Mets top prospects: Numbers 25-21

This is the sixth installment in our countdown series. If you missed earlier entries, you can see them here:

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V

Hansel Robles#25: Hansel Robles

  • Bats: Right
  • Throws: Right
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 185 Lbs.
  • Born: 8/13/90, DO

Scouting – This about sums it up:

5’11, 185 lb starters are rare, but if they can maintain their stuff and gets hitters whiffing enough they have a shot at surviving in the big leagues.

History – Robles jumped into the prospect radar thanks to his 2012 campaign.  He joined pitches Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Mateo, Luis Cessa and Rainy Lara in making one of the best rotations the New York Penn league had ever seen.  Robles had a WHIP of 0.784 to go along with his crisp 1.11 ERA.  The rub here is that the Mets were forced to add Robles to the 40-man roster to protect him.

2013 – People probably wondered why the Mets bothered to protect him.  His 3.74 ERA in the FSL wasn’t terrible but  aside from Luis Mateo getting hurt he would have been the worst follow-up from that elite Brooklyn rotation.  He gave up more hits and more walks and I question strongly if this is his last year on anyones prospect list.

2014 – I advance Robles to AA because he’s forced out of A+ by the arrival of Matthew Bowman, Gabriel Ynoa, Steven Matz, Luis Cessa, and Matthew Koch.  He’ll still be pitching with former rotation-mates: Luis Mateo and Rainy Lara but he’s got to start producing in 2014 or he’s no longer a prospect in my book.

#24: Allan Dykstra

  • Bats: Left
  • Throws: Right
  • Height: 6’5”
  • Weight: 215 Lbs.
  • Born: 5/21/87, US

Scouting – Here is a report from the 2008 draft:

In another year, Dykstra might be a hot commodity as a college lefty power-hitting first baseman with advanced skills at the plate. But if there’s one strength in this class, it’s first basemen, and he’s probably a half-step behind the elite players at the spot. An experiment at third didn’t work, so Dykstra will probably have to wait — albeit not too long — until other first sackers go off the board.

History – The Padres selected Dykstra 23rd overall in the 2008 draft.  The Mets would trade the colossally disappointing Eddie Kunz for Dykstra who would then join Binghamton in 2011.  Dykstra spent all of 2011 and most of 2012 in AA where he showed some good power with pretty solid patience and a propensity to swing and miss.

2013 – Let us just say that you don’t earn the AA MVP by playing poorly.  At 26 Dykstra was old for AA but it’s still an accomplishment to go .274/.436/.503 with 21 homers and 102 walks.  Dykstra has been stuck in AA for too long thanks to the back-log of advanced first basemen in the Met farm system.

2014 – You HAVE to promote Dykstra to AAA.  You let Lucas Duda and Ike Davis scrap it out for the starting gig, You let Josh Satin have a bench spot, you free Zach Lutz to go to a team that is willing to use him and you promote Dykstra.  Here’s the rub.  Dykstra has HALF a season to prove he’s worth the Mets time.  Could he turn his power and discipline into a steady first base at the major league level?  Las Vegas is a prime place for a hitter to show that, but if he struggles out of the gate or Davis/Duda get some success in Queens Dykstra will simply be pushed aside again.

#23: Domingo Tapia

  • Bats: Right
  • Throws: Right
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 186 Lbs.
  • Born: 12/16/91, DO

Scouting – Here’s a good summary on Tapia’s strengths and weaknesses:

Highly intriguing arm that is developing nicely with additional innings. FB has present plus velo and may tick up again with strength and more innings. Movement on FB is fantastic and makes pitch play up a grade. Potentially special pitch with unusual combination of velo and movement. Can play up further in short stints but works really well stretched out as a starter. CH is a second weapon with excellent sink, good arm action and deception. CH is easy plus and can be thrown in any count. Has supreme confidence in FB and CH. SL lags behind but shows flashes of being useable. Potential average pitch that provides multi-plane element to arsenal. Control is present and has room for growth; subsequent command growth is likely as well. Has ingredients to stick in a rotation. Likely lack of high-end breaking ball limits ceiling but he could still be a three/four type. Backup plan in bullpen where he could be a viable closer option. Really promising arm with above-average potential as SP and impact/premium potential in relief role.

History – My first real introduction to Tapia was in 2012 where he pitched 108.2 innings and started 19 games for the Savannah Sand Gnats.  His pedestrian ERA (3.98) and un-inspiring K/9 (8.4) don’t represent the pitcher I followed in 2012.  The fact is… he got tired.  Throwing more innings than ever before, Tapia’s arm wore out by the second half of the season and EXCEPTIONAL numbers turned into blah numbers quickly.

2013 – 2012 was very similar in a lot of ways but 2013 saw a few catastrophic starts for Tapia.  He had outings where he might not complete an inning before giving up 3 runs and being taken out.  His fatigue seemed to get the better of him again, only this time he was walking far more batters.

2014 – I promote Tapia to the back-end of the Binghamton rotation and I’d give Tapia the extra rest where I could.  I think 2014 is the last year Tapia starts for the Mets as I think his future is in the bullpen.  I hope he can prove me wrong but two years of fatigue beg to differ.

#22: Robert Gsellman

  • Bats: Right
  • Throws: Right
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 200 Lbs.
  • Born: 7/18/93, US

Scouting – Could go back to basketball if this baseball thing doesn’t work out.

