Not A Minor Issue: Planck And Szapucki Hurt
For those that don’t follow the Mets minor league system closely, Thursday was about as bad a day as one organization could possibly have.
The day began with the Mets announcing Cameron Planck, last year’s 11th round draft pick, is going to undergo season ending shoulder surgery. Planck is undergoing shoulder surgery before ever throwing a pitch as a professional.
Ironically, the Mets didn’t pitch him last year to protect his arm. The Mets invested heavily in the high school arm paying him $1,000,001 to keep him from going to the University of Louisville.
Before the surgery, Planck had a mid-90s fastball, a terrific change, and a developing knuckle curve. Hopefully, he can not only be this pitcher once again, but also fulfill the destiny he had as a potential front line starter.
Another potential front line starter in the Mets organization is Thomas Szapucki.
Last year, Szapucki was 4-3 with a 1.38 ERA, 0.885 WHIP, and a 14.9 WHIP in nine starts between Kingsport and Brooklyn. The 21 year old lefty has a mid to high 90s fastball and a curveball that baffled both right-handed and left-handed batters alike.
Things have not gone as well for him this year. His 2017 season was delayed due to a shoulder impingement in his pitching arm. After five good starts, Szapucki left Thursday’s game.
Initially, it was believed he left the game in relation to his getting hit with a line drive. No such luck. As it turns out, Szapucki left the game with left forearm discomfort. Many times a pitcher’s complaints of forearm discomfort is a precursor to Tommy John surgery.
If that’s the case, on one day, the Mets may have lost two pitchers who were on the path to one day being top of the rotation starters for the major league club.
While we rightly focus on the issues the major league rotation has had staying healthy, there needs to be focus on the Mets inability to keep their minor league pitchers healthy. If the past few seasons is any example, the Mets NEED a strong group of minor league starters when the major leaguers get hurt.
Szapucki and Planck should be front and center among internal candidates. Hopefully, Thursday will not stand in the way of that happening.