2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: New York Mets

Jim McIsaac

The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the New York Mets.

The prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2014. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore

Chicago

Houston

Atlanta

Chicago
(12/23)

Arizona
(1/9)

Boston

Cleveland

Los Angeles

Miami

Cincinnati
(12/26)

Colorado
(1/13)

New York

Detroit

Oakland

New York
(Today)

Milwaukee
(12/30)

Los Angeles
(1/16)

Tampa Bay

Kansas City

Seattle

Philadelphia
(12/16)

Pittsburgh
(1/2)

San Diego
(1/20)

Toronto

Minnesota

Texas

Washington
(12/19)

St. Louis
(1/6)

San Francisco
(1/23)

Organizational Overview
By Andrew Ball(@andrew_ball)

For the 2013 New York Mets, it was déjà vu all over again. For the fifth consecutive season, the team tallied a win total in the 70's and they failed to qualify for the postseason for the seventh straight year. And trust me, ask any Mets fan about the team and they'll be quick to tell you it is miserable rooting for a big-market team that's played October baseball just once in the last 13 years.

With that in mind, I may want to duck for this next part. Because dare I say it, but for the first time in a while it appears that there's a light at the end of the tunnel for the Mets. Maybe not this year, but it's coming for this team. The core is the pitching staff, specifically the starting rotation. Had he not been injured, Matt Harvey would rank on the short list of the most valuable commodities in professional baseball and he might have very well stolen the Cy Young from Clayton Kershaw. Unfortunately, Harvey will miss all of 2014, so the Mets will have to wait to insert him back into the rotation.

For this year, the best young arm on the staff should be Zack Wheeler who had a bit of an inconsistent debut, but there's little argument that the stuff is there for a top-of-the-rotation like future. Joining him at some point will be top prospect, Noah Syndergaard. Acquired in last year's blockbuster R.A. Dickey deal with Toronto, Syndergaard has some support as the top pitching prospect in any organization, combining, size, control, command, and a deadly arsenal in a package that is quite special. Again, it might not click in 2014, but in 2015 that trio could rival any team's top three starters.

While the team may look a little light on position players, David Wright is one of the few legitimate superstars in the game. Wright is a premier talent, essentially a 5-7 win player on an annual basis who is locked up through 2020. They also have one of the most underrated second baseman in the game (and a favorite of the podcast) in Daniel Murphy and a centerfielder that may be an MVP candidate just based on his glove in Juan Lagares. They also have some talent that could still develop. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda are both on their last legs in New York, but there's power potential with both players. Travis d'Arnaud, the other piece in the Dickey deal, has the makings of a top flight backstop, he just needs to stay on the field to make it happen. Plus, the team just added two outfielders, former Tiger and Yankee Curtis Granderson and 20-20 threat Chris Young. Granderson has his flaws (strikeouts, average, defense, more strikeouts), but no player in baseball hit more home runs between 2011 and 2012 than the Grandy Man. He adds a dimension that the team was sorely lacking, especially against right-handed pitching. On both sides of the ball, the team is still a work in progress, but it's more exciting than it's been recently in New York.

2013 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time prior to September 1st of this year.

Juan Lagares (at bats), Josh Satin (at bats), Anthony Recker (at bats), Zack Wheeler (innings), Scott Rice (innings), Josh Edgin (service time), Greg Burke (service time), Gonzalez German (service time)

Major League Opportunities in 2014
By Andrew Ball(@andrew_ball)

On a team that has struggled as long as the Mets have, you'd think there would be plenty of openings for young players. In reality, the team will probably remain a veteran-laden team to start the year. As the season moves on, though, we should see chances for Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Cesar Puello, and Wilmer Flores -- it may just take an injury to make it happen. Montero could likely fill a spot in the bullpen immediately, but if the team thinks he's a starter long-term they might elect to send him to Triple-A to log innings. Wilmer Flores is probably ready to at least get a shot at everyday playing time, but the Mets have Wright, Murphy, Davis, Duda, Ruben Tejeda, Josh Satin, Eric Young Jr., and Zach Lutz all sort of standing in his way in one form or another. So until the team starts making some moves, getting some injuries, or getting into September, expect the Triple-A Las Vegas club to have some pretty nice prospects for a bit.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
By Brian Creagh(@briancreagh)

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors prior to September 1st.

