Mets Minors: Top 20 role player rankings – Collin McHugh to Logan Verrett

I did a piece last week on the Top 20 Blue Chip Prospects in the New York Met system.  I wrote about Zack Wheeler, Wilmer Flores and Jeurys Familia but avoided talking about a number of solid players who could, in every likelihood, still help the franchise.  Today’s list is the top 20 prospects who lack the same ceilings as the blue chippers.

  1. Collin McHugh, SP: McHugh is the name on this list which excites me most.  He’s got the stuff of an average MLB starter and he’s shaping along to be a solid middle to back of the rotation arm.  He was an 18th rounder back in 2008 and has slid up the Met farm system in a steady and unexceptional way.  Last year he capped off a tremendous year in AA with a solid showing in AAA.  He’s got a shot at either replacing Gee in the back of the rotation or bringing back a different type of prospect via trade.
  2. Wilfredo Tovar, SS: If you asked me why I’ve ranked Tovar so highly, I’d answer you that he’s got the defensive chops to be a solid MLB short stop right now and that he’s hit far above the expected rates for the past two years.  Like the Met’s current SS, Ruben Tejada, he lacks both the breakaway speed and home run power but he has got a quick bat and the chance to be useful in the 2-hole.  The rub is that Tejada is still so young that it’s hard to look at Tovar as the “Next Tejada” he’s more like “The Emergency Tejada”.
  3. Zach Lutz, 3B: Should the Mets decide that David Wright is expendable and want to maximize their offense until Wilmer Flores is ready to come up to the majors, Lutz is the Met starting 3B.  He’s nothing fancy, but he’s got power and can handle the position.  Don’t misconstrue this as an endorsement of Lutz as a starter.  He is not and probably will never be a suitable MLB starting player.
  4. Eric Campbell, Util: Soup had a good year in Binghamton.  What I liked most was that he was consistent.  Some people will be confused as to why a mediocre utility player with no star potential ranks so high.  The reason is that he could be helping the team in Flushing off the bench as early as April 1st.
  5. Juan Lagares, OF: I was never on the Lagares bandwagon.  He didn’t show enough power or speed to succeed in a corner outfield position and he wasn’t equipped to play center.  The flip side is, he hits righty and should start the year in AAA.  This alone makes him very valuable to the Mets.
  6. Cory Mazzoni, SP: Mazzoni was a thought on the blue-chip list which is what gives him a bump on the Role Player list.  He didn’t wow me in 2012 but he also didn’t pitch poorly.  Floating along and not sucking is hardly cause for jubilation, but it’s something.
  7. Alonzo Harris, LF: A former 2B that moved into the corner outfield spot, Harris had a broken swing.  He would swing for the fences on each at-bat and couldn’t take advantage of his + Speed because of this.  In 2012 he was moved into the outfield and he decided to mature by leaps and bounds.  This led to him being one of the few offensive stories in late-season Port St. Lucie that was consistently positive.  He should be in AA for 2013 and if he stays on course he’s a 4th OF at worst.
  8. Daniel Muno, 2B: Muno might have made the other list if he didn’t get suspended for cheating.  His numbers in 2012 are hard to judge but it’s worth noting that he didn’t diminish terribly after returning from his suspension.
  9. Cesar Puello, OF: It bites to put Puello on this list when he FEELS like a naturally gifted guy.  Here’s the thing, just because it looks like a duck… doesn’t mean it’s a duck.  Puello has failed to show me this power and speed that people see him producing with his athletic frame.  He should find his way into AA at some point in 2013 but his stock is VERY far down.
  10. Jacob deGrom, SP: DeGrom almost was ranked higher.  He’s the guy that came out of nowhere in 2012 the way Gorski seemed to in 2011.  DeGrom isn’t going to be an Ace but right now he could develop into a solid back-end rotation guy.  Sadly… I thought the same thing about Gorski last year.  AA has a way of changing opinions.
  11. Jack Leathersich, RP: Wait, Leathersich still put up CRAZY numbers.  Why is he on the Role Player list?  Here’s the answer: Leathersich doesn’t have “Stuff”.  I wish he did, and I wish I could project him into the closer role with a dynamite fastball and devious breaking pitch.  Reality is, he’s getting tons of K’s and few people can tell me why.  Apparently he hides the ball REALLY well as he comes to the plate.
  12. Jefry Marte, 3B: Marte parlayed a strong showing in the AFL and a strong start in Port St. Lucie into a promotion to Binghamton.  Unfortunately he proved to be streaky and I never saw him show me much power for any consistent amount of time.  He’s just not enough of a hitter to be a top prospect.
  13. Darrell Ceciliani, CF: Injuries were a HUGE problem but Ceciliani still projects as a good defensive sub guy who can run.  That’s pretty much all he can ever be in the majors.
  14. Gabriel Ynoa, SP: One of the “Fab Five” from Brooklyn.  He will likely be pitching in full season A with almost all of his compatriots (Minus Luis Mateo) in 2013.  If this group of pitchers can continue to show their control chops they should continue to succeed at least until Port St. Lucie.
  15. Hansel Robles, SP: See Above.
  16. Luis Cessa, SP: See Above.
  17. Camden Maron, C: Maron needs to move onto Port St. Lucie.  I’m not sure why he didn’t by the end of 2012.  He’s the best hitting catcher in the system and now… he has Plawecki and Tomas Nido breathing down his back.  He needs to work on his defense and he may only be Josh Thole 2.0 but he’s the BEST HITTING CATCHING PROSPECT IN THE SYSTEM.
  18. Tyler Pill, SP: Pill got a promotion to A+ level and made the most of it.  He doesn’t do anything special but he’s doing enough to get minor leaguers out and that is more than many high-profile prospects do in his place.  AA is where I have him ticketed for 2013.
  19. Logan Verrett, SP: Like Pill there is nothing about Verrett to blow you away but also like Pill he succeeded after his promotion.  I would bank on him starting in Port St. Lucie but if he continues to shine then there is nothing holding him back there.
  20. Reese Havens, 2B: Remember when I would have you in my top 5 prospects?  Sigh… Havens is in his make or break minor league season.  He NEEDS to make a splash in Spring Training because that’s probably his last chance to get back onto Alderson’s radar.

