New York Mets: Post-Spring Training Scouting Reports on Team's Top Prospects
New York Mets fans have adopted patience during this period of rebuilding. Actually, there has been no choice but to be patient, considering the plan the organization has implemented. To be fair, it has begun to yield results.
The Mets experienced modest success during spring training, as they finished with a 15-15 record; however, the true test will be how the system performs as a whole this season. That includes all levels of the minors because general manager Sandy Alderson has spoken about the growth of the farm system even at the lower levels.
There were some mixed results with their top prospects, with Travis d'Arnaud being the obvious bright spot, but other prospects such as Domingo Tapia having some command issues.
Here are the latest scouting reports on the team's top prospects.
Travis D'Arnaud, C
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Entering the offseason, everyone knew the Mets had high expectations for their recently acquired catcher. The biggest question surrounding Travis d'Arnaud is whether he can remain healthy for a full season. Obviously, spring training will not completely alleviate that question, but it is a great sign that his knee is back to full health.
He hit .343 in 35 at-bats, recording four doubles and four RBI. He was impressive to watch, but more importantly, he apparently as developed chemistry with Matt Harvey already.
"Three starts with him and almost like we've been with each other for a couple years. ... I couldn't say anything better about him learning each pitcher," Harvey told the Daily News.
The only negative seems to be his age, according to one scout.
"He's 24 and hasn't played in the big leagues yet. Where was Yadi (Molina) at 24? Where was Buster Posey at 24?" the scout said to Andy Martino of the Daily News.
His failure to play in the big leagues is obviously attributed to the injuries he has suffered, but if he remains healthy, d'Arnaud will obviously be up sooner rather than later. Most likely in May.
Zack Wheeler, P
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The New York Mets acquired Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants in a trade for Carlos Beltran in July 2011. At the time, there were some questions whether Wheeler could harness his control and if he could develop a third pitch in order to become a starting pitcher at the big league level.
Since then, he has gotten outstanding reviews from major league scouts and executives.
Among the comments about Wheeler was "he's got four pitches," and "they're all plus, plus, plus," as well as, "so effortless" in regard to his delivery (per Adam Rubin of ESPN New York).
Wheeler did suffer a mild oblique strain at the end of February before a start, but he has pitched in minor league games since that time and appeared to suffer no ill effects.
Wheeler appeared in one Grapefruit League game in which he tossed two shutout innings while striking out two batters.
He will be promoted this season, most likely before June, as it is evident the Mets are avoiding putting him in a situation to fail and they are reluctant about him being eligible for free agency a year earlier.
Noah Syndergaard, P
Photo is credited to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com
It was quite surprising that GM Sandy Alderson was able to pry away a pitcher of Noah Syndergaard's caliber, who was highly touted and coming off a great year in the minor leagues in 2012, in addition to d'Arnaud.
Last season, he recorded an ERA of 2.60 while amassing 122 strikeouts in 103 innings. The previous year, he compiled an ERA of 1.83 and an opponent average of .211.
Johnathon Mayo of MiLB.com said, "He could end up being the best player in the deal, though it may take more time for him to develop."
He told Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog that he is ahead where Zack Wheeler was at the same age.
The arsenal of pitches and velocity is tantalizing, but most impressively, his control is extremely advanced for a young pitcher. He only walked 31 in 103 innings, which is rare for a young power pitcher.
He should be on the fast track to the big leagues.
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Wilmer Flores has been on the radar since he was signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela in 2007. He posted an .842 OPS that season in the Appalachian League, which was a real eye-opener.
Since then, scouts have debated over his worth, considering his size (6'3") is generally regarded as too tall for a shortstop, but his power is not yet on par with a corner infielder.
Johnathon Mayo said, "His feel for hitting should help him get to the big leagues. Where his long-term defensive home is remains to be seen.”
He was their Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 after he hit .300 with 18 home runs, 75 RBI and an .827 OPS over two levels of minors, topping at Double-A Binghamton.
He would be a candidate to switch to the outfield given the depleted state of the outfield depth in the organization.
"It’s an obvious question,” GM Sandy Alderson said during a press conference, “and we’ve considered it."
He could be a candidate to be traded as well, and I advocated incorporating him in a deal for Justin Upton, which did not materialize.
Jeurys Familia, P
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Jeurys Familia made a name for himself during the 2011 season, posting a 2.90 ERA while striking out 132 batters in 124 innings in the minor leagues.
He was a September call-up but clearly struggled with his command as he walked nine batters in 12.1 innings.
There was debate whether he would be groomed to be a starter or a reliever in the future, but Terry Collins decided he would be a reliever in 2013, as he made the roster thanks to his strong numbers in spring training.
He allowed only three runs over 13.1 innings but walked eight batters. He must refine his control in order to be trusted in a big spot. He is only 23, which gives him time to develop.
Here's what Johnathon Mayo had to say:
There has never been any question about Familia’s arm strength and his ability to generate swings and misses, with his strikeout rate of nearly a batter per inning throughout his Minor League career. He can maintain his mid-90s velocity throughout his starts with good sink. His slider with short bite gives him a very good breaking ball to complement his fastball, and it has a cutter-type action. He shows some feel for a sinking changeup, though he doesn’t throw it much, especially when he’s coming out of the bullpen. His lack of command and the lack of a consistent third pitch makes most thinking a relief role makes the most sense, with the potential to be a future closer.
Familia will be given an opportunity to stick with the big league club, but the team may have to send him down once Shaun Marcum is ready to make a start, possibly as soon as this weekend.