Previewing the 2017 Columbia Fireflies

Thomas Szapucki, courtesy of:×104:2333×1599/1310×873/

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series, I’m excited to get these rolling again. Today I’ll be talking about the 2017 Columbia Fireflies ( and on Twitter @ColaFireflies) as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Fireflies are the minor league affiliate of the NY Mets.

Previously I’ve covered:

Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017.  And wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  It’s an exercise I would be doing anyway so why not publish it.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Columbia Fireflies, Brooklyn Cyclones, Kingsport Mets and the GCL Mets.

A big shoutout to Michael Mayer (on Twitter @themainemets) editor for “Metsmerized” and, he helped me a great deal with this list.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting. So when I see the Fireflies you can expect write up’s on many of the the players listed.  I set a personal goal to see every team in the Sally twice in the 1st half April 7th- June 18th.  I anticipate seeing the Fireflies on opening weekend in Columbia vs the Greenjackets and again in late April in Hickory.  There’s plenty of time to get into all of that though.

Lets meet the notables.

Thomas Szapucki, courtesy of:×250/g=G0000bMTQv2Fibs4/I0000gvOOv0kT5AE.jpg

LHP) Thomas Szapucki- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 205 lbs, bats right, throws left.  Szapucki was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in West Palm Beach, Fl.

Mets Prospect Hub recently counted down the Mets top 34 prospects and listed Szapucki as the number 2 prospect in the system behind only Amed Rosario and had this to say about the lefty:

“Szapucki, who came advertised with the highest breaking ball spin rate in the 2015 draft, paired with a (at the time) low to mid 90s fastball, absolutely blew through two levels of competition in 2016, overwhelming his opponents to the tune of a 14.89 K/9, and a roughly 1.40 era backed by a 2.25 FIP. Walks were a slight concern in Brooklyn, but nothing major to be worried about given his age. There’s a strong possibility Szapucki starts 2017 in Columbia, but I’ll say that the Mets will challenge him with a St. Lucie assignment, where he may spend the whole year.”

For the rest of the top 34 Mets prospects click here:


Desmond Lindsay, courtesy of:

CF) Desmond Lindsay- Age on opening day 20, listed 6′ 200 lbs, bats and throws right.  Lindsay was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Sarasota, Fl.

Rich Wilson at Prospect 361 wrote this of Desmond Lindsay in a recent listing of his Mets top 10 prospects list:

“Scouting Report: Outside of Amed Rosario, Desmond Lindsay has the most intriguing skills in the Mets minor league system.  He has great bat speed with enough size to eventually hit for above-average if not more power.  He’s a plus runner that should be able to steal 20 bases while showing a very good understanding of the strike zone.  Despite not demonstrating good contactability, I think he’ll hit.  If you add it all up, Lindsay has the ceiling of a 20 HR/20 SB with the ability to get on base.  The 20 home runs could be a little optimistic, but the offensive upside is indeed impressive.”

For more of Rich Wilson’s top 10 Mets prospects click here New York Mets, it’s a good read.


Justin Dunn, courtesy of:

RHP) Justin Dunn- Age 21, listed 6’2″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right.  Dunn was drafted 19th overall in the 2016 draft out of Boston College.  Michael Mayer thinks there’s a chance Dunn skips and heads for Port St. Lucie.

John Sickles did a pre draft write up on Justin Dunn and here’s a snippet from that:

“Dunn isn’t a huge guy but he is very athletic and generates 93-95 MPH heat with little effort. Despite his relative lack of experience and relief background he has a full arsenal, with a slider in the mid-to-upper-80s, a curve in the lower 80s, and a surprisingly good change-up. While his secondaries need additional polish, all three have the potential to be at least average major league pitches.”

For more on Justin Dunn click here


Peter Alonso, courtesy of:

1B) Peter Alonso- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 225 lbs, bats and throws right.  Alonso was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ or Florida.  Michael Mayer thinks Alonzo will skip Columbia.

I found a good write up on Alonzo by Ted Klein at Mets Templar Prospects:  Prospect Profile: 1B Peter Alonso




Luis Carpio, courtesy of

SS,2B) Luis Carpio- Age 19, listed 6′ 165 lbs, bats and throws right.  Carpio was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.

Baseball Prospectus listed Carpio as the 3rd best prospect in the Mets system coming into 2016 after a breakout performance for Kingsport as one of the youngest players in the Appy league.  But a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in Spring Training cost him nearly all of 2016 and now there are questions if the throwing arm will be strong enough for SS post surgery.  If he does have to move to 2nd base it will add more pressure on the bat.

Jeffrey Paternostro put together this detailed scouting report for SB Nations Mets site Amazin’ Avenue back in July of 2015, one month into that Appy breakout.



Blake Tiberi, courtesy of:

3B) Blake Tiberi- Age on opening day 22, listed 5’11” 205 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Tiberi was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Louisville. Tiberi was thought to have one of the best hit tools in the 2016 draft.

