New York Mets' Top 10 Prospects for 2015

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterJanuary 7, 2015

New York Mets' Top 10 Prospects for 2015

0 of 13

    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    The New York Mets graduated Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores and Jacob deGrom to the major leagues in 2014, but a majority of the club's top prospects from last year are still around.

    Besides big-name pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, left-hander Steven Matz has emerged as one of the more underrated pitching prospects in the minors, while right-hander Marcos Molina is a safe bet to be higher on next year's list after his full-season debut.

    The Mets’ offensive prospects also took a step forward this season, individually and collectively. Brandon Nimmo's approach is among the best in the minors, and his play in center field has improved to the point where he might be able to stick at the position. The team also has a pair of promising young middle infielders on the rise in shortstop Amed Rosario and second baseman Dilson Herrera, who was called up to the major leagues in late August after opening the season in High-A.

    And don’t sleep on catcher Kevin Plawecki just because d’Arnaud began to realize his potential last season; the 23-year-old doesn’t offer much home power, but he has a knack for making hard contact and collects his share of doubles. Meanwhile, the addition of outfielder Michael Conforto, an advanced college hitter from this year’s draft who can get on base and hit for power, makes the system even more impressive.

    Here are the New York Mets' top 10 prospects for the 2015 season.

How They're Ranked

1 of 13

    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Position Players

    • Body type/athleticism
    • Speed
    • Hitting mechanics, bat speed
    • Injury history
    • Statistical trends
    • Age vs. level: how well a player fared at a certain level relative to his age and that of the competition
    • Tools: number of projectable tools a player possesses in relation to his position, age and competition; present vs. future tool grades
    • Hit tool: In the evolution of the prospect landscape, the hit tool is the most importantbut also the hardest to project.
    • League and park factors
    • On-base skills: approach; strike-zone management; pitch recognition
    • Makeup/character
    • Defensive tools and skill sets; present vs. projected position
    • Place on organization's depth chart
    • Positional scarcity; up-the-middle potential 

    Pitchers

    • Body type/athleticism/strength
    • Mechanics: delivery; arm speed; release point
    • Age vs. highest level of experience
    • Injury history (durability)
    • Statistical trends
    • Arsenal quality and depth
    • Pitch projections: present vs. future grades
    • Hitability: How tough is he to barrel? Does he keep the ball on the ground/in the park?
    • Control/command: Is he usually around the zone? Does he effectively command his stuff? How much development/refinement is needed?
    • Pitchability: feel (and confidence) for using and sequencing entire arsenal.
    • Approach: Does he fearlessly attack and challenge opposing hitters?  
    • Projection: Does he project as a starter? If so, what type? Or is he likely to be relegated to the bullpen? If so, why?

    Resources

Close Calls

2 of 13

    Dominic Smith, 1B

    Matt Reynolds, SS

    Gavin Cecchini, SS

    Milton Ramos, SS

10. Jhoan Urena, 3B

3 of 13

    Position: 3B

    DOB: 09/01/1994 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 200 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Signed: 2011 (Dominican Republic)

    Last Year’s Ranking: NR

    ETA: 2018

    2014 Stats (SS): 75 G, 315 PA, .300/.356/.431, 30.6 XBH%, 5 HR, 7 SB, 8.6 BB%, 18.4 K%

    Tools Breakdown (Future Grades):

    HitPowerRunArmField
    5555456050

    Scouting Report

    At 6’1” and 200 pounds, Urena is physically mature for his age, but the switch-hitter already demonstrates an advanced feel for hitting, with a line-to-line approach and effortless raw power. He’s likely to continue mashing lots of doubles over the next couple years, but his strength and knack for barreling the ball should eventually produce above-average over-the-fence power.

    Defensively, the 20-year-old showcases good athleticism for his size with decent defensive chops that inevitably will improve as he gains experience against more advanced competition. Meanwhile, the 20-year-old’s plus arm strength is a clean fit at the position and should help him make up for some of the shortcomings with the glove.

