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New York Mets 2015 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

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

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Just like last year, 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 2015. 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. if we have already reviewed the team, a link to the post, along with the team's top prospect is noted.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore
(3/11)

Chicago
(2/11)

Houston
(1/14)

Atlanta
(Sims)

Chicago
(Bryant)

Arizona
(Bradley)

Boston
(3/14)

Cleveland
(2/14)

Los Angeles
(1/17)

Miami
(Kolek)

Cincinnati
(Stephenson)

Colorado
(Gray)

New York
(3/18)

Detroit
(2/18)

Oakland
(1/21)

New York
(Today)

Milwaukee
(Taylor)

Los Angeles
(Pederson)

Tampa Bay
(3/21)

Kansas City
(2/21)

Seattle
(1/24)

Philadelphia
(Crawford)

Pittsburgh
(Glasnow)

San Diego
(Renfroe)

Toronto
(3/25)

Minnesota
(2/25)

Texas
(1/28)

Washington
(Giolito)

St. Louis
(Piscotty)

San Francisco
(Crick)

Organizational Overview
by Brian Creagh

Maybe it's all the hot stove talk. Maybe it's the new found optimism that comes at the dawn of every new season, but if I squint hard enough at the 2015 Mets, I see a playoff contender. Led by a rotation that has an ace (Matt Harvey), high-upside arms (deGrom and Wheeler), an uber-prospect (Syndergaard) and a long-line of quality back-end guys (Colon, Gee, Niese, Montero). The offense is in need of a SS and another bat, but Granderson, Wright, and Duda should anchor a lineup somewhere around league-average. The bullpen was a disaster last year but Jenrry Mejia and Vic Black came on strong to end the year and a host of new, young arms could turn things around quickly.

The Mets went 79-83 last year finishing tied for 2nd place in the NL East but 17 games behind the division winning Washington Nationals. In the weakest of the 6 MLB divisions, the Mets won't need to put up big run totals to beat their division foes in 2015. After the Braves mini sell-off, and the Phillies middling rebuild effort, the Nationals and an upstart Miami Marlins team are the only other contenders. And with rumors of the Nationals possibly moving a big rotation piece in Jordan Zimmermann, the race may end up being a little more open than most people think.

This off-season the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer to a 2 year, $21 million deal in the hopes of adding power to a punchless lineup. It will be interesting to see how Cuddyer does in a full season outside of Coors Field, but for the low price tag he should end up being a worthwhile investment. Rumors are swirling regarding their attempt to acquire a SS. Starlin Castro is the most common name because the interests appear to line up: the Cubs have a crowded infield, and the Mets have some young arms that would fill Chicago's biggest need. I don't see a deal ultimately being done (but that's likely the biased Cubs fan in me), and a more likely scenario is the signing of a Free Agent shortstop. The cupboard is pretty bare with the top options of Jed Lowrie and Asdrubal Cabrera already signed, Everth Cabrera may be the best option left. Everth Cabrera is an interesting option as the Mets don't have a solidified leadoff man, and he would be an interesting sparkplug if he can rebound from a messy 2014 campaign. There's definitely another move coming, and with a big enough splash, the Mets roster could be ready for a fun 2015 season.

The minor league outlook for the Mets organization is not as promising as the major league side, but there are some assets worth noting. Syndergaard is a monster who might be the top pitching prospect and also one of the most underrated at the same time. He should work his way into a crowded rotation sometime in 2015, and at the very least fill a late-season bullpen role in a stretch run. Steven Matz and Marcos Molina are the other two pitchers of note in the system. Matz should be ready very soon, but the path to playing time isn't clear. Molina is a few years away, but both of these guys have #2 starter potential if they max out. On the offensive side of the diamond, the Mets lack impact prospects, but there are some interesting pieces. Brandon Nimmo's game has finally come together and he is close to becoming an everyday outfielder. Amed Rosario is forever away, but is a pure SS prospect with ability to handle the bat. Kevin Plawecki and Dilson Herrera are two more players who project to be league-average options at their position and can play in 2015. From a fantasy standpoint, I don't think any of these offensive options are a serious factor, but in deeper leagues these are names to watch strictly from their playing time opportunity.

2014 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time.

Travis d'Arnaud (AB), Wilmer Flores (AB), Matt den Dekker (AB), Eric Campbell (AB), Jacob deGrom (IP), Jeurys Familiar (IP), Vic Black (ST)

Major League Opportunities in 2015
by Brian Creagh

I touched on it earlier, but both the offense and the pitching for the New York Mets are in place for the 2015 season. There are plenty of prospects ready to get some reps in the major leagues and injuries or trades will certainly open up opportunities for one or many of them. Unanimous #1 prospect, Noah Syndergaard, is the one guy to watch because he is capable of taking a role and never relinquishing it. If he gets a shot early, he would seem the front runner for NL Rookie of the Year. The question will be if he throws enough innings to ever be in consideration.


