2012 Mets Top Prospects: #’s 41 – 50

Welcome to the final installment of the 2012 Mets Top Prospects series here on MMO. Today we bring you numbers 41 through 50, which you will notice is rather pitching heavy, as only three position players made the final ten. Although the farm system is still undergoing a rebuilding, the strong drafts the Mets had in 2010 and 2011, have gone a long way towards adding quality depth on the farm, as well as the infusion of a number of power arms and athletic outfielders. A few years ago you would have been utterly depressed once you got up to prospect number 22, a player who would barely qualify as a prospect at all. Now, you can rank the players in the system, and count all the way up into the 60’s and you would still be naming legitimate prospects. Check out from 41 to 50, along with over a dozen Honorable Mentions at the end: players who could be on the list next year. I hope you have enjoyed the series, it was fun to bring it to you.

41.  Aderlin Rodriguez (3B) I have listed Rodriguez as a third baseman, because he has played only that position thus far in his career. It is widely speculated however, that the Mets are going to move him to another position as soon as this coming season, with the obvious choice: first base. His foot speed is not so great and his range is not real good, so the corner outfield isn’t really in the cards. Hopefully Rodriguez can play 1B without committing as many errors as he did across the diamond. Last season in 361 chances at 3B, Rodriguez made a whopping 44 errors, for an abysmal Fld% of .878. Yuck! That’s one problem. The other is he batted only .221 last season at Savannah, in 516 AB’s. He also struck out 106 times while walking 29 times. Rodriguez needs to eliminate the holes in his swing and must be more selective at the plate, if he intends to keep moving up the organizational ladder. The good news is his power potential and that he is still young, he was only 19 years-old last year while playing in the SAL, and he managed to hit 17 HR’s and totaled 78 RBI’s. So there are some promising signs. Next year the cautious move would be for him to start the season at Savannah again, this time as their first-baseman, but he must show some significant development with the bat in order to stay on this list. Aderlin Rodriguez video

42.  Matt den Dekker (CF) Den Dekker is an intriguing prospect. He is a very solid defender who could probably play CF in the big leagues right now. He has above average speed, is a hard-nosed player with a good solid throwing arm, but needs to work on his routes to the ball to avoid having to make last second adjustments. But the questions regarding den Dekker arise from his age, he’s already 24 years-old, and has only played a half-season above single A. Last year, he was having a good year at St. Lucie, hitting .296 in 267 AB’s, when he was promoted at mid-season to AA Bingo. Binghamton was a different story for den Dekker, he struggled to consistently put the bat on the ball, and managed to hit only.235 in 272 AA AB’s. The reason for the drop-off was a fifty percent increase in strikeouts. Den Dekker has a long swing before the bat reaches the hitting zone, which leaves him unable to catch up to pitches up and in. He did show an increase in HR’s when he got to AA, hitting 6 at St. Lucie, and adding 11 more after his promotion, but his SLG% went down from .494 to .426. His drop-off in contact didn’t hurt his HR output, but he hit significantly less 2B’s and 3B’s. So the question is will it be a positive profile for den Dekker? A speedy, versatile outfielder, who is a left-handed hitter with occasional HR power. Or the negative one, an older player who did well against lower competition, but once he reached AA opposing pitchers began exploiting a mechanical flaw in his swing which hurt his ability to consistently make contact? This season will answer that question. Matt den Dekker video

43.  Josh Edgin (LHP) Not many relievers had a better year on the farm than Edgin. The 6’1″, 24-year-old who was the 30th round selection of the 2010 draft, split the year evenly between Savannah and St. Lucie. In 66 IP, he went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 27 saves, 44 hits allowed, a K/BB of 76/23, and opposing players managed to hit only .189 off him. According to Adam Rubin, he throws his fastball in the 92-95 mph range, while his slider is 82-85 mph. He is working on a change-up, and also a curveball which is a slower version of his slider. Edgin could move very quickly through the system, but the true test will be how well he makes the significant jump to AA next year. If everything continues to go smoothly, he could be pitching at Citi in the not-too-distant future.

