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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 16th to May 21st?

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers
David Peterson
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Matt Rudick

Week: 6 G, 22 AB, .364/.500/.727, 8 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 4 K, 1/1 SB (Double-A)

2023 Season: 34 G, 114 AB, .307/.451/.518, 9 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 27 BB, 21 K, 6/7 SB, .341 BABIP (Double-A)

Matt Rudick attended Scripps Ranch High School in his hometown of San Diego, lettering all four years he was there and standing out as both an outfielder and a left-handed pitcher. At the plate, he hit a cumulative .360/.426/.508 with 8 home runs, 28 stolen bases, and 43 walks to 24 strikeouts in 118 total games. On the mound, he posted a 0.93 ERA in 90.1 innings, allowing 56 hits, walking 32 and striking out 107. He was named 2016 Eastern League Player of the Year after hitting .481/.523/.712 with 5 homers and 14 stolen bases and posting a 1.48 ERA in 28.1 innings with 22 hits, 9 walks, and 33 strikeouts, and was considered one of the better prep players to come out of California available in the 2017 MLB Draft. He ended up going undrafted and honored his commitment to San Diego State.

Rudick made 57 starts and played in 59 of San Diego State’s 60 games in 2018, primarily playing left field. He had an impressive collegiate debut, hitting .319/.419/.363 with 0 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and 34 walks to 34 strikeouts. His batting average was fourth on the team and the highest a freshman player had posted since 2000. That summer, he played for the Willmar Stingers of the Northwoods League before returning to San Diego for his sophomore season. Rudick experienced no sophomore slump in 2019, hitting .320/.403/.394 in 57 games as the Aztec’s lead-off hitter. After the season ended, he played for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League and was fairly successful in the prestigious wood bat league, hitting .287/.374/.409 in 35 games with 3 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and 13 walks to 19 stolen bases.

He started all 16 games San Diego State played in 2020 before the season was suspended due to COVID-19, making 10 starts in right and six in center, and hit .313/.347/.478 with 1 home run, 3 stolen bases, and 4 walks to 6 strikeouts. He went undrafted in the 2020 MLB Draft and supplemented his limited playing time by playing with the Warriors of the San Diego League, a now-defunct college summer wood bat league with an analytical bend, where he won League Player of the Year honors. The 22-year-old returned to San Diego State in 2021 for his redshirt junior season and hit .410/.484/.567 in 44 games with 4 home runs, 17 stolen bases, and 26 walks to 9 strikeouts. He led the Aztecs in multiple offensive categories and was named to numerous honorary teams.

The Mets selected Rudick with their 13th round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. The two sides agreed to a $125,000 and the outfielder began his professional baseball career with the FCL Mets. He appeared in 21 games for them and hit .311/.414/.460 with 1 home run, 6 stolen bases, and 12 walks to 10 strikeouts. Rudick was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones to begin the 2022 season but struggled and was placed on the injured list roughly a month into the season. He missed roughly a month, was sent to the Syracuse Mets for roughly a week due to roster needs, and finally returned to the Cyclones in mid-June. He remained in Coney Island for the rest of the season and hit .247/.361/.371 in 72 games. His time prior to his injury added, and Rudick appeared in 83 games for the Cyclones, hitting .243/.366/.360 with 3 home runs, 17 stolen bases, and 45 walks to 58 strikeouts. The 24-year-old began the 2023 season with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, went 1-3 with a grand slam, and has not looked back.

Rudick stands square at the plate, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat behind his head. He uses a moderate leg kick and has a smooth, easy left-handed swing with a bit of loft. He consistently makes solid contact, but at 5’9”, 170-pounds, the outfielder is unlikely to display much power over the course of 162 games. That said, he has grown into a bit more power than he displayed in college and swings a surprisingly potent stick. Rudick uses the entire field, going to the opposite field just as much as he pulls the ball, and generally hits the ball in the air rather than on the ground. Aiding his ability to make solid contact is his strong eye and advanced approach at the plate, which allows him to draw plenty of walks, keep strikeouts to a minimum, and wear out pitchers by laying off or fouling off pitches and grinding out at-bats.

In the outfield, Rudick is a fringe-average center fielder and fringe-average right-fielder thanks to average speed and an average arm in terms of both strength and accuracy.

David Peterson

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K (Triple-A)

2023 Season: 2 G (2 GS), 13.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER (2.77 ERA), 8 BB, 13 K, .250 BABIP (Triple-A)/8 G (8 GS), 39.0 IP, 54 H, 35 R, 35 ER (8.08 ERA), 14 BB, 45 K, .407 BABIP (MLB)

In mid-March, the Mets announced that the recently signed Jose Quintana would be opening the season on the injured list due to a lesion on his rib, an injury that would cause him to miss significant time. Pitching to showcase himself and separate himself from a crowded pack of potential Quintana replacements, David Peterson was literally perfect, not allowing a single earned run in 12.0 innings and winning that final rotation spot on the Mets’ 2023 opening day roster.

The left-hander was unable to continue his momentum from spring training. In six starts in April, he posted a 7.34 ERA over 30.2 innings, allowing 38 hits, walking 10, and striking out 36. He was optioned to Syracuse at the end of April, but was recalled by the Mets in early May, making two more starts. In those starts, he once again struggled, allowing 10 earned runs in 8.1 innings, allowing 16 hits, walking 4, and striking out 9.

The first-place Norfolk Tides have the best offense in the International League, averaging 6.77 runs per game with a cumulative .286/.378/.485. Orioles outfield prospect Colton Cowser is hitting .331/.469/.554 with 7 home runs, infield prospect Jordan Westburg is hitting .316/.388/.618 with 12 home runs, infield prospect Connor Norby is hitting .270/.321/.393 with 3 home runs, a rejuvenated Daz Cameron is hitting .271/.365/.505 with 6 home runs, and many of the other complementary players surrounding them are socking the ball. Shutting out a lineup like that is impressive, even if it is in Triple-A.

One thing to note is that Peterson did not do anything new in this start. He threw 49 fastballs (27 four-seam fastballs and 22 two-seam fastballs), good for a 51% fastball rate, 23 sliders, good for a 24% slider rate, 12 curveballs, good for a 13% curveball rate, and 11 changeups, a 12% changeup rate. He got 21 whiffs on 46 swings, a 46% rate overall, his most effective pitch his slider. Peterson had been relying on those pitches at roughly the same percentages- 49.6% fastball rate, 25.6% slider rate, 6.0% curveball rate, and 18.7% changeup rate- and was not having success. The major difference in the reason why he had success in this start and has not at the major league level this season is tied to location. He was much more effective just below the zone in this start, throwing multiple sliders and a handful of curveballs under it for a 100% swing-and-miss rate. While he has used the same strategy at the major league level, he was nowhere near as successful- at the end of the day, Triple-A is still not the MLB level. Still, hopefully this excellent game is a building block for continued success for Peterson, that he learns to be as effective with his breaking pitches at the bottom or below the zone in the future.

Players of the Week 2023

Week One (April 4-April 9): Ronny Mauricio/Jose Butto

Week Two (April 11-April 16): Ronny Mauricio/Joey Lucchesi

Week Three (April 18-April 23): Mark Vientos/Jordan Geber

Week Four (April 25-April 30): Mark Vientos/Nathan Lavender

Week Five (May 2-May 7): DJ Stewart/Mike Vasil

Week Six (May 9-May 14): Jose Peroza/Mike Vasil