Our 2013 year-end lists have drifted into 2014. Today we go to shortstop.
1. Amed Rosario
2. Gavin Cecchini
3. Wilfredo Tovar
4. Luis Guillorme
5. Matt Reynolds
6. Yeffry de Aza ($475,000)
7. Luis Carpio ($300,000)
1. Rosario is the prospect with the highest variance in the Mets’ system. If everything clicks and he’s really a shortstop who can hit in the middle of the order, he’s a star. And then there’s the chance that he will move off of shortstop to second or third, or not hit enough. Signed for $1.75 million in 2012, Rosario is, at best, many years and lots of work away from his ceiling. I have a pretty good idea what I’m looking at and for in young professional baseball players, but Rosario challenged me when saw him, because he was the youngest player I have ever really tried to focus on. The best thing he did in a brief look was show surprising strength driving a ball the other way. Even so, I expected both more eye-popping athleticism, or failing that polish, as his swing mechanics were rough. I’ll spend a lot more time on him in my Top 41 writeup. For what it’s worth, Rosario hit .241/.279/.358 with 15 extra-base hits, 11 walks and 43 strikeouts in 58 games in the Appalachian League in 2013.
2. The Mets first round pick in 2012, Cecchini put together a 16-game hitting streak in Brooklyn as part of a .273/.319/.314 campaign in his age-19 year that was limited to 51 games by a sprained ankle. He was one of the youngest players in the NYP – all but seven of his plate appearances came against pitchers older than he. Cecchini should be an average-ish defender or a little below at short stop. From there, it will be up to his bat to determine whether he’s a AAAA guy, a utility guy, starter, or All-Star.
3. The diminutive Tovar made his big league debut on September 22, which is cool. While repeating AA Binghamton, he hit .263/.323/.340 in 133 games with 22 extra-base hits, 33 walks and just 49 strikeouts. He makes lots of (soft) contact. He’s likely a defensively-oriented backup in the big leagues.
4. The Mets drafted Guillorme in the 10th round in 2013 out of high school in Florida. He hit .258/.337/.283 in 41 games in his debut in the Gulf Coast League as an 18-year-old. Baseball America called him, “on of the best middle-infield defenders of the 2013 draft class.” I suspect he will start 2014 in extended spring training and then head to Kingsport.
5. Reynolds, the Mets second round pick in 2012, hit .226/.302/.337 in 117 games in St. Lucie in 2013 in his age 22 year. Reynolds mostly played third base in college, but moved to the more demanding shortstop spot as a pro. His walk (7.4%) and strikeout (16.4%) ratios are similar to what he put up in limited time in the SAL in 2012, but his 2013 line was dragged down by a low .263 BABIP. Still with little power (.111 Iso) and unexceptional work defensively, perhaps Reynolds can grow up to be a utility guy.
6. I know very little about deAza other than that the Mets paid him almost half-a million bucks to sign out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.
7. Baseball America ranked Carpio, who did not turn 16 until July 11, their #30 international prospect in 2013. They noted that he showed “good bat control and pitch recognition, with a level swing that allows him to make a lot of contact. … Carpio has improved his strength, bat speed and running times.”