Evaluating the 2016 Prospects: New York Mets

Other clubs: Angels, Astros, Braves, Brewers, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Indians, Marlins, OriolesRedsRed Sox, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox.

With the exception of Steven Matz, this Mets system is a bit short on pitching. That would be a problem if the club didn’t already have one of the best young pitching staffs in the game. Most of their impact bats will probably be coming from the low minors, Desmond Lindsay being the most likely exception. Amed Rosario‘s bat is still a few years away, but he’s the kind of talent where if/when things click he’s immediately a stud. Don’t sleep on their mid-level bats either, as guys like Dominic Smith, Eudor Garcia, Jhoan Urena and Wuilmer Becerra have quiet profiles that could erupt as they climb the next few levels.

The biggest strength of this group is its shortstop depth. Signing Gregory Guerrero and Andres Gimenez last year only added to an impressive group that will at least give the Mets some high-risk/high-reward trade chips should they need to add to another contender this year. The list goes on with Rosario, Milton Ramos, Luis Carpio, Luis Guillorme… making the defense at every level a nice crutch on which their young pitchers can lean.

The biggest surprises on this list have to start with Guerrero and Guillorme making their way into the top-10. Guerrero is unproven, but I think has the makings of one of the best swings in the system. Guillorme is good enough defensively he only needs to be a man with a bat at the plate to reach the big leagues. Brandon Nimmo is lower here than I have seen elsewhere, and I can’t deny he still has the potential to be an average MLB outfielder. I just don’t see his power showing up enough for his super patient approach to work against big-league pitchers with better command.

Here’s the primer for the series and my scouting thoughts in general. The grades I put on players heavily weight the functionality of each tool in game situations, rather than just pure tool grades. Here is a table to understand the position player grades:

Scouting Grades in Context: Hitters
Grade Tool Is Called Batting Average HR ISO Baserunning Runs Fielding Runs
80 80 0.320 40 0.300 12 30
75 0.310 35-40 0.275 10 25
70 Plus Plus 0.300 30-35 0.250 8 20
65 0.290 27-30 0.225 6 15
60 Plus 0.280 23-27 0.200 4 10
55 Above Average 0.270 19-22 0.175 2 5
50 Average 0.260 15-18 0.150 0 0
45 Below Average 0.250 12-15 0.125 -2 -5
40 0.240 8-12 0.100 -4 -10
35 0.230 5-8 0.075 -6 -15
30 0.220 3-5 0.050 -8 -20

As well as one to understand what the overall grades approximate:

Scouting Grades in Context: Overall
Grade Hitter Starting Pitcher Relief Pitcher WAR
80 Top 1-2 #1 Starter —- 7
75 Top 2-3 #1 —- 6
70 Top 5 #1/2 —- 5
65 All-Star #2/3 —- 4
60 Plus #3 High Closer 3
55 Above Avg #3/4 Mid Closer 2.5
50 Avg Regular #4 Low CL/High SU 2
45 Platoon/Util #5 Low Setup 1.5
40 Bench Swing/Spot SP Middle RP 1
35 Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up Emergency Call-Up 0
30 *Organizational *Organizational *Organizational -1

One other difference in the way I’ll be communicating scouting grades to you is the presence of three numbers on each tool instead of just two. The first number is the current grade. The second number is the likely future grade; or, if you prefer percentiles, call this the 50th percentile projection. The third number is the ceiling grade, or 90th percentile projection, to help demonstrate the volatility and raw potential of a tool. I feel this gives readers a better sense of the possible outcomes a player could achieve, and more information to understand my thoughts on the likelihood of reaching those levels.

In the biographical information, level refers to where they finished the year, unless they were sent down for injury rehab or other extraneous reasons. Ages are listed as of April 1, 2016. You can also find each player’s previous rank from Kiley’s list last year. Below, Dave Cameron shares his thoughts on the general state of the organization. Returning for his popular cameo, Carson Cistulli picks his favorite fringe prospect toward the end of the list.

Organizational Overview
The Mets build toward a contender took the express lane in 2015, as they moved from a team with a good young base to a legitimate top-tier club in quick order. With most of 2015’s team returning, the Mets are poised to make another run for as long as their young pitchers stay healthy. Because their asset base is so heavily built around pitchers, there’s more risk of a collapse than with a foundation of hitters, but with so much talent in the rotation, they could overcome an injury to any of their pitchers and still be okay. The development of a few young bats to go alongside their pitching strength would go a long way to keeping them near the top of the heap beyond 2016, but they don’t have to be that good offensively with the arms they’ve collected. For the Mets, their near-term future is mostly tied to just keeping the starters healthy.

50+ FV Prospects

Video courtesy of MVPFLF, footage courtesy of Major League Baseball
1. Steven Matz, LHP
Current Level/Age: MLB/24.8, 6’2/200, R/L
Acquired: Drafted 72nd overall (2nd round) in 2009 out of New York HS by NYM for $895,000 bonus
Previous Rank: 7

Culminating in a spot in the Mets’ World Series rotation, Matz had a tremendously successful first year upon which he’ll have some difficulty improving in 2016. He debuted with better command and a more complete arsenal than advertised after he beat up on Triple-A hitters for the first two-and-a-half months of the year. Apart from a lat injury that sidelined him for just over a month, he really could do no wrong in 2015.

Matz throws his fastball anywhere from 91 to 97 mph, and does a great job for a young pitcher locating it on the edges of the zone. His changeup is thrown with great arm speed and has slight fade and occasional cut, which he also locates well. He favored his curveball over his changeup last season, which I think will be better than most people give it credit. He struggled with its consistency in the minors, but its sharper, improved break gave him a swing-and-miss pitch to throw against lefty and righty hitters last year. Even his hangers in the zone showed better bite than most pitchers can create on their best breaking balls.

He has a simple, direct delivery that looks smoother and more athletic than it did as recently as 2014, which no doubt contributed to his sustained success. His arm action is clean and doesn’t have a much wasted movement or extra effort. The one thing on which to keep an eye is the abrupt finish with his arm and resulting recoil as he finishes his follow through. It’s not a big red flag, but it could put extra pressure on the muscles used to decelerate the arm and possible injuries due to fatigue. The lat tear gives that concern a bit more weight for long-term considerations.

As much as any prospect in the minors, Matz is ready to become a front-end starter. To really fulfill his promise, he needs to continue working on his curveball command, spotting his fastball to the arm-side corner and keeping his shoulder and upper back strong, whether it’s mechanically or in the weight room. Like any pitcher, there’s always the chance he gets hurt, and his chances may be slightly higher than average with his arm finish and history of Tommy John surgery. That understood, Matz has the potential to pick up right where he left off last year and add to the Mets’ already impressive young rotation.

Fastball: 60/60+/65 Curveball: 55/55-60/60 Changeup: 60/60/60 Command: 50/55/60
Overall: 60/65/70+


2. Desmond Lindsay, OF
Current Level/Age: Low-A/19.2, 6’0/200, R/R
Acquired: Drafted 53rd overall (2nd round) in 2015 out of Florida HS by NYM for $1.1427 million bonus
Previous Rank: NA

Lindsay may have been unavailable to the Mets last June if it weren’t for him missing most of his senior year with a hamstring injury. He has a super quick bat with exceptional knowledge of the strike zone for a young hitter. The Mets think he will end up with a solid mix of hit and power tools. They have him as a 65 runner with excellent overall athleticism, and are trying him out in center field to start his career. The hope is that his speed and average arm will translate into a solid center-field kit, though as an infield convert, he has work to do on the technical side. Despite the raw speed grading out higher, his impact on the bases is likely to be more in the plus range.

I like his abilities at the plate, and I definitely see him making an impact with his power and on-base abilities in the future. He takes nice cuts for a teenager, and any strength gains he has will propel his home-run power upward easily. The strikeouts are a minor yellow flag, but not unexpected given his lack of professional experience and absence due to injury heading into the draft. We will have to monitor how his contact progresses this year as well as his outfield defense, but this guy has a chance to be really good. He gets nice praise for being a very hard worker, as well.

Hit: 30/50/60 Power: 35/50/55 Run: 55/60/60 Field: 45/50/55 Throw: 50/50/50
Overall: 30/50/65


Rosario at 1:58; Video courtesy of YoSoyLeña
3. Amed Rosario, SS
Current Level/Age: Double-A/20.4, 6’2/170, R/R
Acquired: Signed in 2012 out of Dominican Republic by NYM for $1.75 million bonus
Previous Rank: 3

Rosario has impressed scouts since his debut in 2013, playing against age-advanced competition and holding his own every step of the way so far. His solid 2015 ended with a promotion to the Double-A Eastern League, placing him right into the playoffs. He likely starts there in 2016, with the goal of continuing to improve his approach and possibly adding some of his raw power into his game swing.

While his offensive numbers have been merely respectable, it’s his potential that has evaluators excited. He has a quick bat and an athletic swing out of a body that has lots of physical projection left to fulfill. He isn’t going to hit for a ton of power until he gets his legs under him more consistently. He gets jumpy with his hands and rushes them to the ball, taking the lift out of his swing. When he stays relaxed and lets the ball get to him, though, his hands work much better with plenty of hard-fly-ball potential. It’s a matter of adding lower-body strength and gaining comfort in the box. So, as long as he isn’t pushed too hard against older competition, I think he’ll find his way to some solid all-fields power.

In the field, Rosario has shown good instincts and a plus arm, giving hope that he can stick at short. Based on his footwork, he probably fits better as a third baseman, but he has the arm strength to make up for plays his feet couldn’t with an average arm. He has a similar defensive future to Corey Seager in my opinion, where he could probably play an average shortstop in the early going before transitioning to third.

Add to the mix a strong feel for putting the bat on the ball and at least above-average speed, and the excitement around Rosario starts to really make sense. The power is the farthest away of his tools, but I’m more confident in his athleticism getting him there than most young hitters with untapped raw power. He has room to improve his plate discipline, but again, it comes back to his youth relative to the opposing pitching. There’s enough promise at the plate to give him some leeway as he starts to mature.

Hit: 35/50/55 Power: 30/40/45+ Run: 55/55/60 Field: 50/55/55 Throw: 60/65/65
Overall: 30/50/60+

45+ FV Prospects
4. Gregory Guerrero, SS, VIDEO, N/A

Guerrero could end up being one of the better hitters to come out of last year’s international class. His movements got a little big at the plate, but it looks to be mostly due to showcase syndrome, an overswinging affliction all amateur players seem to catch at some point. I don’t have a great sense for how much contact he will make, but he has a great, athletic swing to build on. His swing path is perfect for giving him room for error and generating some lift, and the physical projection adds up to see a solid offensive future for him. It really just depends on his bat-to-ball skills.