    Ceiling (Overall Future Potential): 55 (solid-average regular)

9. Rafael Montero, RHP

4 of 13

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 10/17/1990 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’0”, 185 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: 2011 (Dominican Republic)

    Last Year’s Ranking: 3

    ETA: Debuted in 2014

    2014 Stats (Rk/A+/AAA): 18 GS, 86 IP, 3.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .231 BAA, 0.4 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9, 9.1 K/9

    2014 MLB Stats: 10 G/8 GS, 44.1 IP, 4.06 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, .257 BAA, 1.6 HR/9, 4.7 BB/9, 8.5 K/9

    Future Pitch Grades:

    FastballSliderChangeupControl
    55505560

    Scouting Report

    While the undersized right-hander boasts impressive arm strength and a mature arsenal, his plus-command profile is easily his strongest attribute. Montero’s fastball comes in at a deceptive 90-93 mph, and he commands the pitch to both sides of the plate and changes hitters’ eye levels aggressively.

    Montero’s curveball and changeup are both average, but neither is a true swing-and-miss pitch. He doesn’t have a high ceiling like the Mets’ other young pitchers, but his command and overall feel for his craft make him a safe bet to emerge as a quality back-end starter in 2015.

    Ceiling (OFP): 50 (No. 4 starter) - Low risk

8. Michael Conforto, OF

5 of 13

    Position: OF

    DOB: 03/01/1993 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 211 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted: First round, 2014 (Oregon State)

    Last Year’s Ranking: NA

    ETA: 2016

    2014 Stats (SS): 42 G, 186 PA, .331/.403/.448, 24.1 XBH%, 3 HR, 8.6 BB%, 15.6 K%

    Tools Breakdown (Future Grades):

    HitPowerRunArmGlove
    5060404550

    Scouting Report

    One of the better hitters in the 2014 draft class, Conforto possesses above-average bat speed and employs a quiet swing with good weight transfer and hip rotation. The left-handed hitter demonstrates excellent plate discipline to go along with advanced pitch recognition, as he rarely strays from his patient approach to leave the strike zone.

    At 6’2”, 217 pounds, Conforto’s impressive strength and easy swing generate plus raw power. He’s more likely to jump the yard to his pull side, but he can still generate the necessary backspin to go to the opposite field.

    Conforto’s lack of speed and athleticism limits him defensively to left field, where he shows fringe-average range and doesn’t get consistently good jumps. Still, he makes all the routine plays, and there’s no reason to relegate him to first base less than a year into his professional career.

    Ceiling (OFP): 55 - Medium risk

7. Marcos Molina, RHP

6 of 13

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 03/08/1995 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 188 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: 2012 (Dominican Republic)

    Last Year’s Ranking: NR

    ETA: 2017

    2014 Stats (SS): 12 GS, 76.1 IP, 1.77 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, .170 BAA, 0.2 HR/9, 2.1 BB/9, 10.7 K/9

    Future Pitch Grades:

    FastballCurveballChangeupControl
    65506050

    Scouting Report

    Molina, 19, paced the New York-Penn League last season in most categories, including ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and opponents’ batting average. He finished his season in style, too, with 50 strikeouts over his final 34.2 frames.

    A 6’3”, 188-pound right-hander, Molina is an impressive athlete with present strength and plenty of room for growth. His low- to mid-90s fastball seemingly jumps on opposing hitters, but it also doesn’t hurt that Molina is fearless with the pitch.

    His breaking ball is his least inconsistent offering: sometimes it’s more of a true curveball, while other times, it’s a straight-up slurve. Regardless, it’s a potential swing-and-miss offering at maturity. Molina’s changeup projects to be above average, and he already shows a feel for locating it down in the zone so as to achieve more fade and sinking action.

