MMs Top 25: Best of the Rest

#30 CF Champ Stuart (LR#25)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height6' 0" Weight: 175 lb
Age: 22
Acquired: 2013 Rule IV Draft, 6th round, Brevard College

2014: (A) .256/.341/.340, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 29 SB (88%), 36 BB, 97 K
2013: (Rk) .240/.388/.353, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 11 SB (85%), 34 BB, 58 K

     When Stuart was drafted out a small Division II school, it was a pure athleticism play on Alderson's part. With blazing speed that can get from home to 1st in 4.1 seconds, a strong football type body build, and a cannon arm, Stuart has the potential to develop into a game changing talent. However, that's where all the excitement ends. Scouts continue to say that while he does have quick hands, he still carries light hitting skills. He also doesn't possess much power having posting two straight seasons with an OBP that's higher than his SLG. His strike zone recognition skills also need significant work. Stuart has made improvements year over year but continues to lunge at off-speed pitches; particularly at pitches low in the zone and breaking away from him.

     Defensively, Stuart has made significant improvement on his "1st step" and his reactions off the bat, however, he still takes scenic, inefficient routes to the ball and has trouble tracking batted balls in flight. Continued game repetitions should him overcome this problem though and I continue to believe that his speed and arm gives him the projection to turn into a plus defender. Stuart didn't get many opportunities to face premium talent at the Division II level so that fact that he was able to keep his average above the .250 level does deserve some merit. Unfortunately, speed can only take you so far in this game so the bat will have to improve. If it does, Stuart could easily shoot up the list very quickly.

Ceiling: Just another fast guy stuck on the MLB Taxi squad. (Ezequiel Carrera)
Floor: Struggles to hit above .220 in AA.
Anticipated Assignment: (A+) Port St. Lucie starting CF  

#29 OF Vicente Lupo (LR: not ranked)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height6' 0" Weight: 180 lb
Age: 21
Acquired: 2010 International Signing, $400,000 bonus, Caracas, Venezuela

2014: (Rk) .278/.415/.504, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 7 SB (100%), 29 BB, 52 K
2013: (Rk) .220/.310/.385, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB (57%), 13 BB, 50 K
2012: (DsL2) .343/.500/.608, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 12 SB (63%), 46 BB, 45 K
2011: (DsL1) .197/.325/.379, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 5 SB (100%), 23 BB, 59 K

     Hey! Look who's back on the list! Lupo is a prime case study for why, sometimes, it is not wise to rush young players. After signing in 2010, the Mets assigned him to the tougher of the 2 Dominican Summer League teams and he struggled mightily due to a bout with malignant hypothermia. They took a step back in 2012 by sending him to DsL2 and he dominated posting a ridiculous 1.108 OPS. Thinking they were on to something, they brought him stateside and aggressively sent him to the GCL in 2013, which he wasn't ready for. So naturally, they backed off again in 2014 and like clock-work he was dominant again but this time in the lesser Appalachian League. 

     Despite the inconsistencies in his seasonal performances, the power that Lupo brings to the table is still enticing. With his raw strength and quick hands, scouts believe he has "plus-plus" 70 grade power potential; a rarity in the game today. Despite the huge power potential though, Lupo has significant swing flaws. His 31.5% K rate is one of the worst in the Mets minor league system as he has not yet learned the required patience and pitch recognition skills in order to be a potential MLB player. Due to his age and the level of play he is currently at, Lupo will need to learn this trait quickly or else he'll fall into the Aderlin Rodriguez category of a career minor league power hitter.

Ceiling: Fan drawing power.....at AAA. (Wilkin Ramirez)
Floor: Struggles to adapt to Savannah's Grayson Stadium and disappears.
Anticipated Assignment: (SS-A) Brooklyn starting LF

#28 2B L.J. Mazzilli (LRnot ranked)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height6' 1" Weight: 190 lb
Age: 24
Acquired: 2013 Rule IV Draft, 4th round, University of Connecticut

2014: (A/A+) .301/.361/.440, 11 HR, 79 RBI, 14 SB (77%), 45 BB, 82 K
2013: (SS-A) .278/.329/.381, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 3 SB (100%), 22 BB, 53 K

     With the removal of Daniel Muno from the list due to age (25 is the maximum age for my list), Mazzilli takes over as the resident college second baseman. Make though mistake though, anyone who can hit home runs in Grayson Stadium deserves at least a back-end spot on these lists. Just like Muno, Mazzilli is a guy who has no plus tool, but does everything average and it plays up thanks to his advanced eye at the plate. 

     His strong 2014 season earned him a spot on the AFL's Scottsdale Scorpions future prospect roster where he also performed extremely well. In 15 games, Mazzilli hit .306 with a .903 OPS, 1 HR, and 1 SB. Unfortunately, Mazzilli won't be able to play the 1st 50 games of the 2015 season thanks to the MiLB busting him for "drug of abuse" usage (aka....most likely pot). This could be deadly for Mazzilli as it gives the vastly underrated T.J. Rivera the opportunity to play the position everyday and make Mazzilli a forgotten thought.

