|Original Published Date: November 18, 2016|
The Mets have had their recent success on the backs of a quality farm system that has it’s strength in pitching. Whether it was Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, or Matt Harvey, the pitching machine just continues. Look no further than Robert Gsellman. We had him listed as a potential break out player last yar, but would have never envisioned the contribution he had this past season with the Mets. He was very good in his limited exposure to the big leagues. So it begs the question, are there more pitchers lurking in the system? The answer is a resounding yes.
First, Gsellman is still considered a prospect and I expect him to continue to surprise, although I don’t expect him to pitch to a 2.42 ERA next season. Justin Dunn, the Mets 2016 first round draft pick has really good stuff and could profile as a number two starter down the road. Also, before exiting 2015 with TJ Surgery, Marcos Molina was showing swing and miss stuff with good control.
What is even more exciting than the pitching are the bats. Amed Rosario has become one of the best prospects in the game and could be the dynamic leadoff hitter the Mets have needed since Jose Reyes (err… the younger Reyes that is). Next is Dominic Smith, a kid that I thought would hit for power and now is starting to show that pop. Brandon Nimmo is also on the list and while the tools are not electric, he knows how to get on base and should be able to help the Mets next season. Finally there is Desmond Lindsay, a toolsy player that is starting to come into his own. He could make some real noise in the prospect world next year.
While I like still like the system a lot, the Mets will not make the playoffs next year unless their current pitchers get healthy. Assuming they do, there are nice pieces on the farm that should help continue the playoff run the Mets have enjoyed the past two years.
Amed Rosario (SS)
Highest Level: Double-A, ETA: 2017-18, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 SS
Amed Rosario is quickly becoming one of my favorite prospects in the minor leagues. The kid just does a lot of things well. First he can really hit as he showed in 2016. As a 20-year-old in the Florida State League, he hit .309 with a 1.7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and then after his promotion to Double-A, he hit .341, striking out a little more than he did in High-A. He showed speed by stealing 19 bases across both leagues and even a little pop with five home runs.
The most impressive thing is that he accomplished this at 20-years-old. In fact, he doesn’t turn 21 until November.
The Mets are very high on Rosario and have resisted trading him multiple times. They believe he will be manning shortstop in New York, possibly as early as the second half of 2017. Given how quickly he’s torn through the minor leagues, a 2017 major league debut is not out of the question.
Scouting Report: I’ve always been very bullish on Rosario but have become even more so after seeing him multiple times in the Eastern League last season. He’s has a high baseball-IQ which has helped him meet the challenges the Mets have thrown at him. The feel for hitting is very good and he has toned down his aggressiveness a great deal. He’s short to the ball with good bat speed and a swing that suggest more doubles than home run power. However, at 6-foot-2, he should put on weight and add strength, and as he does, he should develop more power. After seeing him in batting practice, I think there is potentially 10 to 12 home run power down the road.
Rosario has plus speed and finally started to turn that speed into stolen bases last season. I don’t see him as a 30 stolen base guy, but he could easily steal 20 to 25 annually.
Fantasy Impact: I use to believe that Rosario would be a better baseball player than fantasy player, but I’m upping his fantasy contribution quite a bit. He could be a .300 hitter with 10 to 12 home runs and 20 to 25 stolen bases. I believe he’s just starting to tap into his offensive skills and as he matures, remember, he’s always been one of the youngest players at his level, he could be a Top 10 shortstop, if not more.
Dominic Smith (1B)
Highest Level: Double-A, ETA: 2017-18, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 1B
I put my money where my mouth was last year and acquired Dom Smith in multiple Dynasty Leagues. While everyone thought he could hit, and that has been proven over 425 minor league games, the power just wasn’t showing up. After seeing him in 2015, I thought it would. Last year, it finally did. It goes to show you, you have to watch these guys…you just can’t read the stat lines.
In 130 games at Binghamton, he slugged .457 with 14 home runs. Of course, he also hit .302 with an impressive 1.5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. What was also impressive was the 13.6% strike out rate he posted.
Don’t get me wrong, Smith doesn’t have 30 home run power like Lucas Duda demonstrated in 2014 and 15. However, he should produce a .375 OBP to go along with at .450 plus slug with 20 home run potential. Throw-in that he could win multiple gold gloves at first and the profile suggest an Eric Hosmer-light type of player, or maybe not even…light…
Scouting Report: Dominic Smith can really hit with a chance to post a .300 batting average annually. As mentioned, his power is starting to emerge and with his size and strength, he should develop 20 home run power. He has below average speed, so stolen bases will not be part of the calculus. Defensively, Smith will be restricted to first base. However, he’s more athletic than you think and is a good defender with excellent foot work.
