Well after a short delay due to a couple of cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the Mongolian Flu, we’re back at it and roll out the final ten players in the the MMO Top 25. We’ve got prospects ranked 10-6 today and 5-1 will be unveiled on Friday. Please try to contain your excitement.
So without further ado, lets move on to the best of the best..
10. Luis Mateo, RHP
Weight: 185 LBS
Age: 22 (23 in March)
The solid and relatively spectacular Luis Mateo found his way into our Top 10 with ease, as he has the makings of a pretty solid prospect. Mateo rocks two impressive fastballs already: a two-seamer with good sink that moves away from right-handed hitters and his four-seam fastball that has been described as explosive. His slider is advanced and pretty much a plus pitch, and the Mateo package rounds out with an improving change-up. Mateo signed on with the Mets in 2011 after having a voided contract from the Giants (bone chips in his elbow) and the Padres (age falsification). Mateo had no further issues upon joining the organization and immediately impressed with his overall domination of the Dominican Summer League. He started 13 games, and pitched 63 innings to the tune of a 2.00 ERA and a 0.778 WHIP, striking out 80 and allowing just one home run in his first pro season with the Mets. To put those numbers into perspective, take a look at the Mateo’s nine-inning averages: 0.1 HR/9 , 0.7 BB/9 , and 11.4 K/9.
After posting that wicked stat line in his first year, Mateo made the trip stateside to pitch in Brooklyn for the 2012 season. As expected, he was equally as impressive in the NYPL and showcased the same dominant stuff that he displayed in 2011. The hard throwing right-hander made 12 starts for the Cyclones last season totaling 73.1 innings pitched and allowing only two home runs over the course of the year, with an ERA of 2.45 and 85 strikeouts versus only nine walks. That’s a 9.6 K/BB rate!
Outlook: If I had to point out one thing about Mateo that was an issue, it would be his low release point, and this might be an issue in the future for a pitcher who will no doubt have to rely on his change-up often. However, Mateo has shown a lot of maturity and poise on the mound, and I have to make a point out of the fact that he is consistently aggressive as a pitcher and is not afraid to throw any of his pitches in any given count. It is important to consider the floor as much as the ceiling, and Mateo has the makings of a successful late-inning reliever at the worst right now. That being said, Mateo could find himself as a #1 or #2 starter if all breaks well, including the development of his changeup and adding a little more muscle. As for the future, expect Mateo to dominate Savannah in 2013, which might lead to a late season promotion to St.Lucie. (Satish)
9. Rafael Montero, RHP
Weight: 170 LBS
If you go by the numbers, Sterling Award winner Rafael Quezada Montero is a guy that you should be taking note of. He entered the Mets system in 2011, and has already seen work at six different levels, culminating in his work in St.Lucie last year. Montero was stopped short last year because he hit his innings limit, but impressed basically everybody with a 2.36 ERA in 122.0 innings over two levels, while posting a 0.943 WHIP. He kept his walks down, as he did in basically every stop of his MiLB career so far, at a 1.6 BB/9 rate compared to 8.1 K/9. To put it plainly, he walked only 19 while striking out 110, mainly because of the strength of his secondary offerings. In addition, he only allowed six home runs, so there is reason to believe in him.
Montero has an interesting skill set which is accompanied by a frame that most scouts agree needs to bulk up a little before guaranteeing any success. His fastball is not dominant by any means, but it is possible to work with it at the MLB level. Although it sits in the 90-92 MPH range, it has great late movement and Montero commands it impressively. I have seen him work a curve and a change into his pitching arsenal at times, and I have to say, the usage of the curve will intrigue the life out of me. It is something to track for sure, especially if it develops. I also forgot to mention how good his hard slider looks most of the time. Going out on a limb, I think Montero actually has three solid pitches to work with – the fastball, slider, and change up. He varies the speed on his change well and the bottom drops out more often than not.
Outlook: Montero needs a little work mechanically, I would say, but he continues to work on the things he needs to do to make his way up to the majors. He has somewhat of a penchant for fast progress, it seems, or at least the Mets believe so. Usually, I tend to talk about how starters have floors as relievers, but Montero does not strike me as the type of guy who belongs in the bullpen. He has a diverse arsenal and a bulldog mentality on the mound, so I believe he will be starting, point-blank. Although he should start 2013 in AA, the Mets have invited him to Spring Training, so you can see some of Montero for yourself and make your own judgment. (Satish)
8. Domingo Tapia, RHP
Weight: 186 LBS
If you look up potential in the online Mets dictionary, you would find a link to a video of Domingo Tapia throwing his 100-MPH four-seam fastball. Tapia has as much raw potential as anybody in the Mets system, and perhaps the best fastball in the group as well. When your two-seam fastball sits at 95 MPH, and it actually serves as a change of pace from your four-seam, people take notice. To give a little more perspective on his arsenal, he basically throws a sinker in the high 90’s along with a two-seam in the mid 90’s. The two are actually distinct pitches, and he backs it up with a change-up that comes in at 87-89 MPH, which is a nice drop when you throw as hard as Tapia does. The lack of a legitimate breaking pitch behind him does hurt his future projections, but it is impossible to ignore just how good this kid’s fastball is.
Tapia relatively struggled in comparison to other top Mets right-handed pitching prospects, but he was alright across the board in 2012. He posted a 3.98 ERA over 108.2 innings in 2012, where he pitched in Savannah. He allowed 92 hits, only two of them of the home run variety, and walked 32, which were both a little higher than we could hope for. His strikeout rate improved, however, and he sat down 101 hitters over the ’12 campaign.
