As I write this late Saturday afternoon (5 pm), the likeliest permutation of an RA Dickey to Toronto trade, has the Mets receiving C Travis d’Arnaud, and either RHP Noah Syndergaard OR RHP Aaron Sanchez. The Mets will likely send more players to Toronto, and get another piece or two back, but these are the big names.
D’Arnaud joins Wheeler as the top prospect in the system. I’d pick d’Arnaud, who is widely regarded as not just the top catching prospect in baseball, but one of the best position player prospects anywhere, over Wheeler. Reasonable people with a pitching fetish could choose Wheeler.
Either Syndergaard or Sanchez, who both pitched in the Midwest League for Lansing, the same level as Savannah, would slot in behind Wheeler as the Mets’ second best pitching prospect. Yes, that’s ahead of Michael Fulmer, Rafael Montero and everyone else.
D’Arnaud hit .333/.380/.595 in 67 games last year for AAA Las Vegas with 21 doubles and 16 homers as a 23 year-old before his season ended with a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). He’s no Vegas mirage: he hit .343/.381/.577 with seven blasts on the road. He’s no PCL mirage either; he hit .311/.371/.542 as a 22-year old in AA New Hampshire in 2011.
The full numbers for d’Arnaud:
|2011 AA (EL)||114||424||132||33||1||21||33||100||1||0||8||.311||.371||.542|
|2012 AAA (PCL)||67||279||93||21||2||16||19||59||2||0||3||.333||.380||.595|
|2011 AA (EL)||11.8||21.5||7.1||4.5||.365||.231|
|2012 AAA (PCL)||12.9||19.5||6.3||5.3||.374||.262|
The one concern numbericaly for d’Arnaud is that he walks at a rate below the Major League average of 8.5%. The Mets, who under Dave Hudgens, have done a strong job teaching plate discipline, should be able to address this with d’Arnaud.
Syndergaard, a first round pick (38th overall) in the 2010 draft, is listed at 6’5″.
Strengths: Monster size; high-end arm strength; fastball is thrown on steep plane; already works near plus-plus velocity range and can touch elite; shows heavy sink and occasional boring action; one source called his fastball “bottom-heavy and difficult to lift”; curveball flashes plus, with hard vertical action; changeup took steps forward in 2012, flashing plus with sinker movement and good arm speed; shows strike-throwing ability and feel for working low in the zone.
Weaknesses: Delivery has some effort; good arm speed, but can show some drag; can lose legs in the delivery and become too arm-heavy; curveball isn’t consistent and will lose depth; changeup can get too firm; tendency to push the pitch.
Strong sinking fastball, good changeup, breaking stuff coming around, solid command, good body, good makeup, strong sabermetric profile. Just needs to stay healthy.
Those are some pretty sexy a-ball numbers for a guy who turned 20 years old in August 2012.
The 6’4″ Sanchez is a little behind Syndergaard, both as a prospect, and in height, but not by much. The Jays drafted him with the 34th pick in 2010 out of high school in California.
Strengths: Prototypical size; improving strength; easy delivery; 7 fastball; works in easy plus range and touches higher; excellent extension and lighting fast arm; plus life; projects as cash money pitch; curveball shows 6+ promise; big hook with tight rotation and vertical bite; changeup flashes above-average potential, with some fade to the arm-side and a fastball disguise.
Weaknesses: Command is below-average; delivery can get funky; doesn’t finish and elevates to the arm side; timing and balance can get thrown off; late pickup will force arm to compensate and play catch-up; secondary offerings are inconsistent; at times, doesn’t show enough pitchability.
Stuff is even better than Syndergaard’s, three plus pitches, but needs to sharpen his control. Noah has a better balance of stuff and command than Aaron at this point, but they are very close.
Obviously, he has a control problem. He also misses bats and gives up few hits.