1. RHP Zack Wheeler – It’s really 1 and 1a with him and fellow righty Matt Harvey. I give Wheeler the edge due to the fact that he has 2 true plus strike out pitches in his fastball (which can touch 99 mph) and curve. He also throws a hard straight change and a slider. Both of those pitches are below average at this stage. There are some injury concerns in the delivery(inverted W, or I like to call it “M”) but he has legitimate top of the rotation starter potential.
2. RHP Matt Harvey – Harvey right now only has one plus pitch, and that’s the fastball. He has what would be rated as “average with flashes of better” with his curve and slider. He also throws a change-up which is below average right now. He doesn’t have any major injury concerns and has the upside of a plus fastball + 3 above average secondaries with above average command. That is the recipe for a quality #2 starter.
3. RHP Jeurys Familia – If there were an award for the most improved prospect it no debate would go to Familia. In 2010 Familia was a wild flamethrower struggling in High-A St Lucie. Fast forward to 2011 and with a mechanical change to make him more upright he breaks onto the scene. Coming into 2011 I thought best case scenario for Familia was a set up man type. Now I can view him as having potential as a starter in the middle of a contending rotation, or potentially as a closer. He supplements his mid 90’s fastball with an above average slider and a change-up that leaves some to be desired. Regardless of that Familia is now really on the prospect scene.
4. RHP Jenrry Mejia – Some people are dropping Mejia hard because he got Tommy John. I am not one of those. Mejia was a higher ranked prospect than Wheeler or Harvey and he got a surgery which has an extremely high success rate at this point in time. I personally view Mejia as a guy who is going to be a lights out closer rather than a starting pitcher given his repertoire and high level of effort in his delivery. Mejia mainly features a fastball, cutter, a curve and a change-up. Remember K-Rod was also groomed as a starting pitcher and was once #1 in the Angels system much like Mejia was for the Mets. As long as he is healthy Mejia has the upside of a #1/#2 starter and the downside as a very good late inning reliever.
5. OF Brandon Nimmo – Nimmo is the first 1st round pick for Paul DePodesta and the new Mets front office. Nimmo is from Wyoming where he couldn’t play high school ball, only Legion ball and showcases. Nimmo is an extremely raw player with phenomenal tools. He has a chance to be a legitimate middle of the order bat that can play a quality center field in Citi Field. This was a very high risk/high reward type pick for the Mets which is something you haven’t seen from them much in years past.
6. OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis – If Nieuwenhuis didn’t undergo shoulder surgery there’s a good chance that we would be talking about him opening up 2012 as the every-day RF for the big club to open 2012. Instead that honor goes to Lucas Duda. Nieuwenhuis is simply a baseball player. He doesn’t really have one plus tool, pretty average across the board. He can play some defense, hit some doubles, hit some homers, steal some bases and hit for a solid average. I think Kirk is a player that could give you 15 homers, 20 stolen bases and 30 doubles with solid defense. Not a bad prospect by any means, but lacks star potential.
7. RHP Michael Fulmer – The Mets took Fulmer with the supplemental first round pick they received as compensation for letting Pedro Feliciano go and not pitch for the Yankees. Fulmer was overshadowed by fellow Oklahoma prep studs Dylan Bundy (4th overall to Baltimore) and Archie Bradley (7th overall to Arizona) but Fulmer is a pretty exciting prospect himself. He features a fastball that can get up to 97 and a quality hammer curve. He needs to work on his change-up but with Fulmer and Nimmo the Mets’ first two picks present immense upside which wasn’t often something you saw done by the prior regimes.
8. 2B Reese Havens – If Havens didn’t get injured as often as he has he’d already be entrenched at second base for the Mets. I have seen Havens play 2B the last two years for Binghamton and I came away thinking he could be an average defensive second baseman at the MLB level. But the bat is what would carry him. He has a smooth short powerful stroke and puts the barrel on the ball consistently. He also has a good knowledge of the strike zone. If Havens could be healthy, which is a major if, you’re talking about a guy who’ll be among the top half as far as second basemen go in the entire league.
