Quietly, the New York Mets are building an interesting group of starting pitching talent in their minor league system. Last week, we covered the rise of Binghampton Rumble Ponies starter Mike Vasil, but he has been matched so far this season by Brooklyn Cyclones’ starting pitcher Tyler Stuart.
The Mets 6th round pick in the 2022 draft, Tyler Stuart has been exceptional through seven starts with the Cyclones this year, posting a 1.13 ERA across 32 innings while allowing just 23 hits, and striking out 42 batters. He’s walked just 13 hitters and held opposing hitters to a .197 average and .559 OPS.
The improved control is a huge development for Stuart.
The right-hander stands an imposing 6’9” and 250-pounds and, as is often the case with pitchers of that size, finding repeatable mechanics had been an issue for him in his young career. Getting all those long and hulking levers to move the right way on 80+ pitches a night can be a truly difficult task. However, the Mets clearly have been working with him on it, and the progress is showing.
On the mound, Stuart throws from a three-quarters arm slot with an arsenal that includes a four-seam fastball that sits 93-98 mph, a sinker that he throws in the mid-90s, a mid-80s changeup, and a low-80s slider. Because of his three-quarters release, Stuart has always relied heavily on his sinker, which gets nice arm-side run when thrown from his release point. However, this year, Stuart has also been able to add more depth to his slider, which has finally given him the swing-and-miss pitch he was lacking.
Prior to this season, most scouts felt that Stuart would likely end up as a reliever.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2021, Stuart returned to Southern Mississippi as a reliever for his redshirt sophomore season in 2022. He started just four of his 22 total games, but he registered a 3.38 ERA in 40.0 innings, while 34 hits, striking out 38 hitters, and walking just 13.
Yet, the Mets made the decision to return him to his previous role as a starter.
As a rookie in 2022, Stuart was only able to make two starts before the minor league season ended. He allowed four earned runs in 3.2 innings while striking out six and walking three batters. Still, the Mets advanced him a level due to him being 23 years old. They needed to see how he would hold up against more advanced players.
So far, he has answered that challenge and should be looking at a call-up to Double-A Binghampton in a short time. Perhaps when Mike Vasil gets his expected promotion to Triple-A Syracuse.
In his last start, against the Yankees affiliate in Hudson Valley, Stuart went 6.1 innings, allowing no runs, while striking out eight, giving up four hits and one walk. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish the shutout as he suffered an injury to his pitching hand, either a burst blister or a ripped nail on his middle finger.
The Mets are hopeful that the injury won’t keep him sidelined for too long, as they want the big righty to keep his momentum going.
Given his lack of track record, it’s perhaps too early to anoint Stuart as the Mets’ next pitching prospect to watch, but he’s certainly making a name for himself in a system that is in desperate need of more solid young pitching prospects.