Remember Colin Holderman and the fury that followed when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Daniel Vogelbach? New York Mets fans fell in love with the flamethrowing righty reliever last season only to see him leave a bit prematurely.
This year’s Mets could include a similar situation, at least in terms of falling in love. Grant Hartwig is the ultimate underdog waiting on the farm. An undrafted free agent signed by the club back in July 2021, the whole world seems to be against him.
Well, the whole world except for Mets fans looking for a new underdog story to follow.
Why Grant Hartwig is the next Mets prospect you’re going to fall in love with
The background is perfect. Ability is also key. Hartwig, through two professional seasons, seems to have plenty of it.
Hartwig graduated from Miami. No, the other Miami. The one in Ohio. His collegiate numbers aren’t dazzling. He did show a lot of improvement in his senior year. The Mets scouts saw enough to give him a chance. Things were promising in 2021 with Hartwig posting a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings of work.
The real test came last season when Hartwig traveled from Single-A St. Lucie all the way up to Triple-A Syracuse. He logged 56.2 innings, saved 13 games, and did it all with a 1.75 ERA. He even won both of the games he pitched for Syracuse.
A reliever on the rise, he may fit in nicely with the class of players like Holderman, Jeff McNeil, and Tylor Megill who seemed to come from out of nowhere. Hartwig is an even better candidate for a Disney movie about him. Undrafted free agents rarely get the benefit of the doubt.
Interestingly, the Mets do have another player on their farm rising up in the same boat. Signed after going undrafted in 2020, outfielder Brandon McIlwain joined Hartwig in the Arizona Fall League this past autumn after a strong showing during the regular season. McIlwain batted .255/.345/.391 in a split season between High-A and Double-A. He added 7 home runs and stole 15 bases.
It’s easy to fall head over heels with the best Mets prospects we’re told from the beginning are the next big thing. In the case of Hartwig and McIlwain, we’ve got a pair many doubted. In 2023, it’s Hartwig we could see find his way onto the major league roster at some point and impress us.