Mets Merized Online » New York Mets Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:28:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Flashback: Prospect Pulse On Outfielder Juan Lagares http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/flashback-prospect-pulse-on-outfielder-juan-lagares.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/flashback-prospect-pulse-on-outfielder-juan-lagares.html/#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 19:30:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=106350 juan lagares

I thought it would be cool to look back at one of my very first Prospect Pulse pieces that I did here on MMO from about a year ago. It was on the Mets’ current centerfielder Juan Lagares.

I remember when I first wrote this, I didn’t think Lagares had a shot at getting to the big leagues until 2014 at the earliest. Matt den Dekker seemed to be all the talk headed into spring training for 2013, and I was definitely down with MDD at the time. Juan Lagares surprised many, and has become the perfect example of how you don’t always find guys that contribute to major league ball clubs ranked in the top five or ten prospects in an organization.

Enjoy.

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Player Name: Juan Lagares
Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6’1”  Weight: 175 lb.
Position: Outfield
Age: 23 (turns 24 in March)
MMO Top Prospect Ranking: 21
ETA: 2014

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking an in-depth look at the prospects that will be joining the Mets in spring training as members of the 40-man roster. We are starting it off with Juan Lagares.

Background:

Lagares is what most would consider an under-the-radar type of prospect. You won’t find him on any top prospect lists, but after a very solid 2011 season, Lagares put himself on the map in the Mets organization. He split time in 2011 between Binghamton and St. Lucie and put up some pretty impressive numbers. In 470 at bats, he compiled a .338 batting average, hit 9 home runs, added 71 RBI, swiped 15 bases and finished with a .383 OBP. Yeah, that will turn some heads. His 2012 season took a bit of a dip, but he still put up some solid numbers.

Most analysts project Lagares as a left fielder, although he could probably play any of the three outfield positions. He has a nice athletic build, but seeing as he is turning 24, he probably won’t fill out much more (current weight is 175 lb.). That will limit his power numbers, but he still probably has the potential to be a 10-15 home run type of guy. Most believe his power numbers will limit him to a fourth outfielder role some day.

Analysis:

I’ve come across some scouting reports on Lagares’ hitting mechanics that have said he is ultra-aggressive at the plate. This is a cause of concern considering he isn’t much of a power guy. Lagares is a guy that has the potential to steal 20-25 bases in a season, so his goal should be to get on base as much as possible and to be ultra-patient at the plate.

After viewing the video on Lagares batting practice session above, a couple of things jumped out at me. Lagares opens his hips up slightly early, which is a tell-tale sign of over-aggressiveness at the plate. When I slowed down the video, it was very evident (not so easy to pick up during live speed). He should work on keeping his hips closed and allow the pitch to get closer to him which will make him a better overall hitter. If I were I pitcher I would pepper him with off-speed stuff on the outside half of the plate because that is probably his “cold zone.” You can actually see on the fourth or fifth pitch in his BP session how off-balance he was on an outside pitch. That is a pitch he should be driving to right-centerfield. By keeping his hips closed longer, it will allow him to drive the outside pitch, instead of taking defensive swings and fighting them off.

It also seemed like the bat head dragged through the zone. Lagares should be throwing his hands through the zone straight to the ball. Imagine a lumberjack chopping at a tree, which we don’t see with Lagares’ swing. This may not necessarily be an issue, and could just be the fact that he was trying to generate more power to put on a little show during batting practice. But his swing didn’t look very crisp in this particular BP session.

SNY took a look at Lagares last September on their Mets Minor League Report. Here is what Lagares’ coaches said about him:

It was nice to hear Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez say that Lagares can go as far as he wants to go. He also added that he believed Lagares was the best defensive centerfielder in the league last season. Lopez also stated that 2011 was a “Cinderella Season” for Lagares, and he had to live up to very lofty expectations in 2012. He may have fallen a tad short of expectation in 2012, but Lagares has a bright future. If he continues to work hard, maybe he can surpass the expectations that he will just be a fourth outfielder someday. Pedro Lopez seems to think he can. Depending on how he performs this spring, expect Lagares to begin 2013 with Triple-A Las Vegas.

