by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Thanks to a few midseason trades, as well as the graduations of Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto, the Mets farm system doesn’t look quite as impressive as it did at this time a year ago. Of course they also have a World Series appearance and a bright future in front of them, so it’s obviously difficult to “complain”. It also doesn’t mean that the system is barren, because it’s not, though there are questions up and down the rankings. Who has the most upside of “what’s left”? Let’s take a look:
1) Steven Matz – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – A
He would’ve joined Syndergaard and Conforto on the highly impressive graduated list, but injuries helped to suppress his time in the big leagues (he made six regular season starts). That said, when people talk about Matz he’s included at nearly the same level as the other three Mets starters (Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey & Syndergaard). That alone should tell us how high his ceiling is.
Matz showed strikeouts and control at every level he pitched last season, backing up the somewhat meteoric rise from the southpaw (showing only levels he pitched at least 30 IP):
- Triple-A – 9.37 K/9, 3.09 BB/9 over 90.1 IP
- Majors – 8.58 K/9, 2.52 BB/9 over 35.2 IP
He showed more groundballs at Triple-A (1.73 GO/AO), which would truly give him the total package (especially pitching in the NL East). With a minor league career 9.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 and success on the biggest stage, there’s no questioning how high of an upside he possesses.
2) Dominic Smith – First Baseman
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+ (borderline B)
There’s clearly upside, but there’s an obvious fear that he’s going to be incredibly similar to Joe Mauer or James Loney as a first baseman (aka little-to-no power). He showed a great ability to make contact at High-A last season (15.1% strikeout rate), but “slugged” just 6 HR over 456 AB. His 33 doubles gives us hope that it’s going to start coming around, and at 20-years old (he’ll turn 21 during the 2016 season) there’s certainly time. However, another season of little-to-no power is going to send him spiraling down prospect lists.
3) Ahmed Rosario – Shortstop
ETA – 2018
Grade – B
When you look at Rosario’s numbers you have to take into account his age and the level that he was playing at, as the Mets have generally been aggressive with him. Obviously we’d like to see a bit more than a .257 average with 0 HR and 12 SB over 385 AB at Single-A in ’15, however. The potential is there for him to continue to develop and his ability to stick at shortstop is going to keep him fairly high on the prospect map, but there are obvious questions regarding how quickly and how far he will develop. He needs to do a better job of drawing walks and will never be a significant home run hitter or base stealer, or if he will ultimately be the next Rey Ordonez in New York (aka glove first, glove second, glove third type shortstop).
4) Brandon Nimmo – Outfielder
ETA – 2016
Grade – B
There’s still a lot of learning going on with Nimmo, who the Mets took a gamble on when they drafted him from the state of Wyoming. He’s made impressive strides with his ability to make contact, as he displayed at all three levels he played at last season:
- High-A – 15.0% (20 PA)
- Double-A – 18.2% (302 PA)
- Triple-A – 17.9% (112 PA)
The problem is that we are still waiting for his overall game to come together. He showed little extra base power (16 doubles, 4 triples, 5 home runs) and also little ability to steal a significant number of bases (5 SB in 11 attempts). Given how he arrived with the Mets there was always going to be a learning curve, but 2016 will be a make it or break it season of sorts for the 2011 first round draft pick.
5) Marcos Molina – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B (but could easily jump to B+ territory)
A strained elbow cost him most of 2015, but it was just a year ago that he dominated Low-A with a 1.77 ERA and 0.84 WHIP courtesy of a 10.73 K/9 and 2.12 BB/9 over 76.1 IP. While the strikeouts did fall in his 41.1 IP at High-A (7.84), it’s still enough to catch our attention considering his 2.40 BB/9 and 1.24 GO/AO. The question is going to be if he can prove he’s healthy, because the potential is clearly still there to be the next “big” Mets pitching prospect (thanks to the trade of Michael Fulmer). It wouldn’t be surprising to see him fly up these rankings at this time next season.
The Next Five:
6) Gavin Cecchini – Shortstop
7) Wuilmer Becerra – Outfielder
Note: The “other” piece in the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto (remember Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud were considered the main acquisitions), Becerra is quickly developing his power and could really turn that trade into a steal for New York (though even without him you can argue that it was). Consider him the potential breakout performer for this system in ’15).
8) Desmond Lindsey – Outfielder
9) Gabriel Ynoa – Right-Handed Pitcher
10) Jhoan Urena – Third Baseman
Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists: