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Last year's Mets list

The Top Ten

  1. RHP Noah Syndergaard
  2. LHP Steven Matz
  3. OF Brandon Nimmo
  4. SS Amed Rosario
  5. C Kevin Plawecki
  6. 2B Dilson Herrera
  7. RHP Marcos Molina
  8. 1B Dominic Smith
  9. OF Michael Conforto
  10. 3B Jhoan Urena

1. Noah Syndergaard
Position: RHP
DOB: 08/29/1992
Height/Weight: 6’6” 240 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft, Legacy HS (Mansfield, TX)
Previous Ranking: #1 (Org), #11 (Top 101)
2014 Stats: 4.60 ERA (133 IP, 154 H, 145 K, 43 BB) at Triple-A Las Vegas
The Tools: 8 FB; 6+ potential CH; 7 potential CB

What Happened in 2014: Syndergaard proved to be mortal in Triple-A, giving up 154 hits in 133 innings, but still fanned more than a batter an inning.

Strengths: Excellent size; uses frame to advantage; downhill thrower; elite fastball; routinely works mid-to-high 90s, with arm-side life; can overpower with offering; strong feel for curve; throws with a loose wrist; stays on top of pitch to create deep, downward break; already a mature piece of arsenal (present plus); will miss bats at highest level; change shows guise to fastball; throws with similar arm speed and angle; fades arm side aggressively; room for more growth; very athletic for size; projection for command improvement.

Weaknesses: Command presently more of the area variety; needs to throw quality strikes more often; falls into ruts of working elevated and in challenge mode; still learning the ins and outs of craft; at times wraps with curveball and will roll; change can be on the firm side and lack enough separation

Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter

Realistic Role: High 6; no. 2/3 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; 133 innings at Triple-A; further command polishing.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The big right-hander will enter 2015 as the top fantasy pitching prospect in baseball, and if he’s being undervalued due to his struggles during the first half of 2014, this may be the best time to deal for him. He has the makings of a lower-tier fantasy ace who can support strong ratios and 200-plus strikeouts.

The Year Ahead: After a rapid rise into the upper minors, Syndergaard experienced growing pains last year. Not that uncommon really, but for a player with lofty expectations it can cause some ripples. The stuff here is absolutely legit. The big right-hander is a classic power pitcher, with an explosive, high-octane fastball that can blow away hitters and the type of curveball to leave heads shaking. Add in a progressing changeup and it’s almost unfair. This is a monster in the making. The command and mindset are where the growth needs to occur to reach his frontline potential. Syndergaard fills the zone with strikes, but throws too many meaty ones and likes to pitch more north than south with his fastball. Reports from later in the year indicated the 22-year-old was adjusting and it is expected that will continue. Getting whacked around consistently is usually humbling. With some finishing touches, Syndergaard gives the Mets another power arm towards the front of their rotation, and a glimpse of what the long-term production can look like should come in 2015.

Major league ETA: 2015

2. Steven Matz
Position: LHP
DOB: 05/29/1991
Height/Weight: 6’2” 200 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/L
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd round, 2009 draft, Ward Melville HS (East Setauket, NY)
Previous Ranking: NR
2014 Stats: 2.27 ERA (71.1 IP, 66 H, 69 K, 14 BB) at Double-A Binghamton, 2.21 ERA (69.1 IP, 66 H, 62 K, 21 BB) at High-A St. Lucie
The Tools: 6+ potential FB; 6+ potential CB; 6 potential CH

What Happened in 2014: Matz continued to show that his injury history is in the past, logging 140 1/3 innings across two levels, and posting a 2.24 ERA.

Strengths: Clean, balanced delivery; soft landing; fast arm; hides ball well out of delivery; fastball works 91-94, at times with tail and sink; capable of reaching for more; curve flashes solid shape; tight rotation and depth at 76-79; projects to miss bats; flashes feel for changeup; able to turnover; displays fade, with occasional late tail (screwball action); throws secondary stuff with loose wrist; improving pitchability.

Weaknesses: Fastball can be straight; hittable when elevated despite velocity and deception; needs to fill lower tier of zone more often; can cast curve, which leaves it loopy and soft; tries to overthrow change; loses fading action; would be better served working to cut velocity a bit (84-86 at present); command needs more growth to round into better than average.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; no. 2/3 starter

Realistic Role: 6; no. 3 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; achieved upper levels; arm injuries on résumé; playing catch-up due to late start.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: This was the year that Matz began to surface on fantasy radars as there have always been reasons not to believe, whether they were health or performance related. It’s time to move on from that now, as Matz has the potential to be a SP4 as soon as 2016 with SP2 upside down the road, though impact will be tough to come by in 2015 due to the Mets’ rotation depth. The left-hander should now be owned in nearly all dynasty formats.

The Year Ahead: Matz has now had two full seasons of good health and is showing the stuff that made him a second-round pick back in 2009. It all starts with the fastball for the left-hander, which jumps out of his delivery at velocities up to the mid-90s. Matz pairs his heater with a tight, breaking curve and fading changeup to keep opposing hitters at bay. The curve is presently the more advanced pitch, but the change has the potential to be right behind it. Those who believe in Matz see an arm that is blossoming into a potential fixture within the Mets’ rotation. Reports from this past season were extremely strong, with a lot of positive chatter on the pitcher’s potential. The key area of improvement for him reaching that potential rests with polishing off the pitchability. It’s more area command now for the lefty, but there is potential for growth. There’s a good chance Matz makes his debut this season and begins putting a foothold on a rotation spot for a while.

Major league ETA: 2015

3. Brandon Nimmo

Position: CF
DOB: 03/27/1993
Height/Weight: 6’3” 205 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2011 draft, East HS (Cheyenne, WY)
Previous Ranking: #9 (Org)
2014 Stats: .238/.339/.396 at Double-A Binghamton (65 games), .322/.448/.458 at High-A St. Lucie (62 games)
The Tools: 5 potential hit; 5+ potential power; 5 glove; 5 run; 6 arm

What Happened in 2014: The outfielder more than handled the Florida State League, posting a .906 OPS, but found the Eastern League much tougher, hitting .238 in 65 games.

Strengths: Smooth, fluid swing; hands to stay inside of baseball; stroke designed to hit from gap to gap; produces good backspin; improved physical strength could help tap into power; solid athlete; fundamentally sound in center; arm plays at all three outfield positions; shows instincts for the game; has made strong progress since turning pro.

Weaknesses: Average bat speed; concerns that hit tool will ceiling against high-quality stuff; may be more of a guess/cheat hitter; struggles against arm-side pitching; tends to lose backside and cave; average foot speed; corner spot may be the better fit if slows down further; needs more loft in swing to fully tap into power.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; solid-average regular

Realistic Role: 5; average big-leaguer

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; upper-minors experience; hit tool utility.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Usually the “better in real life than fantasy” players are middle infielders, but Nimmo’s skill set puts him in that camp as well. Of course, things change a bit in OBP leagues, as that’s the area he can make the biggest impact. However, an outfielder who can hit .260-.270 with around 15 homers and 15 steals is usable in just about every format.

The Year Ahead: Nimmo has definitely made strong strides since turning pro, which have been showing more and more on the field. There isn’t anything high-end in the outfielder’s game, but he does plenty well, suggesting this profile can work as a regular for a chunk of seasons. The 21-year-old shows good instincts out in center and works hard at his craft. Sources are mixed, though, as to whether he’s going to stick at the position over the long haul. A slide over to a corner will put more pressure on the development of the stick. Nimmo’s fairly sound with his swing, getting to the ball in an efficient path, and flashes loose hands that enable him to control the head of the bat. The bat speed against higher-end competition will bring about questions and he’ll be tasked with proving he can rise to that challenge. There’s still a good amount of work here to go and Nimmo will need ample time in the high minors, with the initial task of trying to implement adjustments against Double-A arms at the start of next season.

Major league ETA: 2016

4. Amed Rosario
Position: SS
DOB: 11/20/1995
Height/Weight: 6’2” 170 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International Free Agent, 2012, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #5 (Org)
2014 Stats: .133/.161/.300 at Low-A Savannah (7 games), .289/.337/.380 at Short-Season Brooklyn (68 games)
The Tools: 6 potential hit; 6 potential glove; 5+ potential power; 5+ arm; 5+ run

What Happened in 2014: The 2012 international signee took his talents to the New York-Penn League and flashed solid contact skills despite only being 18 years old.

Strengths: Fluid actions; good athlete; soft hands; strong defensive instincts; quick first step; decisive reads; solid-average to better range; arm to stick on left side of infield; quick, explosive wrists; feel for barreling the ball; loose hands; shows willingness to use the whole field; plus bat speed; room for power growth; body to continue to add strength; mind for the game.

Weaknesses: Overly aggressive hitter; will chase and get himself out; control of zone needs a lot of work; immature pitch recognition; swing can get loose; presently has some maintenance; large gap to reach power projection; loss of foot speed may hinder range; work to go with shoring up technique at short; plays on athleticism presently.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; first-division player/occasional all-star

Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: High; short-season resume; large gap between present and future.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The ETA is what really hurts Rosario in terms of his fantasy value, as his fantasy upside is right there among the non-Syndergaard members of this organization. If you have the patience and the roster spot, he’s a great long-term hold as the tools turn into skills, but in the time it takes to wait on Rosario, you could churn two or three prospects through that one spot.