PROSPECT PULSE

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Mets Minors: St. Lucie Boasts Best Rotation In Minor Leagues http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-minors-st-lucie-boasts-best-rotation-in-minors.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-minors-st-lucie-boasts-best-rotation-in-minors.html/#comments Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:48:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=112923 Noah Syndergaard will lead a talented Advanced-A rotation in St. Lucie.

Noah Syndergaard will lead a talented Advanced-A rotation in St. Lucie.

The Port St. Lucie residents will be in for a treat this season, as the St. Lucie Mets arguably have the best rotation in the minor leagues. If they aren’t the best right now, they certainly are in the discussion.

The way the roster has shaken out, it looks as if the rotation will consist of Noah Syndergaard, Domingo Tapia, Luis Mateo, Hansel RoblesAlex Panteliodis and Jacob deGrom to start the season. The roster also consists of Michael Fulmer, who is currently recovering from a knee injury, and will definitely be in the mix once he is healed.

You will be hard pressed to find a pitching staff as deep, and as potentially dominant as the St. Lucie Mets. The majority of the Mets top pitching prospects will all begin their season in St. Lucie, and in a recent edition of Baseball America, they gave their 2013 rankings for pitching prospects where three St. Lucie pitchers were ranked. They separated their rankings into three categories: Right-Handed Pitchers, Left-Handed Pitchers and Relief Pitchers. The Mets had five pitchers ranked in the top 75 right-handed pitchers in the minors. They are Zack Wheeler (5), Noah Syndergaard (19), Luis Mateo (65), Rafael Montero(66) and Michael Fulmer (75) — Syndergaard, Mateo and Fulmer will be playing for St. Lucie this year.

All eyes will be on St. Lucie this year, as some of the top pitching prospects in the Mets’ organization will be on display. Any Mets fans that live in the Port St. Lucie area may want to look into a season ticket package at Tradition Field, because this may be the last time this many top pitching prospects are pitching in the same rotation for a long time. Don’t you feel bad for St. Lucie’s opponents? Yikes!

 

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Prospect Pulse: 2013 Mets Centerfield Candidate Matt den Dekker http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-2013-mets-outfield-candidate-matt-den-dekker.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-2013-mets-outfield-candidate-matt-den-dekker.html/#comments Sat, 23 Feb 2013 18:00:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108834 matt den dekker 2

Matt den Dekker, CF

Bats: L Throws: L
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 205 lb.
Position: Centerfield
Age: 25 (26 in August)
ETA: 2013
MMO Top Prospect Rank: #12

Background:

Here is a brief player profile from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

Matt den Dekker has only been in the Mets farm system for three years, but his name has been relevant since the Mets tabbed him as a legitimate centerfield prospect. Den Dekker torched Binghamton upon his arrival in 2012, but struggled after his promotion to Buffalo and saw his strikeout rate increase to nearly 30%. He has a great feel for centerfield and could get by on his spectacular defense alone as a major leaguer. But his ability to hit advanced pitching will ultimately determine how quickly he makes his way onto the Mets.

Den Dekker is likely the closest outfield prospect the Mets have to being MLB ready. The one downside is that he’s another left-handed hitter which means he would have to outperform the glut of other Mets left-handed hitters to earn a promotion.

He is considered a superior defender to incumbent Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but with his inability to consistently make contact and a poor split-performance, den Dekker is likely to begin the season in Las Vegas and won’t make a trip up to Flushing until he can improve some elements to his offensive game. If he can square up and make more consistent contact, while reducing his strikeouts, Den Dekker could make an appearance later this season and end up playing a significant role this year and next. It’s a big “if” but it’s certainly not out of the question.

When looking at den Dekker’s stats, it’s easy to see his numbers took a dive after he made the jump to a higher level. This happened in both 2011 and 2012. What’s promising is how he adjusted at those levels when he started with those teams the following season. He was absolutely destroying Double-A pitching in 2012 after struggling during his first stint there in 2011. In 58 games with Binghamton last year, he hit to the tune of a .340 AVG/.397 OBP/ 8 HR/ 29 RBI/ 10 SB. You can see why he got promoted to Triple-A Buffalo after a sizzling start like that.

