The first Met in history to wear No. 63 was Chris Schwinden, a righthanded starting pitcher of middling stuff often described nicely as “organizational depth” and not-so-nicely as a “Class AAAA,” synonyms both for a guy who is useful only when the parent club needed an arm in a pinch but was never really considered a part of the long-term plan. Because baseball is unpredictable, and the nature of Met Fandom and Met Ticket Sales are both deeply embedded in the notion of “Ya Gotta Believe” the Mets would rarely describe guys like Schwinden as “not a part of their future,” though, even if its obvious to the team, the fans and even the player.
If nothing else, the name “Schwinden” strikes me as a strong German word. I looked it up only to find it was indeed German in origin and translates as a verb meaning “to dwindle, decrease, shrink or vanish,” and that’s the perfect description of every Met 63 ever. This was also true the last time I wrote about 63 a year ago when I said:
Sixty-three is a number for longshot midseason minor league callups whom you hope to get a few innings out of when the team is banged up or there’s a spate of rain make-ups ahead, and not a real player.
Now I have an even better description and my own new addition to the MBTN vocabulary: A Schwinden is a player who dwindles, shrinks, decreases or vanishes. So far, all 63s are Schwindens.
It holds up. It started with Chris Schwinden, a 22nd-round draft pick who was called up for the first time in September of 2011 and made four appearances which as I recall were in line with a guy who met modest expectations of a decent short term solution, and after three more appearances in 2012 (up and back on two separate occasions as a limited-time replacement), he was DFAed, passed between three other organizations who also DFAed him in the space of one month (Blue Jays, Indians and Yankees) only to wind up back with the Mets organization, but by then the Mets had already found a new Schwinden and though no one knew it at the time, Chris Schwinden had already pitched his final MLB game on May 30, 2012. Unlike 2011, Schwinden effectiveness shrunk, dwindled and decreased in 2012, hit hard in each of his three appearances that year.
Preliminary research on LinkenIn indicates a guy named Chris Schwinden also residing in Schwinden’s hometown of Visalia, California, today is a Service Technician at San Joaquin Pest Control. His name will always be important here, as not only the club’s first-ever 63, but as a word to describe any organizational pitching depth product who dwindles, decreases, shrinks or vanishes. That’s just what 63s do.
Next up was Gabriel Ynoa, a Dominican righthander who was a middling prospect who had his all three of his Mets appearances in 2016 including a victory in his first one, only to dwindle: He was sold to the Orioles over that offseason, for whom he had a short career.
Tim Peterson was a right-handed reliever and a 20th-round draft pick who was called up for the first time as the Mets faced a period of highly disappointing play in 2018. He lasted longer than any 63 in games and innings and is the career leader in just about every meaningful statistic including wins (2), and career ERA (5.91), which tells you something about Met 63s, making him the current Greatest Met 63 Of All-Time. Peterson started 2019 with the Mets but lost his job and never pitched for them again the same day the Mets traded for Brooks Pounders, and Peterson left that offseason as a free agent to the Angels organization for whom he never appeared.
It was just as well Tim Peterson vanished when he did because by then a better Peterson, David Peterson, was about to arrive.
Lefthanded starter Thomas Szapucki for a time was among the organization’s brightest prospects (No. 5 rated in 2018), and by far the most promising Met ever to don the No. 63 jersey. But his itinerant and brief Met career only proved that by the time he arrived he had already dwindled, decreased, and shrunk, before he vanished only weeks ago in the J.D. Davis-Darin Ruf trade. This cannot even be argued. He was blasted in his very first appearance in 2021, coughing up 6 earned runs and seven his in 3 2/3 innings of relief in a 20-2 battering by the Braves after which he was sidelined by an injury. When he returned this year, he made two appearances and was hit hard in both. He carried a 18.78 career ERA upon his trade to the Giants, where he’s currently pitching in relief but had also spent time at the Class AAA Sacramento club.
That brings us to yesterday’s surprise reliever, Rob Zastryzny, who pitched one full inning (2 outs in the bottom of the seventh and one out in the bottom of the eighth) and was responsible for the Phillies fourth and final run due to a triple surrendered to Kyle Schwarber who later scored in the 8th). He and Szapucki together create a subset of Met 63s with Polish surnames. We’ll watch closely to see which emerges as the best of those two.
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As predicted, Yolmer Sanchez was recalled and made his first appearance, and Deven Marrero (15) was designated for assignment. Sanchez appeared in 43 which is unusual for position player (he’s only the sixth all time–Ted Schreiber (1963), Billy Beane (1984 only), John Gibbons (1985 only), Todd Pratt (1997 only) and Shane Spencer (2004) are the only others. This goes without saying but any subset of Mets in which Shane Spencer is the best Met is a world of opportunity, though it doesn’t appear Sanchez is the guy to topple any of Spencer’s 43 all-time offensive records like home runs (4) and RBI (26) despite how modest they are. Who’s the guy with most at-bats as a Met 43 overall? Pitcher Jim McAndrew. Who’s the best 43 of all-time? R.A. Dickey.
We discussed in the comments of the previous post my theory of why Sanchez chose 43 and that’s because it ends in “3” and he’s Venezuelan infielder. They all seem to want to wear 13 if it’s available; ironically it’s not because Sanchez is essentially replacing a Venezuelan descendant who already wears 13 in Luis Guillorme. How sad he’s injured.
Also outta here via DFA are R.J. Alvarez, who’s already back at AAA Syracuse. Reliever Sam Clay followed Alvarez to “Apparition Met” status, appearing in his first game and wearing No. 46 and subsequently reassigned to AAA Syracuse between games of the doubleheader, making room for Zastryzny in Game 2.
Gotta win today behind Jose Butto, who is expected to make his MLB debut in a few hours. We’re into that depth I’d mentioned only a few days back. I don;t know his number yet but I’ll guess… 45.