As with Amed Rosario, Smith should spend the first half of 2017 in Triple-A with a chance for a promotion after 60 to 70 games at the level. Given his ability to make contact and work counts, he should have little trouble in Triple-A. Of course, he’ll have to navigate Terry Collins penchant for sitting young players who have two bad games in row, but those are the barriers that players have to navigate as they work their way to the big leagues.
Fantasy Impact: Last year I gave a range for Smith’s fantasy contribution to be between Joe Mauer and Freddie Freeman. I was hoping it was more Freeman but after the season Freeman just had, that might not be possible. That said, I don’t think it’s going to be a Joe Mauer type of player but more of a 2013 to 2015 Freeman instead. I’ll let you look up the stat lines…hint, it’s pretty good.
Robert Gsellman (RHP)
Highest Level: Majors, ETA: 2016, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 40 SP
Why didn’t I pickup Robert Gsellman in more fantasy leagues? Why??? I wish I knew, but I did get the 22-year-old righty in two Dynasty Leagues and I’m thrilled.
He was a God send for the Mets after injuries besieged their starting rotation. In eight games, he posted a 2.42 ERA, striking out 8.5 per nine while walking only three per nine. He kept the ball in the ballpark by only giving up one home run. The funny thing is that it wasn’t a complete surprise.
He pitched well in 2015 across High and Double-A as a 21-year-old but really started to put it together in Double-A this past season. In 11 starts, he posted a 2.71 ERA, striking out 6.5 per nine but only walking 15 in 66.1 innings. After nine starts in Triple-A, he got the call.
Scouting Report: Gsellman’s stuff has been improving since he was drafted in the 13th round in 2011. His fastball now sits 92 to 95 MPH, averaging 94.35 in his time in majors. He primarily throws a two-seamer and with the plane he gets on his pitches, he also gets a ton of ground balls (54.2%). His best secondary pitch continues to be his change-up but he introduced a cutter into the mix this year that has given his stuff a different look. He’s throwing it more and more and getting a lot of swings and misses with it.
While I thought that Gsellman ceiling was a number 3/4, I’m now thinking he has a chance to be a solid number three starter, if not more. His stuff is not that of Syndergaard and deGrom, but it’s every bit as good as Michael Fulmer and he has size and athleticism on his side.
Fantasy Impact: I’m very bullish on Gsellman and will be targeting him in my redraft leagues next season. He’s an extreme ground ball pitcher who should post very good ratios and 7 to 7.5 strikeout per nine.
Tom Szapucki (LHP)
Highest Level: Short Season, ETA: 2018-19, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 30 SP
The Mets have become a pitching factory – Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Fulmer, heck even Robert Gsellman looks like an ace. It’s indeed impressive…and now we can add Tom Szapucki to that list.
Szapucki was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Draft and while he has yet to pitch in a full season affiliate, he dominated in nine starts across the Appy and NY Penn League last season. He posted a 1.38 ERA, striking out 86 while walking 20 in 52.0 innings.
Scouting Report: The Mets have worked with Szapucki over the past year to move his arm slot in order for him to throw more upright and results are impressive. He’s now sitting 92 to 94 MPH and can bump higher. His change-up has also improved and that in conjunction with a plus curve ball, gives him the tools to get big league batters out one day.
His control is still a work in-progress and would be even better if he moved his arm slot even more. However, that might reduce the spin on his breaking pitch so finding the perfect balance is the objective. He is athletic and I believe he will be able to repeat his delivery and the control has a chance to be solid-average moving forward.
Fantasy Impact: While he’s only pitched in short season ball, there’s a lot to like with Szapucki. He has the ingredients to be a high strikeout pitcher and with improving control, a chance to have solid ratios. If it comes together, the ceiling is a Top 30 pitcher in fantasy. I will be making a statement with Szapucki this spring, so check back to see where he ranks on our Top 100 list.
Justin Dunn (RHP)
Highest Level: Rookie Ball, ETA: 2019-20, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 30 SP
Selecting number 19th overall in the first round, the Mets selected Boston College left hander Justin Dunn. A reliever early in his collegian career, he moved to the rotation full-time in his junior year with fantastic results. In 18 appearances (eight starts), he posted a 2.06 ERA, striking out nearly 10 per nine while walking 2.5 per nine.
Once drafted, the Mets assigned him to the New York Penn League where he continued to pitch very well. In 30.0 innings, he gave up five runs, struck out 35 while walking 10. Could the Mets have once again struck gold with a pitcher? They just might have.