Kevin Plawecki is another interesting name to tuck away. Due to the unfortunate injury history of Travis d'Arnaud, Plawecki should get frequent playing time in an attempt to keep d'Arnaud healthy. Catchers typically struggle to find their footing right away at the MLB level so don't expect great things, but Plawecki has an interesting power/contact approach that will find utility in all formats.

The Mets could get a major boost here if they acquire a young SS prospect ready to break onto the scene. Until that happens, the roster is what it is at this point with not much coming up out of the minors to make a significant impact in 2015.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
by Jason Hunt

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.

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1. Noah Syndergaard (RHP)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
9 0 4.60 1.48 145
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
133 0.70 1.20 7.38% 24.87%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 L R AAA
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015


Acquired from the Blue Jays as a part of the R.A. Dickey trade, Noah Syndergaard pitched at AAA Las Vegas the whole 2014 season after just 11 starts in 2013 at AA. The numbers in 2014 don't really point toward an elite pitching prospect, but you have to remember that he made a majority of his starts in high-offense environments in the Pacific Coast League between his home park of Las Vegas and on the road in El Paso and Albuquerque. His luck and environment-independent numbers point to an overall better season, and he definitely had starts where you can see what makes him a top 25 overall prospect. He did miss a little bit of time during the season with an injury he suffered during a collision covering the plate, but came back just fine in short order.

Syndergaard features a three-pitch mix of a fastball, curveball and changeup, all three of which are above-average offerings. The fastball routinely sits in the mid-90s, with reports from this year of it touching as high as 98. The curveball is an absolutely nasty 12-to-6 offering which should provide a ton of swinging strikes in the majors. The changeup, while his third best offering, is still at least an average pitch for Syndergaard, with the potential that it could still improve some. He gets good downward plane from his delivery, and his frame should allow for a high inning workload.

There are still a few minor things for Syndergaard to work on before he is a finished product, but he will likely be in New York well before the All-Star break. He is capable of providing more than a strikeout per inning along with excellent ratios, and in a full season should surpass the 200 strikeout total. The Mets have another ace to pair with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, and he can be a top 50 starter this year even if he isn't up before early June. I will be targeting him in redraft leagues, most likely with a pick in the last third of your draft, especially if your roster can stand the empty spot for a month or two.

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2. Steven Matz (LHP)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
10 0 2.24 1.187 131
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
140.2 0.20 1.56 6.08% 22.74%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R L AA-A+
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2016

A 2010 draftee, Matz did not debut professionally until 2012 after having Tommy John surgery. Since then, he has been pitching his way toward the majors, with a pair of excellent performances at both High-A and Double-A in 2014. He averaged nearly a strikeout per inning, got a ton of ground balls, and didn't really see a drop-off when he moved up to the higher level.

Matz uses a three-pitch repertoire consisting of a fastball, curveball, and changeup, with all three pitches projecting as average or better. His delivery is very clean and consistent, and allows him to help command all three pitches well. The fact that he has already had Tommy John surgery would be a bit more concerning if it weren't more than three years ago at this point, and given that he was able to increase his workload to 140 innings in 2014, should not be particularly concerning going forward.

The team added him to the 40-man roster after the 2013 season, and will use up another option in 2015. It's possible he could head straight to AAA Las Vegas, but more likely it seems that he would return to AA to start the year, and end the season in Vegas instead. He has the potential to be a mid-rotation fantasy starting pitcher if it all works out, providing good ratios and a solid strikeout total as well.

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3. Dilson Herrera (2B)

Photo Credit: Brad Penner - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.312 104 16 82 23
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
653 0.371 0.472 8.27% 17.30%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
20 R R A+-AA-MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: Late 2015

Acquired from the Pirates for the rentals Marlon Byrd and John Buck, Herrera is our top position prospect in a system with a number of worthy options. In his first full season with the Mets organization, Herrera went out and produced on both sides of the field. The numbers were eye-popping, and while they aren't necessarily a realistic line for him to repeat at the major league level, there's a lot to like here.

Herrera is on the smaller side (5'10", 150 lbs) but that doesn't appear to limit him as much as you might think. He has the potential to provide above-average production in four categories, with a potential slight bump in value for being a second baseman. He should provide at least a solid batting average, in the .270-.280 range, and has shown the ability to draw a walk as well. He's not going to provide a ton of power, but it's not out of the question that he could get 10+ home runs a season. The speed isn't likely to translate into 25+ stolen bases a year, but should still give value in the category with around double-digits in the category depending on how well he hits. His defense is not considered excellent at second base, but it sounds like it should be adequate enough to keep him there long term.