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Photo Credit: Brad Penner - USA Today Sports

#1 Noah Syndergaard (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

9

0

3.07

1.15

133

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

117.2

0.84

1.11

5.9%

28.2%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

L/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Must Protect After 2014 Season)

A+, AA

The first of the two prized returns in the R.A. Dickey trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, Syndergaard's stock has soared these past 12 months. Ranked 54th and 29th by Baseball America and MLB.com respectively, Noah Syndergaard will rank higher on both lists this off-season thanks to a dominant 2013 where he established himself as one of the few minor league arms with ace potential.

The starter kit for elite prospect pitchers was loosely based on Noah Syndergaard, plus secondary offerings included. A 6'6" Texan who throws from the right side with a full arsenal at his disposal, Syndergaard was always viewed as a high-ceiling prospect since he was drafted out of high school with the 38th pick in the 2010 draft by Toronto. The fastball was always explosive and with the recent strides in his changeup and curveball, Syndergaard has made the jump to the top tier of pitching prospects, putting him in the same breath as Taijuan Walker, Archie Bradley and Jameson Taillon.

As already mentioned, the fastball is plus-plus with superb velocity and movement. His entire arsenal will play off the fastball and scouts have already given positive remarks on Syndergaard's sequencing abilities and aptitude for setting up hitters. His enormous frame allows him to pitch downhill on a steep plane and his mid-90's velocity seems even faster to hitters when he releases it after a drive and extension towards home. His curveball is a legitimate swing and miss pitch that he can already use to toy with hitters. When he misses with the curve, it's almost always buried safely in the dirt. The changeup on the other hand, while occasionally flashing plus could still use some work. It lacks consistent depth and fade and is thrown with spotty command. Syndergaard's delivery is slow to the plate but well-balanced throughout. He relies on his massive arm strength to generate his velocity and if he can learn to leverage his lower half, I think we might see some improved command of his secondary offerings.

The numbers for Noah Syndergaard in 2013 are a prescient warning of what's to come for fantasy owners. Through 54 innings in AA he had a 3.24 FIP, 32.2 K% and a microscopic 5.6 BB%. These numbers represent a small jump in the impressive numbers he put up in the first half of 2013 in Hi-A. His AA numbers are skewed a bit as well by his second to last start of the season which was a 3 inning, 9 earned run stinker that almost doubled his season ERA. This was his only poor start in AA and, although it shouldn't be ignored, it does mask the impressive numbers he was posting prior to the start. Syndergaard has all the makings of a future frontline starter and a rotation of him, Zack Wheeler, and Matt Harvey is a terrifying proposition for the NL East. Syndergaard could see some time in the rotation in 2014 but a full time role in 2015 is more likely.

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Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

#2 Travis d'Arnaud (C)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.245

29

4

25

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

243

0.358

0.392

15.2%

18.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

24

R/R

On 40 Man Roster (1 Option Remaining)

AAA, MLB

The second impact prospect in the highway robbery the Mets performed on the Toronto Blue Jays, Travis d'Arnaud is a complete package catcher grading out at 50 or above in every tool but speed. The fantasy profile would play at almost any position besides 1B, but because it's behind the plate there is all-star caliber potential with d'Arnaud. Having been in the prospect scene for a long, long time now, d'Arnaud is one of the few players where "prospect fatigue" has not hurt his stock. This is due in large part because of what the overall package presents, but also because his development has been slowed by a barrage of injuries instead of the lack of development progress that befalls so many other long-time prospect subjects. Travis d'Arnaud was a first round pick, 37th overall, way back in 2007 out of Lakewood High School in California. He first cracked a Top 100 list before the 2010 season, where he's remained every season since.

Contrary to recent top prospects, d'Arnaud did not set the world ablaze in his first cup of coffee in New York. He slashed .202/.286/.263 in 31 games and managed only a single home run. He gave us reason for optimism by displaying a solid approach at the plate and doing his part to silent the critics who felt his setup/approach at the plate is what might hold him back from reaching his ceiling. d'Arnaud struck out just under 19 percent of the time, his lowest rate since 126 games of Low-A back in 2009 that shot him up prospect lists for the first time. He coupled that with an above-average walk rate at 10.7 percent and the ability to go to the plate with a plan.