Up at Buffalo, he struggled. But as I stated earlier, that seems to be the trend with den Dekker (when he initially makes a jump, he struggles). It will be interesting to see what he does in Las Vegas this year, because if he follows the trend, he should put up some really solid numbers at the Triple-A level now that he got a half season under his belt. If he succeeds in Vegas, he will surely be a candidate to join the Mets sometime in June or July.

Analysis:

Based on the video, den Dekker does have a slight mechanical issue with his swing. It is easily fixable using muscle memory drills. However, he does have a very smooth swing and the potential is there to be a 20/20 type of player at the major league level.

I’m not sure den Dekker will ever be a .300 hitter unless he works out the mechanical deficiency that was described in the video. His front foot opens up during his swing, which causes his hips to open early. This could make him susceptible to off-speed pitches and pitches on the outside part of the plate. Keeping his front foot and hips closed longer should also improve his strikeout rate (since it will help him with the off-speed/outside pitches). If he is going to be a .300 hitter, he is going to have to working on keeping those hips closed and use all parts of the field when hitting.

Here is what a scout had to say about den Dekker via ESPN New York:

He’s a good defender. He throws good enough. He’s got some power — not great power, but he’s got some power. He’s making adjustments. I’ve been there [to watch Binghamton] three times. Every time he’s gotten better with the bat. He’s not flailing. He’s not trying to pull the ball. He’s making adjustments. It looks natural. He will cut down on his strikeouts with this new approach. He’s more patient. He’s going to be OK. I was prepared to not like this kid. He’s really won me over. It’s going to be a very spirited competition for center field between him and Nieuwenhuis, who are both better than Torres.

Those are pretty powerful words from that scout who said that both Nieuwenhuis and den Dekker were better than Andres Torres already, and this quote is from last June. Matt den Dekker should start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas, and you should definitely keep an eye on him in 2013. Depending on how he performs in Las Vegas, he could be in the outfield mix at Citi Field very soon.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: Stock Is Rising For RHP Rafael Montero http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-stock-up-for-rhp-rafael-montero.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-stock-up-for-rhp-rafael-montero.html/#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2013 00:52:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108673 rafael montero

RAFAEL MONTERO, RHP

Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6′  
Weight: 170 lb.
Position: Pitcher
Age: 22
ETA: 2015
2013 MMO Top Prospect Ranking: #9

Background:

Here is a brief player profile from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

If you go by the numbers, Sterling Award winner Rafael Montero is a guy that you should be taking note of. He entered the Mets system in 2011, and has already seen work at six different levels, culminating in his work in St.Lucie last year. Montero was stopped short last year because he hit his innings limit, but impressed basically everybody with a 2.36 ERA in 122.0 innings over two levels, while posting a 0.943 WHIP.

He has continued to keep his walks down, as he’s done during every stop of his MiLB career so far, posting a 1.6 BB/9 rate compared to a 8.1 K/9. To put it plainly, he walked only 19 while striking out 110, and it’s mainly because of the strength of his secondary offerings. In addition, he only allowed six home runs all season, so there are more than just a few reasons to be excited about him.

Montero has an interesting skill set which is accompanied by a frame that most scouts agree needs to be bulked up a little before guaranteeing any success. His fastball is not dominant by any means, but it is possible to work with it at the MLB level. Although it sits in the 90-92 MPH range, it has great late movement and Montero commands it impressively. I have seen him work a curve and a change into his pitching arsenal at times, but I have to say he also throws a good hard slider that’s not far from being a plus-offering. Montero has three solid pitches to work with – the fastball, slider, and change up. He varies the speed on his change well and the bottom drops out more often than not.

Montero pitched well enough in 2012 to get an invite to spring training, and thus far in camp, he has been nothing short of spectacular. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has reported in a recent tweet that Montero is ”thrilling Mets people” in camp, and “unreal’ is the word being used in camp when describing this exciting prospect.

