Top 11 New York Mets Prospects of 2012
Recently drafted Brandon Nimmo has caused a stir with his premier athletic talents, and players like Kirk Nieuwenheis and Jordany Valdespin seem primed to make an impact with the Mets as early as this upcoming season.
Sandy Alderson and Co. will look to continue to improve the farm system this season, and add more depth to it. But they definitely have something to work with. There is some premier talent in the minor leagues for the Mets, so here are my 11 top prospects for the Mets.
Domingo Tapia, RHP, age 20
Matt den Dekker, OF, age 24
Cory Vaugh, OF, age 22
Darin Gorski, LHP, age 24
Juan Urbina, LHP, age 18
Rafael Montero, RHP, age 21
Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B, age 20
Phil Evans, SS, age 19
11. Akeel Morris, RHP, Age 19
Akeel Morris is a young pitcher from the US Virgin Islands. He was drafted by the Mets as an 18-year-old, and he has shown that he has loads of potential. Morris has an electrifying fastball, and a plus curveball. His fastball sits around the upper 90s, and his curveball complements it very well.
Morris is known for his astounding strikeout numbers—and also his unfortunately high walk rate. Morris obviously has control issues, but his fastball velocity has helped him survive in the minors. If he wants to continue his way up the ladder to the majors, however, he will have to get his control down pat.
Morris is a ways away from the majors, but he is a very exciting prospect to keep an eye on. He has one of the best arms in the New York Mets' farm system, and if all goes right, he could become a very effective player for the Mets at the major league level.
10. Jordany Valdespin, SS/2B, Age 24
Jordany Valdespin ended the 2011 season in AAA Buffalo. He hit very well with Buffalo, and many expected him to get a September call-up. That obviously didn't happen, but Valdespin still continued to produce.
Valdepsin will compete for the shortstop and second base jobs this spring. He is a long shot to win one of the jobs, but there is still a chance that his potential will shine and leave the Mets with no choice but to bring him to Queens.
He is a speedy middle infielder who steals a fair share of bases. Valdespin has a great arm in the field, but he can also be prone to errors sometimes. He is a good contact hitter and will even bust out a few home runs every once in a while. He also possesses a very attractive speed-power tool set.
Look for Valdespin to make some noise this spring, and possibly make a case for himself to break spring training with the major league team.
9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Age 24
Nieuwenheis was on the cusp of making it to the major leagues until he had a season-ending injury. He was producing at a rapid rate, and he seemingly would have gotten a September call-up. He is all healed up now, and the Mets will keep a close eye on him this spring.
The Mets will be looking to see if he is healthy and can pick up where he left off last season. Nieuwenheis has a fair amount of power and even a bit of surprising speed. He hits for a solid average, too.
He'll have a real chance at playing center field for the Mets this season if Andres Torres struggles. If Nieuwenheis can stay healthy and produce in the minors, then he will almost definitely be in Queens by the time the All-Star Game comes around.
8. Juan Lagares, OF, age 22
Juan Lagares put together one of the most impressive minor league seasons for the Mets last year. He continued to hit no matter where the Mets put him. He finished the season in AA Binghamton and compiled a sterling line of .370/.391/.512.
Lagares does have some downside, though. As his OBP suggests, Lagares doesn't draw too many walks. He also doesn't possess too much power. He relies on his great contact and speed, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as he continues to put up solid numbers in those categories.
If Lagares can acquire a better eye at the plate, then he will immediately become a much more dangerous player. But for now, he seems like he'll pan out as a good utility outfielder and pinch hitter. It will be very interesting to see how Lagares plays this season, and many are expecting big things from him.
7. Reese Havens, 2B, Age 25
These past few seasons for Havens have been very disappointing. Injuries have come very close to derailing his career, but Havens' natural athletic skills have kept him alive. He is simply a fantastic player; the problem is that he's rarely healthy.