He has decent actions in the field, though when his body fills out a bit, it’s nearly a guarantee he moves off short to third base. Maybe second base would be a fit if his footwork shows improvement. He has plus arm strength, though he’ll have to improve his quickness getting rid of the ball on stand-up throws to really use it in games. He has slightly below-average to average hands, but there’s enough potential to see a solid-average fielder overall. He’s somewhere between a 40 and 45 runner, but there’s enough potential elsewhere that he won’t need to do much on the bases.

Hit: 30/50/55 Power: 25/50/55 Run: 40/40/45 Field: 45/50/55 Throw: 55/55+/60
Overall: 20/45-50/60

5. Dominic Smith, 1B, VIDEO, High-A

Smith’s bat continues to look like a legitimate major-league asset, though his doubles power and lack of defensive skills to play anywhere but first base have many wondering how much value he’ll ultimately be able to provide. I’m buying into his future as an excellent professional hitter with gap power, but I’m not too bullish on him turning his doubles totals into a high amount of home runs. That said, he’s certainly going to add some more strength despite being pretty mature physically, so it would be foolish to completely write him off as a power threat in the future.

He has an excellent approach at the plate, showing the ability to shoot line drives from foul line to foul line. He can get under balls for some home-run power, but his swing is mostly geared for a higher batting average than pure distance. While his swing works well to let balls get deep and still square them up, there’s not a lot of flexibility in his core to really explode on the ball with good sequencing.

He may just add enough raw strength to turn his gap shots into home-run power, but I think it’s less likely than a young hitter with greater athleticism. It wouldn’t take a big adjustment for him to put more balls in the air with authority, though I do believe it would come at the expense of his batting average. Whether he can do that and have it be a net positive or not, I’m not so sure.

Smith is a great fielder at first and has deceptive speed, so although his value is tied to his bat as a first baseman, he has a better safety net than most at the position. His bat will play, so we’ll just have to see to what degree it works. Overall, he’s a good upside prospect with a fairly high floor on account of his bat.

Hit: 45/55/65 Power: 40/45/50 Run: 40/40/40 Field: 45/45/50 Throw: 55/55/60
Overall: 35-40/45/60

6. Gavin Cecchini, SS, VIDEO, Double-A

Cecchini’s breakout 2015 season and future potential are both tied to his contact and approach at the plate. If he can maintain a low strikeout rate and respectable walk totals, he has a chance to be a starting infielder. His power is going to manifest itself more in the form of doubles than homers, which is also strongly tied to his contact. He has a quick enough bat, but a direct-to-ball swing that won’t be granting a lot of room for error hitting balls to the deep parts of the field.

The rest of his profile is a bit underwhelming, but he’s never been a toolsy prospect, anyway. There’s more risk here than you might think a middle infielder with a good bat would have. He’s likely to be a bit below-average on the bases, and his defense was a little rough last year at short. His fielding has always been fringy for shortstop, but he has made up for it with good hands and instincts. He may just have to slide over a spot to second or possibly third. I’m giving him a pass on his 2015 defensive work, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on this year.

Hit: 50/50-55/60 Power: 35/40/40 Run: 45/45/45 Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 55/55/55
Overall: 40/45/55

7. Marcos Molina, RHP, VIDEO, Triple-A

Molina will be out for most or all of the 2016 season rehabbing from elbow surgery, so he’s a bit on hold for now as a prospect. There were plenty of signs before getting hurt that he may have to move to the bullpen – arm-heavy delivery with effort, tiring after one or two innings – but there’s no rush having that conversation until he’s back in the mix. If he returns fully healthy and with the same stuff, he’s in the 50+ group with three pitches that all play above-average at points.

Fastball: 55/60/60+ Slider: 45/50/55 Changeup: 40/45/55 Command: 40/45/50
Overall: 35/45/55

8. Wuilmer Becerra, OF, VIDEO, Single-A

Becerra is a great athlete with at least average potential with every tool, but he’s still a borderline prospect to me. He has average speed, but it’s more straight-line speed with a below-average first step. He has a plus arm with a quick release, yet his accuracy doesn’t play at the same level. As a result, his defense has the potential to play anywhere from fringe-average to above-average.

Then on offense, his raw power grades out as plus at its best, and his hitting ability shows signs of being above-average if his contact rate continues to improve. He has great balance at the plate after simplifying his gather and stride the last year or two, but his bat path starts out steep to the ball before leveling out in front of the plate. He doesn’t have great separation of his hip and shoulder rotation, so he has to start exactly on time to tap into his ability to drive the ball. In all, he’s in a better position than previous years to do consistent damage against advanced pitching, though he is still more reliant on his hand-eye coordination and raw strength than most guys who end up being above-average hitters.

The most impressive development last year for Becerra was the improvement in his approach, resulting in fewer chases out of the zone and his best strikeout rate in three years. His slight swing changes have helped him make more contact, but he has more work to do to ensure he can handle the better command and offspeed stuff he will face over the next three levels. With average speed and a strong but inconsistent arm, he fits the prototypical right-fielder mold as long as the bat develops.

Last year could end up being the turning point of his young career toward becoming an everyday player, or it could be his best statistical year that he never repeats. I’m less confident in this evaluation because of the collection of positives and negatives in his profile. I think he’s at least going to be a solid platoon player, since facing lefties will mitigate any weaknesses he has with higher level offspeed. He’s a player I will be keeping an eye on early this year to monitor his progress.