For a much more detailed scouting report click here:  Mets Select 3B Blake Tiberi in the Third Round


Around the diamond

C) Ali Sanchez- Age on opening day 20, listed 6’1″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Sanchez was signed out of Venezuela in 2013. wrote this about Sanchez on there Mets top 30 prospects released in Summer of 2016.

“Sanchez made his United States debut in 2015 and performed well, particularly behind the plate. No one runs on him, with a strong arm and a quick release leading to him throwing out 48 percent of would-be basestealers in the Gulf Coast League. Sanchez is athletic and agile behind the plate, with soft hands and good blocking skills, showing an ability to work with pitchers that often doesn’t come until later in development. He has tools to hit, with a solid approach and an understanding of what he still needs to work on. Sanchez’s swing is contact-oriented now, but there should be power to come as he adds strength.”

For more of’s Mets top 30 click here:

Other candidates at catcher: Tyler Moore could be back for a 3rd yr, Jose Garcia, Brandon Brosher, Dan Rizzie, Anthony Dimino (C, 1B), Scott Manea, Dionis Rodriguez, Jose Maria (1B, C)

Middle Infield

SS) Milton Ramos- Could be back, Age 21, listed 5’11” 180 lbs, bats and throws right. Ramos was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft out of High School in Plantation, Fl (Fort Lauderdale Metro).  I got a couple of looks at Ramos in 2016, I liked his actions at SS he showed very good hands and an excellent 1st step. At the dish his swing has some length to it.  It’s an inside out swing and he’s struggling to make consistent contact.  A work in progress offensively but the glove gives him a high floor.

Michael Mayer thinks Milton Ramos will head to Port St. Lucie and Woodmansee will be the starting SS for the Fireflies.

2B/SS) Luis Carpio

2B/SS) Michael Paez- Age 22, listed 5’8″ 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Paez was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of Coastal Carolina Univ. Despite being small in stature Paez has hit, and hit with power in college, it’ll be interesting to see if that carries over to the wooden bats.  A college SS, Paez primarily played 2B in Brooklyn.


SS) Colby Woodmansee- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Woodmansee was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of Arizona State Univ.

Steve Sypa has a detailed scouting report up at Amazin’ Avenue here’s some snippet’s:

“Woodmansee possesses good bat speed and his bat path generally allows him to square up well on pitches, allowing him to make hard contact with regularity. Thanks to his bat speed and size, he has a little more pop than you would expect from a shortstop.”

“The right-hander is slow, well below average—and that may be a generous evaluation. As a result, his range at Shortstop is below average and his future most likely does not lie at the position.”

For much more on Woodmansee click here:

Other candidates for the Middle Infield spots: Walter Rasquin (2B, 3B) Dale Burdick (2B, 3B, SS) Yeffry De Aza (SS, 3B), Nick Sergakis (2B, 3B), Oliver Pasquel (SS, 2B), Angel Manzanarez (2B, SS, 3B), Cecilio Aybar (SS)


Corner Infield

1B) Peter Alonso


Other candidates for the Corner Infield spots: 1B) Dash Winningham could be back, Jeffrey Diehl too (1B, RF) Franklin Correa (3B, SS, 2B) Dionis Paulino (1B, LF, RF) Jeremy Wolf (1B, RF), Reed Gamache (3B, 2B)

3B) Blake Tiberi 


CF) Desmond Lindsay 

CF) Ricardo Cespedes- Age 19, listed 6’1″ 200, bats and throws left.  Cespedes was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He had strong offensive season for Kingsport in 2016 hitting .322/.356/.379.  Not sure if he’s a candidate to skip Brooklyn but if he does he’ll likely have to slide to a corner because Lindsay is likely the starting CF.

For more on Cespedes click here:


RF) Jose Medina- Age 20, listed 6’3″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Medina was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He also had a strong offensive season in Kingsport. .286/.358/.394. I’m not finding a lot on him at this time.


Other OF Candidates: Enmanuel Zababa (CF) could also be back, Arnaldo Berrios (RF), Jacob Zanon (CF, RF), Jay Jabs (LF, 3B, 2B), Gene Cone (RF, LF, CF), Hegelbert Rojas (LF, RF) Raphael Ramirez  (LF, CF), Ian Strom (LF, CF, RF)


Starting Pitching

LHP) Thomas Szapucki

RHP) Justin Dunn 

RHP) Merandy Gonzalez- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Gonzalez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.


Chase Ingram could be back

And newcomers Gabriel Llanes, Harol Gonzalez, Jordan Humphreys, Jake Simon, Adonis Uceta and Sixto Torres  could be candidates for the Fireflies rotation.

The Mets have a lot of talent in the low minors and seem to be over run with middle infielders  The pitching has a chance to be special if all 3 of Szapucki, Dunn and Gonzalez make the trip.

I hope you got as much out of this as I did, I’ll be back soon with a look at the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles).

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