The Year Ahead: Rosario is a long-lead player in terms of development time, but the tools point towards an impressive potential payout. The 18-year-old more than held his own in the college heavy New York-Penn League, which speaks to his feel for the game and high baseball IQ. There is plenty of refinement needed with Rosario’s game. It starts with toning down his approach at the plate and learning how to develop more of a plan during plate appearances. An assignment in full-season ball is going to challenge him to start adjusting immediately with this aspect of his game. All of the ingredients are here offensively to round into a contact hitter with some pop if the secondary skills continue to come along. There are some thoughts that physical development will slow Rosario down a bit and limit some of his range, but opinions are firm on him sticking at the position up to the highest level. It’s going to take time, but this is a good looking prospect and one that can jump into the upper tier with a good showing this season.

Major league ETA: 2018

5. Kevin Plawecki
Position: C
DOB: 02/26/1991
Height/Weight: 6’2” 225 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
Previous Ranking: #8 (Org)
2014 Stats: .283/.345/.421 at Triple-A Las Vegas (43 games), .326/.378/.487 at Double-A Binghamton (58 games)
The Tools: 5+ potential hit; 5 potential power; 5 arm; 5 glove

What Happened in 2014: The catcher proved to be more advanced than Double-A arms, ripping .326, and then held his own after a promotion to Triple-A.

Strengths: Strong, filled-out frame; body to handle the rigors of the position; solid receiver; firm glove; uses body well; fundamentally sound; quicker release helps average arm strength play up; easy swing; quiet; direct to the point of contact; ability to get barrel on the ball; mature approach; gap power, with opportunity to muscle up in spots because of bat control.

Weaknesses: Not much more tool growth left overall; no real leading tool; can be pitched to by high-quality arms; power likely to play down in favor of contact at highest level; defense projects as average; below-average speed; station-to-station runner.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; solid-average regular

Realistic Role: 5; average big-leaguer

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low; 43 games in Triple-A; consistency with bat.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The bar is set pretty low for catchers to be fantasy relevant, and with Plawecki’s strong contact rate and potential for 12-15 homers, he has a good chance to be above that bar. However, the value proposition for stashing him in dynasty leagues now is different, given the difficult transition catchers have to make at the major-league level and the presence of Travis d’Arnaud ahead of him.

The Year Ahead: Plawecki proved to be more than up to the challenge posed by Double-A arms and passed a major test in the process. His contact ability combined with a mature approach serve him well at the plate. The 23-year-old is more than willing to grind through plate appearances, with a knack for getting into favorable hitting situations. That’s going to have to continue for the catcher to do enough damage against the unforgiving arms in The Show. There's a chance the bat plateaus during his second tour of duty in the Pacific Coast League, but the offensive profile likely rounds into a hitter who is a tough out in the lower portion of a big-league lineup. Add in Plawecki’s potential for steady defense behind the dish, and this is a solid prospect with the overall game to be a contributing regular for a stretch of seasons.

Major league ETA: 2015

6. Dilson Herrera
Position: 2B
DOB: 03/03/1994
Height/Weight: 5’10” 150 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International Free Agent, 2010, Colombia
Previous Ranking: NR
2014 Stats: .220/.303/.407 at major-league level (18 games), .340/.406/.560 at Double-A Binghamton (61 games), .307/.355/.410 at High-A St. Lucie (67 games)
The Tools: 5+ potential hit; 5+ potential power; 5+ potential defense; 6 run; 5 arm

What Happened in 2014: Herrera busted out and rode the wave in a big way from High-A all the way to The Show this year, racking up 51 extra-base hits and posting an .858 OPS overall in the minors.

Strengths: Excellent athlete; fast-twitch muscle; plus bat speed; quick wrists, with strong hands for size; gap-to-gap power; drives through the ball; can put a charge into it for over-the-fence pop; quick feet in the field; ranges well at second; strong reactions; flashes defensive instincts for the position; plus runner; ability to impact the game on the bases.

Weaknesses: Aggressive approach; will try to sell out for power; swing loses fluidity in those instances; likes to get the head out in front of the ball; leaves him prone to off-speed stuff; swing on the long side; hit tool can play down as a result; learning how to slow the game down on both sides of the ball; needlessly rushes plays in the field; still raw overall.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: 5; average regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; reached majors; polishing still needed on both sides of ball.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: We saw flashes of the fantasy potential here in his cup of coffee in 2014, but the real fun will come when the Mets move on from Daniel Murphy, as there’s currently not a place for him in New York. The specter of a .275 hitting second baseman with double-digit power and speed is very tempting, especially considering the near 100% ownership level of post-peak Ben Zobrist.

The Year Ahead: Herrera came out of relatively nowhere this season, fast-tracking to the highest level and putting himself on the map within the system in the process. The big draws here are the athleticism and plus bat speed, which gives him the chance to do some nice things over the long haul at the plate and in the field. His game is rawer and rougher overall than the season line may indicate though. Herrera is presently a free swinger, who is still finding an identity as a hitter and learning the importance of being selective. Extended time in the upper levels leaves the chance he’ll be exposed some against high-quality secondary stuff, though given his age he has a good chance to come along. A second baseman with the ability to hit in the .280s with pop and better-than-average defense is valuable. Just expect some more lead time and growing pains before reaching that potential outcome.

