The turnaround of righthander Tyler Pill gave the organization an unexpected arm to consider for an opening on the major league staff.
Pill struggled in previous tries at Triple-A Las Vegas, but through six starts this year he went 2-1, 2.04 with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks in 39.2 innings. The 27-year-old began the year with two starts at Double-A Binghamton.
The early success of Pill—whom the Mets selected from Cal State Fullerton in the fourth round of the 2011 draft—might be a case of him becoming more aggressive.
“Every time he came up here, he couldn’t break that wall between Double-A and Triple-A,” Las Vegas pitching coach Frank Viola said. “He put himself in a position where he was behind in the count, nitpicking, and that ball was just an inch off the plate. This year he’s come in and that ball is an inch on the plate.
“The biggest difference I’ve seen is he’s pounding the heck out of the inside corner. Hitters for the first time seem uncomfortable at the plate against him.”
Viola labels the 6-foot-2 Pill as a “50-50” pitcher: He needs to throw his secondary pitches half the time to compensate for his lack of a big fastball.
“He’s just one of those guys who knows how to pitch,” said a talent evaluator who watched Pill this season. “His stuff is a little short, but he knows how to pitch with it. He may get a chance to pitch in the major leagues, but he also brings a lot of stability to your system.
“He knows what he is and is not going to be anything more than that.”
Viola sees a pitcher who has finally learned his craft and could help the Mets if given the opportunity.
“Nothing would surprise me right now with the confidence he’s taking to the mound,” Viola said. “This is the Tyler Pill I saw when he first got drafted.”
— Mike Puma covers the Mets for the New York Post