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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Ten

What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, June 5th to June 11th?

AZ Fall League: Peoria Javelinas at Salt River Rafters
Luke Ritter
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Ritter

Week: 6 G, 24 AB, .375/.444/1.125, 7 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 3 BB, 13 K, 0/0 SB (Double-A)

2023 Season: 43 G, 146 AB, .240/.389/.568, 35 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 30 BB, 59 K, 4/5 SB, .280 BABIP (Double-A)/8 G, 21 AB, .143/.333/.286, 3 H, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 BB, 7 K, 0/0 SB, .154 BABIP (Triple-A)

What a run Luke Ritter is on. He slugged five home runs this past week, hit 4 the week before that, and two the week before that. On May 25, Ritter was hitting .172/.378/.287 with 3 home runs. On May 26, he hit his first home run on this current tear, raising his batting line to .176/.374/.319. He is now hitting .240/.389/.568 with 14 home runs. Incredible. Including the one home run he hit while playing with Syracuse, he’s already matched his career high, set last season in 126 games.

Making the major league is the ultimate goal, and I don’t know how viable Luke Ritter might be as a potential major leaguer. As a defender, he is only adequate at the infield positions that he can man. At the plate, there is a lot of swing-and-miss in his game against minor leaguers and he will likely be eaten up by major leaguers. Regardless of all of that, sometimes you have to take a step back and admire a feat for what it is.

Douglas Orellana

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (Single-A)

2023 Season: 10 G (6 GS), 38.1 IP, 34 H, 20 R, 16 ER (3.76 ERA), 20 BB, 45 K, .303 BABIP (Single-A)

Nineteen-year-old Douglas Orellana was signed by the Mets as an international free agent out of Caracas, Venezuela on July 13, 2021. He was assigned to the DSL Mets and spent the remainder of the 2021 season in the Dominican Summer League, playing for both Mets DSL teams. In total, he posted an 8.05 ERA in 19.0 innings over 17 games with 22 hits allowed, 20 walks, 14 strikeouts, 6 hit batsmen, and 4 wild pitches. In early June, when the 2022 Florida Complex League season began, he was officially sent stateside and assigned to the FCL Mets. Used as starter and multi-inning reliever, the right-hander posted a 3.96 ERA in 36.1 innings for them, allowing 22 hits, walking 21, and striking out 55. He was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets at the end of August and appeared in 3 games for them, posting a 6.00 ERA in 6.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 7, and striking out 8. He began the 2023 season with St. Lucie.

Orellana throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot, short arming the ball. Earlier in his career, he had a long action through the back, but the organization had him change his mechanics during extended spring training prior to the start of the 2022 season. There is some violence in his delivery, specifically a head jerk and exaggerated follow through as he falls off the mound, which may be why he has had trouble with his command and control thus far in his young career- in 2022, he had a 6.0 BB/9 rate, walking 28 batters in 42.1 innings, and so far this season, he has a 4.7 BB/9 rate, walking 20 batters in 38.1 innings.

As was the case with Layonel Ovalles last week, Orellana’s success this week marks a high water mark in his career. His 75 Game Score was the highest he has ever logged. The six innings he threw were the most he threw in a single game as a professional. The seven strikeouts he logged match the season high set a few weeks ago in an outing in mid-May against the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Coming into the season, the right-hander was mainly a two pitch pitcher, relying on a four-seam fastball and a slurvy breaking ball that didn’t really have a well-defined shape. That breaking ball has now taken the form of two separate pitches, a distinct curveball and a distinct slider, and he has also added a cutter to the mix. So far this season, Orellana has thrown his fastball 55%, with his curveball, slider, and cutter all rounding out to 15%.

The right-hander’s fastball has plenty of velocity, sitting 91-97 MPH, averaging 94 MPH so far this season. The pitch has averaged 2400 RPM this season, ranging between 2260 RPM to 2500 RPM, giving the pitch some natural cutting action. It generates a lot of swings-and-misses, with a 24% whiff rate, and has resulted in more balls hit in the air than on the ground at about a 3:2 ratio.

Much like Layonel Ovalles, who also has a fastball with an extremely high spin rate and some natural cutting action, the Mets have worked with Orellana to develop a cutter. The right-hander has had two games in which went to the pitch more than any breaking ball or off-speed pitch, using it 31% of the time on May 19 against the Palm Beach Cardinals and 30% in this past start against the Daytona Tortugas and in those two games combined, he allowed 2 runs in 11 innings with 5 total hits allowed, 4 walks, and 14 strikeouts. The pitch has averaged 87 MPH, ranging between 86 and 89 MPH, with an average spin rate of 2650 RPM, high for a cutter. On the season, of the 86 cutters he has thrown, he has gotten 49 swings and 21 whiffs, a 24% swing-and-miss total.

Orellana throws his curveball and slider are just about equal ratios, his slider just slightly under 15% and his curveball slightly over it. His curveball sits in the high-70s-to-80 MPH, averaging 78 MPH. The pitch has not been particularly effective so far this season, almost never being thrown against left-handers and generating poor results when used against right-handers. His slider sits in the low-to-mid-80s, averaging 84 MPH. The pitch has generally been his go-to strikeout breaking pitch, thrown down and away to right-handed batters to get them fishing. The pitch has some two-plane bite and has mainly resulted in strikeouts or fly balls so far this season.

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
Week Eight (May 23-May 28): DJ Stewart/Jose Chacin
Week Nine (May 29-June 4): Luke Ritter/Layonel Ovalles