MY TOP 50 REVISITED by Tom Brennan

Last fall, I formulated my top 50 minor league prospects.  The list was premature, as some were traded or picked up by other organizations.  Some of the guys are hurt, some are slated for a short season league and have not played yet in 2016.

That said, now that we are nearly 2 months into 2016, how am I doing on those picks?  Better yet, how are THEY doing?

First 25 from 2015 this week, last 25 will be next week.


-         HOW IS 2016 SHAPING UP?

#1 DILSON HERRERA: turns 22 in 2016…has not done well in 2014 and 2015 in brief appearances with Mets. Last 2 minor league seasons? WOW.  In 862 at bats in 2014 and 2015, 58 doubles, 7 triples, 24 HRs, 121 RBIs, 167 runs, .327, 75 BBs, and 36 of 52 steals.  I speculate he will be the Mets starting 2B in 2016, and hopefully a future All Star. 

-         Little fella is leading the Mets minors with 8 homers, hovering around .280.  19 XBH in 40 games.  Like to see him dominating more with the stick.  But he is essentially ready when needed.                                                                                        

#2 DOMINIC SMITH: 20 year old 1st round pick IN 2013 was MVP in the FSL. He turned a miserable 9 for 63 start to his season in St Lucie into a surge of doubles and a .330 average the rest of the way.  Considered a superior defensive 1B, 2016 should show us the true Dominic Smith. Future All Star, especially if he hits long balls like Michael Conforto.

-         In his arrival in AA in 2016, surrounded by a weak offensive cast, Dom has put up solid but not spectacular #’s (.275/.311/.413 with 4 homers and 31 RBIs in 43 games).  I expect more when he turns 21 in 3 weeks – so does Ernest Dove.

#3  GAVIN CECCHINI: first rounder in 2012, he broke through offensively in 2015 and won AA rookie of the year. In 109 games, hit .317/.377/.442, struck out just 55 times.  He got better in the late weeks of the season defensively, a ton of errors prior to that. Mets’ infield situation is crowded, so we’ll see if he can push his way into a starting job with the Mets by 2017, or be a strong utility man. 

-          On the DL for 2½ weeks but just back off it.  Diagnosed with d'Armand Frequent Injury Syndrome (dFIS).  Needs to stay on field more.  But he has hit .500 over his last 10, so maybe a dominant 22 year old Cecchini is about to emerge.

#4 - DESMOND LINDSAY: probably too high to list the Mets’ 2015 2nd round selection, as the 18 year old only got 130+ plate appearances post-draft…he did well, and got to play 14 games once he was promoted late in the season to Brooklyn, where he held his own.  His tools are thought of very highly.  I’d love to see him challenged and put on a full season roster in 2016.

-         Got hurt in the spring so he will do a short season league, most likely Brooklyn.  

#5 - BRANDON NIMMO: hard to list him at # 5, with just a .354 slugging % in 2015.  He gets a lot of hype, but so far the former 2012 first round pick has under-delivered more often than he has excited.  For this first rounder in 2011 right out of HS, it is time to show us a breakthrough season in 2016 and a whole lot more power.  Or trade him.

-         Very slow AAA start in 2016, but an on base machine of late.  How does getting on base 25 times in his last 10 games sound? .300/.395/.444. Needs to add long ball (just one so far).  But he is starting to look like a first rounder.

#6 MAX WOTELL: I highly ranked Max at #6 because the Mets selected the lefty out of HS in the 3rd round, indicative of being considered very highly, and the 18 year old in 2015 pitched little (at least in official games) but put up eye-catching #’s: (10.2 IP, 2 hits, 9 walks, 16 Ks).  Long way to go for Max, but I am kind of hoping we may have another lefty like Steve Matz in Max.  

-         Mad Max should be pepping for a short season campaign to start soon. So this very high ranking will sit in limbo for a while and we’ll see if I guessed right.

#7. AMED ROSARIO: perhaps the best Mets’ minor league SS prospect, reputed to be a future above average SS with speed and hitting ability.  Power should come as the pounds are added to his slender 19 year old frame.  Could have a long and successful year as a MLB starting SS.  As a 20 year old, he should head to AAA.

 - Amed started out an offensive house on fire in St Lucie, and despite a cool recent few weeks, he sits at .301/.362/.445 after 44 games. Still seems the youth is on track for a possible starter role at SS for the Mets in 2018.  Mets need him to succed to help keep the future team payroll manageable.

#8 AKEEL MORRIS: awesome in A ball, struggled a bit when sent to AA, but finished strong.  Last 3 years in the minors: 8-4, 30 of 34 save opportunities, 163 innings, 230 Ks, 1.27 ERA.  Crazy numbers, resulting from a mid 90s fastball, terrific change up, and determination.  AAA is in his near future if he is not traded, and a likely major league fully gestated debut some time in 2016. 

 - Akeel has still allowed a high rate of walks, and had a rough start this year, but is 0.71 ERA-wise over his last 10 outings. Probable mid-season promotion to AAA if he continues his recent strong efforts.

# 9 RAFAEL MONTERO: horrible year injury-wise; I thought he’d be a top major league pitching entry.  If healthy, he deserves to be higher on this list.  If deemed healthy, other teams may make a play for him. 

 - Three of his last 4 AAA starts have been quality.  He may be closer to the Montero we all thought we had when he was first emerging.  Starting to justify my #9 slot.

#10 DARRELL CECILIANI: like him more than Nimmo – keeps pulling hamstrings, a real problem.  A bit over his head during his sporadic playing time in Queens in 2015.  In 70 games in Vegas, he went .345/.398/.581 and stole 16 of 20.  DC has a real chance as Mets 5th OF in 2016.

 - GONE!! Off to the Blue Jays he went.  Great spring, almost made the team, but the injury prone DC was sent to AAA by the Jays and injuries have kept him to 17 games.  Seems jinxed.  Wish him well.

#11 JEFF MCNEIL: thought he should have been co-MVP of the FSL with Smith.  McNeil played 119 games for St Lucie, .312/.373/.382 with 80 runs scored and 16 of 21 steals.  Only 59 Ks.  A whole lot to like.  Solid D. Add some pop and his value will be indisputable. 

 - Hernia surgery has limited him to 3 games this year. Presumably will return in a few weeks.

#12 PATRICK MAZELKA: this 2015 8th round selection had a superlative season in Kingsport.  He hit a robust .354/.451/.540 in 62 games, and just 1 error catching.  Get him into a full season league in 2016.  In my opinion, make that assignment St Lucie and let's see what he's got. 

 - Super intriguing.  He misses several weeks, but upon his return, in his first 8 games at Columbia, he is.444/.529/.519.  In nearly 300 plate appearances in his career so far, he is hitting .364. High hopes for this guy, especially considering the putrid offensive output of the Mets' catchers so far this year.

#13 LUIS GUILLORME: S. Atlantic League MVP.  He should have been promoted mid season, but with a glut of infielders in higher leagues, he played 122 games, hit .318/.391/.354, and drove in 55 runs, stole 18 of 26 and flashed leather.  Only area of focus would be more extra base hits.  Most likely slated for the FSL, where he will try to win another MVP. 

 - St Lucie in 2016 has been a wall of resistance for Luis, but he seems to be adjusting, having reached base 17 times in the last 10 games to climb to .250. No triples or homers career-wise, and just 33 doubles, in over 1100 at bats are red flags for Guillorme's future as a possible major leaguer.

#14 EUDOR GARCIA:  2014 4th rounder manned 3B for the Gnats and in 105 games, .296/.340/.442.  Needs to tamp down a little on the Ks, and boost his walk rate.Possible candidate to replace David Wright at some point at the hot corner. 12 errors, needs to tighten that up.

 - His drug suspension will be up soon, then we'll see.

#15  WUILMER BECERRA:  Wuilmer’s year (.290/.342/.423) virtually cloned Eudor Garcia’s for Savannah, except he stole more (16 of 24).  A real possibility for the OF in Queens by late 2017 or 2018.  Headed most likely for St Lucie in 2016.

 - At #15, ranked too low by me. Despite a recent cool off, he sits at a tremendous .353 after nearly 40 games in St Lucie. Only 10 doubles and no homers are perplexing, as one would expect decent long ball pop from Wuilmer - can't imagine it won't come soon.

