The New York Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Corey Oswalt in the seventh round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. Of the players taken by the Mets in that draft, the only noteworthy selections were Kevin Plawecki and Tomas Nido. All three pitchers taken by the Mets ahead of Oswalt have been colossal busts. One pitcher taken a few rounds later, Paul Sewald, enjoyed some success in his stints with the club. Oswalt made it to the big club but has never spent much time in a Mets uniform.
Oswalt seemed to be honing his craft as he moved up the Mets minor league chain. He didn’t display the kind of overpowering stuff, with “swing and miss” pitches, as the more notable prospects, but he enjoyed some success with the Brooklyn Cyclones (6-2, 2.26 ERA in 2014), the Savannah Sand Gnats (11-5, 3.36 ERA in 2015), and the St. Lucie Mets and Gulf Coast League Mets (4-2, 4.06 ERA in 2016) along the way. He started 24 games for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and went 12-5 with a 2.28 ERA in 2017 and the Mets rewarded him by adding him to the 40-man roster after that season.
The ups and downs of Major League Baseball. Success and failure. How many times have you heard that you can fail 70% of the time and make it to the Hall of Fame? But it truly is the ups and downs, both physically (performance) and emotionally, that can wear you down. Part of the up and down is the “shuttle” between the Big League club and its Minor League affiliate. For some, that shuttle can be truly wearisome. Players come, and players go.
It seems like every so often some player, usually a pitcher, appears seemingly out of nowhere and then is suddenly gone, never to be heard from again. Most recently, due to the new rules with doubleheaders and expanded rosters for some games, teams will pad their bullpen with an extra arm. But usually, that player appears for a “spot start” when an extra game is added to the schedule or a member of the rotation goes down with sickness or injury.
New York Mets shuttled Corey Oswalt between Triple-A and the big club 13 times in three seasons
Since 2018, Oswalt was the guy who got the call to hoof it to the Mets only to be sent packing very soon after.
He was first called up from the Las Vegas 51’s on April 10, 2018. And he was sent down the next day on April 11. Oswalt was then brought back from Las Vegas on April 21, and finally made his debut on April 25 in St. Louis, pitching 4 2/3 innings in relief against the Cardinals, in a blowout loss. He was then returned to Las Vegas two days later.
Oswalt was recalled again on May 8 and sent back a week later on May 15. He was then summoned to make an emergency start, his first, when Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled start on June 29, but was optioned right after that. Oswalt was then recalled on July 23 and optioned on July 27, only to be recalled again on August 8.
During the ups and downs of the 2018 season, Oswalt somehow managed to pitch in 17 games, 12 of them starts, and went 3-3 with an uninspiring ERA of 5.85.
Oswalt’s chances of making the team out of spring training weren’t very good, and he was optioned to the Mets new Triple A affiliate, Syracuse, on March 11, 2019.
He boarded the Syracuse to Flushing Shuttle three times during the 2019. His time was limited to two games and 6 1/3 innings as he was dealt with an injury which kept him out of action from May through September.
Like the season before, Oswalt was optioned to Syracuse on March 11, 2020. During the shortened season, he had three short stints with the Mets – July 23-27; August 18-28; September 23-27. He appeared in a total of four games and yielded seven runs in 13 innings pitched.
And then just before spring training this season, on February 10, 2021, the former seventh round draft pick was DFA’d – designated for assignment – a roster move necessitated by the Mets signing of Albert Almora. Now gone from the Mets 40-man roster, Oswalt cleared waivers and the Mets assigned him to Syracuse.
So now what? Was Oswalt ever really considered a prospect? Was he ever thought to be a part of the future of the rotation? Or the bullpen? Why, of all of the pitchers in the organization, was he the one repeatedly summoned, and simply thrown to the wolves as the sacrificial lamb, and then seemingly discarded? And what does that do to a player’s psyche?
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You have to wonder if Oswalt has failed the Mets or the Mets have failed Oswalt, given the ups and downs – figuratively and literally – that he has been put through. Could he have flourished if coddled the way Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz, Wheeler, and deGrom were handled during their respective climbs up the baseball ladder? Or would he simply be one of those players who just doesn’t have the stuff to stick around? We may never know.