New York Mets Top 15 Prospect: 1-5

We’ve finally reached the top-five prospects in the New York Mets organization, and each one has a chance to become a legitimate contributor at the major league level.

GOTC’s #1-5 portion of rankings contain three players who shot up prospect rankings with impressive 2014 seasons, and two who were already well-known and respected among the Mets brass.

It’s always interesting to showcase the talent of young ballplayers and speculate about their major league futures, so let’s conclude our Mets Top 15 Prospect list by now looking at the five best young players in New York’s farm system.

#5

Kevin PlaweckiC

Age: 23

H/W: 6’2”/225 lbs

B/T: Right/Right

2014 Stats:

YearAgeAgeDifTmLgLevAffGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201423-2.52 Teams2 LgsAA-AAANYM10137658116240116403048.309.365.460.825
201423-1.7BinghamtonELAANYM58224337318064301627.326.378.487.864
201423-3.6Las VegasPCLAAANYM4315225436052101421.283.345.421.766
3 Seasons287104114430770126171197125.295.372.439.811

Analysis: In most systems, Kevin Plawecki would be praised as the unquestioned catcher of the future; he’s a player you can count on to call a good game and contribute with the bat.  Remember, however, that the young Travis d’Arnaud has that position secured after rebounding in the second half of last season.  d’Arnaud may have closer to All-Star potential, but right now, Plawecki looks like a safe bet to be a top-flight starting catcher as well. Plawecki, 24, has solid bat control, a line drive swing, and is a good receiver behind the plate, at least by MLB.com standards.  He will never top 20 home runs in a season, but his 2014 slash line of .309/.365/.460 is very attainable for the young backstop when he reaches the big league level.  Furthermore, MLB.com praises the 2012 First rounder as a “leader” and a player who “looks more than capable of being an everyday player in the big leagues”

2015 Prognosis: Having already accrued 152 at-bats in Triple-A and achieved moderate success (.283 BA, .766 OPS), Plawecki is nearly ready to contribute at the big league level.  Nevertheless, he will likely begin the 2015 season in Vegas and move to Queens if d’Arnaud gets injured or the super two deadline passes, whichever comes first.

MLB ETA: Plawecki will likely join the Mets by the 2015 midseason, but with no veteran catcher on the books yet for the Amazin’s, Plawecki could win the job as backup to d’Arnaud with a solid showing in Spring Training.

#4

Brandon NimmoOF

Age: 21

H/W: 6’3”/205 lbs

B/T: Left/Right

2014 Stats:

YearAgeAgeDifTmLgLevAffGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201421-2.72 Teams2 LgsAA-A+NYM12746797130219105114486105.278.394.426.820
201421-1.6St. LucieFLORA+NYM62227597395425935051.322.448.458.906
201421-3.7BinghamtonELAANYM652403857124626513654.238.339.396.735

Analysis: We’ve now reached the real elite prospects in the Mets system, but even the promising Brandon Nimmo had a polarizing 2014 season that clouded his future as a potential big league regular for the Mets down the road.  Nimmo began the year scorching hot with the St. Lucie Mets, posting a ridiculous .448 On Base Percentage and smacking 73 hits in only 62 games.  This performance forced the Mets to finally promote their 2011 first round pick to Double-A, but the big outfielder faltered against the more advanced pitching. While he continued to exercise his excellent bating eye in Binghamton, Nimmo’s batting average fell nearly .100 points (to .238) and his OPS dropped to .735.  Still, despite the lackluster finish, 2014 marked a season in which Nimmo posted career highs in RBIs, steals, batting average, and home runs.  Additionally, scouts and analysts across baseball seem to like Nimmo’s skill set; a rival scout said “[Nimmo] could start on a first-division team”, and Keith Law praises his “short swing” and “line-drive approach”.  If Nimmo continues to match his talent to production, he’ll be knocking on the door to the big leagues in the very near future.

2015 Prognosis: Given his marked improvement across the board, I have no trouble believing that Nimmo will rebound from his poor Double-A performance and continue to stride towards becoming the best positional prospect in the Mets system in 2015. Nimmo should start next season in Double-A and swiftly move to Triple-A if everything goes as expected.

MLB ETA: I believe Nimmo will join the Mets in early-2016, but J.J. Cooper of Baseball America thinks the majors is within arms’ reach. “As far as ETA, Nimmo could put himself in position for a call-up to New York with a strong first half.”

