July’s Mets minor league stock watch

Oh, wow, it’s August already, huh? Four months into the season, let’s check on which Mets prospects have changed their prospect stock. We did this routine in May and June.

1. RHP Noah Syndergaard
Stock: Still the best in the system

After an injury-marred June, Thor seems to have turned a corner as July has come to a close. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his last four starts. Overall, in those four, he has a 3.27 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with 26 strikeouts against eight walks against the 99 batters he’s faced. It now seems possible, if not probable, that he will make his big league debut sometime in 2014.

He, Wally Backman and Frank Viola talked to Jared Diamond about his learning curve in Triple-A.

2. C Travis d’Arnaud
Stock: Up.

Travis d’Arnaud finished July at .272/.314/.481 with 10 extra-base hits in 21 games in the month. He’s sitting at .288/.327/.500 in his 27 games since returning from his Triple-A exile. He’s doing much better. He still has to learn a little more strike zone control as in those 27 games he’s struck out 20 times and walked just five in 110 PA. There’s nothing wrong with a strikeout rate of 18 percent – actually, that’s really good – but a walk rate of 4.5 percent is just not going to cut it.

3. RHP Rafael Montero
Stock: In neutral

Coming off a left oblique strain on June 14, Montero made the full rehab tour stopping in with both complex affiliates in the GCL and the Florida State League, before returning to Triple-A on July 20. In his three starts this month in Triple-A, he allowed six runs on 14 hits in 15 2/3 innings with six walks and 15 strikeouts. That’s solid, but hardly dominant. His 6 2/3 shutout innings on the final day of the month seems like a step in the right direction, however.

4. OF Cesar Puello
Stock: Down

Since coming off the disabled list on July 6, Puello hit a solid .282/.404/.513 in 15 games in the month with strike zone control – as he earned four walks against nine strikeouts. However, he started 13 of the 51s 24 games since his return. He lost playing time to a red-hot Matt den Dekker, Andrew Brown, Anthony Seratelli and Cory Vaughn. Even in Triple-A, plate appearances and innings pitched are investments in a team’s big league future. The Mets are clearly choosing not to invest in Puello.

5. INF Wilmer Flores
Stock: Looking for an opening

He can hit in Triple-A, but he’s still trying to prove he can do it in the big leagues. If the Mets were willing to move him around to all four of first, second, third and short in the big leagues (and use him as a platoon replacement for Lucas Duda — a career .215/.294/.323 batter vs. LHP — at first) he could start 4-6 games a week.

6. CF Brandon Nimmo
Stock: Up.

After finishing up the first half at .322/.448/.458 in the Florida State League, Nimmo earned his promotion to Double-A Binghamton. After a slow start, he’s hit .243/.355/.447 in July with four homers and 18 walks against 25 strikeouts in 27 games. He’s fine. Actually, he’s better than fine, he’s doing very well at age 21.

7. LHP Steven Matz
Stock: Up

Matz was roughed up a bit in his last start of the month, but he finished July with a 3.03 ERA in 29 2/3 innings with 24 (19.5 percent) strikeouts against six walks (4.9 percent). He’s working on improving his curveball. As long as he’s healthy, Mets fans should see him in 2015, or if there’s a need in the rotation, September 2014 is a possibility too.

8. 1B Dominic Smith
Stock: Resting comfortably

Smith hit .292/.375/.333 in 26 games in July with 14 walks (12.5 percent) against 15 strikeouts (13 percent). He’s doing everything good hitters do – making contact, walking and not striking out – except for hitting for power. Obviously, hitting for power is part of the job description at first, but Smith is 19 and playing in a huge ballpark to rightfield.

9. SS Amed Rosario
Stock: Unchanged

Rosario hit .286/.330/.371 in 27 games in July in the New York Penn League which is pretty close to his full-season line in the league of .289/.335/.380 in 44 games as a Cyclone as an 18-year-old. He’s striking out in only 15 percent of his plate appearances, which is strong.

10. 2B Dilson Herrera
Stock: Up.

He just keeps hitting. In 26 games in July, he hit .340/.402/.585, with 14 extra-base hits. Sure, there’s lots of batting average in there, but also a .245 isolated slugging percentage. In 37 games in Double-A, he’s at .344/.404/.556. I wrote about the 20-year-old at more length here.