13 comments for “Mets Minors: Top 20 role player rankings – Collin McHugh to Logan Verrett

  1. October 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I’m excited about JDG. Where do you think he starts 2013? Ideally he would be in AA because of his age but I’m not sure if there’s room for him.

    BTW – I’m still on the Gorski bandwagon.

    • Willis
      October 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      DeGrom is really good. I’m not sure why he doesn’t generate the hype that others in the system get on these fan sites. He throws hard, has really nice sink, has shown consistent command and has been successful through A+. He should start next year in AA (if not then he’ll be there soon enough) and then we’ll see if he’s a serious prospect. I guess at his age (24) he’s gonna have to dominate AA ball and get himself bumped to AAA early in his year 25 season.

      Besides the Mets top prospects, he, Matz, Nido and Plawecki are the guys I’m most looking forward to following next year.

  2. Mack Ade
    October 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    “Here’s the answer: Leathersich doesn’t have the “stuff”?”

    David,you can’t make difinitive statements like this when you’ve never even seen him play one inning.

    For the record, his fastball sits 88-91 (I’ve seen him hit 94), added by the fact that he hides the ball similar to K-Rod, and his delivery is up front and heavy like Carson. Thus, the ball is leaving his hand around a foot later than other pitchers, making the effect to the batter that the pitch is 94-95. A batter has less than one-half a second to decide what to do when a pitch comes at him at 95. He also loves to throw across his body which just confuses the hitters even more. Add to this his other pitches and how he mixes them and this is a strikeout machine (please don’t tell me his Lucy ERA was up… he still led the league in K/9).

    David, I love ya, but there’s a reason my column starts with “I Might Be Wrong…”.

    I can’t tell you how much the Mets ballplayers hate bloggers that tell readers how they pitch when they’ve never sat behind home front with a radar gun, or spent time with the catcher after the game and breakout the calls.

