Again, this is a post-season review of my Preseason Top 41 Mets Prospects, which I’m making part of the Mets’ minor league season in review.
As far as the Top Prospect review pieces, part six, on players #11-15 is here, part five, on players 16-20 is here, part four, on players 21-25 is here, part three, on players 26-30 is here, part two on players 31-35 is here, part one, on players #36-41 is here.
I was having trouble formatting tables last night, so we’ll go light on tables in this quintet.
#6 – OF Cesar Puello
What I Thought: He had started to turn his prodigious tools and strength into game production.
Reality: The 21-year old was sidelined with injury – as early-season tweak and then a hammate break held him to 66 games in which he hit .260/.328/.423. He hit for more power – his .163 isolated slugging is a career-high, but his walk rate collapsed to 2.8% as he drew just seven walks in his 66 games. His on-base percentage was supported by 16 hit-by-pitch. He’s tough and getting better about picking his spots to run: he was 19 of 21 stealing bases this year.
Stock: Down, but he still has a chance to figure it out, as he will turn 22 the week before Opening Day 2013.
On the Next Top 41? Yup.
#7 – OF Juan Lagares
What I Thought: He was going to play in the big leagues, even if he was no star.
Reality: I might have been BABIP blinded, but crucially, his isolated slugging percentage dropped from a reasonable .151 last year as a 22-year old to just .106 this year as part of a .283/.334/.389 line in 130 games in AA. That’s not going to work as a big league starter. A former infielder, he can play all three outfield spots, and do so well.
Stock: Down. I still think he’ll play in the big leagues, but it’s hard to see an impact player here without in-game power.
On the Next Top 41? Yeah, sure.
#8 – 2B Reese Havens
What I Thought: Here’s what I wrote last winter: “This ranking is a bet that 1. Reese Havens will make his MLB debut this year at second base 2. When he does so, he’ll be a productive offensive player based on his ability to hit for power and draw walks. His short swing allows him to wait to make decisions on when to swing. He does swing, he leverages good strength to drive the ball.
There are obvious concerns about Havens. The first is health. He’s never played 100 games in a season. The second is now age. Havens will be 25 in 2012.”
Reality: Havens’ 94 games played in 2012 were the second-most in his five-year career. Also, he just didn’t hit enough – .215/.340/.351 overall. Even if you want to be extremely charitable, and give him a mulligan on his first two months, he only hit .238/.349/.392 in 67 games from June 1 through the end of the season. He struck out in 29% of his AA at-bats as a 25-year old.
On the Next Top 41? No.
#9 – RHP Jenrry Mejia
What I Thought: I cheated, and put Mejia, who was technically out of rookie eligibility on the Top 41 this past year because he was still a prospect in the sense that he had upside, and was not a finished product coming off Tommy John surgery in May 2011.
Reality: Oh, the tantalizing nature of a good fastball fostered short-sighted decisions. Mejia’s rehab tour progressed up to Buffalo, where after three starts, he was moved to the bullpen on June 15. The idea was that he would be ready to help the Mets’ mess of a bullpen shortly. The results were dreadful (5.48 ERA and nine walks against 10 strikeouts in 21.1 innings in the ‘pen). On July 30, the Mets moved Mejia back to the Bisons’ rotation where he made seven starts before he was promoted to New York for the end of the season where he made three starts and two relief appearances. The bottom line is that he did not have the command in 2012 to succeed in the big leagues, or you know, the strikeout rate.
Stock: Down. Finally off my list having used up his rookie eligibility. The odds of him becoming a big league starter look long, but I’d still like to see him start 2013 in the Las Vegas rotation just so he throws more game innings. If the Mets need bullpen help before they need another starter, and Mejia is pitching well enough, then he should come back in that role.
On the Next Top 41? No. Too many innings.
#10 – RHP Cory Mazzoni
What I Thought: Mazzoni had upside as a mid-rotation starter and downside as a hard-throwing bullpen piece.
Reality: He did not miss enough bats in AA to be a viable prospect as a starter as his strikeout rate slipped to 6.2 K/9 in AA and just 16%. However, he showed flashes of cranking up his velocity to 95 and 96 mph that make me think he can be a bullpen guy. Scouts’ reviews on his changeup/splitter and his slider were ok, but not enthusiastic.
On the Next Top 41? Yeah.