Year End Lists! By Position – C

Let’s wrap this year up with Mets prospect lists by position. Then, early in 2014, we’ll synthesize the whole into a 2014 Mets Top 41 Prospect list.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, this year, to prepare my Mets Top 41, I first created lists by position.

I’ll put up a list for each position, with a few light comments on the position or individual players. Each player who makes my Top 41 will get a longer profile as part of that process.

So, we’ll go around the diamond, starting today with Catcher, one of the more well-defined positions for the Mets.


Catcher
Travis d’Arnaud
Kevin Plawecki
Juan Centeno
Tomas Nido
Cam Maron

1. d’Arnaud will be the Mets’ Opening Day starting catcher. I expect him to be an above average Major League catcher pretty much right away if he can stay on the field.

2. Plawecki will begin the 2014 season at AA. He’s a fine prospect, who will likely see the big leagues. At the plate, he’s more aggressive than I think is commonly recognized: a low-strikeout, moderate walk player with gap power. He maintains high on-base-percentages with many hit-by-pitches (24 in 2013). Defensively, he’s ok, but his arm is his weakest tool.

3. The Mets added Centeno to the team’s 40-man roster at the end of the 2014 season. He has as little pop as any player on a big league roster, but makes contact and draws a few walks. He’s also a strong defensive catcher who threw out about 40% of opposing runners in 2011 and 2012 and over 50% in 2013. He’s never been a primary catcher on any team he’s played on, instead performing well in a time-share or as a backup.

4. Nido hit .185/.218/.261 with four walks against 21 strikeouts as a 19-year-old with Brooklyn in 2013. The Mets signed him for a quarter of a million dollars in the 2012 draft to keep him away from a Florida State commitment, but the raw catcher, who I had ranked #29 in the system coming into 2013, has done very little as a professional.

5. After a nice 2012 with Savannah (.300/.403/.408 in 93 games), and earned my #33 prospect ranking, Maron flopped in St. Lucie in 2013 (.235/.327/.295). It’s not just that his batting average on balls in play dropped from .366 in 2012 to .284 in 2013, his extra-base hit and walk rates dropped as well.  While his caught-stealing rate climbed from 13% in 2012 to 27% in 2013, opponents still stole 76 bases against him in 2013. Basically, teams ran on Maron, and his pitchers, a lot.

20 comments
drmetfan
drmetfan

I still have a hard time understanding why the Mets decided to keep Centeno over Frank Pena. Pena has a much bigger upside and is a better defensive and offensive catcher. The Royals knew that and signed him right away. Pena is having a great year in the DWL. He is a doubles machine and is hitting for power. 

Joey Ferguson
Joey Ferguson

ive seen alot of maron. i went to high school with him i have have a good feeling he is going to have a big season in 2014

Hank259
Hank259

The biggest wild card on this list is Centeno. He's so good defensively, that if his bat ever becomes even average, he has to be your MLB starter. He would be a tremendous asset to our young and developing pitching staff. But what about Plawecki or d'Arnaud?? I don't trust d'Arnaud to stay healthy and I can see them sliding him at 1B just to keep him on the field. Plawecki I like, although I want to see how he does this year in a  more age-appropriate league. Like I said, wild card is Centeno. If his bat can be average, d'Arnaud or Plawecki slide to 1B while the other is traded. 

dave42
dave42

Is Centeno thought of as a potential backup MLB catcher to D'Arnaud for 2014?  And is Plawecki's best-case ETA September 2014 or June 2015?  Let's say he continue to impress in AA and earns a June call-up to AAA. 

1975
1975

Plawecki will be better than advertised! Hope to see him a lot in spring training.

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

Very top heavy, but can't complain when the top C prospect 3 years ago was Josh Thole. Now you have an Opening day Stater, and what looks like a MLB regular heading into AA. With a very solid #2 catcher sitting in AAA.

dexx
dexx

@Hank259 I can see Centeno being the back up Catcher for several years but playing getting 50 starts or so, to keep TDA healthy, and give TDA a few games at 1B or DH in interleague. 


 That being said, I was really impressed with Recker's defense, game calling, and ability to handle a pitching staff last season.  He definitely has some pop in his bat too.  I would love to see him make a little more contact this season, and take a step forward.


