Mets Minors: Top 20 blue chip rankings – Zack Wheeler to Cory Vaughn

Blue Chips: Only ranking players with high ceilings.  This excludes Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Reese Havens, Collin McHugh and others from my rankings.  Not because they won’t be useful players but because they won’t be stars.  The follow-up to this will be the Top 20 Role Player Rankings.

  1. Zack Wheeler: With Matt Harvey now firmly in my sights as a major leaguer, there is a clear #1 in the Met farm system.  Wheeler looks like he’s a season away from being felt and feared in the minors but by 2014 it’s a real possibility that he will be.
  2. Wilmer Flores: Will he play 3rd?  Will he play 2nd?  Will he transition to 1st?  It’s still up in the air, but his hitting is no longer a thing of legend.  We saw him hit and hit well in both Port St. Lucie and Binghamton in 2012.  In 2013 I have him slated to start the year in AAA and finish the year in Flushing.
  3. Jeurys Familia: It’s disappointing to see how far Familia dropped in many people’s eyes.  He still has explosive stuff, but his control and number of useful offerings doesn’t project him into the starting rotation in 2013 or 2014.  It does have him contributing in the higher leverage end of the bullpen in short order and that might be fine.
  4. Jenrry Mejia: Dear Mets, please let Jenrry Mejia spend a full minor league season (or at least until expanded rosters) as a starter.  He still might join Familia in the pen, but he’s been much much better as a starter than as a reliever and he deserves to not be pulled around.
  5. Brandon Nimmo: While I was afraid of ranking Nimmo in my top 10 last year, this year I have no such problems.  Nimmo will play a full season of minor league baseball in 2013 in either A or A+ and we’ll need to wait and see if he’s going to start running or continue to develop into the power-hitter he began to look like in Brooklyn.
  6. Rafael Montero: Montero is going to surprise a lot of people and he’s the big story to start the season in AA.  I expect Montero to do fine in AA and progress to AAA before the end of the season but not break into the majors until 2014 at the earliest.  He’s a #3 pitcher (in my eyes) but that is still blue enough of a chip for me.
  7. Matt Den Dekker: Guys with Den Dekker’s power don’t usually have the ability to play centerfield the way that he does.  He’s got a major downside but if he can plug the hole in his swing he’s going to be a major asset to the Met outfield.
  8. Michael Fulmer: Fulmer was another player that I hadn’t seen enough of to slate into my top 10.  Fulmer is going to be pitching in Port St. Lucie and could earn his way up to AA with a fairly clear group ahead of him.  He’s going to be joined by 1-2 high-ceiling players so we can have lots of side-by-side comparisons.
  9. Domingo Tapia: Tapia was limited by innings but he should still progress beyond A level baseball to start 2013.  He’s got the best fastball of the trio of arms that will be playing in Port St. Lucie and he’s got a shot of being an Ace.  So many players do.  He has a LONG way to go.
  10. Aderlin Rodriguez: Rodriguez struggled mightily after his promotion to Port St. Lucie but he’s still got the pure power potential to be a major impact bat.  The questions about his defense continue to hold him back but chances are he slides across the diamond to 3rd to start the season.
  11. Luis Mateo: Mateo should skip A-class baseball for Port St. Lucie as he’s a little older than his contemporaries.  He’s got control down and was striking out everyone at Short Season A so the bar is set pretty high.  If I had to guess which of Fulmer, Tapia and Mateo would be “Most Likely to Succeed” it would be Mateo.
  12. Gavin Cecchini: Many people didn’t like the pick, but Cecchini has the potential to be a + defensive shortstop who can hit a little.  I’ve compared him to Alexei Ramirez but he’s got quite the journey between here and Ramirez.
  13. Kevin Plawecki: Plawecki has contact down and a body built for power.  Truth is that Thole is a pretty big guy too, so size and power don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand but Plawecki just needs to survive his 2013 season to continue to rise up the charts.
  14. Steven Matz: Matz was FINALLY healthy in 2012 and if he had played in a higher level I’d have ranked him higher.  He has the pure stuff to be a #1 or #2 pitcher and looked good enough in Rookie Ball.  It was rookie ball… don’t get too excited.
  15. Philip Evans: Evans started off as one of the brighter spots for Brooklyn’s offense but his hitting began to fade.  He’ll have a full season in A-Class ball to prove he can A) Hack it at short and B) Hit.  He’s got a slight chance of it.  As a second baseman… I’m not sure he’s a blue chip.
  16. Vicente Lupo: Based purely on numbers… he’d be in the top 10.  He’s got power and speed and contact… in the DSL.  He has a whole heck of a lot to prove and will potentially be in Brooklyn if people want to watch.  (At least that’s where I’ve slotted him)
  17. Rainy Lara: Lara made the list but this could really be Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Cessa or Hansel Robles.  I chose Lara because his numbers spoke to me.  The others will do well in the “Role Player Rankings” next week
  18. Akeel Morris: I’m not giving up on one of the wildest arms in the Met system.  Morris has the pure stuff to be an Ace but has a lot of issues finding the plate.  If he can manage to get his pitching under control in 2013 he’ll be back on course.  If he can’t he’ll fall off the list.
  19. Juan Urbina: Another guy in Morris’ boat.  Urbina (son of Ugeth Urbina) is a powerful reliever who people think about as a future closer.  Like Morris he’s in jeopardy of falling out of the top 20 if he doesn’t learn to throw more strikes.
  20. Cory Vaughn: Vaughn is on this list because I am a fan.  I’ll admit that.  The fact that he can play solid outfield and has power justifies it a little.  I am in agreement with the venerable Mr. Mack Ade that Vaughn needs to get someone in there to change his approach or he’s not even going to be a prospect for much longer.

