The 2014 Mets Prospect List

5 Nov

I wrote about 20,000 words over at Amazin’ Avenue about the Mets prospects I saw this season, so I wasn’t going to do a proper Mets prospect list. Now I am. People like lists. We’ll be brief.

If I’ve written about the prospect in question at AA, the link is in their name.

30. Champ Stuart, OF

If he figures out how to hit .250, will have a major league career with the speed/defense in CF. Has an idea what he is doing up there too, even if the swing won’t cooperate at this point in time.

29. Wilfredo Tovar, SS

*shrugs*

28. Ivan Wilson, OF

Had a lousy GCL season, but I can’t help but be intrigued. Tough to rank higher without seeing him live, but I might be too low.

27. Chris Flexen, RHP

26. Aderlin Rodriguez, 1b/3b

Two prospects with very little in common.

25. Jared King, OF

Voted most likely to have a Plawecki-type breakout in 2014. Could be 10-15 spots higher on the 2015 list easily. Also might end up a tweener, but them’s the breaks.

24. Logan Verrett, RHP

I hate comps: Poor man’s Luke Gregerson?

23. Jeff Walters, RHP

I think he needs to grow a mustache to complete the transformation from org dude starter to major league reliever. Maybe the Robb Nen?

22. Wuilmer Becerra, OF

I hope he works out, if only so all of Canada gets pissed at #Mort again three years from now when he writes a positive report on him.

21. Robert Gsellman, RHP

20. Casey Meisner, RHP

If I’m going to miss badly on two guys on this list, it’s probably these two. Don’t care.

19. Vic Black, RHP

Not bad for one month of Marlon Byrd, though that glove tap during his motion will probably drive me insane.

18. Cory Mazzoni, RHP

Needs to stop getting hurt every time I am supposed to catch him. Reports this year were more promising, and he started to miss bats, but didn’t do much to move the needle on that reliever projection.

17. Domingo Tapia, RHP

I want to believe.

16. Luis Cessa, RHP

Okay, maybe this is the guy I will miss the worst on. Still don’t care.

15. Amed German Rosario, SS

14. Gavin Cecchini, SS

I’ve said (written) my piece on these two. Hope they outperform my projections. Also hope they look like they will next time I see them. It’s a process for everybody.

13. Jacob deGrom, RHP

Not thrilled that they switched him to a curve. It’s quite short at the moment, if more consistent overall than the slider. Holding steady, basically.

12. Kevin Plawecki, C

I am guessing most will have Plawecki in their top ten. That’s fine. Not a huge spread between 7-13 on my list anyway. I do think the arm will always be a limiting factor, and Mets fans probably think he will walk in the majors more than he will. Perfectly cromulent prospect though.

11. Michael Fulmer, RHP

A lost season for Fulmer, but there is still an argument for keeping him in the Top 10. His stuff is better than Ynoa’s, and he’s younger than Matz, but those injuries aren’t going to make that nagging voice that says he’s a reliever go away anytime soon.

10. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

9. Steven Matz, LHP

I have my misgvings about Matz’s ultimate projection, but I don’t see how you can keep a lefty that touches 95 out of the top 10 in this system. I like Ynoa more than anybody else, and your guys are going to be your guys. The slider will have to get better, but he’s already got feel for the change, and the arm slot tweak should help. I trust that the stuff will get there.

8. Dilson Herrera, 2b

7. Brandon Nimmo, OF

Potential league-average regulars that are further away than our three through five troika. Nimmo gets the nod, because Jason Parks has seen both and prefers Nimmo. This seems reasonable to me, especially given there is still some power projection left for Nimmo. I’d have more to say here if I had paid better attention to Herrera at the Futures Game, but I was distracted by Miguel Sano’s BP. I can say this about Herrera: Also not too bad for one month of Marlon Byrd.

6. Dominic Smith, 1b

I tend to be pretty conservative with recent draftees, but a positive report from Hudson Belinsky has assuaged some of my concerns, and there is more ceiling here than with the group behind him. Still, I would feel better about Smith if he were 6’2″.

5. Cesar Puello, OF

4. Wilmer Flores, 3b/2b/1b/??

3. Rafael Montero, RHP

3-5 is a clear tier. Three youngish, close-to-major-league-ready prospects without a huge ceiling. All would be 5s (league-average regulars) for me. You could make the case for Puello over Flores since Puello is at least a good rightfielder. You could make the case for either over Montero if you don’t trust his frame/stuff to hold up over a 180-inning, major league workload.

