With spring training finally underway, it seems like a good time to unveil the RDM list of the top Mets prospects. Of course, as the lone minor league writer, these are my personal rankings, so here is my take on the Mets top 15 prospects.
15. Domingo Tapia, P – Tapia’s prospect status is dropping dramatically, as he had an uneven 2013 season, and that’s being kind. His control was just dreadful last year, and there’s little hope left that he’ll be able to be a starter in the big leagues, but his stuff is too good to ignore, and he’s still capable of being a great late-inning reliever.
14. Michael Fulmer, P – Fulmer was held back by injuries last year, so he’ll need at least half a season in A-ball before moving up to AA, and that caused his stock to drop some this winter. However, he has a chance to become a #2 or #3 starter, and he’ll easily fall back to being a late-game reliever if that doesn’t work out. If he stays healthy, I’d expect a good bounce back season from him in 2014.
13. Amed Rosario, SS – A teenager with incredible tools and athleticism. He’s far from realizing his potential, but his ceiling is that of a star in MLB. I expect him to spend the summer in Brooklyn, so if you’re in the area, I’d suggest taking a look.
12. Jacob deGrom, P – We’ll see deGrom at some point this season, but long term I see him as a reliever, not a starter, which doesn’t make him quite as valuable, but he could be a real useful bullpen piece for the Mets over the next few seasons, as well as a viable trade chip.
11. Kevin Plawecki, C – I like Plawecki a lot, perhaps not as much as others who have him in the top 10, but I’d be surprised if he’s not a big leaguer some day, possibly some day soon. His arm is a little fringy, but other than that he has the skills to be a major league catcher. He breezed through A-ball with the bat last season, so I’m curious to see how he handles the jump to AA; if he has success hitting early in the season, he could be competing for a big league job this time next year.
10. Gavin Cecchini, SS – Most fans are skeptical about Cecchini, but I’m keeping the faith with him. He still has a lot to improve upon at the plate, but he did have a 16-game hitting streak last summer, and there should be few questions about his defensive abilities. He’ll play full season ball for the first time this year, so it’ll be a telling season for him.
9. Dilson Herrera, 2B – Trading for Herrera last August was a great accomplishment by Sandy Alderson. He has the bat speed to be a difference maker in a MLB lineup, while also being solid defensively. He’s still at least a couple years away, and the strikeouts have to come down, but he has more than enough talent to justify being a top-10 prospect.
8. Steven Matz, P – He finally stayed healthy in 2013 and had a great season for Savannah. I think he needs at least two more full seasons in the minors, and he’ll have to continue to stay healthy over that time, but he could end up being a #3 starter, or at least a hard-throwing lefty out of the bullpen a few years down the line.
7. Wilmer Flores, 2B – He can hit, but the Mets still don’t have a clue where to play him, and that’s a problem. At some point in 2014, they’re going to need to have some kind of plan for him, or else he could be used in a trade because he needs a position. Third base isn’t happening, and unless the Mets get a trade offer for Murphy that they like second base isn’t open either. I know the team likes Josh Satin, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him platoon at first base, although he’ll need more experience playing the position in the minors. As for shortstop, I’ll believe it when I see it; in fact I did see it a few years ago in Savannah and I thought there’s no way.
6. Brandon Nimmo, OF – Nimmo is another first-round pick fans are skeptical of, but he’s right where he should be. A wrist injury held him back last year and zapped all of his power, but if healthy he should bounce back this season and display increased amounts of power. Fans would be foolish to write him off so soon, as he still has the tools to be a quality outfielder for the Mets.
5. Cesar Puello, OF – Despite a PED suspension at the end of last year, there’s no denying that Puello had a heck of a season in 2013, as all of his tools and promise finally started to show on the field. He should be an interesting guy to watch during the spring and then during the season in triple-A, and there’s a good chance we see him in the big leagues at some point this year.
4. Dominic Smith, 1B – You never want to get over excited about an 18-year old, but early indications are that Smith could be special. He’s already one of the top first base prospects in all of baseball, which is incredible. The Mets have sent Nimmo and Cecchini to Brooklyn in their second year with the team, but I’d like them to be aggressive with Smith and play him at full-season Savannah in 2014. I’m not sure if they will, but it’s at least being considered by the front office.
3. Rafael Montero, P – Montero has a good mix of pitches, good sequencing, and great control. He probably won’t make the rotation out of spring training, but he’s all but ready for the big leagues and should make his big league debut sometime this year, probably before the all-star break.
2. Travis d’Arnaud, C – A month from now d’Arnaud will be a prospect no more. If he can avoid the injuries that have plagued him in the past, he has the skills to be one of the best catchers in baseball for a long time, which could make him a huge piece of the Mets’ puzzle moving forward.
1. Noah Syndergaard, P – Like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler before him, Syndergaard is a right-handed power arm that’s due to make his big league debut this summer. There’s so much to like about him, and he’ll soon give the Mets another potential ace in their rotation.
CLICK HERE to look at my full list of the top 50 Mets prospects.