plus pitch, and his changeup has shown flashes of being one as well.
Name: Jaylen Palmer
Weight: 195 lbs.
Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft, 22nd Round (Holy Cross High School)
Canarsie native Jaylen Palmer attended Holy Cross High School over in Flushing, about 15 minutes over from Citi Field. His first few years in high school were relatively unremarkable, but a massive growth spurt changed all of that. He began his 2016 sophomore year a scrawny, 5’5”, 150-pound undersized middle infielder and returned in 2017, his junior year, a 6’3”, 195-pound athlete. That year, he hit .308/.439/.371 in 28 games for the Holy Cross Knights, getting the attention of major league scouts. He was even better in his senior year, hitting .286/.511/.476 in 24 games this past season. With their twenty-second selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Palmer, signing him for $200,000. The 17-year-old was assigned to the GCL Mets for the remainder of the 2018 season and hit .310/.394/.414 in 25 games, slugging a lone home run and stealing five bases. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets for the 2019 season, and as the fourth-youngest hitters in the Appalachian League hit .260/.344/.413 in 62 games, launching seven homers and stealing one base. While it was an excellent season by most metrics, he struck out at an alarming rate, whiffing 39.1% of the time.
The tall, leggy Palmer holds his hands high, swinging with a big leg kick. His swing is smooth and flows well, but because of the length and loft in it, he is currently susceptible to swinging over pitches and striking out. His bat speed is above average, allowing him to stay back on pitches and swing at the last moment. The speed of his bat gives him a bit of pop, and with future physical growth, Palmer should add to that as well.
Palmer has good range in the infield and a strong, accurate arm, giving him the ability to play shortstop and third base, position he handled with equal ability in 2019. Thanks to his above-average speed and overall athleticism, if his body continues growing and he loses some of his quick twitch muscle and agility, he has all of the tools needed to hunt down fly balls in the outfield. Though he has no real experience there, Palmer is an extremely hard worker and would no doubt pick up the position with ease.
Name: Josh Wolf
Weight: 170 lbs.
Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft, 2nd Round (St. Thomas High School)
A right-handed pitcher out of St. Thomas Catholic High School in Houston, Texas, Josh Wolf has experienced as much draft helium as anyone in the past year or two. On the periphery of scouts’ radars, Wolf worked with former professional pitcher and freelance pitching coach David Evans to increase his fastball velocity, increase his stamina, and improve his mechanics over the last few years, and the results were been tangible. In his junior year, he posted a 1.06 ERA in 39.0 innings, striking out 53. This past season, his senior year, he posted a 1.52 ERA in 69.0, striking out 126. As good as he was in the regular season, he was absolutely dominant in the playoffs, throwing a no-hitter against Austin St. Dominic Savio High School in the TAPPS Division-I state playoff opener and then throwing a two-hit shutout against Tomball Concordia Lutheran High School in the semi-finals. The Mets selected Wolf in the 2nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft, the 53rd player selected overall. He had a commitment to Texas A&M but forewent it after agreeing to a $2.15 million signing bonus with the Mets, $780,000 above the assigned slot value of $1.37 million. He was assigned to the GCL Mets and posted a 3.38 ERA in 8.0 innings, allowing 9 hits, walking 1, and striking out 12.
At 6’3”, 170-pounds, Wolf has a tall, lean frame that suggests he may continue filling in. The right-hander throws from a low three-quarters arm slot with a loose, lightning quick arm. His mechanics are a bit rough and may contain an injury red flags in the elbow lift behind his back, but he works through it quickly. Because of his rough mechanics, Wolf sometimes is unable to repeat his release point, leading to control issues or batters being able to pick up his pitches.
The right-hander has presence on the mound. He does not shy away from pitching inside and goes after hitter, pounding the zone. His fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out as high as 97 MPH with life this. He uses the entire strike zone with it, moving the ball around to throw off hitters’ eye levels. He complements his fastball with a full assortment of pitches. His slider sits in the high-70s and features two plane slice. His curveball sits in the high-70s-to-low-80s and features hard 12-6 break. He tunnels his slider and curveball well, making them play up especially well when batters cannot recognize their spin. His changeup sits in the low-80s, and while it is very much still a work in progress, Wolf is able to give the pitch enough fade and tumble for it to project fringe-average-to-average.
Name: Mark Vientos
Weight: 185 lbs.
Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft, 2nd Round (American Heritage High School)
Mark Vientos has been making a name for himself on the exhibition and showcase circuit for years, earning praise by scouts and evaluators as early as 2013, when he was just 14-years-old. For three years, he played baseball at Flanagan High School, but in 2016, he switched schools and began attending American Heritage High School a few miles away. He only appeared in 26 games for the American Heritage High School Patriots, missing some time in the spring due to a quad injury, but when he was able to get on the field, he hit .417/.467/.523 with one home run and four stolen bases in six attempts. The 17-year-old was considered a borderline first-round talent, but the injury combined with his commitment to the University of Miami caused multiple teams to pass over him in the 2017 MLB Draft. The Mets selected Vientos with their second-round pick and signed him fairly quick, with the two sides agreeing to a $1.5 million signing bonus, slightly above the slot value of $1,094,700. The Mets assigned Vientos to the GCL Mets to begin his professional career and he held his own as one of the youngest players in the league, hitting .259/.316/.397 in 47 games. He played in four games with the Kingsport Mets at the end of the season and then was assigned there for the entire 2018. Once again one of the youngest players in the league, Vientos not only held his own but excelled, hitting .287/.389/.489 in 60 games for Kingsport, walking 37 times, striking out 43 times, and slugging 11 home runs. The Mets were aggressive with the third baseman in 2019, promoting him to the Columbia Fireflies, and while his season was a bit of a disappointment in terms of the expectations placed on him, Vientos had a respectable year, hitting .255/.300/.411 in 111 games with 12 home runs. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, he did not get to play in 2020, but he was invited to the Coney Island alternate site and the fall instructional league, where he impressed many in the organization.
Vientos stands upright and has wide stance at the plate, holding his hands high. His swing can get a bit on the long side, but he has solid bat-to-ball skills, coming to the plate with a plan and generally adjusting depending on the pitcher and what he is given to hit. Of note, Vientos showed an extreme vulnerability to pitches down and away, especially breaking balls, seemingly unable to pick up on their spin. When he is able to make solid contact, he puts a jolt into the ball, regularly posting high exit velocity readings for a player his age.
Though initially drafted as a shortstop, Vientos hasn’t played the position since 2017 and is not expected to move back, instead playing third base. He is not unathletic, but he lacks explosive quick twitch muscle, resulting in a slow first step and below-average lateral quickness. His above-average arm and good instincts allow him to handle the routine play fine at third fine. There is worry that if he continues filling in, he will be forced to move to first base, as he will exhibit even less of a first step and range, but Vientos should be fine for years to come assuming his body does not suddenly and drastically change.