UPDATE ON MY 2015 TOP 50, #'S 26 THRU 50 by Tom Brennan

UPDATE ON MY 2015 TOP 50, #'S 26 THRU 50 by Tom Brennan
Last fall, I formulated my top 50 minor league prospects.  The list was compiled a bit prematurely, when I had time to do it, guys.  So, as a result, some of my prospects were traded or picked up by other organizations afterwards. 
Some of the guys are hurt, some are short and hence getting ready to play short season ball starting this month, and thus have not played yet in 2016.  (If you believe that I really believe they are short, that is the height of stupidity, and I know you’re not dumb if you’re reading this….so let me keep it short and continue…)
Now that we are 2 months into 2016, how am I doing on those picks? 
Better yet, how are THEY doing?
 First 25 last week (look the article up in the side bar and read it if you missed it).
A recap of last year’s 26 through 50, in terms of progression/regression, follows:
 26.MARCOS MOLINA: Best pitcher in NY Penn League in 2014.  Highly touted. But elbow issues in 2015 were a major setback, only managed to go 1-5, 4.57 over just 41 innings.  If he resolves those successfully, he could be a top 5 prospect and future mid-rotation addition. 
- Needed TJ surgery.  Still on the mend – see you in 2017.
.  27. TRAVIS TAIJERON:  18th round 2011 hi power, hi K guy, hole in his bat.  He was the Mets Sterling award winner for AAA in 2015, with a .274/.393/.536 line.  XBH machine, led Mets minors in 2015 with 25 homers in just 394 at bats, but K’d 147 times in 127 games spanning 450+ PAs. Figure out how to cut that rate down, could have a major league career. Big “if”.
  - Man, if not for those many Ks...Travis is now 27, but he gets better every year.  Still does not make consistent enough contact to warrant a big league call up to a contending team like the Mets with 5 creditable outfielders, but he keeps getting closer each year.  Hitting around .300 with a .550 slug %, and about 3 extra base hits every five games. Love to see him get over the hump.
 28. MARTIRES ARIAS: 6-0. 1.11 in 57 IP in 2014, followed in 2015 with an 8-5, 2.29 ERA year mostly in Savannah, with 115 Ks in 118 innings, and a 1.09 WHIP. With so many starters promoted and traded out of the minors in 2015, Arias may well be a top 5 starter in their system right now. One to watch in 2016. 

- The very tall Arias went to less-pitching endowed San Diego organization. Still in A ball, not lighting it up, so appears to be no big loss.

29. MATT OBERSTE: 2013 7th rounder got more playing time in St Lucie once Conforto got promoted.  Ended up playing 111 games and hitting .301/.359/.430, virtually the same #’s as MVP Dominic Smith. He will certainly go to AA next year to see if he can continue the momentum.  

-  Oberste at .298/.356/.453 in AA, better than Dom Smith so far, and hitting .300 in his last 580 at bats in High A and AA in 2015 and 2016.  Slowly but surely progressing – good chance he’ll crack the majors in 2017 or 2018.

30. ALI SANCHEZ: the very young, highly touted international signing had a fine 2015 in the GCL. Hit .272 in 2015, touted to have strong defensive skills.  Another short season probably at Kingsport or Brooklyn awaits the teenager in 2016.  He should move up this list rapidly.

- Another summer season about to start for Ali. Very anxious to see his progress.

31.  KEVIN KACZMARSKI: 23 year old 2015 9th round pick assigned too low in 2015.  Led Appalachian League with a .355 average over 64 games, terrific OBP (.415), SLG (.512), and 20 steals.  No errors!  I’d like to see him challenged in Savannah or St Lucie in 2016 after such a fine season. Co-Sterling Award winner with Pat Mazelka. 
-  Started slow in Columbia after skipping over Brooklyn, then missed a bunch of games on DL in April and early may.  Has gone .286/.356/.442 in 20 games back from injury, climbing to .244, so is trending well.  Without a longer stretch of games, too early to judge how good he’ll be.  But there is some promise there.

32. DANNY MUNO: did not do enough with his limited opportunity with Mets in 2015 (.258 OB% in a little over 30 plate appearances); faded down the stretch in AAA to finish at .277/.362/.369.  Maybe he figures out that final hurdle, gets that chance with the Mets or another organization in 2016, and succeeds next time. Will play as a 27 year old in 2016, time is running short.
- Putrid start in a very crowded AAA infield in April, causing him to be benched a lot. In May, he got on base over 50% of the time. Still seems like a fringe big leaguer at best at tackling, but time will tell.  He has to get back to the bigs first. 

33. LUIS CARPIO: one of Mets’ prime international signings, Luis excelled at 17 in Kingsport, with a .304/.372/.359 split in 45 games.  8 errors – not bad at all at that age. Will be exciting to see how this apparently fine prospect will perform in 2016.

-      ­hold the excitement I had last year: out for the year with surgery.  See ya in 2017.

34. JHOAN URENA: stunk the joint up in 2015 (.214/.257/.267 in 64 games) in an injury filled year in St Lucie.  Will Jhoan show 2015 to be a one year aberration and surge in 2016?  We’ll see....   
- To my question above, answer is: NOPE…not lighting the world on fire in St Lucie this year, actually awful at .202/.267/.276, and his fielding remains highly suspect – 33 errors in 110 games in the field, this year and last, at 3B.  Needs to show much, much more to advance.  Does not deserve a top 50 ranking. 

35. L.J. MAZZILLI: 2013 4th round pick had a mediocre 2015 in AA after his 50 game suspension ended, hitting .263, with NO HRs in 86 games there, and just a .337 OBP and .334 SLG.  He showed more pop in 2014, so let’s see what he can do as a 25 year old in 2016 to thrust forward with added pop in a full, uninterrupted season.
- Underwhelming in AA this year. His .406 over the last 10 a positive sign. Yet to show he can be the next Danny Muno.  Home run power potential shown up to 2014 has gone away – due to being off PEDs?  One has to wonder.

36. DAVID THOMPSON: 3rd round Mets pick in 2015, had quite a disappointing year (.218/.268/.320 in 59 games as a 21 year old) on a highly offensively challenged Cyclones team.  Let’s see if that was just an adjustment period for Thompson and whether he rebounds with a top season in 2016 - or if it was a bad pick

- Thompson has done much better so far in Columbia, with 40 RBIs in 40 games, despite 2 weeks on DL.  Hitting .288.  Should have been ranked higher.

37. MILTON RAMOS: started slowly in 2015, but really turned it on later in 2015 and hit .317/.341/.415 for Kingsport in 43 games.  3 of 9 in steals.  11 errors need attention, but he’ll play at age 20 in 2016.  Listed at a smallish 5’11”, 160, but he showed enough that he may shoot way up this list in 2016.
  • Like last year, the 2014 3rd rounder (now having jumped to full season ball in Columbia) started slow in April 2016, but has ramped it up in May.  Now hitting .236.  Low power.  Eight errors in 40 games at SS this year, but he is just 20, and usually guys improve as they get older.  Seems like a possible future utility player at this point.
38.JOSH SMOKER: 31st overall pick in 2007, but had shoulder issues requiring surgeries, and was out of minor league ball for almost 3 years.  He got the high heat back, and pitched very well in relief for St Lucie and Binghamton.  He struck out 60 in 49 innings.  Mets are not overstocked with lefty relievers, so maybe the 28 year old will make the Mets some time in 2016. 
  •  -  A lot of Ks in 20 innings in Vegas, but a 1.73 WHIP.  Time will tell if he can dramatically improve in that respect.  A fireball ability will only get you so far.
39.ALEX PALSHA: this 2014 27th round righty draftee had a splendid year for Brooklyn in relief (0.38 ERA, only one blown save) but sputtered a bit in a late, short promotion to St Lucie. 

- Doing well in Columbia, 2-1, 3.00, 35 Ks in 24 IP, 7 of 7 saves.  So far so fine, but how will higher levels of competition treat him?  We may find out soon.

40.DASH WINNINGHAM: 19 year old slugging 1B in Kingsport in his 2nd minor league season had 19 doubles, a triple and a league-lead-tying 12 HRs, plus 51 RBIs in 66 games.  He K’d 63 times in 66 games.  I want him in the top 10 this time next year.  A break out 2016 will do that.  Definitely heading for a full season league as a 20 year old, IMO.  

-   Hot start in 2016 for Dash, but he has struggled a bit.  .234/.315/.361 so far, but will be 20 all year.  There is time.  

41.NABIL CRISMATT: 6-1, 2.90 in 12 games, with a 1.03 WHIP and a K per inning, a fine short season.

