Name: Jose Butto
Weight: 200 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, June 2, 2017 (Cumana, Venezuela)
Born in Cumana, Venezuela, Jose Butto was signed by the Mets in June 2017 for just $5,000, a 19-year-old who agreed to terms with a club just prior to the end of the 2016-2017 international free agent signing period and the beginning of the 2017-2018 period. He made his professional debut with the DSL Mets that year and posted a 1.44 ERA in 50.0 innings, allowing 48 hits, walking 9, and striking out 41. In 2018, he was assigned to the Kingsport Mets when their season began and pitched 32.2 innings there in six starts, posting a 1.93 ERA. At the end of July, he was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he remained for the rest of the season. In Coney Island, he posted a 6.11 ERA in 28.0 innings, allowing 31 hits, walking 11, and striking out 24. He was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies in 2019 and spent the entire season there, posting a 3.62 ERA in 112.0 innings, allowing 100 hits, walking 31, and striking out 109.
He returned to Brooklyn in 2021, now the Mets’ High-A affiliate, and posted a 4.32 ERA in 58.1 innings, allowing 51 hits, walking 15, and striking out 60. His work with the Cyclones was solid enough and earned him a promotion to Double-A Binghamton in late July. He benefitted from the move, posting a 3.12 ERA in 40.1 innings, allowing 33 hits, walking 9, and striking out 50. All in all, he posted a 3.83 ERA in 98.2 total innings in 2021, allowing 84 hits, walking 24, and striking out 110.
The 6’1”, 200 lb. Butto throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, dropping and driving off the mound. His mechanics are smooth and repeatable, allowing Butto to pound all four quadrants of the zone and hit his spots. For his career since coming stateside, he has walked 77 in 271.1 innings.
His fastball ranges from the high-80s-to-low-90s, topping out as high as 95 MPH. Generally on the lower side of that spectrum, the right-hander has added muscle mass to his frame since the 2019 season and now sits on the higher end of that range. While not particularly overpowering, the pitch has an above-average spin rate for a fastball, and he is learning to throw a two-seam variant to give the pitch more movement.
His go-to secondary is his changeup, one of the better ones currently in the Mets minor league system, if not the best. The pitch sits in the low-to-mid-80s, which gives it roughly 10 MPH of velocity differential between it and his fastball, and features late, tumbling action. The pitch tunnels well with his fastball, and Butto is able to command it, throwing it for strikes down in and under the zone, making it an even more effective offering. The pitch is a true weapon against left-handers, but as good as it is, has been only mildly effective against right-handers, which is why developing his curveball further will be key to his future success important. The pitch currently sits in the high-70s-to-low-80s and features slight 12-6 break when he has a good feel for it or looser, slurvier break when he does not. Tightening the pitch up and turning what is generally considered a below-average offering into at least a fringe-average pitch will determine whether or not Butto will progress from a minor league prospect who is able to spam a pitch that the majority of minor league hitters have trouble with into a legitimate major leaguer able to face an order multiple times.