Mets Minors: Top 50 prospects 2017 15-11

The Top 15 players are finally at the echelon where you are either looking at players with very high ceilings or fairly secure paths to the majors. These names are sure to be recognizable, though because these rankings were purely from my own perspective, there is some definite opinion weighting. We see at this point, five players who David Groveman firmly loves but could not justify placing within the Top 10.

Andrew Church#15 Andrew Church, SP: After mediocre showings in 2013, 2014 and 2015 the Mets 2nd round pick from the 2013 draft had fallen completely off the radar. He didn’t make the Top 50 prospect list at all last offseason. How does he rocket up the rankings to land at 16th overall? The answer has a lot to do with the reason the Mets drafted Church in the first place. Church is a power righty who can crank up a 95+ MPH fastball who needed to add movement to his fastball and refine his breaking pitches. In 2016 Church pitched at several levels including 56.2 innings in Columbia, 35.0 innings in Port St. Lucie and 4 surprise innings in Las Vegas. While the numbers might not blow you away, the progress should. Church more than held his own at several levels of baseball higher than he’d ever pitched before. He has a lot to prove in 2017 but there is a lot of reason to be hopeful that this formerly well regarded pick might have earned himself a second life as a prospect. (ETA: 2019 Ceiling: Second Starter)

#14 Kevin Kaczmarski, OF: In last year’s rankings, Kaczmarski ranked 43rd on our Top 50 because his fine performance was marred by him being much older than the competition he faced. At 23 facing the rookie Appilachian league, his .927 OPS was pretty suspect. At 24 Kaczmarski faced off in Columbia and Port St. Lucie and still managed a .773 OPS for the year. Still older than the competition, but far less so. His .301/.383/.405 batting line in Advanced A is promising and suggests that Kaczmarski should match up well as he advances to AA in 2017. He will most likely wind up as a 4th outfielder but he has an outside shot at being good enough defensively and offensively to start in centerfield. (ETA: 2018 Ceiling: Starting Outfielder)

#13 Nabil Crismatt, SP: A Mets360 favorite, Crismatt continued what has already been a great start to his young career. We first noticed him in 2014, where he pitched 28 relief innings for the GCL Mets. He then went onto Kingsport where he earned the right to start and continued to display high-end potential. In 2016 he began the year as a reliever for Brooklyn but finished the year seeing success in Brooklyn, Columbia and Binghamton. Crismatt went under the radar as he’s a pitcher who lives on control and whose fastball never wowed scouts (See: Rafael Montero). Fast forward to 2017 and that scouting report has improved. He’s still likely not destined to be the “Ace” of a team but he seems like he’s good enough to be a middle of the rotation starter on most teams. (ETA: 2019 Ceiling: 3rd Starter)

#12 Patrick Mazeika, C: If you read my blog posts you know how much I like Mazeika (a lot). If this is the first time you’re seeing his name, let me give you an introduction. Mazeika is a hitting catcher with power and patience at the plate. He played 62 games in 2015 and managed a .991 OPS with Kingsport. In 2016 he started the year injured but finished the year with a .816 OPS in Columbia. The big “if” in Mazeika’s future is if he will be able to catch at the major league level or if he will be forced to shift to first base. Catchers typically take a little longer to develop so we have some time to see if Mazeika can continue to perform and hopefully stay healthy. Look for him to be hitting in the middle of the Port St. Lucie lineup to start the season. (ETA: 2019 Ceiling: Starting Catcher)

#11 David Thompson, 3B: After not doing much to impress anybody in 2015, Mets 360 ranked Thompson 34th in our Top 50 prospect list of 2016. In 2016 he did much to help improve his prospect stock and made a case to keep his name on file under your “Future Met Third Baseman” list. He carried the offense of Columbia in the early going of the season. His .817 OPS in a difficult league for hitters was fairly eye opening. He earned a midseason promotion to Port St. Lucie where his OPS stayed a healthy .733 through his final 55 games. Now, he isn’t a perfect hitter, he doesn’t walk enough and he strikes out a little less than once per game, but he has good power and seems to be handling his position fairly well. With David Wright teetering at the edge of retirement and always a concern for injury, you have to wonder if Thompson might get an audition for the job in 2017. (ETA: 2018 Ceiling: Starting Third Baseman)

15 comments for “Mets Minors: Top 50 prospects 2017 15-11

  1. NormE
    January 23, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Good job, David. I would like to suggest that you include the D.O.B. of each player next to his name.

    • David Groveman
      January 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

      I figured it would be okay without on this because their names are linked to BaseballReference.com but I’m happy to help.

      Andrew Church – Born: October 7, 1994
      Kevin Kaczmarski – Born: December 31, 1991
      Nabil Crismatt – Born: December 25, 1994
      Patrick Mazeika – Born: October 14, 1993
      David Thompson – Born: August 28, 1993

  2. Eraff
    January 23, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Nice Update!

  3. Name
    January 23, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Hard to believe Church is a power pitcher with those pathetic strikeout rates. Reminds me a bit of Vic Black, because he threw very hard but couldn’t strike guys out either, but at least Church’s control is solid so he could survive with a lower k-rate.

    He finally had a K/9 over 6.0 in 56.2 innings in Columbia, but that promptly dropped back down under 6 when he was promoted to St. Lucie.

    • David Groveman
      January 23, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Power numbers could come in time. 2016 was mostly about him re-finding himself as a prospect. I could see him being around a 7.0-8.0 K/9 type pitcher.

