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Desmond Lindsay, OF, New York Mets

“Team prospect lists are not that hard, tell him Wash.”

“They're incredibly hard.”

I had Lindsay higher on initial drafts of our 2016 Mets Top Ten Prospect list. I could fudge here and tell you that 3-10 was very fluid in that system, and that would be technically correct (the best kind), but honestly I just kind of chickened out when it came time to pull the trigger. Why? Well, Lindsay is an extreme risk. He missed most of his senior season with a hamstring issue, and played mostly corner infield as an amateur. The Mets are trying him out in center field, and it was a bit rough there during his pro debut. He has a surfeit of physical tools to play there, but it will be a long development path to his above-average center fielder projection. He is a strong kid, and has an idea at the plate and plus bat speed, but the lack of loft in his swing plane limits the power projection here. To bet on Lindsay you have to bet on a 19-year-old learning a new position in extended Spring Training. A player with good, but not elite tools that is at least three years away from the majors. No one will complain if you are a year late arriving to his prospect party, but I still can't shake the feeling that he will make my ranking look overly conservative this year. – Jeffrey Paternostro

Johan Mieses, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Mieses was one of the less refined lumps of clay to make his way to the Cal League last summer, but the fact that the then-19-year-old got that far in his stateside debut is a testament to the talent. He showed all five tools in his time at Rancho, highlighted by a plus arm with accuracy and carry that can play all over the outfield. His athletic frame hinted at ample potential to add good weight, and word ‘round the campfires of Arizona suggests he’s done just that in the offseason. He wasn’t fast last summer, but his pickup to top speed was notable and he showed off sound, aggressive base-running instincts. Offensively the bat speed is the big draw; his strong wrists trigger the bat head early and get it on plane and into the hitting zone with well above-average efficiency, and the lower half works to generate powerful torque. The approach was still quite raw and markedly aggressive, but he also showed the kind of baseline tracking and pitch recognition you want to see along with a demonstrated ability to make adjustments within at-bats. He held his own through a whirlwind of a year in 2015, and a more stable season starting in a familiar environment could be just the ticket to send him rocketing up prospect lists by this time next year. – Wilson Karaman

Conner Greene, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Following a season where Greene breezed through Low- and High-A, and even received a five-start cameo at Double-A as a 20-year-old, it may not seem like much of a stretch to envision a breakout in his future. In fact, it is possible to argue that his breakout has already begun. Greene’s youth belies his ability on the mound, as he pounds the strike zone with a near-plus fastball in the 92-95 mph range, and can reach back for 97-98 mph throughout his starts. His ability to move the ball from edge to edge and up and down the ladder is still evolving, but he flashed an ability to accomplish this across multiple viewings late last year in Double-A. Green’s fastball plays up thanks to his exceptionally long limbs and high slot, giving his heater excellent leverage and the appearance of slightly better velocity. Backed up with a plus changeup and potentially average curveball, Greene already has the makings of a robust and high-quality arsenal. Destined to start the 2016 season back in Double-A, Greene showed enough in his brief Eastern League stint last year to suggest that he could plow through the circuit and reach Triple-A after just 10-15 starts; placing him on the cusp of the big leagues at the tender age of 21. Greene is already easily the top pitching prospect in the Blue Jays organization, and he is an emerging talent in the game, but a strong showing in 2016 could vault him up prospect lists and cement his name on the national scene. – Mark Anderson

Derek Hill, OF, Detroit Tigers
Hill is a player that has been on my radar since the summer of 2013 when he impressed at various scouting events. Despite the statistical struggles, there’s still an awful lot to like about this particular set of skills, to quote whatever Liam Neeson’s character was called in Taken. The key for Hill is going to be making more consistent hard contact; he has the approach and speed you want from an everyday player, but as important as those qualities are, they don’t mean as much if you aren’t hitting. He was really starting to figure things out before going down with the knee injury, and with his compact swing and improving strength, I think that’s a sign of things to come in 2016. He doesn’t have to show much improvement with the bat, because he’s already and outstanding defender, so if the hit tool can get to even average you’re looking at a very very valuable player by the time he’s ready for the big leagues. – Chris Crawford

Yeyson Yrizarri, SS, Texas Rangers
As an 18-year-old last summer, Yrizarri was one of the more intriguing players in the Northwest League. Plate discipline and pitch recognition weren’t his strengths—he hacked early in counts and walked just six times in 257 plate-appearances—but he showed an advanced feel for the barrel for a player his age, particularly considering the diet of college pitchers he faced in the NWL. Already, he has above average bat speed and he takes an efficient path to the ball. That’s an enticing package in a middle infielder, one with an excellent arm and enough athleticism to remain at shortstop for the time being. He added good upper body weight over the off-season, and as he fills out, he could hit double-digit homers at full maturity. Yrizarri’s plate discipline will always be a concern, but he has the tools to jump onto the national radar this season, and his success as one of the youngest players in the NWL last season suggests he could be poised for a breakout. – Brendan Gawlowski

Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
There are two kinds of people in this world; those who love Kevin Newman and those who are wrong. I chose to be right. I do understand the concerns; this is a player who has 30 power—at best—and that puts a crapton of pressure on his hit tool. He’s also not going to remind anyone of Andrelton Simmons with the glove, which puts even more pressure on the hit tool.

