We ease into the top 30 of my Top 41 Mets prospects with a pair of skilled up the middle defenders who made their MLB debuts in 2013, but do not project to hit enough to be everyday guys. Still, there’s big league value here.
#29 – C Juan Centeno
Height/Weight: 5’10”/170 lbs
Acquired: 32nd rd ’07 (Antonio Luchetti, PR)
Born: 11/16/89 (Arecibo, PR)
2013 Rank: NR | Stats
Why Ranked Here: He makes contact, plays strong defense at catcher and looks like he could be a backup catcher in the big leagues. A late round pick six and a half years ago, Centeno was a backup in the minors from ’07 through 2011. In 2012, at AA Binghamton, for the first time, he played in over half his team’s games.
At the plate, Centeno will use the whole field- spraying weak contact and ground balls all over the diamond. He does not drive the ball as evidenced by his two homeruns in 1138 minor league plate appearances.
Centeno is a fine receiver with a strong (plus) arm that will help keep him employed.
2013: Centeno threw out 56% (34/61) of opposing basestealers in AA and AAA in 2013. He hit a little in AAA and made his MLB debut in September.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Contact/defense oriented big league catcher who plays regularly.
Debbie Downer Says: More AAA time than big league time in the coming years.
Projected 2014 Start: Las Vegas.
MLB Arrival: He’ll be back in 2014.
#30 – SS Wilfredo Tovar
Height/Weight: 5’10”/160 lbs
Acquired: NDFA (10/12/07)
Born: 8/11/91 (Miranda, VE)
2013 Rank: #25 (2012: #29| Stats
Why Ranked Here: This is the third year in a row that I have ranked Tovar between 25 and 30. He’s a gifted defender at shortstop, blessed with quick feet, sure hands, a strong arm and a flair for the spectacular. He will make any pitching staff better through his work at shortstop.
The thing that has kept Tovar from ascending the rankings into the top 20 is that he is unlikely to ever hit enough to hold down a starting job. At the plate, he makes lots of relatively soft contact. He upped his walk rate in 2013 to 6.8%, which was still below the Eastern League average. Pitchers do not fear Tovar, who has as little power as any position player in double-A, so he really has to earn his walks. He has quick hands, but does not drive the ball.
2013: After a nice season with the playoff-bound Binghamton Mets, Tovar played a week in the big leagues when Ruben Tejada broke his right fibula. He drove home the go-ahead runs in his big league debut on September 22.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Low-level starting shortstop who will be a below average bat who stays in the lineup through strong defense.
Debbie Downer Says: Bench guy/AAA starter
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: September 2013/First middle infield injury of 2014