3) NY Mets pitcher Thomas Szapucki
Thomas Szapucki’s career has been very different from Holderman’s tenure with the Mets organization. Both have undergone the knife and missed significant time in their careers. Aside from that, they are at very different places.
Szapucki has been a known Mets prospect for several years now. With all of the missed time, his rise has been delayed. He is having a good year in Triple-A and should remain a candidate for the Mets to start games if needed.
Next year, the plans for him may always change. Because he is a lefty on the other side of 25 with only a single game of big league experience, the time to transition him from starter to reliever could be coming. We already know the Mets have a need for relief pitchers. Their bullpen could also use a left-handed one.
Szapucki has had a good minor league career despite all of the stopping and starting from injuries and pandemics. He has some good stuff and looks like a possible lethal lefty.
The case to make him a starter on the Mets is a little more difficult. The current front office regime seems to prefer more trusted arms in the starting rotation. With two potential openings next season, one from Chris Bassitt and the other from Taijuan Walker, we would have to assume at least one of those is occupied by a veteran. I’d wager the other doesn’t go to Szapucki.
Whatever innings he gets this year, Szapucki could be auditioning for a bullpen role in 2023.