Mets Minors: Preseason prospect picks

There are lots of top 10’s, 20’s, 50’s, 41’s and 100’s out there but only one of them is mine.  What makes mine better?  Well… that’s entirely up to you.

Top 10 Prospects:

  1. 1.       Matt Harvey, SP
  • Where: Harvey should start 2012 in AA but finish 2012 in AAA or even the MLB depending in part on his own progress and in part on the team’s relevance.
  • Why: This is simple, he’s the greatest combination in the system of overall talent and ceiling.  Harvey is as little as half a season away from making his professional debut in Queens.  He’s also capable of becoming a top pitcher based on the physical gifts he possesses.  He boasts a mid-high 90s heater, two plus breaking pitches and a rapidly improving changeup.  Why is he here?  He does it all.
  1. 2.       Jeurys Familia, SP
  • Where: There are a lot of pundits who project Familia starting the year in AAA but those same people need to realize that with Miguel Batista, Jeremy Hefner, Chris Schwinden, Collin McHugh and Pedro Beato swirling around that Familia might be better served staying in AA and working with Harvey, Mejia, Wheeler and Gorski.  Familia would be best served developing his secondary pitches the entire year but if the Mets plan on him becoming a closer option, he’d be fine coming up to the majors ASAP.
  • Why: Familia is like Harvey in some ways, with an impressive 2011 campaign, a more impressive fastball and a biting slider.  Familia is still a little short on that third offering which is why he’s in doubt in terms of becoming a starter or a reliever.  He has all of 2012 to try and work on his lagging changeup before I’m remotely worried about switching his role.
  1. 3.       Jenrry Mejia, SP
  • Where: He was supposed to be too hurt to worry about where he’d start the year, but it appears he’s well back on track for being able to break camp with AA or AAA.  I’d send him to AA because I like grouping Generation 2-K together.  Mejia could jump into the major-league roster pretty quickly if he’s healthy and someone gets hurt.
  • Why: A lot of people have Zack Wheeler #1 but I’ve run through three pitchers without mentioning Wheeler.  The reason for this is that Harvey, Familia and Mejia have all pitched successfully in levels of the minors above Wheeler.  Regarding Mejia’s spot as #3, he’s really never showed flaws in the minors, and the only major problem with Jenrry Mejia is the way in which he made his MLB debut and stunted his growth.  He needs to condition himself and work on his delivery, but he has the pitches to be a front of the rotation starter today.
  1. 4.       Reese Havens, 2B
  • Where: He’ll start in AA for the same reason I have Jeurys Familia holding up before AAA.  With AAA loaded with names like Lutz, Dykstra, Satin and Valdespin there isn’t a ton of room for Havens to play.  So he can start the year with Binghamton and force his way onto a higher club based on the merits of his play.
  • Why: I’ve seen Reese Havens swing a bat in person and can tell you that he is a major league hitter.  If he can stay on the field and play the average defense I know he can, he’s an injury away from joining the Mets in Queens and perhaps only half a season before I’m buying his Jersey.
  1. 5.       Zack Wheeler, SP
  • Where: He is a safe pick for the tail end of the Binghamton rotation.  He could conceivably start the year back in Port St. Lucie… but I doubt it.  He should probably end the year in AA unless he makes some giant developmental leaps.
  • Why: He is like Harvey in so many ways and people usually project Wheeler as the more gifted of the pair, so why is he ranked 5th?  Well… a few things.  He’s over half a season behind Harvey, Familia and Mejia and his control issues are apparent from his pre-Met numbers of 2011.  It isn’t an indictment of his talent or saying that I don’t think he could be the Met Ace of the future to rank him 5th.  It’s simply my way of noting that his talent is father away,
  1. 6.       Cesar Puello, OF
  • Where: He starts in AA and stays put in AA for the entire year.
  • Why: Unlike Cory Vaughn who slowly slipped down the rankings as the year went along, Puello began to impress more and more as 2011 season wore on.  He also began to display the power that scouts believed would develop given time.  He’s got a ways to go but he should be fine in Binghamton for the 2012 season.
  1. 7.       Wilmer Flores, 3B
  • Where: He repeates A+ league again but this time learning a new position.  I’d be surprised to see him move up to AA given the amount he needs to learn as he slides into a role more suited to his physicality, but the key will remain his hitting.
  • Why: I’m not the only person who had Flores #1 on the rankings in 2011.  He slipped down seven spots because he was only pretty good.  He in no way stunk in 2011, far from it.  He just failed to develop the power we projected while still displaying the inability to play shortstop that we’d also projected.  I would say his bat could take him quickly to AA because of the 3B log-jam the Mets have with Marte, Flores and Rodriguez all being best suited for A+ baseball.
  1. 8.       Matt Den Dekker, OF
  • Where: I would not be shocked if Matt Den Dekker started the year with the Mets in Queens.  He could easily beat Andres Torres this Spring and earn the roster spot.  More likely he heads to AAA where he’ll await an injury.
  • Why: Most pundits don’t rank Matt Den Dekker this highly.  Why do I?  Well… the answer is defense… and offense.  Look at a player like Aderlin Rodriguez, who is as big and powerful as any Met prospect I’ve ever seen.  He’s got the chops to hit, but he is likely to wind up as a 1B/DH player who is only good for his hitting.  Meanwhile Matt Den Dekker plays superlative defense in centerfield while bringing a swing that generated plenty of power in 2011.  While he doesn’t fit the mold of the speedy leadoff hitting CF, he’s got the bat to justify him as a starting MLB outfielder.
  1. 9.       Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF
  • Where: He’ll start the season on the DL and then… well it will depend on a few things.  How is the Met OF doing?  How is Matt Den Dekker doing?  How long does Kirk take to bounce back into form?  Kirk Nieuwenhuis should end the season either proving his health in AAA or proving his worth in the majors.
  • Why: When I try to think of players that Terry Collins would want on the roster, Kirk Nieuwenhuis comes quickly
  1. 10.   Akeel Morris, SP
  • Where: He will likely not start the season in Savannah, though it would be within the realm of possibilities.  Instead he’ll probably start a bit later when the New York Penn League starts up.  Morris needs to work on control… a lot so I don’t see him going above Savannah.
  • Why: There are four pitchers not named Harvey, Familia, Mejia or Wheeler who have me excited: Morris, Domingo Tapia, Michael Fulmer and Juan Urbina.  Morris is the best of the bunch… right now.  He posted pretty ridiculous numbers between his few outings last season and can really crank up the heat on his fastball.  He has a ton to prove in the minors but he earns the 10th spot on the list because I have a gut feeling that he will make people take notice in 2012.

Now, I plan on doing updates on these 10 players and those who missed this list but make others as each month goes by.  Expect the next list to be posted in the early weeks of April summing up some of the exploits of Spring Training.

3 comments for “Mets Minors: Preseason prospect picks

  1. March 13, 2012 at 3:49 am

    I can buy into most of this, but Reese Havens that high? Kid can never stay healthy long enough to be on a list.

    • David Groveman
      March 13, 2012 at 9:09 am

      I rank Havens that high because I see an average defensive 2B who can hit .300 with 20+ HRs and a great amount of doubles. I’m fine with him at #4 on my March list, though he’ll probably drop significantly by April.

      • March 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        I thought he was projected to have a lower average, good power and solid defense ever since he was drafted. Has this changed?

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