Thomas Szapucki Shows A Wide Repertoire
After missing most of the previous two seasons rehabbing from injuries and Tommy John surgery, 23-year-old lefthander Thomas Szapucki excelled enough in 2019 to earn a spot on the Mets' 40-man roster.
Szapucki made 21 appearances (18 starts) totaling just 61.2 innings at three stops, including one at Double-A Binghamton before he was shut down near the end of the season because of fatigue concerns.
Szapucki, a 2015 fifth-rounder out of high school in West Palm Beach, Fla., recorded a 2.63 ERA with 72 strikeouts, 26 walks and two home runs allowed. He pitched to a 1.22 WHIP.
"We’ve always known he was a talented pitcher so really it was about him staying healthy during the year,” farm director Jared Banner said. "He did a great job keeping his body in shape and taking care of himself, which allowed him to stay on the field and show us what he can do.
"He has an electric fastball that comes out easy and he has a very unique ability to spin a quality breaking ball, so we are very excited.”
Szapucki, who is 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, has lost velocity since his Tommy John surgery in 2017, but still throws his fastball in the 91-94 mph range and has impressed team officials with his secondary pitches.
"The curveball is what I would consider sharp-breaking and he can get it over for a strike,” Banner said. "The changeup is another pitch he uses very well to stay off barrels and change speeds, so it’s a quality weapon for him and still developing.”
Banner said it’s too early to tell where Szapucki might begin next season. He appeared in only one game at Double-A last season after rising from low Class A Columbia and high Class A St. Lucie.
"We need him to come into camp and compete,” Banner said. "And I am sure he will.”