Baseball America published their organizational rankings for 2013, slotting the Mets in at #16, between the Reds at #15 and the Orioles at #17.
The Mets are mid-pack for both baseball and a whole and the NL East: with the Marlins (#5) and the Washington Nationals (#13) above them and the Philadelphia Phillies (#24) and the Atlanta Braves (#26) in below.
Their comments for subscribers:
|How They Got Here: The best Mets farmhands are the products of trades—Wheeler from the Giants for Carlos Beltran, d’Arnaud and Syndergaard from the Blue Jays for R.A. Dickey. New York also has an intriguing crop of homegrown righthanders led by Matero, Montero, Fulmer, but the majority of its prospects has yet to surface above Class A.
|High-Ceiling Sleeper: After missing his first full pro season because of Tommy John surgery, RHP Jake DeGrom bounced back in 2012 with a 93-98 mph fastball and flawless control.
Baseball America is up with their Top 10 Mets prospects:
They go with:
1. RHP Zack Wheeler
2. SS Gavin Cecchini
3. OF Brandon Nimmo
4. RHP Luis Mateo
5. RHP Rafael Montero
6. 3B/2B Wilmer Flores
7. RHP Michael Fulmer
8. RHP Jeurys Familia
9. RHP Domingo Tapia
10. RHP Cory Mazzoni
Their write up is here. Scouting reports for subscribers are here. Matt Eddy will talk about the list at 1:30.
In terms of comments, I think it’s clear that Wheeler is the clear number one, by a healthy margin.
Nimmo, Cecchini and Flores are the top three position players in the system. They all have fairly different profiles in terms of whether they will contribute offensively and defensively, and I still have Flores the highest of the three off his AA performance in 2012 and his proximity to the big leagues, but I would not fight the rationale for ranking either of the other two above him too strongly given his defensive limitations.
Pitchers. Oh boy. I just cannot rank Luis Mateo that high. There’s a big fastball there certainly, but his size and delivery scream reliever to me.
Finally, there’s the omission Jacob deGrom. Many of the scouts who watched the Gnats this year liked him more than Fulmer and Tapia. Yes, he’s old, but the arm is real.
Baseball America has their draft report card up for the Mets, and it’s free for all so go read it, rather than relying on me to excerpt it.
Their draft report card is really a “best tools” in the Mets’ draft class.
The BA “Quick Take:”
|The Mets added three solid up-the-middle players at the top of their draft. On the downside, however, [Teddy] Stankewicz was the highest-selected prep pick in the entire draft not to sign.
|Bonus spending: $7.0 million
At Baseball America, Matt Eddy has named RHP Zack Wheeler the #2 prospect in the double-A Eastern League, trailing only Manny Machado.
On Wheeler, how about this comment?
“He’s possibly the best pitching prospect I’ve ever seen,” Erie manager Chris Cron said. “He has all the pitches and a free and easy delivery. He can go 98, 88, then 78 at will. For a kid, he really looks like he knows how to pitch because he changes speeds really well.”
Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez, who has managed Flores in four of his five pro seasons, said the 21-year-old benefited this season from the more patient approach stressed by Mets instructors.
JJ Cooper ranked prospects in the Florida State League for Baseball America, assigning Wilmer Flores the #19 spot in the league.
Flores knows how to stay inside the baseball, and he does a good job of driving the ball to the opposite field. He projects as a potential plus hitter with average power.
Though Flores always has shown offensive upside, his position remains in doubt. He’s a 20 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, and his heavy feet severely limit his range at third base. His hands are fine and he has a strong arm, but his lack of speed leaves first base as his only other option if he can’t handle the hot corner.
So add Cooper to the list of analysts who do not think Flores can play second base.
Cooper was extremely high on the overall strength of the FSL Top 20 this year and even the top 40 or so prospects on the circuit. For example, in the chat, he fielded a question on RHP Rafael Montero.
Dan (Idaho Falls): Was a little surprised that Rafael Montero (NYM) wasn't included in the top-20 - what kept him off the list? Much thanks!
J.J. Cooper: Depth of the league really is the only thing. Some see him as a reliever because of his size, but the stuff is very strong. Usually he was 91-93 with a solid slider and developing changeup. He has a maturity that goes beyond his still young age and he understands that the long-term goal of pitching in the big leagues is more important than the stats from any one outing in HiA, so he’ll work on all three pitches even on a night where he doesn’t have the feel for his changeup or slider.
Baseball America has placed four Mets’ farmhands on their list of the Top 20 prospects in the New York-Penn League: RHP Luis Mateo (#5), CF Brandon Nimmo (#11), RHP Hansel Robles (#12) and SS Philip Evans (#18).
He’s a true power pitcher who sits at 92-95 mph and touches 96 regularly, with good angle on his fastball. His very hard, late-breaking slider is an out pitch that projects as a plus offering.
