Today is as good a time as any to start checking out which players down on the farm, may or may not be ready to help the Mets in 2011 and beyond. There’s no better way to do that, then by checking in with one of the best in the business, John Sickels, of MinorLeagueBall.com.
John reviews the Mets Top 20 Prospects list that he originally posted back in January. Based on John’s comments, I decided to color code each player: Thumbs Up (blue), Neutral (black), Thumbs Down (red)
1) Jenrry Mejia, RHP, Grade B+: Back in the minors on rehab for a strained shoulder, after spending most of the spring in New York, 3.25 ERA with the Mets, 17/15 K/BB in 28 innings, 29 hits. He held his own before getting hurt, but I still think it was stupid for him to be on the major league roster this year.
2) Wilmer Flores, SS, Grade B+: .291/.335/.432 for Low-A Savannah and High-A St. Lucie. He doesn’t turn 19 until tomorrow…made huge progress this year.
3) Fernando Martinez, OF, Grade B+: .255/.322/.465 for Triple-A Buffalo, hampered by injuries again though he sustained power from last year. Needs better plate discipline. Still just 21. . .
4) Ike Davis, 1B, Grade B: .249/.324/.438 with 15 homers in 94 games for the Mets. Has held his own, especially considering just 10 games of Triple-A under his belt.
5) Jon Niese, LHP, Grade B: 3.78 ERA, 86/37 K/BB in 112 innings for the Mets, 120 hits. A highly competent starting pitcher with a chance to get a lot better in my opinion.
6) Reese Havens, SS, Grade B-: Hit great for St. Lucie and Binghamton (.312/.386/.592) but limited to 32 games by an oblique injury. I like him a lot, if he can stay healthy.
7) Kyle Allen, RHP, Grade B-: 5.03 ERA, 52/53 K/BB in 98 innings for St. Lucie, 99 hits. I thought he was a major breakthrough candidate, but he’s been pretty awful, with significant command problems.
8 ) Jeurys Familia, RHP, Grade B-: 6.30 ERA for St. Lucie, 83/62 K/BB in 84 innings, 85 hits. Like Allen, he’s gone backwards. Good strikeout rate, but getting killed by walks.
9) Brad Holt, RHP, Grade C+: Got annihilated in Double-A, and not much better after going back to St. Lucie. 7.71 ERA with 60/49 K/BB in 70 innings, 84 hits. Secondary pitches have regressed, command is fouled up too.
10) Ruben Tejada, INF, Grade C+: .279/.326/.344 in 64 games in Triple-A, .212/.297/.250 in 35 major league games. Very young at age 20 and I still think he can develop.
11) Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Grade C+: .292/.340/.515, 16 homers, 13 steals, 30 walks, 92 strikeouts in 390 at-bats in Double-A. Solid across the board, main worry is high strikeout rate.
12) Eric Niesen, LHP, Grade C+: 4.83 ERA, 45/49 K/BB in 60 innings in Double-A, 57 hits. Another live arm undone by command problems.
13) Jefry Marte, 3B, Grade C+: .264/.333/.401 for Low-A Savannah. Not awful, not great, just 19 years old. Currently out with a bad hamstring.
14) Cesar Puello, OF, Grade C: .293/.377/.363 with 44 steals in 53 attempts for Savannah. Loads of speed, plate discipline is so-so, lacks power, just 19 years old.
15) Josh Thole, C, Grade C: .267/.353/.430 for Buffalo, .294/.400/.373 in the majors. I think he’s a .260-.280 hitter with a decent OBP but no power.
16) Juan Urbina, LHP, Grade C: 5.76 ERA with 28/11 K/BB in 30 innings in rookie ball, 32 hits. Just 17 years old, much too early to conclude anything.
17) Steve Matz, LHP, Grade C: Out with Tommy John.
18) Brent Rustich, RHP, Grade C: Just 13 innings pitched this year between GCL rehab and St. Lucie, 5.40 ERA, 10/7 K/BB.
19) Tobi Stoner, RHP, Grade C: 6.07 ERA with 79/41 K/BB in 116 innings in Triple-A, 150 hits. Awful awful awful.
20) Dillon Gee, RHP, Grade C: 4.88 ERA, 123/30 K/BB in 127 innings for Buffalo, 135 hits. Good K/BB ratio, good strikeout rate, I think he’s pitched better than the ERA although his home run rate is rather high.
Major league contributions from Niese and Davis were good to see, and Flores has taken a large leap forward with his skills. But I don’t like the way Mejia was handled, and most of the pitchers on this list have been big disappointments.
Only four on this list met or exceeded expectations thus far, with the rest either on the fence or regressing.
I’m looking forward to John’s updated Top 20 which I’m sure will include some new names including pitchers Mark Cohoon and Robert Carson among others. Also, I have a hunch Lucas Duda could reappear on this list again after a solid season in Buffalo.