2) NY Mets prospect who will breakout in 2023: Layonel Ovalles
The Mets have several pitchers in their farm system, but they’re waiting for a few to develop. Matt Allan has dealt with numerous injuries, throwing his long-term future in flux, Blade Tidwell, a 2022 2nd-round pick, has the stuff to be New York’s best pitching prospect and Calvin Ziegler has slowly worked his way through the organization. For all the commotion at the top, New York has amassed several young intriguing pitching prospects.
Few may be more intriguing than Layonel Ovalles. An international free agent from the 2019 class, Ovalles finished last season with 46.2 innings pitched, 66 strikeouts, and 17 walks between two levels at 19 years old. On the surface, Ovalles should enter the 2023 season as a potential starter for the St. Lucie Mets, with a chance to move quickly through the system if he continues to repeat his 2022 success.
Ovalles can run it up to 97 with his fastball but sits around 94. The true value is his spin rates and just how fast he can ramp them up. Per Amazin Avenue, Ovalles can get his fastball up to 2535 RPM, a curveball that sits around 2800 RPM, and a sweeping slider that ranges between 2100 and 2700 RPM. All are considered above average for each pitch. For a 19-year-old, Ovalles can spin it and has a great fastball, both good starts for a high-level pitching prospect.
Good pitchability and solid rotations on his pitches carried Ovalles to A-ball, but we’ll get more data with more time in A-ball. Suppose he can maintain the success, keep the spin rate data similar, and most importantly, add another mile or two to the fastball. In that case, we could be looking at a 20-year-old Ovalles as one of the better pitching prospects in the organization, on the steps to Double-A.