Mets' fast-rising No. 13 prospect fans career-high 10 at Double-A

June 3rd, 2024

On his latest stop of a quick ascent through the Minor Leagues, continues to go right at hitters.

The Mets’ No. 13 prospect piled up a career-best 10 strikeouts over seven innings en route to Double-A Binghamton's 3-2 extra-inning win over Harrisburg at Mirabito Stadium. Sproat allowed just two baserunners via a single and a walk while getting through seven frames for the Rumble Ponies for the third time.

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The righty retired the first five batters he faced on strikeouts, touching 100 mph on his fastball, before generating a routine groundout from Major League veteran Dérmis Garcia (Nationals) to close his second frame.

"Since he's got here ... he's done a nice job of mixing pitches," Rumble Ponies pitching coach A.J. Sager said. "Even though he has the big fastball, he still finds ways to mix other pitches in so it keeps the fastball alive maybe a couple times through the order."

The Binghamton staff haven't tinkered with Sproat's arsenal, but Sager said there have been conversations with the 23-year-old about how to effectively command his 60-grade changeup against both types of hitters -- sort of an untraditional take on that pitch.

"He's done a good job of making sure that he doesn't eliminate a weapon," Sager said. "Like today, they had seven right-handed hitters. He doesn't take away one of his best weapons just because they're right-handed, so I thought he has done a nice job of mixing that pitch in."

After a pair of groundouts in the third, Sproat fanned his fifth hitter to conclude a perfect first trip through the order. Andrew Pinckney beat out an infield single with two outs in the fourth, but catcher Francisco Alvarez -- who is on a Major League rehab assignment -- caught the Nationals' No. 17 prospect stealing at second base.

"It certainly helps the guys' confidence," Sager said of Alvarez catching his pitching staff. "He didn't just come down here to catch and get his at-bats. He's actually going about it in a very professional way, and guys see that."

Sproat faced the minimum through six, then gave up only his sixth Double-A walk to Robert Hassell III (WSH No. 8) to start the seventh. The Florida product fielded a sacrifice bunt by J.T. Arruda for the first out, then fanned Pinckney and got MLB's No. 6 prospect Dylan Crews -- a former SEC foe from LSU -- to fly out to right field to end his 88-pitch outing.

"I do think there's good development opportunity when you face the lineup the third or fourth time," Sager said. "He got hit with a comebacker early in the game, and we were watching and stuff stayed the same. ... He's shown that he can hold his velocity, can hold his quality of his pitches."

Through his fourth start, Sproat improved his ERA to 1.38 with 30 strikeouts in 26 innings for Binghamton. The 2023 second-round pick fanned 33 batters in 25 1/3 frames at High-A Brooklyn before his May 13 promotion.

"The big thing he's done here since he got to Double-A that I've been impressed with is staying in the strike zone," Sager said. "He's got good stuff and he realizes that. He's making hitters deal with it, and so far, it's been successful."