The 2016 New York Mets Top 10 Prospects

Announcement: After peaking as the #3 book among all baseball books on Amazon last year, my new book, The 2016 Prospect Digest Handbook, is on sale! Check it out here!

And for those wondering what CALs are, here’s an article on the Comparison And Likeness program I designed.

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1. Steven Matz, LHP                                           
Born: 05/29/91 Age: 25 Bats: R Top CALs: Kea Komentani, Andrew Heaney,

Brad Mills, Manny Parra, Cory Mazzoni

Height: 6-2 Weight: 200 Throws: L
 

YEAR Age Level IP W L ERA FIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 22 A 106.3 5 6 2.62 2.91 10.24 3.22 28.3% 8.9% 0.34 75.4%
2014 23 A+ 69.3 4 4 2.21 2.73 8.05 2.73 21.5% 7.3% 0.00 77.2%
2014 23 AA 71.3 6 5 2.27 2.64 8.71 1.77 24.0% 4.9% 0.38 75.8%
2015 24 A+ 3.7 0 0 4.91 2.35 7.36 2.45 16.7% 5.6% 0.00 75.0%
2015 24 AA 11.3 1 0 0.00 2.03 7.94 1.59 27.0% 5.4% 0.00 100.0%
2015 24 AAA 90.3 7 4 2.19 3.44 9.37 3.09 26.2% 8.6% 0.60 82.1%

Background: Matz, a promising, often dominant lefty that would uncork mid-90s heat who captured the imagination of the hometown crowd for six starts last season, was taken with the Mets’ first pick all the way back in 2009. But Matz, the 72nd player chosen that year, sandwiched between David Holmberg and Max Walla in the second round, wouldn’t make his professional debut for nearly three full seasons. Here’s a story about perseverance: early in Spring Training in 2010 Matz underwent the knife – Tommy John surgery – but had numerous setbacks for the next two seasons. At one point the famed Dr. James Andrews told the young lefty, according to the New York Post in article published by Howie Kussoy July 27, 2015, “that there was chance [he] would need a second Tommy John surgery.” But here’s the catch: as told by Matz to Kussoy, the only way that would be determined is after he started throwing again; either it would rip again or the scar tissue would break up. Luckily for Matz, the scar tissue broke up.

Just pause and think about that for a moment. You’re barely out of high school with your dream job in front of you – and every single aspiration lined up – but you may not ever get the chance to see if you’re good enough to hack it. It’s quite the sobering feeling, isn’t it?

Anyway, Matz would appear in six games for Kingsport in the Appalachian League in 2012. He would top 100 innings in the Sally the following year. Then in 2014, with the lengthy injury history firmly in his past, Matz started leaping through the minor leagues. He made two stops that year, splitting the season between St. Lucie and Binghamton. And then blew the doors of the PCL competition before making his brief six-game debut with Mets last year.

Long odds be damned; perseverance – and some luck – pays off.

Projection: I’ve always had a special place in my analytical heart for the 6-foot-2, 200-pound lefty. In my first book in I listed Matz among the Top 25 Breakout Prospects for 2014, writing:

“[He] 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.”

Even back then I thought Matz had a potentially special left arm. He also proved that he was one of the bigger breakout prospects for 2014. And here’s what I wrote in last year’s book:

“Well, now Matz looks like a sleeping giant in terms of ceiling. Fantastic numbers, though they have mostly come against an age-appropriate level of competition, but dominance in the mid-levels of the minors is a plus.”

That dominance continued into the PCL and through the six starts with the Mets before a lat tear shut him down. When he’s right – and healthy – the budding ace sports a mid-90s heater, hard upper-80s slider, curve, and change. Above-average punch out potential with matching control; the only thing limiting his ceiling would be the injury bug.