14 comments for “Mets Minors: Top 20 blue chip rankings – Zack Wheeler to Cory Vaughn

  1. October 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Let’s see – Alexei Ramirez has a 75 OPS+ this year, which sounds about right.

  2. October 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Can anyone explain why Mejia has always been pushed and pulled from the rotation to the bullpen? Even in the big leagues this year, he was clearly better starting games but they talked about moving him to the bullpen.

    Don’t they hire statisticians like you, Brian?

    • October 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      His first venture into the bullpen came as Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya were trying to save their jobs, hoping they could catch lightning in a bottle. They moved him back to the bullpen this year because the Mets pen was so awful and they were hoping he could be a serviceable arm. The first time was a fiasco. This last time wasn’t quite so pointless but it didn’t do anything to help him, either.

  3. 7rain
    October 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I could see Evans getting moved behind the plate.

    • David Groveman
      October 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

      I’d like to see a + Bat behind the plate. I don’t care who.

  4. norme
    October 2, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Good work, as usual.
    About a week ago 7train mentioned Alonzo Harris as an outfield prospect that could be in the Mets future.
    You didn’t mention him at all. What’s your take on Harris?

    • David Groveman
      October 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Harris ranks highly as a role player

    • 7rain
      October 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Of the OFer’s above SS ball, MDD and Corey Vaughn I think Harris has the best chance to be a full time OFer Norm, partly on his own merits, partly based on team needs.

      He does hit RHP and LHP equally well something Vaughn doesn’t do and the work he’s done in K/BB last year is impressive 66/44 something that is a distinct weakness of MDD’s. He is also age appropriate for his League which neither Corey or MDD are and Harris, with continued advancement could fill the leadoff spot, steal some bases 40 SB, 11 CS) and can play LF or CF depending on how MDD does. Neither MDD or Corey would ever hit lead off and no where in the organization can you find a lead off prototype.

      MDD and Corey may have a higher ceiling but Harris is a much surer bet to be a full time everyday OFer. Hopefully all three fill full time roles in the near future but if I had to pick one it would be Alonzo.

      • Mack Ade
        October 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

        I sure wish we were talking about someone like Michael Choice or Bryce Brentz when we talk Mets minors league outfielders.

        • 7rain
          October 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

          Those guys got good signing bonuses. 2M for choice 890K for Brentz. Since 2003 the largest bonuses we’ve given our OF draftees is 565K (Javier Rodriguez) followed by Kirk (360K) Vaughn (240K) Cecciliani (204K) and MDD (110K) and if you want to include Lucas (85K)

          At those prices you would have to be a magician to have a League average OF.

  5. Mack Ade
    October 2, 2012 at 9:54 am

    David has all the right people in his piece. Some may think someone ranks higher or lower but all these guys have the talent to go far in the majors.

    • David Groveman
      October 2, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Thanks Mack!

  6. 3doza33
    October 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    all the right people? U guys are crazy or just dont really follow the Mets minors. Urbina is a JOKE!!!!!! 85 for a fastball??? Pay more attention to what you are writing about! I could think of 10 better players for this list than URBINA!! Get a clue or us true fans will stop reading your BS!

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