In preparation for 2013’s end of season Top 20 Prospect rankings I’ve decided to take a look through the system and create a list of people at each level who currently factor as prospects. You see, not every player in the Met system is a genuine prospect and of those players who a
AAA: Las Vegas
Dustin Lawley (25 in April) – Lawley screamed into relevance in 2013 playing for Port St. Lucie. At the age of 24, he was way too old for the league but his ability to hit for power and play a nice assortment of positions intrigued me. Much as I’d love to categorize Lawley as a prospect moving into the 2014 season I don’t see him as a future starter and at 25 I can’t say he’s even young enough to be a prospect. What he might be is a solid Utility player in 2014 or 2015. Which is still nice.
Zach Lutz (28 in June) – Lutz is a AAAA player for the Mets. He is trapped on the team with Ike Davis, Josh Satin and Lucas Duda sitting ahead of him at first and David Wright and Wilmer Flores sitting ahead of him at third. He’s far too old to be a prospect and should be included in a trade as filler for some team looking for a bench 1B/3B with some pop.
Rafael Montero (24 next October) – Montero is not only a prospect, it’ll be hard to avoid putting him amongst the Top 3 Met prospects for 2014. He’s a strong candidate for trade in the offseason but the injury to Matt Harvey has thrown that into doubt. Should Harvey get surgery you might want to pencil Montero into the 2014 rotation.
Jacob deGrom (26 in June) – deGrom shouldn’t be a prospect at the Age of 26, but he is. He’s one of those diamond in the rough stories of middle round picks who suffer injuries and then take the minors by storm. His heavy mid-90s fastball should be enough for him to crack the Top 10 Met Prospects for 2014 and make him a strong candidate to compete for a rotation spot this Spring.
Jack Leathersich (24 in July) – This little lefty has run into some troubles in AAA but I’d be shocked if he didn’t make the Top 10 Met prospects for 2014. He’s just too good at striking people out not to be. He could break Spring Training as a reliever in the Met bullpen which might be a more successful fit for his pitching than Las Vegas and AAA.
Vic Black (26 in May) – Black was the PTBNL in the Marlon Byrd + John Buck trade that recently happened. His numbers in relief since 2012 are very promising and he is highly likely to break camp in the Met bullpen but he is not a prospect.
Cesar Puello (23 in April) – Puello is serving a suspension for involvement with Biogenesis. Based on the dates in question, I think Puello was using PEDs to recover from injury but his involvement has to throw his breakout 2013 into doubt. Hitting: .326/.403/.547 in AA is no small feat and his 24 SBs will also help his case. He’s a prospect… probably even a Top 5 Met prospect for 2014 but he’s one to be wary of.
Allan Dykstra (27 in May) – A first round pick hitting: .273/.436/.497 in AA with 20 HRs… is not a prospect at the age of 27. Frankly Dykstra could be finding himself repeating AA AGAIN through no fault of his own. Like Lutz he’s just sorta bobbing along hoping for a future chance as a power bench bat.
Cory Vaughn (25 in May) – The son of former outfielder Greg Vaughn is no longer a prospect. Sorry everyone, it’s time to call it and Vaughn’s chances of being more than a bench bat have basically come and gone.
Travis Taijeron (25 in January) – He’s got the odds stacked heavily against him, but he has hit: .269/.356/.529 between A+ and AA in 2014. Add that he’s notched 36 doubles and 23 HRs and you might start to wonder. He’s horribly streaky and he strikes out too much but I’d wager that he’s a “Fringe Prospect” who has an outside chance of cracking the Top 20 Met prospects for 2014.
Darin Gorski (27 next October) – At 27 it’s hard to call anyone a prospect, but Gorski is the exception to the rule it seems. After flaming out with some (potentially injured) starts in AAA, he’s been flat out amazing in AA. He’s sports a 2.01 ERA with 62 Ks and only 22 BBs in 71.2 IP. Those are stats that will likely push him into the Top 15 Met prospects for 2014 and perhaps the Top 10.
