Odds of Top New York Mets Prospects Making the 2014 Opening Day Roster
The New York Mets currently have a number of their top prospects on the verge of making the major leagues. Whether they make the team’s Opening Day roster or are called up later in the season is another question.
For prospects who haven’t made their major league debut yet, their chances of making the Opening Day roster are diminished. With the Super Two rule that allows teams another year of service time if they wait to call players up, clubs have little incentive to call up their star prospects for financial reasons.
The team has a stable of relief prospects who should compete for Opening Day roster spots (like Cory Mazzoni, Jeff Walters and Jack Leathersich) but have been left off of this list because they aren’t considered among the team’s top 10 prospects.
The Mets also have a number of highly regarded prospects in their system who are further away from the major leagues (Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, etc.) who have also been left off of this list, as they have no chance of making the club.
With spring training just around the corner, it’s time to get excited about baseball again and whether the top Mets prospects will make the team out of camp. Here are the odds of the team’s top prospects making the club out of spring training.
Outside of the Mets arms destined for the bullpen, deGrom has the best chance of making the team’s Opening Day roster.
DeGrom, who turns 26 in June, is older than Mets pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, so maintaining long-term financial control of him is less important for the club.
Also, the Mets’ handling of deGrom last year indicates that the franchise is willing to be flexible with his promotions. After starting the season with High-A St. Lucie, deGrom quickly worked his way up to Double-A Binghamton and finally Triple-A Las Vegas. Considering his quick promotions, it’s clear the Mets feel they have an advanced arm who can handle all sorts of challenges.
DeGrom should start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas, but if there is an injury in spring training, he is a likely option to fill the void in the rotation (if he performs well).
The Mets could also go in a different direction with deGrom and move him to the bullpen, as his power arm would be well suited for late-inning situations.
Odds deGrom makes the Opening Day Roster: 3:2
Of the Mets’ young hurlers, Rafael Montero has a legitimate chance to make the team out of spring training.
Montero has always had doubters as he has progressed through the Mets system. Many evaluators believe his slight frame and unspectacular secondary offerings will result in him heading to the bullpen.
Montero has made up for these deficiencies with his impeccable feel for pitching. He hits his spots and changes speeds with ease, playing off his above-average fastball and fooling hitters despite below-average (but improving) off-speed pitches. With his feel for pitching, Montero could develop into a No. 3 starter at the big league level.
Because he lacks the ceiling of Noah Syndergaard, Montero would cost the Mets less financially in the long term if he started the season with the big league club. The Mets could also decide Montero is best suited for the bullpen and start him there (but this option is unlikely).
Jacob deGrom’s ceiling is older and his ceiling also is below Montero’s, so he would be a more likely option.
Odds Montero makes the Opening Day roster: 3:1
Flores is one of the best hitters in the Mets system, as he has a great feel for hitting, complemented by average power. However, Flores has defensive limitations that make his bat less valuable.
The young Venezuelan made his major league debut last August and struggled with the bat following an ankle injury, which clearly altered his performance.
The Mets have no financial incentive to keep Flores in the minors, but the odds he makes the big league club are still low. His ideal position is third base, but with David Wright there that is unlikely. He can also play second and first base, but with Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis on the roster both those options are also unlikely.
While Flores would be a nice bat off the bench, it would be wise for the Mets to keep him in the minors and let him get at-bats everyday, waiting for a spot to open up either because of injury or poor performance.
Odds Flores makes the Opening Day roster: 4:1
Of all the top prospects trying to make the squad out of camp, d’Arnaud is the easiest to project.
As a 24-year-old in spring training last season, d’Arnaud arguably should have made the major league roster for Opening Day in 2013. The Mets thought a little more seasoning in the minors as well as the extra year of control they would get was more important than having him play in April.
D’Arnaud’s progress took a major step back in April as he broke his foot on a foul tip. He ended up making his debut in August while finishing the season in unspectacular fashion with the big league club.
Now d’Arnaud, who will be 25 in February, only has a potential injury standing in his way of being the starting catcher on Opening Day. The Mets have not acquired a catcher who has experience as a starting catcher in the big leagues, and the club no longer has the financial incentive of keeping him in the minors.
Disregarding a potential injury, d’Arnaud making the Mets out of spring training is close to a sure thing. As I wrote earlier this offseason, he is a key to the Mets' playoff hopes in 2014.
Odds d’Arnaud makes the Opening Day roster: 1:50
Widely seen as the best prospect in the Mets farm system (ranked first by Baseball America and Fangraphs), Noah Syndergaard is on the verge of making the major leagues but is unlikely to start the season in the majors.
This may frustrate many fans, but the team has little incentive to rush him to the major leagues. The biggest reason to not have him start the season in the majors is for financial reasons. Syndergaard is just 21 years old and won’t turn 22 until August. He has a promising career ahead of him, so if the Mets can maintain another year of control without having to pay him a massive extension, they should sacrifice a few starts to begin this season.
Another reason Syndergaard likely will not make the Mets out of spring training is because he still has room to grow as a pitcher before he’s ready for the majors.
Syndergaard’s fastball is already a quality major league pitch since he already does an effective job locating it. His secondary offerings have the potential to be plus pitches, but they aren’t quite there yet. His curveball has great potential, but he currently has trouble locating it and the pitch doesn’t have the consistent break needed to be effective on the major league level.
The burly Texan also likely won’t make the club out of spring training because the Mets have other options available. Four of the team’s starters are set in stone with Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon. Jenrry Mejia is the front-runner for the fifth spot as of now, and if he stays healthy and performs in spring training, the job should be his. The Mets could also add another veteran starter to compete for that spot, bringing in another person who would stand in Syndergaard’s way.
Injuries can happen, but prospects like Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero mean less to the Mets financially and therefore would be options to make the club before Syndergaard as replacement starters.
Taking all of this into account, it’s unlikely that Syndergaard makes the club out of spring training. He should start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas.
Odds Syndergaard makes the Opening Day roster: 20:1
All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.
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