John Sickels Mets Prospect List

At SBNation’s Minorleagueball.com, John Sickels released his Mets Top 20 Monday evening.

Remember, Sickels looks very, very heavily at stats, and usually prefers upper level players.

His list:

1. Noah Syndergaard
2. Travis d’Arnaud
3. Rafael Montero
4. Dominic Smith
5. Kevin Plawecki
6. Wilmer Flores
7. Brandon Nimmo
8. Amed Rosario
9. Gavin Cecchini
10. Cesar Puello
11. Dilson Herrera
12. Jake deGrom
13. Vic Black
14. Steven Matz
15. Cory Mazzoni
16. Gabriel Ynoa
17. Luis Cessa
18. Robert Whalen
19. Chris Flexen
20. Michael Fulmer

My Thoughts
1. I view Sickels as generally preferring upper-level players. So, it’s weird to see Cesar Puello, a guy who conquered AA in 2013, and yes, was connected to Biogenesis, below three guys who have yet to play in full-season ball, and two more players who have not had an at-bat in AA.

2. Steven Matz has plenty of risk (see: age, injury history) but I think he belongs at least in front of relief types like deGrom and Black. Sickels, however, views Matz as closer to the bottom six spots on the list than the guys in front of him, writing before his Matz comment, “At this point, the C+ guys become more or less interchangeable and a matter of taste, so please don’t get bent out of shape about the exact spotting.”

3. I don’t get Plawecki at #5. It puts him ahead of the “ceiling” guys like Nimmo, Rosario and Matz. I just don’t understand having Plawecki in front of Puello. Is this a ceiling calculation? A likelihood that Plawecki is an everyday guy (~2.5 WAR ish) and Puello isn’t? Anyway, it’s a strong bet on Plawecki.

4. Michael Fulmer at the back end of the righties in front of him is not the decision I make in that spot.

5. Robert Whalen is a Top 20 Mets prospect in John Sickels’ world!

50 comments
troyarcher
troyarcher

Bullpen, if he is close, needs much more depth.

nagel100
nagel100

our #1 pick this year should be a college OF.  there are several that would qualify in this list.  no more high school guys at #1.  time for a college bat.


Derek Fisher, Michaela Conforto are 2 who should be looked at very hard.

Mr. SERCH
Mr. SERCH

AND i couldnt agree with him more on Montero. This guy is a legit pitching prospect, and has moved quickly through the system for a reason--because he's THAT good. I see no reason why the Mets wont have FOUR #1 & #2 pitchers in their rotation within the next season and a half (unless of course there's a trade). In no particular order, Noah, Wheeler, Montero, and Harvey all WILL BE a #1 or #2 starter on any other team, mark my words....maybe not a BONAFIDE, STUD ACE a la Halladay or Verlander, but legit #1's and #2's for sure.


If just 2, maybe 3 (could be asking a lot) of our position players can pan out to be consistent all star type batters, and just 2 of our lower end pitchers can thrive in the bullpen, the Mets SHOULD be winning or contending for the NL East pennant for years to come. Balance it out with nice free agent pick ups, and even the biggest Mets hater can come to realize that saying the Mets will make and/or win a world series or 2 in the next 10 years is not a ridiculous statement. It's a bold statement, and you all can tell that im VERY excited about the Mets future, but with a rotation like that, they should be more than just "competitive" for a good long time...

Mr. SERCH
Mr. SERCH

im willing to bet that Dom Smith, Kevin Plawecki, Brandon Nimmo and Cesar Puello ALL wind up being occasional all star players, with Dom Smith being a multiple all star appearance player. They're all going to take time to develop, but i think the pundits are selling very low on these guys. 


Will each one of them be on the Mets? Probably not, but my thoughts are that all 4 will have solid, above average careers.

endysgame
endysgame

@Daniel Wexler what's with the try-hard act?  nobody clicked the comments section to see your mug plastered all over it

dougsisk
dougsisk

Why is Sickels in his bathrobe? 

Because, ya know, nothing drives book sales like a promo photo of a frumpy middle age dude with bed head standing against his bedroom closet, tempting us with a partially opened bathrobe and graying chest hair.