All that being said, I’m in the Newman camp because I firmly believe in the hit tool. He has exceptional hand-eye coordination, and even with a stance that makes it borderline impossible to transfer his weight, his strong wrists allow him to make consistent, hard contact to every part of the field. Add in an ability to steal bases and just enough athleticism to stay at a premium position, and I think you get a guy that will be considered one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball. He should be already, but that’s okay. There’s no big rush. – Chris Crawford

Yohander Mendez, LHP, Texas Rangers
Buried among the various first-round picks and multi-million dollar international guys in the Rangers system is, well, another expensive prospect in Mendez. While Texas has never shied away from pushing a prospect, Mendez has received the slow-and-low treatment since signing for $1.5 million, throwing only 66 1/3 innings in 2015 (eight starts). He did whiff 74 in those innings though, flashing the type of quality stuff that portends a future in the rotation. His fastball is merely average, just cracking the low 90s, but he can catch hitters off guard with a tumbling changeup that grades plus. His breaking ball lags behind at present, which was fine when was in Low-A and only a part-time starter, but will require refinement as he learns to turn a lineup over. He’s got great feel for pitching, as he’s able to pound the strike zone, so the gamble here is that he can do just that, and make a bigger name for himself in the process. – Craig Goldstein

Isan Diaz, SS/2B, Milwaukee Brewers
Diaz scorched the Pioneer league in a repeat assignment last year, and recently came over to the Brewers in the deal that shipped Jean Segura to Arizona. A second-rounder out of a Massachusetts high school in 2014, Diaz's .279 ISO seems more like a byproduct of Pioneer League hitting environments—but it does give indication that there's surprising pop in his compact 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame. Diaz hits from a wide, slightly open left-handed hitting base, with very natural rhythm and balance through the swing. His hands take a compact and fairly linear path to the baseball, but Diaz generates natural loft nonetheless; there's more strength and bat speed through the zone than many players his size. In my looks at Diaz this Spring on Cactus League backfields, I saw him consistently square balls up and spray hard-hit line drives to both gaps with close-to-average raw power. Though he's numerous rungs away from the big leagues—and I still have him pegged more as a 2B than SS—the natural hitting tools and a strong 2016 season could firmly place Diaz among the top bat-first prospects at the keystone. His best-case ceiling seems like a solid everyday 2B with the tool set to grow into an above-average hit tool and respectable power. – Adam McInturff

Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Colorado Rockies
Hoffman jumped 50 spots this year on our BP Top 101, clocking in a no. 24. So you might rightfully ask, how much more breaking out is there really to do here? But Hoffman will be two years removed from Tommy John surgery in 2016, and already showed two potential 70-grade offerings in his fastball and curve in his first taste of professional baseball last season. The changeup and the command profile need some refinement, but Hoffman already has some feel for the former. And the further he gets from going under the knife, the more you'd expect the latter to improve. The sky is the limit for him, and he could easily be one of the elite pitching prospects in the game by the time our 2017 list rolls around. That's assuming he is not already logging innings for the Rockies rotation this Summer. – Jeffrey Paternostro

Anthony Banda, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Banda has scouts progressively more and more enthused since last season, where the long-levered lefty—who always has featured good stuff—made significant improvements to the consistency of his control. Banda showed a very fluid, free-and-easy delivery that extended well through his pitches. His low-maintenance motion allowed good touch through a three-quarters release, allowing noticeable improvements in his ability to land two or three pitches for strikes. Banda breezed through three innings, showing a plus fastball that sat at 94 and ranged between 93-96. He changes the depth on a slurvy breaking ball at 78-82 depending on the handedness of the hitter; sometimes showing more of a curve at lower velocity bands, other times throwing it harder with slider-like lateral tilt. The changeup is his third pitch, and the action on it was inconsistent, but he showed a few with effective straight-down bottoming sink that had flashes of a chance-average offering. Banda creates tough angle, especially against lefties, and I see a best-case middle-rotation ceiling considering his velocity, left-handedness, and newfound ability to keep 1-2 secondary pitches in the zone. – Adam McInturff

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Muboshgu
3/21
Speaking of Mets and potential breakout prospects, I saw that Luis Carpio had shoulder surgery. How bad do you think that is for him?
jpaternostro
3/21
Mets haven't been particularly interested in giving too many details there. So without knowing the extent of the damage and the timetable for the recovery it is tough to say. In the most general terms, his arm wasn't a cannon to begin with so this could accelerate a move to the right side of the diamond, but even that is pure speculation. It will of course slow his developmental progress, though how much that matters for an 18yo with his present polish, I don't know either.