Stock Up, Stock Down for New York Mets' Top 5 Prospects for Week 1

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2017

Stock Up, Stock Down for New York Mets' Top 5 Prospects for Week 1

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    New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario.
    New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario.Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

    The New York Mets are hoping to ride their veteran core and possibly healthy rotation deep into the postseason. Some of the early returns are quite promising.

    At a certain point, though, the Amazin's will need contributions from their farm system. Some top prospects are knocking on the door, while others are a year or more off. All, however, are worth monitoring.

    With the season a little more than a week old, let's run down New York's top five minor leaguers and do a stock-up, stock-down analysis. 

    I'll use MLB.com's prospect rankings as a guide but disqualify anyone on the major league roster. Also, keep in mind this is based on early returns only. A stock-up or stock-down designation doesn't mean a player will stay there permanently. 

Desmond Lindsay, CF

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    Mets prospect rank: 5

    Overall prospect rank: N/R

    A Mets second-round pick out of high school in 2015, Desmond Lindsay has been hampered by hamstring issues.

    That said, the 20-year-old is an excellent overall athlete with a plus hit tool and significant power potential. In 37 games last season between the rookie league and Low-A, he hit .303 with an .884 OPS.

    He's still raw defensively, with the physical gifts to stick in center field.

    Lindsay is getting his first taste of Single-A in 2017 but isn't off to a great start, as he's collected just two hits in his first 23 plate appearances with seven strikeouts.

    If he can find his footing and ditch the injury-prone label, he could pop on a lot of national prospect radars. For now, he's a work in progress.

    Stock: Down

Thomas Szapucki, LHP

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    Mets prospect rank: 4

    Overall prospect rank: N/R 

    A fourth-round pick out of high school in 2015, Thomas Szapucki has a fastball that touches the high-90s, a plus curveball and a changeup that could develop into a solid third pitch.

    But the 20-year-old lefty has been hampered by back and neck issues, and now he's battling a shoulder impingement, per MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo (h/t CBSSports.com).

    These things can sort themselves out with time and conditioning, particularly for players who make the jump from high school to the pros.

    Given the Mets' history of injury-plagued arms, however, Szapucki's trajectory is ominous, to say the least.

    Stock: Down

Justin Dunn, RHP

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    Mets prospect rank: 3

    Overall prospect rank: N/R

    A reliever for most of his career with Boston College, Justin Dunn is adjusting to the rigors of the starting rotation in New York's system.

    "We see his potential as a starter, and it's going to take a little bit of time," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said, per Baseball America's Mike Puma. "He's just got to get innings to get comfortable in that role [and] use multiple pitches instead of being a two-pitch guy, which you can do as a reliever."

    Dunn averaged 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings with a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings at Low-A last season but has coughed up three earned runs with five walks in his first four innings at High-A.

    He turned 21 in September, meaning he's got ample time to refine his game and work on tertiary pitches. In the meantime, he seems to be bumping against his developmental ceiling.

    Stock: Down

Dominic Smith, 1B

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Mets prospect rank: 2

    MLB prospect rank: 60

    The eleventh overall pick in 2013, Dominic Smith has ascended through the Mets system as a first baseman of the future.

    He displayed an advanced offensive approach through three minor league seasons but never flashed the power necessary for a regular corner infield gig.

    That changed in 2016, when Smith hit 14 home runs and posted an .824 OPS in 130 games at Double-A.

    Now, the 21-year-old is getting a taste of Triple-A Las Vegas in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League and is batting .440 with a homer and three doubles in 25 at-bats.

    Lucas Duda is swinging like he intends to be the Mets first baseman this season, but Smith will be knocking on the door when Duda hits free agency next winter.

    Stock: Up

Amed Rosario, SS

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Mets prospect rank: 1

    MLB prospect rank: 3

    Amed Rosario went 8-for-30 this spring. It wasn't enough to force his way on to the 25-man roster, but it impressed his skipper.

    "He's shown me everything that needs to be seen," manager Terry Collins said, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. "He hasn't hit for power in camp, but you know he's got it. He's got great hands, he's got great poise on the field and he loves to play, got great energy. He's going to be a good player."

    Now, Rosario is playing at Triple-A for the first time and is hitting .423 in 26 at-bats.

    As ESPN.com's Keith Law put it: "Vegas is a great hitters' environment, and I expect him to put up huge numbers there that won't tell us much either way about his development, but the promotion also implies to me the Mets want to see Rosario in the majors sooner rather than later."

    New York will need to find a place for him with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker entrenched from third base to shortstop to second base.

    If he keeps raking, an injury or the law of you can't hold him back forever will kick in eventually.

    Stock: Up

       

    All statistics current as of Wednesday and courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball Reference.