Bobby Bonilla tried harder than this guy.

dexx
dexx

1.   N. Syndergaard-SP

2.   R. Montero-SP

3.   T. d'Arnaud-C

4.   W. Flores-3B

5.   B. Nimmo-CF

6.   D. Smith-1B

7.   C. Puello-RF

8.   K. Placecki-C

9.   S. Matz-SP

10. G. Checcini-SS

11. D. Herrera-2B

12. G. Rosario-SS

13. C. Mazzoni-SP

14. M. Fulmer-SP

15. G. Ynoa-SP

16. J. deGrom-SP

17. V. Black-RP

18. J. Boyd-1B

19. J. Familia-RP

20. L. Mateo-SP/RP

21. D. Tapia-SP/RP

22. J. Walters-RP

23. R. Lara-SP

24. L. Cessa-RP

25. Chris Flexen-SP

26. M. den Dekker-CF

27. D. Muno-2B

28. E. Goeddel-SP/RP

29. L. Verrett-SP/RP

30. J. Leathersich-RP

11gilkey
11gilkey

My thoughts, I don't want to know what Sickels does in his spare time. 

Hank259
Hank259

I liked Sickels' list, but I also get your concerns. About Puello, Sickels to me seems more about grade than number order, so basically Puello and the B- guys are all interchangeable based on one's personal preference. The Biogenesis thing and lack of strike zone discipline hurts. Besides SS and CF will always outrank similar upside RF, so it could explain Puello's position on this list.


Matz could arguably be top ten, and should be on stuff and left-handedness alone. However, I can see some writers and rankers having Matz fatigue after all his ups and downs with injuries the last few years. He's still got a lot to prove and show this year. 100+ innings last year was great, but he's got to show and prove more. I would put him ahead of Black, but probably not deGrom based on injury history and bust-potential...that and I really like deGrom. 


As for Plawecki, hitting catchers might be the only thing that can rival hitting SS, since both seem consistent across baseball nowadays. I still think he needs to show more against age-appropriate competition, but you can argue that the chance to bust is much higher for Nimmo, Rosario, and Matz, then it is for Plawecki, and thus his higher position on the list.


Fulmer, I still love and think he was ranked too low, and Whalen screams to me of a personal favorite for Sickels, which is fine because every ranker has his/her guys. All in all, I think for a national writer, Sickels did well.

Beamen321
Beamen321

Toby, I saw this on MetsBlog and was heading over here to ask your opinion on Fulmer being so low. He had his season derailed by a relativity minor leg injury. I remember everyone being very high on him going into last year. Do you see him "bouncing back" or does the lost time limit his upside?

edk9
edk9

i agree, he's sleeping on Fulmer.  If healthy should be closer to Syndergaard/wheeler prospect than mazzoni.  

natew
natew

What stands out to me is all the position players at the top of the list.  If they system is built on pitching then they need something more then a slew of C+ prospects.  

Though in his comments he talks about how much quality depth they have in pitching, while still lacking position player depth.  Kinda doesn't add up, can't have it both ways...

Chris
Chris

BA labeled Whalen as having the best curveball in the system, FWIW. Also, he's probably the biggest Mets fan in the entire system, so, y'know, bonus points.

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

Next years list is going to look incredibly different with how many of the upper end guys are going to graduate

Eric Olesh
Eric Olesh

Keith Law had a positive note on Plawecki in his last chat (actually a surprising number of Mets prospect notes).  I think a ceiling as an everyday league average catcher is a pretty high ceiling and would not be surprised to see him in Queens in September.  I don't understand Cessa or Whalen being on the list when Ceciliani and Muno (guys who may be on the roster during the 2014 season) are left off.

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

We did a community list over at NYFS and had Puello #5, Matz #6, Plawecki #8, Fulmer #11, Whalen #27 for comparisons sake deGrom came in at 16 (since he's almost certainly a reliever in the end), Black #15. I didn't agree with every placement but community lists it's rare you agree with everything. We had Nimmo at 9, Rosario at #13 (lets be fair here the Rosario love from everyone came after the glowing stuff from Baseball America). Not saying at ALL that it isn't accurate but nobody was going nuts about him until BA placed him #1 in the APPY and raved about him. Rosario has a shot to be a top 3 prospect in the system next year however.

Chris
Chris

@nagel100 Disagree. BPA all the way & let the chips fall where they may.

ElVPresidente
ElVPresidente

@Mr. SERCH Don't get too happy about "years to come", Serch. No way this ownership can afford that rotation once they become eligible to negotiate. Even if we had 4 CY types, you have to figure the Wilpons would unload at least two of them for cheap parts.

ac0814
ac0814

I agree on Dom Smith. I think the kid's a stud.

hashburry
hashburry

@Mr. SERCH Wear rose colored glass much?  You have the Mets farm system producing 4 aces and 4 All Stars as presently constituted.  Let's see, that is about how many they have produced over the first 50 years of their existence.  There is no tangible proof that any of the 4 position players you mention will even make it to the majors, let alone be "occasional all star players".  How about a little less caffeine? 