#3

Dilson Herrera2B

Age: 20

H/W: 5’10”/150 lbs

B/T: Right/Right

2014 Stats:

YearAgeAgeDifTmLgLevAffGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
201420-3.62 Teams2 LgsA+-AANYM1285249816933513712374796.323.379.479.858
201420-2.6St. LucieFLORA+NYM6728348871623231431844.307.355.410.765
201420-4.7BinghamtonELAANYM6124150821731048942952.340.406.560.967
YearAgeTmLgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+
201420NYMNL1859613013110717.220.303.407.710103

Analysis: Dilson Herrera’s ascent from High-A St. Lucie to a starting major league gig is why the Colombian ranks third in an organization flush with young talent.  Herrera sports what Baseball America calls “average power”, but don’t let the seemingly negative connotations of ‘average’ fool you: this kid has the potential to knock 15 home runs in a season, pretty valuable at second base.  Furthermore, Dilson’s “super-quick hands, above-average bat speed, and aggressive swing” help him generate extra-base power from his 5’10” frame.  Scouts also praise his work ethic and baseball IQ, which, when added to his obvious ability to produce results from his talents, give the Mets a real ballplayer here.

2015 Prognosis:  Herrera reached the majors at the ripe age of 20 last season, however, it is very likely that he begins the 2015 season in Triple-A, not Queens.  In short, the Mets simply have too many second baseman ahead of the Colombian native on the depth chart, but should Wilmer Flores struggle or Daniel Murphy get traded (one of these things occurring is very probable), Herrera will be the next man in line for a call-up.

MLB ETA: N/A, reached the majors in 2014.

#2

Steven MatzLHP

Age: 23

H/W: 6’2”/200 lbs

B/T: Right/Left

2014 Stats:

YearAgeAgeDifTmLgLevAffWLERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/W
201423-0.92 Teams2 LgsAA-A+NYM1092.242424140.213244353351311.1878.40.22.28.43.74
201423-0.2St. LucieFLORA+NYM442.21121269.1662117021621.2558.60.02.78.02.95
201423-1.6BinghamtonELAANYM652.27121271.1662318314691.1218.30.41.88.74.93

Analysis: The quick rise of Steven Matz has added even more quality pitching depth to an elite Mets system.  Matz, following a similar trend as Brandon Nimmo, began the year dominating the High-A competition and earned a promotion to Double-A.  However, unlike Nimmo, the lefty’s production did not taper off at the higher level.  The prized prospect pitched to a 2.27 ERA, walked only 1.8 batters per nine, and led his B-Mets to the Eastern League Championship, even taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning of the series-clinching game.  FoxSports expects Matz’s minor league success to transfer to the big leagues, as they list the young lefty’s repertoire as consisting of an above-average fastball with “exploding action”, a “sharp and tight” curve that he uses to baffle left-handed hitters and change eye levels, and an inconsistent change-up he can throw for strikes. From the scouting reports, it looks like Matz is set up for a big league career as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, potentially reaching his ceiling of a number two starter if everything works out.

2015 Prognosis: Considering the short work Matz made out of High-A and Double-A hitters, he should be ready to break camp with Triple-A Vegas. However, as of right now, the Mets have at least six starters above Matz on the depth chart, so his only real chance of joining the rotation in 2015 banks on injuries or a trade.

MLB ETA: If he stays healthy, the lefty should be able to reach the bigs in 2015.  But should no rotation spot open for Matz, the New York native would be an excellent late-inning reliever or even a lefty specialist if the Mets were amidst the playoff hunt.

#1

Noah SydergaardRHP

Age: 22

H/W: 6’6”/240 lbs

B/T: Left/Right

2014 Stats:

YearAgeAgeDifTmLgLevAffWLERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/W
201421-5.8Las VegasPCLAAANYM974.602626133.0154776811431451.48110.40.72.99.83.37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/28/2014.

Analysis: Coming into the 2014 season with the expectation of a call-up, it’s easy to view Noah Syndergaard’s 2014 campaign with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s as a total failure.  The big righty posted a mediocre 4.60 ERA and gave up far too many hits (154 in 133 IP), however, when comparing Noah’s 2014 season to those of his past, there is much evidence for a 2015 rebound.  Opposing batters tagged Syndergaard for a career-high .378 BABIP in 2014 (Batting Average on Balls In Play), which could be explained by the problem of pitching in the hostile environment that is the Pacific Coast League.  Furthermore, Noah has never allowed a BABIP above .326 in any minor league stint prior to 2014, so we can expect that number to trend closer to his career mark of .290 next season.  Additionally, Syndergaard’s K/9 rate of 9.8 (145 K’s in 133 IP) is right in line with his MiLB career average of 10.0 strikeouts per nine, so clearly Noah’s stuff is not the issue: a lack of poise, an awful environment, and some unlucky bounces plagued his 2014 season. Syndergaard’s HR/9 marks, like his K/9 numbers, also don’t differ much from his career output.  His 0.7 home runs per nine allowed was only 0.2 off his career mark, impressive considering the Texan pitched the entire season in the light-aired PCL.  These stats, coupled with an inflated ERA that actually translates to a much more palatable 3.70 FIP, and the no-doubt #1 Met prospect should be well on his way to a rebound in 2015.

2015 Prognosis: Syndergaard will certainly begin the 2015 season with Vegas (the Mets pitching depth and penny-pinching strategy will hold him back), but midseason 2015 is a definite possibility, if not a probability, and it could be sooner due to trades or injuries.

MLB ETA: 2015

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