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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Eleven

What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, July 13th to July 18th?

Jaylen Palmer
Steve Sypa

Jaylen Palmer

Week: 5 G, 20 AB, .350/.381/.550, 7 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K, 3/3 SB (Low-A)

2021 Season: 55 G, 204 AB, .279/.383/.377, 57 H, 12 2B, 4 3B, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 33 BB , 67 K, 22/25 SB, .407 BABIP

This is the Canarsie native’s second straight player of the week title, as he continues to bounce back from what was an awful start to the year. Whereas he couldn’t make contact with the broadside of a barn early in the year, Palmer is now displaying a discerning eye and making tons of hard contact, walking at nearly a 14% clip and spraying the ball all over the field. His elite speed has also been on display, with a better-than 80% success rate on steals.

As exciting as this profile is, it’s still a very odd one that probably isn’t sustainable. Palmer is still striking out 27.6% of the time on the season and, more concerning, has yet to go deep. This week’s output- four doubles- could be a sign that he’s starting to drive the ball a bit more, but it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from such a small sample. There’s going to be more pressure on the bat, and Palmer will need to hit for at least some power to make this profile work while also continuing to curb his strikeouts. Hopefully those are adjustments he can make, because his profile is fun as hell. if it all comes together.

Connor Grey

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 8.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (High-A)

2021 Season: 5 G (4 GS), 24.1 IP, 16 H, 12 R, 9 ER (3.33 ERA), 10 BB, 29 K, .241 BABIP (High-A/Double-A)

Frewsburg, New York native Connor Grey attended the eponymously named local high school, setting himself apart as a student and as an athlete, where he played baseball, basketball, and bowled. Though he was a fine player in all three, he shined on the mound and it quickly became apparent that his future was in baseball. In his four years on the varsity team, he posted a cumulative 2.11 ERA in 96.1 innings with 63 hits allowed, 38 walks, and 157 strikeouts while hitting .384/.501/.565. He went undrafted after graduating, the right-hander attended St. Bonaventure University.

He had a so-so collegiate career. He pitched there for four years, going undrafted in his junior year, posting a cumulative 4.12 ERA in 260.0 innings, majority of them obviously as a starter. He allowed 257 hits in those 260.0 innings, walked 104, and struck out 201. He was extremely stingy with the longball, allowing only 11 over the course of his entire career with the Bonnies. In 2016, his senior year, the 22-year-old was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with their 20th round selection, making him the 599th player selected overall in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Given his status as an older draftee, Grey moved through the Diamondbacks system fairly quickly. In 2017, he spent time with the Diamondbacks’ Short-A, Low-A, High-A, and Triple-A affiliates, though ironically almost backwards, pitching first in High-A, then Triple-A, then Short-A, then Low-A. He ended the season on perhaps as high a note as a pitcher can, throwing a 100-pitch perfect game for the Kane County Cougars in his last start of the season, the first in team history.

He spent the entire 2018 season in High-A, and then pitched in High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A in 2019. He had success in the lower levels of the minor leagues but struggled against hitters in the upper levels. In 2020, he was one of 64 players released by the Diamondbacks. In total, he posted a 3.95 ERA in 369.0 innings over four seasons in the organization, striking out 324.

After being released, a former manager Butch Hobson, who managed him when he pitched for the Kane County Cougars, reached out about signing with the Chicago Dogs, the American Association team that he now managed. Grey eventually agreed and signed with the Dogs with the intent to impress clubs scouting the team and win back a job with a major league baseball club. After posting a 3.18 ERA in 34.0 innings over six starts, the Mets and Grey agreed to a contract, bringing the right-hander back into the fold of professional baseball.

Standing 6’1” and weighing 195 pounds, Grey has a frame capable of throwing innings. The Diamondbacks used Grey as a reliever and starter, but the Mets intend on using Grey exclusively to start. He throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot, dropping and driving and getting a lot of extension. His delivery features a distinct step, tapping the rubber multiple times with his back foot when starting his windup.

For most of his career, Grey was not a pitcher who could overpower batters, featuring a fastball that sat and topped out in the low-90s. The pitch now sits in the low-90s and tops out at 94 MPH. He complements the pitch with a curveball, slider, and changeup.

Players of the Week 2021

Week One (May 4-May 8): Francisco Alvarez/Tylor Megill

Week Two (May 9-May 15): Antoine Duplantis/Tylor Megill

Week Three (May 16-May 23): Francisco Alvarez/Franklin Parra

Week Four (May 24-May 30): Mason Williams/Franklyn Kilome

Week Five (June 1-June 6): Brett Baty/Alec Kisena

Week Six (June 8-June 13): Carlos Cortes/Josh Walker

Week Seven (June 15-June 20): Luke Ritter/ Justin Lasko

Week Eight (June 22-June 27): Mark Vientos/Oscar Rojas

Week Nine (June 29-July 4): Mark Vientos/David Griffin

Week Ten (July 6-July 11): Jaylen Palmer/J.T. Ginn