    Ceiling (OFP): 60 (No. 3 starter) – High risk

6. Dilson Herrera, 2B

7 of 13

    Position: 2B

    DOB: 03/03/1994 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 5’10”, 150 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: 2010 by Pirates (Colombia)

    Last Year’s Ranking: NR

    ETA: Debuted in 2014

    2014 Stats (A+/AA): 128 G, 587 PA, .323/.379/.479, 30.2 XBH%, 13 HR, 23 SB, 8.0 BB%, 16.4 K%

    2014 MLB Stats: 18 G, 66 PA, .220/.303/.407, 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 7 BB, 17 K

    Tools Breakdown (Future Grades):

    HitPowerRunArmField
    5555605055

    Scouting Report

    Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013 as part of the Marlon Byrd trade, Herrera breezed through the High- and Double-A levels last season en route to a call-up by the Mets in late August. The 20-year-old made a strong impression during his time in The Show, highlighted by his .710 OPS and three home runs in 66 plate appearances, though a quad strain in mid-September kept him out of action over the last few weeks of the regular season.

    Herrera is an advanced hitter for his age, as he’s comfortable spraying the ball across the whole field but also has a feel for when to sell out for power. He has good strength in spite of an undersized frame, which is a testament to his bat speed and strong wrists.

    Defensively, Herrera still has some fine-tuning to do, especially when it comes to attacking balls to his left, but he’s a good athlete with above-average speed and similar range.

    Ceiling (OFP): 55 (solid-average regular)

5. Amed Rosario, SS

8 of 13

    Position: SS

    DOB: 11/20/1995 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 170 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: 2012 (Dominican Republic)

    Last Year’s Ranking: 5

    ETA: 2018

    2014 Stats (SS/A): 75 G, 321 PA, .274/.320/.372, 23.5 XBH%, 2 HR, 7 SB, 5.6 BB%, 18.1 K%

    Tools Breakdown (Future Grades):

    HitPowerRunArmField
    6050555560

    Scouting Report

    The Mets gave Amed Rosario the highest international signing bonus in franchise history back in 2012, signing him for $1.75 million, and he’s since emerged as a one of the more interesting shortstop prospects in the low minors.

    Rosario has above-average bat speed and good barrel control, but his overall hitting mechanics can be inconsistent and result in a lengthy swing at times—like when he doesn’t get his front foot down. The ball absolutely jumps off Rosario’s barrel when squared up, and he should be able offer some power once he’s comfortable turning on the ball.

    At 6’2”, 170 pounds, Rosario has the potential to stick at shortstop long term, as he’s an impressive athlete with slick actions, solid-average speed and a good arm.

    Ceiling (OFP): 60 (First-division regular) – High risk

4. Kevin Plawecki, C

9 of 13

    Position: C

    DOB: 02/26/1991 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 225 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2012 (Purdue)

    Last Year’s Ranking: 6

    ETA: 2015

    2014 Stats (AA/AAA): 101 G, 419 PA, .309/.365/.460, 30.2 XBH%, 11 HR, 7.2 BB%, 11.5 K%

    Tools Breakdown (Future Grades):

    HitPowerRunArmField
    5550355050

    Scouting Report

    Selected with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Plawecki’s ability to make consistent hard contact and use the whole field has helped him move quickly through the Mets’ system.

    Plawecki is a physically mature right-handed hitter who makes lots of hard contact thanks to excellent hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills. The 23-year-old keeps the barrel in the strike zone for an extended period of time, utilizing a strong top hand at point of contact to drive through the ball on a line-drive plane.

    He'll never be a home run threat but could amass 10 home runs and 25-plus doubles in a given season, especially if his advanced approach should continue to yield favorable strikeout-to-walk rates.

    Plawecki’s 6’2”, 225-pound frame limits his mobility behind the plate, but he moves well enough to handle the position at the highest level. Blocking and receiving are his greatest strengths, as he consistently stays low to angle the ball back toward the field. Meanwhile, he also has good hands and a smooth transfer, which helps to make up for his average arm strength.

    Ceiling (OFP): 55 (Solid-average regular)

    Plawecki may not be the best catcher in the minor leagues on either side of the ball, but he’s a well-rounded player with sound tools and secondary skills that project at the major league level. His defense requires further refinement and may never be more league average, but his knack for making consistent contact should always help to outweigh some of those specific concerns.