Hit: 40/45+/50 Power: 40/45-50/55 Run: 50/45/50 Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 50/55/60
Overall: 35/45/55

9. Luis Guillorme, SS, VIDEO, Single-A

Guillorme is the best defensive shortstop in the system, and may be one of the best in the minors altogether. He won the Most Valuable Player Award in the South Atlantic League last year, as his high-contact bat and base-running ability produced an awesome .318 average and 18 stolen bases to go with his defense.

The Mets are happy with how well he’s done so far, having been just a 10th-round pick in 2013. He will play in the big leagues in some capacity. How far he goes will depend on how well he can translate his contact and line-drive swing against better pitching, since he has bottom-of-the-scale power. His ranking here is a reflection of just how good his defense is.

Hit: 40/45/50 Power: 20/25/25 Run: 50/50/55 Field: 65/70/75 Throw: 55/55/55
Overall: 35/45/55

10. Luis Carpio, SS, VIDEO, Rookie

Carpio is a solid defender who will stay at shortstop, though he also spent some time at second base alongside Milton Ramos. He’s very mature for his age and shows a good understanding of the zone. He has an athletic swing with fast hands, and with some added strength and slight attempt at lifting more balls, he could have 40 power as a finished product.

Hit: 35/50/55 Power: 25/35/40 Run: 45/50/50 Field: 50/55/55+ Throw: 55/55/55
Overall: 25/45/55

11. Milton Ramos, SS, VIDEO, Rookie

Ramos will be an excellent defender at shortstop, and he made great strides offensively last year across two levels of Rookie-ball. He has gotten more physical each year since he was drafted, and just needs to get more at-bats and plays to gain experience and find consistency. With great overall athleticism, the hope is that continued physical growth will help him hit with more authority and possibly leak into some power production. He has work to do on his approach, though being so young, it’s not behind schedule by any means.

Hit: 35/45/45+ Power: 30/35/40 Run: 55/60/60 Field: 55/60/65 Throw: 50/55/55
Overall: 30/45/50

12. Seth Lugo, RHP, VIDEO, Double-A

Lugo has a three-pitch mix of average to slightly above offerings, and shows a strong aptitude for knowing how to use it. His fastball works in the 90-92 range but can reach 95, and his curve and changeup show signs of being effective weak-contact-inducing pitches. His curve can be very tough to pick up out of his hand, particularly because of his good command. The fastball at the knees and the 55-foot curve in the dirt come out with the same arm speed and angle. He could end up being a reliable back-end starter or a solid reliever.

Fastball: 50/50/55 Curveball: 50/50/55 Changeup: 45/45+/50 Command: 50/50/55
Overall: 40/45/45+

40+ FV Prospects
13. Andres Gimenez, SS, Rookie

Gimenez was another solid shortstop signing out of last year’s international class for the Mets, giving them yet another up-the-middle infielder with solid defensive skills and a chance to hit. He projects to be lighter on power, but scouts think his bat will play well enough to allow his above-average speed and defense to carry him in professional ball.

Hit: 30/50/55 Power: 25/30/35 Run: 55/55/55 Field: 50/55/55 Throw: 55/55/55
Overall: 20/40-45/50

14. Jhoan Urena, 3B, VIDEO, Rookie

Urena battled nagging injuries nearly all of 2015, suffering broken hamate bones in both wrists. I wasn’t really sold on his power potential before last year because of a lack of lift in his swing, but his offensive struggles in High-A have to be almost completely ignored until he’s back healthy this year. He is still a projectable switch-hitter with strength and bat speed from both sides of plate.

With good hands, fringy range and a strong arm, he projects as an average defender at third base. The best thing to do with his offensive projection is pretend last year never happened, though I did think it was a positive that his strikeout rate remained the same despite his overall struggles.

Hit: 40/50/55 Power: 35/40/45 Run: 40/40/40 Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 55/55/60
Overall: 30/40/50+

15. Brandon Nimmo, OF, VIDEO, Triple-A

Nimmo is similar to Cecchini in how the offense projects at the next level, though he has much more raw power and less in the way of contact skills. His swing and approach may lead to less game power than Cecchini, however, and I’m less sold on his on-base abilities translating to the big-league stage. He has the tools to play a serviceable outfield with average speed and an average arm. He profiles to offer less-than-average base-running value, with the stolen base likely not a big part of his game.

Ideally, Nimmo starts being a bit more selectively aggressive rather than just getting deep in counts. He can wait minor-league pitchers out for mistake pitches late in at-bats or simply take his walks, but major-league competition won’t give in as easily. Plus, until he shows he can bring his power into games consistently, pitchers aren’t going to be afraid to live on the edges of the zone without the threat of doing real damage. I can still see a scenario play out where Nimmo realizes he needs to hit for more power and adds some lift to his swing, but a downward-to-level plane results in a lot of balls getting lifted to the outfield rather than driven.

His defensive skill gives him the opportunity to be a possible fourth outfielder or platoon partner, though even that hinges on him continuing to get on base at a high rate. More likely, he will have to go on the attack earlier in the count to avoid major-league pitchers getting ahead with well-spotted strikes. Then the question becomes whether his contact or power will improve enough to make up for the reduced walk rate. Reports are that a torn muscle could keep him out for the start of the season, though he’ll end up back in Triple-A once he’s healthy.

Hit: 45/50/55 Power: 30/35/45 Run: 45/45/45+ Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 50/50/50
Overall: 35/40/50

16. Eudor Garcia, 3B, VIDEO, Single-A

Garcia had a great year in the South Atlantic League last season, showing off an excellent ability to hit and flashing some power. He has an 80-game suspension waiting for him when the season starts, which cuts into valuable development time, but I like his future at the plate. Defensively he’s a stretch at third base, and his power may only be average or a tick above in the end, but his ability to hit for average will continue to make him a viable prospect even with the red mark on his record.

