Today’s minor league spotlight will look at the MVP’s of the Kingsport Mets, a team that overcame a slow start to make the postseason. We’ll be looking at pitcher Chris Flexen and outfielder Joe Tuschak.
Tuschak is a toolsy outfielder that this lefty and throws right that the Mets took in the 6th round of the 2011 Draft who has been a little slow to get going as a professional, but finally broke out with a nice season in Kingsport last summer, hitting .271/.313/.376 with 3 homers, 3 triples, and 7 doubles. He hit .204 in the GCL in 2011 and .192 for Kingsport in 2012 so those numbers are quite encouraging, and if it’s enough to send him to Savannah to start 2014 instead of staying back and spending the summer in Brooklyn, he won’t be far behind schedule.
Tuschak has a nice line drive swing, and while he might not develop much homerun power, if he hits for good average and can accumulate a fair amount of doubles he should profile well in centerfield. Defensively, he’s a great fit in centerfield, as he has plus speed, a plus arm, and plenty of athleticism.
I have Tuschak just outside the top-50 prospects in the Mets system, and he did not make my list of the top-10 outfielders, although he’s probably 12th or 13th among outfielders. He’s on par with Bradley Marquez in the sense that both have talent and potential, but with Marquez injuries and playing college football at Texas Tech have held him back while Tuschak has just been slow to get going at the plate.
However, if he can continue to hit in 2014 and show a little more doubles power he could start to move up the rankings quickly. Like I said, if he starts next season in Savannah, he’ll be in good shape, and with a good 2014 he could be a top-30 prospect by this time next year.
As for Flexen, he’s someone that I’m quite high on after he went 8-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 0.94 WHIP for Kingsport. The Mets took him in the 14th round in 2012 and paid a little over slot for him, getting him out of his commitment to Arizona State. Aside from the numbers, what you need to know about Flexen is that he’s 6’3’’, 215 lbs, and already has a fairly mature body, even though he won’t turn 20 until next July, which is fairly remarkable for a young pitcher.
That being said, he does have some mechanical issues, although the Mets have plenty of time to sort those out. Also, while he sits in the low 90’s with his fastball and can get up to 94ish, he may not add much velocity in the years to come. On the plus side, he already has great control, which you could have guessed from the 0.94 WHIP. He also a slider that has the potential to be a plus pitch; meanwhile, work continues on a changeup as his third pitch.
Obviously, Flexen is several years away from the big leagues, but I really, really liked what he did this season. I also like that he has a potential plus slider, great control, and is still really young. I honestly don’t know where others will place him on this winter’s top prospects list, but right now I have him 21st overall, and 10th among pitchers, a list that can be seen here. Based on the pitching prospects that should be in major leagues this time next year, Flexen could be among the Mets top-5 pitching prospects next winter if he has another good year.
Sending a 19-year old to Savannah may be a little aggressive, especially when they could work with him in extended spring and then have him in Brooklyn over the summer, which is what I assume will be the case with Flexen, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Mets move him to Savannah to start 2014.