Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
2013 is winding down. The Mets have proven things this year to their fans and rivals:
- Matt Harvey is an Ace
- The Met’s have a wealth of internal pitching talent
- David Wright can be a leader
- Marlon Byrd had something left in the tank
- NEVER expect a game to last only 9 innings
With 2014 on the horizon there are some considerable questions to answer:
- Will the Mets spend on Free Agents (and risk draft picks in compensation)?
- How can you fit Wilmer Flores into the lineup with a healthy David Wright?
- What the heck happened to the Ike Davis we all fell in love with?
- Is Terry Collins worth an extension?
- Can the Met farm system develop a single MLB level outfielder?
The thing that I’d like everyone to look at instead is the names of some Met prospects who might factor into 2014’s success. Hope springs eternal for this Met fan and like Frank Sinatra, I’ve got High Hopes.
Noah Syndergaard – The Mighty Thor could be summoned from Asgard as early as late June or early July. Now, some will say that the Mets will want Syndergaard to get more seasoning in the levels of AA and AAA before the call goes out… but you never know when Loki will unleash a horde of alien creatures on the planet. The point is, that the Mets know they have a major talent on their hands with Syndergaard (I expect him to be in the top 10 prospects for 2014) and adding him to the ranks with Harvey and Wheeler will be mighty tempting. The promotion will depend on a few factors:
- His Spring Training Performance – Met fans will start to clamour for him if he shows them something promising in the Spring.
- His AAA Performance – Las Vegas is a pitcher’s nightmare. If he can keep his ERA in check there… he can do it anywhere.
- Met Finances – The Mets will not risk “Super Two” status with Syndergaard.
Rafael Montero – Rafael Montero will be in competition with Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia for the final spots in the rotation. Like many people I think that Montero (who should be on BA’s Top 100 for 2014, if there is any justice) will be traded as the “expendable” prospect in the Met system. I personally look at a Montero for Chris Owings swap with Arizona who doesn’t need the short stop but could use the MLB ready arm. Should Montero not be traded we need to get things into perspective. He’s not Ironman (Harvey), Hulk (Wheeler) or Thor (Syndergaard). Captain America is obviously David Wright. He could be Hawkeye and that means a steady contributor who keeps the team in games without the star power. Hawkeye was always my favorite, for what it’s worth.
Jacob deGrom – I am currently of the opinion that we should see deGrom start the 2014 season on the MLB club. For those who ask me why I point to the simple fact that deGrom has more raw stuff than Gee, Mejia or Montero. This doesn’t mean I see him winning a spot in the rotation (he could, but I don’t actually see that), instead it means that deGrom with his heavy sinking mid-90s fastball could become a very valuable bullpen piece. The Mets will need a long reliever and spot starter but more importantly deGrom brings some needed heat into the ranks of Met relievers. I’d bet the Mets don’t agree with me and keep deGrom in AAA as the 6th starter.
Jack Leathersich – While we’re making Avengers metaphors, allow me to introduce Ant Man. People doubt him because of his size and lack of zip but he is deceptively effective. We have all looked at his astonishing minor league K/9 numbers but we need to put things into perspective before we start penciling him in as the setup man or closer for the team. He’s going to have growing pains in the MLB and might have a 5.00+ ERA as he learns to deceive a higher caliber of hitter. We may need to be patient as 2014 could prove to be a long training montage for our diminutive hero.
Jeff Walters – I can’t deny that Walters has enjoyed a lot of success in AA this year. He’s been the team’s closer and he’s been rock solid. There is a good chance he’ll be in the running (with a couple of free agents) for the MLB bullpen with a fallback option as the AAA closer for 2014. Walters does not have a future as the Met closer. In the end I don’t think his stuff is up to the task. I do think he has a future in relief at the major league level and I think that future begins in 2014.
Cesar Puello – The good news for Puello is that his suspension will not affect his 2014. He’s going to start 2014 either in contention to start the season in the Met outfield (if he’s on a AFL team this becomes more likely) or he’s going to AAA where he will need to prove to Met management that he can identify good pitches to swing at. Puello will likely start 2014 in the Top 15 Met prospects after dropping down the list in the previous two seasons. The expectations will be back and we should remember that he struggled the last time we thought this highly of his future. Should the Mets bring in multiple outfielders via trade and free agency you can expect his debut to be much later in the year or after injury.
Allan Dykstra – The Mets actually head into 2014 with many options for firstbase. They have Ike Davis (who has struggled mightily through 2013), Josh Satin (the OBP machine with majestic eyebrows), Lucas Duda (the powerful lefty who learned to walk and forgot how to hit for power), Zach Lutz (who just can’t catch a break) and Dykstra. One of the best unheralded trades in recent Met history the Mets traded the wasted pick of Eddie Kunz for the seemingly wasted pick of Dykstra. Since becoming a Met Dykstra has displayed the power stroke that made him a first round pick and has been one of the most consistent bats in Binghamton. With the glut of players who are vying for that same position I don’t see how Dykstra gets his chance in AAA unless the Mets make a deal to get rid of Duda or Davis. We’ll see…
Cory Vaughn – Say what you will about this streaky hitter but he’s done okay in AA during his first season at the level. He isn’t a lock to progress to AAA but he is showing us that he should still be on the radar (though maybe only as a 4th outfielder).
Darin Gorski – The Mets are in love with lefty relievers but they don’t have many starters in the ranks of the minors. If you go as far down as Savannah you’ll find Steven Matz but the only legitimate starter above A+ is Gorski. First, no… Mark Cohoon is not a legitimate prospect. Second, yes… Gorski is. I think he’s a long way from being a super hero analogy, but he could become a rotation mainstay by 2015. My question now is whether he will do that on the Mets. Like Montero, Gorski has value and could be traded because the Mets don’t “need” him. His left-handed-ness does change that slightly.
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