Michael Baron of Metsblog was also recently blown away by Montero and noted that the young right-hander had “electrifying stuff.” Here is more of what he had to say about Montero, after watching a recent bullpen session down in Florida:

He worked counts and the pitch situations that come with that, such as coming back with fastballs down 2-0, and using his breaking pitch on the corners when ahead in the count. He didn’t seem to fall behind too much…Montero’s stuff looks electrifying, but he’s still quite raw, which is to be expected at this stage of his development. He throws very hard, and his breaking pitch has very heavy movement down through the strike zone. He is very lanky, kind of like Pedro Martinez when he was younger.

Baron’s report is just as promising as Heyman’s, however I found it to be a tad contradicting. Baron states that Montero worked counts, didn’t fall behind much, and used his breaking pitch on the corners when ahead in the count which hardly sounds like Montero is ”raw.”

I think what Baron was trying to convey was that Montero is inexperienced, since he has only pitched in the lower levels of the system. Someone who is raw generally oozes talent, but hasn’t figured out how to apply that talent in game situations — it seems that from Baron’s description that Montero is still figuring out how to pitch. Being a raw talent and an inexperienced player are two different things.

Analysis:

Based on the video, Montero does have a couple of minor mechanical issues he has to work on, but he does have electric stuff and tons of potential. His fastball tops out at 93mph, and he has a nice, biting slider to go along with his fastball.

He also throws a slower slurve, which is a bendy combination of slider and curveball, but he uses it very rarely. Montero has a lot of promise, but I would like to see him focusing on developing his changeup, and get rid of that slurve he throws. Most early scouting reports had Montero labeled as a bullpen arm, but with continued progress, he could be a very formidable middle of the rotation starter.

Montero still relies on his fastball, so the Mets will start working with Montero to incorporate his secondary pitches more and more as he progresses. In the lower levels of the system, it is easy for pitchers to get by with fastball, fastball, but as he rises through the system, he will need a variety of well developed pitches to get the more advanced hitters out.

Montero should start the season with Double-A Binghamton, and you should definitely keep an eye on him in 2013. Montero is a name that Met fans should get used to hearing.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: Analyzing Up and Coming Prospect T.J. Rivera http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-up-and-coming-prospect-t-j-rivera.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-up-and-coming-prospect-t-j-rivera.html/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:00:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108037 T.J. Rivera batted .320/.372/.444 for Savannah and St. Lucie in 2012.

Second baseman T.J. Rivera batted .320/.372/.444 last season for Savannah and St. Lucie.

Thomas Javier (T.J.) Rivera, 2B

Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6′ 1″  Weight: 190 lb.
Position: Second Base
Age: 24
ETA: 2015

Background:

T.J. Rivera is a fellow New Yorker, born and raised in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. He was signed as a free-agent out of Troy University back in 2011. Not much is generally expected out of guys that aren’t drafted, but Rivera seems like his is on a mission to change that. In his first two professional seasons, he has already gone through four levels in the organization (Rookie, Low-A, A, and High-A). He’s compiled a .316 AVG to go along with 10 HR and 85 RBI over those two years. His 2012 numbers, from the time he spent with the Savannah Sand Gnats, are the most impressive. During that time he played in 64 games, compiling a .333 AVG/.396 OBP/8 HR and 37 RBI. Those numbers are probably what led fellow Sand Gnat, Jack Leathersich, to point out that Rivera was the teammate that impressed him most in his recent exclusive interview with Metsmerized Online. Here is an excerpt from that interview where Leathersich says Rivera is a player Mets fans should be very excited to see:

Oh yeah, definitely T.J. Rivera – he’s the one. He’s the real deal. I’ve never been around a kid who prepares as well as he does. He just really loves the game and it seems like every time I see him he’s out on the field working on something. Rivera plays hard and is completely balls to the wall – he’ll do anything to make sure we win. He’s a great teammate and obviously a great player and everybody should be real excited about him. If he continues the great things he did last season, and I’m pretty sure that he will, he’ll be a lot of fun to watch.