The Mets will likely start Dunn in Columbia of the Sally League to begin the 2017 season but given the quality of his stuff, he should finish the year in Port St. Lucie. That should put him on target to make his major league debut sometime in 2019. Since he has a September birthday, that will put his major league debut at age 23.
Scouting Report: I love it when the stat line supports the scouting report. Not only did Dunn get off to a fast start, he did it with a quality arsenal and very good pitching mechanics. His fastball sits 92 to 95 MPH and can bump higher. His primary secondary pitch is a hard slider that has a tight two-plane break that misses a lot of bats. His change-up is definitely his third pitch but should be good enough to keep glove-side batters at-bay.
His mechanics are very simple and with plenty of athleticism and because of that, he’s able to repeat his delivery. At 6-foot-2, he’s not the size that teams are looking for when they draft a pitcher in the first round, but the stuff, mechanics, and current control are all there to give him a number two starter profile.
Fantasy Impact: Dunn was one of the pitchers I really liked in the 2016 MLB Draft, particularly after the Mets selected him. He has the present stuff and pitchability to move quickly through the system with a ceiling of a Top 30 pitcher in fantasy. If for some reason I’m wrong and the Mets move him to the bullpen, he proved successful at closing games in college. It seems like a win-win for Dynasty League owners at the draft table next season.
Desmond Lindsay (OF)
Highest Level: Short Season, ETA: 2019-20, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF
Desmond Lindsay is yet another player in the Mets organization that I really like. Drafted in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft, Lindsay played very well in the New York Penn League last season. In 32 games, he walked more than he struck out while slugging .450. He also showed a little over-the-fence power, hitting four home runs and some speed on the base paths, stealing three of four bases.
Scouting Report: Outside of Amed Rosario, Desmond Lindsay has the most intriguing skills in the Mets minor league system. He has great bat speed with enough size to eventually hit for above-average if not more power. He’s a plus runner that should be able to steal 20 bases while showing a very good understanding of the strike zone. Despite not demonstrating good contactability, I think he’ll hit. If you add it all up, Lindsay has the ceiling of a 20 HR/20 SB with the ability to get on base. The 20 home runs could be a little optimistic, but the offensive upside is indeed impressive.
To begin the 2017 season, the Mets will likely assign Lindsay to Columbia with a chance to see the Florida State League late in the season. That said, he only turns 20 in January, so the Mets could play it conservatively and keep him in Low-A for the entire season.
Fantasy Impact: Players with 20/20 upside should get your attention. There’s risk as Lindsay has only played in short season ball, but he’s athletic with good bat speed, so I’m moving quickly on him in Dynasty League drafts next season.
Wuilmer Becerra (OF)
Highest Level: High-A, ETA: 2019-20, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 50 OF
Wuilmer Becerra was one of the hot names in the minor leagues entering the 2016 season. He showed both pop and speed in 2015, so it was surprising that after 65 games in High-A, he had only one home run and was slugging .393. Granted it was the Florida State League, a notorious pitchers league, but perhaps there was something else going on….maybe an injury.
On July 17th, Becerra played his last game of the season and shortly afterwards, had season ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. While labrum tears can be catastrophic for pitchers, positional players have a better success record of fully recovering from the injury. It’s not guaranteed and he could struggle to regain strength in the shoulder next year, but hopefully he’ll return to the level of talent we thought he could become as he entered 2016.
Scouting Report: At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Becerra looks the part. He has plus present raw power that started to translate into in-game power in 2015. He continued to improve his strikeout rate from 24% in 2014 to 19.8% last season. If that continues, it should allow him to tap into his above-average future power. He’s still needs to work on his approach as he can get anxious at the plate and start chasing pitches out of the zone.
Becerra has good speed once he’s underway, but does not have a quick first step. While this should play fine in the outfield, it will limit his base stealing ability. .
Fantasy Impact: Do you hold or drop Becerra in a Dynasty League? It’s a tough call, but in leagues that roster less than 200 prospects, I’m a seller…maybe even 300. The injury will cost him time and in a Dynasty League, time can be of the essence to add players…like, Desmond Lindsay.
Brandon Nimmo (OF)
Highest Level: Majors, ETA: 2016, Fantasy Ceiling: Waiver Wire OF
The 2011 draft was the deepest draft that baseball has experienced in years. With the Mets picking 13th, they went for a moon shot and selected 18-year-old Brandon Nimmo from Cheyenne Wyoming. So far, it’s not worked out well. Nimmo did make his major league debut last season but it was much like his minor league career has been…a little empty.
