Mets Minors: Top 50 prospects 2017 5-1

Amed RosarioThe Top 5 prospects, the best of the best and a land of few surprises. These should be nothing but players you know and expect to see within the Top 5. Expect to hear a lot about these players through Spring Training and throughout 2017. While the Mets do not have a Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz to hold their breath for this season there are a few names here who you can expect to factor into the Met’s season.

#5 Justin Dunn, SP: The Mets selected Dunn with their first pick in the 2016 draft and intended fully to put him on the “Fast Track” to the majors. His debut for Brooklyn was a good start as he performed admirably in his first taste of professional baseball. Dunn managed a 1.167 WHIP and a 10.5 K/9 in his first 30.0 innings pitched. Both of those numbers suggest “Ace” potential. His fastball sits comfortably in the mid-low 90s and can flash the upper 90s and he has three useful breaking pitches that should translate to the majors eventually.

Expect Dunn to get stretched out early in 2017 with Port St. Lucie the most likely destination for the former Boston College pitcher. Regardless of where he starts, the most telling level for him in 2017 will be Advanced A. Should his numbers not fall off their mark we can start getting very excited about his blossoming potential. (ETA: 2019 Ceiling: “Ace”)

#4 Gavin Cecchini, SS/2B: It’s hard to say what we really think will happen with Cecchini. Rosario appears entrenched as the shortstop of the future and Cecchini’s struggling defensive numbers suggest that he is heading towards a defensive shift. Should he be able to handle second base, which seems likely, then his offensive numbers still suggest that he is starting everyday player material. In 2016 Cecchini managed a .838 OPS in AAA and had a very successful 4 game audition in the majors (where he had a crazy 1.095 OPS). While his offensive numbers should take a hit when he leaves the confines of Las Vegas, his plate discipline is a plus tool and cannot be discounted for weather conditions. He’s not a base stealer, but his ability to get on base and make contact make him a fantastic option for a #2 hitter and a very good option to lead off.

Expect him to repeat AAA Las Vegas with a strong possibility of changing positions. If and when injuries happen, Cecchini will get a call. In the meantime I’m hoping to see him play second base in AAA and work on the double-play chemistry with Rosario. (ETA: 2017 Ceiling: Starting Second Baseman)

#3 Thomas Szapucki, SP: It’s easy to forget how rare players like Steven Matz are when a player like Szapucki comes along shortly after. A lefty with a lot of movement on his breaking pitches, he fell to the 5th round of the 2015 draft because scouts questioned his velocity. In 2016 Szapucki touched 97 MPH on the radar gun and sat between 91-95 MPH. Scouts believe his velocity will eventually match Matz’s and that his breaking pitches might be even better. His 2016 will certainly elevate Szapucki in the eyes of the baseball world and, by next offseason, he may be on quite a number of Top Prospect lists.

There is a significant possibility that Szapucki will skip over Columbia and wind up in Port St. Lucie. The Mets are not desperate to rush him to the majors but at the same time, may worry about needlessly delaying him after his phenomenal success in 2016. I don’t see Szapucki reaching AA in 2017 unless he somehow continues to be an utterly staggering success. (ETA: 2020 Ceiling: “Ace”)

#2 Dominic Smith, 1B: For those who claim the Mets lack Top Prospects likely to make a major league impact in 2017, I present Smith. You’ve heard of the Mets 11th overall selection from the 2013 amateur draft. You’ve heard the good, a .294 Batting Average in his four seasons as a Met. You’ve heard the less good, Only 25 home runs in that same span. Some look at the latter and question if Smith will ultimately have enough bat to make him stick as a major league first baseman. It’s hard to say if the power will develop and I would wager it unlikely to look for 30 home runs per year from his bat, but there is plenty of reason to expect big things.

While Smith is almost definitely not going to beat out Lucas Duda/Wilmer Flores for the starting job this Spring (it’s possible but unlikely), it’s not terrible for him to play in AAA. An infield that will include Smith, Cecchini, Rosario and Oberste will be quite a thing to watch. (ETA: 2017 Ceiling: Starting First Baseman)

#1 Amed Rosario, SS: Back in 2013, Rosario first suited up for the Mets. To say the least, his ascendance to the top of this list is a long time coming. Through his first three seasons, he played well but not well enough to justify the hefty signing bonus and hype the Mets had given him. Back in 2014 I saw Rosario play in Brooklyn and nearly swing himself out of his shoes. Prior to 2016 I wrote about it being time for him to put up or shut up if he wanted to stay in the Top 10 prospects moving forward. Boy, did he ever respond!

He began the year for Port St. Lucie and got off to a blistering start. Through 66 games he managed a .309/.359/.442 batting line with 21 extra base hits and 13 stolen bases. He then was promoted to AA where he inconceivably hit a .341/.392/.481 with 21 extra base hits and 6 stolen bases over 54 games.

In 2017 it’s possible that the Mets leave Rosario in AA to start the year but that wouldn’t truly be best for his development. He should be working on his chemistry with the players he’s likely to play with in the majors. Should Asdrubal Cabrera fall victim to a lasting injury you can expect Rosario to be ready for the challenge. (ETA: 2017 Ceiling: Starting Shortstop)

24 comments for “Mets Minors: Top 50 prospects 2017 5-1

  1. David Groveman
    February 6, 2017 at 10:30 am

    A lot of people asked about Robert Gsellman and Brandon Nimmo. I kept them off the list as I felt they’d had enough MLB experience to be off the list. Gsellman would have factored into the Top 10 and Nimmo into the Top 20.

