On Sunday, the Mets announced that Jacob deGrom will serve a brief stint on the disabled list for a hyper-extended right elbow he suffered against the Braves last Wednesday. In the process, the Mets called up pitcher P.J. Conlon, who will make his major league debut tonight against the Reds.
Conlon, a Belfast native, will become the first Irish-born player to play in a major league contest in 72 years. Conlon emigrated to California at a young age, and lived there for his entire childhood. Conlon played Division-I baseball in college, throwing a 2.83 ERA and a 7.45 K/rate in 37 starts for the San Diego Tareros.
Conlon was drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, and started his minor league career at a blistering pace. In 2015, Conlon allowed zero earned runs, and pitched with a phenomenal 0.93 FIP in 17 innings out of the bullpen for the Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones. He continued to dominate the competition in the 2016 season by pitching with a 1.65 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, and striking out 112 hitters in appearances for the Single-A Columbia Fireflies and the Single-A Advanced St. Lucie Mets. He was named the 2016 Mets’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year for his efforts on the mound.
The lefty wasn’t as dominant as he was pitching in the lower levels when he reached the Double-As, but he still performed well. He had a 3.38 ERA and a 3.90 FIP in 22 starts. Conlon was called up to Triple-A Las Vegas to begin the 2018 season, and from a face value, he has seemed to stumble out of the gates. His monstrous 6.75 ERA is very deceiving when you consider how Conlon has a above average 3.83 FIP, and the fact that he has pitched in the hitter-friendly ballpark of Cashman Field, where its center field wall sits 433 feet away from home plate.
Conlon’s ceiling is pretty limited thanks to his very slow fastball (clocks in around 86-89 mph) and, at-best, average movement on his entire pitching repertoire; however Conlon makes up for his shortcomings by exhibiting excellent command on his pitches, and by utilizing a very unorthodox and jerky delivery to throw off hitters.
Photo Credit: Pat Connolly/Las Vegas Review Journal
Stats provided by FanGraphs and The Baseball Cube