On teams with elite farm systems the Top 15 players tend to be players who have All-Star potential or at least seem like definites to become major league regulars at some point in their careers. The Mets do not currently have an elite farm system but things are not as bad as some people would have you believe.
Within my rankings at this level I have four players who seem like they have major league futures and one who is still holding on to his elite potential as a former top draft pick. The Met fan base is one of the most mercurial in all of sports. When the team is doing well, we frenzy and get ahead of ourselves with wild predictions of success. When the team is doing poorly, we wallow in self doubt and misery.
The reality is that the Mets farm system only needs a handful of rebound performances from a select group of prospects to be considered a good farm system once again.
15. David Thompson, 3B/1B (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 24) – I debated ranking Thompson higher and lower within my Top 25. He’s one of the most advanced hitters in the Met farm system and one of the few upper level bats who shows potential to become a major league regular. He’s got his problems as well, though. He’s an extremely streaky hitter as evidenced by his .459 OPS in April, .932 OPS in June, .647 OPS in July and .898 OPS in August. His ceiling remains as a .250 hitter with 20-30 home run power and passable defense. That is a player who can work on a winning team hitting in the 6th or 7th spot in a batting order. Thompson has to put up some gaudy numbers in AAA to inspire confidence that he can do that though. It’s more likely that the Mets will look to secure a long-term solution to third base through free agency.
14. Corey Oswalt, SP (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 24) – I wanted to rank Oswalt higher (He had a really good 2017) and I think ranking him below P.J. Conlon and Chris Flexen is a little misleading. One can make an argument that after May Oswalt was, by far, the best pitcher in a talented Binghamton Met rotation. The big righty has been with the Mets for the past six seasons and slowly worked his way through the minors. In 2014 he sparkled in Brooklyn where he produced a 2.26 ERA and 6 wins in 11 starts. 2017 was probably his next best year, seeing a sub 3.00 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. His best pitching came in August where his K/9 nearly reached 9.0 and his BB/9 sank under 2.0 which approaches front-end starter peripherals. Oswalt should be headed to AAA where he’ll be gunning to be the first in line to provide the Mets with injury relief.
13. Tomas Nido, C (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 23) – The Mets have Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki platooning in the majors and Tomas Nido waiting in the wings. Don’t jump the gun on Nido being 3rd in line. When d’Arnaud inevitably gets hurt, the Mets will promote Jose Lobaton to take on the backup role. Nido represents a higher ceiling backup (similar to what Plawecki is) with a bat that can be of use in the majors. Nido also offers slightly better defensive scouting than d’Arnaud or Plawecki have shown so he might be a better fit for the Mets long term. The Mets have the luxury of hiding Nido in AAA where he can wait and develop some more confidence. At the plate he suffered through a down year, but the Mets are optimistic that his 2016 numbers will resurface in 2018.
12. Patrick Mazeika, C (Bats: L, Throws: R, Age: 24) – Behind Nido, back in AA, the Mets have another catcher who is starting to make waves. Patrick Mazeika’s glove doesn’t get rave reviews but he’s performed above scout expectations (which is to say passably) as a catcher. But, how can I rank Mazeika (24) above Nido (23)? Part of this is circumstantial. Mazeika’s brief performance with AA was very good and better than Nido’s. The other part is arbitrary, as I like the idea of a left handed hitting catcher more than a middle of the road catcher like Nido. Mazeika’s best tool is his bat which shined early in the 2017 season. His power tool is not consistent but Mazeika’s bat seems to generate good offense through contact. Mazeika finished his season for AA and should begin his 2018 campaign back in Binghamton. There isn’t a reason to force he and Nido to share AAA just yet.
11. Justin Dunn, SP/RP (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 22) – Gee Dave… it’s almost as if you went to explicit lengths to have Justin Dunn not appear on your Top 10. [Gee guys… I have no idea what you’re talking about ;-)] Dunn’s 2017 season was bad. It was so bad that the Mets shifted Dunn out of starting in Advanced A to a relief role (not a good sign for a “Top Prospect”). His control was pretty much absent and without control he couldn’t accomplish much of anything. Now, the Mets might have been aggressive in promoting him from Brooklyn to Port St. Lucie but based on his profile he was expected to be more advanced than your typical 21 year old prospect. Now 22 the Mets need to be more cautious. They need to hold Dunn in Port St. Lucie and make sure he gets his control back before he progresses any further. We should not lose sight of the fact that he is physically gifted and has explosive offerings. It is my sincere hope that Justin Dunn gets back into the Top 5 for next year’s rankings. If Dunn’s 2017 was better the outlook on the Met farm would be substantially better.