Here are my Mets Top Prospects and Sickels-styles grades for this point of the season
(Fernando Martinez isn't included as he'll almost definitely break the MLB experience barrier in September, however he would be #1 on the list)
1, Jenrry Mejia, RHP, A- Mejia combines his youth, talent, polish and makeup to show himself as one of the elite prospects of the game. At 19, Mejia has already show his innate dominance at A+ ball, where in 9 starts he pitched 50.1 innings, striking out 44, walking 16, allowing no home runs and a 2.21 GO/AO rate. Even at AA, Mejia is doing more than just holding his own. Mejia has been clocked as high as 102, but his fastball generally lies in the mid-90s. The pitch has some downward life and he already has demonstrated pretty good command on it. He also has a high-80s change that many believe resembles a splitter or 12-6 curve. This is the better of his two second pitches, and the other one is a nice, but not plus curve.
2. Brad Holt, RHP, B+ He's not as electric as Mejia, and not as dominant this year, but still has enough polish and talent to warrant this ranking. He's got plenty of durability -- he's been known to carry a mid-90s fastball to the seventh inning, and also good movement and placement of the pitch. Holt has better command than Mejia, and is more of a strikeout pitcher, but Mejia also has better secondary stuff, and is three years younger. Holt has an electric fastball, a good, low-80s power curve, and a developing changeup. He dominated the NYPL following the draft, Did more than well and St. Lucie striking out 54 in 43.1 innings, walking only 13 and receiving a 3.12 ERA. In AA, he battled a minor injury, and his two starts returning from injury were a combined 3.2 innings with 9 earned runs. He walked 4 and struck out 6. However, outside of these efforts, Holt has been very dominant at the AA level.
3. Wilmer Flores, IF/OF, B+ Obviously very young, Flores already has a goldmine of talent and a little bit of polish to boot. He has a very smooth swing and already has a bit of pop. He also has very good pitch recognition at the plate. Flores may need his age to catch up with his league to get a higher BABIP, but can work on filling out for pop and being more selective at the plate. Sometimes I doubt his value but scouts always seem to go head over heels for the guy. Obviously his position going forward is in doubt as well. Despite some Mets fans' hopes and expectations, Flores is still a long way off with his .275/.315/353 line in the SALLY league.
4. Jonathon Niese, LHP, B With a plus pitch since he was 18, Niese is STILL a very interesting and valuable prospect in my eyes. His monstrous curve is one of the best I've seen since Zito was good, and since working out his secondary pitches in AAA he's been flat out incredible in the league (look at his last 8 or so starts). It's obvious it's time for Niese to be promoted, but I still doubt that the Mets will do so especially if Maine is coming back. It seems he didn't develop a slider like I hoped but he seems to have done something to stop all the singles he'd allowed.
5. Ike Davis, 1B/OF, B After a breakout year in college, Ike Davis received high praise from scouts, and became the Mets' first selection in the 2008 draft. Soon after, he already began to disappoint. For the Cyclones in the NYPL, he had a whopping .256/.326/.326 line. It boggled my mind to think that he was known for his pop, as he hit 0 home runs in 213 ABs. Luckily for the Mets I was wrong. In a tough FSL league, Davis posted a .288/.376/.486 for St. Lucie, and after his promotion to Binghamton he's hit for a .278/.381/.467 line. This year in 312 ABs he's hit .285 with 11 HR, 22 2B and 3 3B. He's walked plenty and the only problem that seems to exist is his strikeout rate, which is over 1 K per 4 AB
6. Ruben Tejada, SS/2B, B- Tejada possesses incredible speed, good discipline at the dish, as well as very good contact ability. He's 19 years old and in AA. Right now, Ruben Tejada has the ability to become the perfect leadoff hitter, or at least a #2 hitter after Jose Reyes. Tejada has prowess with the glove as well. Offensively, it's quite clear that Tejada has to bulk up from 165 pounds, and learn to get a good jump on the basepaths. It doesn't take much to see the kind of power Tejada doesn't have. At 17 in the GCL, his ISO was .084. In the FSL, it was .067. This year in the EAS, its .076. Dreadful. Defensively, the only problem is the position change.
7. Jeurys Familia, RHP, B- Perhaps I'm being generous, but overall Familia just IS B-. He's got good command, durability and velocity, and it seems that all he needs is his secondary pitches and consistency. He's 19 years old and in A ball this year he's pitched 99 innings in 17 starts, striking out 80 and walking 33. He's allowed 79 hits and just 3 home runs, and his ERA is 3.09. He's a big body guy, can throw a 93, 94 MPH fastball with some regularity and should be interesting going forward.
8. Robert Carson, LHP, C+ A BIG grounball pitcher who is currently dominating the SALLY league. Deserves a promotion and needs one to be properly evaluated, as he probably won't keep up his 2.53 ERA at the higher levels. He's developed good command and I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would chose his as their home run derby pitcher. In 99.2 innings, he's allowed 2 HR. In a career 162.1 innings, he's allowed 4. If all goes well he could end up in the middle of a rotation. Just another pitcher to add to the Mets farm system's rich glossary. Pitches: Low-90s fastball and low- to mid-80s slider. Not sure if he has a changeup. Both should be plus pitches.
9. Reese Havens, IF/OF, C+ He's been battling injury and a low BABIP, but there's still plenty of potential in Havens. He's already managed to lower his K rate from last year, and at this point has some of the best plate discipline in the game. His power is wonderful as well. After being placed in the NYPL in 2008, he hit .247/.340/.471. What was truly alarming wasn't necessarily the batting average, but the 27 Ks in 85 ABs, which is only a little better than 1 K per 3 ABs, and Havens is no Ryan Howard. In St. Lucie, he was able to dramatically lower that rate. In 197 ABS, he has struck out 37 times, and walked 30 as well. He has a very nice .188 ISO as well. The only problem was his batting average to bring his line down to .228/.341/.416. The average and the injuries are what keep him from being a flat B.