The key impediment to Herrera taking over in New York is Daniel Murphy, who is a free agent after the 2015 season. Herrera could head back to AA or even to AAA to start the season, and it would not surprise me for the Mets to anoint him as the everyday second baseman once Murphy is gone (either via free agency or the seemingly consistent rumors of a trade). He can be a potential top 10 option at the position with a starting job, and should be there by 2016.

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4. Michael Conforto (OF)

Photo Credit: Bruce Thorson - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.331 30 3 19 3
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
186 0.403 0.448 8.60% 15.59%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 L R A-
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

The top draft pick of the Mets in the 2014 draft, Conforto is a prospect that will be lower on standard prospect lists when compared to fantasy ones, but he's a prospect that definitely has more value to fantasy owners. He spent three seasons at Oregon State, never hitting below .328 while walking as much as he struck out. He was taken with the 10th overall pick, and spent the season in the New York-Penn League.

Conforto will provide a majority of his value to the Mets at the plate, where he has the potential to be a 20-25 home run hitter per season. There are questions about how well his power will develop, but the raw tools are there for it to happen. He's not expected to provide a high batting average, but should still provide enough for both the power to play and to provide overall positive value. He's also shown the ability to draw a walk, which could potentially translate in on-base leagues, although there are some questions about whether his approach will work as well as he faces better pitching. His defensive potential is what keeps him further down standard prospect lists, as he is expected to be a left fielder long-term. That said, it's not going to change his value unless you play with outfield-specific positions. He is expected to head to High-A to start the 2015 season, and he could move quickly through the minors.

5. Amed Rosario (SS)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.274 41 2 27 7
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
321 0.320 0.372 5.61% 18.07%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
18 R R A--A
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

Signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2012, Rosario is the dream prospect within the Mets' system. He played primarily at short-season Brooklyn this past year, where Baseball America rated him as their #3 prospect within the league, ahead of our #4 prospect Michael Conforto. Rosario finished up his season with a seven game stint at full-season Savannah, where he will likely head to start the 2015 season.

Rosario's production has been decent so far, but the reports on his tools gush with potential. He is a shortstop currently, and reports on his defense expect that he will be an above-average defender overall, more than capable of staying at the position long term. Nearly every report on Rosario raves about his bat speed, which should help him with power production down the line. He is anticipated to be an above-average hitter overall, capable of providing both batting average and double-digit home runs in the future. There are some concerns regarding his approach at the plate, but this sounds like he just needs to hone his approach as he continues to move up the system. Full-season ball should be a good test for him, but he is still likely at least three full seasons from the majors. He's an interesting target in deeper formats where you can wait for the return.

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6. Kevin Plawecki (C)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.309 58 11 64 0
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
419 0.365 0.460 7.16% 11.46%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R R AA-AAA
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2015

A supplemental first round pick back in 2012, Plawecki has moved quickly through the minors, and is on the cusp of a major league call up in 2015. After splitting 2013 between the two single-A levels for the Mets, he was moved up to AA to start 2014, and was promoted to AAA at the same time that Travis d'Arnaud returned to the majors for good. He hit well at both levels, hitting for high averages while providing decent power to go with.

Plawecki is probably best known for his hit tool, which is expected to be above-average. He has shown both the ability to hit for a high average already, as well as maintain a lower strikeout rate while still drawing a solid amount of walks to go with it. He's capable of providing a decent amount of home runs, which at the catcher position should still draw him right around the top 10 at the position in most years. His defense is considered around average to slightly below-average, but not to the point where there's really any discussion that he should move from the position at this time.

The question for Plawecki right now is what the Mets decide to do with him. Travis d'Arnaud is cemented as the starter in New York right now, and realistically Plawecki should be ready for the majors by the end of 2015 at the absolute latest. It's possible that one of these two catchers is traded at some point (perhaps as a part of a larger deal to get a big name?), which would open up playing time for Plawecki regardless of which one is traded.

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7. Brandon Nimmo (OF)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.278 97 10 51 14
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
558 0.394 0.426 15.41% 18.82%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 L R AA-A+
Roster Status: Protect after 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016

The Mets' top pick in the loaded 2011 draft (and unfortunately known at this point for being the pick before Jose Fernandez), Brandon Nimmo's timetable moved a bit more quickly in 2014. The Mets started him out at High-A St. Lucie, where he hit for a high average, drew as many walks as strikeouts, and provided a little power (4 HR) and speed (9 SB) over 62 games. Promoted to AA, Nimmo's batting average fell off (.239), but maintained his high walk rate (36 BB/54 K). His first half had been buoyed a bit by a .401 BABIP, but saw a drop to .283 while at AA. Overall, the numbers were very positive, especially for a player who has been viewed as very raw since signing back in 2011.