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@Beamen321 Fulmer in my view (based on Sickels order) should be around 12. I don't have any issue with Herrera ahead of an unproven RHP coming off a lost year but he has a legit chance to be a good MLB starter, if you put him #13 after deGrom I wouldn't go nuts either.

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@Beamen3211 1 lost season doesn't limit a players upside, certainly not a HS pitcher.

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@edk9No reason for him to be "closer" to Syndergaard/Wheeler prospect status at this point. Both were top 100 prospects in baseball before they ever hit the FSL. Wheeler #55 and Syndergaard #54. Fulmer wasn't in BA's top 100. #20 in the system is pretty silly but he's in the 10-15 range, not in the "big time prospect status" of Wheeler/Thor. Doesn't mean he can't move up.

Daniel
Daniel

@natew Yeah, 9 out of the top 11 are hitters, but beyond them, the depth of hitters is incredibly thin. We have pitching throughout the whole system at every level. What speaks volumes is that the next 9 on the list are all pitchers. 

Sylvan Migdal
Sylvan Migdal

@natew I think you're just viewing C/C+ as a more negative ranking than Sickels does. Obviously the Mets only have a couple really top-end pitching prospects...but as he suggests in his writeup, it's not so easy to build up the kind of depth the Mets have in C prospects. Most A and B prospects are former C prospects, after all, and the Mets have built up a large pool of guys who could make that kind of jump.

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@natew Not really. Flores is a man without a position, Nimmo, Smith and Rosario are 99% about potential projection. The Mets are lacking in guys likely to be big league regulars and have almost nobody who you can CONFIDENTLY say will be an above average regular. Most teams have Nimmo types, could go either way. I believe EVERY "expert" (Toby included) would agree with Mets system in terms of bats is quite poor. Not sure there is any argument otherwise. In fact it can easily be argued that Nimmo, Cecchini and Smith are only "ranked" pretty high based on where they were picked. That's not to say they can't/won't be good or don't have some moderate minor league success but take away the draft status and none of them are "top" prospects RIGHT NOW (Smith the closest to being on in my view). Sandy and DePo both are on record saying the Mets are lacking in bats so it's not exactly a minority take.

Chris
Chris

@Daniel Wexler And hopefully some of the middle guys will take big steps forward. Just gotta keep that pipeline a-flowin'.

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

 I saw that and was surprised.  I didn't realize he'd be that good on D.  If he can be a .360 OBP, .400 slugging type.....

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

The Mets pretty clearly aren't all that high on Ceciliani as he didn't get a ST invite while Vaughn and Lawley both did. Both (Muno and Ceciliani) have "extra player" upside (and I liked both in BK) but Cessa specifically could move up pretty significantly this year, he's a converted IF with very good arm strength. I'd trade Ceciliani or Muno before dealing Cessa. No issue from me going with the player with upside. Toby didn't seem too impressed with Whalen but BA liked him (top 20 in the APPY), no idea who is right, and I think 20 is high for him but ahead of Ceciliani/Muno isn't "ridiculous" in my view.

Daniel
Daniel

@Daniel Wexler I just checked that list right now and I think it's very questionable. Matz over Smith? I'd argue he should be our 3rd best prospect. Ynoa is way too high, deGrom is too low, and both Cecchini/Rosario are too low. Rosario should be way up there.

paqza
paqza

@ElVPresidente @Mr. SERCH You just don't get it, do you? The Wilpons always, always spent money before Madoff happened. After the Wilpons took over the Mets, the team vaulted straight to the top 3 and never fell out of the top 5 in team payroll UNTIL MADOFF.


Besides, the team is looking at a St. Louis Cardinals model - a good one to follow. By constantly developing talent, especially pitching talent, in the Minors, they'll be able to trade away some guys when they become too expensive and restock their farm system.


They let Pujols walk, were able to sign Beltrán, signed Wainwright to an extension, and developed Miller and Wacha, Wacha being the pick they got for Pujols.


Do you not even pay attention to what's going on in the game of baseball? We're in a 100x better position than the Angels and they have Pujols, Wilson, Hamilton, and Trout.


