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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Seven

What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, May 24th to May 29th?

Surprise Saguaros v. Salt River Rafters
Conn Grey
Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Francisco Alvarez

Week: 6 G, 26 AB, .346/.393/.769, 9 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 2 BB, 4 K, 0/0 SB (Double-A)

2022 Season: 39 G, 152 AB, .263/.339/.467, 40 H, 10 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 17 BB, 45 K, 0/0 SB, .320 BABIP (Double-A)

Alvarez got off to an incredible start to the season. In his first 13 games, he hit an impressive .292/.375/.667 with 6 doubles, 4 home runs, 6 walks, and 16 strikeouts, all while running a reasonable .345 BABIP. In his next 13 games, he hit .184/.305/.225 with 2 doubles, 0 home runs, 8 walks, and 13 strikeouts, all of which was coupled with a suppressed .243 BABIP. Checking the box scores, there were weak fly outs and ground balls aplenty. In his last 13 games, he is hitting .309/.339/.509 with a slightly inflated .378 BABIP.

Pitchers, seemingly, adjusted to Alvarez. He seemingly started seeing less stuff that he could make solid contact with and drive, which resulted in the backstop drawing a few more walks but expanding the zone and making poor contact. He has since adjusted to the adjustments and is back to his mashing ways for now.

This is a good sign, on Alvarez’ part. He is still just 20-years-old. He is still just in his second full season of professional baseball. Even Barry Bonds and Mike Trout and Barry Bonds had cold spells. What makes those two players all-time greats (among other reasons) was and is their ability to regroup and return to their elite ways. That Alvarez seemingly has been able to fight out of the slump he was in bodes well for his future.

Connor Grey

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (Triple-A)

Season: 8 G (7 GS), 38.0 IP, 37 H, 17 R, 17 ER (4.03 ERA), 13 BB, 28 K, .296 BABIP (Triple-A)

A native of Frewsburg, New York, Connor Grey attended the eponymously named local high school, standing out on the baseball diamond, basketball court, and bowling alley. While he was a fine player in those latter two sports, he excelled in baseball. In his four years on the Frewsburg High School 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 in 2012 and attended St. Bonaventure University.

Grey had an unspectacular college career. He pitched for the Bonnies for four years, going undrafted in his junior year, and posted a cumulative 4.12 ERA in 260.0 innings, majority of them coming as a starting pitcher, allowing 257 hits, walking 104, and striking out 201. 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, senior draftee, the Diamondbacks pushed the right-hander up their system fairly quickly. In 2017, he spent time with the Diamondbacks’ Short-A, Low-A, High-A, and Triple-A affiliates, though not in proper sequential order, but rather, wherever he was needed. Of note, he ended the season throwing a 100-pitch perfect game for the Low-A 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. He split the season playing for the High-A Brooklyn Cyclones and the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, posting a cumulative 4.00 ERA in 54.0 innings with 45 hits allowed, 16 walks, and 62 strikeouts. After the season ended, the Mets sent Grey to the Arizona Fall League, and in 18.0 innings for the Salt River Rafters posted a 3.00 ERA with 15 hits allowed, 6 walks, and 17 strikeouts.

Standing 6’1” and weighing 195 pounds, Grey has a frame solid capable of accumulating innings. 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.

The right-hander is far from a power pitcher, with a four-seam fastball that 88-93 MPH, sitting at the higher end of that velocity band at 91, 92 MPH. He complements the pitch with a curveball, slider, and changeup, the former of which is his best pitch. The right-hander occasionally throws his curveball at the same rate or even more than his fastball. The pitch sits in the upper-70s, roughly 76-79 MPH, and features an above-average spin rate.

Players of the Week 2022

Week One (April 5-April 17): Francisco Alvarez/Jose Butto
Week Two (April 19-April 24): Daniel Palka/Keyshawn Askew
Week Three (April 26-May 1): Shervyen Newton/Alec Kisena
Week Four (May 3-May 8): Alex Ramirez/David Peterson
Week Five: (May 10-May 15): Brett Baty/Jose Chacin
Week Six: (May 17-May 22): Jaylen Palmer/Mike Vasil