Major league ETA: Debuted in 2014

7. Marcos Molina
Position: RHP
DOB: 03/08/1995
Height/Weight: 6’3” 188 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International Free Agent, 2012, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #10 (Org)
2014 Stats: 1.77 ERA (76.1 IP, 46 H, 91 K, 18 BB) at Short-Season Brooklyn
The Tools: 7 potential FB; 6 potential CH; 5 potential CB

What Happened in 2014: Molina took the competition by storm in the New York-Penn League, fanning 91 batters in 76 1/3 innings, while only giving up 46 hits, and cemented himself as a prospect trending forward in the system.

Strengths: Excellent athlete; strong physical projection; repeatable delivery; live arm; potential to routinely work in mid-90s with fastball down the line; late life to pitch; early feel for spotting up; loose wrist action with change; arm-side fade, with some bottoming-out action; flashes of depth to breaking ball; can round into bat-misser with continued tightening up; aggressive approach on mound; not afraid to challenge and come after hitters.

Weaknesses: Command growth needed; loose with fastball in zone; learning importance of throwing secondary stuff for strikes; gives away changeup at times; breaking ball still finding identity; more of a slurve; loopy break at times; presently a thrower; gets away with mistakes; likes to pitch up.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Realistic Role: 5; no. 4 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: High; short-season resume; pitchability/command progress.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The numbers are eye-popping, but Molina is extremely unlikely to claim future fantasy ace status. The strikeout numbers will slide back as he moves up unless the breaker takes the necessary step forward, but his fantasy floor is higher than almost any pitcher who has yet to pitch in full-season ball. His trade value could go through the roof calling Savannah home in 2015.

The Year Ahead: Molina will take his talents to full-season baseball, where the quality of stuff will likely continue to play up and carry him to successful outings. The developmental goal here will be to start improving his pitchability, which may be a bit tough in the near term because the 19-year-old can likely live off his high-end stuff and mask mistakes. The athleticism, repeatable delivery, and personality intangibles all point towards Molina having strong growth potential with his command. It just may take some time to manifest. Early progress in his highlighted areas of need will serve as the trigger for pushing him up further. By the end of the season, Molina has the potential to be challenging for a spot towards the front of this system. The future is extremely bright for this right-hander, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Major league ETA: Late 2017

8. Dominic Smith
Position: 1B
DOB: 06/15/1995
Height/Weight: 6’0” 185 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, Junipero Serra HS (Gardena, CA)
Previous Ranking: #6 (Org)
2014 Stats: .271/.344/.338 at Low-A Savannah (126 games)
The Tools: 6+ potential hit; 5 potential power; 6+ glove; 6+ arm

What Happened in 2014: The former first-round pick made his full-season debut where he flashed contact ability paired with some control of the strike zone, but fell short on power.

Strengths: Innate bat-to-ball ability; shows strong separation with hands; waits back on the ball; feel for controlling the head of the bat; fluid, pretty left-handed swing; willing to use the whole field; brings a plan to the plate; quick feet around the bag at first; soft hands; good athleticism; fundamentally sound at position; excellent arm strength; shows strong overall baseball instincts.

Weaknesses: Questions on ultimate power ceiling; swing is geared more toward line-drive contact; limited present loft; tapping into power may come at the expense of the hit tool; limited to first base defensively; pressure on hit to play to full potential.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: 5; average regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; yet to achieve upper minors; first base-only profile.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Whether the 20-homer power comes or not, Smith is not going to be a fantasy star. But the hit tool can carry a long way, even at a power-laden position—which makes Smith a good bet to be fantasy useful, compared to other teenage prospects.

The Year Ahead: Smith has been a much debated player both internally and externally on what he is exactly going to be in the long-term. There are no questions or disputes on the hit tool. The first baseman has one of those picture-perfect swings with the type of loose hands that leads to the player stinging hard contact to all fields right up through the ranks. But, there are more questions than answers when it comes to his power potential and what that exactly means for the overall profile. There is a lot of pressure on Smith’s hit tool to perform season in and season out if power is going to be a secondary piece of his game. There’s a chance for some productive seasons along the lines of a first-division player, but in the long run the body of work leans more along the lines of an average regular.

Major league ETA: Late 2017

9. Michael Conforto
Position: OF
DOB: 03/01/1993
Height/Weight: 6’1” 211 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2014 draft, Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
Previous Ranking: NA
2014 Stats: .331/.403/.448 at Short-Season Brooklyn (42 games)
The Tools: 6 potential power; 5 potential hit; 5 potential glove

What Happened in 2014: Conforto was drafted tenth overall, and then proceeded to rip in short-season ball after signing, offering clues that he can handle the lower levels fairly quickly.

Strengths: Well filled out; physical player; excellent strength; quiet load; produces a lot of leverage in swing; hits the ball with loft and carry; power plays to all fields; mid-twenties home run potential; mature approach; waits for pitch to drive; comfortable hitting with a strike or two; contact is loud and hard; potential to round into legit threat in lineup.

