2018 Mets top 25 prospects: 7-5

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.

16 comments for “2018 Mets top 25 prospects: 7-5

  1. TexasGusCC
    February 5, 2018 at 9:19 am

    David, I planned on sitting out this year’s list commenting wise after Sanchez laid a complete egg this past year, but to your Guillorme write up, I offer the name Jose Oquendo. Oquendo made himself an asset through hard work and studying Rod Carew’s video endlessly. Guillorme actually has good size and a little weight-work could do wonders for him and his glove is already MLB quality, and his batting eye is quality.

    But, good luck with your list and I’m sure the Guillorme omission will raise a few eyebrows, if not for disagreement then certainly for guts.

    • David Groveman
      February 5, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Different era of baseball.

      I’ll admit that my ranking of Guillorme is low but I see Guillorme as a .600 or less OPS in the majors and that doesn’t translate regardless of how good he fields.

      Just like Ali Sanchez (who I rank 65th) I’d love to be wrong and have Guillorme be a star.

    • Rae
      February 6, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Guillorme will hit but only singles and doubles, and he will take the walks he is given, and he’ll sacrifice himself and get hit by pitches. Luis will have a good OBP. He is not Reyes fast but he is not slow so he will be able to steal a few bags as he runs the bases well for his average speed. I figure Luis might hit 260-to-270 as simply a singles hitter. His DRS will be nothing short of spectacular. If Cabs, Reyes, or Rivera get injured or can’t make it back due to injury rehab I’d call Guillorme up as he could be the second coming of Bud Harrelson.

  2. Hunter
    February 5, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Defense up the middle was the mantra in the old days,today not so much.

    • David Groveman
      February 5, 2018 at 9:46 am

      I’d love defense up the middle as much as the next guy but the Mets can’t have a black hole in their lineup. If Guillorme could manage a .700 OPS in the majors (mostly through OBP) we could have a new discussion.

  3. February 5, 2018 at 10:22 am

    You may very well be right that Guillorme won’t hit in the majors and I have no issue with people being bearish on him.

    However, I don’t believe you can use the justification that a 22 year old at AA with a .706 OPS as proof he can’t hit in the majors.

    I looked at recent guys and this is far from a definitive list:

    Shane Victorino, 22, AA, .709
    Yunel Escobar, 23, AA, .707
    Yangveris Solarte, 22, AA, .707
    Jon Jay, 22, AA, .706
    Brian Dozier, 23, A+, .706
    Jordy Mercer, 23, AA, .702
    Denard Span, 22, AA, 689
    Ender Inciarte, 22, AA, .688
    Dee Gordon, 22, AA, .687
    Jamey Carroll, 24, AA, .683
    Darwin Barney, 22, A+, .682
    Joe Panik, 22, AAA, .680
    Brandon Crawford, 22, AA, .659
    Jemile Weeks, 22, AA, .645
    Adeiny Hechavarria, 22, AA, .622

    I believe all of those guys have a season or more in the majors with a .700 OPS or close enough, anyway.

    • David Groveman
      February 5, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Hey Brian,

      Just added some other nearby stats for the players you listed. If Guillorme hits above .800 OPS in AAA this year we can talk again. The exercise can give us hope for Guillorme having a professional career but I am still doubtful.

      Shane Victorino, 23, AAA, .955
      Yunel Escobar, 22, RK/A, .879
      Yunel Escobar, 24, AAA, .835
      Yangveris Solarte, 23, AA, .834
      Jon Jay, 21, A, .877
      Jon Jay, 23, AA/AAA, .845
      Brian Dozier, 24, AA, .890
      Jordy Mercer, 24, AA/AAA, .757
      Denard Span, 24, AAA, .915
      Ender Inciarte, 21, A/A+, .797
      Ender Inciarte, 23, AAA, .807
      Dee Gordon, 22, AA, .687 (Stole 53 Bases)
      Jamey Carroll, 24, AA, .683 (Lifetime .687 OPS)
      Darwin Barney, 22, A+, .682 (Lifetime .635 OPS)
      Joe Panik, 20, A-, .868
      Joe Panik, 21, A+, .770
      Joe Panik, 23, AAA, .829
      Brandon Crawford, 22, AA, .742 (Corrected)
      Jemile Weeks, 21, A, .828
      Jemile Weeks, 22, A+/AA, .782
      Jemile Weeks, 24, AAA, .862
      Adeiny Hechavarria, 22, AA, .622 (Lifetime .636 OPS)

      • February 5, 2018 at 11:28 am

        Crawford’s line in Double-A is what I said it was. You can’t count his stats at a lower level, especially the CAL league.

