NEW YORK METS TOP 20 PROSPECTS FOR 2016
The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Comments are welcome, but in the end all analysis and responsibility is mine. Full reports on all of players can be found in the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book. We are now taking pre-orders for the book, so order early and order often!
All of these grades are preliminary and subject to change.
QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS
Grade A prospects are the elite. In theory, they have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Theoretically, most Grade A prospects develop into stars or at least major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don’t intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don’t make it at all.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. You have to read the full comment in the book for the full analysis about a player, the letter grade only tells you so much. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
1) Steven Matz, LHP, Grade A-/A: Age 24, 2.05 ERA with 107/34 K/BB in 105 innings in minors, 2.27 ERA with 34/10 K/BB in 36 innings in the majors plus work in the post-season. A great story, hometown boy who overcame injuries, major league ready. Only question really is durability but most recent injury was not arm-related.
2) Dominic Smith, 1B, Grade B: Age 20, hit .305/.354/.417 with 33 doubles, six homers, 35 walks, 75 strikeouts in 456 at-bats in High-A. Strong feel for hitting with good defensive reviews, main doubt remains power projection but has made some progress. Still draws James Loney comps.
3) Amed Rosario, SS, Grade B: Age 20, hit .253/.302/.329 with 23 walks, 78 strikeouts in 395 at-bats in High-A. Bat is not very good right now but he is quite young, glove looks very strong, will need to boost OBP skills and/or increase power but young enough for that to happen.
4) Gavin Cecchini, SS, Grade B-: Age 21, hit .317/.377/.442 in Double-A, bat is improving but defense has stagnated and there’s some talk now he may have to switch to second base. Interesting how his reputation has changed from good-field-no-hit to good-hit-?-field over the last two years.
5) Brandon Nimmo, OF, Grade B-: Age 22, hit .269/.362/.372 between Double-A and Triple-A. Power is not developing but he gets on base. Looking more and more like a platoon/role player but that can still have value.
6) Wuilmer Becerra, OF, Grade B-: Age 21, hit .290/.342/.423 with nine homers, 16 steals, 33/96 BB/K in 449 at-bats in Low-A. Solid right field tool set and growing into his power, I think he is a breakout candidate for 2016.
7) Desmond Lindsay, Of, Grade B-/C+: Projection pick, age 18, second round pick in 2015, hit .263/.364/.386 in 114 at-bats between rookie ball and New York-Penn League. High-ceiling player with raw power, speed, strong overall tools, another right field candidate who will need time to develop but could be a multi-category regular.
8) Marcos Molina, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 20, all the rage a year ago after 2014 domination of NY-P but missed much of 2015 with injuries, posted 4.57 ERA with 36/11 K/BB in 41 innings in High-A. Second-best pitching arm in the system behind Matz but questions about durability, long-term role preclude a higher grade at this time.
9) Milton Ramos, SS, Grade C+: Age 20, hit .317/.341/.415 in Appalachian League, third round pick in 2014, superior defensive ability at shortstop and hit for average this year, lacks distance power, part of Mets focus to stay strong up the middle with gloves.
10) Luis Carpio, SS, Grade C+: Age 18, hit .304/.372/.359 in Appy League, another defense-oriented player though likely to wind up at second base eventually. Another contact hitter lacking present power but young enough to get better.
11) Ali Sanchez, C, Grade C+: Age 18, Venezuelan catcher hit .278/.339/.315 in rookie ball, threw out almost 50% of runners with very low error and passed ball rates, glove draws raves and may hit eventually.
12) Chris Flexen, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, Tommy John recovery guy easy to overlook, posted 1.87 ERA with 33/7 K/BB in 34 innings in Low-A after returning in August, looks fully recovered at this stage. A major sleeper before he got hurt and has regained that status with renewed health.
13) Eudor Garcia, 3B, Grade C+: Age 21, hit .296/.340/.442 with nine homers, 22 walks, 95 strikeouts in 398 at-bats in Low-A, third round pick in 2014 from El Paso Community College. Defensive projection, strike zone judgment are questions but one of the highest ceiling bats in the system. Could rank as high as nine.
14) Andres Gimenez, SS, Grade C+: Venezuelan shortstop signed for $1,200,000, hasn’t played yet, many experts rated him as the top Venezuelan talent available last year, has a chance to stay at shortstop and is expected to hit for average with a chance for moderate power.
15) Gregory Guerrero, SS, Grade C+: Dominican shortstop signed for $1,500,000, cousin of Vlad Guerrero Jr who signed with Blue Jays, Gregory doesn’t have the same kind of bat but is still expected to hit for average with decent power and more defensive versatility. Could slot at second for a high-ceiling DP combo with Gimenez.
16) Akeel Morris, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, posted 2.05 ERA with 81/29 K/BB in 61 inning between High-A and Double-A, walked three in one major league innings. No question about velocity and K/IP isn’t lying about his stuff but walks obviously a big factor, could close eventually if he can solve the control issue.
17) Jeff McNeil, INF, Grade C+: Age 23, 12th round pick in 2013 from Long Beach State, hit .312/.373/.382 with 16 steals in High-A. Very good glove, versatile, scrappy type, hits from left side, career .305/.375/.389 hitter. Utility projection but not impossible he could exceed that.
18) Matt Reynolds, SS, Grade C+/C: Age 24, hit disappointing .267/.31/.402 in Triple-A after hitting .333/.385/.479 at the same level in 2014. Another utility projection with versatile glove you can play just about anywhere, bat not as good as it looked in ’14 but could probably hit .250 and hold a bench job.
19) Max Wotell, LHP, Grade C+/C: Age 19, third round pick from North Carolina high school this year, posted 2.53 ERA with 16/9 K/BB in 11 innings in rookie ball. Long way off, but projectable type that the Mets have had good luck with in the past.
20) Jhoan Urena, 3B, Grade C+/C: Age 21, hit disappointing .222/.274/.302 between High-A and rookie ball rehab, missed much of season with a wrist injury and hit very poorly after returning. Was much better when healthy in 2014 (.300/.356/.431 in NY-P). Could rebound.
OTHERS OF NOTE: Dario Alvarez, LHP; Matt Bowman, RHP; Robert Gsellman, RHP; Luis Guillorme, SS; Kevin Kaczmarski, OF; Seth Lugo, RHP; Luis Mateo, RHP; Patrick Mazeika, C; L.J. Mazzilli, 2B; Paul Sewald, RHP; Josh Smoker, LHP; Thomas Szapucki, LHP; Corey Taylor, RHP; David Thompson, 3B; Gabriel Ynoa, RHP
For an organizational overview, check the comments section.