Weaknesses: Uppercut in swing leads to in-zone misses; can be beat above the thighs with velocity; needs work keeping hands above baseball; maintenance in swing; can fall into mechanical ruts; below-average speed; fringe-average range; limited to left field defensively; bat-first player.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division regular

Realistic Role: 5; average regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: High; yet to play in full-season ball; bat-first player.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: There’s no question that Conforto is a top-5 fantasy prospect in this system, but sits down in the bottom half of the list due to his shortcomings everywhere else. He could be a strong OF3 in time, hitting around .260-ish with 25 homers.

The Year Ahead: Conforto will take his talents to the low minors, where his power should immediately show and ultimately prove to be ahead of the competition in relatively short time. The left-handed hitter is big and strong, with a swing designed for getting max lift and extension. The power is here for the outfielder to project for home run totals into the twenties and to evolve into a consistent threat to go deep. Conforto does sacrifice contact ability with his extremely upward swing path, but also doesn’t get himself out. He’ll likely strikeout with frequency against high-caliber arms, while projecting for more modest averages. The defense is nothing special as well. The range is limited and paired with about an average arm, but as a left fielder it’s passable. The bat is the main draw here, which does put pressure on Conforto to develop to his potential and then perform year in and year out. It’s not a star player here, but as a solid-average regular who hits fifth or sixth in a lineup it can work.

Major league ETA: 2016

10. Jhoan Urena
Position: 3B
DOB: 09/01/1994
Height/Weight: 6’1” 200 lbs
Bats/Throws: B/R
Drafted/Acquired: International Free Agent, 2011, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: NA
2014 Stats: .300/.356/.431 at Short-Season Brooklyn (75 games)
The Tools: 5+ potential hit; 5+ potential power; 5 potential glove; 6 arm

What Happened in 2014: The Dominican third baseman more than held his own in the New York-Penn League as a 19-year-old, suggesting the organization has more than meets the eye here.

Strengths: Strong player; improving muscle composition; athletic for size; loose hands; ability to barrel up ball with backspin from both sides of plate; shows hand separation during stride; some present loft in swing; raw power to tap into; gap-to-gap approach; early makings of patience and plan at the plate; picks up offerings out of pitchers’ hand well; arm for left side of infield; soft hands; instincts for third; strong work ethic.

Weaknesses: Fringe-average foot speed; fringy present range at third; a bit on awkward and stiff side; gap to close defensively to stick at position; concerns on how body will progress physically; needs to get more lift out of swing for power to play to full potential; hit tool may play down as a result; swing has some pre-pitch timing; can get into ruts of over-pulling; bat may not be enough to carry move across the diamond.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division regular

Realistic Role: High 4; bench player/below-average regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; short-season resume; questions on profile

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Where there’s potential in the hit tool and power, fantasy owners will be interested. And when it comes in the package of a player who doesn’t quite have a position they fit well at long term, it creates a value proposition. Urena could hit .280 with 20-plus homers at the major league level, and if that happens, fantasy owners won’t care what eligibility it comes with.

The Year Ahead: The knock on Urena is a body that doesn’t really look the part and offers some concerns on how it is going to progress into his mid-twenties, but when peeling back the onion this is a very intriguing player. The 20-year-old flashes excellent hand-to-eye, along with the ability to consistently barrel up with authority. It’s also a swing that already shows some loft and offers projection that there is power to grow into as the level of strength continues to mature. There’s definite upside to develop into a run-producing bat. Where Urena is ultimately going to play remains to be seen, but for now the infielder has been making progress at the hot corner, with the body firming up a lot since signing with the organization. The work ethic also draws praise from sources who have observed the prospect closely. This a player to keep a close eye on moving forward, and one who will garner more attention this season if he passes some markers in Low-A, mainly proving the approach is as advanced as it appeared. Urena is the definition of sleeper prospect.

Major league ETA: 2018

Prospects on the Rise:

1. RHP Casey Meisner: This highly projectable arm may have a case for being included within the Top 10, but right now he’s still a lot more vision than present, especially with his heater. Meisner is a tall, lanky 6-foot-7 right-hander, but does show surprising body control and the ability to keep balanced, which bodes well for his command profile. The key for the 19-year-old is adding strength to both squeeze out more velocity and enable him to handle the rigors of the professional season better. If he shows some more growth with his stuff this year in full-season ball, he’s firmly planted as a Top 10 guy this time next year.

2. OF Champ Stuart: The former sixth-round pick brings an element of speed to the diamond, along with the potential for solid-average to better defense in center and gap power offensively. Stuart is intriguing given the potential growth in front of his tools and relatively young age for entering the professional ranks after coming out of a Division II college program. Make no mistake here, this is a risky prospect with the potential for the skills to level off quickly, but reports on the 22-year-old indicated solid progress across the board and the work ethic to maximize all his talent. It’s a player than can bring a projection as a potential regular into more focus and challenge for higher status within the system next season.

3. RHP Gabriel Ynoa: This isn’t a flashy profile like some of the arms in front of him, but the 21-year-old right-hander has progressed steadily into the upper minors. Ynoa features a low-90s fastball with some sink, along with a slider and changeup that both flash solid-average potential. The change is presently the better of the two offerings, showing strong arm-side fade at times and the ability to keep opposing hitters off balance. The question is whether this arm will be able to miss enough bats as opposed to running consistently into barrels, but he offers further projection at improving his overall pitchability. This arm can take a jump in status by proving he can effectively churn through lineups and throw better strikes against Double-A competition this season.

Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2015)

1. RHP Rafael Montero: The 24-year-old has achieved the majors, where it’s going to be about demonstrating he’s capable of being consistent. Otherwise, this arm will fall more into the up-and-down category. Montero has solid-average overall stuff, but lacks an offering that he can lean on against the highest level of competition. His game on the mound is about mixing and matching, spotting from side to side, and changing eye levels often. It seemed like he lost some of that mindset during his call-up, but that can also be expected the first time around. The righty will likely get another shot during 2015, where he can show that he can stick in a rotation. The likely role is towards the back of one, but that offers good value when constructing a team.

2. LHP Jack Leathersich: The University of Massachusetts-Lowell product continues to show bat-missing ability, though his results at the highest level of the minors have left some to be desired. The lefty pairs a low-90s fastball with a hard biting curveball to attack hitters with an aggressive pitching style. Leathersich is most likely best suited for getting an out or two towards the later stages of a ballgame before handing the ball over to the back of the pen, but if he can throw the curve for more strikes to take the dependency off his fastball, there’s a chance for a little more.

3. OF Cesar Puello: This prospect offers some loud tools, but they tend to play down because of an overly aggressive approach at the plate. There’s also the issue of his suspension for being linked with the Biogenesis scandal, which casts doubt on the authenticity of his prior performance. Puello has plus raw power, lift in his swing, and the ability to play up the middle, but his hit tool suffers as a result of a crude approach for his age. With some adjustments in Triple-A, the likely outcome over the long-haul can offer a bench bat or contributor over stretches as a regular. It’s not what the tools suggest, but he offers value in the depth department for an organization.

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/89 or later)

  1. Zack Wheeler
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Jenrry Mejia
  4. Steven Matz
  5. Jeurys Familia
  6. Brandon Nimmo
  7. Wilmer Flores
  8. Amed Rosario
  9. Kevin Plawecki
  10. Dilson Herrera

This system takes a big hit due to the graduation of Matt Harvey and Travis d'Arnaud, both of whom just barely missed our cutoff date, but there's still plenty of bona fide talent here, including one proven major-league starter and two proven big-league relievers. It's a strong collection of both minor-league talent and young major leaguers that gives the Mets strong depth. The Mets may not have the best collection of prospects and young players in baseball, but you can make an argument for them having the most balanced farm system in the game.

Wheeler proved this year that he's going to be able to handle staying in a big-league rotation. Noah Syndergaard may have a higher ceiling, but the certainty behind Wheeler gives him the nod on this list. That said, Syndergaard has the potential to lead this rotation (or more likely be a strong number two behind Harvey), while Wheeler does not look like he will become the ace some had once envisioned. Unless he can throw more strikes and work deeper into games, he’s going to pan out as a mid-rotation starter, but not to the level of Syndergaard or Harvey.

The same logic towards ranking these players goes into the decision to place Mejia over Matz. Mejia's days of starting games are over and Matz took a major step forward this season in convincing us they he'll not only be able to remain a starter but will probably be a very good one, but what Mejia showed is that not only is he a major league arm but that he's capable of closing out games.

The same argument can be made for Familia over Nimmo. The latter profiles as an everyday center fielder (in his twenties, then a solid corner outfielder as he ages) and potential leadoff hitter, but he's still just 21 and has only half a season of Double-A (where he struggled) on his resume. His ceiling is higher than Familia's, but a strong season of major-league relief work and the potential to pitch in late innings (he could close, but doesn’t miss bats the way elite closers do) is too much to ignore.

It's not time to give up on Wilmer Flores' bat just yet, with far too strong of a minor-league track record to dismiss him based on his major-league performance in what has become frustratingly inconsistent playing time. The Mets may not be able to find a spot for him in their lineup, but when someone eventually does, he should hit enough to warrant everyday at-bats, especially if he ends up at second base.

The final three spots on this list require some projection, none more so than Rosario, who is just 18 and hasn't reached full-season ball yet. His potential to actually hit puts him on this list, unlike Ruben Tejada, who is still eligible, but after over 1,700 major-league plate appearances, has proven that he can't. Plawecki and Herrera don't require quite as much dreaming, but they're not quite finished products, despite Herrera finishing the year in the big leagues.

The players who just missed this list signal as much about the depth of this organization as anything else. To have players like Rafael Montero and Dominic Smith not make the cut is really an achievement for the Mets player development team. The Mets are set up well for the future as they continue to operate as a small market team despite their major metropolitan location. Much of their success will hinge on the health of the now 26-year-old Harvey, but even without him, the Mets have one of the better collections of young talent. –Jeff Moore

A Parting Thought: This is a deeper system with a little bit of everything: near-ready impact talent up front, potential regulars, and young, developing talent starting to percolate up the lower levels.

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jtwalsh
11/10
If there was a 26 and younger list, Harvey would top the list. Where would Travis d' Arnaud line up on that list?
moore315512
11/10
That's a very interesting question and a lot of it would have to do with how much you believe in the pitch framing metrics. I believe in them and d'Arnaud gets pretty good marks, so I might have gone as high as number three behind Syndergaard and certainly no lower than fifth above Familia.
DrDooby
11/10
Also, Jacob deGrom (age 26 as of today) and OF Juan Lagares (age 25 as of today) would seem to be valid candidates to be included in such a list if eligible. The question is, where will the combination of possibly the deepest & highest upside pool of young pitching in MLB combined with a pretty deep group of potentially average to above average regulars but no true star caliber player in that mix lead this franchise ? And will it continue to be managed like a small market franchise in spite of the enormous revenue potential going forward ?
Rockshu
11/10
Damn you R.A. Dickey. Damn you. #mort
bwe206
11/10
Is there any hope for Cecchini? The numbers dont jump off the page but his peripherals were strong for a 20 year old in the FSL. Any scouts have good things to say about him? I understand the ceiling isnt super high but does he have any chance of being a first division starter at SS?
moore315512
11/10
I personally don't think he's a shortstop, long-term. That's just one opinion based on looks during the FSL season and spring training. His actions are too stiff in the field for me and the Mets have a lot of strong defensive options in the minors. The bat still has a chance because he has some bat speed, athleticism and strength, but there's still some progress to be made. In the end, I'm not sold that he'll be a first division regular yet until we see where he ends up in the field and how much more development is in the bat.
NickFaleris
11/10
Cecchini likely needs the bat to play-up, given his limited defensive impact, for the profile to reach everyday caliber at shortstop. He's likely a better fit at second base where the glove, range, and arm all play a little better. It's not a foregone conclusion the Barbe product will fall short of a first-division future, but there's a fair amount of work to be done to get him to that point. Fortunately, there's no real reason to rush him, and the Mets have enough invested in his development that he's certain to get every opportunity to prove his worth as he rises the ladder.
MetsFaithful5
11/10
Where would deGrom fit on the 25 under list if he was 25?
chidavidi
11/10
Aesome stuff as usual. Parks' report on Meisner wasn't all that effusive from when he saw him but it appeared that Meisner improved greatly as the season went along - was that the case? Does he now look better than that original meh report indicated?
cmellen
11/10
Reports overall highlighted more consistency keeping his delivery together and being able to throw downhill deeper into the season. The fastball is still a lot of projection right now based on how much strength he can add as mentioned in the writeup. He's getting into the age band where you start to see the "man strength" start to develop for lack of a better term. It depends how much you believe Meisner is going to be able fill into that big frame to enhance the stuff and be able to hold up over the course of the grind year in and year out.
chidavidi
11/10
What are your thoughts on Wuilmer Becerra who I was hoping would maybe sneak into the prospects on the rise section? Lots of ppl seem to think he may have a possible really good upside. Is he legit?
cmellen
11/10
There's talent to like, especially with the raw power. He can drive fastballs pretty well right now. The swing is a bit on the messy side and needs some work to smooth it out though. He's fairly a ways out, with a lot of variability. Pretty untested against good breaking stuff and not really clear there on that overall picture. Becerra is an intriguing player for sure and capable of taking a step forward over the course of the season, but it felt a touch early with him and that tangible progress is likely to be more subtle, with some growing pains depending on the placement.
chidavidi
11/10
Thanks! Definitely a player I'm looking forward to following. That team was definitely interesting between Becerra, Luis Guillorme, Ivan Wilson, Blake Taylor and Brandon Brosher (at least for the week before he got hurt)
chidavidi
11/10
Re: Nimmo - Is he the sort of player who will have a decent career simply due to his excellent obp skills? How do you project that on the highest level? Re: Molina - Based on some video I've seen and from a lot of reports, he seems to have, how shall we say, a funky delivery that seems to put a lot of stress on his arm. Should Mets fans be overly concerned about it?
moore315512
11/10
Nimmo is built like a middle of the order hitter but has the approach and skill set of a leadoff guy. That's going to lead to some unwarranted disappointment. The strong OBP skills essentially raise his floor and create a safety net in case his hit tool ends up being only average. I think he'll be good enough to be more than just an OBP guy but hat does ensure that he should have some extended MLB success.
tbwhite
11/10
Why does everyone have to dump on Ruben Tejada ? The guy has created 7 WARP thru age 24, while essentially playing part-time. Sure, there's no power, but he at least knows how to draw a walk, and seems to be very good defensively. It's just funny how with some guys people can only see the negatives.
SamVan
11/10
...I think 1) New York 2) he replaced Jose Reyes, so the fan base/media had to go from a great offensive SS to whatever Tejada is 3) whatever he is good for, it probably is not every-day starting major league SS, which he has frequently been asked to be meaning 4) this makes him the most glaringly disappointing player on a generally disappointing team. Walk drawing aside, he's a bad offensive player on a bad offensive team-- so he's an easy scape-goat, especially because of the guys who can't ht or aren't hitting he seems the most replaceable. A better SS than Tejada seems easier to come by than a better 1B than Duda; Murphy is one of the better hitters in that tire-fire of a line-up; David Wright is famous and rich, as is Curtis Granderson; Lagaress is great defensively; and Sandy is totally due to find another gem in the over-the-hill corner OF scrap heap; and the catcher's are prospects, and also catchers, so whatever. So, unless you think Sandy shouldn't get his OFs from everyone's discard pile (...and what kind of lunatic WOULDN'T get there OFs from the geriatric ward?). Thus Tejada is the face of the Mets offensive ineptitude because everyone either has upside or they are stuck with them.
thsaladboy
11/10
Were you really disappointed with Duda? He hit 30 home runs. You've got a lot of negativity pointed at a lineup that finished 8th in the NL in runs. You want better than average certainly, but they had enough second half improvements that they were far from the disaster you make them out to have been.And was the team really that disappointing? They went 79-83 with a positive run differential. They're trending up. In terms of the question at hand: Tejada can't hit. And he's a bad defensive shortstop. He's dumped on because he doesn't have very much use. WARP seems to like him a whole lot more than either WAR, where he's produced 4.0 bWar and 3.8 fWAR in his career so far, the bulk of that coming in 2011 and 2012, before his development stalled out. He's been next to useless the last two seasons (I do not buy FRAA's love of his defense this year--it looks pretty out of line compared to previous years) and taking at bats away from guys that might actually be contributors. Honestly at this point I don't know why he has defenders. He's had almost a literal ton of plate appearances to show what level of player he is. He may have seemed like he could be a league average shortstop in 2011 and 2012, but that was his ceiling, and the awfulness of the last two seasons points to a guy who should be nothing more than a backup.
jadelman
11/10
That said, he's a pretty nice backup middle infielder to have.
thsaladboy
11/10
Oh certainly. I'd have no issue with him as the primary backup MI. Personally, I'm hoping Flores nice September will give him the shortstop job (where he really wasn't that bad, a few gaffes aside), a half year at Triple-A for Herrera before they trade Murphy and call Herrera up, and Tejada can be the backup for the two of them. I just hope Collins doesn't screw it up.
ColeWhittier
11/10
What would Montero's OFP/Realistic Role scores be?
NickFaleris
11/10
I believe he was a High 5/High, low risk profile; made several iterations of the list before the article was finalized and published.
NickFaleris
11/10
Sorry, should have been High 5/High 4.
faztradamus
11/10
oldbopper
11/10
The performance of DeGrom has to make you think that Las Vegas makes it impossible to properly judge pitching talent. With that in mind, I think Syndergaard is going to blow the hitters away, ala Matt Harvey, and give the Mets a starting rotation that is second to none. Ideally the Mets will send some of their pitchers to other teams for some big league talent in return but, as of now, no team can match Colon, Niese, Gee and Montero at the tail end of the rotation
joshb729
11/10
Any opinions of Cam Maron? Left catcher with OBP skills, can he reach the show?
huztlers
11/10
General comment here regarding the lists so far - They are too young.
cmellen
11/11
Too young as there are a lot of young prospects on them or these guys are all so youthful in general (18-25 years old)? Some of the birth years have made me feel ancient when writing them up.
dtothew
11/11
Where do you think their 1st rounder will slot on this list next year? #oops #Cuddyer
Edgardo13
11/11
What about Matt Reynolds? He tore up AA and AAA.
moore315512
11/12
Barring a trade or other acquisition this off-season, Reynolds will be in the mix for playing time at short this spring. That's as much an indictment on the Mets current shortstop situation as it is a testament to Reynolds' abilities. I saw him this fall in the AFL and he can do some things (and very well may be their best in-house option), but he doesn't have any standout tools, nor is he an impact talent. If anything he would have fit in the Factor on the Farm category, because he could see time next year, but he's a lesser candidate to make a great impact than the three players we listed there, so he didn't make the cut.
anderson721
11/12
Any chance Matz gets moved to the pen?
moore315512
11/12
Not unless injuries derail him. He has the stuff and the body to start. No reason to move him.
Edgardo13
11/12
Is Matz, Montero, Nimmo, and Reynolds a viable package for Tulo?
huztlers
2/25
That Conforto is one handsome dude!