Nimmo tends to rank a lot higher on standard prospect lists because of his defense, which should keep him in center field long term, at least on teams that don't have Juan Lagares there. While this is nice for his overall value, it doesn't really help us as much, which is why he's behind Conforto. He's already shown a good approach at the plate, walking around 14% as a professional, and this approach is expected to help him translate that into batting average (and on-base percentage) on a consistent basis. There are questions about his platoon splits, which appeared more pronounced in 2014 from the previous year. There is the potential for solid power production, but there seem to be mixed reviews on whether that will be 10-15 home run potential or 15-20 possibly. He is considered a solid runner, and should provide value in stolen bases as well. He also receives rave reviews about his work ethic, and specifically the improvements he has made since signing.

Nimmo spent just half a season at AA last year, so it would not surprise me for the team to return him there to start the season. He could be in New York by the 2016 season, and while his value may be higher to the Mets than your fantasy team, he should still be a solid if unspectacular producer across all five categories.

8. Marcos Molina (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
7 0 1.77 0.84 91
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
76.1 0.20 1.45 6.08% 30.74%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A-
Roster Status: Protect after 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Molina tore through the New York-Penn League in 2014 to the tune of over a strikeout per inning, a 1.77 ERA, and got a ton of groundballs. He allowed just 46 hits over his 76 innings pitched, and Baseball America named him as the top prospect in the NYPL this year. Molina may have more upside than a number of the prospects above him on this list, but his distance from the majors will keep him down the list until we see him in a full-season assignment.

He features a three-pitch repertoire with a fastball, curveball, and changeup, and all three pitches can potentially be above-average offerings at times. His delivery is very easy and repeatable, and reports on him point to a pitcher who is a lot more polished than your average short season hurler. We should know more after the 2015 season, but there is the potential for a mid-rotation starting pitcher down the line.

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9. Dominic Smith (1B)

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.271 52 1 44 5
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
518 0.344 0.338 9.85% 14.86%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 L L A
Roster Status: Protect after 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018

The top pick of the Mets in 2013, Smith could potentially be a very interesting hitter for fantasy owners down the line. He spent the full season at Low-A Savannah, posting a bit of a mixed bag in terms of production. The high walk rate matches with the reports that Smith has a good eye at the plate and specifically that he is more polished at the plate than your usual high school draftee. His hit tool is expected to be above-average, with high batting average and on-base percentages to come in the future.

However, there are concerns about how well his raw power will translate long term. While it isn't unexpected that he would struggle given his home park of Savannah, the questions seem to point more toward his approach than bad luck in pitchers' parks or an unlucky streak in general. Multiple reports on Smith (along with multiple videos from this season) note that his swing is more geared toward line drives, and in general he does not get under the ball in the way that you would hope for a power hitter to. Whether that changes over time will determine what his true ceiling for fantasy can be, as he's unlikely to provide value in stolen bases to help offset that.

The profile on Smith is a bit of a tough one for fantasy, as the bar for relevance in fantasy for first basemen is fairly high to begin with, and specifically reliant upon power production. At the moment, he's a bit of a wait-and-see for me, as it is possible that his in-game power does end up more in line with his raw power. He should provide the high average, but whether he is a shallow league player or only in deeper formats will ride with the power.

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10. Rafael Montero (RHP)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
7 0 3.67 1.35 129
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
130.1 0.83 0.77 10.45% 23.24%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R R AAA-MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

The Mets signed Montero out of the Dominican Republic at the start of 2011, and he has moved quickly through the system since then. He just qualified for this list, finishing just two outs shy of the 45 IP limit in the majors, but pitched at AAA Las Vegas primarily. He saw a jump in his walk rate from previous years, which was a bit uncharacteristic for Montero.

Overall, Montero is potentially a back-end starting pitcher for the Mets, a streaming option in shallow formats and back-end type in deeper ones. All three of his pitches (FB, CH, SL) can potentially be average or better offerings, although none of them are considered particularly stronger than the others, and are not expected to provide a high number of strikeouts. He'll need to keep his walk rate in check to provide solid value in the ratio categories, which it seems should be possible given his history before 2014. For 2015, he seems likely to get a shot at a rotation spot, although it's possible he goes back and forth between AAA and the majors as the Mets need starters during the year.

Other Interesting Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Cesar Puello - A year ago we saw a potential high-value contributor for fantasy, providing power and speed in Puello. What a difference a year makes, as he served a 50-game suspension related to the Biogenesis scandal, and also struggled in his season at AAA Las Vegas. At this point I need to see him produce closer to his 2013 level for him to regain my confidence that he can be fantasy relevant.

Jhoan Urena - A third base prospect who has shown up at the back end of a number of top 10 lists this offseason, Urena will likely head to full-season ball for the first time in 2015, and could be an interesting hitter capable of providing a high batting average and decent power in the future.


About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects
Follow him on Twitter 

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter 

David Spracale is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter