Scouting the Kingsport Pitching Staff

Reporting from his current trip to Kingsport, Andy Braunstein, who has been scouting the Mets' prospects for the last 11 years, gives his scouting reports on K-Mets pitchers William Weitzman, Aristides Almenar, David Torres, Troy Fry, and Jose Gomez. Find out what Andy's thoughts are on these players and what he believes their chances are for making it to Shea Stadium to pitch for the New York Mets.

50 - William Weitzman
Height: 6'2
Weight: 192 lbs Bats: Right Throws: Right
DOB: 11/29/83
Born: Rockville Center, NY
How Acquired: Signed in 2003 as unrestricted free agent.
High School: Oceanside HS
College: Briarcliff (NY) CC

The best thing he has going for him is his youth. He is tall and thin, the kind of body that could fill out and push his fastball from the Major League average range into ML plus territory. It also means there is time to work on his mechanics and improve his change-up and curveball to turn himself from a pitcher destined for oblivion, into a prospect. Weitzman picked up a slider this year and he says it was his best pitch but the Mets won't allow him to throw until he perfects his change-up. As he stands now with his straight fastball, Weitzman has suffered through some rough outings mainly due to inconsistency in the strike zone. Regarding his delivery, he deals from between a sidearm and 10 o'clock angle. He loads up pretty well, working from the first base side of the rubber. Works quick. Does hold the ball up behind his back and can follow it. In his delivery, he starts slow with a brief pause, than has a quicker finish. He's currently being used in middle relief.

51 - Aristides Almenar
Height: 6'2
Weight: 202 lbs Bats: Right Throws: Right
DOB: 12/27/83
Born: Valencia, VZ
How Acquired: Signed in 2001 as international free agent.

He looks much older than his listed age of 20 years old. Almenar was in Kingsport last season and so far there isn't any different from the 3-5, 4.59 ERA Almenar of last year. He is still kind of chubby and his fastball hasn't budged from the 88-91, which is not a good sign. Almenar doesn't load up as much as he could, especially with his lead leg. It lands short. If he extends it further it would allow physics to propel the basefall faster as well as enable him to throw strikes on a more consistent basis. Circle change-up is his best pitch. He disguises it well with more drop than rightward run. His tight slider swerves a lot leaving it almost always out of the strike zone. He has to get hitters to offer at them or it will be a ball giving hitters the edge that he will go with his "straightish" fastball. He will 2-seam it to give it some sink but at his velocity, that will be hit as well. To lefties, the slider is just another look pitch going mostly with the fastball and change-up. I would give him another year to see what the Met have in Almenar. Teams wouldn't be calling to get him right now.

Pitch Rating (on a scale of 8)

Fastball: 5.5, 87-91 MPH
Slider: 5-5.5, 79-81 MPH
Change-up: 5.5, 82-84 MPH

Future Forecast
"Cup of Coffee" Chance: 8%
Stay a While: 4%
Regular: 2%
Star: 1%

22 - David Torres
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 205 lbs Bats: Right Throws: Right
DOB: 4/23/81
Born: Brooklyn, NY
How Acquired: Drafted by the Mets in the 47th round of the 2003 draft and signed by Joe Bunnell on June 6, 2003.
High School: Hackensack (NJ)HS
College: Central Florida University

Torres has changed his arm angle this year from 10 o'clock to sidearm. It makes him tough on righties especially because it starts out looking like its going to hit them. Also could drop his loose, swerving slider, and a decent circle change-up on batters, giving him a good shot at having a clean outing. To lefties, Torres works the outside corner and smart hitters just slap his pitches the opposite way for basehits. Was up at Brooklyn earlier the year (.0-0, 1.69) and was a more a victim of a pitcher numbers crunch then from poor performance. In Kingsport, he is coming in almost on daily basis as a middle reliever in a mop up role. Torres was in Kingsport last season (1-2, 3.33) as well. He has a bit of herky-jerky delivery and he hides the ball well, both pluses. His fastball is slow enough that gravity gives it some drop. He won't be on any prospect list but has earned some time to see if he can get hitters out on higher levels. Is well-suited to be pitcher to come in and get righties out. The list of those type of pitching prospects in the Mets farm system is long, with results determining who remains in the hunt.

