The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.
Obviously since the season is over and some teams have had two updates, some have only had one and the NL West teams have had zero coverage thus far, this project did not work out as I had planned on many levels. Undeterred I’m going to sally forth and finish off this round of updates and call it good. Next season if I attempt this again I’m going to have to make some major changes to the structure, plan and concept of this series.
Feel free to check out the category archive to read previous installments of the series.
New York Mets (S2S 2012 Mets Team Prospect List)
LHP – Darin Gorski (24) – Mets 2009 7th Round Pick
Gorski led the FSL in ERA, WHIP and was near the top of the leaderboard in strikeouts in 2011. As a result of his fantastic season he was honored as the Florida State League pitcher of the year and here on S2S was named the #3 starter on our Post-Season FSL All-Star Team.
Heading into 2012, Gorski cracked Baseball America’s Mets Top-30 and was ranked as the team’s 20th best prospect. Former S2S Editor, Nathaniel Stoltz included him in our 2012 Mets Team Prospect List and acknowledged the quality of the lefty’s season, but still regarded him as at best a #5 starter.
Many wondered if he’d be able to handle the jump to Double-A, and while he didn’t replicate his stellar FSL stat line from 2011 (not that anyone should have expected that), he more than held his own in the Eastern League. Gorski turned in still solid rates with a 8.2 H/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 on the season with the strikeout rate coming as the most positive sign. His walk and strikeout rates showed further improvement in his nine starts after the EL all-star break bumping them to 2.8 and 9.1 respectively.
He lacks premium velocity but he’s learned to work in and out with his 90 mph fastball and utilizes it to set up his plus changeup. The latter functions both as a change of pace and strikeout pitch for him while his slider continues to be inconsistent. Gorski’s ceiling remains that of a #4/#5 starter so nothing has changed there, but now that we’ve seen him handle the Eastern League it’s looking more and more likely that he will be able to live up to that projection. His opening assignment for 2013 should be Las Vegas (AAA) and if he continues on his current path, his major league debut shouldn’t be too far behind.
OF – Travis Taijeron (23) – Mets 2011 18th Round Pick
2011 – Brooklyn (A-): 0.299/.387/.557, 13 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 22 BB and 64 SO in 225 PA
2012 – Savannah: 0.291/.401/.548, 17 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 4 SB, 37 BB and 70 SO in 270 PA
2012 – St. Lucie: 0.203/.304/.373, 6 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 2 SB, 18 BB and 52 SO in 182 PA
As you can tell from the stat lines just above, Taijeron was very productive with the Sand Gnats and definitely merited the promotion that he received in June. Unfortunately, he found Florida State League pitching to be a far more complex code to crack. In his first eight games with St. Lucie he hit 0.250/.400/. 571 but then scuffled the rest of the way by hitting 0.192/.286/.331 in his last 40 games. On top of the disappointing slash stats, his K% jumped from an already high 25.9% in the SAL to 28.6% in the FSL.
Given what he did with Savannah – which earned him a spot on our mid-season SAL all-star team – the season wasn’t a total loss, but there’s no way to sugar coat the loud thud that was his first stint with St. Lucie. Taijeron will assuredly have to return to the FSL at some point in 2013 and there’s certainly logic behind the notion that he should open next season back with Savannah. That’s less than ideal for a prospect that turns 24 in January.
OF – Brandon Nimmo (19) – Mets 2011 1st Round Pick (13th overall)
The Wyoming native lacks the amateur track record and experience of your typical 1st round pick coming out of high school, but he’s not exactly “raw” as a baseball player either. These are important facts to keep in mind here as context is critically important in this case (and all cases really).
Among Nimmo’s best attributes are his approach at the plate and his understanding of the strike zone and those were on display with the Cyclones. He turned in a very strong 14.3 BB% and an OBP that was 124 points higher than his BA. His 24.3 K% I suspect is the highest mark we will see from him as he continues to develop and move up in the system. We have to remember, after all, that the pitching he was facing in the NYPL this summer was far and away better than anything he had faced in American Legion ball or the showcase games he participated in.
At the end of the day, I’d classify his 2012 season as a success. He got his feet wet, stayed on the field playing in 69 of the team’s 75 games, and wasn’t overmatched. His power and his ability to steal more bases should develop as he continues to settle in as a pro and at this point there’s little reason to deviate from the concept of him as a potential 20-20 player at the major league level. With his plus makeup and skill set some may be disappointed that he didn’t spend 2012 with Savannah, especially given the team’s reputation for aggressively pushing their position prospects, but I think the Mets did the right thing starting him off with Brooklyn. He has plenty of development time at his disposal and there is absolutely no need to rush him.
For me he did enough with the Cyclones to warrant a 2013 Opening Day assignment to the Sand Gnats, but I would not be surprised in the least if he played his way to St. Lucie by the end of the year.
For more on the New York Mets, check out Rising Apple!