You’ve heard their names. You’ve heard the hype. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia are being counted on to bring a new era to Queens in the next few seasons.
To be honest, it’s hard to not buy into the hype. All four possess power arms unlike any that have passed through the Mets system in the past decade. In the short week or so of Spring Training, Harvey and Familia have been turning heads in camp, as their poise and raw abilities have the Mets front office dreaming of brighter days.
On Feb. 28, Harvey threw batting practice to some of the Mets best hitters, including David Wright, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy. After the outing, the general consensus seemed to be that Harvey still needs some seasoning in the minor leagues, but has a smooth and contained delivery that should translate well in the major leagues.
The future for Harvey will include Citi Field in the very near future. His change up has improved and his stellar stats last year at both A and AA have shown that he is progressing toward stardom at a rapid rate.
Familia, who struck out 96 hitters in 87.2 innings last year with a solid 3.49 ERA at AA Binghamton last year, has some of the best pure stuff in the entire organization. Most analysts expect the hurler to make his major league debut at some point during this season, however whether his erratic delivery can withstand the rigors of starting pitching will ultimately determine his role.
Wheeler is perhaps the pitcher with the most upside of the Mets “big four.” Acquired in a deadline-deal with the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran, Wheeler was ranked the 28th best prospect in the major leagues by mlb.com for 2012. After taking out his unimpressive first start in a Mets uniform, the right-hander had a 0.78 ERA and struck out 27 hitters over the following 23 innings he threw last season. If his command issues improve, Wheeler has a chance to lead the Mets staff for years to come.
Mejia, who was once touted as the Mets top pitching prospect has been lowered a bit in the organizational rankings after his recovery from Tommy John Surgery last May. In his short bullpen sessions, Mejia has supposedly looked surprisingly strong for someone who had a major invasive surgery just nine months ago.
Mejia boasts a fastball with tremendous life, which will certainly be taken into account as the Mets front office ultimately decides what role he will pitch in going forward. Due to the energy he puts into each and every pitch, Mejia might ultimately end up as a back-end of the bullpen pitcher — or potentially even a closer.
For a team that is currently starving for starting pitching, the future looks bright for the Mets. All four of these prospects are currently being touted as starters, and if two of them make it as such, the Mets should be ecstatic.
We’ll likely see the four pitchers over the course of the next two seasons, with Harvey and Familia on the fast track to Queens. Most expect Harvey to be making regular apperances on Citi Field’s mound later this season, while Familia will likely be a September call up.
If you’re a Mets fan looking for a reason to pay attention to this season, look no further than these bright spots.