Mets prospect Dom Hamel taking off after sticking with new pitch: ‘Challenge everyone’

Dom Hummel learned a new pitch.

It took several more months for Hamel to learn the control, mindset, and confidence necessary to make the most of his added arsenal.

The Mets’ starting pitching candidates worked to acquire a sweeper this spring, encouraged by a pitcher development mindset that saw how well Hamel could turn the ball.

Hamel’s spin rate was among the best in the organization, a unique ability that particularly enhanced his four-seam fastball, curveball, and more traditional tight slider.

There were times in the first half of the season when Hamel wanted to give up being a sweeper. Sweeper had good horizontal movement, but perhaps too much. It was difficult to take advantage of, and it was difficult to throw for strikes.

Sometimes the spinner wouldn’t move much and would get crushed. In his first 17 starts for Double-A Binghamton this season, Hamel pitched 76 innings with 32 walks and a 5.09 ERA.

Dom Hamel pitches during Mets spring training
Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

But the more he pitched, the more Hamel was able to control it.

As he felt better, his confidence grew, not just with new songs, but with his entire repertoire.

A new attitude?

“Drop everything in the zone and just let everyone try,” Hamel said this week from Binghamton, where his Double-A club is competing for the Eastern League championship. “The worst thing you can do is be bored doing all the cute things around the zone.”

So he got the start, making nine starts and finishing the regular season with a total of 10 runs and a 1.88 ERA.

He struck out 61 and walked 17 in 48 innings, suddenly emerging in a rotation filled with interesting talent.

Why Hamel offers hope for the Mets’ clogged starting pitching pipeline, along with his rotation mates this season: Blade Tidwell, Christian Scott, Tyler Stewart, and Mike Bashir, who finished the season at Triple-A Syracuse. It becomes.

The Mets have struggled to develop starting pitchers ever since their rotation was dominated by Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz.

Progress from Port St. Lucie’s new pitching lab and identifying new pitchers like Hamel should bode well for the organization’s future.

Hamel has long been an attractive pitcher because of his ability to manipulate the ball.

In high school, he primarily played as an outfielder, and was hesitant about his talent as a pitcher whose weapon was a fastball in the early 90s.

But at Dallas Baptist, he learned that his best pitching talent had nothing to do with speed.

“I know that the release height is low and the elongation is good, but [good] ride, so [my fastball] It looks like it’s going down and then it just takes off more,” the 6-foot-2 right-hander said. “This is the best thing I’ve ever learned from pitching. There are people who are 98 years old. [mph]Sometimes I get touched and my batter comes in and says, “That’s the slowest 98 pitch I’ve ever seen.”

“And they play against guys with fastballs similar to mine — not as difficult in terms of velocity, but with more spin and more jump. And they’re like, ‘This is It’s like, “This is the hardest 92 I’ve ever seen.” ”

The Mets selected Hamel in the third round of the 2021 draft, and he posted a 3.25 ERA in 119 innings between Low-A St. Lucie and High-A Brooklyn last season.

This year we focused on developing the sweeper, finding the right pitch mix, and ultimately attacking the zone.

“Oh my god,” Hamel remembers thinking as he struggled to throw strikes. You can produce shit from this pitch. You won’t always get to where you want to be in the zone. …But I’m in too good shape to just get into the zone and see what happens. ”

New York Mets pitcher Dominic Hamel pitches in the Red and White game.
dom hummel
Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

It was Hamel who stole the ball in Game 2 of the Division Series against Somerset on Thursday. In this game, the 24-year-old Hamel shut out the Yankees’ affiliate team with 3 hits and 2 runs allowed in 7/3 innings. He walked and struck out eight.

Hamel has learned to trust his players, which is improving, and the Mets have more faith in their pitching staff, which is on the rise.

“We all trust each other to figure out our situations and we can all help each other figure things out,” Hamel said of Binghamton’s rotation. “It’s a well-knit group of guys. We all push each other and believe we can challenge anyone.

“I really feel like, why not us?”

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