Much has been made about the dearth of hitting in the Mets minor league system under the Alderson administration, and for good reason. It seems as if the prevailing philosophy as far as the minor league system goes, has been to build up the pitching depth, while the bats have lagged behind.
The emergence over the past two years of Kevin Plawecki, Brandon Nimmo, and Matt Reynolds (Reynolds more so this year), and the drafting of Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto has been a boon, but the system still does lack depth.
But there are a few players buried deep in the system who are still young and while years away from contributing to the major league team, might be worth keeping an eye on as they progress through the system.
Venezuelan outfielder Vicente Lupo is a name that you may remember hearing about a few offseasons ago. He burst on the scene with a monstrous 2012 season in the Dominican Summer League hitting .343/.500/.608 as an 18 year old. He led the DSL with his 1.108 OPS.
The caveat that came with Lupo is that DSL stats are really not a great barometer for future success. The players who led the DSL in OPS before Lupo include Jesus Vasquez, Robleys Reyes, Yeicok Calderon, Damian Taveras, Jairo Perez and Reynaldo Rodriguez. They have combined to make a total of zero Baseball America top 100 prospect lists, along with a whopping zero games of experience above the AAA level.
Almost on cue, Lupo followed up his superb campaign in the DSL with a disappointing 2013 with the Gulf Coast Mets. Lupo hit just .220/.310/.385 in 126 plate appearances, though he was still young for the Gulf Coast League.
Lupo is still just 20 years old, and has some room to grow at 6-0, 180-pounds. It’s still far too early to make a call on Lupo based on one good, or bad, season in summer ball, but his 2012 season in the DSL certain shows that he at least has the potential to become a good ballplayer. Though as history shows, take DSL stats with a grain, or two, or three, of salt.
The other outfielder to keep an eye on as he progresses through the minor league system is the fourth piece (and non-elite prospect) in the R.A. Dickey trade, Wuilmer Becerra. Without a doubt, Becerra is a player with significant flaws which could prohibit him from ever being able to achieve success in the higher levels of the minor leagues, let alone the majors.
But such is the case with all toolsy outfielders.
Becerra was essentially seen as a lottery ticket in the Dickey deal, and that assessment still rings true now a year and a half later.
He could put his tools together and become a legit prospect with a possibility of a decent major league career, or he could flame out in AA.
Becerra possesses above average power and speed tools, and is an average in terms of his defense. The major question when it comes to him involves whether his hit tool will ever progress enough for him to elevate his status.
Take this from Kirk Cahill and our friends over at MetsMinors.net:
“Becerra is a bit of a mystery from the scouting side. While he shows above-average to plus power in batting practice, it’s yet to make its way into games. Scouts question if his hit tool will ever develop, pointing to his faulty swing mechanics that start with a premature load — resulting in poor balance and an uppercut that inhibits his ability to put the ball in play. Wuilmer is young, so it’s more than possible he could fix his swing which would allow his tools to play up.”
In reality, these guys are only minor prospects at this point. With good development, however, they could become minor leaguers to keep an eye on within the next few years.