Where the Mets particularly look deficient is at the back-end of their Top 10. Most teams have players in the Top 5 with major upside and a record of success in the minors and the Mets are not an exception, but better farm systems have more of those players ranked sixth and beyond. Around this point in most rankings you get a mix of “Proven Talent” and “Pure Pedigree” prospects. A player like David Peterson, who hasn’t done much of note in the minors doesn’t have proven results but because he’s a first round pick, there are expectations of success.
Gavin Cecchini had fallen into this category in previous years and for some, Anthony Kay would have appeared in their Top 25 based on his draft ranking. The problem with “Pure Pedigree” players is that their prospect stock is based on amateur accomplishments.
These three players aren’t really “Pure Pedigree” players. They fall into a category that leaves them straddling the line between past success and future potential.
10. Desmond Lindsay, OF (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 21) – Falling to the bottom of the Top 10 rankings, Desmond Lindsay is hoping to forget most of his 2017 campaign. A season hampered by injury, Lindsay wasn’t able to accomplish much of anything in April or May. In fact his May OPS was a pathetic .384 mark. Then in June things suddenly became better. Lindsay seemed to have refreshed his approach and offered a shining glimpse of the 1.094 OPS we’d been hoping for. His pace slowed again in July but not as badly and he ended his season injured. It was a lost season for Lindsay who, like Justin Dunn, came into 2017 with high expectations and pedigree. The Mets need Lindsay to return to form in 2018 if they are going to salvage his prospect status. It’s possible that, with health, Lindsay could still be a starting MLB outfielder but, as with any prospect, each wasted year makes that window for success smaller and smaller.
What separates Lindsay from your typical “Pure Pedigree” player is that his numbers in his first two seasons of the minors showed solid potential. In 2015 he split time between time between the GCL Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones. He proved more than a match for Rookie ball, managing an .864 OPS in 21 games before he struggled in the New York Penn league. In 2016 he returned to Brooklyn, at the age of 19, and had tremendous success. He managed a stellar .868 OPS on the back of great plate discipline. For this reason, and his late season (pre-injury) heroics I believe that Lindsay’s future is still bright.
9. Jordan Humphreys, SP (Bats: R, Throws: Right, Age: 21) – There was a point in 2017 where Jordan Humphreys and Merandy Gonzalez were lighting up Columbia and looking like they were going to be unstoppable. Gonzalez was traded and Humphreys was promoted to Port St. Lucie. The results weren’t great. In his first taste of Advanced A, Humphreys looked over matched. Then, after only 2 starts, the season ended with injury. It was a shame to see a promising season be cut off so short especially as Humphreys could have likely found his footing given time. In 2018 he’s likely to return to Florida and test himself for a full season against the hitters of that level. Humphreys has shown front-end peripherals in Low A and there is reason to hope that the Mets have legitimate prospect on their hands.
Now, Humphreys never had a pedigree as a prospect. The 18th round draft pick was likely viewed as organizational filler before his shot at starting in 2017. He hit Columbia seemingly out of nowhere. His 2015 and 2016 numbers that, while good, were well within the bounds of a depth pitching prospect. His 2017 numbers were so good in April that they seemed like they had to be an aberation. Then they got better in May and eventually earned his way to a promotion in June. If Humphreys doesn’t regress there is reason to hope that his 2017 success was very real.
8. P.J. Conlon, SP (Bats: Left, Throws: Left, Age: 24) – A good lefty is hard to find and with Steven Matz struggling to make good on his promise, it seems P.J. Conlon will have a role with the future of the Mets. He had a good 2017 with a 3.38 ERA, 108 Ks in 136 Innings and a 1.24 WHIP. This season in Binghamton helped him prove himself as one of the more consistent starters in a strong AA rotation. It was, therefore, strange to have the Mets promote Chris Flexen to the majors when injuries struck. Conlon seemed like the safer and most ready option in AA. It seems likely that the Mets made this move because Conlon may see himself shifted into a relief role. There is even a chance that the Mets add him to their bullpen to start the 2018 season. I think the Mets know they have talent in Conlon but I don’t think they are of one mind how best to utilize it.
I’ve written, at length, about the 2018 AAA rotation which should contain Flexen, Conlon, Corey Oswalt and Mickey Jannis at the start of the season. Having these quality pitchers close at hand will present the Mets with a rare case of depth at an oft-needed position. This doesn’t mean that the signing of Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb or Bartolo Colon wouldn’t be wise. The team could still use more established depth players, but Conlon and company are certainly a good safety net to have in place.