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Friday, August 23, 2013

2013 Mets Top 20 Prospects (Updated)

Here are the 2013 Mets Top 20 Prospects.

To be eligible to be on the list, a player must have rookie eligibility. To qualify for rookie status, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the 25-player limit period, excluding time on the disabled list or in military service.

*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.

1) Noah Syndergaard - RHP - Binghamton Mets (AA)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/7 | Curveball: 4/5 | Changeup: 5/6 | Control: 4/5 | Overall: 5/6

Syndergaard had a very successful full-season debut where he made the All-Star team, held hitters to a .212 average and struck out 10.6 per nine innings. He uses his height well, throwing downhill with some movement. Though his fastball is plus, thrown up to 96 mph consistently, he’s more than just a thrower. His power curve has improved as he’s added velocity to it and it could be an above-average breaking ball in the future. He has a power changeup as well, which is still a work in progress, but could give him a third above-average offering. Despite his size, he has an easy delivery and he throws strikes. His combination of stuff, pitchability and aggressiveness on the mound point to a possible future as a frontline starter.

2) Travis d'Arnaud - C - New York Mets

Scouting Grades (present/future): Hit: 5/6 | Power: 5/6 | Run: 3/3 | Arm: 5/6 | Field: 4/5 | Overall: 5/6

If it hadn’t been for some injuries, talk about d’Arnaud as a prospect would have long been a thing of the past and the buzz would be about him as one of the bright young catching stars in the big leagues. In 2012, he was tearing up the Pacific Coast League when he tore the PCL in his left knee. During the offseason, he was traded for an ace for the second time in his career. Initially a Phillies prospect, he was dealt to Toronto in the Roy Halladay deal. This time, he was the key part of a package sent from the Blue Jays to the Mets for R.A. Dickey. When healthy, he has the tools to be a top-flight all-around backstop. He’s agile and athletic with a good arm and has worked hard to improve his throwing. He has the ability to hit for both average and power and is a natural leader behind the plate, skills he should be able to show off in New York soon.

3) Rafael Montero - RHP - Las Vegas 51's (AAA)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): FB: 6/7 | Curve: 4/5 | Slider: 5/5 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 5/6

Since signing out of the Dominican Republic, a bit older than most international prospects, Montero has been on a bit of a fast track. He made three stops during his debut summer in 2011, then kept on going in 2012, pitching at both full-season A-ball affiliates while finishing fourth in the organization in ERA and batting average against. He's not the biggest guy in the world, but there aren't concerns about durability. Montero has a real feel for pitching, often pitching backwards with his slider and quality fading changeup. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a fastball. He can touch 95 mph with a ton of life. He can throw all of them for strikes, which bodes well for his future as a member of a big league rotation.

4) Wilmer Flores - 2B/INF - New York Mets

Scouting Grades (present/future): Hit: 4/6 | Power: 4/5 | Run: 3/3 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 4/5 | Overall: 4/5

The 2012 season was a big one for the Mets infield prospect. Still very young, Flores made impressive progress at the plate, moving up to Double-A for the first time. He has a knack for making contact and is extremely tough to strike out. His overall approach at the plate improved and that helped him tap into his raw power more consistently. Initially a shortstop, Flores moved around the infield in 2012, spending more time at third than anywhere else, and that's a much better home for him given his lack of quickness. He has good hands and a strong arm, but the lack of range might continue to be an issue. Flores' bat might be ready to contribute soon, regardless of his position.

5) Brandon Nimmo - OF - Savannah Sand Gnats (A Full)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 4/6 | Power: 4/6 | Run: 5/5 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 4/5 | Overall: 5/6

When evaluating where Nimmo is on the development path, it's important to note that Brooklyn is not a very nice place to hit. Just ask Ike Davis, who hit zero homers in the New York-Penn League at age 21. Nimmo, the Wyoming native who didn't have a high school baseball team, hit six as a raw teenager. There's a lot of raw power to tap into for Nimmo and as he continues to refine his approach, he should have at least above-average pop in games. He does understand the strike zone quite well, so he should hit for average as well. A solid average runner, Nimmo has a good arm and while he has work to do to stay in center field, should be an average defender across the board. The Mets knew it might take Nimmo some time to develop given his experience, but in many ways he's ahead of the curve.

6) Cesar Puello - OF - Binghamton Mets (AA)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 3/6 | Power: 5/6 | Run: 5/5 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 4/6

In terms of pure raw tools, no one stands ahead of Puello in the Mets' organization. The 2013 season looked like the one where he would translate those tools into consistent performance, until he was suspended for 50 games for PED use in the wake of the Biogenesis investigation. Puello still has a good deal of raw power and the bat speed to be a good all-around hitter. He needs to continue to refine his approach at the plate so he can tap into that power, something that started to come in 2013. He has good speed and a very strong arm from the outfield, with the chance to be an above-average defender, either in center or right field. He'll need to prove to everyone that his breakout wasn't drug-enhanced after he returns from his suspension.

