As the New York Mets are slaughtered with injuries to their starting pitchers, there is another name on the horizon that can contribute along the way in Thomas Szapucki for today's game against the Giants.
Szapucki is expected to make at least a spot start today for the Mets as their rotation schedule was messed up from their snowout on Friday in Colorado. This will also be his first major league start and second overall appearance in the big leagues. A “prove it” moment is on hand for the 26-year-old lefty as he attempts to make a case in front of fans that he can succeed in some capacity in the majors.
Mets prospect Thomas Szapucki took a long and winding road to get to this point.
The Mets selected Szapucki in the fifth round in the 2015 MLB Draft and spent his first two seasons impressing the team in the lower minors with authority. It made so much so that Baseball America ranked him as the 69th best prospect going into the 2017 season.
However, he blew out his elbow and missed much of the 2017 campaign and all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery; it was a setback to his development that prevented him from pitching in the major leagues sooner.
After Szapucki recovered, he shot up the ranks again, this time as high as Double-A in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the minor league season the following year.
Szapucki started pitching for Triple-A last season before he was called up to the majors in late June. He got rocked in his big league debut on June 30 in Atlanta, giving up six runs in 3.2 innings pitched in relief, and saw his season end early as he underwent ulnar transposition surgery on his elbow in July.
Szapucki has been the Mets’ best pitcher at Triple-A Syracuse this season and he deserves this chance.
Szapucki has pitched to a 2.86 ERA in 22.0 innings pitched with 30 strikeouts against 9 walks in Triple-A in 7 starts, and health has not been an issue.
The southpaw could also come in handy as a long reliever down the road this season for a pitching staff that could use another lefty (yes, the Mets already have three of them with both Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve in the bullpen and David Peterson in the rotation).
The Mets need to make sure that the pitching arsenal that has elevated his game can be shown off in the major leagues, when they look at the velocity of his pitches, which dipped last year, but has shown signs of improving in 2022. The scouting also notes he has an above average curveball with work needed to be done with his other pitches.
With Jacob deGrom potentially eyeing a return in late June, Max Scherzer five to seven weeks away from his return, and Tylor Megill starting to throw again, this may be the best chance he will ever get to cement himself as a big league hurler for the New York Mets.