No. 20 Jack Leathersich, LHP
Last year: #21
Synopsis: Jack Leathersich has posted huge strikeout numbers at every level proven by his career 15.2 K/9, unfortunately he also walks more than his share as well. He has walked nearly a hitter per inning at Las Vegas while only 4.9 BB/9 in the lower levels. Throws his fastball in the low-mid 90’s but his deception and crossfire delivery are the key for his big strikeout numbers. He complements his fastball with a pretty good slider that sits around 79-82 with good movement but can’t always spot. Has only allowed 9 homeruns in 197 career innings with 4 of those coming in his time in AAA. May not be suited for a strictly loogy role as left handed hitters have hit him better the last 3 years with OPS against him of .733, .883, .707 respectively. While righties have had an OPS under .600 over that same span. The stuff is there to be a Major League reliever he just needs to cut the walks down and not be afraid of more contact.
ETA: 2015, will definitely get look in September if not called up before then.
Best Case: Learns to throw more strikes and carves out a permanent bullpen role like Mike Dunn has with Marlins.
No. 19 Casey Meisner, RHP
Last Year: Unranked
Synopsis: Casey Meisner was drafted by the Mets in the 3rd round in 2013 out of high school in Texas. Struggled to repeat his delivery early in the season which contributed to his 8.82 ERA in July. His season turned around in Augusta however and only allowed 6 earned runs over his last 6 starts. Over that span he pitched 35.2 innings allowing only 6 walks and striking out 38 batters. He finished the season strong winning his last 5 decisions. His fastball sits in the 92-93 range while occasionally hitting 95, not bad for a 19 year old kid. With his large and still developing frame it wouldn’t be shocking to see him add a couple MPH over the next year or two. Has already shown good control, only walking 18 batters in 67 innings last year. He also throws a changeup and curve with the latter being the better of the two offerings. Needs to work on the arm motion on the changeup because he tends to telegraph that the pitch is coming.
ETA: 2018, could be a big part of the next Mets wave of elite pitching prospects.
Best Case: Continues to develop off-speed offerings and turns into a middle of rotation starter ala Aaron Harang.
No. 18 Wuilmer Becerra, RF
Last Year: Unranked
Synopsis: Wuilmer Becerra came to the Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade basically as a lottery ticket and so far so good. Becerra was only 11 games into his Minor League career when he was hit by a pitch in the face in 2012. It was a scary scene that resulted in a broken and wired shut jaw and not playing again that year. He successfully rehabbed in 2013 but struggled with a .243/.351/.295 line in his first year with the Mets. However, 2014 was a complete turnover for him and he slugged his way to a .300/.351/.469 line in Kingsport. Becerra has a strong throwing arm (7 assists in only 58 games)and moves well in the OF, seems like a natural fit for RF. Becerra is still raw but the power potential is tantalizing and hopefully we will see it in Brooklyn at some point this year.
Best Case: Everyday right fielder with 20-25 homerun potential in Jayson Werth mold (minus the prison time).
No. 17 Cory Mazzoni, RHP
Last Year: #23
Synopsis: Cory Mazzoni is a former 2nd round pick that has missed big chunks of the last two seasons with injury. He made 14 starts across 4 levels last year finishing with a 7-2 record and a 4.68 ERA. The inflated ERA doesn’t tell the whole story though, he had a 4.18 FIP and 4.08 SO/W at Las Vegas. Cory looked to get more comfortable as the year progressed winning his last 4 decisions and producing a 41/2 K/BB over his last 41.2 innings. His fastball and slider are very good but some scouts question whether his splitter is a good enough 3rd pitch to stick as a starter. He hasn’t pitched in relief(besides Spring Training) since 2011 but the Mets obviously are pretty stacked when it comes to starters.
ETA: 2015, expect to see him make a spot start or relief appearance pretty early in the season.
Best Case: Middle of the rotation guy along the lines of Dan Haren.
No. 16 Matt Reynolds, SS
Last Year: Unranked
Synopsis: Former 2nd round pick Matt Reynolds had himself a breakout year that saw him go from a bust to a legitimate Major League prospect. Hitting .343/.405/.454 over two levels is the big reason why Reynolds has shot up the prospect lists. He credited his new found success to Rick Strickland a hitting coach and part time Mets scout who helped retool his swing allowing him to hit to all fields. Reynolds is a fantastic athlete and has impressed Mets officials with the shape he came to Spring Training in. He has a strong enough arm for SS and adequate range there as well. He’s not going to win any gold gloves at SS but could very well be average and according to one scout he is already a better fielder and hitter than Ruben Tejada. He also has experience playing 2B in the minors as well as 3B in college.
ETA: 2015, will be first middle infield call-up when someone gets hurt/struggles.
Best Case: Offensive minded everyday SS much like Michael Young.
(Photos: Becerra by Michael Baron, Meisner by Chris McShane, Others by USATSI)