        Carroll had 4,225 PA in the majors. If Guillorme ends up with that, it will have been a fantastic career and well worth a spot on a top 25 prospect list for an org. If Carroll quit playing after his age 37 season, he would have had a lifetime .704 OPS.

        Barney’s the weakest hitter on the list. But again, if Guillorme ends up with 814 Games in the majors, that’s a great outcome.

        Hechavarria just had his best offensive campaign after being traded to the Rays this past year, with a .701 OPS. He seems primed to be in the league several more years and already has 717 games in the majors because he’s considered a star defensive player.

        If we had perfect knowledge and could accurately rate the career of everyone in the org, including guys in the DSL, what do you think the #25 prospect would be? Do you think he’s as successful in the majors as Hechavarria, with 717 Games, 2,683 PA and a .636 OPS? I don’t. I don’t believe it would be anywhere close to that.

        I think Guillorme has a solid chance to have an .800 OPS this year, as he moves to Las Vegas and a home park that hopefully won’t shave 135 points of OPS from his road mark. But he’s a guy who’s going to have to prove it every step of the way. That’s okay – that’s how it should be.

        • Chris F
          February 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm

          I know this is old news, but I think you can count a 100-200 point drop in OPS coming to the big leagues. Just ask Rosario and Smith. I mean thats as common sweet tea in July.

      • Geoffrey T
        February 13, 2018 at 2:13 pm

        I generally agree that most people over-rate Guillorme. He simply hasn’t demonstrated enough yet to be viewed as a major leaguer. That said, you’re being overly harsh. Specifically, you’re jumping the gun by condemning him to his current limitations forever. There’s no way to account for the potential of a 23-year-old to improve.
        I think you’re misreading both the Guillorme scenario, and Brian’s comments. Brian hit the nail on the head when he said, “I have no issue with people being bearish on him.” You’re bearish, but thats not where he takes issue.
        The issue is closing the door on the thought that Guillorme can or might improve.

        • David Groveman
          February 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm

          Guillorme has a body of work that has brought about my bear-ish opinion.

          2013 – GCL – .620 OPS
          2014 – Mostly APP – .663 OPS
          2015 – SAL – .746 OPS
          2016 – FSL – .647 OPS
          2017 – EAS – .706 OPS

          He’s never been “bad” but here I see a player whose offensive numbers seem tied almost entirely to his OBP. In the majors, when his bat will be directly challenged and walks will be harder to come by, will his BB numbers still be better than his K numbers?

          It’s possible. I hope that it happens.

          I just don’t see it as likely.

  4. John Fox
    February 5, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I’m high on the future for Guillorme, he gets on base, has good speed and will be a tremendous defender. MLB pipeline has him as their second baseman on their all defensive team, and that includes everybody in all levels of the minors.

  5. Eraff
    February 5, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    LG..:: here’s the Hope—- he has a 15% walk rate and a 10% strikeout rate at a high minor league level. If he can grow out stroke zone control and contact, he has a shot at growing himself as a hitter

    Yadi Molina…. Larry Bowa…. Ozzie smith —/ guys who looked like non-bats as young players. It can happen, and LG has a profile to work from

  6. remember1969
    February 5, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I am not sure how you jump to the conclusion of “Can the Mets afford to have a nearly guaranteed out in the back of their lineup?” just because he has an OPS of .706 in a league that is certainly not a true hitters league (EL). His OBP of .376 with .283 BA and 72 walks vs. 55 Ks in 558 plate appearances tells me that the kid can handle the bat and the strikezone and is not an automatic out. They don’t need him to supply corner outfielder power – if he can get on base at a .350 clip with some doubles and show all-star level defense which he has been talked of, they have a fine major league caliber player.

    • February 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      The concern is that because Guillorme has virtually no power that MLB pitchers will challenge him with strikes and his BB% will drop significantly.

      I think it’s a valid concern. I also think Guillorme can learn to turn on certain pitches, especially BP-type fastballs that guys throw just to get a strike.

      Among guys on the Mets last year to get at least 100 PA, Matt Reynolds had the lowest ISO with an .071 mark. Last year in Double-A, Guillorme had an .048 ISO. He’s got to do better than that going forward.

  7. Chris F
    February 24, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Molina looked horrific today. If hes hoping to show ML skills, hes got apparently a long way to go.

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