The New York Mets system is saved from being a bottom five system thanks to a trade last year, the past two drafts, and their International signings.
The system still has a ways to go but it has some exciting arms at the top and some upside picks from the 2011 draft.
Below are my top 16 prospects with 2012 opening day age, position, and comments on each player. Below the top 16 is a small list of additional notable names. Enjoy.
|1||Zack Wheeler (21-RHP)||Wheeler was acquired when the Mets sent Carlos Beltran to the Giants last season. Wheeler sits 91-94 with solid movement and can touch 97-98 if needed. His fastball is plus and he pairs it with a plus 12-6 curveball. His control improved last year and if he develops his change and cutter he could be the ace of this staff in a few short years. He still has room to add muscle to his wiry frame.|
|2||Matt Harvey (23-RHP)||Harvey has a similar fastball to Wheeler and has already filled out his big frame and sits 92-95 and can also touch 98. He pairs it with a slider that flashes plus but well below-average change. He has above-average control and #2 potential with a floor of a high-leverage reliever. He is very close to ready and may only need another year if he gets his change-up to be an average offering.|
|3||Jeurys Familia (22-RHP)||Another big fastball from a right-hander and he still has room to add muscle to his frame. His fastball may be the best, velocity-wise, in the system but his slider and change still are a work in progress. The slider flashes plus but is very inconsistent and the change needs a lot of work. He has the upside of Harvey but not the same probability. His floor also looks like that of a high-leverage reliever.|
|4||Brandon Nimmo (19-OF)||Taken 13th overall in the 2011 draft Nimmo and has the tools to back up the pick. He has legitimate 5-tool abilities but is still a bit raw. He has room to add muscle to his 6’3” frame the power potential could be plus. He is an above-average runner and can handle CF with some seasoning. As much as we love toolsy players like Nimmo the probability is not great of him reaching his projected abilities. He has time on his side and the Mets should let him develop and not rush him.|
|5||Michael Fulmer (19-RHP)||Fulmer is a 2011 supplemental 1st round pick with a big fastball that can touch 98 mph and a slider that flashes plus but lacks consistency. He has almost no feel for a change-up and his command is below-average but he is the type of arm you take a gamble on. He has a starter’s frame and should be given time to develop. #2 potential here but a low floor and a long way from ready.|
|6||Jenrry Mejia (22-RHP)||Tommy John surgery and a lot of effort in his delivery almost certainly lock him into a bullpen role despite a solid 3-pitch repertoire. His fastball sits 93-96 and looks faster than that with the late life on it. His change-up and curve show flashes of excellence but he needs to command the pitches better. The poor handling of him by the FO and the injuries have certainly cost him.|
|7||Cesar Puello (21-OF)||Puello is the definition of a toolsy prospect whose stats do not match the talent. He has all the tools you would want in a potential 4-tool CFer but he is still incredible raw and if his lack of discipline continues he could be an afterthought in a few years. He also profiles better in RF due to poor jumps and bad reads. He is only ranked this high due to reports on his tools.|
|8||Kirk Nieuwenhuis (24-OF)||He has no tools that jump out at you but he does enough across the board to grab your attention. His patience has improved as he has gone up the ladder. His walk rate was 8.6% in Double-A and below but has jumped to 12.1% in Triple-A. He is kind of a tweener with not enough range for CF but not enough power for a COF spot and he also has some platoon issues. At worst he should find himself having a solid career as a good fourth OFer with upside of an everyday regular.|
|9||Jordany Valdespin (24-2B)||Came out of nowhere to hit 17 homeruns and steal 37 bases between Double-A and Triple-A. He profiles as more of a 10/25 guy and his lack of plate discipline will keep him at the bottom of batting orders. He is still a bit undisciplined overall and 2B is likely his best position with well above-average range there.|
|10||Reese Havens (25-2B)||Patience and 15+ homerun power potential while playing a solid 2B should rank him higher but he not even reached 1000 PAs due to constant injuries. He also strikes out a lot but if he can actually stay healthy he could be a very good ball player.|
|11||Domingo Tapia (20-RHP)||A big fastball that can touch triple digits but no secondary offerings that grade as average or better. He does keep the ball down and should remain in the starting role and has a wiry 6’4” frame that can add muscle to help with durability. If he can get at least one secondary offering going he could at least have a career as a Major League reliever.|
|12||Cory Mazzoni (22-RHP)||Drafted in the 2nd round in 2011 Mazzoni has solid command and control of his 3-pitch repertoire. His fastball sits low-90s as a starter but can hit mid-90s in short stints and his slider is above-average with his change flashing above-average at times. He will be used as a starter, which is smart, but if he cannot find success he could be a quick mover out of the pen.|
|13||Wilmer Flores (20-3B)||Still very young so there is time for development but the lack of range will force him to 3B and he has almost no approach at the plate other than to swing at everything. He has only 82 unintentional walks in 1986 pro PAs. He has room to add muscle which should help with the power projection but if he does not learn discipline and patience he will be off prospect lists soon.|
|14||Juan Lagares (23-OF)||The only reason he is ranked here is due to his ability to make hard contact on a consistent basis. He does not profile well in CF and his power is well below-average for a COF spot. He does not walk (91 unintentional passes in 1966 pro PAs) so he will have to hit for a high average to be a regular and the probability of him doing so is low. I see an extra OFer but chance for more if he learns some patience.|
|15||Phillip Evans (19-MIF)||Gets major points for his makeup and will earn the scrappy or gritty tag from others. He has no one tool that jumps out at you but could be a .280 hitter with 10/10 potential and solid defense in the middle infield. He’s worth keeping an eye on.|
|16||Darin Gorski (24-LHP)||Was a bit old for High-A but he has excellent command and control of a 4-pitch repertoire of mostly average offerings. Double-A will be a good test of what he can be. Has the ceiling of a back-end starter who can eat innings. Reminds me a lot of Tom Milone.|
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: On the Farm - Prospects Tagged: | 2012 Top Prospects, Akeel Morris, Brandon Nimmo, Cory Mazzoni, Cory Vaughn, Darin Gorski, Domingo Tapia, Jenry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Jordany Valdespin, Juan Lagares, Juan Urbina, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt Harvey, Michael Fulmer, New York Mets, Phillip Evans, Prospects, Reese Havens, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler