Stock Up, Stock Down for New York Mets' Top 10 Prospects for Week 5

Matthew MusicoContributor IIIMay 5, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for New York Mets' Top 10 Prospects for Week 5

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The New York Mets have officially turned the calendar to the month of May, showing impressive records throughout the organization.

    The big league squad currently owns a 16-14 record, one game out of first place as it prepares for a three-game series against the Miami Marlins on the road. Each of New York’s minor league affiliates owns a record better than .500 as we enter the first full week of May.

    That’s very impressive.

    It was an eventful week for prospect Jared King. ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reported that the outfielder proposed to his girlfriend on the field prior to a Savannah Sand Gnats game Saturday.

    King’s teammate, pitcher Robert Whalen, was hospitalized this past week with an infection in his hand, also reported by Rubin.

    Let’s take a look at the organization’s top prospects and whose stock up, down or even with another week of games in the books.

     

    Prospect rankings courtesy of MLB.com. Player statistics sourced from MiLB.com.

    *No. 5 prospect Amed Rosario hasn’t started his season yet with the Brooklyn Cyclones. He will not be included until he’s active. The Cyclones begin their season June 13.

No. 11 Prospect: SP Steven Matz, High-A St. Lucie

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    5 GS, 2-2, 1.88 ERA, 8 BB, 28 K, 28.2 IP

     

    Overview

    Steven Matz’s streak of dominant performances in the Florida State League ended April 30, as the pitcher took his first loss since debuting April 4. Despite being on the wrong side of the scoreboard, the southpaw still limited the opposition’s damage.

    Through his first 23.2 innings of work (four starts), Matz allowed 22 baserunners. In his last appearance against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, he allowed 10 through five innings. The four walks he handed out actually doubled his season total.

    His control of the strike zone clearly wasn’t there, but Matz still minimized the damage, allowing two runs and giving St. Lucie a chance to win. He continues to struggle—using that term loosely—at home, posting a 3.38 ERA and allowing 18 hits and six walks in 16 innings.

    He’ll get a second chance against Charlotte this Tuesday, but this time, it’ll be on the road.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    1 GS, L, 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 10 Prospect: 2B Dilson Herrera, High-A St. Lucie

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    2014 Stats

    30 G, .302/.355/.380, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 26 R

     

    Overview

    Dilson Herrera continues to show consistency at the top of St. Lucie’s batting order. He hasn’t drawn a lot of walks this season—nine free passes in 129 at-bats—but a high batting average is helping him properly set the table for the middle of the order.

    He reached base in each of the seven games he appeared in this week, recording hits in six of them. Herrera has also stayed consistent in the runs scored column, crossing the plate at least once in six of seven contests.

    The second baseman remains second-best in that category among Florida State League hitters, behind teammate Brandon Nimmo.

    If given the opportunity to drive runs in, Herrera will surely take advantage of it. He’s hitting .360/.433/.400 in 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Batting in this situation has given him nine of his 10 RBI on the year.

    Herrera finished April strong and looks poised for more of the same in May, starting the month with a .375/.412/.438 line in 16 at-bats.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    9-for-28, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 7 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 9 Prospect: SS Gavin Cecchini, Low-A Savannah

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    2014 Stats

    27 G, .278/.352/.398, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 19 R

     

    Overview

    Gavin Cecchini’s bat came alive this week for the Sand Gnats, to the tune of a .478 batting average in 23 at-bats. The shortstop is currently enjoying a seven-game hitting streak, which includes four multi-hit performances.

    Cecchini had a frustrating first month of the season, posting a .228/.311/.337 line in 92 at-bats. This is his first taste of full-season professional baseball, and he’s using his rough start as an important lesson, beginning May with a ridiculous .563 average through his first 16 at-bats.

    He’s not expected to be a power-hitting shortstop, so it’s important for him to become a well-rounded hitter and get on base at a reasonably high clip to go with his good glove in the field.