11. C Kevin Plawecki
Stock: Up

In a July in which he got to play in the Futures Game, Plawecki has hit .310/.383/.452 in 13 games for the 51s. He’s run a 6/7 BB/K ratio in 18 games in Triple-A. The Mets have a good situation with d’Arnaud figuring it out at the big league level, and Plawecki progressing behind him. The Mets seem pleased by his progress defensively as we discussed here.

12. SS Gavin Cecchini
Stock: Oh, boy.

Cecchini earned a promotion after the first half from Savannah to advanced Single-A St. Lucie at age 20, where he has struggled, hitting .191/.246/.260 in 37 games. Some of that is BABIP – he’s down to .219. But he’s also not hitting for any power as evidenced by his .069 isolated slugging percentage and his 3.5 percent extra-base hit rate. Basically, he’ll be repeating the FSL next year at age 21.

We discussed him in the mid-season promotion feature. In short, there’s a big leaguer in here, but his bat will have to keep improving for me to think there’s an above average everyday guy.

13. RHP Gabriel Ynoa
Stock: Up

Ynoa has been a little up and down in Double-A, but it’s all worked out to a 4.08 ERA in 28 2/3 innings over five starts. He’s been hittable, with 38 hits allowed and a .309 batting average against. Just 21, there might be a fly-ball oriented rotation piece in here. Our feature on him is here.

14. RHP Michael Fulmer
Stock: Slipping

In his last five starts, Fulmer owns a 2.22 ERA over 28 2/3 innings, but that overstates how well he’s pitched as he’s allowed six unearned runs to run his total r/9 to 4.13. However, in those five, he’s fanned 30 and walked 10 for a 24 percent strikeout rate and an 8 percent walk rate, which are both very solid. So, maybe he’s starting to figure it out.

15. RHP Vic Black
Stock: Up and gone.

He’s a big leaguer now.

16. RHP Jacob deGrom
Stock: Up and gone.

He’s a big leaguer now.

17. RHP Domingo Tapia
Stock: Down.

Well under the radar, Tapia put together a very solid July: 2.35 ERA, 23 IP, 21 H, 9 BB, 17 K. I still think he’s a reliever in the end, but that’s nice progress from a guy who had walked 31 and fanned 23 in his first three months. I love the arm, and who wouldn’t like 96-98 mph with sink and run?

18. RHP Jeff Walters
Stock: Down

Walthers, who was added to the 40-man roster in the fall, was ineffective in Triple-A and then had Tommy John surgery.

19. RHP Cory Mazzoni
Stock: Down

Mazzoni’s rehab tour took him from the GCL to advanced Single-A to Triple-A. In three starts with the 51s, he’s been wild: 14.1 IP, 15 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 10 BB, 8 K. Yeah, that’s more walks than strikeouts. Not good. Maybe there’s a big league reliever in here.

20. LHP Jack Leathersich
Stock: Barely holding

Still putting up big strikeout numbers in Double-A, while repeating the level.

21. RHP Luis Mateo
Stock: Same

Mateo’s Tommy John rehab tour has stalled in Brooklyn where at last check, he was throwing “lots” of 89-90 mph fastballs.

22. CF Champ Stuart
Stock: Up

The 21-year-old hit .271/.358/.357 in 20 games in July in which he dealt with some relatively minor nagging injuries including a hip flexor and a pitch off his hand. Oh, and he was 11-for-11 stealing bases in the month. He might be the fastest player in the Mets’ system now, which gives him a chance to really impact a game on the base paths and defensively in center.

I wrote about Stuart here and here.

Personal note: I enjoy watching Stuart run.

23. OF Ivan Wilson
Stock: Slipping

Wilson is big and strong, but strikes out a ton. In 22 games in July, he hit .256/.323/.360 in Kingsport with 38 strikeouts. Until he can cut down on the strikeouts, he’s more great athlete, than really good baseball prospect.

His profile, about his adjustments, big and small, is here.

24. RHP Luis Cessa
Stock: Down

Meh. He was ok in July (23 IP, 4.70 ERA, 18 K, 6 BB) but he’s been ok for most of the year. It’s hard to project a big league future for Cessa, although he should make it up to AA and even AAA at some point.

25. RHP Robert Gsellman
Stock: Up

Gsellman was effective in five July starts: 2.93 ERA, 30.2 IP, 13 R, 10 ER, 11 BB, 30 K.

His is a funny profile as a fastball/changeup righty. Still, at 90-92, touching 93/94 with a big body and feel for a changeup, it’s not hard to imagine Gsellman in a MLB rotation. he found the curveball in his last two starts and was untouchable: 14.2 IP, 12 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 16 K. Do it again, and again, and again, and I’ll believe and send him shooting up the list.

