Updated Post 10/16
MetsBlog drew an interesting conclusion regarding Rafael Montero after speaking to several Mets insiders:
The jury is still out on Montero’s place on a 25-man roster, which is probably why he is more expendable, but also less valuable.
First, let me make clear that Rafael Montero has yet to be added to the 40-man roster which renders any discussion about his place on a 25-man roster rather moot.
Secondly, the Mets already have a 40-man roster crunch which has been discussed on MMO ad nauseum for the last three months. They don’t have to add Montero, or Noah Syndergaard for that matter, to the 40-man roster like they do some other prospects that will need to be protected from Rule 5.
Additionally, Sandy Alderson made it crystal clear that he will not start next season with either Montero or Syndergaard (who only played a third of a season in Double-A) when the Mets break camp next Spring. This has nothing to do with how the team feels about these two pitchers, it’s more an issue of maintaining an additional year of team control. Of the two, Montero appears to be the one who is closer to major league ready, while Syndergaard will have to brave the sand storm in Las Vegas before he even becomes a consideration.
Finally, I don’t know who these Mets insiders are that continually bash their own prospects and kill their trade value in the process, but I’d love to stuff a sock down their throats (assuming these are really Mets insiders). This is the second instance of Mets prospect bashing in the last two days from Mets insiders; it was Cesar Puello on Monday and now Montero today.
Look, we all love Montero and Syndergaard, and like most fans we can’t wait to see them succeed at the major league level. But let’s stop speculating on which pitcher is better and who we should trade or not trade. The only test that matters is the one that Matt Harvey passed with flying colors in the major leagues. But before Montero or Syndergaard can take that test, they’ll have to make it here first.
That’s not happening for either of them before May of next year at the absolute earliest.
Original Post 10/14
In stark contrast to the Puello news from earlier, it looks like Rafael Montero, Wilmer Flores, and Zack Wheeler have each cracked the PCL Top 20 Prospects on Baseball America. Wheeler came in ranked at #4, Flores at #15, and Montero at #18.
There’s no hiding that most scouts were high on Zack Wheeler, and so were the other managers in the PCL as well. Wheeler got off to a slow start with the 51s but righted himself in a hurry, displaying a 94-98 mph fastball that league managers voted the best in the PCL. What impressed managers as much, were his smarts out on the mound. Wheeler really turned it on down the stretch for the Mets in 2013, so I think he might pan out to be a top of the line pitcher for years to come.
Flores was listed at 2B/1B, which is testament to how they feel about him defensively. As always, his arm grades out well considering all things — and his claim to fame is his offensive ability. Flores can hit, and he’ll likely get a chance to do just that in 2014. The best place to play him still remains second base — where his bat is well above-average and his range is… well, you can live with him at second base if you’ve got a good shortstop.
It feels like it’s been a while since I wrote about Montero, which is disappointing. He was so fun to cover throughout the year — especially through his dominant stretch in Binghamton. He’s a talented young pitcher, and even though some scouts grade him out to be a back-end of the rotation starter, the consensus is that he’ll crack the MLB rotation at some time in 2014. He turns 23 in October, and I think he’s got top-of-the-rotation upside.
(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)