Cory Mazzoni (25 next October) – There will be people who place Mazzoni into the Top 20. I am not one of them. I think he’s destined to be converted into relief and will not be a prospect (even a fringe one) by the end of 2014.
Jeff Walters (27 next November) – I can’t say that I’d consider him a prospect, though I do consider him a candidate for the 2014 bullpen.
Noah Syndergaard (22 in August) – There is no question from me or anyone that with Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores all graduated to the majors that Syndergaard is the TOP Prospect for the Mets in 2014. He’s got the combination of stuff and poise to challenge the Harvey and Wheelers of the world for the role as future Ace of the Met staff. I whole-heartedly hope that the Mets do not trade him.
Luis Mateo (24 in March) – The injury in 2013 takes this potential surprise prospect and puts his status in tremendous doubt. I do think he’ll return to AA in 2014 and think he should be on everyone’s radar as a fringe prospect but I don’t think I can justify placing him in the Top 20 Met prospects for 2014.
A+: Port St. Lucie
Kevin Plawecki (23 in February) – 23 is young for a catcher at this level and after having a strong showing in both Savannah and Port St. Lucie I’m simply not sure if I place him in the Top 10 or Top 5 Met prospects for 2014. He’s been pretty great with the bat and should be the main backstop in AA from day 1 of the 2014 season.
Jayce Boyd (24 next December) – Like Plawecki, Boyd really established his stock in 2013. I don’t question his inclusion in the Top 20 Met prospects for 2014 but I do question his future. He’s a light hitting first baseman and will need to hit for more power to become a true impact prospect moving forward.
Aderlin Rodriguez (23 next November) – He’s lost some serious stock with a season lost to injury. That said, he did hit 9 HRs in 62 games and still looks like the Mets best power bat for the future. I’d bet he manages to squeak into the back-end of the Top 20 Met prospects for 2014 but barely.
Matt Reynolds (24 next December) – As a shortstop he had potential to become a prospect for the Mets and his hitting in 2013 has suggested to me that that will not be the case.
Domingo Tapia (23 next December) – Is he a Top 15 Met prospect? SURE! I had hoped his stuff would have translated to more success in 2013. I think his typical pattern of fading later in the season indicates a move to the bullpen is in his future.
Matthew Bowman (23 in May) – Call me a spoil sport but I really only see the next Logan Verrett/Tyler Pill in Bowman. Sure, I’ll give him a Top 20 Met prospect ranking, but I don’t expect it to stick beyond AA.
Hansel Robles (24 in August) – Why is he taking up a spot on the 40-man roster? Anywho… I don’t know what to do with Robles who just hasn’t shown me enough to be excited. I’ll label him a fringe prospect and hope he earns his way back into the Top 20 by the end of 2014.
Rany Lara (23 in March) – Lara blew people away in Savannah and cooled off once he reached Port St. Lucie. I had been considering the Top 10 earlier in the season but now it’s more of a question where within the Top 20 Met prospects he belongs.
Michael Fulmer (21 in March) – Fulmer lost a season to injury, but has at least gotten to pitch some late games. He had been a lock for the Top 5 but now he’ll settle for my Top 15 Met prospects.
Brandon Nimmo (21 in March) – Nimmo has had an overall successful year in Savannah. Some questions linger in regards to how he will develop but I feel comfortable anointing him with a Top 3 Met prospect status for 2014. That said, 2014 is the test year for Nimmo who will be a starring member of the Port St. Lucie Mets. I would hope for 15s in terms of HRs and SBs and even cross my fingers for him earning a mid-year promotion to AA.
Dilson Herrera (20 in March) – I think Alderson made another great trade when he picked up Herrera and Black from Pittsburgh. “The Dilson” is immediately out top middle infield prospect and a lock to make the Top 10 Met prospects for 2014. I wonder, are we getting carried away? He’s only 5’10” and 150 Lbs. Can he truly be that good a prospect? 27 Doubles, 3 Triples, 11 Home Runs and 11 Stolen Bases tell me he is. Expect him in Port St. Lucie in 2014 and expect Danny Muno to be watching his back.