Pitch Rating (on a scale of 8)

Fastball: 5.5, 83-87 MPH
Curveball: 5, 73-75 MPH
Change-up: 5.5, 77-79 MPH

Future Forecast
"Cup of Coffee" Chance: 15%
Stay a While: 10%
Regular: 5%
Star: 2%

32 - Troy Fry
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 208 lbs Bats: Right Throws: Right
DOB: 6/23/81
Born: Easton, PA
How Acquired: Drafted by the Mets in the 24th round of the 2003 draft and signed by Marlin MacPhail on June 6, 2003.
High School: Nazareth (Pa) HS
College: Barry (Ga) University

There's no change from last year when Fry was 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA with the K-Mets last season. Like anyone who doesn't throw hard, Fry has to rely on command and control on all four of his pitches. They include a fastball that is kind of straight, but will 2-seam it to give it some sink. He has a 12-6 curveball, a tight swerving slider, and a nicely disguised circle change-up that drops more than it runs. His change-up is his best pitch. At 22, he's back in Kingsport, still with a 4.00 ERA. The Mets have to have some faith in him by keeping him as a starting pitcher. Fry has been piggy-backing with Jose Gomez. He's not going to get faster and the times his control will be on, rather than off, will probably not be enough to keep him alive beyond A ball. Comes from a 10'clock angle. Hitters do get a peek of the ball behind his back, but that's about it.

Pitch Rating (on a scale of 8)

Fastball: 4.5-5, 83-86 MPH
Curveball: 5-5.5, 72 MPH
Change-up: 5.5-6, 79-80 MPH
Slider: 5.5, 77-79 MPH

Future Forecast
"Cup of Coffee" Chance: 15%
Stay a While: 10%
Regular: 5%
Star: 2%

48 - Jose Gomez
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 248 lbs Bats: Right Throws: Right
DOB: 5/16/81
Born: Santo Domingo, DR

So far the pick of the K-Mets pitching corps. His fastball tops out at 93 and he has a fair tight, swerving slider and a improved tight circle change-up that just drops and runs a tad. Will 2-seam the fastball to give it some sink. What has tripped him in the past is lack of control. His body was out of control, he'll miss his release points regularly, fall behind, and throw the fastball, which even at 93 MPH, will get smacked if expected. At least in the night we saw him he was throwing strikes, staying ahead of the batters and threw 4 shut-out innings while striking out ten batters.

We're anxious to see him another time and see if he continue to have command of his body and his pitches. Besides his control, there's another problem area....Gomez has been in pro ball for seven seasons: three in the Dominican Republic. There is hope that he isn't fully through the recovery period from the arm surgery that he had in 2002 and that there's more MPH in his fastball once he completes the arm strengthening phase. Otherwise, at age 23, physically he is what he is, and for all the pro years he has under his belt, he better continue to get Appalachian League hitters out or his future gets bleak. Gomez hrows from a 10 o'clock angle and he helps his cause by hiding the ball very well. He is wide set and strong, though he is a little pudgy around the middle. Will be a 6-year free-agent so the Mets must add him to their 40-man roster or he's free to make his own deal with any team that would have him. With his fastball the Mets will vie to get him back and with other teams not going to bust their budgets to sign him, there's a good shot he'll return for an 8th season.

Pitch Rating (on a scale of 8)

Fastball: 6.5, 89-93 MPH
Change-up: 5.5-6, 78-80 MPH
Slider: 5.5, 81-82 MPH

Future Forecast
"Cup of Coffee" Chance: 33%
Stay a While: 20%
Regular: 15%
Star: 8%

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