    • David Groveman
      October 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Hey Mack,

      I never claimed to be an expert and I never said that I was a scout. I have instead done research into players like Leathersich and an average fastball of 88-91 is not yet to the level where I’d say he has “Stuff”. I appreciate the more detailed information you can provide but I can only do so much with what I have at my disposal.

      • Mack Ade
        October 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm

        As I said to you privately, my response was uncalled for and won’t happen again. My role here isn’t to come off as some kind of bully. I apologize again.

  3. Mack Ade
    October 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    More on Leatherich:

    He has 139 strikeouts in his 2-year professional career in 48.0-IP. That’s a 14.78 K/9 career stat.

    The all-time leader in this statistic is Randy Johnson (10.6098). The only two other players who have averaged over 10 are Kerry Wood (10.3174) and Pedro Martínez (10.0398).

    Look, it’s early, but “doesn’t have the stuff”?

  4. Mack Ade
    October 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I was a little too harsh, David. My meds hadn’t kicked in. 🙂

    My apologies.

    I should have just disagreed with you.

    You are a great writer David, and you can punch it out. Hell, you used to post 5 posts a week for me, once a morning, M-F.

    You have a vast knowledge of Mets baseball and have really taked the time to learn the minor league system. I have a post Wed, followed by one on Friday, where I say that, IMO, the Mets only have 5 top prospects left in the system, but I always leave the door open for someone like Robert Carson or RA Dickey. They can sometimes look dead.

    Guys like you are the future of sports reporting and it takes years to be allowed the liberties guys like Keith Law use.

    Again, I’m sorry. I’lll go crawl back in my hole…

    • David Groveman
      October 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      No Worries Mack,

      My skin is thick. I do the best I can with what I have and when I read scouting that says 88-91 and talk to people who have seen him who credit his K’s to deception… I have to say that I don’t see him having “Stuff”.

      The K numbers are great and make me excited but I need to see him in person or see the numbers hold up at higher levels.

  5. Charles
    October 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Great post David. JDG, to me, is the one to watch here. I also can’t wait to watch Leathersich either. Stuff/ no stuff…whatever, the kid sends batters back to the dugout without making contact. That means he has a chance. By the way, you and most writers on sites like these, do not write for the actual baseball players. You’re writing for the fanatics. So, honestly, who cares what they think? I couldn’t care less if Leathersich or any other player gets mad about something a sports writer says about them. Wether you’ve seen him pitch or not, it’s your right to post anything you want about them. Not everyone lives within a half hour of a mets’ minor league affiliate and gets the chance to watch most of the Mets’ prospects while they’re playing in A ball.

    Havens shouldn’t be on the list. This year he was healthy and stunk it up big time. Probably should have had Dykstra on there instead.

    I’m excited for 2013 mostly for these players: Nimmo, Flores, A-rod, JDG, Fulmer, Tapia, Lugo, and Rosario. The Cyclones staff as well, but since Sandy has singled them out twice as possible trade chips I don’t think we can really count on which ones might still be here. Gavin Checchini still makes my heart ache when I think of him being their first round choice last year. The truly showed a huge lack of testicles whereas the year before they were so brave in picking Nimmo. I’ll never understand how the same front office made both those picks. Actually both drafts seemed completely different from one another it’s weird.

    • David Groveman
      October 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      I saw Havens and developed an attachment to him. He barely made the list. If not him… it probably still wouldn’t have been Dykstra… maybe Nido.

  6. Mack Ade
    October 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm


    Your comments are worth noting… and remembering.

  7. Name
    October 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    So the last article you wrote was about a player’s pure top ceiling and this list is a list of players who could potential have a solid career for the Mets?
    I don’t know much about the minors so it’s always nice to see what others think. The only thing i can say is that I hope the September McHugh was mostly due to fatigue… because he looked ugly out there.

    • David Groveman
      October 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Doing a pure Top 20 list is always hard for me because part of me wants to rank Collin McHugh above Michael Fulmer and it gets confusing. Every team needs Blue Chips and Role Players. Some teams have a plethora of Blue Chips but you can win with the right role players in their places. With the laws of attrition working against us we have to hope the Mets come out with a solid number of the 40 players I mentioned doing well in the majors.

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