Opening Day is just around the corner, and that means cuts are coming fast. On Wednesday, the New York Mets sent three pitchers to the minors.
The New York Mets made another round of cuts on Wednesday. This time it was an exodus of pitchers. Relief pitcher Pedro Payano, starting pitcher Corey Oswalt, and top-prospect David Peterson were the victims.
We have optioned RHP Corey Oswalt to minor league camp and re-assigned LHP David Peterson and RHP Pedro Payano to minor league camp. We now have 46 players in camp. #Mets
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 11, 2020
All three pitchers underwent strong springs, but none had a realistic chance of making the roster.
Corey Oswalt is set to be pitching depth for yet another season. He’s filled this role for the Mets since he made his debut in 2018.
Oswalt will likely never find a role as a consistent performer on a major league roster, but he has his place. He can pitch in either a starting role or out of the bullpen, and he can eat innings.
Oswalt was a dominant pitcher this spring. He threw eight innings in three appearances to the tune of a 1.13 ERA, six strikeouts, and zero walks. On another team, that might’ve slated Oswalt onto an Opening Day roster.
That’s not the case with the Mets and their stacked rotation. Even the Mets bullpen is mostly full despite their disappointing 2019 season.
Oswalt will likely be one of the first depth options in the minor leagues should the Mets need him. Nonetheless, that role could quickly vanish.
David Peterson is likely to diminish Oswalt’s role in 2020. He’s the Mets’ top pitching prospect and is expected to make his debut sometime in 2020. He’ll start the season in AAA Syracuse along with Oswalt.
Peterson experienced an impressive spring. He displayed his groundball ability and he showcased increased velocity. He’ll need to succeed in both areas in order to reach the major league level.
The numbers weren’t as impressive as Oswalt’s though. Peterson recorded a 1.50 ERA with six strikeouts, and 3 walks in three appearances (six innings).
The strikeout numbers are what’s impressive. It’s rare to find groundball pitchers with strong strikeout rates. Take Marcus Stroman for example, who’s arguably the best groundball pitcher in MLB today. Stroman’s career K/9 is only 7.36.
If Peterson can maintain a 9.0 K/9 at the major league level, he could be more than the back of the rotation starter many have him pegged to be.
Peterson must prove himself in AAA before he earns his eventual call to the major leagues, but it shouldn’t be long before he makes his debut.
Pedro Payano is a reclamation project for the Mets. He made his major league debut in 2019 with the Texas Rangers. He was designated for assignment after an awful season.
The 25-year-old is a former starting pitcher who looks set to make a move to the bullpen. Payano has an elite curveball swing rate and his spin rates are excellent.
His biggest issue has been his control and lack of quality pitches beyond his curveball. That won’t be an issue coming out of the bullpen. He’ll be able to focus on his fastball and curveball combo, which should up his strikeout rate and lower his walk rate.
The Mets have already found some success with Payano this spring. Payano appeared in five games and threw 7.2 innings. Payano’s ERA looked good at 3.52, but he’s yet to find his command. Payano walked five batters and only struck out three.
He’ll likely be sent to AAA where he’ll be asked to work on his control coming out of the bullpen. If he can find it, then the Mets may have found a steal on the free-agent market.
If he doesn’t, then all they did was sign a former starter to a minor league contract. It’s a low-risk high-reward move that hasn’t paid off yet.