As I enter the Top 7 I’m going to talk about a player who is glaringly missing from my Top 25. I’m speaking, of course, of Luis Guillorme. Many people have Guillorme in the Top 10 and I have him sitting, precariously at 26th in the Met system. How can I do this?
If you want to understand why Guillorme falls so far, you have to examine Guillorme’s offensive production in the minors.
- 2013 – GCL: .620 OPS
- 2014 – APP/SAL: .663 OPS
- 2015 – SAL: .746 OPS
- 2016 – FSL: .647 OPS
- 2017 – EAS: .706 OPS
This is not a player whose bat translates to the majors. Regardless of how smooth and talented he may be in the field, he’s not going to be a .700+ OPS hitter in the majors. Can the Mets afford to have a nearly guaranteed out in the back of their lineup? How high can his DRS be? These are fair questions but do not speak of a player with a high ceiling.
The three players in this group have legitimate ceilings and in the cases of the pitchers, relatively elevated floors.
7. Marcos Molina, SP (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 22) – At only 22 years of age, Molina is the only member of the AA rotation I have slated to repeat at this level. That isn’t because he pitched badly. In 13 outings for AA he managed a sub 4.00 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and solid strikeout numbers. The reason for Molina being held back isn’t a lack of potential but, instead, a glut of ready talent and his own higher ceiling. Should Molina return to AA in 2018 he can better hone his craft and prove his potential to become a front-end starter. While Flexen, Conlon, Oswalt and Jannis proceed to AAA, it’s Molina who has the highest ceiling. Met fans should be hoping that this young pitcher can develop into a #2/#3 pitcher.
Molina started 17 games and pitched over 106 innings in 2017. Including his relief appearence it means that he averaged about 6.0 innings a start. His strikeout numbers were not elite, totalling only 86, but his WHIP did improve as the season wore on. His 1.13 WHIP and .239 Opp Avg are the two most impressive stats. Those, combined with a favorable scouting report mean that Molina has the potential to be a Top 3 prospect in next year’s list.
6. Mark Vientos, SS (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 18) – The Mets second pick in the 2017 draft was considered to be a savvy one. Vientos is considered a high ceiling player who could develop into a plus player at shortstop or third base. As mentioned in previous posts, the Mets have a lot of hitting talent that could be heading to Columbia. Of the prospects in this bunch, Vientos has the highest pure ceiling although he and Rigoberto Terrazas are expected to eventually be forced to compete for the start third base job. Giving this crew a look at full season Low A will give the Mets a rare squad of upside hitting talent in a pitching dominant league. Having protection up and down the lineup could be very good for these players though it might also skew their results. All and all we should be very up on the lower levels of talents in the Met system.
At 6’4” he’s unlikely to hold onto the shortstop position for long, so we’ll need to track Vientos’ bat well. The offensive requirements of a third baseman and shortstop are two distinctly different things. His 2017 batting line, .262/.318/.398 bely the true success of his season. After finding his footing in his first 24 games in Kingsport, Vientos surged to a .307/.340/.477 line in 23 August outings. It’s possible that the Mets hold him to headline on the Brooklyn team but it seems more likely that the Mets will have Vientos join the talented offense that is heading to Columbia in 2018.
5. Chris Flexen, SP (Bats: R, Throws: R, Age: 23) – Don’t get hung up on Flexen’s MLB numbers. His promotion to the majors was not timely or expected. If you look at Flexen’s numbers in the minors you should get a picture of a pitcher who has some good potential and is fairly advanced. Thanks to his MLB experience you can expect him to head into AAA where he’ll be leading his former rotation mates in what could be a rare, highly skilled, Las Vegas pitching staff. Flexen projects (on his high end) as a #3 pitcher and could be ready to truly step into the majors in 2018 with far better results than his rushed 2017 promotion.
People will be fairly focused on the ugly 7.88 ERA in 49 innings that Flexen pitched in the majors. They will forget that he did not begin the 2017 season healthy, they will forget that he’d never pitched in AA prior to this season and they will not remember Flexen’s path through the minors with it’s bumps and bruises. Flexen, from the moment of his draft had much higher expectations than his draft position suggested, and the Mets are hoping that he can build on his AA success: 1.66 ERA, 48.2 IP (almost 7.0 Innings per start), 50 K, .165 Opp Avg and 0.72 WHIP. Of the pitchers who will be assigned to AAA, I would say that Flexen has the highest ceiling amongst them.