John Sickels of Minor League Ball, has updated his Mets Top 20 Prospects for 2013, and assuming the trade goes through, look who jumps to the head of the class.
- Travis D’Arnaud, C, Grade A-: Should be acquired from Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade. He’s not perfect, but D’Arnaud is either the best catching prospect in baseball or the second-best behind Mike Zunino. Could use a bit more polish with his throwing and his plate discipline and immediate stardom is unlikely, but overall he’s the complete package. Don’t expect him to be Mike Piazza, but he should be a long-term solution.
- Zack Wheeler, RHP, Grade A-: Aside from some control wobbles in Triple-A, he had a terrific year. Projects as a number two starter. Can he duplicate what Matt Harvey did? It’s possible.
- Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Grade A-: Acquired in Dickey trade. He’s ahead of where Wheeler was at age 20. Strong sinking fastball, good changeup, breaking stuff coming around, solid command, good body, good makeup, strong sabermetric profile. Just needs to stay healthy. I like him more than many people do, but I really like him.
- Wilmer Flores, 3B-2B, Grade B+: I am impressed with the progress he made last year developing his power, and he’s still just 21. There are still significant questions about his defense and how his bat will fit into a lineup, but progress is progress.
- Michael Fulmer, RHP, Grade B: Strong performance in Low-A, impressive fastball/slider combination. Development of changeup, command, and durability concerns over cross-body mechanics lead to some questions about future role, but he could be a mid-rotation guy eventually. Another guy I’m laying a bet on. Maybe a bad idea when it comes to pitchers, but I’m operating on very little sleep tonight.
- Jeurys Familia, RHP, Grade B-: Another hard-thrower with command issues and question about his role. I’ve been in the starter camp but am now leaning towards the bullpen. Even slight command improvement could make him significant contributor in 2013.
- Luis Mateo, RHP, Grade B-: Love the arm and he blew away the NY-P, however, he is in the age cohort of a college senior at age 22 so take the raw stats (2.45 ERA, 85/9 K/BB in 73 innings) with a grain of salt. That said, he throws quite hard and if his changeup comes around he is another mid-rotation arm for the future. If he repeats this at higher levels, he’ll zoom up the lists quickly in ’13 and this grade could look too low.
- Brandon Nimmo, OF, Grade B-: Very patient, showed some pop in the New York-Penn League, but his athleticism and speed weren’t as good as advertised. Will need more power if he has to move to an outfield corner.
- Gavin Cecchini, SS, Grade B-: Baseball rat type, 2012 first rounder, good polish on defense, but hitting in rookie ball wasn’t as good as I was led to expect when he was in high school. Young enough to get a lot better, of course.
- Rafael Montero, RHP, Grade B-: Another product of the Mets pitching pipeline in Latin America, thrived in Low-A and High-A. Good command of low-90s fastball, and has a solid slider and improving changeup, throws strikes. Another potential mid-rotation starter.
- Domingo Tapia, RHP, Grade B-: Here’s another one, gets up to 98 MPH, erratic but promising in Low-A, needs a better breaking ball to remain a starter, but another high-ceiling guy.
- Cory Mazzoni, RHP, Grade C+: Inconsistent after promotion to Double-A and long-term role is uncertain, but could be another mid/back-rotation or bullpen candidate within the next two years. Low-to-mid-90s, good slider, but splitter wasn’t completely effective.
- Jake DeGrom, RHP, Grade C+: Older prospect at age 24 due to lost Tommy John season, but has a nasty sinker, an athletic body, throws strikes, and was sharp statistically with a 2.43 ERA and 96/20 K/BB in 111 innings in A-ball. Significant sleeper prospect.
- Kevin Plawecki, C, Grade C+: Purdue catcher is a skilled contact hitter with a very solid glove. Didn’t post eye-popping numbers in the NY-P, but I think he has growth potential. Presence of D’Arnaud means Plawecki won’t have to be rushed.
- Matt Den Dekker, OF, Grade C+: Offers left-handed power, can steal a base, and a fine glove in the outfield, but excessive strikeout inclination will likely preclude a good batting average and OBP. Should make a solid fourth outfielder.
You can check out the rest of the list here as well as all the near misses and honorable mentions.
It looks like Brandon Nimmo has dropped down from the top of most of these lists from 2-3 to anywhere between 8-10 by the looks of it. On the plus side Michael Fulmer is rising fast and we’ll get a better look at him as St. Lucie where he is expected to begin the season. Luis Mateo is also on the rise while Jeurys Familia still hangs onto his place in the 5-6 area. I think Familia will figure into the Mets bullpen plans and could head north with the team when camp breaks.