Using a heavy dose of spreadsheets and formulas I’m going to be reviewing the top prospects for the Mets. You do need to understand that I am not going to be placing a players peak on the moon, but rather using their draft position and age to show the window of how successful they might be at the next level. So a player in Savannah is unlikely to have a peak in the 90s with their peak projecting them into Port St. Lucie. I wrote an article to explain what it is I’m doing in this series on 1-21-13 and I encourage you to look back if this exercise is a bit confusing.
Zack Wheeler – OVR: 76 PEAK: 98 (Age 23)
What This Means: It means that Wheeler is both likely to grow into a front-of-the-rotation pitcher, and that he’s already ready to pitch in the big leagues. Both things you’ve heard from scouts and baseball experts all through the offseason. Many people may want to see his ratings higher, but if you look at the grading system I think people will understand that it makes sense. Remember as Wheeler’s overall score rises, so too will his peak.
How I Got Here: Wheeler’s stats were compared with pitchers at the levels he played at in 2012. His comparison stats were then used to raise or lower the average score for the level (AAA = 70 and AA = 60). The scores were than calculated to reflect how much time he actually spent in each league and averaged. Lastly, his peak was calculated by adding 15 (for being a first rounder) and an additional 3 for him being 22 (3 years under 25). Lastly his peak was raised because he began the year at a lower level (5 points for AA) but since he only pitched 4/5ths of his games in AA I only added 4.
Parting Thoughts: Wheeler is very much a top prospect and will likely be entering the big leagues with expectations of his peak in the high 90s.
Travis D’Arnaud – OVR: 83 PEAK: 100 (Age 24)
What This Means: D’Arnaud is a “Major League Ready” player. If you promoted D’Arnaud today he would likely at least be able to contribute around the MLB average line (An Overall of 80) and he’s got the potential to reach the upper-most levels of elite players. You must temper these expectations as D’Arnaud is entering 2013 at the age of 24 and he’s only got a year (or two) left (by video game logic) to reach his peak.
How I Got Here: For all the people who claim (somewhat rightfully) that the PCL is a hitter’s league, they need to understand that D’Arnaud is exceptional when compared to that league’s average. His overall level being worked off of an average score of 70 comes across 13 points above average. While Wheeler’s overall score suffers from his split time between levels, D’Arnaud doesn’t suffer the same handicap.
Parting Thoughts: The argument for D’Arnaud being the #1 Met prospect is legitimate but you also need to realize that Wheeler would have been a 80/98 had his scores been exclusively based on his AAA performance. The health concern is hard to factor into the scoring in a system like this as well, so I’m comfortable listing D’Arnaud as the #2 prospect in the Met system.
Noah Syndergaard – OVR: 59 PEAK: 95 (Age 20)
What This Means: Snydergaard is likely already capable of blowing past Advanced A as his overall is borderline average for AA, but at the age of 20 he will start in Port St. Lucie where he will be (rightfully) expected to shine. The Peak of 80 is low by what Baseball Mogul would tell you but I am not going to be able to get into the analytics for players who are supposed to have exceptional peaks based on scouting. Take this to mean that Snydergaard could see his Overall rise as high as 80 by the end of 2013 (though that would be statistically unlikely).
How I Got There: Snydergaard’s numbers were compared to the averages of the Midwest League (Where he spent his entire 2012) and compared to an average score of 40. The fact that he is a full 19 points above the average pitchers for the league he was pitching is an indication of why he is placed in such high regard. Snydergaard’s Peak also received 15 points for being in FSA.
Parting Thoughts: Going in, I wasn’t expecting Snydergaard to be so exceptional by the league’s standards. He’s an exceptional talent and Met fans SHOULD be excited about his future with the team.
Wilmer Flores – OVR: 63 PEAK: 91 (Age 21)
What This Means: Like Wheeler, Flores suffers from splitting time in a lower league. Like Wheeler he also ranks as exceptional within the confines of the league he finished in. Scoring a 69 in AA puts him 9 points ahead of the average score for the level and right on target for average in AAA. He will be expected to hit in AAA and should he continue to hit at his 2012 pace his numbers will easily rise 15-20 points both in overall and peak. Enterring 2013 at 21 would indicate that he has time to develop his defensive ability but his bat is quite nearly MLB ready so he will be playing in the MLB before his glove has caught up.
How I Got There: Flores spent nearly identical amounts of time between A+ and AA (50 & 60 average scores respectively) His numbers in Port St. Lucie placed him out of that grade but not so exceptionally as he had been slumping before his promotion. His 9 points ahead of average in AA were caused by a much improved SLG and also improved defensive numbers. Remember that prior to 2012 he had not played 3B or 2B so his consistently sub-par defensive ratings actually improved considerably AFTER his promotion (Just because he had additional time to learn his role). Because Flores spent the year 50% in AA (5 Peak) and A+ (10 Peak) I assigned 8 points rounding up his 7.5.
Parting Thoughts: While Flores’ future might not be with the Mets his abilities are exceptional and should translate (some day) to an impact player at the MLB level. I’m still torn on his playing second base in 2013 because I’m not sold on Murphy being part of the problem and I think the Met’s future success is tied into them trading Flores for a “Top-Tier” outfielder.
Brandon Nimmo – OVR: 39 PEAK: 80 (Age 20)
What This Means: This means that Nimmo had a good showing in the New York Penn League and played well enough to have been about average in Full Season A (At the age of 19). This suggests that my plan to aggressively promote Nimmo to Port St. Lucie is likely a little aggressive and that he’s suited to be promoted to Savannah. What this does not mean is that he’s any bit less of a top prospect. Nimmo played well but he didn’t obliterate the league to the level that would demand more attention.
How I Got There: The difference between SSA and FSA aren’t so huge and so everything is calculated off a base of 35 for an average stat. Likewise you won’t tend to see 10 point drops between SSA and Rookie and between Rookie and the DSL. Nimmo’s key stats were universally over the league average but at the same time he wasn’t clobbering the league and taking it by force. Nimmo get’s a straight 20 point bonus to peak from being in SSA.
Parting Thoughts: Should a player whose overall is under 40 be listed as the Met’s #5 prospect? Well that would depend. The fact that he played 2012 at 19 and was a top round talent makes it acceptable but the argument is valid. I still strongly feel that Nimmo deserves the #5 spot, but the stats will need to back me up going forward.
The question now becomes with these video game based scores, are these players still worthy of where I’ve ranked them? Also, why does a player receive a higher Peak score because they are farther away from the majors? The answer to the first is probably. Wheeler and D’Arnaud are pretty easy as the #1 and #1B for the Mets and Snydergaard certainly looks special enough to qualify for 3rd as he could graduate to AA by mid-season. Flores and Nimmo are the questionable but I think they both still qualify.
Both Flores and Nimmo don’t rank as superstars with the potential to lead their positions in the future, but then again, both were playing in leagues ahead of their age development. Sure, Snydergaard appears ahead of the curve, but that’s why he’s ranked 3rd and they aren’t. Diving into the next 5 players will be interesting as we’ll start to get a mix of limited peaks and poor overall scores. Can I justify Gavin Cecchini being in the top 10? I’ll certainly try.