With the S2S 2012 Top 100 Prospects List now in the books, it’s time to take a closer look at the future of each team. And that means team prospect lists!
Most minor league sites will do top-10s, top-15s, top-20s, or some other ranking. Last year, to be a bit different, the FanSided team prospect lists (which were done at Call to the Pen, since S2S didn’t exist), instead listed a team’s top prospect at each position (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OFs, 5 SPs, and 2 RPs). This year, we’re keeping that format, but also adding a “Best of the Rest” section that lists the top ten players beyond the positional rankings. That’s 25 players per system, if you’re counting.
The Mets have an interesting system. It’s headlined by three upper-minors pitchers–Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jeurys Familia–who all rank in my top 100 prospects, but doesn’t boast any other players that most would rank in that range. However, like the Dodgers, there’s impressive depth here with both the position players and the pitchers, and I was really shocked at how extensive the depth was. The pitching is overall a bit more impressive than the hitting, largely due to the trio of top arms, but there aren’t many real holes in the organization. On the other hand, there aren’t a whole lot of future cornerstones here, so New York will need more breakouts and good drafting to gather enough young talent to push the team toward a winning future.
Quick aside: Jenrry Mejia is not eligible for this list, as he was on the Mets roster for over 45 days in 2010.
Position Player Upside: B-
Position Player Depth: B+
Pitching Upside: B+
Pitching Depth: A
System Grade: B+
Catcher: Juan Centeno. Centeno is a classic short, stocky, catch-and-throw backstop with contact ability. He hit .318 in High-A at age 21 while gunning down 39% of basestealers and striking out just 22 times in 52 games, but he also drew just 12 walks and posted an .064 ISO. He could make for a good backup catcher. Grade: C+
First base: Allan Dykstra. A career .245/.388/.429 hitter, Dykstra had a solid first year in the upper minors, hitting .267/.389/.474 in Double-A. But he’ll be 25 in May, he racks up far too many strikeouts, and he’s a defensive liability. Given the standards for MLB first baseman, it would be surprising to see him experience extended MLB success. Grade: C
Second base: Reese Havens. Havens is a career .301/.379/.505 hitter in Double-A, but he’s only gotten into a total of 93 games the past two seasons due to injuries. Picked one pick ahead of Dykstra in the 2008 draft, he’s now 25 and badly needs a healthy season, but still has the potential to be an offense-oriented second baseman. Grade: B-
Third base: Wilmer Flores. Flores is the sort of guy who’s tough to judge because of his age. He’s just a career .280/.321/.394 hitter, but he’s always been very young for his levels. It feels like he’s been around forever, but he doesn’t even turn 21 until August. A longtime shortstop, he’s probably moving to third base in 2012, which is why I have him listed at the position; scouts never thought he could stay at short, and many have projected him to end up at first base. He makes contact, but the secondary skills are going to have to show up at some point, especially if he can’t stick at third. Grade: B-
Shortstop: Jordany Valdespin. Valdespin hit .294/.333/.468 between Double-A and Triple-A, but at 24, he remains raw. He has solid-average contact ability and very good power for a middle infielder, but doesn’t walk much and gets caught once in every three steal attempts. He also fielded just .925 at shortstop this past season and may have to be more of a 2B/3B in the majors. He has skills and is near the big leagues, but there’s an eerie resemblance to Ian Desmond in his skillset. Grade: B-
Outfielder #1: Brandon Nimmo. The 13th overall pick in 2011, Nimmo is a toolsy high school outfielder from Wyoming. Currently a center fielder, he’ll probably end up being a quality defender in right, and he has power potential in his athletic frame. Some consider him a bit of an overdraft, and obviously he’s got a lot to prove, but he has considerable upside. Grade: B
Outfielder #2: Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis hit .298/.403/.505 in the International League, which is nothing to sneeze at, especially from a center fielder. The 24-year-old strikes out a bit too much and doesn’t have any overwhelming tools, but he could be the long half of a platoon in any of the three outfield spots or a second-division starter as soon as 2012. Grade: B-
