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.

 

39. Alonzo Harris, OF

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: Not ranked

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 24.3

Acquired: 39th round, 2007

2012: 494 PA, .287/.354/.424, 66 K / 44 BB

Risk Factor: Medium-High. Skill set hasn’t been tested against advanced pitching yet, and I’m generally leery about guys that breakout in the FSL at 23.

Ranking based on: The usual sources

The Short of It: Harris’s 2012 season in St. Lucie was impressive, but as an older prospect by Florida State League standards I think we need to temper expectations.

The Long of It: I said this on the podcast when I recapped St. Lucie’s season, but Harris reminds me a bit of former Mets farmhand Dante Brinkley. Both were burners who could hit a bit and play some centerfield. Both were late round prep picks. Both had big break out years at 23 in A-ball, where they developed some power while increasing their contact rate. The Mets sold high on Brinkley, including him with Gaby Hernandez in the Paul lo Duca trade, and he never quite hit enough in the upper minors to make it to the show. That’s not  necessarily Harris’ destiny, mind you, but I need to see the bat at upper levels before I fully buy in. By any statistical measure at least, Harris’ 2012 campaign was a huge improvement over his 2011 (or 2010 for that matter). Harris walked more, struck out less, added power, and stole more bases at a more efficient rate. And he did all this at a higher level of competition. Now, some of that ‘improvement’ is likely due to the difference in offensive environments, and it’s worth noting that Harris repeated Savannah twice before his promotion this year to St. Lucie. Also worth noting that Mike Newman, who saw Harris the previous two seasons in the Sally, was shocked when I mentioned to him on the podcast that Harris had a huge year for St. Lucie. Probably not a good sign. But hey, if Harris’ bat handles AA this year, you are looking at a guy that can play all three outfield positions and was rated the fastest baserunner in the org by Baseball America. You can find somewhere for him to play.

The Projection: As you may be able to  tell, I’m still not convinced there’s a major leaguer here, but Harris has at least inserted  himself into the outfield prospect conversation. Granted, on the Mets that comes awfully close to damning with faint praise.

What’s next: Harris will probably be playing CF for Binghamton, at least until Darrell Ceciliani is healthy and/or promoted.

38. Branden Kaupe, 2B

Bats/Throws: S/R

Last Year: Not ranked

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 19

Acquired: 4th round, 2012

2012: 173 PA, .173/.358/.195, 66 K / 44 BB for Kingsport (R)

Risk Factor: Very High. Tools need lots of refinement, no real professional track record.

Ranking based on: A pleasant conversation with Mike Newman/The Usual Sources

The Short of It: Draft day surprise has youth and tools on his side, but struggled during an aggressive short-season assignment.

The Long of It: It’s easy to look at that stat line and wonder what the Mets were thinking spending a fourth round pick on the relatively unknown and quite diminutive Kaupe, but Mike Newman gave him a very positive report on the podcast. Newman saw pop from both sides of the plate, solid work at second base, and well-above average speed. (I apologize for not remembering exactly where, but saw someone else hang a 65 on Kaupe’s run tool). Newman added that he’s very raw, which should come as no surprise given his age and background, but it looks like the Mets could have something here. Newman saw him as a utility type in the future, but that’s not a bad snag for whatever scout was working the high school fields in Oahu.

The Projection: So many utility infielders in this range. Kaupe probably has a bit more ceiling than Muno or Reynolds, Newman sort of comped him to Jose Altuve on the podcast, but he’s a much riskier bet.

What’s next: Like Nido and Flexen, Kaupe will probably repeat Kingsport. He’s only a couple days older than Nido, and there’s no need to rush here.

37. Danny Muno, 2B/SS

Bats/Throws: S/R

Last Year: #29

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 24.2

Acquired: 8rd round, 2011

2012:  352 PA, .280/.387/.412, 53 K / 50 BB for St. Lucie (A+)

Risk Factor: High. Big gap between the Florida State League and MLB and Muno doesn’t have much, if any, projection left. PED suspension and ‘personal issue’ that kept him out of the Arizona Fall League sets off some alarm bells for me, though that’s probably not fair.