Calm down.

flushed
flushed

Herrera being behined Cecchini doesn't make any sense to me.

Chris
Chris

@Daniel Wexler Yup. Fulmer's a good candidate for a bounceback season in the prospect rankings. You don't think they'll push him to Binghamton straight away, do you? Given the glut of upper minors & the limited exposure to advanced A, makes sense to let him start out back in St. Lucie, right? That Bingo rotation looks like it's going to be a little tough to project heading into the season.

edk9
edk9

@Daniel Wexler @edk9 yeah, i agree.  Just meant on a scale should be closer to the studs than the back of rotation/reliever prospects.


Prior to this year, Fulmer was thought to be much closer to syndergaard.  At same age & level in 2012, #'s not that far off.  Syndergaard clearly better, but Fulmer was very nice.

natew
natew

@Sylvan Migdal

Nah, I'm on board with that.  What doesn't make sense is that 9 of the top 11 guys he ranks are position players... the guys B- or better are mostly position players.  That doesn't match his overall picture of the system, and he didn't address it.  

natew
natew

@Daniel Wexler Nothing ground breaking here, and nothing I didn't already agree with.  


But Sickles doesn't wrap up this opposing view.  His ranks and notes don't jive.  He seems to be making an argument for the position players, then goes the other way.  His rankings then have to suggest that the pitching isn't very good either, but he says the opposite.  Its confusing and contradictory. 

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@Chris@Daniel WexlerSure. I just meant heavy odds that Thor, Montero, Puello, Flores, TDA, deGrom and Black all graduate aka no longer are eligible and Mazzoni may as well.

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@BringBackDaveTelghe 9 catchers in baseball slugged .400 last year, I'd be careful to project that kind MLB production for Plawecki. Possible? Sure I guess Doubt it. How many catchers paired a .350+ OBP with a .390 or better slugging % last year? (4- Molina, Mauer, Santana, Posey)... essentially you are looking at an all-star caliber catcher with numbers like that.

How many qualified catchers posted a .740+ OPS (let alone the .760 or so you suggest?) 5 in all of baseball, 4 were .760 or greater.

ElVPresidente
ElVPresidente

@paqza"After the Wilpons took over the Mets, the team vaulted straight to the top 3 and never fell out of the top 5 in team payroll UNTIL MADOFF."

Exactly. See a couple of dots that need connecting? Their Madoff money was "earning" 12 - 15% every year. Until the pyramid collapsed. Now put two and two together.


So yeah, I think I get it.

flushed
flushed

I feel Herrera has the best mix of potential and ML proximity, and he might even end up fighting for the second base job next spring,or get a September call up at the least. I think he is our best position prospect as he already has exceptional power for his position and Dom Smith has yet to demonstrate even acerage power yet.

He is good enough to play SS so his skills will play up at 2nd. He's not even quite 20 yet. I'm calling it right now; his star is rising fast!

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@Chris@Daniel WexlerI would be pretty shocked if he's in Bing. Not knocking him but he still walked a whopping 18 hitters in 34 innings, then was unable to pitch in the AFL. Obviously we don't really know what goes on in terms of instructional but given the fact they let Wheeler, Thor, Harvey etc get in "significant" innings in St. Lucie I just don't see it happening. I think more realistically is half a year in St. Lucie and half a year in Bing. Obviously if he's dominant (or stinks) that timeline changes.

@Daniel Wexler 


I don't agree that Sickels gets all his info from stats/other national reporters.  For example,  the national writers (Law specifically) only came around to note the improvement in Thor's breaking stuff a few months into this season, whereas Sickels cited a scout last offseason that saw an improvement in late 2012. That's why Sickels was much higher on Thor around the time of the Dickey trade. 

natew
natew

@Daniel Wexler

Actually your reply came across very condescending.  And again, was way off the map to the question I raised.  

natew
natew

@Daniel Wexler ok...

None of this really addresses the question I raised.  You seem to think I'm brand new to this site or the concept of prospects.  Funny stuff. 

Daniel Wexler
Daniel Wexler

@natew He largely focuses on traditional stats vs. scouting and a large portion of his "scouting" information seems to be simply reading the same things we all can/have read. He almost always "plays it safe" and then throws out a bunch of guys who "could surprise" (usually the most obvious ones like Fulmer). Saying Montero is underrated and could be a #3 starter is silly anyway considering MOST "experts" have said all along his upside is a 3-4, so "could be a 3" is nothing new.