It’s that time of the year again when Metsmerized rolls out their annual Mets Top 25 Prospects. This will be the first of many posts referencing the Mets and their newly reloaded minor league system. This list was comprised using three individual prospect lists from MMO’s Sean Kenny, Satish Ram and Joe D.. After much conjecture and arguing, it ultimately resulted and concluded the final order in which each of these 25 promising young Mets prospects were ranked. These official rankings reflect a months long process and well represents the viewpoint of MMO. Lets get started,
25. Danny Muno, SS
Weight: 175 LBS
After a surprise 2011 campaign and a promotion to St. Lucie, Danny Muno’s 2012 season was halted abruptly when he received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for PED. Due to the suspension, Muno only received 289 AB’s. in which he kept his BB/K almost even for a second season, while showing more speed with 19 stolen bases on the season. Prior to the 2012 season, Muno was looking like a fast mover in the Mets system but at this point, he will be 24 before Opening Day and just getting his first taste of Double-A.
Outlook: Muno has no plus-tools, but is a solid player across the board. Muno has great control of the strike zone, drawing walks while limiting the strikeouts. While playing both SS and 2B, he would slot at 2B in the majors, but with the potential to be a utility guy and play all over the diamond. Muno has some gap power and some speed, and if he continues to succeed at the MiLB level seeing him in 2014 playing for the Mets in some role has some legs to it.
24. Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B
Weight: 210 LBS
The 2012 season saw Aderlin split time between Savannah and St. Lucie, displaying the same power that has kept him on prospect lists but showing little improvement defensively which may leave him playing first base. Rodriguez hit .263 across both levels, smashing 24 home runs in 471 at-bats. Rodriguez managed to put up nine more walks and five less strikeouts in 45 less at-bats. Aderlin may never be a patient hitter, but his ability to adapt to breaking balls at the upper levels will determine how he performs, likely going to Double-A.
Outlook: Aderlin Rodriguez has plus power and it is the best power in the system by a long shot. However, Aderlin has not adapted well to third base, making first base his likely defensive home. If he can keep his average above .250 at the higher levels he could be part of a solid platoon. Aderlin will finish the 2013 season as a 21 year old, so their is still some development time. The ETA on Aderlin looks like 2015 at the earliest, with either a repeat of St. Lucie or a full season at Binghamton.
23. Cory Mazzoni, RHP
Weight: 190 LBS
Mazzoni spent time in both St. Lucie and Binghamton this season, proving why the Mets spent a second round pick on the hard-throwing starter from NC State. The righthander had a 3.93 ERA across two levels, going 10-6 while striking out 104 in 144.1 innings. Mazzoni has lost some velocity as of recently and works with a three-pitch mix. A fastball that sits low to mid 90’s with some movement, a slider that sometimes flashes some plus but more often than not is inconsistent and a splitter which is effective when used but he keeps it in his back pocket. Mazzoni is a guy who will live or die by his ability to throw strikes without much margin for error.
Outlook: Mazzoni doesn’t have a very high ceiling, but will finish the season at 24 years old and has a shot at pitching in Las Vegas by the end of the 2013 season. If Mazzoni was moved to the bullpen, his three pitch mix could work and he could play up his velocity to possible a legitimate mid-90’s thrower and be pitching for the Mets in the 2014 bullpen. Mazzoni’s ceiling seems to be Mike Pelfrey with less velocity due to pitch quality.
22. Cesar Puello, OF
2012 marked a season marred with injuries for the toolsy outfield with as much raw talent as any Mets player in the system. However, staying healthy has been a problem for Puello as he only had 252 at bats while repeating a season at St. Lucie. The tools showed when he was healthy, hitting nearly 50% of his hits for extra bases, stealing 19 bases in 21 attempts and still playing enough games in CF to consider him a prospect at that position. Health will dictate where Puello winds up and how much of that raw talent becomes evident statistically.
Outlook: Puello has enough tools that could be plus that will keep his name relevant until he is 25 (which will be in three years as of April 1st) but a full season of at-bats at Double-A could go a long way in determining if Puello has a shot at the 2014 Mets or a shot at Las Vegas. His ability to improve his SB % in one season is astounding, and seems to be a product of being able to learn. Puello with health and some more growth could look like a real good 10 HR/30 SB guy very soon
21. Juan Lagares, OF
Weight: 175 LBS
Lagares had a monster season in 2011 and followed it up with a good season at Binghamton hitting .283 with some improvement in his plate discipline and his continuing ability at playing CF. Lagares’ value at this point is held to which position on the field he will play because despite the high batting average, Lagares doesn’t exhibit the type of power you would expect from a corner outfielder. Expectations would see Lagares going to Las Vegas for the 2013 season to either start in CF if possible, otherwise playing a corner and proving his bat is solid
Outlook: Lagares can hit but the only downside is the tweener label at this point and value that goes to each position. The Mets outfield at this point is so devoid of right-handed bats, if Lagares came up to the Mets for the 2013 season I would not be surprised in the least bit. That being said, I think Lagares gets 400+ AB in Las Vegas, playing all three OF spots and makes the big club by September 2013 for a tryout for 2014.
Editor’s Note from Joe D. – Prospects numbered 16-20 will be posted on Monday, followed by prospects numbered 11-15 on Wednesday. The top ten ranked Mets prospects will be published individually to conclude our feature. Though we argued about a great many players in terms of makeup, ceiling and development, one thing we all agreed on is that the Mets now have a minor league system to be proud of.