NOTE: this is a guest post by Jimmy Prinzler. Enjoy.
The Mets’ top three pitching prospects at this time are Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, and Matt Harvey. Assuming they remain with the organization, what will they bring to the Mets?
My best guess is that all three will pitch together in the 2013 rotation — unless Wheeler surprises us all early by arriving in Flushing in late 2012. Regardless, once they arrive, what do those hurlers bring to the table?
It’s pretty obvious that they will strike out many hitters. In the minors, Wheeler posted 124 Ks in 113 IP, splitting his time in advanced “A” ball in San Jose and Port St. Lucie; Familia had 128 Ks in 119 IP in Port St. Lucie and AA Binghamton; and Harvey struck out 154 in 132 2/3 IP between Port St. Lucie and Binghamton. All told, that’s 406 strikeouts in just 364 2/3rd IP — or, 1.1 Ks per inning. In comparison, Stephen Strasburg dominated in the minors with a 10.6 K/9 in his first year of minor league ball, which translated to 12.2 K/9 at the MLB level with the Nationals last year — why can’t the Mets’ three future aces deliver similar numbers?
Looking at the big picture, there is another benefit to one strikeout per inning — it means the defense needs to procure only two outs each frame, which may reduce errors. Ergo, having these kinds of strikeout pitchers could make this team more solid on defense. Bases loaded with one out? No problem — the pitcher strikes out one and the defense gets the third out on a ball in play. (OK, that’s only a theory, and it would be great if it really worked out that way, but you get the idea.)
I know a lot of Mets fans are eager to see three pitchers from the farm come up together and I believe it’ll happen. The 2013 Mets rotation could consist of Harvey, Wheeler, Familia, Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese (not to mention, if he gets healthy, Jenrry Mejia could sneak in as well). Historically, the championship Mets teams were built around good young pitchers from within their farm system — maybe history is about to repeat itself.