Ernest Dove - Who's the Next Michael Conforto on the Mets?


  As I've written in the past for Mack's Mets, I had the pleasure of actually watching Michael Conforto LIVE and in person, not only in the Spring of 2015 for the main ball club, but also a few games for the St. Lucie Mets, including his very last game as an A ball league player.  I'm an expert of nothing, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see his talent, but I definitely made sure to post my thoughts after watching him, which included a box score of 0-5 in a game but detailing the true nature of the at bats and watching him launch two balls at least 340-380 ft to center and left center during the game. My buddy and fellow freelance writer Scot Cohen agreed that he simply looked like a major league baseball player out there.  So now the question is, are they any others left in the near future from the Mets system to take their turn for the Mets?

  There's plenty of extremely talented writers on Mack's Mets who work very hard on prospect lists, so I won't even attempt to do one of my own.  Instead I'll just fill some time in the remaining off season to bring up the topic of prospects in general, and what to possibly expect from the next coming Mets kiddies during the 2016 season.

  As I've been harping on for probably a year or so now on previous posts, the string of Mets Sandy Alderson Era 1st round draft picks are getting closer to reaching the highest level, and it's time to see what happens here.  And it all starts pretty much where it all began, with Brandon Nimmo.

  Nimmo is going to play out the entire 2016 baseball season as a 23 year old.  I believe he will be starting out the year playing back in AAA Vegas, and based on positioning most of last year, it appears that Nimmo is possibly now seen as a Centerfielder.  It's hard to tell what we really have in this young man right now.  The injuries have continued to mount on the former 1st round pick.  Never for long periods of time, but obviously long enough to 'stunt his growth' as a player.  The most at bats he's ever had as a professional baseball player is 467 back in 2014 between A and AA ball.  He had 10 homers, 21 doubles and 9....9 triples that year.  But then nagging injuries bugged him in 2015 leading to only 104 games played and 376 at bats. With the Mets having signed SS Cabrera to a multi year deal, it appears that fellow former first rounder Gavin Cecchini will not be seeing Citi Field in 2016 as a major leaguer, at least throughout the spring and summer.  But does anyone believe that De Aza and his one year deal would honesty warrant and demand the keeping of a possibly healthy Brandon Nimmo back in Vegas? 

  2016 is a HUGE year for Nimmo, and although I'm not sure anyone would place him anywhere close to the level of Conforto, he has to be given some consideration as the next in line when it comes to Mets hitting prospects.  The guy has continued to be invited to minor league showcase games for the past couple of years now and a .381 career OBP in 420 professional baseball games seems pretty solid to me, and probably the reason the Mets took a chance on him in the first place.

  Speaking of Cecchini, he'll be playing out the entire 2016 season as a 22 year old. Here's a kid who went from a statistically poor 2014 season and had himself an allstar and league MVP worthy 2015 campaign in the show me level of AA ball. Although at this point I truly have no idea what the Mets are looking for at this point in Gavin. Again, the Mets JUST signed a veteran shortstop to join the team on a multi year deal. That deal, if all goes according to plan (ok I have no actual idea what the plan is) would technically play out to allow for Cabrera to be the bridge for..........well......if you ever read my posts you know what name is coming in 3....2......1........ Amed Rosario.  And even though talent should be held onto, even if it means moving said middle infield talent around the middle infield, it still remains my personal opinion that Rosario is and should continue to be entrenched at the SS position, and not moved anywhere, especially because even though he DEFINITELY has the arm for it, he hasn't shown the power tool yet to maybe consider a move to 3rd base.  And Cecchini doesn't appear to have the best makeup for that type of move either, and I'm not sure if Cecchini at this point would be a better high ceiling guy at 2B than Dilson Herrera should be right now and into the Mets future.  So what to do with Gavin?  Do his 2015 numbers scream Conforto for 2016?

  To be honest, I'm not sure if any other projected AAA level guy is primed to make a huge rookie major leaguer in 2016 so might as well jump down to AA where I believe one Mr. Dominic Smith should be manning 1B. I'm not going to get into the random oddball twitter folk who at one point in 2015 suggested the Mets bench Duda and call this kid up, but I will say that 2016 should still be an interesting season for the young man who won't even be of drinking age until summer 2016.  He's also coming off a minor league MVP season and will entering the show me level at AA. His age along says he may not even sniff the major league level in the coming season ahead, but he continues to hit .300, with lots of doubles and some extra homers, how far up can he climb within the system?

  When it comes to star power, (and when it comes to my posts in general) it just wouldn't be me if I didn't again spend another paragraph on Amed Rosario, who after the above mentioned names might be the next HIGH ceiling guy with Conforto potential if/when he enters into the league. Depending on who you ask, Rosario might not see Citi Field until the end of the decade, but he appears to slated to man SS at the AA level in 2016, and according to my calculations that leaves only AAA between him and the majors. So he is close, and honestly lets not forget that Ruben Tejada played as a major leaguer by age 20, so it's not impossible to see Rosario up there in Queens before he even hits drinking age.

  I'd love to talk more and more prospects and possible star power from the hitting side of things, but these are the main guys to bring up right now.  Let me know if you guys see anyone else within a year or two of cracking the majors who have star power (Beccera ?).

Ok, my daughter woke up early from nap so there goes extra writing and analysis.  :)


Mack Ade said...

For me, the 'next' Michael Conforto still is Michael Conforto.

I think he's going to be a great player, but he still has a long way to go to prove that.

Thomas Brennan said...

Good job, Ernest:

Cecchini's bat came alive in 2015, but man, he made a ton of errors. If that continues, his value will be diminished and he will be delayed.

Nimmo needs a bust out year. Is he capable? We'll find out. he has underwhelmed so far, but has been pretty good at getting on base. But his career on base % is slower than Danny Muno's. All said, the slate is clean, let's see you dazzle us in 2016, Brandon.

Rosario - hope he hit the weight room in the off season. Time to show some power.

Smith - recall Conforto started out in A ball last year and made Mets. Smith was A ball MVP, starting out in AA this year, so ahead of where Conforto started last year. Watch for the added power and perhaps a late season promo to Mets in 2016.

My dark horse is Travis Taijeron - had a big step up in 2015. Still Ks too much. Can he take another big step in 2016, or has the aging prospect plateaued?

Also, will Matt Reynolds bounce back and show he is legit? He had some injury issues last year like Nimmo.

Reese Kaplan said...

What's interesting to me is how many more chances top draft picks get whereas the fringe picks have to claw their way for starting opportunities. After all, wasn't Hall of Famer Mike Piazza only taken in the 62nd round?

Lew Rhodes said...

You guys all forgetting our 2bman of the future? Granted it will take an injury to get Herrera 200 ABs this year - he is right around the corner

On Cecchini - last winter when Mack ranked him I argued it was way too low based on his age and previous bad luck (very low BABIP) - I think Nimmo will fall into some of that as well - 8 think will suprise folks this year - his AA numbers were really good last year

Lew Rhodes said...

You guys all forgetting our 2bman of the future? Granted it will take an injury to get Herrera 200 ABs this year - he is right around the corner

On Cecchini - last winter when Mack ranked him I argued it was way too low based on his age and previous bad luck (very low BABIP) - I think Nimmo will fall into some of that as well - 8 think will suprise folks this year - his AA numbers were really good last year

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