June’s minor league stock watch

June has come and gone, and three months into the season, let’s check on which Mets prospects have changed their prospect stock. We did this routine in May.

1. RHP Noah Syndergaard
Stock: Still the best in the system
“Thor” had a rough June that included a strain in his non-throwing shoulder (acromioclavicular joint) suffered covering home plate after a wild pitch in his first start back from a forearm strain (flexor-pronator). In four starts in June, he allowed 17 runs on 21 hits in 15 1/3 innings for a 9.98 ERA with 14 strikeouts against four walks.

He has a 5.35 ERA in a PCL where the average is 4.99. His secondary rates are still above average: he’s struck out 23.5 percent of opposing hitters (the PCL average is 19.5 percent) and walked 7.6 percent (the PCL average is 8.8 percent). In a perfect Mets’ world, Syndergaard would be MLB-ready by now. He’s not, but he’s really not that far away either.

2. C Travis d’Arnaud
Stock: Up.
Sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas, d’Arnaud had a little chat with himself and then went out and hit .436/.475/.909 with eight doubles and six home runs in 15 games. Returned to NYC, he’s hit safely in each of his six games, going .348/.375/.565 with two doubles and a homer in six games. It’s only a week, but it’s a good week for a guy who should be a mainstay in the Mets’ lineup for the foreseeable future.

3. RHP Rafael Montero
Stock: Middling
June was a lost month for Montero. In three starts in Triple-A, he allowed nine runs (four earned) on 13 hits and six walks in 8 2/3 innings. He then left his June 14th start with a left oblique strain.

4. OF Cesar Puello
Stock: Hurting
In a league where everyone hits, Puello, at age 23, has not and he is not longer playing everyday. In 63 games this year, he’s hit .229/.332/.324. He’s not strikiing out (37 strikeouts versus 18 walks in 188 AB). In 20 games in June, he’s hit .137/.313/.255. He has not started a game since June 21 and was placed on the Las Vegas disabled list on June 24 after getting hit in the head by a throw on a play at the plate.

5. INF Wilmer Flores
Stock: Looking for an opening
The Mets brought Flores to the big leagues to push Ruben Tejada, and see Flores at the position. Then Tejada won his job back. Flores started six games at short in June and one at second for the big league club before he was optioned back to the minors at the end of the month. He hit .229/.229/.400 (8-for-35 with three doubles and a home run) in his 11 games in June. Returned to Triple-A, Flroes has played, in order: 2B, 3B, SS, 1B, 3B.

If the Mets were willing to move him around to all four of those positions in the big leagues (and use him as a platoon replacement for Lucas Duda — a career .215/.298/.327 batter vs. LHP — at first) he could start 5-6 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 ot Double-A Binghamton. His first 11 games in Double-A have included his first opposite field home run (watch here), a double and eight walks. He’s walking at an 18.2 percent clip in Double-A, as part of a .171/.341/.286 line (6-for-35) in 11 games. He’s bouncing between center and leftf ield — first to make way for a rehabbing Juan Lagares, and then to help Darrell Ceciliani stay sharp in center as well. He’ll be able to play either center or a corner in the big leagues.

7. LHP Steven Matz
Stock: Up
Two starts into his Souble-A career, Matz spun a gem in game two: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 WER, 1 BB, 9 K. At age 23, the best-left-handed pitching prospect in the system is well online for at least a 2015 MLB debut. There’s some small chance, if Matz is lights out in double-A, and the Mets need arms in September, he will make his debut in 2014 since he’s already on the team’s 40-man roster.

8. 1B Dominic Smith
Stock: Resting comfortably
From April 24-June 30, Smith has hit .315/.381/.394 in his last 58 games with 17 doubles, 22 walks (9.2 percent) and 41 strikeouts (17 percent) while turning 19 in June. He’s been driving the ball better – especially to left and center field recently – sending a few balls to the wall in centerfield at Historic Grayson Stadium. Here’s a fun fact, as a 19-year old at the same level, in the same stadium in 2008, Juan Lagares hit .254/.285/.337 in 46 games as a shortstop. Obviously, Lagares has more defensive value, but Grayson Stadium is a tough place for teenage (or any age) hitters.

9. SS Amed Rosario
Stock: Unchanged
Rosario has hit .295/.343/.393 with five walks against 11 strikeouts in 17 games with Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League. That might not look like much, but he’s doing fine: his strikeout rate (16.2 percent) is down from last year in the Appalachian League and his walk rate (7.4 percent) is up.

10. 2B Dilson Herrera
Stock: Up.
There’s no magic here, just a good athlete with batspeed who has cleaned up his swing and is making lots of contact. In his first 11 games as the youngest player in the Eastern League, he has hit .365/.408/.489 (16-for-45) with three doubles, and a home run. I wrote about the 20-year-old at more length here.

11. C Kevin Plawecki
Stock: Up
He’s done exactly what he’s supposed to do earning a promotion to Triple-A by hitting .326/.378/.487 in 58 games in Double-A. He’s 1-for-15 to begin his Triple-A career. The Mets seem pleased by his progress defensively as we discussed here.

12. SS Gavin Cecchini
Stock: Up, a little
Cecchini earned a promotion after the first half from Savannah to advanced-A St. Lucie at age 20. 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. He’s off to a .256/.286/.308 start in 10 games in the FSL as he’s striking out more and walking less than he did in the SAL.

13. RHP Gabriel Ynoa
Stock: Up
Ynoa will make his Double-A debut Thursday night. His last eight starts in advanced Single-A were dominant: 2.63 ERA, 51.1 IP, 47 K (23 percent), 2 BB (1 percent!) and an opponents’ batting line of .260/.270/.370. He’s sitting 92-94 with his fastball, his changeup flashes plus, and his slider could well get to MLB average. He turned 21 in May, and has added his curveball back into his arsenal as well. There’s a pretty nice pitching prospect in here who projects toward the back of a rotation with outstanding control of his fastball, feel for his secondaries, and the intelligence to set up batters. Our feature on him is here.

14. RHP Michael Fulmer
Stock: Slipping
Fulmer made his best start of the year on June 29: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 HP, 2 BB, 8 K. The bad news is that overall, the 21-year-old’s ERA is sitting at 4.43 with a strikeout rate of 17.9 percent. The good news is that his’s cut his walk rate from 12.3 percent last year in the FSL to 6.9 percent this year. He needs to show more command in the second half of 2014 to show that he can remain a starting pitching prospect.

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.
This one’s real simple. I love the arm and who wouldn’t like 96-98 mph with sink and run, but he just hasn’t thrown enough strikes. He’s walked 31 batters and only struck out 23 in 58 2/3 innings.

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 made one rehab appearance on June 21 in the GCL. It’s tough to progress if one is not pitching.

20. LHP Jack Leathersich
Stock: Barely holding
Leathersich is once again putting up big strikeout numbers in Double-A, which is part of the problem – he’s repeating the level. Still, his walk rate is down from 16.5 percent last year to 10.6 percent this year, which is a little progress. Maybe there’s a middle reliever in here.

21. RHP Luis Mateo
Stock: Same
Mateo has made three relief appearances in the GCL in the last 10 days as he works back from 2013 Tommy John surgery. There’s good stuff in here and maybe a MLB middle reliever.

22. CF Champ Stuart
Stock: Up
He has a chance to be a plus defender out in center as he can really run. He has a plus arm (he threw out a potential tying run at the plate last weekend for Savannah). He needs to refine his swing (scouts are concerned about his full-effort cut), but if he hits at all, there’s a big leaguer in here. He twalks a ton (16.8 percent) and is striking out less than last year (25.6 percent compared to 30.9 percent). He’s making progress at age 21.

Personal note: I enjoy watching Stuart run.

23. OF Ivan Wilson
Stock: Unchanged, bias towards up…
Wilson is off to a .268/.302/.537 start in 11 games in the Appy League with three doubles, a triple and two home runs. He’s shown the defensive gifts, and power that make him such an intriguing centerfield prospect, but he’s also fanned 18 times (against just 2 walks) in those 11 games. His profile, about his adjustments, big and small, is here.

