Thomas Szapucki will start Opening Day in Syracuse

Mar 13, 2022; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Thomas Szapucki (63) works out during
Mar 13, 2022; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Thomas Szapucki (63) works out during / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a make-or-break season for Thomas Szapucki. The left-handed pitcher has been a fixture on top prospects lists for the New York Mets over the last few years. When he has been healthy, Szapucki has been solid. The problem has been staying on the field.

Since debuting with 2.1 innings back in 2015, Szapucki has logged a total of 186.2 minor league innings plus 3.2 more with the Mets in 2021. It’s an incredibly low total for as long as he has been around. With two entire seasons wiped away—one because of injury in 2018 and another because of a pandemic in 2020—he comes into this season with the first pitch for the Syracuse Mets and some pretty big goals.

Mets prospect Thomas Szapucki begins an important season on Opening Day for the Syracuse club

Szapucki saw the majority of his 2021 action in Syracuse. He appeared in 10 total games and made 9 starts. The result was a 4.10 ERA in some control issues. He averaged 6 walks per 9 and saw his strikeout rate dip to 8.9 per 9 as well.

A midseason injury knocked him out of action. Now seemingly healthy for the Triple-A opener on April 5, he’ll look to become more than an aging prospect with little big league experience.

Szapucki’s path to the major leagues couldn’t be better. The major league Mets have some questions with the health of their rotation. With other opportunities certainly arriving in the future as well, Szapucki can pitch his way up the depth chart and possibly into some major league innings.

If that’s not in the cards, there’s another way the Mets can use him.

You’ve already probably noticed the Mets don’t have a completely trustworthy left-handed reliever in the bullpen. Between Chasen Shreve and Joely Rodriguez, the Mets look ready to try and get by with those two options. As a lefty hurler himself, Szapucki could become another option as the season progresses. It’s possible this is even where his career trajectory pulls him in the long run. After all, it might be easier for him to stay on the mound as a reliever instead of a starter.

Szapucki’s 2022 journey begins with the first game of the Triple-A season. He’ll need both health and control on his side to be considered for a promotion. Otherwise, his time with the organization could soon come to a close.

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