Ranking based on: Multiple Live Looks in 2011 / The Usual Reports from 2012

The Short of It: Same utility infielder projection he had last year, but lost development time for PED violation gives me some pause.

The Long of It: Muno doesn’t really have any standout tools, but he’s a guy that just seems to do enough. He makes enough contact and will draw a walk. He’s an efficient basestealer despite only average speed. Turned some doubles into home runs this year, you can call it a fluke or blame it on the steroids I guess, but he had some line drive pop when I saw him at Brooklyn and has a mature, physical frame. Still, hard to project even fringy (10+) home run power at the highest level. He’s a grinder in the field, but not nearly enough arm for shortstop and he unsurprisingly played more second base this year in St. Lucie. Played some 3B for Fresno State as well and his future most likely lies in being able to play a bit everywhere. Good at working counts and comfortable hitting with two strikes, so I think he’ll continue to draw walks at higher levels, but ultimately he’ll get as far as his hit tool takes him. Some vulnerability to breaking balls and hard stuff up, as he has to sell out a bit with his swing to get even the power he has, and AA will be a good test of the bat.

The Projection: Muno’s offensive skill set is different than Justin Turner (more walks, more power, less contact), but I could see him eventually taking the Turner role once Turner starts to get expensive. Also, since he’s a switch hitter, Terry Collins will always have the platoon advantage! Bat could falter in the upper minors, but ability to get on base and play up the middle should at least keep him around in an org guy role for a while.

What’s next: Despite just a half-season’s worth of plate appearances in the Florida State League, I expect Muno to get pushed up to to Binghamton where we’ll get a better feel for just how good the bat actually is.

36. Hansel Robles, RHP

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: Not ranked

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 22.7

Acquired: IFA, 2008

2012:  72.2 IP, 8.2 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0.0 HR/9, 5.8 H/9 for Brooklyn (SS-A)

Risk Factor: High. Robles has his fair share of mechanical red flags and needs to refine his offspeed stuff. Dominated mostly younger competition in short-season ball.

Ranking based on: Multiple Live Looks

The Short of It: Short right-hander has a big arm, but mechanical concerns and low armslot suggest his future is in the bullpen.

The Long of It: Doesn’t get much longer than this.

The Projection:  While Robles’ arm action is concerning, and the stuff could certainly get exposed by better competition, I think he has a shot to be a good middle reliever in the majors, maybe even a set-up man if the slider gets sharper.

What’s next: Robles fastball/slider combo could probably keep him afloat in Port St. Lucie, but I expect him to go level-by-level and kick off 2013 in the Savannah rotation. Given his current repertoire, A-ball should not give him too much trouble.

35. Jack Leathersich, LHP

Bats/Throws: L/L

Last Year: #30

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 22.7

Acquired: 5th round, 2011

2012: 72 IP, 14.1 K/9, 4 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9, 6.4 H/9 between Savannah (A) and St. Lucie (A+)

Risk Factor: Medium. Present-day stuff isn’t that far off from playing in a major league pen, but needs to continue improving mechanics/breaking ball.

Ranking based on: Video Look/The usual sources

The Short of It: Mets fan favorite continued to miss bats, but his upside is limited as a reliever without a late inning profile.

The Long of It: I like Jack Leathersich. He’s a funky lefty with a solid nickname (Leather Rocket), who tweets a lot about Chipotle and posts K rates that I couldn’t match in MLB: The Show. Really, what’s not to like? I just don’t know that he’s the Mets’ relief ace of the future. If I’m going to rate a pitcher with an obvious relief profile much higher than this, I need see him as a late inning guy, either an elite set-up man or closer. In order to project that, I need to a true swing-and-miss offering at the highest level. I’m not sure what that’s going to be from Leathersich. He could touch 95+ in college, but per Toby Hyde, worked more at 91-93 this year in Savannah. Now that was as a multi-inning reliever, so maybe you get a bit back when he likely shifts into a one-inning role at higher levels, but some pitchers just never throw as fast as they did in college. He’s made strides with the curveball this year, but it needs further refinement and better reports before I’m comfortable labeling it a plus pitch. Toby also remarked on Leathersich’s deception, and it’s easy to see how well he hides the ball from batters, but that doesn’t always play at higher levels. Now, Leathersich has more pure stuff than other Mets minors magicians like Yusmeiro Petit or Armando Rodriguez, but I don’t know that he has more pure stuff than Josh Edgin. Edgin should have made my list last year, but I don’t know that he would have been much higher than #35 either..

