Ranking the Top 12 Prospects in the New York Mets' Farm System

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterNovember 21, 2012

Ranking the Top 12 Prospects in the New York Mets' Farm System

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    Over the last decade, the New York Mets have established a draft routine: use their first-round pick to target either experienced college pitchers or high-risk, high-reward position prospects. Thus far, they’ve had considerably more success with the former than the latter.

    Luckily, the team continues to thrive in the international scouting realm, as six of the team’s top-10 prospects are a product of either the Dominican Republic or Venezuela.

    RHP Zack Wheeler and 3B Wilmer Flores are seemingly the only prospects capable of making an impact in the major leagues during the 2013 season, though the organization houses a slew of hard-throwing right-handers who should start to move quickly with experience.

    *Has been reflected to update the Mets' system following the R.A. Dicky trade (Dec. 17).

12. Rafael Montero, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 10/17/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’, 170

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2011, Dominican Republic

    ETA: 2015

    2012 Stats: 6-3, 71.1 IP, 2.52 ERA, 0.967 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 1.0 BB/9 (12 GS, Low-A Savannah); 5-2, 50.2 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.908 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 (8 GS, High-A St. Lucie)

    Scouting Report: Undersized right-hander (6’, 170 pounds) is highly advanced for his age and has moved up the organizational ladder quickly since pro debut in 2011; possesses loads of natural arm strength though his command is easily his strongest attribute.

    Montero’s fastball comes in at a deceptive 90-93 mph and generates a surprising amount of swing-and-misses; commands the pitch to both sides of the plate, and will also attack hitters up and down; curveball and changeup are both serviceable offerings, though both will need considerable refinement in upcoming years; needs to establish at least one of them as a an out pitch.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Binghamton

11. Jeurys Familia, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 10/10/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 230

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2007, Dominican Republic

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats: 9-9, 137 IP, 4.73 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 9.5 H/9, 8.4 K/9, 4.8 BB/9 (28 GS, Triple-A Buffalo); 12.1 IP, 5.84 ERA, 10/9 K/BB (8 G; 1 GS, MLB)

    Scouting Report: Right-hander lacks projection at 6’4”, 230 pounds; development as a starter has tailed off since reaching higher levels; lacks command and consistency to profile as a big-league starter.

    Plus fastball registers in mid-90s, though he was popping upper-90s out of the Mets’ bullpen late last season; unleashes heater with a lightning-quick arm and fluid stroke; both change and slider lag well behind fastball, with latter being the more advanced of the two secondary offerings; arsenal seems best suited for a full-time role as a reliever.

    2013 Opening Day Level: MLB

10. Cesar Puello, of

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 4/1/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2007, Dominican Republic

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats: .260/.328/.423, 25 XBH (4 HR), 19 SB, 58/7 K/BB (66 G, High-A St. Lucie)

    Scouting Report: Much like fellow international signee Wilmer Flores, Puello continues to close the gap between his natural ability and raw baseball skills; has the speed to play any outfield position, but offensive ceiling and plus arm strength suggest a home in right field.

    Hyper-aggressive approach and reluctance to coax walks has prevented him from truly taking off; swings at too many pitcher’s pitches off the plate and gets himself out; has yet to tap into above-average raw power, but it’s definitely still there; will need to stay healthy in 2013 in order to start moving quickly.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Binghamton

9. Domingo Tapia, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 12/16/1991 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 186

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2009, Dominican Republic

    ETA: 2015 (2014 as a reliever)

    2012 Stats: 6-5, 108.2 IP, 3.98 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 8.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 (20 GS, Low-A Savannah)

    Scouting Report: At 6’4”, 186 pounds, there’s a lot to like about Tapia; right-hander floods the strike zone with a mid-to-upper-90s fastball that was noticeably heavier last season; changeup is his best secondary offering and receives above-average-to-plus grades; lack of a breaking ball could be problematic at higher levels; development of a third pitch is crucial towards his projection as a starter; will likely end up in the bullpen given his plus-plus fastball and changeup combination.

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A St. Lucie

8. Gavin Cecchini, SS

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 12/22/1993 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Alfred M. Barbe HS, La.)

    ETA: 2016

    2012 Stats: .246/.311/.330, 12 XBH, 5 SB, 43/18 K/BB (53 G, Rookie Appalachian League)

    Scouting Report: Regarded as one of the more athletic and advanced shortstops in 2012 draft class; broken finger in early August relegated him to DH duties for a majority of the season; only defensive tool that doesn’t grade as above-average is his arm, though it suffices for the position.

    Not a fan of his swing as it’s loaded with unnecessary movement; frequently casts hands away from body and around baseball, resulting in weak contact to the left side; weight transfer through the baseball is choppy and lacks fluidity; hard to see him hit for much power with said swing; over-aggressive approach led to high strikeout total, though it will inevitably improve in upcoming seasons; will be more of a stolen-base threat as he gains experience on the bases.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Short-Season Brooklyn

7. Michael Fulmer, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 3/15/1993 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 200

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Supplemental-first round, 2011 (Deer Creek HS, Okla.)

    ETA: 2015

    2012 Stats: 7-6, 108.1 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 0.5 HR/9, 8.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 (21 GS, Low-A Savannah)

    Scouting Report: 6’3”, 200-pound right-hander projects to be one of numerous frontline starters to emerge from 2011 draft class; thrived this past season as a younger player in the South Atlantic League; keeps the ball in the park by pounding the knees and is an overall cerebral pitcher.

    Fulmer boasts a plus fastball that registers in the mid-90s and has scraped 96-97 mph on occasion; heater gets on opposing hitters quickly and features late life to the arm side; slider is a put-away offering that draws whiffs from both right- and left-handed hitters; changeup steadily improved over the course of the regular season and he’s become comfortable throwing it in a variety of counts.

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A St. Lucie

6. Luis Mateo, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 3/22/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2011, Dominican Republic

    ETA: 2015

    2012 Stats: 4-5, 73.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 0.2 HR/9, 10.4 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 (12 GS, Short-Season Brooklyn)

    Scouting Report: Mateo got a late start to professional career after a minor elbow injury and fraudulent paperwork; 6’3” right-hander has a loose, wiry frame and whip-like arm; throws fastball in the low-to-mid-90s on good downhill plane and complements it with a sharp, swing-and-miss slider; changeup is raw and lags behind other pitches; will need to improve a third offering for success at higher levels; attacks hitters vertically and laterally with fastball-slider combination and is comfortable throwing each of his pitches in any count.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Low-A Savannah

5. Brandon Nimmo, of

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 3/27/1993 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: 13th overall, 2011 (East HS, Wyoming)

    ETA: 2015

    2012 Stats: .248/.372/.406, 28 XBH (6 HR), 78/46 K/BB (69 G, Short-Season Brooklyn)

    Scouting Report: Lanky outfielder leaves plenty of room for projection, as does his raw skill set; Nimmo employs a patient approach at the plate, but can be too passive and take hittable pitches; left-handed hitter has plus bat speed; yet to tap into above-average raw power; has been unable to solve left-handed pitching.

    Lack of speed was disappointing and hurts his projection as a top-of-the-order hitter; has a lot to learn about base stealing and reading pitchers; defense in center field was shaky this past season, however there’s no reason to move him off the position until necessary; the key moving forward will be the speed of his adjustments while gaining considerable experience.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Low-A Savannah

4. Wilmer Flores, 3B

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    Position: 3B

    DOB:  8/6/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2007, Venezuela

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats: .289/.336/.463, 22 XBH (10 HR), 30/18 K/BB (64 G, High-A St. Lucie); .311/.361/.494, 28 XBH (8 HR), 30/20 K/BB (66 G, Double-A Binghamton)

    Scouting Report: Developed as a shortstop since 2008 before moving off position this season; defense vastly improved, especially at the hot corner; lacks the feet ideal for any position, but has solid instincts and a good first step; hands are reliable and arm is more than enough for the position.

    The 21-year-old turned the corner offensively after several years of stagnation across all Class-A levels; finally made noticeable adjustments to approach and reaped the rewards; looked for pitches to drive rather than force contact; projects to have above-average power in the major leagues; began to consistently turn on the ball for first time in young career; still lets the ball get deep and will use an inside-out swing to go the other way.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Binghamton

3. Noah Syndergaard, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 8/29/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’5”, 200

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Legacy HS, Texas)

    ETA: 2015 (2014 as reliever)

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes: 6’5” right-hander has a power pitcher’s frame and frontline starter upside; physical presence on the bump who throws everything on a solid downward plane; repeats mechanics well given his size and features a strong core; fastball sits in the mid-90s with late, arm-side life and he’ll even flirt with triple-digits in shorter stints; uses to amass a healthy mix of strikeouts and groundball outs.

    Curveball has plus potential as it’s a tight-breaker with late, downward bite; command of the pitch is inconsistent and will be challenged at higher levels; features better command of his changeup, though it’s not as dynamic of a pitch; offering is thrown with deceptive arm speed; if breaking ball doesn’t develop as planned, he still has an incredibly high ceiling as a late-inning reliever.

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Dunedin

2. Travis d'Arnaud, C

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    Position: C

    DOB: 2/10/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2007 [Phillies] (Lakewood HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes: D'Arnaud would have likely served as a September call-up had he him suffered a season-ending knee injury in June; defense has vastly improved over last two seasons; quiet athleticism allows him to move well laterally behind the plate; has become a more aggressive blocker who boxes balls with more consistency; receiving skills continue to improve and he gives umpires a good look at pitches; has been lauded for pitchers and managers alike for putting down good fingers; plus arm is strongest defensive asset that, when combined with improved footwork, led to a career-best 30-percent caught-stealing rate prior to injury.

    Solid defensive catcher but true upside comes from offensive prowess; 6’2” right-handed hitter has above-average bat speed and impressive raw power; power frequency has increased over last several years; short, compact swing doesn’t inhibit power; makes loud contact to all fields; has some swing-and-miss in his game and doesn’t walk a lot.

    The top catching prospect in the game, if d’Arnaud is healthy entering spring training—which he should be—the 23-year-old has an outside chance of making the Opening Day roster, even if it’s only as a designated hitter.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Las Vegas (or MLB with a strong spring training)

1. Zack Wheeler, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 5/30/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 185

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2009 by San Francisco Giants (East Paulding HS, Ga.)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats: 10-6, 116 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 0.2 HR/9, 9.1 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 (25 GS, Double-A Binghamton); 2-2, 33 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 8.5 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 (6 GS, Triple-A Buffalo)

    Scouting Report: 6’4” right-hander has incredibly projectable frame and the potential to be a front-line starter; athletic delivery and lightning-quick arm result in overall deception; throws each of his pitches with similar tilt; a rarity in that he’s also adept to stifling running game.

    Boasts a plus fastball that sits 93-96 mph with explosive arm-side run; effortless velocity overwhelms hitters; pitch is difficult to barrel; curveball is a hammer and a second plus offering; both slider and changeup aren’t thrown as often, but should give him a four-pitch mix of at least above-average offerings.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Las Vegas

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