Mets Prospect of the Day: Stephen Nogosek

Stephen Nogosek RHP

Bats/Throws: R/R Ht: 6’2 Wt: 205 lbs Age: 23 (DOB 1/11/95)

So you want a nice comp for today’s Mets Prospect of the Day? How about the guy he got traded for?

Plus fastball with good movement? Check.
Plus slider with nasty hard break? Check.
Max effort delivery provides deception? Check.

Kind of sounds like Addison Reed, no? The Mets embarked on a clear strategy last year to compile hard throwing right-handed relievers with at least one plus off-speed pitch. They were able to nab three of them last July from the Redsox organization, including Stephen Nogosek.

Nogosek was selected by the Redsox in the 6th round of the 2016 MLB draft out of the University of Oregon. So last season was his first full one in professional baseball. While both the Red Sox and Mets seem to have clearly delineated a path for Nogosek to be a reliever, the potential for the next Addison Reed is clearly here. As described above, Nogosek is not easy to hit. He has held opponents to a .232 batting average over his first 96 professional innings, pitching most of last year against High-A ball level competition.

With a sinking fastball that sits comfortably in the low to mid 90’s, and a potentially plus slider that features sharp horizontal break, Nogosek has the raw ingredients to get Major League hitters out. In 2018, Nogosek will most likely be charged with getting hitters out in the Eastern League (AA). There will be two keys for development that will determine how far Nogosek’s quick right arm will take him:

1. Control/Command. Nogosek’s max effort delivery, which allows him to generate plus velocity, also presents a challenge in commanding his pitches. Nogosek has walked 3.6/9 innings pitched in his professional career thus far, and that will almost surely need to come down for Nogosek to establish himself as a quality major leaguer. Plenty of pitchers, a la Addison Reed, took time to nail down the ability to throw quality strikes consistently. How Nogosek fares, under new Binghamton pitching coach Frank Viola’s tutelage, will be interesting to watch.

2. Getting lefties out. This is the other caveat that goes into this profile. Nogosek doesn’t currently sport an average or better change-up, and so his current arsenal is less suited for getting left-handed hitters out than those facing him from the same side of the plate. I’m sure Mets coaches are going to see if they can help Nogosek get his change up to par. If not, it might be time to work on a fastball that features cutting action. Eastern League lefty hitters will most likely prove problematic unless one of those two things occur.

So is “baby Addison Reed” going to take a step forward and put himself firmly on the map for a call-up to Mickey Callaway’s bullpen? With Jeurys Famila, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins all set to enter their walk years, the opportunity is going to be there for the taking. Let’s see what 2018 has in store for Stephen Nogosek, and what he has in store for opposing hitters.

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