Ceiling: 4.0- to 4.5-win player

Risk: Moderate

MLB ETA: Debuted in 2015

 

2. Gavin Cecchini, SS                                                      
Born: 12/22/93 Age: 22 Bats: R Top CALs: Tyler Pastornicky, Jonathan Mota,

J.P . Crawford, Daniel Robertson, Jorge Polanco

Height: 6-2 Weight: 200 Throws: R
 

Season Age LVL PA 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 19 A- 212 8 0 0 0.273 0.319 0.314 0.041 6.6% 14.2% 94
2014 20 A 259 17 4 3 0.259 0.333 0.408 0.149 9.7% 15.8% 106
2014 20 A+ 271 10 1 5 0.236 0.325 0.352 0.116 11.8% 14.8% 96
2015 21 AA 485 26 4 7 0.317 0.377 0.442 0.125 8.7% 11.3% 139

Background: As his older brother Garin’s stock continues to plummet, Gavin, the Mets’ first pick in 2012, is moving skyward after a breakout season in Class AA at the age of 21. Taken with the 12th overall pick, one selection behind future All-Star Addison Russell, Cecchini struggled to make any type of offensive impact during his first three professional seasons: he had a lackluster debut with Kingsport in the Appalachian League (.246/.311/.330), fared slightly better in the New York-Penn League during his sophomore campaign (.273/.319/.314), continued his slight uptick in performance in the Sally (.259/.333/.408) and held his own after a midseason promotion to St. Lucie (.236/.325/.352). But the 6-foot-2, 200-pound shortstp finally separated himself from the minor league pack last season: he slugged a career best .317/.377/.442 with 26 doubles, four triples, seven homeruns, and a trio of stolen bases. His overall production, according to Weighted Runs Created Plus, was 39% better than the Eastern League average, the fifth best showing.

Projection: On one hand Cecchini’s offensive spike was a bit predictable: he was constantly facing off against more advanced pitching and his underlying numbers were slowly creeping upwards. On the other hand, however, there’s no one on this planet that would have surmised the young shortstop outperforming J.P. Crawford, widely recognized as one of the top MiLB shortstops, in the Eastern League. But Cecchini did just that, 139 wRC+ vs. 121 wRC+. With that being said, Cecchini doesn’t own a true standout tool. The power is merely average, perhaps even slightly below. He doesn’t offer up a whole lot of foot speed. The plate discipline is merely average. And the hit tool, well, this is the first time he’s topped a .273 average; coincidentally (or not), Cecchini’s also sporting the highest BABIP of his career (.348). Cecchini, as CAL would agree, looks like a solid big league regular, perhaps a few ticks better.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Risk: Moderate

MLB ETA: 2017

 

3. Marcos Molina, RHP                                                
Born: 03/08/95 Age: 21 Bats: R Top CALs: Ian Mckinney, Carlos Vasquez,

Jose Guzman, Casey Meisner, Sam Gibbons

Height: 6-3 Weight: 188 Throws: R
 

YEAR Age Level IP W L ERA FIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 18 R 53.3 4 3 4.39 3.76 7.26 2.36 18.6% 6.1% 0.51 63.2%
2014 19 A- 76.3 7 3 1.77 2.34 10.73 2.12 30.7% 6.1% 0.24 77.4%
2015 20 A+ 41.3 1 5 4.57 2.68 7.84 2.40 19.7% 6.0% 0.22 59.4%

Background: In a year that started off with so much promise – Molina, who made the jump from the Gulf Coast League straight into High Class A – it ended with nothing but doubt and disappointment. The lanky 6-foot-3, 188-pound right-hander was coming off of an absolutely dominating campaign, something that’s seemingly commonplace in this organization; in 12 starts with Brooklyn in 2014 Molina posted a barely there 1.73 ERA, a slightly higher FIP (2.34), and finished with an impeccable 91-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And, of course, like so many young, promising arms before him, Molina succumbed to Tommy John surgery in 2015, essentially limiting him to 41.1 innings – albeit 41.1 really good innings. Removing the poor statistical luck, he posted a 2.68 FIP while averaging 7.84 K/9 and 2.40 BB/9.

