Simeon Woods-Richardson Brings More Than Big Arm
The Mets saw enough in righthander Simeon Woods-Richardson in spring training to let the 18-year-old pitch an inning in a major league exhibition game against the Nationals.
Woods-Richardson allowed a two-run homer to Matt Adams, but the lasting impression to team officials might have been the manner in which he responded, maintaining composure.
"He handled it very well,” scouting director Marc Tramuta said. "I can’t imagine being 18 and thrown into that environment. But he’s got a lot of swagger to him, a lot of confidence, a lot of energy he exudes on the mound.”
The early returns have been strong for the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Woods-Richardson, whom the Mets drafted from Kempner High in Sugar Land, Texas, in the second round last year.
Over his first five starts at low Class A Columbia this season, Woods-Richardson recorded a 1.23 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. In seven Rookie-ball appearances last season he posted a 1.56 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
Tramuta said it was obvious to the naked eye that Woods-Richardson would be a good catch for the Mets.
"What jumps out at you right away is the size and athleticism that he has,” Tramuta said. "He’s a two-way kid who swung the bat really well, but his size, strength and athleticism for a younger kid—he wasn’t going to turn 18 (in his draft year) until September—so those factors right away were appealing.”
Woods-Richardson’s fastball peaked at 97 mph when the Mets were scouting him, but scouts saw more than just a big arm.
"This kid was somebody who could execute his pitches as a high school pitcher,” Tramuta said. "He threw a lot of strikes, especially with his curveball and changeup, and that was appealing. This wasn’t just a guy you were sending out with arm strength. He could actually pitch.
"It’s a long journey for a high school guy and when they can throw strikes early on it helps them perform, which he has done well.”
NEW YORK MINUTES
— Righthander Walker Lockett began the season on the injured list for Triple-A Syracuse with elbow discomfort. The Mets acquired Lockett from the Padres over the winter to provide rotation depth.
— Outfielder Travis Taijeron slugged seven home runs in his first 19 games for Syracuse.