This morning the New York Mets announced that right-handed pitching prospect Chris Flexen will be promoted to the major league roster in time to make Thursday’s start against the San Diego Padres. Here’s a quick take on what to look for.
The Mets drafted Flexen in the 14th round in 2012 from high school in Newark, California. He was committed to Arizona State University but the Mets were able to sign him with an above-slot bonus of $374,400. He hurt his elbow and had Tommy John surgery in 2014 but came back solid enough in ‘16 with a 3.56 ERA and a 95/51 K/BB in 134 innings in High-A.
Flexen was rated as a Grade C+ prospect pre-season, but was outside the New York Mets Top 20 prospects for 2017. He would have ranked in the 21-25 range.
2017 has been impressive: 1.76 ERA in 61 innings between High-A and Double-A with a 63/10 K/BB and only 40 hits allowed.
Listed at 6-3, 250, Flexen was born July 1st, 1994. He features a heavy fastball in the low-90s and mixes the sinker with a cutter, curveball, and change-up. His command was erratic in 2016 but he’s made big strides with that this year, keeping his mechanics in gear more consistently and dramatically lowering his walk rate, from 3.42 BB/9 to 1.47 BB/9. That’s made a huge difference.
The Mets are jumping him from Double-A to the majors with no intervening Triple-A exposure. That’s a risk but it also shows how much confidence they have in him. If Flexen maintains the improved command he’s shown this year, he could be a solid mid-rotation starter.