2. Travis d’Arnaud, C

1. Noah Syndergaard, RHP

The obvious top two. We do need to stop with the “Noah Syndergaard shouldn’t be traded for anyone because he’s a guaranteed ace” talk though. I see him as more a #2/#3 with potential for more, so he’s very much in the same place Zack Wheeler was coming into 2013, or if you prefer, Matt Harvey coming into 2012. d’Arnaud will be fine if he’s healthy, but I don’t see much more than an above-average backstop here, which I am happy to sign up for today. I’ll take the free six months of Entertainment Weekly too, why not?

All Questions Answered

15 Jan

In lieu of trying to answer twitter questions about my list on twitter and limiting myself to 140 characters, here’s a thread for you to ask questions about the list. I will answer them all.

I’ve removed e-mail or approval requirements to post comments, so I suppose this is also an all spambots allowed thread.

The Mets Minors Review Top 50 Mets Prospect List for 2013: 10-1

7 Jan

10. Jeurys Familia, RHP

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: #3

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 23.5

Acquired: IFA, 2007

2012: 137 IP, 8.4 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, 9.5 H/9 for Buffalo (AAA)

Risk Factor: Low-Medium. Familia could start 2013 in the major league pen, assuming he is able to remember how to throw strikes.

Ranking based on: Live Look, Multiple Video Looks

The Short of It: A collapse of command/control in 2012 put a severe damper on Familia’s chances of being a major league starter, but his power arm should be useful in the pen.

The Long of It: In 2011 Familia looked like a future #3 starter, filling the strike zone with a pair of fastballs at 92-96, a bat-missing slider and a potentially average change-up. After some offseason mechanical tweaks at the behest of the Mets, Familia’s control and command collapsed in 2012. He could not throw his fastball for strikes early in the counts, and he threw far too many fat four-seamers after falling behind. The change-up became a rare and wholly ineffectual part of his arsenal, and the slider got more slurvy, to the point where I started questioning whether or not Familia was throwing two distinct breaking balls. The breaking ball (whatever it is) is still an effective pitch. Familia can actually throw it for strikes, and its mid-80s velocity makes it a potential plus offering. However, Familia’s inability to throw the fastball for strikes made it difficult to set up the slurve. The control issues likely tie back into the changes to Familia’s delivery. He appeared to be thinking his way through his mechanics for much of the season, and he had trouble repeating. He went through a similar issue in 2010, so I think there’s a reasonable chance he can bounceback again. Familia has the body of a workhorse starter, but he looks more like a classic two-pitch reliever now.

The Projection: Familia has late-inning potential as a reliever, but the wildness injects a lot of uncertainty into this projection. He could become more of a AAA shuttle guy who struggles with occasional bouts of wildness and the long ball. Think Manny Acosta (I know, horrifying thought). The starter projection has all but evaporated due to the regression of the change-up. I’m half convinced now that I saw the only Familia start where the pitch was really working for him.

What’s next: Right now Familia needs innings more than anything else to work through his mechanical issues. He’ll head up the Mets rotation in Vegas in 2013, and depending on his progress could be in the major league pen by the All-Star break.

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The Mets Minors Review Top 50 Mets Prospect List for 2013: 20-11

29 Dec

20. Juan Lagares, OF

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: #14

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 24

Acquired: IFA, 2006

2012: 548 PA, .283/.334/.389, 93 K / 37 BB

Risk Factor: Low-Medium

Ranking based on: Multiple Live Looks

The Short of It: I got suckered in by Lagares’ BABIP-driven 2011 season, but the package here still looks like a future major leaguer.

The Long of It: Lagares is a tough rank for me. I saw plenty of him in live game action this year, but some box score hunting indicates that he went 3-18 with a couple of walks in games I attended. And frankly, it felt like he did worse than that. I still have some confidence in the hit tool, but I think this year’s .283 BA is a much more reasonable projection of what he’ll hit in the majors than 2011’s .349. He was surprisingly passive at the plate, which could account for his modest BB rate spike this year. The extra walks are nice to see, but the approach also put him in plenty of bad counts. The main issue for me is that I just don’t see much in the way of secondary skills here. He’s knocked six home runs in 561 AA at-bats, and he doesn’t generate much power from his lower half. Lagares’ improved 2012 walk rate was still just 45th out of the 59 qualified Eastern League hitters. He’s also only an average runner, which probably keeps him from an everyday center field spot. The defensive tools profiles well in right, as Lagares has a good arm, but the bat just won’t play in an outfield corner. Classic tweener skillset.