Projection: I couldn’t have been higher on the big right-hander coming into the season, writing this in last year’s book:

“Simply put, Molina’s the best pitching prospect you’ve never heard of – YET. Molina, who stands a solid 6-foot-3 and nearly 190 pounds, has improved his strikeout rate for the second consecutive season, going from a lackluster 6.5 K/9 in the DSL to 7.3 K/9 in his stateside jump in 2013 to a career high 10.89 K/9 in the NYPL last season. What makes It even more impressive: his walk rate has essentially remained the same. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him ascend to the club’s top pitching prospect – or overall prospect, for that matter – as soon as next season (assuming Noah Syndergaard is promoted). You’ve been warned.”

And through his first five starts of 2015 Molina looked up to the challenge; he tallied a 28-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27.0 innings. And remember: he closed out the previous season in the New York-Penn League. Assuming there aren’t any Steven Matz – or worse – setbacks, Molina still offers up plenty of upside in his powerful right arm. Last year I pegged him as a three-win player with a high risk, and he’s done nothing to change that – unfortunately.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Risk: Moderate

MLB ETA: 2018

 

4. Brandon Nimmo, CF                                               
Born: 03/27/93 Age: 23 Bats: L Top CALs:   Andrew Lambo, Shane Peterson,

Daryl Jones, Tyler Austin, Michael Reed

Height: 6-3 Weight: 205 Throws: R
 

Season Age LVL PA 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 20 A 480 16 6 2 0.273 0.397 0.359 0.086 14.8% 27.3% 127
2014 21 A+ 279 9 5 4 0.322 0.448 0.458 0.137 17.9% 18.3% 165
2014 21 AA 279 12 4 6 0.238 0.339 0.396 0.158 12.9% 19.4% 107
2015 22 A+ 20 1 0 0 0.125 0.300 0.188 0.063 20.0% 15.0% 65
2015 22 AA 302 12 3 2 0.279 0.354 0.368 0.089 8.6% 18.2% 111
2015 22 AAA 112 3 1 3 0.264 0.393 0.418 0.154 16.1% 17.9% 121

Background: I can, with as much certainty as anything else in this entire book, say no other prospect can stir up the type of emotional swell amongst the hometown faithful than the 6-foot-3, 205-pound lefty-swinging center fielder out of a little Wyoming town. And for Brandon Nimmo the 2015 season was another very Brandon Nimmo-like showing. The 13th overall selection in the 2011 draft – and one pick ahead of ace right-hander Jose Fernandez – Nimmo spent the majority of last season battling a couple serious injuries as he split time between Binghamton and Las Vegas. The young center fielder sprained his ACL trying to leg out an infield single in mid-May, an injury that forced him to miss about four weeks of action. And then a couple months later he would miss a handful of games as he recovered from a fractured nose, the result of a BP incident. In total, Nimmo would hit an aggregate .269/.362/.372 between the Eastern and Pacific Coast Leagues last season (including a four-game rehab stint with St. Lucie).

As for his production, it more or less falls in line with his yearly marks since entering the New York-Penn League as a 19-year-old in 2012. Consider the following:

YEAR LEVEL(S) AVG OBP SLG OPS
2012 A- 0.248 0.372 0.406 0.778
2013 A- 0.273 0.397 0.359 0.756
2014 A+/AA 0.278 0.394 0.426 0.820
2015 AA/AAA 0.269 0.362 0.372 0.734

 

Projection: Let’s take a trip into the WayBack Machine and re-visit what I wrote in my first book two years ago:

“Sorry, Mets’ fans. Nimmo is going to be another Sam Bowie. Or Steve Chilcott, the high school catcher the club picked instead of Reggie Jackson; [whichever] analogy you prefer, of course. Nimmo has one above-average tool: his ability to walk. He hasn’t run at all, or hit for power, or hit left-handers. And, not to pile on, but his K-rate, 27.3%, is encroaching red flag territory. Maybe he develops into a useful fourth/fifth outfielder.”