44.  Erik Goeddel (RHP) Goeddel just needs to pitch. He has the arsenal, and the talent to pitch in the bigs, he just needs to show that his arm can hold up to the rigors of a full season. He throws a low-90’s fastball, a curve, slider, and a change-up. For Goeddel it’s all about conditioning and stamina, and staying healthy. After he was drafted by the Mets in the 22nd round of the 2010 draft, he only pitched one inning for the Mets that summer before being shut down early with arm fatigue. 2011 was his first full season in professional ball, but in May was diagnosed with a rotator cuff strain and missed ten weeks while it healed completely. In a recent interview I did with Erik, he said he is fully recovered from that injury and he hopes to log at least 100 innings this year. That is a good target for him and if he can reach 100 innings and add about 25 innings per season over the next two years, he will be able to remain a starter. If the workload again proves to be too much for him, he may be destined for the bullpen. Erik Goeddel video

45.  Ryan Fraser (RHP) The 6’3″ right-hander has so far shown quite a bit of versatility in his two years since the Mets made him their 16th round pick in the 2010 draft. After hurling 92 innings as a starter for the University of Memphis the Mets decided to limit his innings by making him the Brooklyn Cyclones closer. He responded by pitching very well in the role, notching 12 saves to go with a 3-3 record and a 1.44 ERA. The 2011 season found Fraser in the Savannah Sand Gnats rotation, and he was one of their mainstays, leading the team in innings pitched with a 138.1, while going 7-9 with a 3.58 ERA. In a recent interview here on MMO, Ryan had this to say about his pitches: “I throw a fastball, curveball, and change-up. Some people question my curveball and think its a slider. I would like to call it a “power slurve” if there’s such a pitch. I don’t like to know the speed of them cause it doesn’t matter as long as you get the hitters out.” Despite the glut of starting pitching at the single A level, the Mets would be wise to keep Fraser in the rotation for the time being, as he could develop into a true “innings eater” down the road.

46.  Bret Mitchell (RHP) The Mets made an excellent grab in the 12th round of the 2010 draft when they tabbed the 6’2″, Minnesota State right-hander Mitchell. Mitchell separated himself from the pack this season after starting out with eight non-descript starts in 2010 when he went 2-2 with a 5.94 ERA for Kingsport. Starting out in Kingsport again in 2011, was a different story altogether. He was awarded the 2011 Sterling Award by the Mets for being the Kingsport Pitcher of the Year, going 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA over seven starts. That earned him a promotion to Brooklyn on Aug 5th, but he was injured in a start against the Staten Island Yankees on August 7th, and went on the DL shortly after. Mitchell throws a fastball around 89-92, a 12-6 curve, and a change-up. He will be solidly in the mix for one of the five coveted spots in the Savannah rotation in ST.

47.  Camden Maron (C) The Mets drafted Maron in the 34th round of the 2009 draft out of Hicksville High School (NY). Having grown up an avid Mets fan, he probably felt like he hit the lottery. After the way he played last season, the Mets are just as happy to have him on board. A promising catcher who has some defensive game to build upon, Maron is very good at blocking balls in the dirt, and has good footwork, a quick release, and a strong, accurate throwing arm. At 6’1″, Maron is a lefty hitter, who at times can be a bit of a hacker, but is very aggressive at the plate, and shows good power to all fields. Last year as the number one catcher on the Kingsport Mets, Maron got 201 AB’s, and had a slash line of .318/.434/.413, with 3 HR’s and 24 RBI’s. His OBP was so high because of his K/BB ratio, which was: 34/38. Definitely raw, and a work in progress, the organization loves this kid and has high hopes for him in the future. 2012 will be a very telling year for Maron, as he may very well have the inside track on the starting catcher job at Savannah next year.

48.  Adam Kolarek (LHP) Kolarek was drafted out of the University of Maryland in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. A 6’3″ lefty Kolarek put together a fabulous year coming out of the pen for the Sand Gnats. In 52.2 IP, he went 7-0 with a 2.22 ERA, and 5 saves, with an opponents batting average of .214, and a WHIP of 1.14. Kolarek throws a 90-94 mph four-seamer, a change-up, slider, and is working on a sinker, which he details in a recent interview with MMO: “I mainly throw a 4-seam fastball but I am really working on my 2-seam this offseason because I really believe that it will help me moving forward. I would say my change-up is my second best pitch because I feel comfortable throwing it in just about any count or any situation. When I throw a real good one it will have some tailing movement into a lefty or away from a righty. Finally, I feel like I made a lot of progress with my slider last year and I want to continue to build off of that. I would mainly use it when I was ahead in the count and was trying to get a strike out or ground ball, but I really want to get to the point this year where I can use my slider when I’m behind in the count in a typical fastball situation.” With lefties like Kolarek, Josh Edgin, Jack Leathersich, Robert Carson, and Ham Bennett in the pipe-line, there is some lefty relief help on the horizon with Carson most likely being the first to arrive, his ETA 2012. Adam Kolarek video