Catchers typically have their hand full every time they are promoted a level since they are tasked with the additional responsibility of learning how to handle an entirely new pitching staff. I give d'Arnaud a free pass on his 2013 numbers and still expect something in the neighborhood of a .270 batting average and 15-20 home runs next season. The power might develop a little bit more at peak, and we're looking at a perennial Top 5-7 catcher for the next few years. A healthy season in 2014 wouldn't hurt d'Arnaud's case either because another injury-riddled campaign could mean his stock in keeper leagues will begin to take a hit.

20130221_mje_su8_752.0
Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

#3 Rafael Montero (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

12

0

2.79

1.1

150

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

155.1

0.35

0.74

5.6%

24.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

23

R/R

Not on 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

AA, AAA

Another young, right-hander in the upper minors, Rafael Montero is an exciting arm likely to join Syndergaard, Harvey, and Wheeler in a potent rotation in 2015. Montero was signed as an international free agent in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic and has produced at a high level in every step in his development. In 348.1 Innings across three seasons culminating in some time at AAA this past year, Montero has a 4.87 K/BB ratio and a 2.51 ERA. He has yet to make any sort of Top 100 list and last season was found on the back end of many Mets Top 10 lists. His production in 2013 will most certainly change these statements because Rafael Montero is dangerously close to knocking down the doors to the major leagues and he could make some noise when he gets there.

With a fastball, slider, and changeup mix, Montero's strength lies in his fastball/slider combo. He's a unique combination of good "stuff" on his fastball/slider and the plus command that keeps him from being labeled as a future reliever. The fastball sits 92-93 but can touch higher when he needs it. It is easy velocity, and everything comes out of his hand cleanly. Scouts give him praise for an above-average feel for the art of pitching and, when this is paired with two plus offerings, there is the chance for something special.

Holding Montero back is the lack of a changeup or off-speed offering to keep hitters off balance. He also lacks the physical projection of a frontline starter, and there are legitimate concerns on whether his 6'0", 170 lb. frame can withstand the workload of a full-time starter. Watching him pitch and the ease with each he throws all of his pitches, I'm comfortable that he can thrive as a starter. He may never amass 200 innings, but he will provide quality innings and, from a fantasy standpoint, that's all we need. Give me 150 innings of a 4.5 K/BB pitcher over 200+ of low strikeout workhorse any day. Montero might have the most to gain from Matt Harvey's Tommy John surgery since he will likely fill the 5th spot in the rotation next season. He will need to show something in Spring Training, but if I'm handicapping the 5th spot now before any additional off-season moves, Montero is the favorite.

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Photo Credit: Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

#4 Dominic Smith (1B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.301

25

3

26

2

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

206

0.398

0.439

12.6%

18.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

L/L

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2017 Season)

Rk

The 11th overall pick by the New York Mets in 2013, Dominic Smith was a high school bat already pigeon-holed to a 1B profile. Smith has a pure, left-handed stroke that should fit nicely in the middle of a big league lineup. There is significant pressure placed on any draft prospect who is a 1B-only prospect, but scouts felt so comfortable with the bat that Smith was viewed as a viable top 10 pick. Contrary to most 1B prospects, Smith actually does provide quality defense at the position but there's so little value in his above-average defense that if the bat doesn't rake there's no real point in playing him.

I do have some overall questions on the ultimate power utility. A lot of that is currently driven by Smith's size and whether it will be able to generate plus-power down the road. The swing definitely suggests it will, but Smith will need to fill out a bit more before the hype really starts to come around on him as power threat. However, his feel for hitting is undeniable. In a brief 51 game sample after being drafted, Smith slashed .301/.398/.439 in Rookie ball. He hit only 3 HRs but he's also just 18 years old and far from his peak physical maturity. It will come in due time, and ranking Smith behind Montero could look silly in a year from now.