Ceiling: Average skills can't crack the MLB. Career AAA 2B. (Daniel Muno)
Floor: Skills diminish during suspension. Struggles at AAA.
Anticipated Assignment: Post Suspension, (AA) Binghamton back-up 2B

#27 RHP Hansel Robles (LRnot ranked)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5' 11" Weight: 185 lb
Age: 24
Acquired: 2008 International Signing, $50,000? bonus, Monsenor Nouel, Dominican Republic

2014: (AA)    7-6, 4.31 ERA, 110.2 IP, 8.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.355 WHIP
2013: (A+)    5-4, 3.72 ERA, 84.2 IP, 7.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.323 WHIP 
2012: (SS-A) 6-1, 1.11 ERA, 72.2 IP, 8.2 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0.784 WHIP
2011: (Rk)     3-1, 2.68 ERA, 37.0 IP, 10.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 1.189 WHIP
2010: (DsL1) 3-3, 3.09 ERA, 67.0 IP, 6.9 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 1.149 WHIP

     There is a reason that we should never "coo coo for Cocoa Puffs" whenever we see a ridiculous stat line at the Short Season A level. As a former member of the history making 2012 Cyclones rotation, Robles is the only arm, outside of Gabriel Ynoa, still left standing on this prospect listing. After struggling with stamina and keeping better hitters off base/in the park at the AA level, the Mets front office made the decision to convert Robles to the bullpen in mid July.

     The results were instantly much better. Hitters went from a .805 OPS to a ridiculously low .435 OPS including 0 HRs in 20 IP. His positive performances also carried over into the winter for the Tigres del Licey. In 13 appearances (11.2 IP), Robles gave up only 3 hits, 1 run (0.77 ERA) while striking out 14 batters vs. 3 BB's.  His, formerly in the low 90's, fastball is now clocking in the 94-95mph range and the move allowed him to scrap his below average curveball. His change-up, his primary secondary pitch, has also gotten better thanks to it's significant speed differential (-13mph) to the fastball. With Robles being re-added to the 40 man roster this off-season, he may be the first of that historic Cyclones group to crack the MLB bullpen in 2015.

Ceiling: 2 pitch MLB Low Leverage reliever (Esmil Rogers)
Floor: One of Many Taxi Squad relievers
Anticipated Assignment: (AAA) Las Vegas bullpen

#26 1B Jayce Boyd (LRnot ranked)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 185 lb
Age: 24
Acquired: 2012 Rule IV Draft, 6th round, Florida State University

2014: (AA) .293/.382/.414, 8 HR, 59 RBI, 14 SB (77%), 52 BB, 67 K
2013: (A/A+) .330/.410/.461, 9 HR, 83 RBI, 2 SB (33%), 61 BB, 61 K
2012: (SS-A) .239/.320/.368, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 1 SB (25%), 25 BB, 30 K

     In today's game of baseball, power is down significantly. The caliber of pitching coming out of high schools and college is just so much better than the quality of hitters. In order to combat this, teams need guys who know how to work counts and but the bat on the ball. Jayce Boyd is a perfect example of this. Coming out of college, Boyd was known as an excellent hitter with the potential to develop average to plus power. Unfortunately, that power hasn't developed thanks to a medical condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Doctors had to remove his the first rib and scalene muscles in order to alleviate the pain it was causing.

     Pain free in 2014, Boyd was a consistent hitter for the championship winning Binghamton Mets team. With no Home/Away Splits or Righty/Lefty Splits, Boyd could have a chance to develop into an MLB caliber 1B. However, in order to do that...he needs to develop more power. If not, then unfortunately, Boyd may reach the peak of his potential this year as a career minor leaguer. Which the large number of guys on the MLB squad who can play 1B in the event Duda succumbs to injury, Boyd looks to be blocked from a 2015 MLB debut. He'll need to hit at least 15 HRs in order for the front office to recognize him and even then, maybe, he'll get a small shot as a last place team's 1B.

Ceiling: Taxi Squad 1B (Chris Parmalee)
Floor: Career AAA 1B
Anticipated Assignment: (AAA) Las Vegas starting 1B


Thomas Brennan said...

Great synopsis on that group, Chris.

I see Champ Stuart as Eric Young Jr until he shows me why he is any different.

Lupo had his magical 3 week stretch from August 4 to August 25 where he went 21 for 51 with 12 extra base hits and 16 walks, with just (for him, just) 17 Ks. Revelatory, but you probably have his career pegged correctly. If he hits his peak, he may be Travis Taijeron. Ks are the reason.

Mazzilli just a year younger than Muno - take away the Mazzilli name, call him something else (Collins?) and I think Muno is better.

Robles has to show his great 2014 relief finish and great off season relief pitching can be replicated before we get excited in pitching-flushed Metsville.

Always been a Boyd fan - let's see how close to normal defensively and offensively he is after his 2013 thoracic surgery. He showed great promise the last few months last year, and like you say, add the power pop or plateau in AAA.

Hobie said...

The vastly underrated TJ Rivera.

Yes, indeed.

Adam Smith said...

Chris, I feel like the "ceiling" your assigning these players are arbitrarily low. You say that Champ Stewart has "the potential to develop into a game breaking talent" and that his arm and speed give him "the projection to turn into a plus defender." But still you list his ceiling as "just another fast guy stuck on a taxi squad."

You might think that that's the most likely outcome for Stewart, and you may well be right, but isn't a ceiling supposed to represent the best possible outcome if a guy puts everything g together? With plus-plus speed, and a plus to plus-plus arm, along with an already advanced eye at the plate and significant raw power (not yet game power), isn't Stewart's true ceiling something much higher than "will never have a real big league career"?

Christopher Soto said...


You are correct in thinking that....but at this stage in his career, we have no idea what his ceiling actually could be. All we have is tools, potential tools, and average results.

He certainly has "potential to develop" a higher ceiling but as of today his ceiling is determined with the hard facts we have seen so far.

He's fast and he has an arm...but his defensive right now is just ok....and scouts do not think he's gonna hit at the higher levels.

Taking those into account, I can possibly give him a ceiling any higher than a Taxi Squad MLB guy.

Mack's Mets © 2012