Wuilmer Becerra, the “non-elite” prospect

The Mets’ December trade of R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas netted them two elite prospects in Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard along with veteran catcher John Buck and an additional “non-elite” prospect. That prospect turned out to be Wuilmer Becerra.

Though Becerra wouldn’t be classified as elite at this point, he certainly isn’t just a simple throw-in player in the trade. In post-trade analyses, he’s been called everything from “VERY interesting” to a “lottery ticket.” At the very least, he’s already being discussed to varying degrees in early 2013 Mets Top Prospects lists.

In his 2013 Mets Top 10 Prospects list , Mets360′s own Brian Joura notes Becerra in his “Top 12 prospects likely to make a future Top Prospects list.” Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels views him as a “Grade C with upside.” At Amazin’ Avenue, Rob Castellano places Becerra in his 2013 Top 20.

The 18-year-old Becerra, originally a SS, was signed out of Venezuela as an International Free Agent OF by the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2011 for $1.3 million. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, his size, athleticism, plus-plus speed, and potential for above-average power project him as a power/speed corner OF. His overall hitting ability is a work in progress, though, and his lack of arm-strength leaves most pegging him as a future left fielder. Keep in mind that he is still very young and flashes five-tool potential, so there is plenty of time to work on improving and correcting his flaws.

Becerra began his professional career in 2012 as a 17-year-old for the Blue Jays GCL affiliate and got off to a nice start. In 39 plate appearances, he had a slash line of .250/.359/.375 with 4 doubles, 4 RBI, 4 BB and 7 K. However, in what was described as a “scary scene” in the 11th game of the season, Becerra was hit in the face by Yankees pitching prospect Graham Stoneburner, breaking his jaw and ending his season.

So should Mets fans be excited about Becerra? While there is a noticeable dearth of OF potential at the higher-levels of the Mets system, Becerra and fellow OF prospects Brandon Nimmo and Vicente Lupo (who will probably join Becerra on the Mets GCL team after destroying the DSL in 2012) comprise a crop of quality OF prospects developing at the lower-levels.

There is reason to be excited about Becerra. He is a long ways off and could just as easily flame out ala other high-profile Mets IFA prospects like Alex Escobar and Fernando Martinez, but barring any lasting effects of his 2012 injury he seemingly has the tools to be a legit OF prospect that could make some serious noise in 2013.

2 comments for “Wuilmer Becerra, the “non-elite” prospect

  1. January 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

    To give Becerra’s $1.3M signing bonus a little more perspective, it was the 10th highest bonus given out to the 2011 international class. As far as I could tell, among Mets international signees, the only ones ever to get more than the Blue Jays gave Becerra were Fernando Martinez (2005) and German Ahmed Rosario (2012). As with anyone who signs at 16, he may never even make it to AA. But this is a player who has the *potential* to become a top prospect in the future. Or at the very least, someone in the Blue Jays scouting department thought so.

    Good write-up, Rob.

    • January 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks, Chris.

      Yeah he was a decently significant signing in that IFA class. In fact, I’ve read that some thought he had the best right-handed bat of the class. Will be interesting to see how his 2013 goes.

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