Smith has a legitimate claim to the third best fantasy bat in the 2013 draft behind Kris Bryant and Clint Frazier. Personally, I'd take J.P. Crawford at the moment, but that's more a result of positional concerns than overall talent. Smith has an advanced approach at the plate for an 18-year old, can hit to both sides of the field and has received excellent grades on his makeup and work ethic early in his professional career. There's a lot to like here and a lot of reason to buy in now before the power takes off and he makes a case for a Top 50 prospect.

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Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

#5 Cesar Puello (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.326

63

16

73

24

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

377

0.403

0.547

7.4%

21.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

L/L

On 40 Man Roster (1 option remaining)

AA

Cesar Puello might have made the biggest developmental improvement in 2013 of anyone in the New York Mets system. Signed as international free agent in 2008 for $400,000 as part of the impressive group including Jeurys Familia and Wilmer Flores, Puello has always been viewed as a power/speed outfielder with big fantasy upside if it all came together. After a few years of slowly putting the pieces together, Puello broke out in a big way in 2013 while facing his biggest challenge to date at AA. Puello just finished his age 22 season slashing .326/.403/.547 with 16 HRs and 24 SBs. That's a huge showing for a guy coming off back-to-back struggling seasons in Hi-A.

At 6'2" 200 lbs. Puello has the frame that suggests 20 HR seasons are in his future. Puello still has a lot to prove after his impressive 2013 showing was cut short by a 50 game PED suspension. You hate to see this in a breakout player because it's difficult to justify the breakout knowing PEDs were involved. A 15/20 season in 2014 will go a long way in re-establishing Puello's prospect stock, but from a fantasy perspective, the ceiling is high enough to not give up hope. Given his proximity to the majors and the Mets wasteland of outfield options, Puello could be a factor sooner rather than later.

Cesar Puello is one of those prospects who stand out on a baseball diamond. His tools are loud and his physical presence demands your attention. The problem is how little Puello tends to get out of his tools. A lot of this can be chalked up to health problems, most recently a broken hamate bone and nagging hamstring injuries in 2012. These constant injury bugs could offer an explanation for turning to PEDs in an attempt to keep him on the field consistently.

When he is on the diamond, his swing mechanics have some holes in it, and he struggles to handle pitches with spin. If he can reel in his aggressive mentality, he has a chance to be a more complete hitter. Regardless, he should be able to run into enough fastballs and hangers to let his raw power play to a sufficient level. There was a lot of risk with Puello prior to the PED suspension, with the possible outcomes ranging from a Quad A player to an All-Star corner outfielder. The 50 games off and makeup concerns that come with it will muddy the picture even more.

#6 Kevin Plawecki (C)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.305

60

8

80

1

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

521

0.390

0.448

8.1%

10.2%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A, A+

There's an interesting situation building here, as the Mets aren't very far away from having two fantasy relevant catchers. Travis d'Arnaud is the alpha dog in this tandem, but Kevin Plawecki will have some value down the line. Plawecki is a two-way catcher whose stick will guarantee him a catching job for some team, but his defensive chops are good enough to get him there as well. He was a first round pick out of Purdue University, selected 35th overall and despite the high pick, there has been little talk about Plawecki outside of Mets fandom. He will be 23 years old and should continue move quickly through the system. I think he's ready for the AA test, but they might move him slow because of d'Arnaud's presence.

In a split season between Low-A and Hi-A, Plawecki slashed an eye-popping .305/.390/.448 from behind the dish. Even more impressive was his almost 1:1 K/BB ratio as he drew 42 walks to only 53 strikeouts this season. Plawecki has the size and could reach 15 HRs one day, but he already hits a ton of doubles with 38 in 2013. A catcher with gap power who can draw a ton of walks is a load of talent behind the plate. Expect Plawecki to shoot up draft boards next year if he doesn't by the end of this off-season.

#7 Dilson Herrera (2B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.267

75

11

60

14

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

503

0.334

0.416

8.0%

23.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

A

Herrera is a guy I'm really high on, and I feel he was a great get for the Mets in exchange for Marlon Byrd. Herrera has spent his entire minor league career playing 2B, but his instincts are so natural there I wonder if a move to SS could be in the cards; especially if the Mets fail to find a long-term solution. Regardless he's a lock to play a middle infield position, so the bar for his offensive production is pretty low for him to hold fantasy relevance. Herrera easily hurdles the bar with a power/speed mix that should intrigue all fantasy owners. He's only 20 years old, so there's some development time left, but Herrera has almost maxed out his physical projection already.

