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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Eight

What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, May 23rd to May 28th?

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets
DJ Stewart
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

DJ Stewart

Week: 4 G, 14 AB, .357/.526/.929, 5 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 3 K, 0/0 SB (Triple-A)

2023 Season: 30 G, 111 AB, .189/.328/.460, 21 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 9 HR, 22 BB, 27 K, 0/0 SB, .160 BABIP (Triple-A)

DJ Stewart is having an odd season. The outfielder currently has a .160 BABIP. His ground ball and fly ball rates are solid, at 43.9% and 42.7%, respectively, and are in line with the rates he posted in the past while playing in Triple-A. What seems to be most out of whack are his line drive and infield fly ball rates. His line drive rate, 13.4%, is down as compared to the 22.8% rate he posted in 2022, when he played 29 games with the Norfolk Tides, and the 20.6% rate he posted in 2019, when he played 63 games, with the Tides. Likewise, his infield fly ball rate, 25.7% is down as compared to the 30.8% rate he posted in his 2022 season, but up as compared to the 18.6% rate he posted in 2019.

When he makes solid contact, Stewart is capable of putting on shows, as was the case in September 2020, when he hit .382/.475/1.029 with 7 home runs over a ten game span, but he is currently making a lot of poor contact. Major League Baseball defines a pop up as a ball hit with a launch angle greater than 50 degrees, and in 79 recorded batted ball events, Stewart has recorded 13.

His swing, which was once criticized for being detrimental to his baseball development due to the extreme crouch he stood at the plate with and his linear swing, have been adjusted. He stands much taller at the plate now, and his swing has more two-plate loft to it. Most of his pop-ups this season have come on pitches generally in the left-handed wheelhouse, down and in. He is averaging a very low exit velocity average on pitches in that wheelhouse as well. In order to improve, Stewart needs to make better contact on such pitches.

Jose Chacin

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (Double-A)

2023 Season: 8 G (6 GS), 31.0 IP, 25 H, 19 R, 16 ER (4.65 ERA), 7 BB, 26 K, .200 BABIP (Double-A)/1 G (1 GS), 4.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER (9.00 ERA), 0 BB, 3 K, .111 BABIP (Triple-A)

Jose Chacin was on the older side when he was signed by the Dodgers in September 2015, suiting up in his first professional games with the DSL Dodgers as a 19-year-old in 2016. He was sent stateside in 2017, spending the season with the AZL Dodgers and then promoted to full-season ball in 2018 with the Great Lakes Loons. After struggling in a handful of starts, it became very apparent that he was not up to the task and sent down to the Ogden Raptors, the Dodgers’ Rookie-level affiliate. He pitched much better for them, posting a 2.85 ERA in 66.1 innings with 77 hits allowed, 14 walks and 51 strikeouts, winning Pioneer League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star honors.

The 22-year-old began the season 2019 with the Loons once again and had a strong beginning to the season, winning Midwest League Mid-Season All-Star Honors but had a very rough second half and ended up a 4.68 ERA in 127.0 swingman innings with 147 hits allowed, 26 walks, and 95 strikeouts. Like every other minor leaguer, he missed the 2020 season due to the cancellation of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was later by the Dodgers in April 2021, just prior to the start of the delayed season. The Mets signed him roughly a month later and assigned him to the FCL Mets. The 24-year-old pitched there for roughly a month, was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets where he pitched for roughly a month, and ended the season in Brooklyn, where he pitched for roughly a month. At all three levels combined, he posted a 3.26 ERA in 60.2 innings, allowing 41 hits, walking 17, and striking out 58. He began the 2022 season with Brooklyn and after four solid starts there, was promoted to Binghamton, where he remained for the rest of the season, posting a 5.67 ERA in 101.2 innings, allowing 110 hits, walking 33, and striking out 94. The right-hander began the 2023 season on the Syracuse Mets roster, but was demoted back down to Binghamton after just one start.

Chacin throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot. His main pitch is his changeup, and he generally throws the pitch more per start than any of his other offerings. The pitch sits in the low-to-mid-80s. He complements it with two fastball variations, a four-seam fastball and a sinker. His four-seam fastball sits high-80s-to-mid-90s, generally settling in at 92 and topping out at 94. The pitch features a slightly above-average spin rate for a fastball. The sinker is very similar, sitting in roughly the same velocity band and featuring a similar spin rate. Rounding out his arsenal is a low-to-mid-80s slider and the occasional cutter and curveball, neither of which are thrown with any kind of regularity but generally make one or two cameos per game.

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
Week Seven (May 16-May 21): Matt Rudick/David Peterson