This week’s minor league spotlight will look at the MVP’s of the Brooklyn Cyclones: outfielder Jared King and pitcher John Gant.
King hit .266/.365/.347 with 1 homerun and 15 doubles for a somewhat offensively challenged Brooklyn team that didn’t make the playoffs like the Cyclone teams of the past, although they did make a late run and came close to reaching the postseason. The Mets picked King in the 5th round of this year’s draft out of Kansas State.
I saw King in person over the summer, and I liked him. He’s got good size at about 6’ and a nice fairly level swing, and while I only saw him from the left side, he’s a switch hitter, which I like. His game is well rounded, as he appears to do a lot of things well, but he doesn’t stand out in any one area. He’s a solid outfielder, but not great; he has a decent arm, but no better than average; he runs well, but again no better than average; and while I like his swing, he doesn’t have much power.
To me, he’s almost an outfield version of Danny Muno; his tools don’t stand out, but he’s smart, plays hard, and has good instincts, which help to make up for a lack of pure tools. If he hits enough and is able to play centerfield, at least on a part time basis, his ability to get on base and his intangibles could be enough to get him to the big leagues.
King didn’t quite make my list of the top-10 outfield prospects, but he would have been 11th, and I do have him towards the back end of my top 50 prospects. I feel he’s too much of a tweener and lacks impressive tools compared to the younger outfielders I ranked ahead of him, but I’ll be curious to see how he does next season, when he’ll probably start in Savannah, possibly St. Lucie.
As for Gant, he might as well be co-MVP on the mound along with Robert Gsellman and Miller Diaz. The Mets got Gant in the 21st round back in 2011, drafting him out of high school and paying over slot for him. Last year in Brooklyn, he was 6-4 with a 2.89 ERA, including a complete game shutout, with 81 strikeouts in 71 innings and a WHIP of 1.13.
He’s 6’3’’ and has started to show some of the velocity he was projected to have when the Mets drafted him. Judging from the WHIP, his control is obviously good, especially for a pitcher who is increasing his velocity and is now sitting in the upper 80’s and low 90’s. If he can sit regularly in the low 90’s and touching higher he’ll be in good shape, especially with a curveball that appears to be coming along well, at least judging from a game I saw on SNY over the summer. His secondary stuff needs refinement, but obviously there’s plenty of time for him to do that, and so far so good.
Right now, I have Gant ranked 14th among pitchers and 27th overall, which may be a little high compared to other top prospect lists that will come out this winter, but I was intrigued when the Mets drafted him and I’ve been impressed with what he’s done so far, so I’m fairly high on him right now.