49.  Dylan Owen (RHP) Owen has quietly worked his way up through the Mets minor league system, taking on each challenge so far and adjusting well at each level. He was drafted in the 20th round of the 2007 draft, one pick before the Mets took Dillon Gee in the 21st round. They are both very similar as pitchers, right-handers that can make up for the fact that they don’t throw real hard, by being able to get advanced hitters out with good command of several quality pitches. They both change speeds well and work off their low-90’s fastballs with breaking stuff and good change-ups. Owen also throws a sinker, a cutter in the mid-80’s, and a curveball in the low-to-upper 70’s. In an interview I did with Dylan earlier this winter when he was playing in Venezuela, he told me that his focus moving forward is command, location, and situational pitching. His record this winter in 7 game starts covering 41.2 innings, was 2-3 with an ERA of 1.73. He should most likely open the season at Buffalo, either in the rotation or the bullpen, and if he continues to pitch well, should be making his major league debut, when needed, sometime next season.

50.  Elvin Ramirez (RHP) Ramirez was the player taken from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft in December 2010, by the Washington Nationals. The 6’3″ righty from the Dominican Republic was throwing up to 97-98 mph last winter in the DWL, and despite a marginal breaking ball, the Nats had every intention of keeping Ramirez in their bullpen for the whole year, until he got hurt that is. A shoulder injury suffered in spring training required surgery on his throwing shoulder, and he was returned to the Mets late in the season. The word circulating about him now is that he is feeling good and could be ready to start the season on time. The Mets will use Ramirez out of the AAA Buffalo bullpen this season, and if he recovers without incidence and regains his velocity, he could be a valuable bullpen arm for the Mets down the road.

Unfortunately there isn’t room for anybody else, and after naming the Top 50, there are still some other good prospects in the system who just missed making the list. Here’s a handful of players who could, with continued success, very easily make this list in the future.

Honorable Mention: Wilfredo Tovar (INF), Rob Carson (LHP), Cole Frenzel (1B), Dustin Lawley (3B-OF), Travis Taijeron (OF), Joe Tuschak (CF), Blake Forsythe (C), Marco Camarena (RHP), Chase Huchingson (LHP), Greg Pron (OF), Miller Diaz (RHP), Allan Dykstra (1B), Taylor Whitenton (RHP), Isaac Monrroy (LHP), Angel Cuan (LHP), Pedro Zapata (OF)

2012 MMO Mets Top 50 Prospects

1.   Zack Wheeler              RHP

2.   Jeurys Familia            RHP

3.   Matt Harvey                 RHP

4.   Jenrry Mejia                RHP

5.   Brandon Nimmo          OF

6.   Kirk Nieuwenhuis        OF

7.   Juan Lagares              OF

8.   Wilmer Flores             INF

9.   Cesar Puello               RF

10.  Reese Havens             2B

11.  Cory Mazzoni             RHP

12.  Jordany Valdespin      INF

13.  Darin Gorski               LHP

14.  Phillip Evans              SS

15.  Jefry Marte                  3B

16.  Collin McHugh           RHP

17.  Juan Urbina               LHP

18.  Akeel Morris              RHP

19.  Michael Fulmer          RHP

20.  Danny Muno               INF

21.  Domingo Tapia          RHP

22.  Brant Rustich             RHP

23.  Brad Marquez              CF

24.  Gilbert Gomez             RF

25.  Logan Verrett              RHP

26.  Tyler Pill                     RHP

27.  Juan Carlos Gamboa    SS

28.  Robert Carson             LHP

29.  Chris Schwinden         RHP

30.  Jack Leathersich          LHP

31.  Brad Holt                      RHP

32.  Cory Vaughn                 OF

33.  Greg Peavey                 RHP

34.  Albert Cordero               C

35.  Darrell Ceciliani            CF

36.  Rafael Montero             RHP

37.  Josh Stinson                RHP

38.  Zach Lutz                      3B

39.  Tillman Pugh                CF

40.  Armando Rodriguez     RHP

41.  Aderlin Rodriguez         3B

42.  Matt den Dekker            CF

43.  Josh Edgin                  LHP

44.  Erik Goeddel                RHP

45.  Ryan Fraser                  RHP

46.  Bret Mitchell                 RHP

47.  Camden Maron               C

48.  Adam Kolarek               LHP

49.  Dylan Owen                  RHP

50.  Elvin Ramirez               RHP