Outlook: Look, Tapia has room to improve and needs to improve in order to solidify his status as a future stud. His strikeout rate is a little suspect considering the stuff and command that he has, and it is probably somewhat attributed to the lack of a true breaking pitch. However, his fastball is a rarity in itself, and although he is raw, there is a lot to like about Domingo Tapia. It is St. Lucie time for him in ’13, where we will hope to see some small across the board progression. (Satish)
7. Jeurys Familia, RHP
Weight: 230 LBS
There is so much to like about Jeurys Familia. I am going to go out on a limb and say that Familia could be a successful reliever in the MLB right this second because of his electric stuff. I saw of this kid down the home stretch at Citi Field in 2012 and his fastball is everything scouts say and more. Electric, explosive, and another e adjective that describe how awesome it is would be a good way to explain his fastball. His fastball consistently hits 96 MPH and can touch 99 on a good day, with movement and pinpoint control. He also backs it up with a pretty impressive slider, which I would classify as “plus”, and he has the raw stuff to become a really useful cog in the Mets machine. If he develops his change-up to even average level, Familia could be a successful starter. Jury is still out…
Familia allowed eight earned runs in twelve innings during his cup of coffee with the Mets, and had an uneven campaign in Buffalo behind that. Coming off one of his best years in ’11, he had an ERA of 4.73 in 137 innings where he had a rough WHIP of 1.591. Familia is better than the numbers you saw in his 2012 campaign, however, so I would recommend focusing on his untapped potential. Remember that he is merely 23.
Outlook: As I just stressed, Familia is 23 and likely has many successful years ahead of him. His outlook, however, is really dependent on the Mets. They could decide to let him spend some time in the minors as a starter, but considering their AAA team plays in Vegas, it might be counter productive. He could also go north with the big leaguers as a bullpen arm to begin the season, so keep track of Jeurys during ST 2013. If you are wondering why Familia is ranked so high, part of it is because he, outside of Zach Wheeler, is the closest to immediate impact. (Satish)
6. Brandon Nimmo, OF
Weight: 185 LBS
Age: 19 (20 in March)
I can’t begin to tell you how refreshing it is to profile center fielder Brandon Nimmo after profiling what seemed like 10,000 different righthanded pitching prospects. I’ll be the first one to admit that I did not love the Nimmo pick in 2011, but that’s not a knock on Nimmo as there is a lot to like and I think it’s time we all give this talented prospect his fair due.
Right off the bat, it is crucial to remember that Nimmo turns 20 in March and while he still remains a project and a work in progress, he has plenty of time to develop and correct any of the flaws in his game. Remember, this is his first real taste of organized ball.
The one thing we can all agree on regarding Nimmo, and most baseball scouts agree as well, is that he oozes with remarkable potential and if he were to realize that potential we are talking about a five-tool talent and perennial all star caliber talent.
There is no denying the fact that Nimmo is a natural athlete and he has already developed two of his many tools to a high level; his defense and his plate discipline – two very important skills that are currently in short supply on the Mets.
Although he got a few at-bats at the end of the 2011 season, Nimmo didn’t get his first real taste of pro ball until last season with the Brooklyn Cyclones (Low-A) where he posted a .248/.372/.406 slash line and drew 46 walks while striking out 78 times in 321 plate appearances. You may look at his batting average and his high strikeout total and start sounding the alarms, but it’s important to note that Nimmo was one of the two youngest players in the NYPL last season and broke into the pros in one of the most pitching dominant leagues in the minors.
Nimmo flashed some nice power which will only continue to grow and showed a keen ability to use all fields. The lefthanded slugger connected for six home runs, 20 doubles, and two triples while leading his team in extra-base hits, total bases, OPS, Runs Scored and RBI – all while batting mostly from the leadoff spot. Nimmo also rose to the occasion with some timely hits along the way, leading his team to the post season and within one round of the NYPL Championship. He also crushed righthanded pitchers to the tune of .279/.410/.465 in 112 plate appearances. That’s an .875 OPS. There’s a lot to be excited about here.
Outlook: Nimmo may not have set the world on fire in his time in Brooklyn in 2012, but the young outfielder has time to improve and it should work to his advantage. He will likely move ahead to Savannah for 2013. The Mets, and a handful of scouts, believe that Nimmo can turn into a solid player down the line. It is conceivable to say that he could turn into a major league outfielder who plays solid defense and supplies a .280 average with 15-25 home runs and 40 doubles. Right now, he is much too young for me to write him off yet as some others have. (Joe D.)
On Friday, I will roll out the top 5 prospects from MMO with some detailed profiles as you see here. If you have any minor league questions or concerns, feel free to email me at SatishRam1193@aol.com or Joe D. Here is a list of ineligibles for this year’s prospect list: Robert Carson, Josh Edgin, Matt Harvey, Collin McHugh, Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Elvin Ramirez and Jordany Valdespin.
MetsMerized Top 25 Prospects
25. Danny Muno
24. Aderlin Rodriguez
23. Cory Mazzoni
22. Cesar Puello
21. Juan Lagares
20. Hansel Robles
19. Kevin Plawecki
18. Rainy Lara
17. Jacob deGrom
16. Jack Leathersich
15. Vicente Lupo
14. Phillip Evans
13. Cory Vaughn
12. Matt den Dekker
11. Gavin Cecchini
10. Luis Mateo
9. Rafael Montero
8. Domingo Tapia
7. Jeurys Familia
6. Brandon Nimmo