#16  DARIO ALVAREZ: in 2014, dominated in A ball in relief, was lousy this year in April and May 2015, and back to dominance in 2015 from June on.  Great breaking ball got Dario lots of minor league strikeouts in 2014 and 2015: 176 in 115 innings. Walked a few too many in 2015.  He could be a lead lefty out of the Mets pen in 2016 – or fail to cut it - time will tell.

 - Overrated by me. He had a high strikeout, but otherwise awful, 2016 and was just dropped from the 40 man roster to make room for Ty Kelly to be added to it when promoted to the bigs.

# 17  SETH LUGO: RHSP, a 34th rounder in 2011. Pitched well enough in AA in 2015, got to start 5 games late in the season in AAA, where he went 2-2, 4.00, and struck out 30 in 27 innings.  He feels like a Dillon Gee quality pitcher, when Gee was close to major league ready.  Seems he could be a Logan Verrett equivalent and, as such, a 5th starter/pen type eventually. 

 - Wrong so far.  Seth has had a very rough go of it in 2016. Eight starts, 7.45 ERA, but showing improvement. Can he get hot and justify my 17th rank? Time will tell.

#18  LUIS MATEO: promising enough to be a highly ranked Mets pitching prospect heading into 2013. Tommy John effectively blew away most of 2013, most of 2014, and half of 2015.  But Luis got in 17 relief outings in 2015, with a 1.59 ERA, 24 Ks in 22.2 IP, and a 0.79 WHIP.  Which tells me he is healthy.  If healthy, maybe the old Luis is back and he makes the Mets pen at some point in 2016. 

 - Too optimistic of me. Luis has been mediocre in the Binghamton pen this year, below the trajectory I expected.  11 runs in 20 innings, just 13 Ks, 1-3.  Let's see where he goes from here.

# 19  CHRISTIAN MONTGOMERY: 11th round 2011 out of HS, had adjustment problems, hardly pitched before 2015 in Brooklyn.  He dazzled early, with 9.2 shutout innings in relief, fanning 18.  Hot and cold in Savannah after being promoted there, but in his last 4 relief appearances there, the hard throwing righty went 7.1 innings, allowed 2 hits, and fanned 16. Who does that?  Perhaps this gent can be another Jeurys Familia.  Let’s see how he does in 2016.

-         Jekyll and Hyde. Two awful games to start the season, mostly intriguing since then: 1.59 ERA, 24 Ks in 17 innings over his last 10 games. But he still is only at Columbia, so he needs to keep refining and dominating to progress.

#20 MATT REYNOLDS: great season in 2014 for this 2012 2nd rounder, great spring 2015 that had many speculating if he’d make the Mets out of camp, great AAA April, then…well, not so great.  He struggled the rest of 2015, including dealing with an elbow injury.  A .267/.319/.402 season line.  He did drive in 65 and score 70 and steal 13 of 17. Bad year that he will rebound from?  One could see him repeating AAA or being traded. 

-         Got his first big league hit after being called up. Had been cold in May pre-call up, and mediocre most of 2015 in AAA.  Not sure if he’ll be more than a fringe big leaguer at this point.

#21. JACK LEATHERSICH: on the verge of moving from prospect to post-prospect major leaguer when he got sent back down as a roster maneuver, then felled by a TJ elbow  - just as he seemed poised to clear the major league hump, a huge setback. Presume he’ll miss much of 2016.

 - GONE!! I  posted my ranking shortly before the Cubbies got him last fall. Still on the mend.

# 22 ROB GSELLMAN: 13th rounder out of HS in 2011, the RHSP in St Lucie in 2015 went 6-0, 1.76 in 8 starts.  On to AA for the 22 year old: he was solid at 7-7, 3.51, but only 49 Ks in 92 innings there.  I do not like to project relatively low K guys very high, but he had a heck of a year, and perhaps should be higher on my list.  Hoping for a big 2016 for Rob.

