It’s day two of the MLB First Year Players draft, and we’re finally starting to see some action out of Columbia! Yesterday, with no Mizzou Tigers coming off the board, we took a look at some recent Mizzou draftees and how they’re faring professionally.
Fortunately - or maybe not if you’re looking at next year’s roster - Mizzou got in on the action when Michael Plassmeyer and Bryce Montes De Oca were drafted in rounds 4 and 9. Let’s take a look at where two of Mizzou’s best pitchers were chosen and how they project long-term with their new organizations.
Notable Numbers: No. 169 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200; 6.2 innings per start in 2018; 6.06 strikeout to walk ratio in 2018
Outlook: None of his stuff is exactly electric, but his ability to command the strike zone with almost his whole arsenal will make him a valuable piece in the Mariners’ system. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s reunited with Reggie McClain in Modesto (Class A: Advanced) soon, and he could make the fast track to the bigs depending on how Seattle sees him in their future plans.
If the Mariners want to wait and see how his body develops and strengthens, Plassmeyer probably has a ceiling as a 4 or 5 starter in the big leagues. If, however, they want to utilize him quickly, he could be a long-relief option with the potential to become a LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY). Personally, I’d let Plassmeyer adjust to professional hitters for the next 2-4 years and see if he can put a bit more velocity on his fastball. If he does that and keeps his command, he’s looking at a solid career as a major league starter.
There are 40 rounds in the draft, and Mizzou’s best pitcher just went in the top 10 percent. As a junior, he’s got the option to come back... but I’d say he’s gone unless he really thinks there’s a chance he can improve his stock.
Plass, if you’re reading this... go get that bag.
Bryce Montes De Oca
Notable Numbers: No. 138 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200; 1.19 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) in 2018; .183 career opponents’ batting average; 1.97 strikeout to walk ratio in 2018
Outlook: About halfway through the 2018 season, Coach Steve Bieser foresaw the future of MDO’s baseball career, and probably did the right thing by putting him on the right track... as a reliever.
The truths about Montes De Oca are these: he has a potential plus-plus sinking fastball and plus breaking ball that would make him an effective late-inning weapon. However, his injury history and shaky command - though it is improving - make him a tough sell as a future starter. He’s 22 as well, so the time frame for his development is considerably shorter than it would be for a lot of players in his position. The Mets will likely be working to shore up his mechanics and command and, if they’re successful, will find a slot for him in the big league bullpen. Less usage will take some pressure off his arm and make him a more valuable pick, though MDO is a high ceiling-low floor type of guy no matter which way you want to slice it.
If they’re able to corral his talent, though, watch out. MDO’s two-pitch combination is potentially devastating. With some hard work and good health luck (which can be said about most prospects), Montes De Oca has a better chance than most to have a lucrative career in professional baseball.