Nabil Crismatt isn’t a household name in the prospect world…yet. But he’s going to start popping up on radars soon.Nobody batted an eye when the New York Mets signed a tall, lanky 16-year-old pitcher out of Colombia by the name of Nabil Crismatt back in 2011. And really, nobody’s paid much attention to him in the six years since he became a professional ballplayer.
With the way the now 22-year-old has been throwing the ball in 2017, that’s about to change.
What’s He Done?
You might remember Crismatt from such international tournaments as the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He drew the start for Team Colombia in an elimination game against the mighty Dominican Republic.
That didn’t go so well, as he allowed a trio of hits and runs (one unearned) with a walk and a strikeout over three innings of work. Still, that’s a pretty impressive stat line for a pitcher who had thrown fewer than 40 innings above the Single-A level.
Especially when you consider the lineup that he had to face: Jean Segura, Manny Machado, Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Carlos Santana, Jose Bautista, Gregory Polanco, Welington Castillo and Jonathan Villar.
I can think of more than a few current major league starters who would have fared far worse against such an impressive collection of hitters.
Crismatt hasn’t been facing that level of competition this season with the St. Lucie Mets, where he’s now a teammate of one Tim Tebow. But he’s been laying waste to the batters he has to face every fifth day in the High-A Florida State League.
Over 15 starts, he’s gone 4-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He’s struck out nearly a batter an inning, with 88 K’s over 89 innings of work, while walking only 20. All those numbers represent career bests as a full-time starter.
In late May, he was named the FSL Pitcher of the Week. A few weeks later, he delivered perhaps the most impressive performance of his career: A complete game, 13-strikeout, 3-2 victory against Miami’s High-A affiliate, the Jupiter Hammerheads.
Not only was he economical with his pitch count as he went the distance, but he spent most of the game making Jupiter’s hitters look silly.
— Astro (@Astromets31) June 14, 2017
That whiff/swing rate is off the charts – and there’s nothing shabby about a 22.5 percent swinging strike rate, either.
Over parts of six minor league seasons, he’s gone 20-14 with a 2.69 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with a nearly five-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio
To borrow a line from Eddie Murphy’s classic “Coming to America” – “That boy is good!”
What’s He Got?
While he’s armed with a five-pitch arsenal, Crimsatt’s most impressive offerings are his low-90s fastball and changeup. It’s fairly uncommon for a pitcher his age to have developed a plus offspeed pitch at this point in their development. Crismatt has.
He’s confident and fearless enough to attack the strike zone relentlessly, something that plays into his ability to limit walks.
Crismatt is also unafraid of ‘pitching backward,’ starting batters off with the changeup instead of a fastball in an attempt to mess with their timing on his heater.
That offspeed pitch, by the way, is nasty.
Crismatt will never be a flame-thrower, but his advanced approach on the mound and deep arsenal is more than enough to keep batters guessing as he moves through the minors.
When’s He Going to Be Ready? What’s His Ceiling?
Don’t look for Crismatt to be among the players the Mets call up when rosters expand in September. He’s still at least a year-and-a-half, perhaps even two years away from potentially making an impact in the majors.
But he’s progressing exactly how you’d hope a young pitcher would. With roughly two months left in St. Lucie’s season, he’s a lock to crack the 100-inning mark for the first time.
A promotion to Double-A Binghamton, where he made one start last season (fanning seven over six innings of one-run ball) is certainly possible, if not likely.
Crismatt isn’t a future ace. But he’s got all the makings of a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter, someone who can keep the opposition at bay while eating innings and saving a team’s bullpen.
That’s exactly the kind of pitcher the Mets are going to need, both now and in the future.