Over the last few years, the New York Mets have made it a habit of trading away young pitching arms from their farm system in hopes of landing some big time bats or MLB ready relief pitchers. Former draft pick names such as J.T. Ginn, Justin Dunn and Simeon Woods-Richardson come to mind as just some of the players the Mets traded away to bring aboard more major league roster ready talent to help them compete in their current seasons. As the remaining amount of big name pitching prospects in their farm system continues to dwindle, there is one particular hurler (not named Matthew Allan) that is shooting up their prospect ranking charts and who may have a chance to even join the big league roster later on in the season. His name is Jose Butto.
Butto is a 24 year old right hander who is a native from Venezuela. He stands at 6'1" and weighs around 205 lbs. The Mets signed Butto back in 2017 as an international prospect for only $5,000 as a 19 year old. Butto has spent the last 5 years working his way up from low A ball up to pitching effectively for the Mets double A minor league team at Binghamton.
Jose Butto looks like a promising young pitcher who has pitched well in Double-A Binghamton these last few seasons and who may come up to help the Mets as a September call up to the majors.
His arsenal consists of a heavy fastball that he is able to throw in to right handed hitters and induce them to getting jammed. He throws this pitch anywhere between 91 and 94 mph but can reach speeds as high as 96 mph consistently when he has to. Butto also features a change up he throws in the low 80's that works as a very good compliment to his fastball. So far, hitters in the minor leagues are having trouble picking up his off speed change up. The motion of his pitching delivery also does a good job of hiding the baseball till the very last milliseconds of his release to home plate, making it even harder for batters to time him well. His throwing motion can best be described as a hybrid of David Cone's and of Roger Clemens' delivery.
Butto also has an ability to throw his top two pitches consistently for strikes. Last year in Brooklyn and in Bighamton combined, he had a solid K/BB ratio of 5 to 1. He was able to hold right handed hitters in 2021 to a respectably low to average OPS of .699 and lefties in 2021 to an OPS of just .712. So far this year, in three starts at double A Binghamton, the Venezuelan native has pitched a combined 13.1 IP with 20K, 3 BB and allowed only one earned run on ten hits in total. This equates to miniscule ERA of 0.66. Not too shabby.
Also, as of the writing of this piece, Butto has made a total of eleven starts at double-A over his last two seasons and he has a K/BB ratio of 5.82 with 70 K, 12 BB and a 2.50 ERA in 54 total innings pitched. There is no doubt in my mind he will get the call up to make a few starts at the triple-A level very shortly. If he performs even half way decent at Syracuse, Showalter and the Mets will certainly give him a chance to pitch in the majors this season.
What is interesting is that with a few of the Mets starters projected to hit the free agent market after 2022, there is also a very legitimate chance that Butto can prove himself as a valuable piece and even earn his way onto the Mets starting rotation next season. The only concern with him however is he doesn't have a reliable third pitch to go to like most effective big league starters tend to have.
Currently, he is working on developing his curve ball to add to his arsenal, and though at times he has shown okay movement with it, he is still having trouble throwing it consistently for strikes. The Mets pitching coaches in the minors feel he needs more work on this pitch if he is to truly make a mark at the Major League level.
But so far so good.
In a farm system where starting pitching talent and development has been a bit devoid in recent years, Jose Butto may be that rare rare silver lining the Mets can hang their hopes on to redeem the image of their minor league farm system when it comes to molding solid minor league pitchers who can contribute to the rotation much like pitchers did back from 2015 to 2017. As we have seen from most successful MLB franchises over the past decade, championship contending teams usually start to form once they start developing crucial talented pieces from within. And Jose Butto certainly falls into that category.