PORT ST. LUCIE — Starting rotation help likely isn’t near for the Mets from the prospect ranks, but team officials can dream of the day names such as Matt Allan, J.T. Ginn and Calvin Zeigler will arrive to the home clubhouse at Citi Field.
All were high-round selections in the past three amateur drafts and stand among the Mets’ best rotation hopes from the farm system for the future.
The highest rated of the group is Allan, who is expected to miss at least most of this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. He followed with ulnar nerve transposition surgery last month that has slowed his rehab. But the 20-year-old right-hander, the Mets’ third-round pick in the 2019 draft, seems content taking it slow.
“There really is no point in someone of my age to push,” Allan said. “There’s no real gain, so I think everyone really sees it that way. As I have gotten older and mature you start to realize the bigger picture of baseball. You don’t want to pitch in Double-A and that’s it. I want to pitch 10-12 years in the big leagues, be a Hall of Famer, be someone like Jacob deGrom who people can remember.”
Allan shadowed deGrom during spring training last year after throwing with the Mets ace over the winter. The two failed to connect this offseason as Allan spent much of his time under the supervision of the rehab staff at the team complex. He has developed a close relationship with Ginn, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020 after the Mets selected him from Mississippi State as a bonus pick between the first and second rounds.
“Matt’s a great kid — he’s a great athlete and he’s going to be fine,” said the 22-year-old Ginn, who like Allan used famed orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache for his Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers are represented by Scott Boras.
“I try to be there for [Allan] when I can, be a good teammate to him when I signed and whenever I come to him I try to give him whatever advice I can give him, but he’s going to be fine. He told me he was joining the [Tommy John] club and that was not what I wanted to hear, but I knew he had been going through some stuff for a while. He actually found out what was wrong and got it fixed.”
Ginn, a right-hander, split last season between Low-A St. Lucie and High-A Brooklyn. In 18 starts overall, he pitched to a 3.03 ERA and 1.054 WHIP. Ginn arrived to the Mets noted for his sharp breaking ball.
“His pitch ability is impressive and it’s amazing coming off surgery he would have that type of command,” Mets director of player development Kevin Howard said. “I think he is still building to get his stuff to what everybody has seen it in the past and he’s made a lot of progress on that this offseason. But he can really pitch and he can get a lot of groundouts. He pounds the bottom of the zone with that sinker and I think it’s impressive to see his strike-throwing ability and his ability to command the baseball.”
Zeigler became the Mets’ top selection in last year’s draft after the organization opted not to sign first-round pick Kumar Rocker because of physical concerns. The non-signing gave the Mets an additional first-round pick in this year’s draft.
Last year, Zeigler left his native Ontario, Canada and enrolled at TNXL Academy in Florida because of concerns border COVID-19 restrictions would prevent him from showcasing his ability to scouts. The Mets selected the right-hander in the second round of the draft.
Among Zeigler’s goals in his first spring training is to meet boyhood hero Max Scherzer, who signed with the Mets in November.
“He is my favorite player of all time, so it’s pretty exciting,” Zeigler said. “If he gets down here [MLB players are locked out from camp by the owners] I might have to say hi. Until then we’ll see.”