    • TexasGusCC
      February 6, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Nimmo, top 20?? Wow.

    • Chris F
      February 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      I get Gsellman, who has 6 innings left, but Nimmo has something like 60 AB. I see the 2017 MLB Pipeline rankings will be out in a couple weeks. Will be intersting to compare.

      You have a long fall for Nimmo to land between 10-20!

      • TexasGusCC
        February 6, 2017 at 9:14 pm

        Can’t believe the 24 year old is behind such sure things as PJ Conlin, David Thompson and several guys that haven’t been in AA yet.

        • Chris F
          February 6, 2017 at 9:46 pm

          I guess projecting out to 4th or 5th OF isnt gonna help his prospect status.

          • TexasGusCC
            February 6, 2017 at 11:44 pm

            Let’s see:
            This 4th or 5th outfielder has improved against lefties every year. Too, he has worked on driving the ball to the point that he hit the longest homerun in Citifield by a Mets lefty this year. We know he can fly, even though knee surgery has taken a half step.

            Seems that everyone is using aged scouting reports and not seeing what is right in front of them.

            Nimmo is an improving young player that almost won the AAA batting title last year but lost to a 27 year old that people think could be a starter.

            I think that Nimmo was not used correctly by the idiot last year. He was put in RBI situations when he has had on base training. However, I expect him to continue to improve and be part of the Mets outfield in 2018 if not sooner.

            Many times I had a different opinion from Dave on the formation of this list, it while Conlon is viewed as a possible LOOGY and Thompson is struggling to distance from Urena, Nimmo has excelled. I thought putting him lower than Thompson and in the same breath as some “possible major leaguers” even bullpen guys, was a big mistake.

  2. Steve S.
    February 6, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Are you saying that Oberste could be a starter at 3B in the near future, or just a bench guy in the bigs?

    • David Groveman
      February 6, 2017 at 11:39 am

      I think he could serve as a big league bench bat and take up innings at 3rd and 1st.

  3. Jerry k
    February 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Give Flores his shot. 400ABs and he hits 270/20/75.

    • David Groveman
      February 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Jerry,

      Not arguing giving Flores a shot, just ranking prospects.

    • Chris F
      February 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Flores had a shot. He’s a terrible defender on the left side, glove and arm, and the right side has no room for him. He can blister lefty pitching, but cant hit righty’s, despite facing them 3x as often. That makes him a bench guy.

  4. Jimmy P
    February 6, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    What I like about Smith, when I consider his potential upside, is that he’s a different type of hitter than Sandy has most valued. In that I believe the Mets GM tends to focus too narrowly on “power” to the detriment of other skills: BA, defense, contact, speed, etc.

    The best teams, in my view, feature an array of weapons. Nothing against power, but I believe in an assortment of talents in the lineup. For all of Jose Reyes’ faults last season, his great asset was that he brought something new to the table: to run, specifically.

    Context is everything. How we value any given player’s talents depends, to an extent, on the players he’s surrounded by. The 80s Cardinals needed Jack Clark, not another speedy, low-power, high-average guy. And so on. I don’t know if Smith can hit enough — and hit enough XBH — to be a valuable 1B. But I like that he potentially brings a different skill set.

    And sure, I remember John Olerud. Keith was good, too!

    • Eraff
      February 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      There are players you Complement, and there are Complementary players.

      • Jimmy P
        February 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        Grammatically: players you “compliment” and “complementary” players.

        God is in the details.

        • Eraff
          February 6, 2017 at 3:46 pm

          No…I believe I have it right—where’s William Safire when you need him?

          I may Compliment you on the Beans, but I’d suggest you Complement them with Rice. After all, Rice Complements Beans.

          • Chris F
            February 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm

            exactly!

          • Jimmy P
            February 6, 2017 at 5:20 pm

            Okay, yes, I misunderstood what you meant. Thought when you said players you complement, that you meant say something nice about. Versus complementary players.

            Nevermind.

            • Eraff
              February 6, 2017 at 6:35 pm

              Oh…and I was guessing that You didn’t understand that the words have different meanings
              😉

  5. John Fox
    February 6, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    You mentioned Cecchini could be a fit at 2b. How about third? Does he have the arm for that?

    • David Groveman
      February 6, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Arm yes…

      Bat no…

      • Jimmy P
        February 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        My friend and I — we both saw him on different occasions — were not impressed by the arm. Did not see any zip. Usually players don’t hide the gun.

        I’ve read mixed reports.

        • Eraff
          February 6, 2017 at 4:37 pm

          Did you each see him on different occasions, or were both of you together while watching him play multiple times?

          😉

  6. nickel7168
    February 7, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Andres Gimenez has been ranked in the top 18 on 5 different rankings…top 10 on 3 of them and yet you haven’t mentioned him in your top 50…unless I’m missing something. Can you explain this? Also missing are Sewald, Smoker, Corey Taylor, Gregory Guerrero, Juan Urena who are in other lists top 30…just saying.

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