MLBPipeline.com revealed its annual Top 100 Prospects list, and the Mets had three representatives in Noah Syndergaard at No. 11, Travis d’Arnaud: No. 22 , and Rafael Montero: No. 85. Here is what they wrote:
Noah Syndergaard: No. 11 overall; No. 3 RHP
When the Mets landed Syndergaard last winter in the seven-player deal that made R.A. Dickey a Blue Jay, they knew they were acquiring someone with top-of-the-rotation potential. They also knew that without any experience at the upper levels of the Minors, Syndergaard was as much at risk of flaming out as any other young phenom.
In 2013, Syndergaard gained that experience, breezing through his first taste of Double-A. Now he’s a half-season away from breaking into the big leagues, like Wheeler before him and Harvey before him. Syndergaard possesses every bit as much potential as both of them, with an upper-90s fastball, a hammer curve and a developing changeup. Mets fans have already graced him with the nickname “Thor,” thanks to the costume he wore last Halloween. Superhero or not, Syndergaard ranked third on MLB.com’s list of the top right-handed pitchers in baseball, behind only Archie Bradley of the D-backs and Taijuan Walker of the Mariners.
Travis d’Arnaud: No. 22 overall; No. 1 C
Even casual Mets fans know all about d’Arnaud, the centerpiece of last winter’s Dickey deal. Had d’Arnaud been healthy in either 2012 or ’13, he would have logged more than enough big league innings to graduate from MLB.com’s prospect lists.
As it was, d’Arnaud tore up his knee two summers ago and broke his left foot last April, sidelining him for much of each season. That may have stunted his development, but it did nothing to dissuade MLB.com from crowning him the game’s top catching prospect yet again, just ahead of Padres backstop Austin Hedges. d’Arnaud has “a chance to be an outstanding offensive player with the ability to hit for average and power,” according to the catcher rankings, and “is not a slouch behind the plate, either, with more than enough catch-and-throw skills to be an everyday player.” ”All d’Arnaud needs,” the scouting report concludes, “is health.”
Rafael Montero: No. 85 overall;
Scouts are still split over whether Montero has the tools — namely, the physical presence and the secondary pitches — to remain a starter. But as long as he continues posting standout numbers, the Mets aren’t going to change a thing.
Even super-hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas hardly slowed down Montero, who managed a 3.05 ERA in 88 2/3 innings there last summer, with 78 strikeouts and 25 walks. Tack those numbers on to the 2.43 ERA, 72 whiffs and 10 walks he posted at Double-A Binghamton, and it’s clear Montero is close to making a Major League impact.
Montero will ostensibly compete for the fifth-starter’s job this spring alongside John Lannan, Jenrry Mejia and Jacob deGrom. But the Mets might prefer to see him head back to Vegas for a bit more seasoning, before what should be a big league debut at some point in 2014.