Outfielder #3: Cesar Puello. Puello is sort of the outfield version of Flores–he’s just a career .282/.349/.384 hitter, and he struggled in High-A in 2011 (103/18 K/BB), but he’s always been very young for his levels, so he can’t be written off for poor production. Unlike Flores, Puello is fairly athletic and has some basestealing ability, but he’s spent most of his career in right field, so his bat needs to come around. He could figure it out and become a well-above-average player, or he could hit a wall in Double-A. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #1: Matt Harvey. The seventh overall pick in 2010, Harvey didn’t disappoint in his pro debut, excelling at both High-A and Double-A. He still needs to work on his changeup and he’ll need to prove he can go deeper into games than his 5.22 innings per start in 2011, but he is a strong bet to be a #2/#3 starter. Grade: B+
Starting Pitcher #2: Zack Wheeler. Wheeler has an ace-level ceiling, with a tremendous sinker/curve combination. Acquired from the Giants at midseason, he suddenly started throwing strikes following with the trade, walking just 1/3 as many batters; the big question is whether that was a small-sample fluke or growth under a new coaching staff. If Wheeler keeps throwing strikes, he has the upside to be better than Harvey, but we shouldn’t get carried away because of 27 innings. Entering his third year of pro ball and first in the upper minors, Wheeler faces a big test in 2012; in a year, he could rank in the top 25 or outside of the top 100. Grade: B+
Starting Pitcher #3: Jeurys Familia. In 2008 and 2009, Familia didn’t walk too many batters, but also didn’t strike out a whole lot. In 2010, both his strikeout and walk rates shot up. In 2011, he finally put the low walks and high strikeouts together and came up with a 2.90 ERA and 3.24 FIP between High-A and Double-A at age 21. Like Harvey and Wheeler, he has a strong fastball and breaking ball, but his changeup lags behind, as evidenced by his 5.00 FIP against lefthanded batters. He also has major mechanical issues that make him an injury risk, so many feel he’s destined for the bullpen. Still, though, there’s enough talent here that he could put up some good numbers as a starter even if he doesn’t have a traditional starter’s repertoire, a la Alexi Ogando in 2011. Grade: B+
Starting Pitcher #4: Michael Fulmer. The 44th overall pick in 2011, Fulmer is a high school righthander with a solid fastball/curve combination. For what it’s worth, he struck out ten of the 31 batters he faced in the GCL in his pro debut. He’s far away from the majors and doesn’t project as a front-of-the-rotation guy, but if things go well, he could be a mid-rotation workhorse. Grade: B
Starting Pitcher #5: Juan Urbina. Urbina would’ve been young for a high school draftee in 2011, and he already has over 100 innings of US professional experience. He’s already shown good command and has a more developed three-pitch arsenal than most pitchers his age, headlined by a changeup that already flashes plus. He also has a projectable frame and could grow into more velocity. He’s a potential breakout player as he heads into full-season ball, and doesn’t even turn 19 until May 31. Grade: B
Relief Pitcher #1: Chase Huchingson. A big lefthander, Huchingson spent most of the year in the bullpen, but also made eight starts, and overall he put up a sparkling 1.82 ERA and 2.30 FIP in Low-A, not bad for a guy who posted an 8.36 ERA in his final college season in 2010 and was signed as a free agent. A deception guy with a low three-quarters release that imparts good sink on his fastball, he’ll have to prove himself at every level, but he’s already exceeded expectations and is a solid bet to at least have a middle relief career. Grade: C+
Relief Pitcher #2: Jack Leathersich. A fifth-round selection in 2011, Leathersich struck out 26 of the 47 batters he faced in the NYPL. That’s 55.3%, folks. Short-season relievers generally aren’t a good bet, but this small lefty has a classic low-90′s fastball/power slider combination that should make him a quick riser to a setup role in an NL bullpen. Grade: C+
Best of the Rest
#1.) Cory Mazzoni, RHP. Mazzoni, a 2nd-round pick in 2011, pitched very well in 13 one-inning appearances between the NYPL and FSL, and many see him as a reliever long-term. He would immediately be the top relief prospect in the system, but I’m calling him a starter for now. Like most Mets pitching prospects, he features a 91-95 mph four-seam fastball and an inconsistent curve that flashes plus. He’s not especially big, but he does have a smooth delivery. He’ll need to get off to a strong start in pro ball next year if he’s going to stick as a starter. Grade: B-
