Steve Cohen praises Mets' pitching prospect development: 'We’re starting to look stacked'

Just about every time Mets owner Steve Cohen speaks publicly about his ballclub, he explains that he’s "optimistic" about the team.

That was once again the case on Sunday in Port St. Lucie, but this time Cohen’s optimism wasn’t because the club went out and signed veteran superstar players or outspent the other 29 MLB teams to build a potential champion.

This time around, Cohen’s optimism is due to the young players who will have a chance to shine for the Mets, and the multitude of pitching prospects the club is developing in the minor leagues.

“We’re following a plan, and we’ve been very clear about our plan,” Cohen said. “We want to play our younger players and find out what we have, and I fully expect that’s the way it’s going to go.

“You saw this [Spring Breakout Game] the other day, and for the first time I’m excited about what we’re building in this farm system,” Cohen added later in the Mets dugout. “We hadn’t developed pitching in a long time, and for the first time it looks like we have depth down there. We have six, seven, eight pitchers, that could potentially be our next starters, and to me that’s exciting because pitching is so freaking expensive in baseball today. If we can start building a team where we have some young fresh blood and then surround it with veteran talent, that’s a winning combination.

“You saw Brandon Sproat, he pitched great. I thought Nolan McLean, that’s a new name that’s come up and is kind of exciting… You’re seeing talent. We have Christian Scott and you’ve got Dominic Hamel, he had a great outing. It was one right after another. That’s different and that’s something to get excited about.”

The Mets officially opened their new pitching lab this past June, with the hopes of being able to use the latest advancing technology to help develop their young arms, and the early dividends appear to be paying off nicely.

According to MLB Pipeline, six of the Mets’ top 18 prospects are pitchers (No. 6 Scott, No. 10 Blade Tidwell, No. 11 Mike Vasil, No. 13 Sproat, No. 14 Hamel, and No. 18 Tyler Stuart).

“All you keep reading about is how our pitchers are developing new pitches and increasing their velocity, and I think those are really important markets. I think we’ve got something going here,” Cohen said. “I don’t want to get to excited because they’re just prospects and you never know, but if you have enough of them, it’s bound for good to happen, and I think that’s kind of where we are now.”

After trading away veterans like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer at last season’s deadline, outside expectations for the 2024 Mets may not be as high as they’ve been in recent seasons, but Cohen and his ballclub, thanks to a bounty of prospects that continue to develop, certainly have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

“I’m really encouraged by not just the player talent, but the type of person that we’ve hired into the organization. This is turning into a world-class organization,” Cohen said. “My hope, my goal would be that over time that creates sustainable winning.

“Listen, we’ve got another draft coming up in a couple months. For the first time, I would say that we’re starting to look stacked,” he added. “I don’t think I ever would have used that term before. That’s a good feeling. Between that and our ability to use our resources in the free agency market, that’s a pretty powerful combination, so I’m hopeful.”