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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Fourteen

What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, July 4th to July 9th?

New York Mets pitcher Dominic Hamel
Dominic Hamel
Photo by Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Jefrey De Los Santos

Week: 6 G, 20 AB, .450/.577/.850, 9 H, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 BB, 6 K, 0/1 SB (Single-A)

2023 Season: 37 G, 126 AB, .246/.358/.413, 31 H, 8 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 19 BB, 38 K, 4/5 SB, .275 BABIP (Single-A)

Jefrey De Los Santos was signed out of Higuey, Dominican Republic on July 2, 2019, the last year the international signing period window began in July. The 16-year-old did not pitch that year, or the subsequent year, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down minor league baseball in 2020. De Los Santos made his professional debut in 2021, assigned to the Dominican Summer League. He appeared in 42 games total and hit 248/.344/.372 with 2 home runs, 6 stolen bases in 9 attempts, and 18 walks to 40 strikeouts. He was promoted and sent stateside in 2021, starting the season with the FCL Mets. He appeared in 43 games and struggled, hitting .205/.287/.333 with 3 home runs, 5 stolen bases in 9 attempts, and 15 strikeouts to 41 walks. Needing a second baseman, the infielder was promoted to the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies for a single game in mid-September, long after the Florida Complex League season ended. De Los Santos went 1-2 with a walk and a strikeout in the game.

De Los Santos was promoted to St. Lucie to begin this season and struggled out of the gate. He missed roughly a month after being put on the injured list on April 30, but has looked much better since returning, hitting .268/.423/.463 in 12 games.

A left-handed hitter, De Los Santos stands slightly open at the plate, holding his hands at the letters and holding the bat head up at about 11:00. He swings with a toe tap and very little load and stride. Though on the smaller size, standing 5’11”, De Los Santos can put a jolt into the ball, averaging an 89.5 MPH exit velocity this season. Of his 120 recorded batted ball events, De Los Santos has 22 with exit velocities over 100 MPH and 5 with exit velocities over 105 MPH, his high water mark currently being 106.7 MPH, a triple off of Daytona Tortugas pitcher Kenya Huggins on June 8.

Signed as a shortstop, he currently has 0 games logged at the position, with Jett Williams and Kevin Villavicencio on the roster. He has 1 game logged at first base, 11 games logged at second base, 5 in left field, 10 in center field, and 1 in right field. With Junior Tilien and Rhylan Thomas’ recent promotions to Brooklyn and Blane McIntosh’s release, De Los Santos should receive more playing time at both second base and the outfield, especially if he continues hitting well as he has as of late.

Dominic Hamel

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K (Double-A)

2023 Season: 15 G (15 GS), 67.2 IP, 65 H, 37 R, 25 ER (4.92 ERA), 25 BB, 91 K, .331 BABIP (Double-A)

Undrafted out of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona, after graduating back in 2017, Dominic Hamel initially attended Yavapai College, a community college in Prescott, Arizona about two hours away. He spent two years pitching for the Roughriders and was excellent, posting 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings in his freshman year with 68 hits allowed, 29 walks, and 75 strikeouts and a 3.68 ERA in 73.1 innings in his sophomore year with 66 hits allowed, 44 walks, and 84 strikeouts. Hamel transferred to Dallas Baptist University for the 2020 season and pitched as the Patriots’ Sunday starter, making four appearances before the NCAA cancelled the remainder for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In those 4 starts, he posted a 4.58 ERA in 19.2 innings, allowing 13 hits, walking 7, and striking out 27. He went undrafted in the 2020 MLB Draft and returned to Dallas Baptist, serving as their Friday night ace. The right-hander tossed 91.2 innings for them that year, helping lead the 41-18 Patriots to the NCAA Columbia Super Regional, where they lost to University of Virginia Cavaliers in the best of three series. Hamel posted a 4.22 ERA, allowing 68 hits, walking 34, and striking out 136, a Dallas Baptist record and the most in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2021 by a wide margin.

With their third-round draft pick, the Mets selected Hamel, signing him for $755,300, exactly the MLB-assigned slot value. Hamel threw a handful of innings that summer with the FCL Mets, but his professional career began in earnest in 2022 with the St. Lucie Mets. Ranked the Mets 16th top prospect, the right-hander posted a 3.84 ERA in 63.1 innings over 14 games with 48 hits allowed, 29 walks, and 71 strikeouts and was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones in early July. He finished the season with the Cyclones and posted a 2.59 ERA in 55.2 innings over 11 games with 35 hits allowed, 25 walks, and 74 strikeouts. All in all, the right-hander had a successful season, posting a combined 3.25 ERA in 119.0 innings, allowing 83 hits, walking 54, and striking out 145, the most by a minor leaguer in the entire organization in 2022. Hamel was ranked the Mets’ 10th top prospect coming into the 2023 season, and was assigned to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies to begin the season, where he remains.

The right-hander has not really been able to find his footing this season, though he has been better as of late. He got off to a solid start, posting a 2.30 ERA in 15.2 innings in April, but had a very rough next two months, posting a 6.17 ERA in 23.1 May innings and a 6.35 ERA in 22.2 June innings. He had two solid starts at the end of June, and this most recent start was his best of the season, so hopefully the right-hander starts getting on a roll in the dog days of summer.

The right-hander has all of the tools to dominate Double-A but has struggled to find consistency so far. Seemingly, he is throwing too many pitches in the zone. His walk rate- a historical Achilles Heel of his- is an improved to a borderline excellent 3.3 walks per nine/8.4%, but his hit rate has increased and his home run rate has increased. His ground ball rate is slightly down and his fly ball rate is slightly up- more than slightly if we ignore his 55.2 innings in Brooklyn last season in which he did not allow a single home run, period. It appears that Hamel is living in the strike zone more, giving batters the opportunity to not only put balls in play, but square up on pitches that they can hit for extra bases. In his 67.2 innings so far this season, Hamel has allowed 16 doubles, 1 triple, 9 home runs, and batters are hitting .243/.311/.412 against him. Compare to 2022, when he threw a combined 119.0 innings with the St. Lucie Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones and allowed 16 doubles, no triples, and 5 home runs, with batters hitting .196/.296/.269 against him.

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
Week Ten (June 5-June 11): Luke Ritter/Douglas Orellana
Week Eleven (June 12-June 18): Luke Voit/Joey Lucchesi
Week Twelve (June 19-June 25): Kevin Parada/Tyler Stuart
Week Thirteen (June 26-July 3): Jonathan Arauz/Blade Tidwell