#3 – Noah Syndergaard
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 200 lbs
Acquired: Trade with Toronto with John Buck, Travis d’Arnaud and Wuilmer Becerra for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas
Born: 8/29/92 (Mansfield, TX)
2012 Rank: N/A | Stats
Why Ranked Here: He’s huge, and he throws hard, and could pitch at the top of the rotation. Listed at 6’5” he’s bigger than that, at least 6’6” if not a little bigger.
He throws 92-98, and claims he has been clocked as high as 100. Also, it sinks. As Mets VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Paul dePodesta said, “He had great plane on his fastball.” The Mets believe that Syndergaard’s fastball command is ahead of fellow 20-year old Michael Fulmer’s although Fulmer might have sharper movement on his slider. One of the fun stories early in spring training was the developing friendship between the two hard throwing 20-year olds.
Syndergaard’s second-best offering is a changeup.
Syndergaard began 2012 with a soft curveball at 69 mph. Over the course of the season, the Blue Jays taught him a slider, which helped speed up his arm and he claims improved his curveball to the point where its velocity hopped up into the upper 70s. He must continue to improve the offering, although the Mets think his height will add to both his breaking ball’s deception.
All young pitchers need to be concerned about repeating their mechanics, which becomes a tougher task for taller pitchers if only because they have longer limbs to move. Syndergaard, when he gets out of whack is prone to falling to the first base side, making his arm drag. His key is to break his hands as early as possible to keep pace with his body.
2012: Syndergaard did not pitch enough innings to qualify for the Midwest League ERA title, but if he had, he would have been fourth among all pitchers who threw more than 100 innings. He led all pitchers who threw 100 innings or more with a ridiculous 29.1% strikout rate and a 2.60 ERA.
Dr. Pangloss Says: An elite starter
Debbie Downer Says: There’s a chance that his breaking balls never develop to average and he gets relegated to the bullpen.
Projected 2013 Start: Advanced-A St. Lucie
MLB Arrival: 2015
#4 – Wilmer Flores
Why Ranked Here: Hand-eye coordination. Flores is just about the best pure hitter in the system. Balanced at the plate, he can make contact with any fastball thrown his way. He added power in 2012, bopping a career-high 18 home runs split between advanced-A and AA in the season in which he turned 21. He will start the 2013 as a 21-year old in AAA. He should be able to maintain a high average, because he strikes out so very rarely.
It’s a good thing that Flores can hit for average and has growing power because how much value he can contribute when he is not batting, is an open question. He is slow. The Mets moved him off shortstop to third base in 2012. He also played second in Binghamton and over the winter in Venezuela. Early on, scouts were dismissive of his work at third. The general consensus from those I talked to who saw him play is that he could aspire to be below average at the position. Flores has the hands and arm for the position. It’s just a question of whether he has the first step quickness to charge and go laterally. I do not think he has the footspeed to play an average second base either. The outfield would be a comically bad mismatch for his skills.
The question is whether a team will want to give away runs defensively to squeeze his bat into the lineup at second or third, or whether it would want to move him to first, where the offensive requirements grow dramatically. Flores is a Major League bat still searching for his position.
2012: How’s this for consistency? Flores struck out in 11.0% of his plate appearances in advanced-A and 10.9% in AA. Flores doubled his homerun output over 2011.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Jeff Kent
Debbie Downer Says: A high-average first baseman, who hits 20-25 homers annually.
Projected 2013 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: 2013 (Says here the Mets will find a spot for Flores somewhere, sometime this year. Or someone will get hurt and his ability to line up an any infield position will be his ticket to the MLB roster.)
#5 – OF Brandon Nimmo
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195 lbs
Acquired: 1st rd #13 overall (East HS)
Born: 3/27/93 (Cheyenne, WY)
2012 Rank: #5 | Stats
Why Ranked Here: First round pedigree, good athleticism, secondary skills, and defensive ability could make him a valuable MLB outfielder in a few years.
Nimmo is a lean 6’3”, but keeps getting stronger. He’s up to 195 lbs after putting on 10 lbs over the winter. He’s also grown an inch since getting drafted in 2011.
In 2012, he was a plus runner, maybe 55 on the 20-80 scale. He takes long strides and covers ground well in the outfield. The Mets were pleased by his progress defensively, and he will be well-tested by Historic Grayson Stadium’s massive gaps. If he is going to stay in center field, he can ill afford to lose any speed as he gets bigger and older.
Nimmo’s strength has made a nice difference in his swing where he is showing much better carry in batting practice and plus raw power. He could well grow into 20+ home run power. His trigger has changed up a bit over the last few years, and will continue to evolve as he sometimes has a little extra hand motion.
The Mets love his work ethic and coachability.
2012: At the plate, by his own admission, Nimmo was just trying to hold on early in the New York Penn League season in 2012. As he put it, by the middle of the season, “the game started to slow down.” Nimmo showed a surprising degree of valuable secondary skills. He finished third in the NYP in walks and sixth in isolated power (.158). He was one of two teenagers in the top 14 in walk rate, and was the only teenager in the top 20 in the League in isolated power. However, I want to see a little more pure hit tool. He fanned in 24% of his plate appearances. He will need to learn when to be aggressive, and when to hang around in counts.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Only nine CF in baseball hit 20 homers in 2012. If Nimmo can play average defense in center, and pop 18+ a year, he’ll be a valuable bird.
Debbie Downer Says: And if he loses a step in center, he’ll be forced to a corner. If his strikeout rate does not come down, it will eat his average and his offensive value. There’s still a chance he ends up in tweenerville and becomes a pigeon – not a big league regular.
Projected 2013 Start: CF for the Savannah Sand Gnats where Historic Grayson Stadium will not be kind to his power numbers.
MLB Arrival: 2016