(Pictured - all time great righty Mets hitter Mike Piazza)
(Folks: thought I'd repost this article, in case anyone missed it last week)

The Mets' minors have plenty of good, promising righty hitters....let's call them RIGHTY RIPPERS...dudes more apt to rip the cover off the balls than their counterparts.

What seems to be lacking in this entire group is a Yoenis Cespedes type - the classic home run hitter, but I generously count up 16 guys in all.
Rather than a long running, unsorted list, I decided to sort as follows:

1) Sure-fire major league starter with high career expectations.

2) Likely to be a major league starter or frequently playing platoon guy.

3) Most likely a major league utility guy struggling for at bats.

4) Flaws make any major league impact unlikely, or too early to tell.


AMED ROSARIO - may never be an NL All Star SS, but only because so many superb SS stars having entered or recently entered the NL, but he could be possibly the Mets' best career shortstop.  Ever.


TJ RIVERA – had the Mets not re-signed Neil Walker, I’d not have him here, after his league leading .353 in Vegas, and his subsequent .333 hitting in 105 at bats in Queens – but he may end up back in Vegas if all the other major league Ifs come out of the spring healthy. I recently compared his possible future major league arc to Jeff Keppinger or even perhaps Justin Turner.  Say no more.

GAVIN CECCHINI - hits and makes contact very well. I have a feeling his being switched to second, and adding some more long ball pop, will fix his defensive SS lapses (not everyone is cut out for SS, and thankfully, we have Rosario) and make him a major league regular, starting in 2018.

DAVID THOMPSON – for just 432 at bats, lots and lots of extra base hits (49) and RBIs (95) at 2 levels of A ball.  Project those to 600 at bats, and you have 68 extra base hits and 132 ribbies.  Maybe he is the Mets' future 3B.  It may take a David to replace a David.

PHIL EVANS – in including him this high, I am gambling here that his winning the AA batting title in 2016, with a .485 slugging %, was no one-season fluke. (He hit .311 in 19 winter ball games, too).

WUILMER BECERRA – if he can stay healthy…which he wasn’t in 2016, playing just 65 games for St Lucie and hitting .312, but with just 1 homer.  He played hurt for a while until shut down on July 17.  Before then, in one stretch, he went a torrid 35 for 75 from April 17 to May 9, which shows a great hit tool if he stays healthy.  Anyway, every team should have 2 guys whose name is pronounced wil-mer.

PETER ALONSO - small body of work to judge him on in his 2016 Brooklyn debut, but he was tearing it up (.321/.382/.587 in 120 plate appearances) on a terrible hitting team before he broke his leg.  Future star, or will he emulate Cory Vaughn, who hit well in Brooklyn several years ago but sputtered afterward?  I think his relatively low K rate (1 every 5.9 PA) bodes well…Cory fanned more.

DESMOND LINDSAY - the toolsy lad has done very well at a very young age when he has been able to stay on the field, and I am guessing 2017 will really show he is special. .303/.433/.451 in 37 games in 2016, mostly in Brooklyn.  Easy on those hamstrings, Mr. Lindsay; 120 games in 2017 would be nice.

TOMAS NIDO – catching in 90 hot Florida league games, he only hit .320/.357/.459 to win the batting title, made just 3 errors, and threw out 50 of 119 would-be base runners after a still laudable 41 of 104 in 2015.  What a 2016 season!  Will he be a better-defensive version of Kevin Plawecki, or a legit major league starter?  2017 in AA will reveal clues, but it seems his floor is Rene Rivera, who plays a lot, and hopefully he will be a better major league stick.


MATT REYNOLDS – decent glove infielder, but I soured on his bat after hitting just a low power .264 in hitting heaven Las Vegas.  He did OK with the Mets at first glance, with .224/.266/.416 in a little over 90 plate appearances, but the 34 Ks are a pulsing red light.  No speed is another ceiling reducer.  Lots and lots of middle infield competition in the Mets organization.  Only injuries will get him back to Queens, it seems.

JEFF MCNEIL – Jeff was an impressive, if low powered, hitter through 2015, bulked up before 2016, and missed all but a few games of 2016 due to a sports hernia.  If fully healthy, and he can carry the added muscle, he is a real possibility for a future big league utility guy.
Career .304/.375/.391 in about 1,200 minor league plate appearances, with 45 of 58 steals.  Nice, nicer with more power.