Plawecki seems like the RH version of Josh Thole to me.


If TDA is as good as advertised, and Recker can take a small step forward in 2014, we may not need to worry so much about Plawecki, Centeno or Maron.  Although it would be nice to see them all progress next season. 


I think we are in good shape behind the plate for the foreseeable future, with some dynamite arms throwing to them.

ltkmetsref
ltkmetsref

@dave42Recker is the backup right now, Centeno is AAA starter and #3.   Mets will probobly pick up a vet catcher on a minor league deal too cause that's a little bit too thin.   
 I think Plaw, while everybody likes him is too far away.   Maybe he gets a look in September, but probably not till 2015.

natew
natew

@dave42Centeno spent time with the Mets in 2013 (he was called up at the end of 2013 not 2014) so he can certainly fill that role again next season if needed.  He's the third catcher who can go back and forth between AAA and the Mets as needed.  


I'd think later on Plawecki since they don't have a need at the position and he still had two levels to master.  He should be in big league camp working with the big league pitchers to get an early start on being familiar with them.  Maybe April 2015. 

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

@1975No offense but what better than advertised??? 

He's seen as an every day regular as a catcher... He doesn't have the upside of a D'Arnaud because he doesn't have the power profile to be considered an ELITE hitting prospect, nor does he have the Arm to be a defensive Strength. 


He's a solid offensive performer who shows a good approach that is aggressive not K'ing or BB'ing a ton (8% BBrate and 10%Krate). with Gap power  (38 doubles 8 HR in 551 AB's)


He's a good receiver but doesn't possess a very very strong Arm for that to be a strength either.  Very Very good prospect, but won't ever be considered Elite because he lacks those 2 tools.


green24
green24

@Mark Kelly It's top heavy, but we're talking about the best catching prospect in baseball along with another guy who is probably a top 10 catching prospect in baseball. 


Even though the rest of our catchers are MLB backups at best, catcher is not necessarily a position that you can have (or really need) tons of potential starters at. It's not a position that you can move off of easily (without losing a ton of value) and there are a limited number of catching prospects in baseball with starting potential. 


If we can get a good #2 catcher from 3-5 on this list (which is very realistic), I would call that a success. 

flushed
flushed

@Mark Kelly Monday morning QBing?  IF Thole was in AAA now he would be the second best prospect on this list.

mistermet
mistermet

@Mark Kelly Agreed. This is easily the most depth the Mets have had at the position in a long while. Hopefully d'Arnaud establishes himself as the guy for the Mets in 2014 (and beyond) and Plawecki continues to progress in AA/AAA. That'd leave the Mets with a very nice trade chip in Plawecki to fill any holes that need to be filled headed into 2015.

Hank259
Hank259

@dexx


I think you may be right. While the bad news is that no one knows how this will all work out, the good news is that we have some great options going forward. 2014 will be a huge year for all of these guys, and lots of fun for us to watch them develop. 

dexx
dexx

@natew@dave42 Plawecki will most likely spend almost all of 2014 at AA.  Unless he just absolutely pummels the ball, and takes some big strides defensively, he will probably see the majors until June 2015 at the absolute earliest, barring an injury and need on the parent club.  Anything can happen though, but I see him as a 2015 September callup, and possible backup C on the 2016 squad.

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

@flushed@Mark Kelly


I'm not knocking Thole by any means... He was just a marginal player at best, and he wasn't anything spectacular.. Batting average heavy with no power. 


Right now you have 2 of the mets top 15 prospects at the C position, and depending on the source 2 top 100 prospects in baseball... Thole was the #5 mets prospect in 2010 in a weak mets system,and never cracked a top 100 list. 

Additionally behind Thole was Nothing, Pena who's stock was dropping like a lead balloon. That's what the point was. You have D'arnaud who has All-Star Potential, Plawecki who is Thole with more gap power offensively and a extremely good backup defensive driven C in AAA... Deeper with better upper ends. 


Again no knock, just a fact...

green24
green24

Plawecki is currently a better prospect than Thole ever was.

metfan9876
metfan9876

He's not. However, I remember John Sickels saying not too long ago that he had Plawecki somewhere in the 80s on one of his lists

dexx
dexx

@Mark Kelly Where did you see Plawecki on a top 100?  Not  interrogating.  Just curious.