The New York Mets traded two of their top pitching prospects, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson, to the Toronto Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman on Sunday. Here are five things worth knowing about Kay and Woods-Richardson, with information from rival scouts and evaluators.
The ceilings for Kay, Woods-Richardson
Scouts believe that Anthony Kay’s ceiling is that of a mid-rotation starter. One evaluator told Yahoo Sports that the southpaw didn’t flash the stuff that Steven Matz – fellow Long Islander and Ward-Melville High School alum – showed at that level. He’s already in Triple-A, which is on pace for a college pitcher of his age at 24 years old, but there’s still something of a learning curve because his professional debut was delayed to 2018 because of Tommy John surgery. Additionally, evaluators mentioned that Woods-Richardson has the makeup for a good closer, should he ever require a shift to the bullpen, but should be good enough to eventually stick in a major league rotation.
Kay’s struggles in Triple-A; Woods-Richardson promoted
The International League hasn’t bowed down to Kay quite the way that the Eastern League did. Kay was 7-3 with a 1.43 ERA in 12 starts before he left Double-A Binghamton. He has yet to put forth a scoreless outing with Triple-A Syracuse, accounting for a 6.61 ERA in 31 1/3 total innings so far. But he has pitched in only 42 professional games. There’s plenty of time for him to sort it out.
Woods-Richardson has pitched better than his 4.25 ERA and was promoted to Class A Advanced St. Lucie hours before being traded. He allowed 10 total runs over his past nine starts (43 total innings), with no more than two runs allowed in a given outing.
Woods-Richardson’s ‘explosive’ fastball
Woods-Richardson possess a cutter and a fastball that was described as “explosive” with late life. Kay showed off a 96-mph heater in the Futures Game to strike out one of the game’s best prospects in the Chicago White Sox’s Luis Robert. Both prospects are TrackMan darlings, with impressive spin rates on their curveballs. However, a scout noted that Woods-Richardson’s breaking ball could be viewed as a hard slurve.
Another excellent start from Simeon Woods Richardson for the @ColaFireflies last night: 5 scoreless innings, no walks, 7 strikeouts.— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) July 24, 2019
His 5.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the best in the organization. Also lowered his ERA to 2.09 over his last nine starts. pic.twitter.com/eAY3VVq5HE
Woods-Richardson a ‘fearless competitor’
There were only six players younger than Woods-Richardson in full season ball when the year began. The Mets were aggressive with Woods-Richardson as a 17-year-old last year, allowing him five appearances in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before a quick shift out of the complex to Kingsport. He has been called a fearless competitor and a legitimate future big leaguer, but scouts have said that he’s understandably raw considering he won’t be 19 until September.
The Mets drafted seven players within the first two rounds over the past three years. With Kay and Woods-Richardson being traded, only Pete Alonso, David Peterson and Mark Vientos remain of that group. Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn were traded to the Seattle Mariners in the deal that brought Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to New York.
Kay’s valuable third pitch
Kay’s coaches at Double-A Binghamton made note of a transformation that took place once he became confident throwing his changeup inside to left-handed hitters. That change is a valuable third pitch that works behind a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball. Scouts took notice of the way the changeup plays against right-handers, who were hitting .176 against him in Double-A, because of its late sinking action.
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