The New York Mets will showcase three of their organization’s top prospects and play host to the 2013 All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 14 at Citi Field.
Starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Brandon Nimmo will represent the Mets on the U.S. team, while starter Rafael Montero will pitch for the World team.
With Zack Wheeler being promoted to the Mets’ starting rotation this season, Syndergaard is now the top-pitching prospect in New York’s farm system.
In just over two seasons, Rafael Montero has ascended from Low-A to Triple-A and could make his major league debut later this summer.
Finally, 2011 first-round draft pick, Brandon Nimmo has the tools to be an everyday player for the Mets, but he has a long road to go before his big league call-up.
Here’s a scouting report for each of New York’s prospects that will take part in Sunday’s Futures Game.
Syndergaard could very well turn out to be the jewel of the trade that sent Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays. The 20-year-old right-hander was recently named the 23rd-best prospect by Baseball America on its list of Top 50 Midseason Prospects.
Syndergaard has flourished in the Mets’ farm system this season, while catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud—the centerpiece of the deal with Toronto—has dealt with a broken bone in his left foot. At 6’5", 200 pounds, Syndergaard has a body type similar to Matt Harvey’s, which is ideal for sustained success at the major league level.
At Single-A Port St. Lucie, Syndergaard was 3-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 12 starts before being promoted to Double-A Binghamton last month, and he’s shown no trouble adjusting to a higher level of competition. In three starts with Binghamton, Syndergaard is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched.
Syndergaard boasts a fastball that hovers in the mid-90s, but it’s his devastating mid-70s curveball that keeps hitters off-balance. He also features a changeup that is effective but still a work in progress, according to MetsMinors.net.
Syndergaard’s array of pitches has allowed him to sport a ratio of 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 83.2 innings pitched this season at both levels.
Syndergaard projects as a frontline major league starter, which is great news for the Mets, who already boast two of those in Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.
Rafael Montero is New York’s sole representative on the World Team at this year’s Futures Game.
Since his debut in 2011, the Dominican native has succeeded at every level of New York’s farm system, and he seems ripe for a September call-up to the Mets this season.
At Double-A Binghamton this season, Montero went 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA in 11 starts before being promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas in mid-June.
In five starts for Las Vegas, Montero is 1-1 with a 4.65 ERA. His elevated ERA can be blamed, in part, on his three starts at Las Vegas’ hitter-friendly ballpark, including a stretch of eight earned in eight innings pitched.
Montero’s low-90s fastball doesn’t blow hitters away, but he uses late movement and impressive command to be effective, according to MLB.com.
Montero boasted a dominant ratio of 7.20 strikeouts per walk in 66.2 innings pitched at Binghamton. The ratio has seen a sharp decline to 2.70 K/BB with Las Vegas, but that could be a result of pitching in a relative hitter’s paradise.
Montero’s arsenal also includes a hard slider and changeup while mixing in a curveball every once in awhile. At 6’0", 170 pounds, scouts agree that Montero needs to bulk up, according to MetsMinors.net, but his durability hasn’t been called into question.
Montero has a bright future at 22 years old, as he has the look of a solid major league starter.
Nimmo won the All-Star Futures Finalist ballot to earn the final spot on the U.S. team, but is he worthy of the honor?
The Mets selected Nimmo with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. The pick surprised many because of Nimmo’s lack of experience against the nation’s elite talent. His high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming couldn’t even field a baseball team.
Nevertheless, Nimmo is one of the best left-handed hitting prospects in the organization, according to a scouting profile on MLB.com.
This season, Nimmo is hitting just .261 with one home run and 23 RBI in 273 at-bats for the Low-A Savannah Sand Gnats. In fact, Nimmo has already struck out 80 times, which equals nearly 30% of his at-bats this season. Also, Nimmo’s current .720 OPS ranks him just sixth among Savannah hitters with at least 145 at-bats.
Earlier this season, Nimmo missed a month of play due to a bruised hand and then a strained glute. Following his return, Nimmo experienced discomfort at the plate and struggled as a result, according to MetsBlog.
Growing pains aside, it’s important to remember that Nimmo is just 20 years old and has the potential to be a five-tool player for the Mets someday. He’s already a reliable defender who has exhibited a knowledge of the strike zone with his 32 walks and .368 on-base percentage. Nimmo has raw power, but has clearly yet to to tap into it.
The Mets are in desperate need of a long-term option in center field, but it doesn’t appear that Nimmo will be able to fill that role any time in the near future.
The Futures Game isn’t a bad place to start, though.