#2.) Collin McHugh, RHP. McHugh has struck out over a batter per inning for his career, but he didn’t hit full-season ball until he was almost 23, so he’s always been old for his levels. He had a 2.87 ERA and 2.56 FIP in Double-A this past year at age 24. As one might expect from a guy with these numbers and little buzz, McHugh doesn’t have the velocity to blow the ball by hitters, working at 88-92 mph. He relies more on sequencing and good offspeed stuff, with an overhand curve, sweepy slider, and diving changeup. He could be a back-of-the-rotation innings-eater, and isn’t too dissimilar from Dillon Gee. Grade: B-
#3.) Gilbert Gomez, OF. Out of nowhere, this guy hit .307/.388/.547 in 85 High-A plate appearances at age 19. That’s out of line with his earlier performances, but one can’t help but be intrigued. Gomez offers some speed and should be a plus glove in the outfield corners, and his approach is advanced for his age. Like Urbina, he’s a young sleeper to watch. Grade: B-
#4.) Danny Muno, SS. This is the sort of profile I love–middle-of-the-diamond player, plus approach, switch-hitter with punch. An 8th-round pick in 2011, Muno promptly hit .355/.466/.514 in the NYPL. He was 22, so it might be best for him to skip straight to High-A this year, but he has the potential to be a starting middle infielder or excellent utility player. Guys who can play the middle infield spots while maintaining good on-base skills and ripping some doubles don’t grow on trees. Grade: B-
#5.) Darin Gorski, LHP. Gorski had a nice year in High-A (2.08 ERA, 2.99 FIP), but he’s a 23-year-old finesse lefthander who doesn’t have an out pitch and doesn’t get enough groundballs. A potential fifth starter or lefty specialist. Grade: C+
#6.) Chris Schwinden, RHP. Schwinden is similar to Gorski, and has the advantage of already being in the majors, but he’s also a righthander, so if he can’t stick in an MLB rotation, he’ll probably spend a bunch of years as a Triple-A rover. The cutter specialist did have a 3.03 FIP in four MLB starts last year, and his Triple-A season was quite strong, so perhaps he’ll exceed expectations. Grade: C+
#7.) Cory Vaughn, OF. A gigantic right fielder, Vaughn has a classic high-walk, high-strikeout profile, but his power stroke hasn’t quite come around yet, as he homered just once every ten games in 2011. He’ll be 23 on May 1, so while the tools to be a starting right fielder are here, he needs to quickly improve at getting everything working at the same time. Grade; C+
#8.) Akeel Morris, RHP. Morris allowed more walks (38) than hits (30) in 51 1/3 innings in the Appalachian League last year. He’s a classic smallish young Latin American righthander with velocity and control problems. He does have some projectability left, and already throws consistently in the low 90′s with a curveball that makes him more effective to lefties than righties. Very possibly a reliever in the end, but possibly an impact one. Grade: C+
#9.) Matt den Dekker, OF. This outfielder does everything well except hit the ball. His 156 strikeouts in 139 games are far too many, but he stole 24 bases, drew 51 walks, ripped 60 extra-base hits, and plays a good center field. If he cuts the strikeouts to under 20%, he’s a solid starting center fielder; if not, he’s a bench outfielder. Given that he’s now 24 and his K problems got much worse in Double-A, chances aren’t great that he’ll be able to solve the problem. Grade: C+
#10.) Craig Missigman, RHP. I’m going off the beaten path with this one. Missigman was one of 2011′s youngest draftees, as he didn’t turn 18 until the final month of the minor league season. A 37th-round pick, he acquitted himself well in 23 innings in the GCL despite his youth, with an 18/6 K/BB and just one home run allowed. At 6’4″ and 175 pounds, he has a lot of projectability, and he already sits in the 86-89 mph range with two usable offspeed offerings. Obviously, he has all sorts of time to figure out how to attack professional hitters as well. An intriguing deep sleeper. Grade: C+
The complete list of S2S 2012 Team Prospect Rankings can be found here.
For more on the Mets, check out Rising Apple.
Topics: Akeel Morris, Allan Dykstra, Brandon Nimmo, Cesar Puello, Chase Huchingson, Chris Schwinden, Collin McHugh, Cory Mazzoni, Cory Vaughn, Craig Missigman, Danny Muno, Darin Gorski, Gilbert Gomez, Jack Leathersich, Jeurys Familia, Jordany Valdespin, Juan Centeno, Juan Urbina, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt Den Dekker, Matt Harvey, Michael Fulmer, New York Mets, Reese Havens, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler