2014 New York Mets Top 10 Prospects

By
Updated: January 29, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Noah Syndergaard, Position: RHP, Age: 21

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

54.0

3.11

3.09

9.05

2.26

17.1%

6.2%

0.42

52.0%

AA

64.0

3.00

2.09

11.50

2.00

24.8%

5.6%

1.33

39.8%

Profile: I’ve been on the Syndergaard bandwagon for quite awhile now. During last year’s preseason rankings I wrote: “Big and projectable, Syndergaard showed a tremendous feel for pitching against older competition. And it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Mets to push him to Double-A for at least half the season. As with every young pitcher, though, he’ll need a bit of luck to avoid serious injury. But if he can stay healthy the sky could be the limit. And just for comparison’s sake, [Zack] Wheeler, who was a year older at that time, averaged 10.7 K/9 and a whopping 5.8 BB/9 during his season in low Class A.”

Analysis: Elite-type potential. Along with a healthy Matt Harvey and Wheeler, Syndergaard should give the Mets one of the top – if not the top – pitching trio in the big leagues. Elite K-rate, better than average control/command and success against much older competition. What’s not to like, really?

Ceiling: 6.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

2. Travis d’Arnaud, Position: C, Age: 25

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

30

111

.222

.300

.481

10.0%

30.0%

.259

2

1

1

0/0

AAA

78

176

.304

.487

.554

26.9%

15.4%

.250

8

0

2

0/0

MLB

112

60

.202

.286

.263

10.7%

18.8%

.061

3

0

1

0/0

Profile: Snake-bitten? Perhaps. After missing a significant portion of the year due to a PCL tear in 2012, d’Arnaud, one the game’s top catching prospects, played just 63 games last season because of a non-displaced fracture in his foot.

Analysis: A career .286/.347/.476 minor league hitter, d’Arnaud offers up 25-HR potential, a solid eye at the plate, and strong contact skills. He’s a future middle-of-the-order bat playing a premium position – if he can avoid injury. The defense is passable, but the offense should more than compensate.

Ceiling: 4.5- to 5.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

3. Rafael Montero, Position: RHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

66.2

2.43

2.46

9.72

1.35

27.6%

3.8%

0.27

37.4%

AAA

86.2

3.01

3.69

7.89

2.60

21.3%

7.0%

0.42

38.0%

Profile: Look at the career numbers: 346.1 innings, 2.51 ERA, 3.14 SIERA, 8.4 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. Montero isn’t overly dominating, instead relying on his poise and control. But he continues to maintain strong strikeout and walk rates as he’s progressed through the minors.

Analysis: Big league ready. Montero could step into the Mets’ rotation tomorrow and produce like a good #3/#4. How does a rotation of Harvey, Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Montero sound, Mets fans?

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

4. Wilmer Flores, Position: IF, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AAA

463

129

.321

.357

.531

5.4%

13.6%

.210

36

4

15

1/4

MLB

101

51

.211

.248

.295

5.0%

22.8%

.084

5

0

1

0/0

Profile: Let’s play a game:

Name

Age(s)

Level

AVG

OBP

SLG

wRC+

Wilmer Flores

21

AAA

0.321

0.357

0.531

129

Player B

22

AAA

0.305

0.384

0.426

131

Player C

24

AAA

0.280

0.362

0.484

131

Player D

23

AAA

0.284

0.381

0.478

137

Player E

21

AAA

0.283

0.372

0.398

115

If you were starting a franchise, which player would you pick: Flores, Player B, Player C, Player D, or Player E? Obviously, a lot of people would choose Flores, whose overall production, 129 wRC+, was narrowly fourth on the list but was the youngest player among the group.

Now the answers: Player B is Dustin Pedroia, Player C is Jason Kipnis, Player D is Joey Votto, and Player  E is none other than newly crowned NL MVP Andrew McCutchen.

Analysis: The above exercise wasn’t an attempt to thrust Flores’ ceiling towards the game’s top players. Rather, it’s questioning how the Mets’ prospect is quite overlooked. Sure, he’s not an elite prospect: he won’t walk a whole lot, doesn’t run, and has no defensive home. But he has an above-average hit tool, blossoming power, and has played (successfully) his entire career against older competition.  Flores is going to be an above-average regular, not elite, but pretty damn productive.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

5. Cesar Puello, Position: CF/RF, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

377

163

.326

.403

.547

7.4%

21.8%

.221

21

2

16

24/31

Profile: Recipient of a 50-game suspension for being tied to Biogenesis. Puello, coincidentally or not, was in the midst of a major breakout season in 2013, topping the Eastern League offensive average by 63%, the second high mark in the league. Puello set career highs in HRs (16), AVG (.326), OBP (.403) and SLG (.547) among others.

Analysis: One of the more difficult players to rank in the entire minor leagues, the production has to be looked at with at least a bit of skepticism, unfairly or not. Let’s ignore the PED bust for a moment. Puello was just 22-years-old, has performed above the league average multiple times throughout his career, and flashed solid pop at times – all against older competition. That, in itself, makes for an interesting prospect. And his age puts him smack-dab right in the range for a big breakout. How much of it was PED related? Who knows? But the skill set and placement on the development curve could explain the outburst as well.

Personally, I’d gamble on him. Assuming some of the production was “enhanced,” Puello still had the base for a solid-average starter.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

6. Dominic Smith, Position: 1B, Age: 19

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

198

132

.287

.384

.407

12.1%

18.7%

.120

9

1

3

2/6

Profile: The 11th player – and third high school bat – chosen in last year’s draft, Smith hit well enough during his debut in the Gulf Coast League that the Mets bumped him up to the Appalachian League for three games to cap off a solid debut.

Analysis: The plate discipline and contact rates were solid for Smith, a 6-foot lefty-swinging first baseman. And after a slow start to his career, Smith hit .322/.420/.474 from July 1 through the end of the season.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

7. Matthew Bowman, Position: RHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

30.2

2.64

2.52

7.63

1.17

21.0%

3.2%

0.00

63.4%

A+

96.1

3.18

3.28

8.41

2.90

22.6%

7.8%

0.75

60.4%

Profile: Score one for the Ivy League guys. Bowman, a 13th round pick out of Princeton University two years ago, became one of the most prolific groundballers in the minor leagues last season, averaging a 61.2% GB-rate over 127 innings of work.

Analysis: I’ve been called a nerd my entire life, so what I’m about to write is completely allowed. With his Ivy League background, it’s not surprising to see Bowman do everything a pitcher needs to do to be successful. He’s not overpowering, but shows strong command and a ton of groundballs. He’s every baseball nerd summed into one on the mound. And he’s going to surprise some people. Assuming he can stay healthy, I’d put some serious dough on Bowman having a 10-year big league career as a good #4.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

8. Michael Fulmer, Position: RHP, Age: 21

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

12.0

3.00

2.22

9.75

0.75

27.7%

2.1%

0.00

53.1%

A+

31.0

3.48

4.52

8.13

4.94

20.7%

12.6%

0.30

34.9%

Profile: Uh oh. The two worst words to be associated with any pitcher, particularly a promising youngster, knocked Fulmer out in 2013: shoulder strain. The arm injury occurred as the 2011 first round pick was returning from a torn meniscus.

Analysis: Fulmer essentially jumped straight into full season ball in 2012, throwing 108.1 innings with strong peripherals (8.4 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9). If the shoulder injury proves to be nothing more than a speed bump, and that’s a big if, Fulmer could peak as a nice mid rotation guy.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

9. Steven Matz, Position: LHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

101.1

2.66

2.96

10.04

3.20

27.6%

8.8%

0.36

50.0%

Profile: Matz has quite the history in professional ball, or lack thereof. After the Mets made the 6-foot-3 southpaw their first pick in the 2009 draft, #72 overall, he did not debut in a game for another three years, courtesy of Tommy John. So the fact that the southpaw didn’t spontaneously combust this season is a plus.

Analysis: Finished fourth in the Sally with 10.04 K/9. Matz also showed surprising control for a pitcher that had thrown fewer than 30 innings prior to the year. He also was able to maintain his K-rate towards the end of the season, another positive sign. Still, though, that injury past is troublesome. He could be a mid rotation guy, peaking as a #3, or more likely a dominant reliever. For now, though, I’ll go with the former.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

10. Cory Mazzoni, Position: RHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

61.2

4.52

2.98

10.22

2.63

26.2%

6.7%

0.58

35.6%

Profile: Recovered from some forearm/elbow irritation and was in the midst of a breakout year in Double-A until a torn meniscus ended his season prematurely. Mazzoni suffered through a bit of bad luck, statistically speaking. His BABIP, .361, and strand rate, 56.2%, were both out of whack.

Analysis: Another interesting rotation arm. Solid to above-average control/command and his K-rate spiked tremendously his second time through Class AA. At the very least, Mazzoni becomes a valuable reliever. A strong first half in 2014 could make him among the first wave of call ups. At his very best, he could be a #3/4-type arm.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

 

One Comment

  1. Za

    January 29, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    No Nimmo and Matt Bowman at 7th? Not the best list I’ve seen.

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