    It is interesting to note a power surge of sorts for Cecchini this season. Through his first two seasons (390 at-bats), he had just 20 extra-base hits, including two home runs. In 108 at-bats with Savannah, he already has two long balls and five doubles. Four more two-baggers and he’ll tie his personal-best for a single season.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    11-for-23, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 8 Prospect: RF Cesar Puello, Triple-A Las Vegas

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

     25 G, .236/.269/.281, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 12 R

     

    Overview

    Cesar Puello suited up for only three games this week with the Las Vegas 51s, but he didn't do much while on the field. His season-long struggles continue, and they're evident over the last 10 games, where he owns a .231/.250/.282 line.

    Most concerning is his lack of power. Puello was among the league leaders last season with a .547 slugging percentage in Double-A, but he has only mustered three extra-base hits in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League in 2014.

    Virtually all of Puello's struggles have come on the road, where he owns a .115/.148/.154 line in 26 at-bats. He's also not helping his cause by not showing much plate discipline, with three walks and 21 strikeouts through his first 89 at-bats.

    It's taking Puello longer than expected to get back into a groove, especially after looking impressive during a small sample in big league spring training. He's likely aiming to make his MLB debut at some point this season, but he won't be doing anything of the sort if he can't hit more than just singles.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    1-for-12, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 7 Prospect: C Kevin Plawecki, Double-A Binghamton

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    17 G, .284/.324/.373, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 9 R

     

    Overview

    Kevin Plawecki is starting to get into a groove at the plate, but he hasn’t been producing many runs for the Binghamton Mets. In taking a look at his season splits, it’s easy to see why the backstop still has only three RBI in 2014.

    When Plawecki walks to the plate with the bases empty, opposing pitchers have a tough time getting him out. He’s hitting .400/.419/.500 through 30 at-bats in that situation. In contrast, Plawecki has accumulated 37 at-bats with runners on base, but he’s posted a .189/.250/.270 line.

    Talk about a stark difference.

    There is reason to be optimistic about what Plawecki is doing in the batter’s box, though. After collecting 38 doubles in 449 at-bats last season, he only had three through the month of April. His last three games have each contained a double, including two multi-hit games.

    However, if he’s going to start making noise in the B-Mets’ lineup, he needs to be more productive with runners on base.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    5-for-14, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 R

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 6 Prospect: CF Brandon Nimmo, High-A St. Lucie

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    30 G, .373/.511/.491, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 34 R

     

    Overview

    Nimmo’s hot start has been turning plenty of heads this season. Teddy Cahill of MiLB.com noted the outfielder has already tied his home run output from Savannah last year, and his slugging percentage has taken a huge jump.

    The night the story was published, Nimmo collected four hits, falling a triple short of the cycle against the Charlotte Stone Crabs. He cooled off after that big game, collecting four more knocks the rest of the week.

    Despite coming back down to Earth a bit, he still leads the FSL in runs scored and on-base percentage by a healthy margin—two categories sure to make the front office pleased.

    Nimmo finished the month of April with a .384/.508/.515 line in 99 at-bats, which is by far the most dominant streak of his young professional career. He’s also proven to be lethal with runners in scoring position, hitting .480 in that situation.

    He’s been one of the catalysts for St. Lucie’s high-powered offense. If he continues to hit at this rate, he’ll soon be plucked from that lineup and inserted into Binghamton’s in Double-A.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    8-for-23, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 8 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 4 Prospect: SS/2B Wilmer Flores, Triple-A Las Vegas

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    26 G, .290/.351/.460, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 17 R

     

    Overview

    Wilmer Flores has played 21 of his 23 games in Las Vegas as the team's shortstop, but it doesn't seem like he'll be a good fit to help out the big league club at that position.

    A team source told Mike Puma of The New York Post that Flores' limited range is not translating well—he's made six errors in 98 chances. He's more suited for second or third base, but those positions are held by Daniel Murphy and David Wright, respectively.

    Despite the bad news regarding his defense, Flores' bat is hot after a slow start in the season's first two weeks. He enjoyed a four-hit night against the Tacoma Rainiers May 2, including two home runs.

    Flores has hit three round-trippers in his last two games, showing a return to the type of power stroke he had last year in Vegas.

    It doesn't matter how much he hits, though. If the club isn't confident letting him play shortstop, there is really no place for him in the big leagues with the Mets. He could become the right-handed part of the platoon at first base, but he'll need to play the position more before that becomes a reality.

    Even though Flores' bat has come alive, his lack of position in the big leagues is negatively affecting his stock.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    8-for-16, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 3 Prospect: 1B Dominic Smith, Low-A Savannah

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    28 G, .232/.302/.284, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 10 R

     

    Overview

    Dominic Smith’s slow start to 2014 is something he's experienced before. Smith recently acknowledged he performed similarly last year once he joined the Gulf Coast League Mets after the 2013 MLB draft in June.

    Those struggles didn’t hinder his overall performance, though, as he hit .301 in 173 at-bats.

    Smith finished April with a less-than-stellar .217/.267/.253 line in 83 at-bats, including just one RBI. He’s definitely come alive of late, specifically in his last 10 games. The first baseman is hitting .355 over the last week and a half, and all five of his doubles this season have come during that time.

    How does he only have two RBI through the first month? Smith is hitting .162/.256/.189 in 37 at-bats with runners on base, including a .115 batting average in RBI opportunities.

    The number of home runs he hits shouldn’t be a statistic for people to worry about. He’ll be 19 years old next month, and the power will come. He’s proved he can hit to the outfield gaps with regularity, accumulating a lot of doubles.

    Smith is finally starting to collect those doubles with more frequency after going without one for three weeks. Hopefully that month-long slump is behind him and this recent streak of productivity will expand throughout May and into the summer.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    6-for-18, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 2 Prospect: SP Rafael Montero, Triple-A Las Vegas

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    7 GS, 3-1, 4.21 ERA, 15 BB, 36 K, 36.1 IP

     

    Overview

    Rafael Montero's May 4 start against Tacoma was cut short due to rain, but neither one of his appearances this week was overly impressive. Known for his control of the strike zone, the right-hander handed out almost as many walks (seven) as innings pitched (nine) in two starts.

    He had a tough time adjusting to Cashman Field last season after getting promoted, but it looks to be the opposite issue in 2014. Through 15.1 innings on the road (three starts), Montero owns a 4.70 ERA.

    His innings are being monitored closely, but he's only worked into the seventh inning once in his six starts this season. There won't be many times he will—only when he's being efficient with his pitches, which he clearly hasn't been.

    ESPN New York reported that both Montero and Jacob deGrom, currently in the 51s rotation, could soon get some work in the bullpen. With a crowded rotation and underwhelming bullpen in the big leagues, it may be their fastest ticket to the next level.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    2 GS, L, 9 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 9 K

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 1 Prospect: SP Noah Syndergaard, Triple-A Las Vegas

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    6 GS, 4-2, 3.94 ERA, 12 BB, 28 K, 32 IP

     

    Overview

    The Las Vegas offense rewarded Noah Syndergaard for his solid start by scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh before he departed April 30, netting him his fourth win of the year.

    Thor had navigated through a rough patch over his previous two starts, allowing seven earned runs on 12 hits and five walks in nine innings pitched. He looked to be in control against the Reno Aces, though, allowing less baserunners than innings pitched in a start for the first time in 2014.

    His solid performance earned him a spot on Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet. The site pointed out how impressive his 3.94 ERA this season is.

    “Most pitchers would prefer to pitch at home, but when you’re home is Las Vegas, you’d be wise to enjoy the occasional trip to an easier place to pitch. There’s been no such luck for Syndergaard because five of his six starts have been at home, which makes his 3.94 ERA all the more impressive.”

    As Pete Anselmo of MetsMinors.net said, Syndergaard finally put together a start that matches his prospect status. Life in the Pacific Coast League has been an adjustment for the right-hander, but hopefully this showing will be the start of a productive stretch.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    1 GS, W, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

     

    Stock

    Up

     

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