He reminds me of the kind of hitter you picture the St. Louis Cardinals targeting – a simple, line drive swing with enough strength to hope his hit tool provides some power in the long-term. Apart from some strike-zone-judgment questions, I think he’s a safer bat than most give him credit. The defense keeps him from projecting as a starter, but it’s not impossible his power creeps up into the plus range as he unleashes his swing a bit. The swing and strength are there.

Hit: 45/55/60 Power: 40/45/50+ Run: 30/30/35 Field: 40/40/40+ Throw: 50/50/50
Overall: 30/40/50

17. Ali Sanchez, C, Rookie

Sanchez has all-around great tools that could give him better ability than any catcher in the system — including the big-league team — when he’s ready. He’s a plus defender with a plus arm behind the plate, already showing advanced polish for a young backstop. He has some ability with the bat, as well, profiling as a solid high-contact line-drive hitter. He is getting close to making the jump to full-season ball, where we can get a better idea of his timeline.

Hit: 30/40/45 Power: 25/35/40 Run: 40/40/40 Field: 55/60/60 Throw: 50/55/60
Overall: 25/40/50

18. Matt Reynolds, SS, VIDEO, MLB

Reynolds has a little of everything, but no one tool to really carry him. There’s some pull-side power with an average ceiling on his hit tool with good contact and a low-line-drive approach. He has below-average speed, but picks his spots well enough to be around an average runner. His defense is a little light at short, but good enough to play there or second, with an above-average arm that would allow him to slide to third as well. A solid utility profile, but likely not enough to start regularly.

Hit: 45/45/50 Power: 40/40/40 Run: 45/45+/50 Field: 50/50/55 Throw: 55/55/55
Overall: 40/40/45-50

19. Max Wotell, LHP, VIDEO, Rookie

Wotell may be the pitcher I’d least like to face as a hitter from last year’s draft class. He has a funky delivery with a lot of side-to-side movements, but has a three-pitch mix the Mets think could all be above-average offerings. He’s very athletic, so the mechanical work he has in front of him is more likely to help than most. Club officials praise his on-field makeup and competitiveness. He’s definitely one to watch at the lower levels. Like many young pitchers, his command shows the biggest need for improvement.

Fastball: 45/50/55 Curveball: 45/50/55 Changeup: 40/45/50 Command: 40/45/45+
Overall: 30/40/45+

20. Josh Smoker, LHP, Triple-A

Smoker revived his career last year after being out of affiliated ball since 2012. He’s back with a big fastball up to 97-98, complemented by a slider and splitter, the latter representing his best secondary pitch. His command still isn’t the greatest, but lefties with that kind of velocity have more room for error. He may be a weapon out of the pen for the Mets this year.

Fastball: 60/60/65 Slider: 45/45/50 Splitter: 45/50/50+ Command: 40/40+/45
Overall: 40/40/45

21. Akeel Morris, RHP, VIDEO, MLB

Morris has a live arm with setup potential, but he is very reliant on his arm speed to generate his stuff. He lands on a stiff front leg without much hip rotation, resulting in a lot of effort and rigidity in his upper body and arm. His fastball looks faster than it actually is with his quick arm action, and he has a solid changeup with good run. If he can improve his control, there’s nothing stopping him from settling into a seventh- or eighth-inning role.

Fastball: 55/55/60 Slider: 40/40/40 Changeup: 55/55/60 Command: 40/40/45
Overall: 40/40/45

22. Dario Alvarez, LHP, VIDEO, MLB

Not much upside here, but Alvarez has some velocity from the left side and can be tough to pick up. His above-average to plus slider gives him potential in the middle innings or as a matchup lefty.

Fastball: 50/50/50 Slider: 55/55/60 Command: 45/50/50+
Overall: 40/40/45

23. Chris Flexen, RHP, VIDEO, Triple-A

Flexen had just fringy stuff before going down for Tommy John surgery in the middle of 2014. He came back in 2015 with reasonable success. By his last few appearances, he reportedly ran his fastball up to the mid-90s, possibly adding a real weapon to his decent slider and good command for a young pitcher. He’s probably still just a future bullpen candidate, but his improved stuff after surgery paired with good control requires keeping an eye on him this season.

Fastball: 50/55/60 Slider: 40/45/50 Changeup: 40/45/50 Command: 45/45+/50
Overall: 35/40/45

24. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP, VIDEO, Double-A

Ynoa has a very similar projection to Gsellman below, likely ending up in the bullpen as a good strike-thrower with limited upside but a high floor. He too could start in a pinch. He may end up having a little better command and has an extra secondary pitch to work with, but only his changeup has a real chance of being above-average.

Fastball: 50/50/55 Curveball: 40/45/50 Slider: 40/40/45 Changeup: 45/50/55 Command: 45/50/55
Overall: 35/40/45

25. Robert Gsellman, RHP, VIDEO, Double-A

Gsellman pitched well in High-A before getting promoted to Double-A last season. He may continue starting in the short-term, but the Mets see him as a future bullpen option with an above-average fastball and above-average command. There’s a chance he could start for a lesser rotation in the big leagues, but he lacks the secondary stuff to stick there long-term. He has good sink to his fastball, paired with two approximately average pitches in a curve and changeup.