7) Dominic Smith - 1B/OF - GCL Mets (RK)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 4/6 | Power: 4/5 | Run: 4/4 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 4/5

For the third year in a row, the Mets took a high school position player with their first pick in the Draft and this time it was Smith, whom many thought to be the best pure prep hitter in the 2013 Draft class. The SoCal first baseman has the chance to be an above-average hitter and should add more power as he develops. While he's a quality defender at first, he is limited to that position, so how much pop he does add will determine just how well he profiles at the corner infield spot. Most are confident, however, that his bat should carry him to the big leagues.

8) Gavin Cecchini - SS - Brooklyn Cyclones (A Short)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 4/6 | Power: 2/4 | Run: 5/5 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 5/6
If Cecchini needs advice about the travails of Minor League life, he can ask his older brother, Garin, who was a fourth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2010. Of course his father, who doubled as his high school coach, well-prepared him for the path ahead. Gavin is a scrappy middle infielder who should be able to play shortstop long-term thanks to good range, a solid arm and plus instincts. Those instincts also helps his solid average speed play up on the basepaths. He projects to be a good all-around hitter with the ability to make consistent contact, even if it’s not with that much power. He plays the game the right way and that plus makeup should help him move up the organizational ladder.

9) Kevin Plawecki - C - St. Lucie Mets (A Adv)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 3/5 | Power: 4/5 | Run: 3/3 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 4/5

The 2012 Draft class wasn't a great one in terms of catching depth, especially from the college ranks, so Plawecki was able to ride a strong junior season at Purdue into the supplemental first round. At Purdue, he was a contact-first, offensive-minded catcher, but he has some obvious strength and should hit for more power in the future (he did hit seven homers, including four at home in Brooklyn -- a tough park for hitters). He may not wow anyone with his skills behind the plate, but he's a solid receiver who works well with pitchers and with an arm that was strong and accurate enough to throw out 32 percent of would-be basestealers during his pro debut. There isn't much catching depth in the Mets' system and Plawecki rises right to the top of that class.

10) Jeurys Familia - RHP - Rehab Assignment

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 7/7 | Slider: 5/6 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 3/4 | Overall: 5/6

There has never been any question about Familia’s arm strength and his ability to generate swings and misses, with his strikeout rate of nearly a batter per inning throughout his Minor League career. He can maintain his mid-90s velocity throughout his starts with good sink. His slider with short bite gives him a very good breaking ball to complement his fastball, and it has a cutter-type action. He shows some feel for a sinking changeup, though he doesn’t throw it much, especially when he’s coming out of the bullpen. His lack of command and the lack of a consistent third pitch makes most thinking a relief role makes the most sense, with the potential to be a future closer.

11) Cory Mazzoni - RHP - Disabled 7-Day (Binghamton B-Mets)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/6 | Slider: 4/5 | Splitter: 4/5 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 4/5

The North Carolina State product is already on the fast track, reaching Double-A in his first full season of pro ball. While he might have a somewhat limited ceiling, the right-hander does have the chance to have three at-least-average pitches with above-average control. It starts with his above-average fastball that has good life to it. His secondary pitches both grade out as future average, with a late-breaking slider and a splitter he uses as his offspeed pitch. While he faded down the stretch, he did show the ability to dominate at the Double-A level, giving hope that he may not be too far from being big-league ready, either as a mid-range starter or a very effective reliever if his secondary offerings don't improve.

12) Michael Fulmer - RHP - St. Lucie Mets (A Adv)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/6 | Slider: 5/6 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 5/6

Despite being a high schooler who barely pitched during his summer debut, the Mets felt confident enough in Fulmer’s abilities and maturity to send him straight to full-season ball for his first full year of pro ball. Fulmer responded with an ERA that would have been good for third in the South Atlantic League had he thrown enough innings to qualify. The Oklahoma prepster (coming from the same class as first-rounders Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley) has the chance to have three Major League average or better pitches with solid command. His fastball and slider combination would be enough to excel in the bullpen, but if his changeup can continue to improve and give him that third pitch, he has every chance to start.

13) Luis Mateo - RHP - Disabled 7-Day (Binghamton B-Mets)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/6 | Slider: 6/7 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 5/6

The start of Mateo's career began inauspiciously as he had deals with two other clubs fall apart because of injury and age concerns. After serving a one-year suspension, the Mets were able to sign him, albeit not in his teenage years. He made his United States debut in 2012, putting up gaudy numbers in the New York-Penn League. Mateo has the best slider in the system, a future plus breaking ball with good late break. His fastball is above-average and his control, already solid, will continue to get better. Only his changeup is behind, but he's shown enough feel for it where there's confidence it will be a Major League-average offering. Don't be surprised if he starts moving more quickly through the full-season leagues.

14) Domingo Tapia - RHP - St. Lucie Mets (A Adv)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 7/8 | Curveball: 3/4 | Changeup: 5/6 | Control: 4/5 | Overall: 5/6

One thing is certain about this tall, lanky Dominican right-hander: He can really throw hard. He has a true plus fastball that has touched triple digits on more than one occasion. He does throw the fastball for strikes fairly consistently, especially for his age. He’s not just arm strength. Tapia has a good sinking changeup that should be an above-average pitch in the future. Whether he can stay in a rotation or have to move to the bullpen might depend on how his big, slurvy breaking ball develops over time. If he can tighten it up, he has the size, stuff and overall feel for pitching to start. If not, that fastball-changeup combination should work well in relief.

15) Jack Leathersich - LHP - Las Vegas 51s (AAA)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/6 | Curveball: 5/6 | Changeup: 4/4 | Control: 4/5 | Overall: 4/5

A starter in college, Leathersich has worked exclusively as a reliever since joining the Mets organization. The lefty has moved quickly up the ladder, putting up ridiculous strikeout per nine ratios along the way. He misses bats with a good combination of stuff and deception. His fastball sits in the low 90s with excellent movement that generates groundballs as well as strikeouts. He complements it with a very good curve. He has a changeup, though it lags behind the other two pitches. Command has been an issue at times, but when he has good control, he can be virtually unhittable.

16) Gabriel Ynoa - RHP - Savannah Sand Gnats (A Full)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 5/6 | Slider: 4/5 | Changeup: 5/5 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 4/5

The Mets have assembled an intriguing stable of young pitching at the lower levels of their system and Ynoa might have the most interesting combination of pitchability, stuff and projection. His low-90s fastball has good sink and gets ground-ball outs. As he continues to physically mature, he could add more velocity in the future. His changeup is the better of his two secondary pitches, though both that and his slider should eventually be at least average offerings in the future. He repeats his delivery very well and has excellent control, especially for his age and experience. He may not be the highest-ceilinged pitcher in the system, but he has all the tools to be a solid big league starter one day.

17) Jacob deGrom - RHP - Las Vegas 51s (AAA)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/7 | Slider: 4/6 | Changeup: 5/6 | Control: 4/5 | Overall: 4/6

At first glance, it might be easy to dismiss DeGrom as “too old for his level,” considering he turned 24 in 2012 and pitched at two levels of A ball. But if you take into account that he was a two-way player at Stetson, then missed the 2011 season in the Mets organization following Tommy John surgery, he’s not far behind experience-wise. Now healthy, DeGrom has a fastball that should be a plus pitch and combines it with a potentially above-average slider. He also throws a solid changeup, all of which helped him finish third in the organization in ERA in 2012. If DeGrom can have even just average command, he has a future as a starter, and could start moving more quickly.

18) Jayce Boyd - 1B - St. Lucie Mets (A Adv)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 4/6 | Power: 4/5 | Run: 3/3 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 6/6 | Overall: 4/5

All Boyd did during his career at Florida State was hit and that's continued as he embarked on his first full season of pro ball, quickly earning a promotion up a level. The right-handed hitting first baseman should hit for plenty of average as he moves up the ladder, but it remains to be seen just how much power there is in his bat. A former third baseman, he plays a very solid defensive first base, though it's his bat that will have to carry him up the organizational ladder. How much power he ends up displaying will help determine if he can be an everyday player at first.

19) Hansel Robles - RHP - St. Lucie Mets (A Adv)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/6 | Slider: 4/5 | Changeup: 4/6 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 4/6

Robles has been making incremental progress through the Mets' system since signing, spending two summers in the Dominican Summer League, one in the rookie-level Appalachian League and the 2012 season in the short-season New York-Penn League. He did lead the NY-Penn League in ERA, showing the makings of a very good three-pitch mix with a good idea of how to use it. His fastball is above-average, but it has plus life to it. His other pitches still need refinement, but his changeup could be an above-average pitch and his slider at least average. Add in excellent command and this slightly undersized right-hander has a real chance to be a rotation mainstay.

20) Amed Rosario - SS - Kingsport Mets (ROK)

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 3/6 | Power: 3/6 | Run: 5/5 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 3/6

Mets fans, want a guy to dream on? Willing to wait a while? Rosario might be worth it. The Dominican shortstop received the largest bonus of any international amateur during the 2012 signing period, with the Mets spending $1.75 million of their $2.9 million pool. While he’s yet to play any official baseball in a Mets uniform, Rosario really stood out among much older players at instructs last fall, showing outstanding defensive ability as well as some serious bat speed that allowed him to hold his own against more advanced pitching than he had ever faced. More than anything, he looked like he belonged. He’s a long way away and there’s a lot of projection when it comes to a player like this, but he has the tools to be the real deal in the future.

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