One look at the Rays’ farm system and it’s enough to make anyone jealous:
Wil Myers – Ranked 4th Overall
Taylor Guerreri – Ranked 41st Overall
Jake Odorizzi – Ranked 42nd Overall
Chris Archer – Ranked 43rd Overall
Hak Ju Lee – Ranked 53rd Overall
The Rays are a team built to succeed with limited money because they’ve built, rebuilt and stabilized a system of promoting players from the minors and trading established stars to fill the gaps those promotions make. They most recently robbed the Kansas City Royals blind in a deal that brought a ton of talent to an already well stocked farm.
The Mets are not like the Rays… well, they shouldn’t be. The Mets SHOULD have money to spend and shouldn’t be forced to move stars because price tags have become too high. Yet in some truly pleasant ways, the Mets could become more like that team wearing Robin’s Egg Blue.
Ignore the Mets’ big four prospects. By the time that the Mets would be looking to establish their farm Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Wilmer Flores and Rafael Montero should have already moved onto the majors as part of the Ray-like “Young Core”. The Mets will still have players like Syndergaard, Nimmo, Mateo, Fulmer, Tapia, Plawecki and perhaps others.
Making a case for “Top Prospect Status”:
Noah Syndergaard – Ranked 28th Overall: I don’t like how high Syndergaard was ranked compared to his level of development but only because it sets unrealistic expectations. Will Syndergaard be back in the Top 100 prospect lists? YES! Will he be ranked 28th or higher? I would bet not. Assuming Syndergaard doesn’t fall off the horse or start producing a Leathersich-like K/9, he’ll finish the year in AA and be considered the a Top 3 prospect for the Mets.
Brandon Nimmo – Ranked 4th Met Prospect: Nimmo started in Savannah REALLY well. He instantly legitimized people who thought he could possibly skip the level. That isn’t to say he’s been flawless. Prior to this minor injury that has been keeping him on the bench he was tailing off from his VERY hot start. If his numbers stay around where they are now (throughout the season) he stands a good chance of being in the Top 50 Overall.
Luis Mateo – Ranked 9th Met Prospect: Mateo had one superb start for Port St. Lucie and then a quick injury in AA. He’ll be on the shelf a while longer but assuming the Mets leave him in AA and assuming he can produce numbers at the level he seems capable I think people will start to remember how good he looked before all the Age issues got in his way.
Michael Fulmer – Ranked 10th Met Prospect: Fulmer has been hurt so everything is speculation but a solid year in A+ Port St. Lucie could earn him into the bottom half of the Top 100. We’re talking about a kid who people see as a #2 pitcher who has pitched VERY well in the minors.
Domingo Tapia – Ranked 11th Met Prospect: Tapia was part of a trio of young and powerful arms that showed some “Pure Stuff” promise. Juan Urbina and Akeel Morris have faded away but Tapia is producing upon his promise and looks like he could be an impact pitcher. Many scouts project him out as a closer (limited offerings) but success in Port St. Lucie will likely earn him a promotion to AA in 2013 and being a triple digit threat could earn him notice in terms of Top Prospects.
Kevin Plawecki – Ranked 17th Met Prospect: He’s on pace to hit 85 doubles and 25 home runs in a MINOR league season (130 Games). A lot of people did not love the Plawecki pick but they are starting to change their tunes. Plawecki was a higher pick than Travis d’Arnaud and could in the long run prove to be the bigger star (ultimately unlikely, but that’s how prospects work). His defensive worries will keep him outside of the Top 50 unless he’s promoted with equal success. (Byron Buxton was ranked 19th overall and is having a comparative romp in the other A league.)
Jack Leathersich – Unranked: We mentioned Leathersich earlier and I think it’s worth listing him. Rankings usually discount relievers and will surely discount his size and lack of velocity but it’s not insane to think that rankings will reflect his statistical success.
Jayce Boyd – Unranked: Can we forget that Boyd has raked alongside Plawecki and Nimmo? No, but here’s the issue. He can only play First Base and he’s lacking that 30-40 HR power that people want in that position. A Top Prospect ranking is unlikely.
Rainy Lara – Unranked: Hansel Robles got most people’s nods as the second name from the 2012 Brooklyn rotation but Lara looks like he’s a quick riser in the style of Rafael Montero. He’s got to be promoted to Port St. Lucie and produce the same level of numbers to sneak into the Top 100.
The Mets are likely to take the best college outfielder left to them in the draft but the Mets could, if managed properly, continue to produce players who will be impact players in the majors. Just like the Rays.