What velocity he has (86-89) comes with very little effort, and it’s easy to imagine ways to improve it, as he cuts himself off during his delivery and doesn’t show great torque in his torso. He needs polish across the board, however. Some scouts have preferred him as an outfielder, and he has raw power and the long limbs needed to generate leverage. It should serve as a fallback in case pitching doesn’t work out.

History – Drafted by the Mets in the 13th round of the 2011 draft I would not have expected much from Gsellman.  However based on his age he could be far better than he appears.  The numbers prior to 2013 aren’t good, but you should remember he played the majority of those seasons as a 17 year old or 18 year old.

2013 – He actually started twice for Port St. Lucie and five times for Savannah before the Mets put Gsellman in Brooklyn with hitters his age.  In Brooklyn he established himself as the Ace of the staff issuing a 2.06 ERA with a 1.014 WHIP and a 8.2 K/9.  He has earned his shot to progress more normally through the system and not be used as organizational filler.

2014 – While he’s already seen success in Port St. Lucie (too small a sample) I would put Gsellman at the front of the Savannah rotation where he would hopefully see similar success to his Brooklyn numbers.  If things broke well for him he’s a #4 starter for the Mets but I’m hopeful that he’s actually capable of that.

#21: Travis Taijeron

  • Bats: Right
  • Throws: Right
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 200 Lbs.
  • Born: 1/20/89, US

Scouting – This comes from after the draft:

Taijeron had a monster senior season for Division II Cal Poly Pomona, hitting .392/.534/.744 with 16 homers. He’s a big, strong guy who has solid-average speed but figures to move to a corner at the next level. The bat certainly looks . He has a big, sweeping swing defined by excellent extension, and he brings a patient approach to the plate. The swing will cause Taijeron to be strikeout-prone throughout his career, but there’s definite upside here. There’s a good chance superior pitching will eat him alive, but there’s a chance Taijeron makes something of himself.

History – Drafted by the Mets in the 18th round of the 2011 draft, he was quickly moved away from center field and into right.  Taijeron has been in and out of the radar a few times in his history.  In 2011 he managed a .943 OPS in Brooklyn.  In 2012 he followed that up with 64 games in Savannah with a .949 OPS.  He’s also gone off the radar as with 48 games in Port St. Lucie in 2012 he had only a .677 OPS.

2013 – Split between Port St. Lucie (55 Games) and Binghamton (65 Games) there was a lot more good than bad.  He had a whopping .960 OPS in Florida and a respectable .826 OPS in Binghamton.  His 38 doubles and 23 homers are truly a nice sign of things to come.  The bad news is that he strikes out too much with over 1 K per game, he’s got his work cut out for him.

2014 – Because he will be 25 and has already played 65 games at AA I would start Taijeron in AAA where you’d hope that Vegas would allow him to easily produce that .900+ OPS that he needs.  If he can cut the K’s and maintain his batting success the Mets might have a STARTING corner outfielder on their hands.  The odds are against him and that is why he misses the Top 20.

10 comments for “Mets top prospects: Numbers 25-21

  1. September 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Perhaps it’s nothing more than his Dr. Seuss-like name, but I’m most intrigued by Gsellman among this grouping.

    • David Groveman
      September 29, 2013 at 10:15 am

      If you can rhyme it I will be impressed.

  2. Metsense
    September 28, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    That is the best analysis on Dykstra and his situation with the Mets that I have read so far. I couldn’t agree more.
    I saw Tapia pitch a no hitter into the 6th inning in 2012 but he tired. I think you are onto something concerning him. His stuff will get him to the show, it is just at what position, relief or starter. I’ m leaning toward relief but hope I am wrong.

    • David Groveman
      September 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Thanks for the kind words. I have heard that the mets see tapia as a future closer.

  3. Craig Brown
    September 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm


    You lost me at Alan Dykstra…

    He’s 26…if the Mets thought they had a player here he would be in Queens right now as a September call up.

    Nobody considers him a prospect anymore, he is closer to organizational filler.

    He needs to be protected on the 40 man next year, my guess is the Mets leave him off and he signs elsewhere

    • David Groveman
      September 29, 2013 at 10:18 am

      For the mets not to protect Dykstra in a year where the first base depth chart is so murky would be particularly odd.

      The guy has power and a very good eye. I didn’t rank him in the top 10 or anything…

      • Craig Brown
        September 29, 2013 at 5:55 pm

        The Padres let him go for Eddie Kunz–I think that says quite a bit….

        • September 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

          The Padres let him go for Kunz and so we weren’t to expect much back but he’s hit too well to ignore now. Looks like the Padres gave up something for nothing (albeit a “B” prospect for nothing).

  4. James Preller
    September 29, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I can’t say that I’m too optimistic about any of these guys at this point. Brooklyn’s elite staff put up crazy numbers, but that’s what happens at that level. Until guys achieve that success at St. Lucie, it’s nearly meaningless. In the future, I see waves of amazing pitching performances at the lower levels, in pitcher-friendly leagues, that generally flame out at A+. Not that no one can come through of course, just that young Mets pitching is overrated on an annual basis.

    I don’t believe in Dykstra. Getting a Jorge Toca vibe.

    • David Groveman
      September 29, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Met young pitching is not over-rated but neither are you wrong. The pitchers at lower levels do tend to flame out. They still belong where I put them in relation to othe met prospects.

      My Dykstra points have been made but Toca is a fine comparison.

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