July Stock Watch: The risers in the Mets system

Let’s get caught up on the guys who’s stock is rising in a companion piece to our July Stock Watch.

We did this in June too.

The rules are simple: we’ll discuss any player in the Mets system who was not on our pre-season Top 41 prospects list, but is in range now.


Michael Conforto
Level: short season Single-A

The Mets’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft waited until July 19 to make his professional debut with Brooklyn. In his first 16 games, he’s hit .362/.449/.552 with his first two professional home runs on Saturday and Sunday. Video of Saturday’s home run is here. The 21-year-old has reached base safely in 15 of his 16 games and has more walks (9, 13 percent) than strikeouts (8, 11.6 percent).

Now that he’s hitting for power, it seems pretty clear he’s ready to move on from Brooklyn, which was a fine place for him to learn the rhythms of professional baseball under the bright lights of Coney Island. Let’s assume he keeps hitting. The question is where he goes next and how long the Mets wait. The organization really likes to see their affiliates in the playoffs, especially Brooklyn, which is owned by the Mets and makes money.

The Cyclones, at 26-24, are one game out of a wild card berth with 22 games to play. The Savannah Sand Gnats are first half champions in the SAL and are going to the playoffs which begin on September 3. St. Lucie is four games out with 29 to play. The guess here is that Conforto get another 10-14 days in Brooklyn to help position the Cyclones for their playoff run. If the St. Lucie closes to within two games of first place by then, he’ll go there. Otherwise, he’ll head to Savannah to help the Gnats win back-to-back SAL Championships.

Conforto is certainly a top 10 prospect in this system, and likely top five.

Marcos Molina
Level: short season Single-A

At age 19, Molina is the best pitcher in the New York-Penn League. In the last two weeks, a Mets person told me he was ready for more advanced competition and expected him to be challenged soon. He’s leading the NYP in ERA (1.27), WHIP (0.85) and opponents’ average (.173), is second in strikeouts and strikeout rate (25.6 percent).

Keith Law at ESPN, Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus and Jeff Paternostro at Amazin’ Avenue have all written more detailed reports about Molina. Quick summary: the stuff is very good, but his delivery could be problematic. Here’s a quick look at the delivery, in which he does not use his legs enough.

Molina is a comfortably Top 15 prospect in the Mets’s system right now, with a chance to slip into the Top 10 by the end of the year.

Matt Reynolds
Level: Triple-A

Coming off a disappointing 2013, Reynolds just keeps on hitting. After a .302/.368/.425 July, he’s now up to .340/.399/.487 in 41 games in Triple-A with a .431 BABIP, a 22 percent strikeout rate and a 8 percent walk rate. Reynolds doesn’t hit for much power, and his strikeout rate has jumped in Triple-A. The 23-year-old’s offensive line will always be very batting average dependent.

Jhoan Urena
Level: short season Single-A

The 19-year-old hit a solid .282/.333/.385 in 30 games in July and is sitting at .277/.341/.394 in 50 games in Brooklyn this year.

As a potential everyday 3B if everything clicks, he’s probably a top 25 guy in the system at this point.

Wuilmer Becerra
Level: Rookie

The 19-year-old had a big July, going .341/.385/.53 with four homers. He must continue to work on his plate discipline – he struck out 21 times and walked four times in 23 games in the month. Still, he’s up to .308/.345/.492 in 36 games in Kingsport. He will likely headline the Savannah outfield next year, and is already one of the team’s better outfield prospects after Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Champ Stuart.

Milton Ramos
Level: Rookie

This year’s third-round pick, Ramos has a reputation as a slick-fielder shortstop who is hitting .235/.270/.314 in 32 games in the GCL. He’ll land somewhere in the back half of this winter’s Top 41 as someone about whom the question is whether he will ever hit enough to play everyday.

Eudor Garcia
Level: Rookie

This year’s fourth-round pick, Garcia has hit .281/.340/.352 in 36 games in the Appalachian League and .306/.341/.376 in 23 games in July with three walks against 10 strikeouts. He’s a big kid who makes lots of contact with a strikeout rate of just 11.3 percent. The 20-year-old looks like a guy who will slot into the back half of an off-season Top 41.

Jeff McNeil
Level: advanced Single-A

After a slow start in St. Lucie, McNeil got going towards the end of July in which he hit .272/.352/.358 in 23 games with eight walks and 10 strikeouts. His natural athleticism, which translates to positional flexibility and left-handedness could take him to an MLB bench role. He’ll probably he in the last 15 of an offseason Top 41.

Kevin McGowan
Level: advanced Single-A

McGowan had a rough July, running a 5.48 ERA in four starts in the Florida State League with 23 hits allowed in 21 1/3 innings with 10 walks against 10 strikeouts. McGowan reminds me some of fellow Mets farmand Matt Koch as righthanders with good size and average or better fastballs, but barely usable breaking balls who have run into big trouble in the FSL. Maybe there’s a middle reliever in here. He’ll probably be in the mix for the last 10 spots on the Top 41.