Standing 5'10", Herrera has a compact frame that limits his power projection, but his swing is quick and leveraged and generates a lot of backspin. I wouldn't be surprised to see 12-15 home runs from Herrera at his peak. He demonstrates advanced hand-eye coordination and the ability to foul off tough pitches even when he's fooled and guesses wrong. This ability to cover mistakes will be important in helping him transform his overaggressive approach since his .330 OBP doesn't jump off the page and a 23% strikeout rate might be tough to swallow if Herrera isn't providing huge power. He is still incredibly young and ahead of the aging curve so there's no reason to write him off as a big swing-and-miss guy yet. The patience can still come and be an asset that puts Herrera in the second or third tier of fantasy 2B.

Herrera doesn't have the raw foot speed to be a burner on the base paths but he has double digit steal projection. He offers an interesting package for fantasy owners, and I think he's ready to take off and make a push for Top 100 lists in 2014. His ceiling is an 80 R, .280, 15 HR, 50 RBI, 10 SB guy at a middle infield position. His price is still dirt cheap and I recommend buying in now before the price goes up.

20130221_mje_su8_739.0
Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

#8 Wilmer Flores (IF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.301

77

16

99

1

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

564

0.337

0.487

5.3%

15.2%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

On 40 Man Roster (1 option remaining)

AAA, MLB

Another guy ready to make an impact this season, Wilmer Flores' fantasy value is tied tightly to his ability to play anywhere on the diamond besides first base. He's been able to stave off the move so far in his career and received 25 starts at third base last season filling in for the injured David Wright. Unfortunately, the preview did not go so well, as Flores did not look great at the hot corner in what might have been the final push to move him across the diamond to the bottom of the defensive spectrum.

Flores has been around prospect lists for years, and has since fallen out of favor, last landing on a Top 100 list prior to the 2011 season. His fall from favor is due to the exposure of his swing-first mentality in the upper-minors. He has been slow to learn the meaning of selectivity as evidenced by his 23/5 K/BB ratio in his big league debut.

Flores' bat does not have the impact potential of others on this list, but it offers league-average potential and is on the cusp. In other systems he doesn't crack the list, but in a shallow Mets system there is a case for his inclusion. The recent rumors of a Daniel Murphy trade could mean Flores sees time at 2B. Eric Young stands the most to gain at the keystone but Flores can handle the position and split time between 2B, 3B, and 1B if needed.

#9 Brandon Nimmo (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.273

62

2

40

10

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

480

0.397

0.359

14.8%

27.3%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

L/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

Brandon Nimmo is an interesting case study for prospects growing up in non-traditional baseball parts of the world. Nimmo hails from Cheyenne, Wyoming where he dominated prep school competition to the level of receiving Top 10 grades in the 2011 draft. For every positive report, there was another preaching patience to see how his tools played out against stiffer competition. So far the naysayers seem to be having their way as Nimmo's tools have not translated well to minor league competition. He still grades out average in some areas, but there is nothing to really get excited about in this package from a fantasy standpoint.

Nimmo is still a big, athletic kid who will only be 21 heading into next season. He's shown some solid strike zone discipline, drawing 71 walks in only 110 games this season, but he's combined that with an unsightly 131 strikeouts. He can spray the ball to all fields and can turn on mistakes and if his 6'3" 185 pound frame fills out he will soon put them over the fence, but not with enough regularity to put up consistent numbers at the highest stage. Nimmo spent all of 2013 in Low-A slashing .273/.397/.359 with only 2 HRs and 10 SBs (7 caught stealing though).

If the power develops, there's a solid OF4 here, but that's about the ceiling you're looking at when it comes to Nimmo. Worth a stash in the deepest of leagues, but not worth the time in standard dynasty/keeper formats. He's also had some questionable reviews on his ability to handle CF. He's still raw and has the athleticism to play there, but it appears he's not taking to it as quickly as some anticipated he might. We're still looking at a 2016 ETA for Nimmo with a lot of development work ahead.

#10 Amed Rosario (SS)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.241

22

3

23

2

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

226

0.279

0.358

4.9%

19.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

Rk

The Mets signed Amed Rosario out of the Dominican Republic last July 2 deadline for $1.75 million. A long, lanky kid, Rosario already stands at 6'2" and is only 18 years old. There two camps on Rosario when he was going through the free agency process. Some believed his arm strength and instincts were strong enough to stick at SS to go along with impressive in-game power for a teenager. Others felt he would outgrow the position and his hitting mechanics were too flashy as he sold out for power instead of demonstrating a pure hitting approach. Given the money the Mets paid, it's safe to assume they were in the former camp. I am closer to the latter group, but I don't believe that prohibits him from being a useful piece in the Mets organization.

His offensive game has drawn some rave reviews in his first season stateside and the hype is starting to build on Rosario. He has noticeably quick bat speed and a natural ability to drive the ball off contact. Even at a young age Rosario makes the loud contact reserved for top power threats. He can already drive the ball the other way even if his approach doesn't give him the best opportunity to do so. Rosario played 58 games in the Appy league this season, and at 17 years old he was clearly overmatched slashing .241/.279/.358.

He's still extremely raw, and the Mets pushed him aggressively to start his career and he should find his way into short-season ball in 2014. Rosario has an all-star level ceiling, but a floor that might not escape AA ball. He's worth a stash in deeper leagues and Baseball America's glowing report of him won't help him fly under the radar in shallower leagues, so now might be your best time to jump aboard.

Other Interesting Prospects
By Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

Michael Fulmer - A former 1st Round Supplemental Pick (44th overall) Fulmer was drafted right out of high school and turned down a scholarship to pitch at Arkansas University. Fulmer is commonly referred to as a bulldog on the mound, exhibiting a mean streak and fierce demeanor that talent evaluators seem to fall in love with. He's gained a reputation as a strike-thrower, but the walk numbers don't necessarily reflect this. His development took a big step back with a meniscus tear and he missed the majority of the 2013 season. He came back to throw some solid innings in Hi-A where he was still only 20 years old. Fulmer has some mechanical issues where he tends to throw across his body suggesting more of a reliever type than a full-time starter.

Gavin Cecchini - The 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Cecchini had a rough time staying on the field as he was plagued with injuries. When he did manage to play, the reports weren't all that impressive. Most suggest his defensive future is not at shortstop and just as many doubt the development of any meaningful power. If second base becomes his future home, he's at the back of a long line that includes Eric Young, Dilson Herrera, and Wilmer Flores. The bat might not have the strength to play anywhere else but shortstop, so it might just be a matter of time until Cecchini falls off our radars entirely. It would be silly to give up on a 12th overall pick this early in his career, but Cecchini is going to have to adapt somehow before I can feel comfortable he will find a role to thrive in at the major league level.

Jacob deGrom - A sleeper 9th round pick back in 2010, deGrom tore through the Mets minor league system in 2013 starting in Hi-A and finishing up in AAA. He made a legitimate claim to earning a call up in 2014 should the need arise. deGrom is a tall right hander who sits 91-93 with the fastball, but works up to 96 in short bursts. Everything from the spike in velocity, to the lack of secondary offerings, to the currently crowded Mets rotation screams future reliever for deGrom, but he could settle into a nice 8th inning guy or possibly a closer's role if he can find an out-pitch that plays well off the fastball.

Gabriel Ynoa - In a full workload at Low-A this season, Ynoa put up some very good numbers, especially when considering he was only 20 years old. He throws a fastball, curveball, and changeup with good feel for all of them and projection for each to grow. The fastball sits 91-93, but expect a few more ticks of velocity as his body matures. He had an unreal 6.63 K/BB ratio across the entire season, and while the strikeout numbers weren't monstrous, the control was masterful. There is some deception in Ynoa's delivery, but it's an easy delivery and he projects to maintain a starter.

For more on the Mets, be sure to check out SBNation's Amazin' Avenue. For more on the minor leagues and prospects in general, check out SBNation's Minor League Ball.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects.
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Andrew Ball is a contributing writer for Beyond the Box Score and Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Matt Mattingly is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
Fangraphs
Amazin' Avenue
Vimeo
Youtube

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