By Gem Tablak
Lugo, a 34th round draft pick back in 2011 has made the long & hard journey through the minor leagues, especially for someone drafted so low. When a team or any business for that matter has more money invested in one asset over the other, one of those said assets would definitely be more expendable than the other.
However in 13 starts in AAA Las Vegas, Lugo has a 6.55 ERA with a record of 3-4. Now to the regular eye, you’d say this kid has no business in the bigs but since he’s been up with the bullpen, he’s put in 1 inning of scoreless ball before he was used to replace Syndergaard for 1 2/3’s innings after Syndergaard being removed from the game with what Mets officials are calling “arm fatigue”. In 2015, AA Binghamton, which is much more a relatively similar environment to what pitchers deal with in Flushing, Lugo had a much more realistic ERA with it being 3.90 in 19 starts to go along with a 1.27 WHIP. Corné Hogeveen in a piece from MetsMinors.net says “His fastball tops out at 94 MPH as a starter but has been clocked at 96 MPH in his relief outings”. His curveball has a hard & late break down in the zone so batters might see that as a throw away pitch immediately but if he works it in for more quality strikes, his value will skyrocket.
According to MetsMinors.net, their staff had him ranked as the number 12 prospect & Baseball America has put Lugo’s curveball amongst the top in the organization before the 2016 season took underway. Not to mention the breaking ball is much more effective in a lower altitude environment as opposed to much higher altitude parks in the PCL.