He is not getting any younger, and this season will prove to be crucial to his major league career. If Havens can stay healthy this season, and produce, then he might find his way to the MLB.
The Mets can only hope that Havens conditioned himself very well this season. If he stays healthy, then expect big things from Havens; if he doesn't, then things won't go so well for him.
Regardless of what happens with his health, he is a very gifted player with loads of potential, and the Mets are keeping their fingers crossed for him this season.
6. Cesar Puello, OF, Age 20
Cesar Puello is a very intriguing Mets prospect. He has the potential to become a great five-tool player, but he just hasn't put it all together yet. Luckily, he's still just 20 years old.
He has improved in each of his professional seasons with the Mets, and 2011 was no different, as his power seemed to emerge last year. Puello complemented his speed with his newfound power, and he became quite a threat both at the plate and on the basepaths.
The Mets are hoping that Puello transforms his speed into a whole lot of stolen bases this season, because he definitely has the tools to be a big base stealer. Puello plays a very nice outfield, and his great arm looks like it will slot him in right field (rather than center field, where he's also played before).
Puello could really put together a great season this year and cement himself among the Mets' top prospects. Keep an eye on him.
5. Brandon Nimmo, OF, age 18
Brandon Nimmo was the Mets' first overall pick (13th overall) in last year's MLB draft. The Wyoming native's tremendous upside caught the Mets' eye.
Nimmo's high school didn't even have a baseball team, so he played in a Legion League. That scared away a lot of teams, but the Mets concentrated on Nimmo's great numbers in the Legion League and the amazing tools he possesses.
Nimmo has the potential to become a star in the major leagues, and in his short time in the minors last year, he didn't disappoint. He continued to flash the potential that forced the Mets to select him, and he also managed to stay level headed while being thrust into the spotlight.
Big things seem to be in line for this small town player, and fans are eager to see how this premium athlete performs this season.
4. Wilmer Flores, 3B, age 20
Some Mets fans have been disappointed with Wilmer Flores recently, but I don't understand why. Flores has been one of the youngest players in his respective leagues throughout his whole minor league career, and despite that, he has still managed to produce.
He didn't produce fantastic numbers last season, but he still managed to show flashes of why he is one of the Mets' top prospects. Flores barely strikes out, and his power seems to be on the cusp of emerging.
Flores will be at the ripe age of 20 for most of this upcoming season, and that should ease many Mets fans' minds. He's still right on track, and he seems primed for a huge season.
3. Jeurys Familia, RHP, age 22
Familia is often overlooked due to Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. The crazy thing is that Familia might have the best pure "stuff" among himself, Harvey and Wheeler. He has a very powerful farm and a blazing fastball that routinely reaches the upper 90s.
His secondary pitches are coming along, and his control showed improvement last season. Familia's walk rate improved last season, along with his increasing number of strikeouts. He has a whole lot of potential, and if he can continue to improve his command, then he will become a very strong pitcher.
2. Matt Harvey, RHP, age 22
Matt Harvey is simply a great pitcher. He has very good command, and his pitching repertoire has been continually progressing. Harvey will look to strengthen his secondary pitches this season, and the Mets will try to increase his innings and stretch his arm out.
If all goes well for Harvey this season, he will have a chance to get a September call-up, but he will most likely make his major league debut in 2013. Regardless of what happens, this will be a crucial year for Harvey's development. Harvey projects to be the Mets' No. 2 pitcher of the future.
1. Zack Wheeler, RHP, age 21
The Mets basically stole Zack Wheeler from the Giants last season. Wheeler immediately became the team's top prospect, and he continued to put up great numbers when he arrived with the Mets. Wheeler has a great heavy fastball that he complements with his plus curveball.
He has been working on his changeup, whim has turned out to be a good third pitch for him. He used to suffer from surrendering too many walks, but that problem abruptly stopped last year. Wheeler's walk numbers were the best in his career after the Beltran trade.
He is improving at a rapid pace and has a real chance to become the future ace for the Mets.