Fastball: 50/50/55 Curveball: 40/45/50 Changeup: 45/45+/50 Command: 45/50/50+
Overall: 35/40/45

26. LJ Mazzilli, 2B, VIDEO, Double-A

Mazzilli may have enough bat to carve out a bench role, though there isn’t much upside unless his defense or his power takes a step forward. He’ll likely be in Triple-A at some point this year with a chance to see big-league time if it goes well.

Hit: 45/45+/50 Power: 35/40/45 Run: 40/40/45 Field: 45/50/50 Throw: 55/55/55
Overall: 35/40/45

27. Kevin Kaczmarski, OF, VIDEO, Rookie

Kaczmarski was the Mets’ ninth-round pick in 2015 as a senior sign after doing nothing but hit at Evansville College. He’s a tweener on defense, more likely settling into left field as his best full-time spot. He hit a ridiculous .465 in conference play last year, then hit .355 with some pop in Rookie-ball. He’s on the older side, so his timeline will have to be accelerated to face more age-appropriate competition, but he may have the hitting ability to be a bench bat or fourth outfielder. His lack of home-run power keeps him off most evaluators’ radars, but if his skills translate to full-season ball, he could see the upper minors by the end of this season.

Hit: 40/45/50 Power: 40/45/45 Run: 50/50/50 Field: 50/50/50 Throw: 45/45/45
Overall: 35/40/45

28. Mickey Jannis, RHP, VIDEO, Double-A

Jannis was a fun change of pace to see in the Arizona Fall League, unleashing his high-70s knuckleball amidst the mid-90s reliever carousel that mostly occupied the mound. He threw a few that flashed plus with surprisingly good athleticism, though it was inconsistent enough that he doesn’t look ready yet for big-league hitters. His fastball came in around 90 with fringy command, though it had enough run not to be a meatball pitch he could only throw in three-ball counts. Overall, there was enough skill with his knuckleball to be of interest in the next couple years, but nothing on which to really hang his hat yet.

Fastball: 45/50/50+ Knuckleball: 45+/50/55 Command: 45/45/50
Overall: 35/40/45

Cistulli’s Guy
Jonathan Johnson, 2B/3B, Class-A

Many of the players who appear on these lists as Cistulli’s Guy are so designated because a combination of statistical indicators and physical tools suggests that the prospect in question is a candidate to experience some success, however modest, at the major-league level. That’s the case, for example, with outfielder Ramon Flores of the Milwaukee Brewers and second baseman Sherman Johnson of the Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Jose Martinez of the Kansas City Royals.

It’s less the case with Jonathan Johnson, however. Rather, this Johnson belongs to a second class of Cistulli’s Guy: those whom the author has chosen in part due to that combination of stats and tools, but also in part to a compelling feature in his biography.

This isn’t to suggest Johnson hasn’t exhibited some promise. Consider: he’s produced walk and strikeout rates of 15.8% and 9.9%, respectively, with Class-A Savannah, while also adding 31 stolen bases on 40 attempts and recording over 90% of his starts at second base. That he’s done this as a 25- and 26-year-old, however — in a league whose batters average a collective age of 21.5 years old — is less encouraging.

For Johnson, however, there’s also this: before signing with the Mets, he played Independent League ball over parts of four seasons, first with Shreveport-Bossier of the American Association and then with Gateway of the Frontier League. And actually, his numbers with Savannah are almost exact replicas of the lines he recorded as an Indy Leaguer — just as those Indy League lines closely resembled the sort he posted over his last three seasons as a collegiate with Loyola Marymount. Nor is all hope lost for Johnson’s future: he appears to have been invited to the Mets’ major-league camp for spring training.

In any case, here’s footage from this past year, which reveals not only that Johnson is capable of hitting a ball almost out of the park, but that the camera angle at the Charleston RiverDogs’ home park is excellent relative to its minor-league peers:

Quick Hits
Upper level hitters: 3B/UTIL Jeff McNeil (VIDEO) is a high-contact bat who has hit over .300 at every level he’s played with a solid on-base percentage. He won’t hit for much if any power, but solid bats don’t grow on trees, and the Mets like his competitiveness enough to see a possible utility man. He heads to Triple-A in 2016.

Lower level hitters: 3B David Thompson (VIDEO) has a chance at above-average power from the right side, but defensive questions and a murky future hit tool keep him off the list for now. He could jump up the list if he can figure out pro pitching in his first full season this year. CF Raphael Ramirez (VIDEO) has some good and bad length to his swing – he takes a while to get to the ball but stays through it nicely. Contact has been an issue in the early going, but he could develop some pop in the future and has the tools to stay in center. OF Ricardo Cespedes (VIDEO) has a good approach for a young hitter, and some contact skills with flashes of power. Even if he moves off center, he has a chance at average tools across the board, but for now he has a ways to go.

C Patrick Mazeika (VIDEO) isn’t the most athletic-looking guy when he swings the bat, but you have to appreciate the solid numbers he put up in Rookie-ball. He’s a mild follow as he heads toward his full-season debut. OF John Mora (VIDEO) has a quick bat with a good eye at the plate, though an exaggerated chop to his swing limits his power to gap shots on balls up in the zone. His average speed and defense isn’t quite enough to make him a bench option, so he’ll have to continue stepping forward offensively to reach the big leagues.

Lower level pitchers: LHP Thomas Szapucki (VIDEO) is a good lefty arm taken in the fifth round last year. He has the makings of a good fastball and slider, but needs more experience working his arsenal out with the Mets’ pitching coaches.



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Dan is Fangraphs Lead Prospect Analyst, living in New York City. He played baseball for four years at Franklin & Marshall College before attending medical school. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @DWFarnsworth.


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mrmaddness
Member
mrmaddness
2 months 21 days ago

Wow, you weren’t kidding about being down on Nimmo.

Based on a lot of reports I hear, he can jack HRs like its no problem during BP, but the in-game power has yet to show. Also, even though it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s still only 23, and has played in a lot of parks that seem to kill left handed power.

He’s never going to have probably say, Hunter Pence type power, but the way you make it seem is that he’s going to have Ben Revere type power.

Jeff G
Member
Jeff G
2 months 21 days ago

It seems like Nimmo drops every year. I’m really hoping he and D. Smith turn on the power, as Granderson and Duda will eventually need to be replaced.

Domingo Ayala
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Domingo Ayala
2 months 20 days ago

What is Hunter Pence type power?

mrmaddness
Member
mrmaddness
2 months 19 days ago

20-25 HRs.

Lomo45
Member
Lomo45
2 months 21 days ago

Thanks for the great writeup. I’m particularly high on Guillorme among this deep group of shortstops, look forward to seeing how he develops in the upper minors.

One quick note: Matt Bowman is no longer with the Mets, the Cardinals grabbed him in the rule 5 draft.

BigPete
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BigPete
2 months 21 days ago

And Szapucki was taken in the 5th round last year.

Rich Rieders
Member
Rich Rieders
2 months 20 days ago

Given the Cardinals projected pitching staff (and how Bowman’s ST has been setback due to a come backer he caught in the face), he will almost assuredly not make the 25 man roster and find his way back to NY.

eelz
Member
eelz
2 months 21 days ago

How many MLB ABs before you lose prospect eligibility? Asking on behalf of Dilson Herrera.

mrmaddness
Member
mrmaddness
2 months 21 days ago

130.

eelz
Member
eelz
2 months 21 days ago

Thanks! I wonder where Dilson would fall on this list if he WAS eligible….

mrmaddness
Member
mrmaddness
2 months 21 days ago

#1 or #2 most likely. Dilson is legit. He’s young and can hit.

tz
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tz
2 months 21 days ago

I did a double take when I saw Matz on the list. Forgot that he was a late call-up, and is still rookie eligible in 2016.

Mario Mendoza
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Mario Mendoza
2 months 21 days ago

Thanks Dan. Have you gotten a look at the Asian imports this year? I’m recalling the insight you gave us on Abreu & Kang, and hoping for more :)

Kim, Park, Maeda

Mario Mendoza
Member
Mario Mendoza
2 months 21 days ago

Oh I see Park was done on Twins evaluation. Dodgers is forthcoming, but Kim missed the Baltimore one back in December, however.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

A fair list except for a few crazy turns – Guerrero 4th?! Did you think you could just slip that one in w/o anyone noticing? Come on. If you were that desperate to be bold, you would have gone with Giminez in the top ten, not Guerrero.

And discounting Nimmo that much seems like an unnecessary overreaction. His floor is still likely pretty high – think Jon Jay or Will Venable – and better if things continue to develop.

And did you realize that Jonathan Johnson is 27 and hasn’t played above the SALY??

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

It’s not like the Mets system is very deep right now, but if Gregory Guerrero is their #4 prospect, then the system would be in considerably worse shape than most think. This ranking is no less off the wall than putting John Gant as the Braves #2 prospect.

raygu
Member
2 months 21 days ago

It appears Dave and Dave missed Dooduh’s prospect writer application.

Curious Gorge
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Curious Gorge
2 months 21 days ago

I wonder if readers like Dooduh read the content which explains why the authors feel a certain way about a player, or if they do the lazy thing and just look to see where a player is ranked and blows a gasket.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

I know. Dissent is blasphemous.

Bubba
Member
Member
Bubba
2 months 21 days ago

Dissent isn’t blasphemous. You just made a bad comment. It’s cool, it happens. Carson knows Jonathon Johnson is old. That’s why he was put into the “not that great but interesting section”. He’s interesting because he’s old.

Curious Gorge
Member
Curious Gorge
2 months 21 days ago

Dissent is fine if you read and disagree with the content. If you did that, I take back my comment. But we all know that far too many people just look and see where a player is ranked on a list without reading why. It seemed that you were more displeased with where a guy was ranked because you didn’t bring up any complaints with the content.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

Of course. Only your opinion matters.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

FG alum Mike Newman himself has been tweeting some rather *honest* things about this listing.

Curious Gorge
Member
Curious Gorge
2 months 21 days ago

Again, I’m asking if your dissent is where they were placed on a list, or if you disagree with the actual content. Is there substance behind your dissent or is it just a reaction to a number? Why don’t you think Guerrero should be 4th? How would you have done it differently? I’m asking what exactly is your opinion.

Brians Sticky Sock
Member
Brians Sticky Sock
2 months 21 days ago

This looks a lot like trying to deal with my 4 year old during one of his temper tantrums. Yeah, we know Dooduh is upset… Yeah, we even know what he’s upset about… but my lord trying to figure out how he wants it changed is an impossible task.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

Is this some kind of joke?? Who was the last 16 year old to legitimately rank in any team’s top ten prospect list before playing in a single pro game?? What was this ranking based off of? Some video of Guerrero playing on a dusty rock strewn field in DR at 15? He hasn’t played a single game in professional ball yet. While he was a known commodity, he wasn’t at the top of the DR class this year and in the long run is expected to have to move off of a premium def position. He is literally years away from a legit prospect ranking if things work out.

