Week: 5 G, 23 AB, .435/.458/.609, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K, 2/3 SB, .526 BABIP
2021 Season: 9 G, 42 AB, .310/.370/.500, 13 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 BB, 6 K, 2/3 SB, .343 BABIP
The lone baseball player in a family of athletes, Antoine Duplantis was born in Lafayette and attended Lafayette High School, where he was an All-District and All-State athlete who hit .453 with six home runs and 27 stolen bases. A prep player considered worth a follow by baseball scouts and evaluators, Duplantis went undrafted because of his strong commitment to the same college that both of his parents and older brother attended: Louisiana State University.
In his freshman season with the Tigers in 2016, Duplantis hit .327/.404/.419 in 66 games, hitting 2 homers and stealing 13 bases in 21 attempts. That summer, he played for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League and hit .268/.328/.313 in 29 games. Returning to LSU for his sophomore season, Duplantis hit .316/.358/.400 in 71 games, hitting two home runs and stealing 19 bases in 23 attempts. He returned to the Cape that summer, once again playing for Harwich, and hit .265/.309/.441 in 23 games. Back at LSU the following spring for his junior year, Duplantis started all 66 games for the Tigers and hit .328/.381/.443 with 2 home runs and 19 stolen bases in 27 attempts. His performance got him drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 19th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, 583rd overall, but he elected to stay at LSU for one final season instead of signing with the Indians, citing a disagreement about the money Cleveland was offering him and the possibility of setting the LSU all-time hits record.
Indeed, coming into his senior season, Duplantis had 268 hits to his name, second only to Eddy Furniss. Only 84 hits separated the two and given that the outfielder had averaged roughly 89 in his first three seasons, surpassing Furniss’ 22-year-old record was doable. As is generally the case with players who return to college for their senior seasons, Duplantis had the best year of his amateur career, hitting .324/.376/.505 in 66 games with 12 home runs and 6 stolen bases in 10 attempts. He logged 91 hits on the season, ending the season as the LSU all-time hits king and second in the SEC behind fellow senior outfielder Jake Mangum of Mississippi State University.
With their twelfth selection in the 2019 draft, the Mets selected Duplantis and the two sides agreed to a $85,000 signing bonus. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones where, ironically, he patrolled the same outfield with the aforementioned Mangum. In 52 games in Coney Island, he hit .237/.286/.294, but no hit would be as important as his seventh inning triple on the night of September 11, 2019. Trailing the Lowell Spinners in the deciding game of the 2019 New York-Penn League Championship Series, the outfielder hit a Yusniel Padron-Artilles offering into right field for an RBI triple that drove home Jake Mangum and tied the game at 3-3. One batter later, he himself was driven in on a single off the bat of Yoel Romero to give Brooklyn the lead- one they would hang on to, winning what would end up being the final New York-Penn League championship.
At the plate, Duplantis has a short, simple stroke. He uses a very small stride and has quick hands and good barrel control, allowing him to make contact with most pitches in the zone and just outside of it. While he is a tough strikeout because of his ability to make contact, the approach often hamstrings him, as he will put the ball in play regardless of if he is able to drive the ball or not. He has a quick first step out of the box but is not a particularly fast ballplayer, despite being from a family of runners. He has fringe-average-to-average speed, augmented by good instincts on the base paths. Defensively, Duplantis has the ability to play all three outfield positions. His arm is strong enough to play right field, and he is able to cover enough ground to play center. He reads the ball well off the bat, has a quick first step and possesses plenty of closing speed once he gets going.
Week: 2 G (2 GS), 11.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER (0.82 ERA), 1 BB, 12 K, .222 BABIP
2021 Season: 3 G (3 GS), 16.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER (1.13 ERA), 4 BB, 22 K, .242 BABIP
A graduate of Los Alamitos High School in Los Alamitos, California, Tylor Megill initially intended on attending the University of San Diego the following fall, but changed schools and eventually settled on Loyola Marymount University, where his older brother, Trevor, attended and pitched. In his freshman year in 2015, Tylor pitched as both a starter and a reliever and posted a cumulative 3.95 ERA in 57.0 innings, allowing 53 hits, walking 23, and striking out 41. His brother was drafted by the San Diego season at the conclusion of the season, and his departure prompted Tylor to depart Loyola Marymount as well. Transferring to Cypress College, a community college in nearby Cypress, for the 2016 season, Megill posted a 3.72 ERA in 101.2 innings, allowing 119 hits, walking 29, and striking out 87, pitching as both a starter and a reliever with the Chargers. He left Cypress in the summer of 2016 and transferred to the University of Arizona, where he once again pitched as needed. Appearing in 3 games as a starter and 19 as a reliever for coach Jay Johnson, Megill posted a 5.55 ERA in 35.2 innings, allowing 46 hits, walking 17, and striking out 36. Using his final summer as an amateur to improve himself, the right-hander lost roughly 15 pounds and worked on the mental aspect of the game- staying in the moment and bouncing back after running into adversity. While the results during his senior season in 2018 were not necessarily night-and-day, the improvements were tangible and in 32.2 innings, Megill posted a 4.68 ERA, allowing 38 hits, walking 14, and striking out 38.
With their eighth selection in the 2018 draft, the Mets selected Megill and the two sides agreed to a $50,000 signing bonus, $126,700 under the MLB assigned slot value of $176,700. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones for the remainder of the 2018 season and posted a 3.21 ERA in 28.0 innings in Coney Island, allowing 18 hits, walking 14, and striking out 26. He began the 2019 season with the Columbia Fireflies, but was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets in late July and got into a token game with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at the end of August. Pitching primarily as a reliever in Columbia but a starter in St. Lucie and Binghamton, Megill combined to post a 3.52 ERA in 71.2 innings, allowing 64 hits, walking 25, and striking out 92.
Standing 6’7” and weighing 230-pounds, Megill has a sturdy, durable pitching frame. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot with a long arm stab through the back. He throws across his body with some crossfire, giving his pitches additional run and angle but often negatively impacting his command. While his delivery is simple, consisting of a leg lift, proportionate stride, and controlled follow through, Megill is a taller pitcher and such pitchers historically have struggled with being able to command their pitches.
The right-hander’s fastball sits in the low-90s, generally sitting 92-94 MPH and topping out at 95, 96 MPH. During Fall Instructs, the fastball supposedly topped out at 98 MPH, but I cannot confirm the number. Thanks to his natural spin rate, the pitch has late life and thanks to the angle he throws from, the pitch gets heavy tailing action.
His primary breaking ball is a slider that sits in the mid-80s that features tight spin and late break. In addition to his slider, he also throws a changeup and a curveball, but neither pitch is thrown with the regularity that his slider is. His changeup, which sits in the mid-80s, is a fringe-average pitch at best, but is mainly used as a left-handed hitters. He curveball, which he threw in high school and has since re-added to his pitching repertoire since the end of the 2019 season, is fringe-average as well. The pitch sits in the high-70s and features softer, loopier break as compared to his slider.
Players of the Week 2021
Week One (May 4-May 8): Francisco Alvarez/Tylor Megill