-   Short season ball starts soon.  He pitched in the winter baseball classic for Columbia, so may have been held back to limit his innings. Guy to watch this year.

42. BLAKE TAYLOR: this highly drafted lefty, acquired from the Pirates along with Zach Thornton for Ike Davis, showed some promise before succumbing to Tommy John surgery last summer.  Still quite young, I’d like to see how he rebounds from that in 2016 before accelerating him up the list.

-   Still on the mend.  Hopefully, he pitches in 2016.

43. TJ RIVERA: ALL HE DOES IS HIT. .320 lifetime hitter, his stats in the minors are similar to those of Jeff Keppinger who had a solid major league career.  Could use more pop, but more than that, could use an opportunity to play in the big leagues.  He can probably hit in the bigs now.  And he ought to be higher on my list.

-   I had him way too low.  Second in AAA with a .364 average and his 45 RBIs leads everyone by 6 RBIs.  Should have had him in my top 15.

44. ZACH THORNTON: pitched well in AAA relief (4-4, 3.94, 64 games, 55 Ks in 61.2 IP).  Seems to be a AAAA pitcher, unless he can prove otherwise - but he is close to being a big league pen guy.  Maybe he shows up in 2016.

-   Seems stuck in AAA.  5.76 ERA in 25 innings for the 28 year old.  

  45. ALBERTO BALDONADO:  0-7 pitcher in 2015 but the Sand Gnat had a 1.91 ERA in 38 games with 9 SVs and 74 Ks in 56 IP.  Hard throwing guy who intrigues for 2016
  • Doing well in 2016.  Just 23, but in his 7th season in the minors, so he will be a free agent at year end.  So they may really push him to see what they have.  This year in A and AA, 23 IP, 1.96, 26 K – lefties who can pitch are worth keeping if possible – let’s see if he can pitch.  I have seen where he gets up to 94 MPH, and effective against lefty and righty hitters.  
 46. IVAN WILSON: 2013 3rd round stud; struck out at imponderable levels until his time at Kingsport in 2015.  58 Ks in 165 at bats.  I am not optimistic, but a similar improvement in his strikeout rate in 2016 and we may be talking.  

 -   My early season optimism has faded, as he has dipped to .205 and the K rate is better but still very high.  A VERY LONG SHOT. 

47. SCARLYN REYES: as a 25 year old in Savannah and St Lucie in 2015, he was 12-7, 3.52 in 2015 – but he is older and has to keep up the momentum in 2016. 

 - Has not pitched well in St Lucie this year.  His long shot at the majors has gotten much longer based on his showing this year so far.     

48. BECK WHEELER:  has had ups and downs in the minors, but in 2015, a fine 5-1, 3.38, K per inning in 43 relief appearances.  Can the hard throwing righty take it to the next level successfully?  Perhaps, but Beck, who turns 27 in 2016, needs to do more to break through to the bigs, as I would put Zach Thorton in the same boat, except Zach is closer to making the bigs. 

-  More of the same from Beck this year.  5.91 ERA.  Chances are fading fast. 

49. PJ CONLON: the 2015 13th round lefty has a very hard act to follow in 2016: himself.  In Brooklyn, he finished with an ERA in relief of 0.00, and struck out 25 in 17 innings while allowing just 8 hits. He sure rocked the Penn League in his brief debut.  It earned him a spot on my list.  

Outstanding start to 2016 in Columbia: 7-1, 1.42.   Best starting pitching performance in the Mets organization this year.  Can he dominate hitters as he gets promoted?  Seems he should be up for a mid-year promotion to St Lucie.  

50. TYLER PILL: Tyler gets the #50 slot due to his lethal bat and also having gone 6-0 in AA when not being pounded badly in AAA. 
- Another bad season’s start in 2016 for Pill in 2016, but a 3.33 ERA in his last 8 games.  One of the best hitters on the B Mets squad, the just-turned-26 year old may want to think about becoming a position player, as it seems he may just not be good enough to be a major league pitcher.  I’d love to see him try it.  His career ERA in nearly 90 innings in Vegas is 7.50.  I am curious how he’d do as a reliever.

One guy not in my top 50, partly due to past injuries that have limited his time pitching for the Mets’ teams to date, is Logan Taylor.  Taylor, a 6’5” righty, has taken nicely to relief work and is striking out a lot of hitters in AA.  Early season control issues have waned.  I’d say he belongs in the top 20 or 25. 