The Projection:  Lagares looks like a fourth outfielder to me. He has a pretty big platoon split (which might actually make him more useful to the Mets right now), and could probably spot you on occasion in CF. He’s an alternate universe Scott Hairston of sorts. Even if the bat stagnates, the platoon split could make him a useful contact-oriented pinch-hitter against LHP, or in other words, what Terry Collins seems to think Justin Turner is. And heck, he was signed as a shortstop, so he might be better at that than Turner too.

What’s next: The friendly confines of Kaufman Stadium should give Lagares’ triple slash a kick in the pants, and given the Mets dearth of right-handed bats (and outfielders in general) Lagares could start accruing MLB service time in 2013.

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The Mets Minors Review Top 50 Mets Prospect List for 2013: 30-21

29 Dec

30. Luis Cessa, RHP

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: Not ranked

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 20.9

Acquired: IFA, 2008

2012: 72.1 IP, 5.5 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, 8 H/9 for Brooklyn (SS-A)

Risk Factor: High. Secondary stuff is all projection at this point and Cessa is a long way away from the majors.

Ranking based on: Video Look/The usual sources

The Short of It: Cessa’s fastball puts him above some other Brooklyn arms with gaudier numbers, but the secondary stuff is still quite raw.

The Long of It: Cessa had the best combination of age/velocity of the Brooklyn starters. He’s younger than the arms that throw about as hard as he does (Mateo, Hilario, Robles), and he’s got a bit more velocity than the guy in his age range (Ynoa). The fastball can touch 95, but sits more 91-93 and what I assume is a two-seamer shows good armside movement. There’s still some rawness here, especially mechanically, as Cessa struggles to finish his pitches and his command and control can come and go. The secondary stuff is not very advanced. He’ll show a slider, curve, and change, but none even approach average at this point. Cessa was strong down the stretch, posting a 21:2 K:BB ratio in his last six regular season starts, but still struggled to miss bats with his array of sub-par off-speed offerings.

The Projection: The safe projection here is some kind of reliever. Cessa has a live arm and could add some velocity in shorter stints. It’s certainly possible that one of the secondary pitches improves enough to make him a two-pitch reliever, but it’s tough to bet on two getting good enough to allow him to stay in the rotation. Still, I like him as a potential sleeper.

What’s next: Cessa will work on refining his secondary stuff against South Atlantic League hitters in Savannah. Given the amount of work needed here, he’s likely to move more slowly than the rest of his 2012 rotation mates.

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The Mets Minors Review Top 50 Mets Prospect List for 2013: 40-31

27 Dec

40. Tomas Nido, C

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: NR

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 19

Acquired: 8th round, 2012

2012: 140 PA, .242/.307/.339, 23 K / 12 BB for Kingsport (R)

Risk Factor: Very High. High school catchers are inherently risky propositions, and there are already questions about whether or not Nido is a catcher long term.

Ranking based on: The usual reports

The Short of It: Potential power-hitting catcher is more potential than anything else right now.

The Long of It: Nido was the youngest player to make this list. Well, right up until the Mets traded for Wuilmer Becerra. So there’s that. I can basically just tell you what Alex saw in his post-draft scouting report. Big power potential, but an unorthodox swing. Solid arm, but questions about whether he’s athletic enough to stay behind the plate. But much like you can never have too much pitching, you can also never have too much catching. Especially if you’re the Mets.

The Projection: Obviously, I’d prefer to wait until I see him live, or at least have more data to go on, but I have to put something here. Potential bat-first catcher that can control the running game all right? If you want a really lazy comp, that’s sort of Miguel Olivoish I guess.

What’s next: Nido is another one that will likely repeat Kingsport, as I think he normally would have started in the GCL. Mets have been pretty conservative with prep catchers recently, and Nido was young draftee even by prep pick standards.

