by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just because you are a team’s top prospect doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be the first one called up should a need arise. With that in mind, we are going to try to keep you up-to-date as to who the closest at each spot is for each Major League franchise:
Catcher – Does it matter?
The catching duo the Mets currently have at Triple-A is Juan Centeno and Taylor Teagarden. If the Mets are forced to depend on either one of them, would we really care?
Infield – Wilmer Flores
He came up as a 3B, but was transitioned to 2B last season. Considering the depth that the Mets already have on the roster at first base, it would make sense for Flores to be on call (in fact, he was already up earlier this season when Daniel Murphy was out on paternity leave) especially with the team testing him at SS (where he played early in his career).
He doesn’t offer any speed (career high is 4 SB) and you have to wonder if he is capped as a 15ish HR hitter in the Majors. He did hit 15 HR in 424 AB in the PCL last season, which isn’t promising, but also added 36 doubles and 4 triples, which is. IThere is hope, he just needs to tap into it. He has consistently made contact in the minor leagues, which should help him hit for a solid average with the potential for more if the power does develop.
(Honorable Mention – Zack Lutz)
Outfield – Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Matt den Dekker
This spot could go to either Nieuwenhuis or den Dekker (or even Bobby Abreu, though he’s no prospect) but both players wouldn’t be anything but a flash in the pan most likely. Nieuwenhuis could potentially post a strikeout rate north of 30%, with a 23.6% mark at Triple-A last season, and doesn’t have the power/speed to makeup for it.
den Dekker is slightly more intriguing, with a 22.8% strikeout rate at Triple-A last season (though 28.4% in 2012). He has posted a pair of 20+ SB seasons as well as two seasons of 17 HR. That profiles as potential Drew Stubbs like production, which is decent and potentially usable if playing.
Pitcher – Rafael Montero
We all know the potential of Noah Syndergaard, but the first pitcher up will likely be Rafael Montero. The Mets have a slew of promising young arms on the horizon, but Montero’s experience at the upper-levels should put him at the head of the line.
He ended last season at Triple-A (88.2 IP) and also had 66.2 innings at Double-A. Outside of that, he owns a minor league career K/9 of 8.5 and BB/9 of 1.7. What else do you need to know to get you intrigued?
Sources – Minor League Baseball, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference