Previewing The St. Lucie Mets

Noah Syndergaard will headline one of the best rotations in the minor leagues.

The roster of this year’s St. Lucie Mets team is packed with some fantastic talent. This year, St. Lucie will showcase some of the finest pitching pitching prospects in the Met system, and even some of the finest in the minor leagues. This year’s team will likely be the most potential-packed of any in the system. Let’s see who will make this season one to watch.

The Big Names

  • Noah Syndergaard (RHP) – The hard-throwing right-hander was only the second biggest name in the R.A. Dickey trade this winter, but by no means should he be overlooked. While he may have been overshadowed by Travis d’Arnaud, Syndergaard also has scouts drooling over his potential. In the Midwest League last season (the equivalent of Savannah), Syndergaard tossed 103.2 innings, putting up a 2.60 ERA and a 10.6 K/9 rate. That went along with an above-average 2.7 BB/9 rate, which is also his career minor league average. Syndergaard was ranked the 29th best prospect in baseball by this spring and 54th by Baseball America. After d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler graduate to the big leagues, all eyes will turn to Syndergaard, who thus far has everyone excited about his future.
  • Michael Fulmer (RHP, torn meniscus) – Fulmer is one of the many young and promising arms the Mets have in the lower minors. 20 years old, Fulmer had a terrific season last year with Savannah, posting a 2.74 ERA in 21 starts (108.1 innings) while striking out 101 and walking 38. Fulmer was drafted in 2011 from Deer Creek High School in Oklahoma  He was well-regarded before last season, but he put his name towards to top of every prospect guru’s list with a very impressive season. He will miss most of, if not all of the first half of the season with a torn meniscus, but will return some time this summer.
  • Luis Mateo (RHP) – Luis Mateo will do something this year that not many pitching prospects in the Mets system do: skip Savannah. Mateo, 23, had a fantastic season for the Cyclones last year, and along with Hansel Robles, will skip A-Ball and go straight to Advanced A-Ball St. Lucie. Mateo put up a 2.45 ERA last season in 12 starts, striking out 10.4 batters per nine innings while walking only 1.1 He has incredible stuff and is someone you will hear a lot from in the near future.
  • Domingo Tapia (RHP) – Domingo Tapia’s two-seam fastball may be one of the best pitches in all of the minors. It has heavy sinking action and sits in the mid to upper 90s. He doesn’t have a breaking pitch, and may end up in the bullpen by the time he reaches the majors, but he is nonetheless a very intriguing pitcher. Tapia threw 108.2 innings last season and posted a 3.98 ERA. He slaso struck out 8.4 batters per nine innings (an increase from 5.8 K/9 in 2011) with 2.7 walks.
  • Aderlin Rodriguez (3B) – Rodriguez may already have, at age 21, the most power in the entire Mets farm system. Rodriguez hit a meager .221/.265/.372 in 131 games as a 19 year-old in Savannah in 2011, with the only positive being his 17 home runs. Last year, however, repeating the league, Rodriguez started hitting like he never had before. He hit .274/.336/.497 with 16 dingers in only 83 games before earning a promotion to St. Lucie. Looking deeper into his splits from Savannah, you see that although he hit just .233/.309/.473 in 40 games at home at Grayson Stadium, he hit eight home runs. That;s notable considering that Savannah is not only the toughest park in the South Atlantic League to get a hit in, but it is also the most difficult park in the entire minor leagues to hit home runs. If Rodriguez can hit for power there, he can do it anywhere.

The Sleepers

  • Jacob deGrom (RHP) – Coming off six so-so outings in Kingsport in 2010 and Tommy John surgery, Jacob deGrom broke out in a big way last year in Savannah. Overall, he made 15 starts there and put up very impressive statistics: 2.51 ERA, 7.8 K/9, and 1.4 BB/9. He then made four starts in St. Lucie, allowing five earned runs in 21.2 innings. A lanky 6’4″, 185 pounds, deGrom has the physical profile that scouts look for in a young pitcher. Watch out for him this year.
  • Hansel Robles (RHP) – In a bit of a surprise, the Mets sent Hansel Robles to St. Lucie for the start of the season instead of Savannah, where he was projected to go. Robles, 22, was the ace of the excellent Brooklyn Cyclone pitching staff last season, posting a 1.11 ERA in 72.2 innings to go along with excellent 8.2 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 rates. 
  • T.J. Rivera (2B) – Rivera doesn’t have any tools that stand out in particular, but he has put up very good numbers ar every level he’s played. Although he hasn’t hit for much power, he has hit at least .290 in every league he’s played in. Last season in 128 games between Savannah and St. Lucie, he hit .320/.372/.444.
  • Alex Panteliodis (LHP) – A ninth-round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Florida, Panteliodis put up a 3.64 ERA in 22 starts in Savannah last year in 108.2 innings.

Other Names to Watch

  • Chasen Bradford (RHP) – A reliever out of UCF, Bradford posted an excellent 2.47 ERA in Savannah last year in 51 innings, all out of the bullpen. 
  • Camden Maron (C) – Maron may be the second-best catcher in the Mets’ system after hitting .300/.403/.408 in Savannah last year. He didn’t hit for much power (five home runs), but his 13% walk rate was very impressive.

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About Connor O'Brien 335 Articles
Connor O'Brien is a third-year economics student at Rutgers University, a longtime writer here at MetsMerized Online, and an aspiring economist. He embraces sabermetrics but also highly values scouting. Follow him on Twitter at cojobrien.