3. Brandon Nimmo, CF

10 of 13

    Position: CF

    DOB: 03/27/1993 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 205 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted: First round, 2011 (East HS, Wyoming)

    Last Year’s Ranking: 8

    ETA: 2016

    2014 Stats (AA/AAA): 127 G, 558 PA, .278/.394/.426, 30.8 XBH%, 10 HR, 14 SB, 15.4 BB%, 18.8 K%

    Tools Breakdown (Future Grades):

    HitPowerRunArmField
    5055506050

    Scouting Report

    Nimmo passes the eye test with a physically strong and projectable 6’3”, 205-pound frame. The left-handed hitter demonstrates a solid approach and has present strength, which also suggests that Nimmo has untapped power.

    The 21-year-old’s plate discipline enables him to work deep counts and coax walks, and it should lead to solid on-base rates throughout career; strikeout rate increased this past season during full-season debut but should stabilize as he gains further experience at advanced levels. He hasn’t begun to fully tap into his raw power as hoped, but the left-handed batter continues to hit for average and get on base at a high clip while also holding his own in center field.

    Nimmo has played center field exclusively since turning pro, but he doesn’t profile favorably at the position in the long term. That being said, his range does play up thanks to good jumps and good instincts.

    Ceiling (OFP): 55 (Solid-average regular)

2. Steven Matz, LHP

11 of 13

    Position: LHP

    DOB: 05/29/1991 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: R/L

    Drafted: Second round, 2009 (Ward Melville HS, NY)

    Last Year’s Ranking: 9

    ETA: 2015

    2014 Stats (A+/AA): 24 GS, 140.2 IP, 2.24 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .251 BAA, 0.2 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 8.4 K/9

    Future Pitch Grades:

    FastballCurveballChangeupControl
    65656050

    Scouting Report

    The New York Mets selected Steven Matz in the second round of the 2009 draft, but the left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery after signing and didn’t make his professional debut until 2012. Since then, however, the 23-year-old has made up for the lost time with a dominating ascent through the Mets system.

    Matz pitched to 1.28 ERA with 48 strikeouts and nine walks over his final 42.1 innings (seven starts), and he struck out a season-high 11 batters over 7.1 innings Sept. 12 and helped the B-Mets capture the Eastern League crown.

    The 6’2”, 200-pound left-hander uses a heavy, low- to mid-90s fastball to both miss bats and generate ground balls, while his curveball and changeup each have the potential to become an above-average pitch with refinement.

    Ceiling (OFP): 60 (No. 2 starter)

1. Noah Syndergaard, RHP

12 of 13

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 08/29/1992 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’6”, 240 lbs.

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2010 by Blue Jays (Legacy HS, Texas)

    Last Year’s Rank: 1

    ETA: 2015

    2014 Stats (AAA): 26 GS, 133 IP, 4.60 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, .293 BAA, 0.7 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

    Future Pitch Grades:

    FastballCurveballSliderChangeupControl
    7570506550

    Scouting Report

    The 6'6" right-hander has a physical presence on the mound, throwing everything on a steep downhill plane and pounding the lower portion of the strike zone. Syndergaard’s plus-plus heater sits in the mid-to-upper 90s with late, arm-side life, and he frequently flirts with triple digits.

    His curveball also has plus-plus potential, and his command of the pitch improved last season after adding a slider to his already impressive arsenal. He throws his changeup with good arm speed and confidence, and it could serve as a third plus-or-better offering at maturity.

    Syndergaard has one of the highest ceilings among all pitching prospects, with the pure stuff and command to pitch at the front of a rotation. Assuming he opens the 2015 season back at Triple-A, the right-hander could be ready to debut around midseason just as Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom did in previous seasons.

    Ceiling (OFP): 70 (No. 1 or 2 starter) – Low risk

Top 10 Index

13 of 13

    Elsa/Getty Images

    Previous Installments:

    New York Yankees

    Boston Red Sox

    Toronto Blue Jays

    Baltimore Orioles

    Tampa Bay Rays

    Coming Soon:

    New York Mets

    Atlanta Braves