It’s not very often that mainstream media paints the Mets in a positive, or better yet, glowing light. So in those rare instances when they do, I like to point it out here on MMO. I give you Chris Cwik of CBS Sports.
Chris is doing a team by team review of each minor league system and pointing out which prospects are the ones to keep an eye on this season. It’s not a top prospect list, but instead a preview of which prospects are ready to breakthrough, which one is almost ready, and the one sleeper in the group.
In acquiring d’Arnaud, the Mets can fill one of the weakest spots in their lineup almost immediately. He can probably force his way onto the 25-man roster and potentially a starting spot with a good spring, but the team also brought in John Buck in case d’Arnaud needs more time. The 24-year-old d’Arnaud will hit for power. Over the last two seasons, he has 37 home runs over 769 minor-league plate appearances. If there’s a reason for concern, it’s whether d’Arnaud can hold up over a full season. He has missed a lot of time throughout his minor-league career, playing in 100+ games just twice in six seasons. When healthy, he’ll be one of the better hitting catchers in baseball.
RHP Zack Wheeler
In one of the biggest steals in recent memory, the Mets received one of the best pitching prospects in baseball from San Francisco for a half-season of Carlos Beltran. The 22-year-old Wheeler has always been mentioned with Matt Harvey as the future top-of-the-rotation for the team, but Wheeler has typically ranked higher on prospect lists. There’s a good chance that Mets fans will see both players in the big-league rotation before this season ends. While Harvey might begin the year in the team’s rotation, Wheeler is more likely slated for Triple-A. If there’s one flaw in his game thus far, it’s his command. Wheeler walked 11.9 percent of hitters in Triple-A last year. But, given his age, he’s already way ahead of most pitchers his age.
RHP Noah Syndergaard
The other big name in the Dickey deal was the fire-balling Syndergaard. He is just 20 years old and hasn’t pitched above Single-A yet. In 103 2/3 innings last year, Syndergaard had a 2.60 ERA and struck out nearly 30 percent of hitters. He’s known for having a nice fastball and a decent change-up but needs to develop a breaking ball if he wants to reach the majors as a starter. Given his age, Syndergaard has plenty of time to work things out. In a perfect world, he’ll team with Harvey and Wheeler to make up one heck of a trio at the top of the Mets’ rotation. It’s still going to take Syndergaard a couple of seasons before he’s ready to pitch in the majors, so fans will need to be patient with him.
It typically takes a number of years before a high school draftee is able to force his way onto a major-league roster. While Cecchini is likely in that boat, the fact that he’s expected to stay at shortstop makes him an intriguing guy to watch this season. The Mets selected the shortstop with the 12th pick in last year’s draft, and he managed to receive 218 plate appearances in the lowest levels of the minors last season. The team is slated to start Ruben Tejada at short this season and has no viable prospects waiting in the wings. It would probably be foolish to expect to see him on the team during the upcoming season, but it’s worth noting that he could be on the fast track if he performs well.