 - Started out hot in 2016 in AA, cooled a bit, has gotten no offensive support, so he sits at 1-3, 2.56 after 8 starts.  Part of the learning experience. 37 Ks in 46 IP are decent, but a bit low.

#23 CHRIS FLEXEN:  14th rounder out of HS in 2012, Flexen pitched really well until he needed Tommy John surgery in 2014.  He pitched some great games for Savannah in 2015.  I am looking forward to seeing a healthy Flexen move up the charts in 2016.

 - Slow 2016 to date in St Lucie. 2-5, 4.47 ERA in 8 starts. Just 31 Ks in 48 IP.  Needs to step it up a lot or I overrated him.

# 24 PAUL SEWALD: Mets' 10th round selection in 2012 went 3-0, 1.75 in AA, 24 of 25 saves, an 0.86 WHIP, and 56 Ks in 51 IP. For his 4 year career, he is 11-5 in 192 IP, 227 Ks, 0.97 WHIP, 47 of 49 saves.  Who could do better? What keeps him from being a Top 5 Mets prospect is a fastball that tops out at 91.  Next stop Vegas, surely the majors should not be far behind.

 - I UNDERRATED HIM! Paul has hit some adversity of late (a few blown saves), but in his recent 6 game "bad" stretch, he surrendered 10 hits in 5.2 innings, but also fanned 10. Still has a 2.74 ERA. He is the best reliever in the Mets minors right now, bar none.  I expect he will be a September call up - if the Mets were less pitching- rich, he'd be up already.

# 25 GABE YNOA: mediocre in 2015, 9-9, 3.90, just 82 Ks in 152 IP (4.8 per 9 innings).  Let’s hope he can ramp up the performance and Ks in 2016. Possible back end rotation or pen guy, unless Ks jump a lot. 

-         LOW K GABE has been strong this year, with just 28 Ks in 57 IP, but is 5-1. 2.50 after 9 AAA starts.  Don't know still how a guy with low K rate succeeds at the much tougher big league level, but a guy who career-wise is 52-26, 3.15 should figure out a way to be at least a long arm in a major league pen.  Trade bait?


Mack Ade said...

It's good to see the update.

I miss the days you, I, and Soto use to each post our prospect lists

Tom Brennan said...

Mack, I will post a mid-season prospects list, maybe in early July once the short season teams get some traction.

I also miss the Chris Soto articles. They were excellent.

I can't believe I am typing that I am starting to get excited about Nimmo and Cecchini. Both have exploded of late. Nimmo has been an on base machine of late. We have a handful of broken on base machines in Queens right now. Give Nimmo a 1B mitt. We may need him soon.

Hobie said...

Excited about Mezelka. He should get bumped to PSL sooner than later IMO. He's listed as a C/1B BTW.

Not on your list, but I am interested in seeing Ali Sanchez too (in Brooklyn) shortly.

Anonymous said...

Rosario taking the step forward this year that all had expected. SandyCo have often been criticized for the players they chose to stock minors, but you have Nimmo, Cecchini, Rosario, and Becerra all hitting over .300, while Herrara and Smith are scuffing a bit, but should end up over .300 when it is all said and done, so it doesn't look like any busts among them. Nimmo has to be looked at differently because he had a longer learning curve to start and has had a number of injuries that interrupted his hot streaks. Wrist derailed him in Savannah when he started hot; a knee injury interrupted him after his scorched the FSL and last year never really got started before running into injuries. I don't predict he will be a star, but I still think he is an everyday CF and will be one of those guys who builds a long career out of raw skills, athleticism and hard work. My ceiling for him is a Hunter Pence with less pop, but could follow the Marco Scutaro type. a player that takes time to reach his potential, but is a very useful player who doesn't get hype because he doesn't have flash.

anon Joe F

Tom Brennan said...

Hope you're right about Nimmo, Joe F, except I hope you are wrong about the power. But 25 times on base in 10 games...hey that will work for anybody. He is big enough to have power, let's see if he can become a 40 double, 15 homer. .380 on base guy in the bigs.

Bob Sugar said...

Nice write as usual . I follow that catcher Mazelka every night. Big need in the organization. They say he might not be able to stick at Catcher. We'll see. Scouts also said Thor had no curveball

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