Andres Gimenez, if you wanted to go crazy with an intl signee, was the top player coming out of Venezuela this year and is expected to stay at SS. He is the sort of quick twitch LHed hitting SS that you can dream on, if anything, but even that a few years from now.

I don’t think anyone’s going to kill Dan if he wants to throw either of these 2 into the teens of a mediocre system but I don’t see how #4 is justified in any way.

frivoflava29
Member
frivoflava29
2 months 21 days ago

I mean… Dooduh, what more do you want? One of Mike’s retweets read “today I learned that he could end up being a career minor leaguer, an average major leaguer, or a star major leaguer.” re: Desmond Lindsay.

See, here’s the first problem you have: you’re asking someone to predict the future, and he’s giving you the best he can sans crystal ball — applying scientific structure to what is inherently subjective analysis.

You can get nitpicky about grades, rankings, or your own opinions, but you know what your next problem is? What you think doesn’t mean a whole lot to anyone, not in any way that’s going to affect anything.

So, you may upon inflict upon on us such scathing, steaming hot takes that we suffer digital third degree burns, but we ultimately do not care that you think Guerrero should not be placed 4th — because you haven’t even begun to convince any of us that your psychic is better than ours.

frivoflava29
Member
frivoflava29
2 months 21 days ago

PS: Dan’s specialty is kind of swing analysis. Dude can dissect a bat path faster than you can swing that bat.

Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back
Member
Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back
2 months 21 days ago

Is this some kind of joke? 16 for a legitimate ranking in the list of the top 10 team’s hopes before commissioning a professional game is number one?? charts-what is this coming from? The video plays on the stone dust sand Guerrero at 03:00. Has not played a professional football game. While famous, it is not the first in his class this year and Dr. long to go from positions in high resolution. This means that from a legal perspective, if the judgment.

Andres Himenes, if you want to go crazy with intl summer signing, this year the best players from Venezuela and is expected to remain in the SS, he was a quick contraction of kindness go SS LHed who can dream, if nothing else, than even a few years ago.

I don’t think anyone will kill the Day, if you want to edit one of the two teenagers in the system, but I don’t see how # 4 is guaranteed a certain way.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 20 days ago

There’s just too much difference between 16 and 18 not to give it a lot of weight in prospect rankings. Sure, an 18 (or soon to be) can appear in some rankings before appearing in a game… but at 16 it’s the rare exception that I can recall.

And where did I say anything about Guerrero’s ranking being problematic for me bc it’s not where others have been ranking him? That’s absolutely *not* the case I’ve made.

wobatus
Member
wobatus
2 months 20 days ago

That Mike Newman Eno twitter exchange was interesting as far as inside baseball as it were. I liked Mike’s stuff going back to Scouting the Sally. Seems like there are some axes to grind but it is a different take. I like what dan is doing and it is different from standard fare. I was surprised to see Lindsay that high much less Guerrero.

As for me I really like Cheech and Smith and they have certainly been polarizing.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 20 days ago

@MikeNewmanRS 17h17 hours ago
Some guy @fangraphs who calls himself “Dooduh” is on fire about the #Mets list. Truth is, he’s pretty spot on.

cornflake5000
Member
cornflake5000
2 months 20 days ago

So basically despite several people including Dan himself asking what your evaluations are, all you really have to say is “Dan is wrong because I said so, and Mike Newman agrees”.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
2 months 21 days ago

Jon Jay has been worth ~2.5 wins per/600PA over his career.

You’re saying that’s Nimmo’s floor?

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

Over 750 ML games and 2600 PAs in parts of 6 seasons and >11 fWar thus far seems like a pretty high floor to me.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 months 20 days ago

If average-to-slightly-above regular is a guy’s floor, that guy is a superstar can’t-miss prospect.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 20 days ago

Not if he has a low ceiling.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh
2 months 21 days ago

Are you suggesting you think that a part time player like this is closer to his ceiling?

Bobby Ayala
Member
Member
2 months 21 days ago

Where would Rafael Montero be on this list if he was eligible?

Roger McDowell Hot Foot
Member
Roger McDowell Hot Foot
2 months 21 days ago

It’d be interesting to read a little more about the drafting/scouting/development philosophy behind Cecchini and Nimmo, specifically (plus maybe Smith/Reynolds too) — it seems like the Mets clearly have a difference of opinion on upside with the broader scouting world there, especially, and clearly also a difference of opinion with the writer of this article. But what is it, exactly — what strategy are they pursuing? I’m clueless enough about scouting and player development that I’d like to hear a little more just explaining the strategy the Mets FO is pursuing, what they seem to think they see in these players that the rest of the world is a little more down on.

wobatus
Member
wobatus
2 months 21 days ago

Cecchini was picked right around where Callis and John Sickels had him going. It was not considered an outlandish pick, maybe not exciting, but there was thought to be a good chance he’d turn into a major league shortstop. No a flashy fielder or loud hitter, but a scratch fielder no awful hitter was thought to be a pretty safe bet. He had some fielding issues last year.

Nimmo may have been thought more of a reach but there was thought to be some upside given his inexperience.

I think Cecchini has done pretty well.

matt
Member
matt
2 months 21 days ago

Desmond Lindsay has a lot of similarities to Mike Trout

wobatus
Member
wobatus
2 months 21 days ago

Is that really Amed Rosario in the video clip? Why is he batting left?

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