One week into the Arizona Fall League season, the Tom Goodwin led Scottsdale Scorpions are 2-3 and are in last place in the Eastern Division. Ultimately, the record and standings are window dressing for a league that is intended to be a showcase for young talent and an opportunity for the best minor leaguers to play alongside one another and improve their games. With that in mind, here is a review on how the Mets prospects have done in the Arizona League so far:
Tebow was an undrafted 29 year old outfielder who signed with the Mets for $100,000. He got his first action in the Instructional League before being sent to the Arizona Fall League.
Love him or hate him, most people are first going to ask about how Tebow has been doing in the Arizona Fall League. As Keith Law pointed out in his scathing review of Tebow, he isn’t performing well, nor is he showing the necessary tools to eventually become an everyday player. He has been a pull happy hitter who has been taking poor routes to balls in the outfield. Still, there are some positives to Tebow. At the plate, Tebow is 0-9 with a run, two walks, and an RBI.
Still there are some positives to Tebow playing in the Arizona Fall League. He has been a positive influence in the clubhouse. He showed his humanity when a man had a seizure trying to get his autograph. His presence has caused more attention to come to the Arizona Fall League with attendance nearly doubling over last year’s figures. This calls more attention to the prospects who are there and performing well.
The 22 year old shortstop was the Mets 2012 first round draft pick out of Alfred M. Barbe High School in Lake Charles, LA. In AAA this season, Cecchini hit .325/.390/.448 with 27 doubles, two triples, eight homers, and 55 RBI in 117 games. He was added to the 40 man roster and was one of the Mets September call-ups. In four games, he was 2-6 with two doubles and two RBI.
Surprisingly, the Mets have had Cecchini playing more shortstop than second base, which is the position he will most likely play next season. Like he has done most of the year, Cecchini has made an error at shortstop.
At the plate, Cecchini has cooled off since his great first game. Cecchini opened the season going 2-3 with a run, a double, a walk, and three RBI in a 9-6 Scorpions win. In his two subsequent games, Cecchini is 1-6 with two walks and two strikeouts.
The 24 year old centerfielder was the Mets 2013 sixth round draft pick out of Brevard College in Brevard, NC. Stuart split time between St. Lucie (71 games) and Binghamton (43 games) hitting .240/.314/.349 with 12 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 45 RBI, and 40 stolen bases. With Stuart being Rule 5 eligible for the first time in his career, he would benefit more than anyone by having an outstanding Arizona Fall League. Stuart is off to a great start.
In just two games, Stuart has gone 3-8 with a run, a home run, an RBI, and two stolen bases. There are some people that will tell you Stuart has power potential despite his Juan Pierre-esque minor league slugging percentage. The Mets do not need him to hit for much power given his Gold Glove caliber defense in center field and his elite speed and base stealing ability. If Stuart can hit just a little bit, just like Juan Lagares, he can be a major league player. Before getting too excited about Stuart’s start, it should be noted it is still just two games, and he has yet to draw a walk, which is another area of his game he needs to improve upon.
The 25 year old 1B/3B was the Mets 2013 seventh round draft pick out of the University of Oklahoma. In 124 games for Binghamton, Oberste hit .283/.340/.409 with 21 doubles, two triples, nine homers, and 54 RBI. Like Stuart, Oberste is first time eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Given him coming off a disappointing minor league season, Oberste needed to build upon a strong finish to the season. So far, he hasn’t. Oberste has played in three games and he has yet to register a hit going 0-11 with an RBI and three strikeouts.
The 21 year old right-hander was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2001 and received a $100,000 bonus. Due to Molina’s rehab from Tommy John surgery, he did not pitch at all during the 2016 minor league season. In fact, his appearance in the Arizona Fall League marks the first time he will pitch in a game since August 17, 2015. Therefore, while Molina is first time Rule 5 Draft eligible, it is more important for him to show he is healthy than for him to impress the scouts.
In Molina’s two innings of work, his stuff was back. He was throwing around 93 MPH with an effective changeup. More importantly, Molina had much improved mechanics. This is especially important because many have blamed Molina’s poor mechanics for his injury. In Molina’s two innings of work, he allowed four hits, one earned run and one walk with two strikeouts.
Molina was 7-3 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP, and a 10.7 K/9 with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2014.
The 23 year old Taylor was the Mets 2015 seventh round draft pick out of Texas Tech University. In 45 appearances for St. Lucie this season, Taylor was 4-5 with 20 saves, a 1.87 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, and a 3.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Taylor has gone from a dominant collegiate closer to a dominant minor league closer to more of the same in the Arizona Fall League. In two appearances, Taylor has pitched 3.2 innings allowing two hits, one run, one earned, and no walks with two strikeouts. Despite him being a reliever, Taylor is second on the Scorpions in innings pitched.
The 24 year old left-hander was the Mets 2014 17th round draft pick out of the University of South Carolina Upstate. In 52 appearances for the Binghamton Mets, Roseboom was 1-1 with 14 saves, a 1.87 ERA, 0.902 WHIP, and a 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
While Roseboom has not been doing it as long as Taylor, Roseboom established himself as a terrific closer this year for the Binghamton Mets. Roseboom has carried his level of dominance to the Arizona Fall League so far by not allowing any hits or runs against him in both of his appearances. He has only allowed two base runners in his 2.1 innings, and he has struck out three. While this outstanding Arizona Fall League start, which followed a terrific B-Mets season, Roseboom is making his case to be a bullpen arm in the near future for the Mets.
The 23 year old right-hander was the Mets 2012 seventh round draft pick out of Madison High School in San Diego, CA. In 13 starts and on relief appearance for the St. Lucie Mets, he was 4-2 with a 4.12 ERA, a 1.345 WHIP, and a 9.0 strikeout per nine ratio. Like some of the Mets players sent to the Arizona Fall League, Oswalt will be Rule 5 eligible for the first time, and he needs an impressive performance. Unfortunately, he has not provided one yet.
In Oswalt’s one start, he allowed four hits, four runs, four earned, one home run, and three walks with only one strikeout in two innings of work. He had pitched into the third inning, but he was chased from the game after the three run homer. Because the Scorpions, led by Cecchini, put on an offensive display that day, Oswalt got the win.
The 22 year old catcher was the Mets 2012 eighth round draft pick out of Orangewood Christian High School in Maitland, FL. Nido had a breakout year for the St. Lucie Mets winning the batting title. Overall, Nido played in 90 games hitting .320/.357/.459 with 23 doubles, two triples, seven homers, and 46 RBI. While he will be Rule 5 Draft eligible for the first time, he has done more than enough to impress the Mets during the 2016 minor league season. Nido is on the taxi squad meaning he is only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So far, Nido has not appeared in a game.
Overall, the Mets prospects have shown themselves to be the players they were thought to be before entering the Arizona Fall League. Cecchini looks like a future second baseman at the major league level. Stuart is a gifted player who needs to put it all together. Taylor and Roseboom are dominant out of the bullpen. If these players continue to progress the way they have so far in the Arizona Fall League, you could say it has been a successful one as far as the Mets are concerned.