As the Mets move towards the 2014 season, the front office will have to determine how to create the best team possible with what they have and any other outside upgrades who could help the cause.
One important aspect of putting a team together is the development of minor league prospects.
After a player gets drafted out of high school, college or internationally, he will go to one of the lower levels of the minor leagues. After that, it could take a few years or more to get into the major leagues.
And even then, making the major leagues is not necessarily a guarantee in itself.
The Mets have developed an improved minor league system in recent time, and a few of their top prospects could be ready for the major leagues in 2014.
Let's see which prospects have the best chances to shine next season.
The Mets' top prospect, Noah Syndergaard, could be making his major league debut next June at around the same time Zack Wheeler came up last season.
Syndergaard has yet to pitch in Triple A, so it should be no surprise that making the Opening Day rotation is a slim possibility at the very most for him.
Syndergaard, though, will more than certainly be considered ready to start 2014 in Triple A thanks to his 9-4 record and 3.06 ERA last year, which also featured a 133-28 ratio of strikeouts to walks in 117.2 innings pitched.
When Syndergaard will come up to the major leagues will mostly depend on how well he pitches in Triple A to start the season.
The Mets Triple A affiliate is in Las Vegas, which is a well known hitters' park, so it will be interesting to see how well Syndergaard will perform there.
But if all goes well, Syndergaard should be getting his major league promotion sometime in the middle of June.
Another top prospect who should be coming up to the Mets next summer is pitcher Rafael Montero.
Montero's potential may not be high as that of Syndergaard, but he is further developed than Syndergaard. Montero split 2013 with Double A Binghamton and Triple A Las Vegas.
This past season, Montero was 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA and an amazing 150-35 ratio of strikeouts to walks in 155.1 innings pitched. He dominated Double A with a 7-3 record and 2.43 ERA before going 5-4 with a 3.05 ERA in Triple A.
Montero will most likely begin 2014 again in Triple A, but he could have a better chance of being promoted to the Mets before Syndergaard simply because he is further developed.
If he does not receive an early call-up though, he will probably then come up with Syndergaard in June.
Possible pitching injuries in the Mets' starting rotation could have a significant effect on the timing as well.
The Mets' 2011 first round pick, Brandon Nimmo, did not have a particularly good season with Single A Savannah last season.
He batted .273 with just two home runs and 40 RBI in 110 games. Despite drawing 71 walks, Nimmo also struck out 131 times in 395 at-bats, which is something he will have to work on a lot in the future.
Despite his 2013 shortcomings, Nimmo should be able to redeem himself in 2014 and shine in that respect.
Nimmo will probably play in Single A St. Lucie next season, if not in Savannah again. His overall development may have been slowed thanks to last season, which should put him on track to come up to the major leagues perhaps in 2016.
Nimmo has the potential to become a very good outfielder. If he can get his power to develop further, his value will increase even more. Hopefully, he will show more signs of that in 2014.
Another promising outfield prospect for the Mets is Cesar Puello, who spent 2013 with Double A Binghamton before getting suspended in the Biogenesis scandal in August.
The question now is will Puello continue to hit well after the suspension? Or was 2013 just a performance enhancing drug-fueled season?
Puello will need to prove himself next season and show that he can still play well without any supplements being involved. He certainly has the hitting potential, a lot of speed and a great glove and throwing arm in the outfield.
If Puello can put it all together, he could possibly become a five-tool player.
He will probably start 2014 at either Double A Binghamton or Triple A Las Vegas. He had the numbers last season to be worthy of a Triple A promotion, but the Mets might want to see him spend some more time in Double A in light of the suspension.
Regardless, Puello will be facing his moment of truth in 2014.
The Mets' 1st round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Dominic Smith, should be able to build on his 2013 season in 2014.
Smith batted .301 with three home runs, 26 RBI and a .398 OBP in 51 games with the Gulf Coast Mets. Smith is a left-handed first baseman with a lot of power. If his development goes well, Smith could turn into a possibly better version of Ike Davis down the road.
Smith will most likely begin 2014 with the Single A Brooklyn Cyclones, which would give local Mets fans a chance to see his talents in person.
If he plays particularly well, it's possible that Smith could get promoted to Savannah or maybe even St. Lucie as well.
It will be a long time before Smith will be major league ready, but look for him to have a very successful first full professional season next year.
While Syndergaard, Montero, Nimmo, Puello and Smith have most likely all become well-known names among Mets fans, Gabriel Ynoa probably is not as well-known as them.
Ynoa, though, has a good amount of potential of his own.
Last season, Ynoa had a great season with Single A Savannah. It included a 15-4 record, a 2.72 ERA and a 106-16 ratio of strikeouts to walks in 135.2 innings pitched.
Ynoa, not surprisingly, was a South Atlantic League All-Star this season as well.
Ynoa seems likely to start 2014 in Single A St. Lucie at the very least, but he should get promoted to Double A Binghamton later on if he continues to pitch as well as he has.
It will be a while until Ynoa makes an impact with the Mets on the major league level, but he should be able to have another very good season in 2014.