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The Mets Minors Review Top 50 Mets Prospect List for 2013: 50-41

21 Dec

A few reminders:

1. This is how I would rank the Mets prospects today. Tomorrow it could…you know what, I probably already hate it.

2. Ordinal rankings are not as important as the write-up.

3. Ordinal rankings are based on a simple criterion: which prospect would I prefer were I starting an organization from scratch. The longer I do this, the more my biases tend towards tools and upside, but it’s still a balancing act between likelihood of making the majors and how good a prospect might be if he gets there.

3a. I tend to be conservative with recent draftees.

3b. Also, it seems like this year I have a bit of a bias towards Brooklyn players, at least in terms of volume, probably since I saw that affiliate the most and am always more comfortable ranking guys I have seen. This is more noticeable at the backend of the list.

4. To qualify for the list a player must be rookie-eligible, have played stateside in 2012, and be younger than 26 on Opening Day 2013. So no Jenrry Mejia, Vicente Lupo, or Reese Havens.

5. “The Usual Sources” are potentially BA, BP, Bullpen Banter, Dave Gershman’s work on the Penn League blog, Toby Hyde’s Mets Minor League Blog, Mike Newman’s work at FanGraphs, or Alex Nelson’s post-draft scouting reports at Amazin’ Avenue. I’ll cite when I use them. Mostly color or counter-balancing opinions if I’ve seen a guy, but I do sometimes have to lean on them if I haven’t.

6. And with that, let’s have at it.

 

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Jefry Marte, In Case You Were Wondering

18 Dec

15. Jefry Marte, 3B

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: #24

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 21.7

Acquired: IFA, 2007

2012: 513 PA, .251/.322/.366, 76 K / 43 BB for Binghamton (AA)

Risk Factor: Medium-High. Marte isn’t that far from the majors, but there’s still a big gap here between what he is and what I think he can be.

Ranking based on: Multiple Live Looks

The Short of It: Once again Marte holds his own while being one of the youngest players in the league, but he has yet to translate hit and power tools into his game and profiles as a very fringy third baseman.

The Long of It: Surprising power in his bat, but still has trouble consistently tapping into the raw during at-bats. Hit line drives all over the field when I saw him in April. Warning track fly in near freezing temperatures flies out of NYSEG in June, and can put on a show in BP. I actually like the hit tool here, Marte posted better K and BB rates than Lagares at the same level despite being 2+ years younger. Hasn’t tapped into the raw offensive tools like Flores has, and profiles worse at third as he has the same first step/range issues, plus a weaker arm. Don’t think the bat survives a move to 1B, and he doesn’t have the speed for the outfield. Can’t ignore that he continues to hold his own despite an aggressive promotion schedule, but eventually he will have to put together a season like Flores’ 2012 to justify a higher ranking.

The Projection: Marte has an awfully wide range of likely outcomes. There’s a good chance he’s not even a major leaguer. Last year I think I compared him to Edwin Encarnacion as an bat-oriented third baseman, but then Encarnacion went and hit 42 home runs. Notice fewer comps this year? Anyway, for 2012 let’s just leave it at offense-first third baseman, full stop.

What’s next: I think the Mets really need to separate Flores and Marte and let them both get a lion’s share of reps at 3B. Despite Flores half as many plate appearances at AA, I’d let him move on to Vegas and have Marte repeat the level. He’ll still be young for the league.

Mets Minors Review Volume 3

10 Jun

Agenda

1. Week in Review

- What’s up with Jeurys Familia?

- Obligatory Zack Wheeler Gushing

- Verrett back, Pill promoted

2. Hamilton Bennett Joins the Podcast

- How is St. Lucie doing it?

- What’s it like getting drafted?

- Wilmer Flores is strong like a bull

3.  My cranky draft recap

- Lucas Giolito is not walking through that door

- Polished is not a bad word

- Twitter Qs about Kevin Plawecki

- Short-Season Roster Crunch

4. A Very Special Josh Satin Watch

 

Mets Minors Review Volume 3

Mets Minors Review Volume 2

31 May

Apologies for the mixing on this one, a couple segments are lower than they probably should be.

Agenda:

1. A Look at Jenrry Mejia’s rehab start

2. The Week in Review

3. Potential Impact Bats in the Mets System

4. Twitter Q+A

- DSL players making stateside debuts?

- What to make of Jacob DeGrom?

- What’s the deal with Reese Havens?

5. Josh Satin Watch/Mock Draft Rant

Mets Minors Review Volume 2

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