Majoring on the Minors - My Top 30 Prospects: Vol.1 - Tom Brennan



It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for Mets writers thinking about prospects.  So I decided, after looking at a lot of other writers’ top prospect lists over the years, that I get confused.  Not your fault, it happens easily.

Their lists will rank some AAA guy whose already had a cup of major league brew in one slot, and in the very next slot, have some 18 year old that played rookie ball who won’t show up for 4 years.  Yeah, and following that logic, there is a kid in a crib somewhere who will be a superstar for the Mets in 20 years.  Why isn’t he on the list?

So I am doing it a bit differently - 2 lists:

·       A top 20 list of guys who are closing in on the big leagues.  Guys who could help us in the near future or be trade bait.

·       A top 10 list of lower minors guys who likely won’t show up until 2017 or later.

So let’s start with the:


Even in that top 10, there are those guys I really think could be impact major leaguers.  Let’s say 5 of them. It is a tough call to try to prioritize the top 5 neophyte minor leaguers.  Which will be the best?   Hard to foretell.  Months ago, I referred to these lower minors guys as Guppies, furiously swimming upstream towards that big pond in Flushing, Queens, which has been more of a swamp in recent years.
My Top 5 from that group will now be my GUPPY SQUADRON LEADERS.  My budding rock stars.   

Very mature way of me to look at things, don’t you think?  Just the idea gives me Happy Feet.  But I digress…

I don’t know why, but for this group, I will start with my #1 guy and go to #10.  When I switch to the Top 20 list of guys closer to the bigs, I’ll start at 20 and work my way down.  A form of dyslexia, perhaps.

I am going with Mighty Marcos Molina as my # 1, over Michael Conforto.  Why?  Just a gut.  Which gut has gotten bigger due to recent holiday eating, I might add.

So Marcos Molina is Guppy Squadron Leader # 1. 

2014 snuck up on us with Molina.  At 17, he was pretty solid in the DSL in 2012: 55 innings, 5-2, 3.58, 40 Ks.  Then he was OK as an 18 year old after jumping to the Mets’ Gulf Coast League rookie ball affiliate in 2013: 4-3, 4.39, 43 Ks in 53 innings. 

Molina at age 19, though, hit the accelerator in 2014.  He was clearly the most dominant pitcher in the NY Penn League, leading the league in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts (1.77, 0.84, 91 Ks in 76 innings, 7-3 in 12 starts).  He finished strong, with back to back starts in late August where, in 13.2 innings, he surrendered just 2 hits and K’d 20.  Stop and ponder that. The kind of stuff Doc Gooden used to do.  Quite a 2014 for Molina, and at a very young age even for that league.  It was enough to make him the Top Guppy in my list.

The 6’3’ 190 pitcher, who will turn 20 in spring training, has a great pitcher’s build and displays a mid 90s heater with good movement and promising slider, curve and change pitches.  With refinement, and assuming good health, Marcos should perhaps approach 120 or 130 innings this year and 160 in 2016, making him ready to join a wide-open Mets rotation on 2017.  Well, if the rotation by then is a 10 man rotation, he will be in it.   Putting facetiousness aside, the lack of room in the Mets rotation at that time may be his biggest obstacle. 

We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.  Someone get Molina an EZ Pass.  He’ll need it soon.

I see him in Savannah and St Lucie in 2015, Binghamton and AAA in 2016, Flushing by early to mid-2017.  Another very exciting arm to factor into the Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero, Matz mix of studs and near-studs.
Next article up - Guppy Squad Leader # 2.


Mack Ade said...

So, your prospect list is two lists and, instead of ranking up they rank down?


Thomas Brennan said...

I'm left handed - that should explain my crazy logic!

Anonymous said...

It would be great if Molina develops the way you describe.......I agree with Mack, in that AA seems to be the barometer of whether a prospect will make it or not.

If that is true, then the jury is still out on MM, but we should find out in the next 18 months, or so.

Quickly, on another note, I wish more was made of a passive versus aggressive mentality, when assessing prospects (call it the Alec Baldwin test from Glen Garry Glen Ross......"big brass balls").

My point is that Matt Harvey is a "bulldog" and you can see that from a mile away. He doesn't take any shit off people and HATES to lose......recovery from surgery pending, he has turned out well.

Zack Wheeler has similar "stuff" compared to MH, but seems much more passive and laid back.....he is developing, but I wonder what he would be like if you gave him more fire?

Another example is Orel Hershiser........nerdy on the surface, but would fight you to the death to win a game.

In short (or maybe not so short), I would rather have a fighter.......someone who would fit in with the '86 Mets, for example.

When scouting talent, you obviously need skill....but couple that with passion/fire/aggression and that is the player I would take first.

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks for your comments, Anonymous. That is why I wanted to do two lists. I noted in another post this AM that Anthony Young went something like 3-30 in back-to-back years, but in 1990 in AA, was 15-3 with 1.65 ERA. It is hard to project lower guys until they face stronger opposition, hence I separated the rookie ballers from the full season guys in my list.

Short season guys do well in 2015, they will move high up on the closer to my MLB prospect list.

Your bull dog comment is spot-on. My brother always HATED Pelfrey for his lack of that. It can make all the difference.

A bulldog needs to be used right too...Sid Fernandez was kept in games too late, and he was a bulldog (but did not show it) but ran out of gas late in games but left in too long.

His ERA in innings 1-3: 2.98. 4-6: 3.63; 7-9: 3.91. Not a huge differential, but enough to lose, or end up in no decisions, in a lot of games that in today's game he'd have already been pulled out of.

eraff said...

Work Rate..."Big Motor"... Competitiveness... these are skills...differentiating traits.

I'll take the guy who "NEEDS" to play every time!

This get's beyond "the layup line", radar gun...the big draft decisions and big trade decisions---you need "the right guy".

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Eraff, I agree. I think this shows up even more in a 5 on 5 sport like NBA hoops. A guy like Tim Duncan may be highly skilled but he is an assassin on the court and has the rings to show for it.

Brooke Lopez, on the other hand, has been less than the sum of his skill set parts due to the lack of a killer instinct.

It makes all the difference.

Mack's Mets © 2012