    • TexasGusCC
      January 23, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Wade Davis, Dennis Eckersley, Ryan Dempster were all like that as a starter, but as relievers they were going all out. Even Joe Blanton found his niche as a reliever.

      • Name
        January 23, 2017 at 6:06 pm

        But those guys were striking out guys while in the minors.

        There’s low strikeout rates and then there’s shockingly low strikeout rates and <6 is in that territory for me and it's hard to ignore it.

        Upon further inspection, even his 8.3 k/9 in Columbia is less impressive once you consider that the team average was 8.4 k/9.

        I’m not saying you need a high strikeout rate to survive, but there are only a handful of big leaguers who have survived with a 5-6 k/9 rate, and those guys are usually sinkerballers (Aaron Cook, Chien ming Wang) or super crafty like Jamie Moyer. He really needs prove he can get at least to 7 to be credible as a top prospect in my opinion

        • TexasGusCC
          January 23, 2017 at 8:39 pm

          Name, I really wasn’t the biggest fan of Church right from the draft. A second round pick for a kid that played on three high school teams and was constantly in trouble? But, the Mets used to reach more back then. They have cut that down quite a bit.

          I was merely pointing out that some guys, like Familia, Tapia and those other guys didn’t have put away stuff as starters, but when moved to the pen their stuff played. Maybe like Parnell the fastball doesn’t move and he needs a wrinkle.

          • Name
            January 24, 2017 at 2:05 am

            Familia was blowing people consistently in the minors. Not as much when he was a raw 18/19 yr old, but he was at 9+ when he hit 20. He never had trouble striking people out, it was the control that doomed him as a starter.

            Tapia, on the other hand, is very much like Church who struggled to strike guys out. He had a brief window in 2012/13 when it did increase, kind of like Church 2016, but it dropped like crazy in 2014 and i guess due to injuries he’s now in the bullpen, where he did get a modest bump back in a tiny sample size. But i don’t think it’s strong evidence yet that putting him in the pen increased his strike out rate.

            Most of the guys you are naming had more success in the bullpen because they lacked the control to be starters, not because they didn’t have the put away stuff. Parnell had a 7.9 k/9 in the minors and had a 7.9 k/9 in the majors. Familia had a minors mark of 8.6 and in the majors 9.2.

            Church has the control, he doesn’t have the put away stuff. For me, i’m continuing to be hesitant on Church because he’s had 3 awful strikeout seasons and now a so-so one. He’s going to have to show me at least a decent strikeout season (maybe even 2) before i would expect something from him.
            But i don’t have a terrible problem with his placement on top prospect lists as they are based on upside more than anything else, which he must have something as he was drafted in the 2nd round.

  4. Eraff
    January 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Some guys can make hitters uncomfortable @ 91-95….others can’t miss a bat at 96-98. It;’s a lot about the delivery and the difficulty of seeing the ball for the hitter…add geometry of the pitch and whatever natural movement a guy has.

    Arieta Moved his Toe-Rubber Location to the 3rd base side and concentrated on arm angle and command of FB/Slider— he gained tremendous natural movement because of the change in natural Geometry of the pItch..at 93-96, he’s tough to see and the ball has a 2-3 foot lateral movement across the zone….. the angle becomes a diagonal across the hitter’s face. With that delivery, movement, angle, he is a miserable at bat. Watch a batter against Arieta’s 94-95….and compare that to what you may remember of a Parnell 101— Hitters are relaxed against Parnell—struggling against Arieta

    here’s a link that explains it pretty well http://www.si.com/mlb/2016/03/28/jake-arrieta-chicago-cubs-profile

  5. Jimmy P
    January 25, 2017 at 9:56 am

    I am with Nameless. Big believer in the predictive vale of K-rate.

    Nice that Mets system ranked #7 by one of the experts. Spacing on his name. I don’t think these rankings have much value — they were ranked 18th a year ago by the same guy — but it’s an encouraging evaluation. I had suspected they were lower.

    • January 25, 2017 at 10:41 am

      That ranking was by Keith Law.

      I think Law has said he’d prefer not to do rankings, but that’s what the public wants so he does that. I have a hard enough time ranking prospects within a system, so I can’t imagine what a challenge it is to rank all systems.

      But having said that, it certainly makes sense why the Mets have moved up his rankings. Rosario and Smith had their best years yet, Gsellman stamped himself as Top 10 worthy, Szapucki looks like a major asset and Dunn’s pro debut went about as well as anyone could have hoped for. And the disappointments – Becerra, Carpio and Lindsay – were injury-related much more so than performance-related.

      • Jimmy P
        January 25, 2017 at 11:17 am

        I generally think Law does a good job, as does Sickels, and I agree that it’s a nearly impossible task. On the plus side, it’s very hard for anyone to knowledgeably disagree with these large-scale assessments. You’d have to know so much just to an opinion.

        As much as anything, I think the performances of Lugo and Gsellman — virtually out of nowhere — said a lot of positive things about the Mets system and coaching.

  6. Eraff
    January 25, 2017 at 10:58 am

    They have a good number of guys who might “count”— but it depends whether you’re counting Nimmo, Lugo, Gsellman and other Guys who have already debuted….. They have a bunch of End of Cycle AA/AAA who can be ready to play this year…star upside or not

    • David Groveman
      January 25, 2017 at 11:27 am

      For what it’s worth, I didn’t include Nimmo, Lugo or Gsellman in the Top 50 Prospect list.

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