10. Eric Beaulac, RHP, C+ Already armed with two very nice pitches in his fastball and power curve, Beaulac may very well be on the fast track to the Mets bullpen. However the Mets intend to see if he can fare in the rotation. Beaulac has started 11 games and relieved 7 of them, pitching 81 innings. Beaulac struck out 97 and walked 29, allowing just 5 homers. It wouldn't be ludicrous to say Beaulac could keep up his K rate all the way to the bigs -- throughout the past two years between college, Kingspot and Savannah it's been around 11.0 per 9 -- his command and ability to keep the ball in the park could be challenged. He's 22 and will likely be aggresively promoted soon.
11. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, C+ Drafted in 2008, Nieuwenhuis often cited comparison to Eric Byrnes. In the pros, Nieuwenhuis has shown good ability to take a walk, good power, and nice speed. The only part of his game he needs to work on is the strikeouts. His BABIP is fine for a guy with his tools at .324, but he's either going to need better luck or a less Ks if he wants his average above the .240 which it is at right now. He's stolen 12 bases in 13 attempts, has a nice .156 ISO in the FSL, and a whatever .240/.336/.396 line.
12.Jefry Marte, 3B, C+ Still extremely far from the majors -- much more so than Flores -- Marte is a big whiffer. So far in 364 Savannah ABs he's struck out 93 times already. However Marte has already developed a good deal of pop and has hit for a solid 26 XBHs including 5 homers, 3 more than Flores. Marte is starting to show better discipline and better contact ability in the past 2 months however, as in the 167 ABs he's had between June and July, he's been hitting for a .282/.322/.401 line, which is in stark contrast to his dreadful April and May. He's a big guy with great bat speed and could have passable season numbers by August's end.
13. Dillon Gee, RHP, C+ The 23 year old has moved quietly but not unnoticed through the Mets system. He is mainly a command pitcher with a good fastball-change combo and a curve to mix things up. It seems that he is battling injury for the first time this year, but is usually very healthy. His fastball is a high-80s pitch that hits 90 and 91 often, and he locates the pitch phenominally. His change is usually low-80s and gets Gee's Ks. The curve generates a lot of pop ups and weak grounders. His numbers are pretty good in the pros. His K/9 usually sits in the 7 area, he doesn't allow a lot of homers, and gets most of his outs off of pop ups. He should be a fine MLB pitcher who works out of the back of the rotation. Not a lot of potential here.
14. Zach Lutz, 3B, C+ I'm expecting to receive the most flak for this one, but I see Lutz as a player with huge sleeper potential. He showed great prowess with the bat with Brooklyn in 2008 until getting hurt. Lutz has a rather large injury tendency, but he hits the ball damn hard. His power numbers may be diminished by playing in St. Lucie, and he's not exactly young at 23, but I could see Lutz getting a 2010 September callup if all goes right. In Brooklyn, he went 24-for-72 with 3 doubles, 4 homers, 14 walks and 12 Ks. In St. Lucie he's hitting .275/.384/.422. 32 walks, 42 Ks.
15. Kyle Allen, RHP, C+ Has bullpen potential right now. His fastball is 88-90 MPH, has good movement on his off-speed. He commands his fastball very well but struggles putting his curve and change in the zone. With a bit more velocity Allen could become a rotation candidate or set up man candidate. At 18 he was dominant in the GCL but has been rather mediocre in terms of numbers in the Sally. In 80 innings (17 G, 11 GS) he's struck out 69 and walked 32, allowing 77 hits, 7 of which are homers. He has a not over-or-underwhelming 4.16 ERA, but a lot of time to improve at age 19.
16. Brant Rustich, RHP, C+ He's pretty damn old to be in A+ ball and still be considered a good prospect at 24, but he's got three pitches that he throws for strikes and also have very nice movement, especially his slider, a mid-80s pitch that bites very well. His fastball travels mid-90s and I've only heard about his changeup. Rustich's biggest issue is health. He is oft-injured and gets appearances essentially on a weekly basis as a reliever. If he stays healthy he is a huge asset but there are plenty of doubts about that.
16. Josh Thole, C, C/C+ On one hand, the Mets.com posterboy has spectacular plate discipline and contact ability at a position where hitting is at a premium, on the other hand he has absolutely no pop and may need to move to a position where his numbers just won't matter. Thole only gets C+ consideration to his very nice average this year.
17. Francisco Pena, C, C Pena has good defense behind the plate and a solid swing and power, but needs to lose a few or at least turn those pounds into mucles. Plate discipline is also something he shouldn't take for granted. Pena has been rushed to St. Lucie, but I think the Mets should make him repeat.
18. Cesar Puello, OF, C A long way off, but Puello is a very toolsy outfielder with the ability to hit for average. Major sleeper potential for 2010.
19. Sean Ratliff, OF, C He hits the ball hard, but has NO plate discipline and the numbers just don't add up to him being very good right now.
20. Yohan Almonte, RHP, C I know nothing about him but hopefully he moves quickly through the organization
HMs (C): Eddie Kunz RHP, Scott Shaw RHP, Chris Schwinden RHP, Lucas Duda 1B/OF, Shawn Bowman 3B, Jake Ruckle RHP, Stefan Welch 1B, James Fuller LHP, Roy Merrit LHP, Aderlin Rodriguez 3B, Javier Rodriguez OF, Nick Santomauro OF, Charlie Hinojosa 2B, Alonzo Harris 2B, Angel Calero LHP
I think I'm going to do the Royals next. They have an extremely intriguing system.