Mets prospect Ryder Ryan is still unlocking his true potential on the mound, while working his way through the farm system.
Weight: 205 lbs
MLB Pipeline Mets Prospect Ranking: 21
2019 Statistics: 4.76 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 2-1 record in 22.2 innings pitcher over 15 appearances (2 starts) while allowing 21 hits, 10 walks and striking out 20
Ryder Ryan was born in Huntersville, North Carolina and stayed in the town attending North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville. In high school, Ryder was very highly regarded as a two-way player that played both third base and pitched. He was being recruited by a lot of the top colleges in the nation, as he was considered a top 150 high school player in the nation by Perfect Game, and the third-best prospect in the state of North Carolina. He participated in the National Showcase for Perfect Game and decided to stay home in North Carolina and attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
With his strong commitment to North Carolina, Ryan fell to the 40th round of the 2014 MLB Draft where the Cleveland Indians selected him and he decided to fulfill his commitment to the Tar Heels. Despite hitting the low-90s on the radar gun in high school, North Carolina opted to have Ryan play third base for the two years that he played at Chapel Hill except for one pitching appearance. He really struggled at the plate hitting .143 and .231 in his two years in college.
When the 2016 MLB Draft came around, Ryan was unsure of what would happen because he had struggled hitting at North Carolina, and had not pitched essentially since high school. The Indians wanted to draft him as a pitcher out of high school, and they saw this as an opportunity to take a kid with natural stuff but almost no wear and tear on his arm. The Indians drafted him again in the 30th round and agreed to a $100,000 signing bonus.
When Ryan joined the Indians organization, they made some mechanical adjustments, and with him also filling out physically, his low 90s fastball was now closer to the mid-90s. When the time came to trade Jay Bruce, the Mets saw a potential diamond in the rough that still was a bit of a ball of clay waiting to be molded as a pitcher. He had a power arm, an athletic build and delivery, and they deemed him worthy of dumping the remainder of Bruce's salary to take a shot on him.
With The Mets
After being acquired by the Mets, Ryan was assigned to Low-A Columbia where he appeared in eight games and had a 2.08 ERA over 13 innings. It was a small sample size, but they were satisfied with what they saw.
In 2018, he had his first full year with the organization and was assigned to High-A St. Lucie to start where he was dominant across 16 appearances, posting a 1.77 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. The Mets were incredibly satisfied as his stuff ticked up like they thought it could, but he also showed improved control from 2017. He dropped his walks-per-nine rate from 3.7 to 2.2.
He earned a promotion to Double-A Binghamton where he had some issue with the home run ball, giving up a career high 1.4 home runs per nine innings. Across 32.2 innings with Binghamton, he posted a 4.13 ERA with 13 saves and 36 strikeouts.
In 2019, the Mets had him repeat Double-A and in the months of April and May, he worked multiple innings including two short starts four times. He spent some time on the injured list from mid-May to mid-June, and since coming back, he's only allowed one run across 8.1 innings with six strikeouts. He had some rough outings prior to the month off, thus his ERA looks high at 4.76. His stuff has bounced back to form, and the Mets are optimistic he'll have a successful rest of 2019.
Ryan has a vintage reliever's repertoire with a power fastball/slider combination. He also has a changeup, but that pitch is hardly used. His fastball sits in the 94-95 mph range, and he's hit as high as 98 mph at his best. His slider is in the 84-86 mph range, and has an excellent spin rate and is an above average offering.
The exciting thing about Ryan is he is still learning to pitch, and with more experience, that slider has a chance to become a plus pitch. With that, you likely have a potential major league reliever.
I don't think Ryan is one of the higher upside pitchers in the organization, but with the bullpen being a real issue for this team, he can be an option as soon as 2020, working in a middle reliever-type role that can work 2-3 innings at times. The Mets invited him to big league spring training this year, and I assume he will do so again next year in preparation for an assignment with Triple-A Syracuse.
Once you get to Triple-A, you can be only a call away.