Who’s Next? The Top Pitching Prospects Left in the System, #2 - Casey Meisner | Astromets Mind

Friday, July 3, 2015

Who’s Next? The Top Pitching Prospects Left in the System, #2 - Casey Meisner

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Re-ranking the Top starting pitchers within the Mets farm system now that Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard have graduated.

            Coming into the 2015 season, the Mets farm system was a consensus Top-5 system in the majors thanks to some high-end talent at the top, but they’ve graduated several top prospects, including their top-2 starting pitching prospects, and figure to take a hit in those rankings this offseason. That’s not a bad thing though, because it means that the Mets are starting to improve from within, which is the purpose of a farm system. Also, it means that the door is open for the next crop of prospects to emerge, and the Mets still have some starting pitching prospects with major league upside worth keeping an eye on.

            For this list, I have limited myself to full-season starters, because we still know relatively little about the short-season pitchers, and those guys are far from helping away. Notably absent from this list is Marcos Molina, because he’s too much of an unknown at this point. He would easily rank among the top 2-3 starters left if healthy, and he’d probably be #1 if he could pitch like he did last year in Brooklyn without the scary mechanics – everyone who saw him last year said the same two things: he has great stuff, but his mechanics are big red flags. But, he’s not pitching right now because of a forearm strain, and he’s not having Tommy John surgery either, so what are the Mets getting when he returns? Will he have the same mechanics? If so, why should we expect him to stay healthy? If not, will his stuff be as good? Either way, this is looking like a lost season for Molina, and we still have to wait-and-see if this injury carries over to next season.

Casey Meisner

            I had Meisner ranked ahead of everyone left in my pre-season prospect list, and I’m not going to change after the first half. He is a bit of a wild card, as his fastball ranges from 88-94 MPH – it often sits in the low-90’s, but that’s a big range. It looks like he’s mixing in both a two seamer and four seamer, so that probably accounts for the big spread. He also throws a changeup that I’ve heard range from 77-82 MPH, and a curveball that I’ve heard range from 72-79 MPH – I’ve seen him live once, on MiLB.tv five times, and listen to his other starts on radio. The 6’7” string bean throws from a high ¾ arm slot, which allows him to get a little run on his sinker and changeup, and gives his curveball an 11-5 break.
            His fastball is the wild card, but he gets a good plane on it, and can usually spot it to either side of the plate, so it should at least end up average. It could end up rated a plus pitch if he can add a few ticks to the average speed, but that’s not crucial for him to stick as a starter. He had trouble getting it inside against lefties consistently during the few starts I saw this year, but it was too good for SAL batters even when he missed his spots.
His changeup is likely Top-2 of what’s left in the system, showing good sink in addition to that fading action. A good indication of how successful his changeup has been this year is the .475 OPS he’s allowed to lefties, which is thanks to a 25.2 K%: 5.3 BB% and .078 ISO against.
This list features several good curveballs, but Meisner’s matches up with any of them. He’ll throw it in any count, and it’s been a weapon against both lefties and righties so far. His confidence using the pitch like that keeps batters guessing, which often leads to knees buckled from his curveball, or late swings on his fastball.
Overall, there really is a lot to like here, and he turned 20 just one month before debuting in the Florida State League last week, so he’s very advanced for his age (3.1 years younger than the average FSL player, per Baseball-reference). With 3 potential plus pitches, a #2 ceiling is not unreasonable, but it’s not likely his fastball improves much, so his more realistic projection is of a #3-4 starter.

From 2015 (with GIFs): April 28, May 8, May 21

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