Gabriel Ynoa (21 in May) – Some people thought I was generous in ranking Ynoa in the Top 20 for 2013 but he’s proven me very right. His control has been immaculate and that is leading to his improved strikeout numbers. Without “Stuff” he’s got a long road ahead of himself. I’ll promote him as far as the Top 15 Met prospects for 2014 and see how he does in Port St. Lucie.
Luis Cessa (22 in April) – Counting things so far I have too many Mets in my projected Top 20 so I’ll obviously be trimming things down as I work my way forward. One questionable candidate will be Cessa. He’s 22, poised for A+, and he’s had a great year for Savannah. Sure, he’s played second fiddle to Ynoa and Matz, but I can’t hold that against him. He’s a fringe prospect and will be fighting for the Top 20 Met prospects in 2014 but I am rapidly running out of room.
Steven Matz (23 in May) – Matz is a little old for his level but he was also hurt a lot in his career. The lefty has loads of “Stuff” and has used it successfully for a full season in the minors. Being a lefty makes all the difference and I’ll be hard pressed not to insert Matz into the Top 10 Met prospects next year.
Beck Wheeler (26 next December) – Wheeler is not a prospect but I like him and you should have him on your radar.
L.J. Mazzilli (24 next September) – Is it a testament to the growing talent in the Met system or mediocre drafting that is going to keep Mazzilli out of my Top 20 for 2014? I think it has most to do with his age and the level in which he’s playing. I like Mazzilli and he’ll be firmly in the fringe.
Gavin Cecchini (21 next December) – Anyone who puts Cecchini in the Top 20 prospects is really putting too much stock into draft position and not enough into statistical performance.
Jared King (23 next October) – He’s a fringe prospect for the Mets but in previous years he’d easily make the Top 20. That is something.
Patrick Biondi (23 in January) – I like Biondi’s speed and contact but I will need to see him start hitting more for him to jump from promising filler to prospect status.
Robert Gsellman (21 in July) – He’s good and he could be making a jump to Port St. Lucie but I doubt right now that he makes the Top 20 Met prospect list. He’s certainly in contention but I consider him outside looking in.
Miller Diaz (22 in June) – Let’s see Diaz pull off these numbers in Savannah before we write him into anything.
Akeel Morris (22 next November) – I like Morris a lot and want to peg him as a Top 20 Met prospect but as a reliever I’m not sure it’s justified. SURE, he’s starting these days, but I think he knows his future is in relief. Fringe prospect in all likelihood.
Dominic Smith (19 in June) – I don’t like promoting players to the Top ranks until they prove themselves. I seriously doubt that I can justify NOT having Smith in the Top 15 Met prospects even at the expense of more proven names. Dislike the decision to draft unproven talent if you will, he’s one of the best we’ve got.
Victor Cruzado (22 in June) – At this age… no, he’s not a prospect.
Robert Whalen (20 in January) – Readers of my stuff know I like Whalen a lot. I’ll be struggling to put any rookie level pitcher into my Top 20 Met prospects but I’ll make the effort for Whalen who’s been darn sharp in 2013.
Chris Flexen (20 in July) – Flexen is one peg behind his rotation mate. That being said, it likely rules him out of the Top 20 for 2014.
Preliminary Top 20 (Being Refined)
- Noah Syndergaard, RHP
- Rafael Montero, RHP
- Brandon Nimmo, CF
- Cesar Puello, RF
- Kevin Plawecki, C
- Jacob deGrom, RHP
- Dilson Herrera, 2B
- Darin Gorski, LHP
- Steven Matz, LHP
- Jack Leathersich, LHP
- Gabriel Ynoa, RHP
- Michael Fulmer, RHP
- Dominic Smith, 1B
- Domingo Tapia, RHP
- Rainy Lara, RHP
- Luis Cessa, RHP
- Matthew Bowman, RHP
- Jayce Boyd, 1B
- Travis Taijeron, OF
- Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B
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