He did hit as he’s done in the minor leagues, but his power has yet to develop and the foot speed that the Mets thought they were getting when they drafted him five years ago is no longer present. He profiles now as a solid, if unspectacular outfielder in the mold of Nick Markakis – an above average hit tool with below average power and speed.
Scouting Report: Nimmo’s best tool is his ability to control the strike zone and work a count. In 2,281 minor league plate appearances, he has a 13% walk rate. He does strikeout too much, posting a 19% strikeout rate. That would be ok if there was power, but it just hasn’t developed and looking at his swing, I don’t see any more than 8 to 12 home runs annually. The swing lacks loft and he looks to drive the ball to all fields.
Nimmo has made our Top 100 list in the past but he will not be there this year. I think he profiles more as a number four outfielder unless his power develops, which I have serious questions about that.
Fantasy Impact: If you’ve been holding onto Nimmo waiting for him to develop, it might be time to move on. He can hit so that will make him a major leaguer, the secondary skills haven’t developed enough to make him exciting in a fantasy league. The ceiling is a waiver wire outfielder and based on his hit tool, one that will not hurt you if you need to plug him into your lineup.
Andres Gimenez (SS)
Highest Level: DSL, ETA: 2021-22, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 SS but with extreme risk
Andres Gimenez was one of the top 16-year-olds available during the 2015 International signing period and the Mets shelled out an impressive $1.2 million dollars to sign the Venezuelan native. He was one of the top performers in the Dominican Summer League, posting a 1.010 OPS across 62 games. Most impressively, he walked twice as much as he struck out and even added 13 stolen bases.
Scouting Report: While he’s at least five years away from the big leagues, there’s a lot to get excited about in Gimenez. He’s a quality shortstop with a good chance to stay at the position long-term. He has above-average foot speed and tons of bat speed. At 6-feet and 160 pounds and a swing that is more doubles-oriented, he lacks current raw power. However, as he fills out, the power could increase but unfortunately, his foot speed could drop a grade.
What Gimenez can do is hit. He has natural bat-to-ball skills and a very good understanding of the strike zone. While his age says it will take five years to work through the system, he could force the issue with his hit-tool. In fact, I would not be surprised to see the Mets move him to full-season ball next year after spending time in the GCL for a month or so.
Fantasy Impact: I love rostering players that can control the strike zone and despite him only being 17-years-old, all indications are that Gimenez will hit. In fact, I would take a flyer on him in a deep Dynasty League, one that roster over 300 minor leaguers. The upside is a .300 hitter with 20 stolen bases and five to eight stolen bases.
Marcos Molina (RHP)
Highest Level: DNP, ETA: 2018-2019, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 50 SP or closer
While the safe name at number 10 would have been Gavin Cecchini, I just think he lacks the upside for a site that leans towards the fantasy player. He can hit, plays solid defense but just lacks the secondary skills that would warrant including him on your fantasy team. Instead, I decided to include Marcos Molina, a young right-hander who missed the entire 2016 season recovering from Tommy John Surgery.
Before that, he was moving quickly through the Mets organization reaching High-A at 20-years-old. In fact, I had chance to see him in one of those starts and came away very impressed. However, because of his surgery, I elected to not include him in last year’s list.
Scouting Report: Molina has good stuff with a fastball that sits 92 to 93 MPH but I did catch a couple of 96’s when I saw him. He also throws a nasty slider that given his lower arm slot, had arm-side batters bailing. While the delivery can be a red flag as glove-side hitters will get a good look at his slider, his change-up is also a quality pitch and that kept left-hand batters in check.
With TJ Surgery on the books, the Mets might elect to move Molina to the bullpen. If that happens, I think his stuff will play even better and he could become a future lock-down closer.
Fantasy Impact: I included Molina for a reason. He’s a guy that fantasy owners need to have on their radar. Is he the tenth best prospect in the system? Probably not, but considering upside and the Mets penchant for developing pitchers, I think he’s someone you need to follow very closely next season.
2017 Emerging Prospect
Peter Alonso (1B)
I’m pitching backwards with the Mets system. Usually I put young, many times J2 signees in the emerging category, but decided to put Peter Alonso, the Mets second round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft in the slot. To make matters worse…he’s a first baseman…what gives? Look, Alonso has big time raw power with a pretty good hit tool. He might be a little “Rowdy Tellez” in his profile, but he should move quickly, putting up numbers that will get your attention. He shouldn’t yet be rostered in a Dynasty League, but he’s someone to keep an eye on.
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