For more on Leathersich’s recent work on his curve and mechanics, check out his interview with Toby Hyde from this Spring.

The Projection: I don’t think you should pigeonhole Leathersich as a LOOGy, remember that the curve is generally a neutral platoon pitch, but while I see him as a crossover guy, it’s more likely in the seventh inning or middle relief than in the real high leverage spots.

What’s next: I guess you could launch Leather Rocket back to St. Lucie to clean up the command/control some more, but I prefer to be aggressive with relief arms. I’d send him to Binghamton.

34. Darrell Ceciliani, OF

Bats/Throws: L/L

Last Year: #37

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 22.8

Acquired: 4th round, 2009

2012: 99 PA, .329/.402/.459, 13 K / 10 BB for St. Lucie (A+)

Risk Factor: High. Nagging leg injuries have sapped his playing time for the last two years now. Still no track record against advanced pitching.

Ranking based on: The usual sources

The Short of It: Ceciliani is a true centerfielder with a leadoff hitter profile, but his struggles to stay on the field are concerning.

The Long of It: I could really just copy and paste my blurb on Ceciliani from my 2012 prospect list. He didn’t really see enough time on the field to move the needle much, even with a few extra weeks of work in the AFL. Of course, he’s not another year older and lost most of a full season of development time to various leg injuries. That’s a problem. He’ll still be roughly age appropriate for either the FSL or Eastern League next year, but 99 good plate appearances don’t quell the doubts I have about how much power and patience he’ll show at higher levels. Meanwhile, the assorted injuries over the last two seasons have added some new doubts into the mix. This is overly vague to be sure, but I just won’t have that much more to offer until we see Ceciliani on the field for a full, healthy season. He could be 20 spots higher next year, or off the list entirely.

The Projection: Ideally, Ceciliani is a guy that can play a solid CF and get on base enough to hit at the top of a major league line-up. Though I can’t help but wonder now if we’re all still coming down off that heady high from his 2010 Brooklyn season.

What’s next: Ceciliani needs plate appearances first and foremost. Likely he’ll head back to the fair weather and sunshine of St. Lucie for a month or two, but hopefully he’ll be in Binghamton no later than the FSL all-star break.

33. Miller Diaz, RHP

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: NR

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 20.8

Acquired: IFA 2008

2012: 47.2 IP, 10 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9, 8.1 H/9 for Kingsport (R)

Risk Factor: Very High. Long way from the Majors? Check. Underdeveloped secondary stuff? Check?  Very High it is then.

Ranking based on: The usual sources

The Short of It: Big, raw arm that could be poised for a breakout season in 2013.

The Long of It: Throws 95, struck out better than a batter per in Kingsport. Your guess is as good as mine. The artists formerly known as scout.com saw a potentially good slider and change-up in there as well, so maybe Diaz follows the Rafael Montero track and breaks out this year in Savannah. Your guess is…well, you know. I like betting on big arms though. This ranking is probably the most likely one to make me look like an idiot next year, but if it’s not this one, it’ll just be some other one. So I’m following my gut.

The Projection: #3/#4 starter? Big-armed reliever? None of the above? Let’s find out together.

What’s next: Diaz would start next year in the NYPL as roughly the same age as your college junior draft pick. So that’s fine. I don’t read much into him getting an extra start in Savannah at the end of the year, as that’s just where they had a spot for him. I wouldn’t be opposed to the Mets pushing him to full season ball, but I am excited to get a look at him next year either way.