24. RHP Luis Cessa
Stock: Down
Cessa’s 4.43 ERA in the FSL at age 22 is unimpressive. Worse, there’s no way to project to be an MLB starter’s path with a 14.5% strikeout rate (41 K/67 IP). His June was not good: 7.23 ERA, 18.2 IP, 27 H, 15 R, 5 BB, 18 K.

25. RHP Robert Gsellman
Stock: Up
Working in the comfy confines of Historic Grayson Stadium, Gsellman, at age 20, is fourth in the SAL in ERA (2.49). Gsellman missed a few weeks in May with a hamstring strain, and I didn’t think had his good command when he came back, but he settled down in four starts in June, working to a 2.84 ERA in 25.2 innings. Of slight concern is that he didn’t miss many bats (14 K/8 BB). 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. His curveball early in the year looked better, but it has come and gone in the last few months. He needs to keep refining the offering.

26. RHP Chris Flexen
Stock: Holding
Here’s his ERA – BB% – K % by month:
April – 7.11 – 11.8 – 12.9
May – 5.73 – 13.5 – 10.6
June – 2.57 – 9.9 – 19

So, yeah, he’s throwing more strikes in June. He’s still awfully inconsistent, (he’ll try to spin his curveball too hard on two strikes for example, and end up burying it) but he turns 20 on July 1. There’s an interesting arm in here with a low 90s fastball.

27. RHP Casey Meisner
Stock: Similar
The big Texan is off to a solid start (2.93 ERA, 15 K/6 BB) in 15 1/3 innings in Brooklyn.

28. RHP Andrew Church
Stock: Down
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. His line through two starts: 8.2 IP, 17 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 HB, 2 BB.

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!

30. SS Wilfredo Tovar
Stock: Unchanged.
Thumb surgery in June interuppted his season when he was hitting .313/.377/.373, 47 games in.

31. 2B LJ Mazzilli
Stock: Up, a little
Mazzilli has done everything asked of him at age 23. He hit his way out of the SAL, into the All-Star Game, and then up to advanced Single-A. In his first 10 games in St. Lucie he’s hit .324/.390/.568 with three doubles and two home runs. 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 since May 11. At age 22, he was hitting .231/.371/.375 with one home run in 31 games in the SAL playing all but one game in the corner outfield spots or DH.

33. RHP Erik Goeddel
Stock: Down
This one is simple: 24 walks in 39 1/3 innings in 30 relief appearances in Triple-A. That’s not enough to help the big league team. He’s had inconsistent command all the way through the system, which has been exposed at the highest level of the minors.

34. CF Matt den Dekker
Stock: Same
This ranking basically supposed that he would get MLB time, but would not be terribly effective. At .156/.224/.200 in 17 games in MLB, that’s basically been the case.

35. OF Cory Vaughn
Stock: Down
Promoted to Triple-A on June 5, Vaughn has hit .259/.355/.358 in 22 games with Las Vegas with 11 walks and 17 strikeouts. The promotion came on the heels of an unimpressive .190/.281/.293 line in 50 games with the B-Mets. Now 25 years old, he’d be a replacement level or below MLB player.

36. RHP Logan Verrett
Stock: Down
As a starter in Triple-A, he’s run a 4.69 ERA in 94 innings with just 67 strikeouts – that’s a strikeout rate below 16 percent. His slider is his best offering, and perhaps, he fits in an MLB bullpen as a slider specialist.

37. RHP Akeel Morris
Stock: Up, but only a little
His numbers have been terrific in the SAL: 0.25 ERA, 36.2 IP, 14 H, 1 R, 15 BB (10.7 percent), 57 K (40.1 percent). He has a live arm, and mostly succeeds off his fastball. His curveball comes and goes. Maybe there’s an MLB middle reliever in here. Remember when Jack Leathersich and Bret Mitchell were putting up great numbers in the SAL?

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.

40. 3B Pedro Perez
Stock: Down
I liked the young third baseman’s size, but he’s been passed on the organizational depth chart at third by Eudor Garcia and Jhoan Urena. He’s hit .194/.256/.278 in his first 10 games in the Appy League this year while repeating the league.

41. SS Luis Guillorme
Stock: Up, a little
I saw a little of Guillorme up in Kingsport. He’s a slick defender at short, who is going to move up the system. He has well below average power, but a decent line drive swing.