Recently, the Mets top pitching prospects get the all the attention. With pitchers like Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and Rafael Montero in the minors in 2013, the top hitting prospects have been overshadowed. While they don’t get as much publicity, the Mets do have some top power hitting prospects who have the potential to be key contributors in the future. Here are the top five.
Even though Aderlin Rodriguez has a lot of flaws, he possesses immense raw power. Rodriguez had an impressive season last year for Savannah and St. Lucie driving in 83 runs and hitting 24 home runs in 125 games. What was impressive about his home run totals was that 16 of his home runs were with Savannah, which is one of the toughest places to hit home runs in the minors. He is having an up and down season in 2013 hitting .260 with 9 home runs and 41 RBI. However, Rodriguez is still only 21 years old, so it’s likely his power will increase as he gets older and stronger.
4. Cory Vaughn:
Like his father, Gregg Vaughn, and his cousin, Mo Vaughn, Cory is strong and has impressive power. Last season, Vaughn finished second in the FSL in home runs with 23 and drove in 69 RBI in 123 games. This season, Vaughn was hitting .288 with 6 home runs and 31 RBI in 45 games in AA before landing on the DL with an elbow injury. However, the injury isn’t serious and he should return soon. While Vaughn’s power makes him a potential starter, there are some legitimate question marks surrounding him. There are concerns about whether he could hit for a high average at the major league level because of his high strikeout totals. And his age is also a concern because at 24 years old, he’s relatively old for AA.
3. Travis d’Arnaud:
Travis d’Arnaud was the centerpiece of the R.A Dickey trade last winter, and he was considered the Mets top prospect heading into the season. d’Arnaud had extremely impressive seasons in 2011 and 2012. He finished 3rd in the Eastern League in home runs and slugging percentage in 2011. In 2012, he hit 16 home runs and drove in 52 RBI’s in 67 games for Las Vegas. Recent injuries have tempered expectations for d’Arnaud somewhat, but he still has plenty of power potential and is still one the best catching prospects in the league.
2. Cesar Puello:
Puello has fantastic physical tools, and he is currently obliterating AA pitching. Puello is hitting .333 with 16 home runs, 21 doubles and 73 RBI in 90 games for AA Binghamton. A 50-game suspension for being linked to Biogenesis is already underway, and he will be ready to go come Spring Training. Don’t make the mistake of discrediting his value as a prospect because of that, scouts have raved over him since he was 16 and still do this season. Puello has never failed any tests, and he’s always had the ability to develop into an outstanding prospect that can hit for a lot of power. Puello is a great prospect, and he could be starting for the Mets at some point in 2014 after some seasoning in Las Vegas.
1. Wilmer Flores:
Wilmer Flores ranks as the best power hitter in the system because he is crushing AAA pitching despite being one of the youngest players in the league. Flores is one of three hitters in the league that’s under the age of 22, yet he is one of the league’s best producers. Flores is ranked 4th in the league hits, 2nd in doubles, 10th in home runs, and is the league leader in RBI’s and total bases. This season cannot be written off as a fluke either, since he was one of the best producers in Double-A Binghamton last season and Advanced-A St. Lucie where he won the MVP.
A strong argument could be made for either d’Arnaud or Puello to be the top power hitting prospect, but I feel Flores offers the most power potential. His power will only continue to grow as he gets older, and if he can stick at second base, he will offer tremendous power and value from that position. For now, he’ll spell David Wright at third base.
Flores, Puello, and d’Arnaud can all make an impact in the major leagues in the near future. The Mets will most likely be looking for offensive upgrades from outside the organization this offseason, but it’s good to know the Mets have some internal solutions that can help offensively. While Vaughn and Rodriguez aren’t on the same level as the top three, they are intriguing prospects who possess a lot of power potential.