TRAVIS TAIJERON – 295 extra base hits in 2,185 minor league at bats in 645 minor league games – WOW!  But those 737 career Ks represent his roadblock.  I thought he was ready to break through in 2016 when he was hitting .314/.394/.574 on July 4, but he slid to .275 by year end.  If anything, a future strict platoon player against lefty pitchers for a weaker major league team.

EUDOR GARCIA – his drug suspension and some injuries limited him to 57 games in 2016 in Columbia, where he hit .280/.335/.427.  I think his bat will shine in 2017, but I cannot move him higher than category 4 based on his career-to-date performance.

MATT OBERSTE – like Lucas Duda, he is a 7th round large first base pick.  He hit well in 2015 and 2016 in A and AA (.292/.350/.420 in 832 at bats), but no speed and 153 Ks and just 15 homers over that span.  So, as of now, the 25 year old seems like a somewhat better hitting, less-powered Travis Taijeron in an organization with an heir-apparent 1B in Dom Smith and a righty alternative in Wilmer Flores, not to mention Peter Alonso.  He needs to up his game to make the bigs.

KEVIN TAYLOR – this 25 year old IF was drafted in the 36th round by LAD, moved to independent ball in 2014, and was signed by the Mets in 2016. In 399 at bats for St Lucie, he was a fine .288/.386/.404, but that just gets him up to about 10th on the Mets’ minors infield list.  He did not play middle infield but in fact did play a lot of outfield and 1B in 2016, with just 1 error in 70 games in those 2 slots.  A great year in 2017 could change that ranking, but he has a stiff climb to be more than a very long shot, even as a utility player.

JHOAN URENA – liked by many prior to 2015, the 3B had a weak, injury-marred 2015 and 2016, in which, combined, he hit just .222 in 608 at bats, with a .340 slugging % and 73 RBIs and 42 errors!   He will play all of 2017 as a 22 year old, so maybe the light switch goes on, but he has done himself no favors the past 2 years.  


Too many guys for too few major league slots, and these are just the righty hitters, I have 10 more on my lefty list to come out in a few days, so I must be being a little (or more than a little) generous in my rankings.  But it is up to them to succeed, anyway. 

And up to you, dear reader, what do you think?


Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Right now, we have one 'righty ripper' that looks to me a sure thing... Rosario. He will take over the SS position next year and fill one of the 8 full time starter spots.

Past that, 3B David Thompson, OF Desmond Lindsay, and C Tomas Nido show promise.

Regarding Thompson... he needs mucho work on his defensive skills at third and the Mets need to hire some ex-third baseman to work with the kid.

Reese Kaplan said...

I'm rooting hard for native El Pasoan Eudor Garcia to prove he can hit without the PEDs.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, besides PEDs, Eudor Garcia needs to also stay healthy and show us what he can really do over 120+ games - this year. Playing half seasons (or less) is a formula for failure. LIKE YOGI ONCE SAID, IT GETS LATE EARLY.

Thomas Brennan said...

Will all of these 16 guys combined hit as many homers as Mike Piazza did? Hopefully. Unlikely.

Hobie said...

Agree with Mack on Thompson's D.

Trusty crystal ball says: eventually Rosario is moved to 3B (a la Manny Machado) and Andres Giminez is the long term SS.

Eddie Corona said...

I don't believe that the Mets 3b exists in the organization... Thompson looks promising but if he cannot handle the position defensively then he can fight with D. smoth and Alonzo for 1b Supremacy...
Rosario would have to hit a Ton to move over and be 3b worthy... He is rated as having SS tools so he should remain there but if he hits well (for a SS) then his value diminishes if he becomes a 3B.

Mack Ade said...

Eddie has explained the Thompson thing much better than I did.

He really does not project to be talented enough to become a major league THIRD BASEMAN, but that does not mean he could not be developed at first or a corner outfielder... or traded to an American League team as a potential DH.

He has the potential to have 150 RBIs when he hits AAA.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, of course, Thompson's 150 AAA RBIs would be by the All Star Break. Viva Las Vegas!

Thomas Brennan said...

Let me add that significant injuries in 2016 to several of these guys made it much harder to decide where they fit in the list (if at all).

I read the Post article on Yanks' Clint Frazier yesterday - his work ethic is awesome. Urena should read the article - and re-read it.

Mack's Mets © 2012