Mateo also has some feel for a changeup but uses it sparingly at this stage.
Nimmo is still raw, as might be expected for the first player ever drafted in the first round out of Wyoming (which has no high school baseball)…. His bat speed is special, giving him big-time power potential, though he’s still learning to unlock it.
Considered a plus runner as an amateur, Nimmo showed below-average to fringy speed this summer and needs a lot of work on his basestealing. His center-field defense is also raw, as he tends to break back on balls before coming in.
Robles made the biggest improvement from the start of the year to the end [among Cyclones' pitchers]…Robles pitches off a 92-96 mph fastball with sink, spotting it effectively to both sides. While he has some some success getting hitters to chase his 83-85 mph slider out of the zone, it lacks depth at times. He showed limited feel for his mid-80s changeup early in the season but looked comfortable throwing it against righthanders in August.
Many area scouts doubted he would stay at shortstop in pro ball, but evaluators who saw him in the NY-P think he has a real chance to do so. He has reliable hands, above-average instincts and sound mechanics at shortstop, where his range is fringy but his arm is solid…. Evans is maxed out physically, but his short righthanded swing and feel for his barrel allow him to project as a solid hitter with good pop to the alleys. … He has fringy speed at best and his baserunning needs work.
Baseball America named Gavin Cecchini, the Mets’ top pick, the 12th overall pick this year, the #12 prospect in a loaded Appalachian League. Matt Eddy began his League top 20 with Byron Buxton, Courtney Hawkins (#13 overall this year) and Bubba Starling.
He wrote of Cecchini in part:
He possesses the footwork, hands and range to be an average shortstop, but he’ll need to further develop his average though accurate arm to seal the deal. He has average speed and is a plus baserunner.
Cecchini probably won’t develop more than gap power, but if he can stay in the middle infield it won’t matter because he has a chance to hit for average. … He can get too aggressive and he has a lot of moving parts to his swing, but he makes hard line-drive contact when he barrels the ball.
Earlier this week, Jim Callis in his “Ask BA” at Baseball America was asked to list his Top 10 prospects (excluding all guys currently in the big leagues) and he slotted in Zack Wheeler in at #9, behind #8 RHP Jose Fernandez (MIA) and in front of #10 OF Byron Buxton (MIN).
Then in a question in his chat later in the week, he responded to a Wheeler question in part by saying, “… But you’ll see him next season, probably in the Opening Day rotation.”
The Mets have more or less promised that Wheeler will not be in the 2013 Opening Day rotation. So just wait a little longer on him.
Now that the minor league season is complete, although the playoffs are still going on, the season wraps are coming. Baseball America did a wrap of their weekly Hot Sheet.
First, on a player, by player basis, they assigned points for each appearance, and based on a sliding scale for each player’s location in each appearances, and RHP Zack Wheeler checked in at #7 overall in “Hot Sheet points.” The only guys ahead of him were OF Wil Myers, LHP Danny Hultzen, RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Jose Fernandez, SS Alen Hanson and 1B Anthony Rizzo.
The surprise is that overall, the Mets had the second most “Hot Sheet points” as an organization behind only the Arizona Diamondbacks and were tied with the Marlins for the second-most players ranked in the Top 13 on a weekly basis. This of course does not mean that the Mets have the second-best system in baseball although its ranking should rise based on the progress of a number of key players. Rather, a number of Mets from Wheeler, 1B/2B/3B Wilmer Flores, Matt Harvey and guys like RHP Michael Fulmer, RHP Domingo Tapia and RHP Luis Mateo each had standout weeks.
As BA put it in their writeup:
…the strong seasons by Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Wilmer Flores gave New York a big boost this year. The Mets also got plenty of appearances from their talented Class A pitching staffs.
Baseball America is out with their always fun annual Best Tools Survey of minor league scouts and league managers.
Matt Harvey was named the Best Pitching Prospect in the International League despite not earning recognition for any single one of his pitches.
Zack Wheeler earned the nod as the Best Pitching Prospect in the Eastern League, with the Best Fastball and Best Breaking Pitch.
St. Lucie’s Alonzo Harris, who can really run, was named the Florida State League’s best baserunner. I touched on Harris yesterday, but he’s over 30 stolen bases, a new career-high, and has become a much better, more aggressive baserunner this year. He’s also getting on base more, giving him more opportunity to run, which probably makes him a better, more comfortable baserunner too. You know, it all starts with getting on base.
Also in St. Lucie, Ryan Ellis was named the FSL’s “Best Managerial Prospect.” Ellis’ team was crazy hot in the first half, setting a franchise record for wins when the team was a ridiculous 49-19. For what it’s worth, scouts have been nearly universal in their praise for Ellis and St. Lucie for playing hard every night.