32. Matthew Reynolds, SS

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last Year: NR

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 22.3

Acquired: 2nd round, 2012

2012: 179 PA, .259/.335/.367, 26 K / 12 BB for Savannah (A)

Risk Factor: Medium-High. Reynolds has the polish you would expect out of an early round SEC pick, but I didn’t see a lot of major league tools on display.

Ranking based on: Multiple Live Looks/A pleasant conversation with Mike Newman

The Short of It: 2012 second round pick has a polished bat, but a low ceiling and an even lower chance of staying at shortstop.

The Long of It: I was excited to catch Reynolds when Savannah was in Lakewood this Summer, but if you didn’t tell me he was a second-round pick, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed. The skill set reminds me some of Danny Muno, who was an eighth-round pick in 2011. Reynolds is younger and better around the margins, but he didn’t show the actions or range to play a major league shortstop, and that looks like the only place the bat will really play. Reynolds makes decent contact and has a good approach, but I didn’t see much more than doubles power in the swing. You could probably give him somewhat of a pass after a very aggressive assignment coming off a long NCAA season, but the tools just don’t stand out in any way to me. Mike Newman went so far as to rank Reynolds behind Kaupe. I can’t *quite* do that, as I think Reynolds has a much higher floor, but they are probably closer than you think.

For a bit more on Reynolds and Kaupe, check out “Newman’s Own: Best Second Basemen of 2012″ at FanGraphs.

The Projection: Reynolds profiles best as a utility infielder, albeit one that probably shouldn’t be manning shortstop at the major league level. Sound familiar? Yep, he should probably start working on his pie-throwing technique. I do think Reynolds will have a bit more in the way of secondary skills than Turner, but just a bit, and he could end up as more of a AAA shuttle type.

What’s next: The Mets have a glut of shortstops in the lower minors, so if they want to keep Reynolds there for now, he’ll likely have to move up to St. Lucie. Mets had no problem sending Muno there for his first full professional season, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t push Reynolds there as well.

31. Cam Maron, C

Bats/Throws: L/R

Last Year: #28

Age: (as of Opening Day 2013) 22.2

Acquired: 34th round, 2009

2012: 409 PA, .300/.403/.408, 73 K / 53 BB for Savannah (A)

Risk Factor: High. Questions about whether he can stay behind the plate and bat utility at higher levels make him a risky bet.

Ranking based on: Multiple Live Looks

The Short of It: Maron’s offensive profile makes him an intriguing catching prospect, but his lack of arm strength will make it tough for him to stay at catcher.

The Long of It: Maron’s often comped to Josh Thole, but I see a bit more gap power in the swing. Add in a patient approach and good strike zone recognition and the offensive profile is a nice on for a backstop. Maron is also a good athlete, below-average runner, but fast for a catcher. Moves well to block balls, though his receiving skills overall are in need of improvement. Threw out just 10 of 80 base stealers this year, which is a problem. Arm just lacks oomph from behind the plate, and his pop times were well below-average. Unlikely to bump that up enough with footwork improvements to even get to acceptable and I suspect teams will continue to run freely on him at higher levels. The bat is very nice at a premium position, not-so-nice at first base, and I don’t see him moving to say, third base or left field. Teams have been living with Rod Barajas’ terrible CS numbers for a few years, but Barajas used to have an average arm, and had much better caught stealing numbers in the minors than Maron does. Teams just aren’t willing to punt catcher defense that much, even if the bat is above-average

The Projection: Maron is tough to project. He could end up as a Lucas May type where he catches, plays a little first and third as well, but he lacks the power profile you usually see from those guys, and that’s still not really a major leaguer. The rest of the package means that he only needs to be merely bad in the running game to potentially be a useful back-up, but it’s rare to see catchers add arm strength, which seems to be the issue here.

What’s next: Maron will back-up 2012 Supplemental 1st round pick Kevin Plawecki at St. Lucie. No reason to move him off catcher yet, if only because organizations always need catchers.

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