It was another disappointing year at the major league level for the New York Mets, as the team recorded its fifth straight losing season and dropped 88 games for the second consecutive year.
To make matters worse, the organization received a crushing blow in late August when it was announced that 24-year-old phenom Matt Harvey, the National League’s starting pitcher in the 2013 All-Star Game, had partially torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and would miss the remainder of the regular season. The right-hander elected to address the injury with rest and rehabilitation before he ultimately decided to undergo Tommy John surgery in October. Sadly, Harvey is expected to miss the entire 2014 season.
The season wasn’t a total wash, though; three of the organization’s top prospects reached the major leagues and offered a glimpse of the team’s bright future.
23-year-old Zack Wheeler, who was acquired shrewdly in late 2011 from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran, emerged as one of the more exciting young pitchers in the game, and it’s easy to envision him following Harvey in the rotation for years to come.
Meanwhile, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who served as the centerpiece of the offseason deal that sent former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays, once again battled injuries but still made his highly anticipated debut in the major leagues.
Lastly, 22-year-old Wilmer Flores, who has been a name in the Mets’ system dating back to 2007, was aggressively promoted to the major leagues in the wake of a David Wright injury in August.
21-year-old Noah Syndergaard—also acquired in the Dickey trade—emerged as one of the top young arms in the minor leagues last season. Boasting a four-pitch arsenal that features three future plus or better offerings, the right-hander has one of the highest ceilings among all pitching prospects and projects as a potential front-of-the-rotation force.
Beyond Syndergaard, the Mets’ prospect pool is comprised of mostly positional talent, including d’Arnaud and Flores, who each failed to accrue 130 at-bats last season and did not qualify as rookies.
The organization is hopeful that 2013 first-rounder Dominic Smith will be its long-term answer at first base, as the 18-year-old left-handed hitter projects to hit for both average and power at maturity. And speaking of first-round draft picks, 2011 bonus baby Brandon Nimmo held his own last year in his full-season debut. However, the outfielder has been slow to develop overall and will presumably require several additional years in the minor leagues.
The Mets also house a few high-floor bats with questionable defensive profiles in Flores and catcher Kevin Plawecki. Finally, be sure to keep an eye on shortstop Amed Rosario in 2014, as it wouldn’t surprise me if the 18-year-old ranks as the team’s top prospect heading into the 2015 season.
Here’s a look at the New York Mets’ top 10 prospects for the 2014 season.