Tim Peterson as well should have been on the top 50 list.   Tim has been fabulous in relief this year, except for his first AA game where he gave up 6 runs in 1.1 IP.   Nerves?   Otherwise, he has tossed extremely well: 21 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 36 K.  Another guy who looks like he should be a top 25.

Overall, having completed my recap of my fall 2015 Top 50, some promising prospects, but as almost always in this team’s history, a real lack of power in the minors, aside from Herrera and Taijeron (and possibly David Thompson). 
The Mets need to draft more power hitter types, and hope something develops.

I've decided to go the way of Mack & call it a Macks Mets "career".

My two years here have been great, and I wish everyone all the best.   Mack, Reese, Ernest, and all the other writers, and great and knowledgeable commenters like James Preller, Brian Joura, Stubby, Bob Sugar, and Lou, I wish you all the best in your endeavors.   Be well and blessed in all you do.


Zozo said...

Good luck Tom

Hobie said...

All the best.

Hope I run into my MM friends out there somewhere.

And, oh, is there a TJ Rivera Fan Club? :-)

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks, Zozo. You too.

Thomas Brennan said...

No, but there is a PJ Conlon Fan Club in Belfast. Kidding aside, hopefully we'll see TJ and PJ in Queens before too long.

We should all have gotten Macks Mets tee shirts so we'd know each other should we cross paths at a game.

Thomas Brennan said...

And all the best to you, Hobie.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tom. Haven't always agreed with you, but I appreciate the time and effort you've put into this. You've always handled it all with good cheer.

Let's go Mets.

Jimmy P

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks, Jimmy...all the best.

Bob Sugar said...


I'll miss your reading your work and Commenting with you. It was well presented and you a have a great sense of humor which bright people often have. Yes I said you're a smart guy. . A bit concerning of late with injuries and some poor execution. All in I hope we have a great summer with the Mets . Enjoy yourself

Reese Kaplan said...

I had commented to Mack recently that blogging makes for strange bedfellows in that during the entire 2+ years both Tom and I wrote and commented on the site, we spoke on the phone I think just once. With Mack it was perhaps twice. Still, despite the old fashioned editorial meetings you'd associate with more traditional publications Tom, Mack and others got their content out in a timely manner and made for some lively discussion of all things Mets. Where Tom and I differ perhaps is his self-avowed delusional optimism whereas I'm not only a glass half empty kind of guy, but one who worries that the glass will break and slice the wrist of someone without adequate healthcare coverage.

It's been a joy to read Tom on a regular basis, to spar good naturedly with with him and to catch up on the minor leagues (which is embarrassing since the 51s pass through here in El Paso twice a year).

I expect a comeback either if the Mets make it to the World Series, Terry Collins gets fired or David Wright retires. I'll give you a pass on any other developments :)

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks so much, Bob. Now I just have to convince my wife I'm smart...I came into writing on this site without previous non-work writing experience, but yes, with a sense of humor, and it just gravitated into my articles, which I have to confess I did not plan ahead on but just sat down and went with what came out by and large.

Reese, it is true - we live in a bits and bytes age and talk becomes more and more rare (except for politicians, who ought to talk less as a rule of thumb). Always have enjoyed your thoughtful, and sometimes punishing (read TERRY), analyses, and wish you all the best should you continue to post here.

If there are posted articles on the site, I will continue to check in and comment. If you decide to write elsewhere, I'll keep an eye out.

Best of everything to both you gentlemen.

Ernest Dove said...

So can we all agree that danny muno will miss Tom's posts ?

Thomas Brennan said...

Hi Ernest

Danny Boy never had it so good - if he ever makes it big, he's promised me a contract like Bonilla's for all my support LOL.

You forgot Matt Reynolds - it was Reese or Chris who posted that his BABIP was unusually high in his big year in 2014. I dismissed it, thought he would break through, but I appear to be wrong on that one.

I just want a minor leaguer who, when called up, can hit as well as Thor and Matz! I'll need to remain patient, it appears.

Dallas said...

I know the offense is putrid and the bullpen has been leaky lately but whats with the sudden downfall of Macks Mets out of the blue? Enjoy this site a lot, consistent enjoyable unique reading. Some other gems pop up on SportSpyder, but none like this site.

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