Analysis:

Rivera is definitely an under-the-radar type of prospect. He’s not considered a top prospect, and doesn’t have any tools that will jump off the page at you. However, he is making it happen. He has been successful across four different levels, so this is starting to seem like a situation where Rivera could turn out to be the real deal and not just a flash in the pan. There isn’t much footage on Rivera out there, but here is a brief analysis of Rivera’s swing:

Rivera has a sweet swing and it’s going to be really interesting to see what he can do at the Double-A level this season. Making the jump to Binghamtom will probably be the biggest challenge that Rivera has come across in his professional career thus far, as they say the jump from Single-A ball to Double-A is really where you start to weed out the prospects. Double-A is where the cream starts rising to the top. Rivera has a big challenge ahead in 2013, but after reading what teammate Jack Leathersich said about him, we have to assume it’s a challenge he is ready for.

Mets fans have a reason to be excited, and should definitely keep an eye on T.J. Rivera up at Binghamton this season. If his approach is to continue taking it one level at a time, he stays focused and keeps performing the way he has the past two years, the Mets will have a solid player on their hands within the next couple of years.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

You can follow Mitch Petanick on Twitter for more Mets Minor League coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: Analyzing Mets Pitching Prospect Hansel Robles http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-pitching-prospect-hansel-robles.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-pitching-prospect-hansel-robles.html/#comments Mon, 11 Feb 2013 19:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107563 hansel robles

Hansel Robles, RHP

Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 5’11″  Weight: 185 lb.
Position: Pitcher
Age: 22
MMO Top Prospect Ranking: 20 
ETA: 2014

Background:

Here is an excerpt from the recent MMO Top 25 Prospect list, where Robles was ranked No. 20:

Signed as an international free agent in August of 2008, Robles did everything in his power last season to dispel the idea that he projects to be a reliever. Arguably, Robles had the best season of any arm in the Mets system with an ERA of 1.11 over 72.2 innings, which led the New York Penn League. If you include his final start in the post season, he finished the year with 45 straight shutout innings, a WHIP of .784 (47 H/10 BB) and 0 home runs allowed. His 66 strikeouts were nothing to sneeze at, resulting in an 8.2 K/9 compared to an exceptional 1.2 BB/9 ratio. He can throw a fastball, slider, change-up, and an occasional curve ball.

Analysis:

Hansel Robles set the NY-Penn League on fire last year. He dominated hitters with a low-90s fastball, an average slider, and a below average change-up. Many project Robles to be a bullpen guy at the big league level, but he was used as a starter for the Brooklyn Cyclones last season. He was nothing short of spectacular, and blew everyone away with some impressive numbers. However, after breaking down his pitching mechanics, you will see that there is some cause for concern with regards to Robles ever being a pitcher that can withstand the rigors of being in a starting rotation. Check out the video below, where I break down his mechanics, and you will see what I mean.

As you see in the video, his mechanics lead me to believe that he will ultimately be utilized in the bullpen if, and when, he makes it to the big league level. The kid has a ton of potential, and if he can straighten out his mechanics, he will continue to dominate hitters as he moves up through the system. Right now, the velocity on his fastball varies from 90-95mph. The major reason for the huge discrepancy in speed is because of his mechanics. There also has to be concern that the strain he puts on his arm could potentially lead to future arm injuries, so it will be prudent to try and work out the kinks before that happens.

As I pointed out in the video, he uses his arm and upper body to generate his velocity. By using his lower half more, and driving towards the plate, he could generate more consistent velocity and save his arm a lot of stress. His incomplete follow through is also generating additional strain on his arm.

Aside from the mechanical deficiencies, Robles future seems bright. If you throw 94mph, you always have a bright future. He generates great velocity, and after improvements in his mechanics, he will not only improve the consistency of that velocity, but also have better command of his secondary pitches. With an arm as live as his, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if he ended up in the bullpen, which is where I think he will eventually end up and flourish.

For more Mets minor league and prospect coverage, you can follow me on Twitter @FirstPitchMitch.