26. RHP Chris Flexen
Stock: Down

Just when he was starting to figure it out, he heads under the knife to have bone chips removed and for Tommy John surgery.

27. RHP Casey Meisner
Stock: Down

Keith Law saw Meisner pitch for Brooklyn, and was unimpressed: “Meanwhile, Brooklyn starter Casey Meisner was awful, throwing 87-91 mph with an above-average curveball but no command or deception.”

In five starts in July, Meisner gave up 20 runs, 16 earned in 16.1 innings with eight walks and 20 strikeouts on 27 hits. Ouch.

28. RHP Andrew Church
Stock: Down

Last year’s second round pick gave up 25 hits in 18 innings in Kingsport in July and 16 runs, nine of which were earned while only striking out 11. In six starts for the K-Mets, he’s allowed 42 hits in 26.2 innings.

As I wrote in June, “I got a look at Church in Kingsport, Tennessee on June 23, and the word I kept coming back to, as I watched his first star of 2014 was “flat.” Kingsport Manager Jose Leger and Pitching Coach Jonathan Hurst also called his stuff “flat” as well. The Mets’ second round pick in 2013 out of high school in Nevada sat 90-91. His changeup was firm at 83-84 and he used a slurvy slider at 79-ish sparingly. I thought he lost his release point at times as he dropped his arm. Church is not physically imposing at 6’2″, but he will pitch the entire season as a 19-year old.”

29. C Juan Centeno
Stock: Unchanged

He’s still a low-end backup catcher. And he even got six games in the big leagues already this year to prove it! Now, he’s back in Double-A.

30. SS Wilfredo Tovar
Stock: Unchanged.

Thumb surgery in June interrupted his season when he was hitting .313/.377/.373, 47 games in. He’s rehabbing in St. Lucie and should be back up to Binghamton in short order.

31. 2B LJ Mazzilli
Stock: Holding, barely

Promoted from Savannah, Mazzilli hit .265/.318/.398 in 25 games for St. Lucie in 25 games in July in his age-23 season, so he’s sitting at .281/.338/.444 in 35 games in advanced Single-A. He need to get hot in August to move up this list.

He says some advice from Yogi Berra in early May helped turn around his season. Scouts describe his work at second as mechanical, but he he’s on pace to start 2015 in Double-A.

32. OF Jared King
Stock: Down

A broken fibula has kept King out from May 11 to July 4. When he was healthy, the Mets promoted him from Savannah to St. Lucie where he’s hit a punchless .239/.316/.268 in 20 games.

33. RHP Erik Goeddel
Stock: Down

Goeddel pitched better in July: 13.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 15 K after nasty control problems earlier this year. With a good August, as a 40-man guy, he might get a big league look in September.

34. CF Matt den Dekker
Stock: Same

den Dekker had a monster July in Vegas, hitting .420/.508/.630 in 29 games. He’ll be 27 in August. This is his peak.

35. OF Cory Vaughn
Stock: Down

In 17 games in Triple-A, he hit .180/.281/.280 in July to take his overall line in Vegas to .229/.327/.328 in 39 games. Yup, he’s playing over Cesar Puello some nights for some reason.

36. RHP Logan Verrett
Stock: Down

His July saw him allow seven home runs in 30 innings over five starts on his way to a 5.10 ERA. This could be Luis Cessa’s future.

37. RHP Akeel Morris
Stock: Up, but only a little

I know in theory what he’s doing in Savannah – working to repeat his delivery to refine his command and improving his curveball. However, he could probably be doing those things in advanced Single-A against better competition. For the year, he’s run a 0.78 ERA in 46 innings with 72 strikeouts against 18 walks.

38. RHP Ricardo Jacquez
Stock: Down

He’s injured, and was back in Texas.

39. RHP Bret Mitchell
Stock: Down

He was injured and then walked nine in 11 innings in the Florida State League and now he’s back in the SAL where he’s been largely effective with 14 strikeouts in 9.1 innings in July.

40. 3B Pedro Perez
Stock: Down

After a slow start, he hit .272/.378/.446 in 26 games in July in Kingsport while playing more games at first than third. That move across the diamond cuts into his value in a big way.

41. SS Luis Guillorme
Stock: Up, a little

His July: .253/.324/.295. A slick defender, he’s never going to hit for much pop.