9. SS Wilmer Flores – I am not one of Wilmer Flores’s biggest fans. He has a great hit tool there is no debating that. There are big time questions if the power will ever come for Flores and he has a lot to be worked on as far as plate discipline, though that can be ironed out to some extent. Now defensively he has good hands and a solid arm so his best fit is likely at third base in pro ball. He literally is Bengie Molina slow which is weird given his frame. I just don’t see the star potential that others see. He is still young and can regain it with improvements but for me Flores’s stock is tumbling quick.
10. OF Cesar Puello – Puello accomplished what most have asked of him, which was to get that batting practice power into games. He did a better job of that hitting 10 home runs in the Florida State League in 2011. Negatives are he didn’t steal bags at the rate he did in 2010, and he had a putrid 1st half of the season. Puello OPS’d .642 pre-all star but OPS’d .800 post all star. He should go back to St Lucie for some more seasoning but Puello is one of few in the system with 5 tool potential. If his power keeps developing he could be a 20/20 guy who could play either center field or right field at an above average level in Citi Field.
11. SS/2B Jordany Valdespin – Valdespin also was much improved in 2011 from years past. He played in career high 134 games and OPS’d .801 with 37 SB’s. Work ethic issues are big for Valdespin. If Havens cannot be healthy you may see Valdespin at a middle infield spot in Queens at some point in 2012.
12. LHP Juan Urbina – 18 year old lefty with MLB bloodlines. Already possesses two above average pitches in his fastball and change-up. Has a consistent delivery, needs work on his breaking ball but possesses big upside.
13. RHP Akeel Morris – low H/9, high K/9, high BB/9. If he throws strikes he’s dominant. Has phenomenal stuff that just needs to be harnessed.
14. 3B Aderlin Rodriguez – biggest power bat in the system. Doesn’t do much else. Probably a 1B long term.
15. RHP Cory Mazzoni – 2011 2nd round pick with big assortment of pitches. #3 type starter upside.
16. RHP Logan Verrett – 2011 3rd round pick. Pitchability type, won’t blow you away. Don’t see him as much more than a #4 starter in the bigs.
17. OF Cory Vaughn – Toolsy outfielder who struggles with big time fastballs. Needs mechanical adjustment at the plate but could be a big league RF with some changes and improvements.
18. OF Juan Lagares – Former SS turned outfielder who has done nothing but hit in 2011, including at the Arizona Fall League. Likely addition to 40 man roster this off-season who likely won’t be a full time OF in the bigs could be a quality 4th OF.
19. LHP Darin Gorski – His stuff has trended upward while improving control led to a fantastic year for Gorski. 2.08 ERA in High-A with a 4.83 K/BB. He looks like a back end starter, but last year he was a non prospect so that’s a compliment.
20. OF Fernando Martinez – Let’s be real here, chances are Fernando Martinez will never be healthy. An absolutely phenomenal bat when he’s on the field will likely go to waste. But he is only 23 so I’ll give him one more year. Could be a trade candidate this off season.
21. OF Matt den Dekker – Best defensive outfielder in the system. If he could cut down the strike outs he might end up a solid regular in CF in the bigs. If he does not then you’re looking at a quality 4th outfielder. One of the best bets to be a MLB guy on this list.
22. LHP Jack Leathersich – 2011 5th round pick from UMass-Lowell. Lefty whom the Mets will likely use as a starter this year to build innings to prepare for a quick rise as a reliever. Out of the pen Leathersich can touch 98 with a solid slurve. He could end up a good back end reliever. Loved this pick in the 5th this year.
23. 3B Zach Lutz – Another bat who cannot stay healthy but can rake. Have been told he’s one of the top 3 best pure hitters in the Mets minors but is limited to 1B/3B, so barring a David Wright trade there isn’t much of an immediate role for Lutz.
24. RHP Greg Peavey – Doesn’t have a plus pitch, pretty average across the board. But good groundball rate and solid control could make for a back end of rotation major leaguer.
25. RHP Domingo Tapia – Tapia can throw pure gas. I have been told he’s touched 100 on the gun. His secondary pitches lack which is why he had a pedestrian 5.4 K/9. Improve on the secondaries in 2012 and Tapia will fly up this list.