And here’s what I wrote in last year’s book:

“Alright, maybe I was a bit too harsh on the guy the Mets chose instead of Jose Fernandez, but let’s delve into the numbers a little bit deeper, ok? Nimmo started off the year as hot as Pete Rose walking through Hell wearing a gasoline suit – he hit .384/.508/.515 over his first 26 games – but he cooled dramatically afterwards, hitting .250/.361/.402 over his final 101 games – numbers more or less in line with his career norms by the way. (And that’s not including his chilly .202/.306/.238 performance in the Arizona Summer League, either.)

And, yes, he still walked at a tremendous rate. But the power was simply average for the majority of the year; he still ran rather infrequently (at least not enough to boost his value) and – here’s the doozy – he still can’t hit southpaws (.232/.347/.317 against them [in 2014] and .220/.331/.298 in his career).

So, I’m not backing off of my evaluation from last year. And CAL is suggesting that I could be right by listing Aaron Hicks, Robbie Grossman, Dan Brewer, and LeVon Washington as four of his top five comps. [He’s a] fourth/fifth outfielder guy.”

OK, so where do I begin?

Well, Nimmo is sporting a tremendous strong eye at the plate; he walked in 11.1% of his plate appearances last season and has found first base via the free pass in about 14% of the time in his career. It’s safe to say it’s an above-average, repeatable skill with the floor of something around 8.5% to 9% at the big league level.

Going down the list from two years ago, Nimmo still isn’t running very frequently or successfully at this point in his career. Last season he swiped five bags in 11 tries, and he’s gone 30-for-52 in his five-year professional career. He also isn’t hitting for a whole lot of power either. Even prior to the knee injury he posted a .123 Isolated Power. And then, of course, is his complete inability to hit fellow southpaws; he “batted” .242/.349/.264 against them in 2015, numbers that more or less far in line with his career mark. Finally, CAL remains utterly unimpressed as well, linking him to Andrew Lambo, Shane Peterson, Daryl Jones, Tyler Austin, and Michael Reed.

In the end, I think, people associate Nimmo’s lofty draft status as a harbinger of things to come, but in reality he’s never likely going to live up to those expectations. Instead, the former first rounder looks like a platoon specialist given his inability to hit LHP. There’s definite value in that, especially if he proves to be an adequate defender, but there’s no way he can overcome it.

Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player

Risk: Moderate

MLB ETA: 2016

 

5. Amed Rosario, SS                                                     
Born: 11/20/95 Age: 20 Bats: R Top CALs: Oscar Tejeda, Milton Ramos,

Malquin Canelo, Arismendy Alcantara, Cleuluis Rondon

Height: 6-2 Weight: 170 Throws: R
 

Season Age LVL PA 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 17 R 226 8 4 3 0.241 0.279 0.358 0.118 4.9% 19.0% 82
2014 18 A- 290 11 5 1 0.289 0.337 0.380 0.090 5.9% 16.2% 111
2015 19 A+ 417 20 5 0 0.257 0.307 0.335 0.078 5.5% 17.5% 97
2015 19 AA 10 0 0 0 0.100 0.100 0.100 0.000 0.0% 50.0% -54

Background: The organization didn’t just quickly move Rosario through the lower levels they damn near shoved him through kicking-and-screaming. Rosario, a lean 6-foot-2, 170-pound shortstop out of the Dominican Republic, bypassed all the foreign rookie leagues and jumped straight into the Appalachian League for his debut, hitting a decent-ish .241/.279/.358 en route to posting an 82 wRC+. He began the following season, 2014, in short-season ball and finished it with a seven-game stint in the Sally. But despite the fact that he hit a combined .274/.320/.372 two years ago, the front office pushed Rosario straight into the Florida State League where he would be one of just two qualified everyday teenage regulars (the other being Tampa Bay’s Willy Adames). And for the most part Rosario handled the aggressive development curve: he essentially performed at the FSL league average mark.

Projection: A wrist injury – and subsequent trip to the DL – limited Rosario’s High Class A stint to 105 games. Rosario continued to show a below-average eye at the plate, something to be expected given his youth and level of competition. The hit tool is slowly trending upward. But the power hasn’t started to surface just yet either. CAL’s not overly impressed, but a 19-year-old that can post a 97 wRC+ in High Class A has some upside. He might turn into a Didi Gregorius down the line, offensively speaking, of course.

Ceiling: 2.0-win player

Risk: Moderate to High

MLB ETA: 2017

 

6. Chris Flexen, RHP                                                      
Born: 07/01/94 Age: 21 Bats: R Top CALs: Yelper Castillo, David Baker,

Aaron Fuhrman, Chris Lugo, Jayson Aquino

Height: 6-3 Weight: 215 Throws: R
 

YEAR Age Level IP W L ERA FIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 19 R 69.0 8 1 2.09 3.55 8.09 1.57 22.9% 4.4% 0.78 84.7%
2014 20 A 69.0 3 5 4.83 4.98 6.00 4.83 14.5% 11.6% 0.65 68.8%
2015 20 R 6.0 0 0 0.00 2.14 7.50 1.50 23.8% 4.8% 0.00 100.0%
2015 20 A- 12.3 0 2 5.11 3.60 9.49 5.84 21.7% 13.3% 0.00 66.7%
2015 20 A 33.7 4 0 1.87 2.15 8.82 1.87 24.8% 5.3% 0.00 74.3%

Background: A younger prep prospect taken in the 14th round out of Memorial High in 2012, New York inked the big right-hander for a $400,000 over-slot bonus as the 440th player selected that year. Flexen made seven appearances with Kingsport during his debut and spent the following season back in the Appalachian League where he would dominate the competition to the tune of 62 punch outs, 12 walks, and a 2.09 ERA in 69.0 innings of work. The front office bumped the then-19-year-old hurler up to Savannah in 2014, but that lasted just 13 starts before Tommy John surgery interrupted his development. Finally healthy, Flexen made three tune-up starts in the Gulf Coast, another three with the Brooklyn Cyclones, and six mostly dominant starts with the Sand Gnats to wrap up a successful return.

Projection: Flexen really seemed to turn the corner once the club eased the reins on him a bit in the Sally. Through his first five starts with Savannah the young right-hander posted a 31-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31.0 innings, including a ridiculous eight-inning, 10-strikeout, and zero-walk performance against the Kannapolis Intimidators in late August. Flexen could be the latest young Mets prospect to move quickly through the minors.

Ceiling: 2.0-win player

Risk: Moderate to High

MLB ETA: 2017

 

7. Wuilmer Becerra, LF/RF                                          
Born: 10/01/94 Age: 21 Bats: R Top CALs: Jose Rivero, Elier Hernandez,

Edwin Gomez, Manuel Hernandez, David Bote

Height: 6-4 Weight: 190 Throws: R
 

Season Age LVL PA 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 18 R 206 6 0 1 0.243 0.351 0.295 0.052 9.7% 29.1% 102
2014 19 R 228 9 2 7 0.300 0.351 0.464 0.164 6.1% 24.1% 132
2015 20 A 487 27 3 9 0.290 0.342 0.423 0.134 6.8% 19.7% 118

Background: The lesser known piece of the R.A. Dickey swindling from Toronto a handful of years ago. At the time of the deal Becerra was a 17-year-old international Bonus Baby with just 39 professional plate appearances on his resume – all of which came in the Gulf Coast League. Since then, however, Becerra has slowly progressed from a toolsy outfielder that had trouble driving the baseball into a South Atlantic League middle-of-the-lineup thumper. In 118 games with Savannah last season, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound corner outfielder slugged a solid .290/.342/.423 with 27 doubles, three triples, nine homeruns, and 16 stolen bases en route to posting a 118 wRC+. For his career Becerra is sporting a .281/.347/.407 triple-slash line.

Projection: Becerra has now strung together back-to-back seasons of noteworthy production. After a slow April, he batted an impressive .298/.350/.419. The power is solid-average, but there’s 20-homer pop in the barrel of his bat. The eye has taken a step backward since posting a 9.7% walk rate in 2013, but it should be no less than an average skill when it’s all said and done.

Ceiling: 2.0-win player

Risk: Moderate to High

MLB ETA: 2018

 

8. Dominic Smith, 1B                                                   
Born: 06/15/95 Age: 21 Bats: L Top CALs: Nick Longhi, Austin Gallagher,

Jake Bauers, Jose Osuna, Kristopher Hobson

Height: 6-0 Weight: 185 Throws: L
 

Season Age LVL PA 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 18 R 198 9 1 3 0.287 0.384 0.407 0.120 12.1% 18.7% 131
2014 19 A 518 26 1 1 0.271 0.344 0.338 0.067 9.8% 14.9% 95
2015 20 A+ 497 33 0 6 0.305 0.354 0.417 0.112 7.0% 15.1% 133

Background: And just like everything else the Mets touched last year, the once-punch-less first baseman had a career year in 2015. The 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Smith hasn’t driven the ball as expected, both in terms of his lofty draft status or his run-producing position. The 6-foot, 185-pound first baseman batted .301/.398/.439 during his debut between the Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues in 2013, though he posted just a .138 Isolated Power. He followed that up with a disappointing campaign in the South Atlantic League two years ago, hitting a paltry .271/.344/.338 with just one single, solitary dinger. But Smith continued to defy the critics – like myself – by slugging .305/.354/.417 as a 20-year-old in the Florida State League, setting a career high with 33 doubles and six homeruns.

Projection: But everything that went well last season, Smith still only managed to finish the year with a .112 Isolated Power. And just to put that into perspective a bit, when follow Mets prospect Gavin Cecchini was making his way through the FSL two years ago he tallied a slightly higher ISO (.116). Another red flag to be wary of: all six of Smith’s dingers last season came against right-handers. If everything breaks the right way he could develop into a James Loney-type bat. Maybe.

Ceiling: 1.5-win player

Risk: Moderate

MLB ETA: 2017

 

9. Matt Reynolds, SS                                                     
Born: 12/03/90 Age: 25 Bats: R Top CALs: Chris Taylor, Omar Quintanilla,

Ivan Ochoa, Daniel Mayora, Brian Bixler

Height: 6-1 Weight: 205 Throws: R
 

Season Age LVL PA 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 22 A+ 488 21 6 5 0.226 0.302 0.337 0.111 7.4% 16.4% 83
2014 23 AA 242 5 3 1 0.355 0.430 0.422 0.066 12.0% 16.9% 144
2014 23 AAA 301 16 4 5 0.333 0.385 0.479 0.146 7.0% 19.9% 124
2015 24 AAA 490 32 5 6 0.267 0.319 0.402 0.135 6.5% 18.8% 90

Background: And this, kids, is what happens when your fantastic luck turns to, well, normal everyday luck. After two seasons of sub-optimal offensive performances – he batted .259/.335/.367 during his pro debut in the Sally and followed that up with .226/.302/.337 mark with St. Lucie the next season – Reynolds had a massive breakout campaign two years ago, torching the Eastern League to the tune of .355/.430/.422 and wreaking havoc on the PCL with a .333/.385/.479 triple-slash line. The former second round pick out of Arkansas hit an aggregate .343/.405/.454 with 21 doubles, seven triples, six homeruns, and 20 stolen bases. An impressive showing, sure, until you factor in his ungodly BABIPs. He posted a .433 BABIP in Class AA and an only slightly worse .404 in Class AAA. So once those numbers normalized, Reynolds’ overall production slipped closer to his actual expected results in 2015: he batted .267/.319/.402 with 32 doubles, five triples, six homeruns, and 13 swipes as his production fell to 10% below the league average mark.

