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.
#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)