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Prospect Pulse: Analyzing Mets Shortstop Prospect Philip Evans http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-shortstop-prospect-philip-evans.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-shortstop-prospect-philip-evans.html/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 15:00:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=106783 Phillip Evans

Player Name: Philip Evans
Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 5’10″  Weight: 185 lb.
Position: Shortstop
Age: 20 (turns 21 in September)
MMO Top Prospect Ranking: 14 
ETA: 2015

Background:

Here’s what MMO had to say about Evans in the recent top 25 prospect feature:

The 2011 15th round pick who received a significant over-slot $660K bonus has been good, but not what has been expected overall. Evans has exclusively played shortstop though he profiles more as a second baseman due to his stocky build. The 2012 season saw Evans get his first full-season of short-season at-bats. The biggest downside in his numbers were the lack of more power, hitting .252 but only slugging .337. While the bat didn’t regress, the progression that should have occurred hasn’t. Evans is still young so the jury isn’t out on him yet.

Evans projects as a 10-15 HR player with a solid batting average and a decent glove as well. Hopefully the 2013 season will see Evans get his first real taste of full-season ball in Savannah and that he will continue to progress with his bat, while hopefully getting some reps at second now that the system is well stocked at short. Evans still has the potential to grow as a hitter, but needs to stop pulling the ball so much and start spraying the ball to all fields. He must also become more consistent defensively where he has a knack to make some flashy plays, but sometimes flubs a routine grounder. The Mets have a lot invested in him so he’ll get every chance to succeed.

Analysis:

I really like Evans’ approach at the plate. No, wait. Let me rephrase that. I love Evans’ approach at the plate.

His swing is mechanically sound—he keeps his hands and weight back, and has a very pretty, short and compact swing. By looking at his swing I would say he has excellent gap to gap power, and agree that he would have the ability to hit 10-15 home runs once he gets to the higher levels in the system.

With that short, quick swing like Evans has, it will be very difficult for any pitcher to sneak a fastball by him. I was also impressed with his patience at the plate. I have read some scouting reports on Evans which say that he can get caught out on his front foot on some off speed pitches, and that he has to work on his pitch recognition. By looking at his swing, and the way he keeps his weight back, it’s hard for me to see this being a problem in the future. The pitch recognition will become easier as he works his way through the system. You have to remember that when players are drafted out of high school, the majority of them haven’t gone up against quality off-speed pitches until they get to this level. There will be an adjustment period. Evans getting caught on his front foot could also be a case where he got caught guessing wrong at the plate (yes, hitters sometimes guess). Either way, he should be able to work it out.

Another thing that impressed me from the video above was what he did with an outside pitch (about 40 seconds in). He takes an outside pitch and laces a line-drive into right field. This is very promising and shows that he uses the entire field when hitting.

Evans had what many would consider a down year with Brooklyn last year. He hit .252 and added five home runs and 28 RBI. When looking at his splits, he did considerably better against left-handed pitching. This shouldn’t be too alarming at this level of his development. As I stated earlier, he was drafted out of high school, so he probably didn’t go up against pitchers on a day in and day out basis that had quality off-speed stuff. His first real taste came in 2012 in the NY-Penn League, where he was facing guys that were primarily drafted out of college. These guys all have arsenals of developed off-speed pitches. It’s easier to recognize off-speed pitches for right-handed batters coming from left-handed pitchers. That could explain the discrepancy in his righty/leftie splits.

SNY recently took a look at Evans last June on their Mets Minor League Report. Here is what Mets coaches and Toby Hyde said about him:

From what I have seen defensively from Evans, he looks like he could stick at shortstop. I hate when analysts start putting labels on players regarding not having the range or arm to play a particular position. Let the kid develop and play ball, and let the Mets determine where he ends up on the field. If the Mets were that concerned with his ability to play shortstop, they would have started transitioning him already. Evans will be a shortstop until he shows them that he can no longer play that position at higher levels. Until that happens, he’s a shortstop—a pretty good one for that matter.

2013 should be a season where we see Evans take a leap forward offensively. The tools are there, and he has a season of seeing off-speed pitches under his belt now. There is no reason why we shouldn’t see this kid turn the corner this season. Not only will he turn the corner, but he will be listed as one of the Mets’ top ten prospects headed into the 2014 season.

Phil Evans strikes a pose for MMO last season.

Phil Evans strikes a pose for MMO last season.

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Prospect Pulse: Jack Leathersich – Making His Debut In 2013? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-jack-leathersich-making-his-debut-in-2013.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-jack-leathersich-making-his-debut-in-2013.html/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 14:25:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=105943 Jack Leathersich 2

Player Name: Jack Leathersich

Bats: R  Throws: L

Height: 5’11”  Weight: 205 lb.

Position: Relief Pitcher

Age: 22 (turns 23 in July)

MMO Top Prospect Ranking #16

ETA: 2013?

Here is what MMO had to say about Leathersich from their recent Top 25 Prospect list:

Jack “Leather Rocket” Leathersich is quite the interesting case. He was our 5th round pick in the 2011 draft and went on to dominate Brooklyn in his professional debut as a reliever. In 2012, he started the year in Savannah and was on cruise control before he was promoted to St.Lucie. He ran into his first real trouble there, where he posted an ERA of 4.12 in 48 innings compared to his microscopic 0.75 ERA in Savannah in 24 innings. He also showed a little bit less control once he was promoted, with his BB/9 increasing from 3.0 to 4.5. However, those numbers do not tell the whole story as even in St. Lucie, opposing hitters only hit Leathersich at a .224 clip and he allowed only three home runs all year. Did I forget to mention that he struck out a gaudy 113 hitters in 72 innings?

Analysis:

Leathersich has a nice athletic build and profiles as a relief pitcher which should help him move through the Mets system rather quickly. He brings a low-90s fastball in his arsenal which has nice movement (moves in on left-handed hitters, and away from right-handed hitters). He has a plus slider and his curve is a slower bender.

Leathersich has an amazing strikeout ratio as mentioned above. He mowed down 113 hitters in 72 innings pitched last season. That should be music to Mets fans ears to hear a reliever striking out hitters at that rate.

He ran into some issues with his command and control after being promoted in 2012. After watching the attached video (granted it is a very small sample), the first thing I noticed about Leathersich was his tendency to fall off towards third base during his follow-through. On the pitches where he doesn’t fall off towards third base, he has much better control and is around the strike zone. One of the most common mistakes pitchers can make in their delivery is falling off to the side (for righties they fall towards first base, for lefties it’s third base). Leathersich should work this spring on keeping his body moving forward which will not only improve his accuracy but also his velocity.

This video of Cliff Lee shows the proper pitching mechanics and follow-through which Leathersich should work on in order to keep rising through the system and getting to Citi Field as fast as possible. Notice in the video how Lee falls towards home plate, and not towards third base.

Once Leathersich works out the kinks, he has a very bright future with the Mets. Falling off toward third base is a rather easy fix, and there are many drills the Mets pitching coaches can do with Leathersich to improve this area. Once he adjusts his follow-through, there is little doubt in my mind that he will have much better command, and continue to dominate hitters while building on that impressive strikeout ratio.

Left-handed pitching prospects are hard to come by, and as of right now, Leathersich is the Mets top southpaw. He will most likely start 2013 in Double-A Binghamton, and we look forward to seeing this incredible talent grow and hopefully join the Mets very soon.

This past Wednesday, during a Q&A with Mets season ticket holders at Citi Field, J.P. Ricciardi commented when asked if there were any prospects that he was excited about headed into 2013. Ricciardi responded:

I think he’s one of the guys who could get a taste of the big leagues at some point this year. It’s nice to have a left-hander with a strikeout-ability.

I think it’s very promising that out of all the exciting prospects Ricciardi could have mentioned—like Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, or Wilmer Flores—Leathersich was the name he threw to the Mets fans, the way a zookeeper throws a piece of meat into the lion’s den. Left-handed relievers with a strikeout ratio like Leathersich has had are definitely mouth watering propsects, but he still has to get his control and command back under control this season before he’s throwing off a mound in Citi Field.

With that being said, there is no doubt that he could make his debut sometime in 2013, but he has to take care of business in Binghamton first. The road to the show is usually much quicker for relief pitchers since less development is needed, but his first step in making his debut in 2013 would be dominating at Double-A. After that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a very short visit to Triple-A Las Vegas, or make the jump directly to the show. The ball sounds like it is pretty much in Leathersich’s court. If he dominates Double-A, he will be rewarded with a trip to the city that never sleeps in 2013.

PROSPECT PULSE

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