Projection: And here’s what I wrote in last year’s book:

“The overall numbers are as impressive as it gets for a middle infielder. But the outcome far outweighs the individual skill set. Reynolds has never really hit for a whole lot of pop at [any] point in his career, even extending back to college. At best, it’ll peak as slightly below-average. The eye, which bordered on plus in college, has been average sans his 58-game stint in Class AA [two years ago]. Solid, better than average speed. And the hit tool was inflated this season by a pair of .400+ BABIPs. Good defense and enough of an offensive profile to not kill a team, Reynolds looks like a solid utility guy.”

He’s as good as it’s going to get right now. And CAL links him to a handful of disappointing prospects/big leaguers: Chris Taylor, Omar Quintanilla, Ivan Ochoa, Daniel Mayora, and Brian Bixler. He’s a fringy everyday regular who will get exposed in everyday situations.

Ceiling: 1.5-win player

Risk: Moderate

MLB ETA: 2016

 

10. Robert Gsellman, RHP                                          
Born: 07/18/93 Age: 22 Bats: R Top CALs: Arquimedes Nieto, Eduardo Rodriguez,

Jake Thompson, Sebastian Vader, Nick Barnese

Height: 6-4 Weight: 200 Throws: R
 

YEAR Age Level IP W L ERA FIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 19 A- 70.0 3 3 2.06 2.41 8.23 1.54 22.2% 4.2% 0.26 72.8%
2013 19 A 29.0 2 3 3.72 4.14 4.34 1.86 11.5% 4.9% 0.62 63.8%
2013 19 A+ 9.0 1 0 3.00 5.24 5.00 5.00 13.2% 13.2% 1.00 81.4%
2014 20 A 116.3 10 6 2.55 3.34 7.12 2.63 18.4% 6.8% 0.15 75.8%
2015 21 A+ 51.0 6 0 1.76 2.79 6.53 1.94 18.9% 5.6% 0.18 82.7%
2015 21 AA 92.3 7 7 3.51 3.65 4.78 2.53 12.7% 6.7% 0.39 62.5%

Background: It’s easy to get overlooked in a system that’s churned out, among others, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Martz, and Jacob deGrom over the past couple of seasons. And that’s exactly what’s happened to Robert “the Gazelle” Gsellman. A late round pick in 2011, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander has continued to make rapid progress through the low – and now mid – levels of the minor leagues. The former 13th round pick opened the season up with a bang in the Florida State League, hurling 51 innings of impressive ball including his four final games at the level when he posted a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings. Sandy Alderson and Co. bumped the hurler up to the Eastern League for the remainder of the year last May. And after a bit of a rude welcoming – he allowed six earned in four innings with against the Altoona Curve – Gsellman rattled off 14 strong starts before getting smacked around by the Curve (again) in his final start. Overall, Gsellman finished the year with an aggregate 2.89 ERA to go along with an 86-to-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a career best 143.1 innings of work.

Projection: An intriguing young arm that’s never really missed a whole lot of sticks at any point in his career, sans a 12 game stint with Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League several years ago. But Gsellman offers up poise well beyond his years. He compensates for a lack of punch outs by generating a ton of action on the ground; he’s totaled at least a 51% groundball rate at any level since 2013. He could be a solid backend starter, whether he gets the chance in New York’s loaded rotation is a whole other question. Look for him to be eased in at the big league level, perhaps making a mid-season call up to bolster the club’s pen.

Ceiling: 1.5-win player

Risk: Moderate

MLB ETA: 2016

 

 

Note: All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.com.



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.