Mets No. 13 prospect Sproat thriving since move to Double-A

June 21st, 2024

This story was excerpted from Anthony DiComo's Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CHICAGO -- Early last week, a scout who had traveled to Binghamton, N.Y., to watch the Double-A Rumble Ponies play texted me an unprompted review. The crux of it: Brandon Sproat is the real deal.

Consider that an increasingly popular opinion. In his two starts prior to Thursday’s outing, Sproat struck out 18 of the 34 batters he faced, or a rather ludicrous 53 percent. (To put such a number into perspective, Chicago's Garrett Crochet leads the Majors with a 35.2 percent strikeout rate. The qualified Double-A leader is in the same neighborhood.)

For a Mets farm system that remains position-player heavy, Sproat profiles as a unique asset: Not just an arm, but a high-ceilinged one with plenty of potential to develop into an ace.

“It’s been a pretty impressive start to a professional career,” Mets vice president of player development Andy Green said.

For Sproat, the Mets’ 13th-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, such success hasn’t happened overnight. Early this season, the right-hander struggled in his introduction to professional ball, notably walking 16 batters over his first 25 1/3 innings for High-A Brooklyn. The Mets promoted him to Double-A for a slew of reasons anyway, including his age -- Sproat will be 24 on Sept. 17 -- and the quality of his stuff. The move appeared to spark something in Sproat, who has more than halved his walk rate since arriving at Binghamton while continuing to fan batters at a high rate.

Green credited the excellence of Sproat’s arsenal as reason for his success, including an overpowering fastball that he’s learned to trust even in the middle of the strike zone, and a sweeper that’s become a more important pitch for him.

But he’s not a finished product just yet. On Thursday, Sproat allowed a career-high four runs in a game against Akron. How he bounces back will be instructive to Mets officials.

“As crazy as it sounds, you want your guys to hit some adversity along the way,” Green said. “It’s part of the game. His will come at some point in time, but we’re really encouraged by what he’s done so far.”

Meanwhile, here's what's happening elsewhere down on the farm.

Triple-A Syracuse: Early results of Max Kranick’s conversion to relief work have been promising. It’s been an eventful few months for Kranick; the offseason waiver claim missed most of Spring Training due to a left hamstring strain, embarked upon a lengthy rehab assignment and was subsequently DFA’d, but cleared waivers and remained in the organization after going unclaimed. At that point, the Mets turned Kranick into a reliever. He gave up four runs in his first bullpen outing but has since produced a 2.16 ERA over nine appearances, striking out 19 batters in 16 2/3 innings. The right-hander could factor into the Mets’ second-half bullpen plans.

High-A Brooklyn: Nick Morabito may be slumping a bit in June, but he still has eight stolen bases this month, pushing his total to an eye-popping 32 over 59 games. Only six players in full-season affiliated ball have more than Morabito, the Mets’ 26th-ranked prospect, who has impressed Mets officials with his improved plate approach.

Single-A St. Lucie: Few Mets farmhands have boosted their stock in the first half of the season more than No. 22 prospect Jesus Baez, who homered in back-to-back games earlier this week before settling for a 2-for-4 night on Thursday. Despite his power, Báez has only whiffed in 15.6 percent of his plate appearances, including just two strikeouts in his last seven games.