New York Mets: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Prospects for Week No. 4
If the Major League Baseball season is not enough to satisfy you, there is always the minor leagues to fill that void. Each team has a number of affiliations in their farm system that provide baseball for the enthusiast.
New York Mets fans are in a period of time when they may have more than just an eye on the minor league teams. There are a number of intriguing prospects that will be part of the next era of great baseball in Flushing.
Here is a stock watch on the top prospects in the system, a list that was compiled by Mike Rosenbaum of Bleacher Report.
10. Luis Mateo, RHP
Stats: 2 GS, 1-1, 9.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 11 K
Luis Mateo is still recovering from his elbow/forearm injury, which limited him to three innings in his first start at Double-A Binghamton.
He had a tremendous start in his season debut with St. Lucie but was promoted to fill-in for Collin McHugh.
Mateo probably receives the least press of the young power-arm Latino pitchers in the system, but he is certainly one to track considering his incredible strikeout-to-walk ratios in the past.
9. Domingo Tapia, RHP
Stats:5 GS, 2-2, 2.49 ERA, 25.1 IP, 18 H, 7 ER, 1 HR, 9 BB, 23 K
Last week I claimed that I was very impressed with the command of Domingo Tapia despite his height and low 3/4 delivery. His stock was already high in the organization, and it only enhances with each passing solid start.
On April 25, he had 5.2 innings pitched, allowed two earned runs, fanned five and walked two.
He is 21 years old, he throws hard and he will force himself into discussions about the elite prospects in the game within the next year.
8. Gavin Cecchini, SS
Stats: (Has not appeared in a game this season)
I was a bit puzzled when Sandy Alderson opted to draft a high school position player for the second consecutive year, but he must've been intrigued by the defensive prowess and winning acumen of the Louisiana shortstop.
Whenever a gifted defensive shortstop comes along, it is tough to turn down, and they are valued greatly, considering the tremendous eight-year contract given to Elvis Andrus recently.
Cecchini hasn't appeared in a game yet, but he will most likely play for the Brooklyn Cyclones, whom he made a cameo for last year.
7. Michael Fulmer, RHP
Stats: (Has not appeared in a game this season)
Michael Fulmer got lost in the shuffle of Mets prospects considering he was drafted the same year as Brandon Nimmo and has been overshadowed by Zack Wheeler.
It is important to realize, however, that Fulmer has better command of his pitches than most 19-year-old pitchers and will progress very quickly in this minor league system.
That is, of course, once he is back on the mound. He had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee during March.
If he progresses according to a typical timetable for that injury, he will see action beginning in May. He is another one of the "lower-level prospects" that Alderson has alluded to on a number of occasions that could play a big role in the future.
6. Rafael Montero, RHP
Stats: 5 GS, 3-1, 1.95 ERA, 27.2 IP, 19 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 35 K
He is no longer dominating in oblivion. Rafael Montero has garnered some attention for his tremendous command and overall performance. The 22-year-old has the eye-opening K-BB ratio of 35-3. That just doesn't happen very often at any level. That is command reminiscent of Cliff Lee a couple of years ago.
In his last start, he tossed five innings, allowed two runs, fanned eight and walked two, which actually was uncharacteristically wild for him.
Some have speculated that the Mets could use him in a deal for a power bat. I would prefer to keep a pitcher that has such an advanced feel for all of his pitches and an extremely smooth delivery.
5. Brandon Nimmo, OF
Stats: 22 G, 86 AB, .337 AVG, 22 R, 29 H, 1 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 12 B, 23 K, 2 SB, .890 OPS
This season, Brandon Nimmo has been very impressive, but he struggled mightily this week. He went 1-for-20 this week, which dropped his average from an unsustainable .424 to .337.
Obviously, there was no chance of maintaining that level of play, but Nimmo is not yet a power hitter and hasn't been the stolen-base threat as expected, which means he needs to contribute with his line drives.
It will be interesting to see how he responds to this mini-slump.
4. Wilmer Flores, 3B
Stats: 21 G, 80 AB, .263 AVG, 13 R, 21 H, 7 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 8 BB, 8 K, .710 OPS
Wilmer Flores went 2-for-12 this week, which put a damper on his quick start. Of course, there will be some speculation as to whether or not the Mets will package him to acquire a player than can fill their glaring outfield need in the organization.
That is not possible unless Flores shows the league that his bat is enough to mitigate his mediocre glove. The other possibility is he improves significantly enough that the organization has no choice but to promote him and find a spot.
For now, he hasn't really displayed the type of power that has forced the organization to do anything. Mets fans have been hearing about him for years, so he actually seems older than he really is (21 years old).
3. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
Stats: 4 GS, 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 18 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 1 HR, 9 BB, 19 K
After a concerning start in which he yielded seven runs in seven innings, Noah Syndergaard responded with a dominating start in which he fired six shutout innings, allowing only three hits.
He will undoubtedly be one of the most ballyhooed prospects during his Mets career, being that he is linked to the R.A. Dickey trade.
Of course, his intimidating presence of impressive numbers at the low level of the minors are already attention-grabbing.
2. Travis d'Arnaud, C
Stats: 12 G,36 AB, .250 AVG, 12 R, 9 H, 5 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 12 BB, 8 K, .901 OPS
With the recent hitting surge of 2012 second-round pick Kevin Plawecki, perhaps Travis d'Arnaud will have some competition to become the catcher of the future.
Talent-wise, there are few qualities he does not possess as far as elite catching prospects are concerned. His injury history at 24 years old, however, is already concerning.
He must return from this injury and not suffer any period of rust. Of course, he needs to stay healthy as well.
1. Zack Wheeler, RHP
Stats: 5 GS, 0-1, 5.79 ERA, 23.1 IP, 26 H, 15 ER, 3 HR, 15 BB, 28 K, .283 BAA
Aside from the 10.95 K/9, there is not much to be proud of in the early going of 2013 for Zack Wheeler. He was supposed to 1) dominate, 2) get promoted to the majors and 3) form a potent 1-2 combination with Matt Harvey. That is looking like a ways away at the moment.
In his most recent start, he was cruising into the fifth, but he hit a snag and ultimately finished with the line of five-plus innings pitched, five runs, six hits, three base on balls and seven strikes.
The Mets brass can downplay the situation, but they must be internally concerned that the move to Triple-A was not a bright one.
There is the option that they can promote him to actually relieve him of the rigors of pitching in Las Vegas. Sandy Alderson doesn't seem to be the type of person to promote someone for the sake of change. I think he will make him earn it.