Greg Maddux is enshrined in Cooperstown and Tyler Badamo plays Class A ball in Brooklyn. But Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa sees a similarity between the Hall of Famer and the 22-year-old Mets prospect from Mount Sinai.
"Maddux, he had two goals in pitching," Gamboa said. "Changing speeds to keep a hitter from timing your pitches and trying to get outs in three pitches or less. And if you look at Badamo's outings here, he had one outing against Hudson Valley where he went seven innings on 63 pitches. Only Greg Maddux was capable of doing that."
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Badamo, born and raised in Mount Sinai and the Mets' 24th-round pick out of Dowling College in 2014, owns a 1.35 ERA and averaged 12.4 pitches per inning in his first four starts. The righthander throws a fastball from 92 to 94 mph, a changeup, a slider and a curveball.
"I'm throwing all four pitches for strikes, keeping the ball down, being consistent, being economical," he said Thursday. "My pitch counts have been pretty low for most of my starts so far. Everything seems to be working right now, so hopefully I stay in that groove."
Gamboa couldn't be happier with Badamo's performance.
"Tyler has a very good feel for pitching, and by that I'm talking about reading swings, hitters' stances, changes in speed," Gamboa said.
The manager added that Badamo's low pitch counts are indicative of "the number of strikes that he's throwing and the fact that he's in the strike zone and changing speeds to throw off hitters' timing and getting a lot of easy outs, whether they be pop-ups or ground balls in the infield."
Entering Friday, Badamo was tied for ninth among starters in the 14-team New York-Penn League in strikeout-per-walk ratio (5.0), averaging 6.75 strikeouts and 1.35 walks per nine innings.
He also is fourth in the league in WHIP (0.68).
And he's done much of his work in front of his family, including his 4-year-old daughter, Brooke, and his fiancee, Ashley.
"It's very nice. It's very relaxing being able to know they can come see me," Badamo said. "They're here every time I throw, so it's a nice feeling that they get to see me, because the other levels of the Mets' organization, other than maybe Binghamton, they won't be able to see me. It's nice to get that in now."
Badamo says he has drawn inspiration from the success of Mets phenom Steven Matz, who played for Ward Melville High School, although the two never faced each other in high school. Matz, whose career was interrupted by elbow surgery in 2010, has been shut down by the Mets for at least three weeks after suffering a lat muscle injury, but his first two major-league starts were spectacular.
"It's a path that hopefully I can take, maybe not with the injury," Badamo said of the elbow issue. "But other than that, that's the goal."