Part 2 installment os Baseball America's rankings in the Mets' sytem.
6. Luis Mateo, RHP: The kid will be 23 on 3/22. He is 6'3 185lbs. He is the highest rated international guy on the Mets list which is a change from the Minaya era. He previously was signed by the Giants and Padres in 2008 but the contacts were voided when MLB found out he was 2 years older then he claimed. The Mets signed him in 2011. He is old for his league because he esentially lost 3 years during the investigation. He has two plus pitches in a 92-95 mph fastball which touches 97 mph that he keeps down in the zone and a slider, his best pitch, which hits 90 mph with tight late break. He is athletic with amazing control. He has a below average change which needs work. He has a strong arm and profiles as a mid rotation starter or a lock down closer with two plus pitches. He will stay a closer in 2013 making him old for his league but look for the Mets to move him to the pen which could put him in NY within a year. Should start year in low A but progress to AA by years end. This kid is going to rocket through the system into the Mets pen.
7. Rafael Montero, RHP: He signed at an older age for an international guy (20) but has progressed quickly. He is 6'0 170lbs making him slight of frame but he has a solid trunk. Despite his small stature he is still projected a starter with excellent stuff and solid command maybe the best in the system. His plus fastball sits at 90-93 and hits 95 mph when needed with command and run. His slider is 82-84 mph with sweep and break making it a solid pitch. He also has an average change in the mid 80s with fade. He has a solid repeatable delivery. He has a strong desire to succeed. He was named the organizations pitcher of the year over the two studs (Harvey and Wheeler) but that was an Alderson ploy as Harvey deserved the honor though Montero was exceptional. Scouts see a #3 starter or a high end pen arm capable of closing.
8. Wilmer Flores, 3B/SS/2B: This kid has slowly progressed but has been jerked off some by poor organizational policies. He is 6'3 190lbs and is ONLY 21 though it seems he has been around forever. He turned in his best season to date and his power potential started showing itself. He has top of the charts hand-eye coordination and natural power to right-center. His contact rate is phenominal and he has a low k rate. He has started learning to turn on balls and pull them for power. He has become more patient at the plate. He has below average speed on the bases and in the field which demands someone paying for leaving him at SS for his first 4 years in the system. He spent 2012 mostly at a 3B where his sure hands and strong arm play up best. He lacks first step quickness that will always limit his defensive value. Fernando Martinez was supposed to be the next big thing in NY but due to health and a new regime he was phased out (though he will start in Houston this year). Flores like Martinez (F-Mart mostly due to repeated injury) has shown some warts (he is not a MLB SS/2B, lack of quickness) but he has proven to date to be everything Martinez wasn't for NY. He should either be trade bait or positioned switch to a corner outfield spot which could put him in NY in need of another righty power source by mid season with a solid showing in AAA. See Alderson's methodical nature paying off? Should start in AAA
9. Michael Fulmer, RHP: This kid is another power arm and is 6'3 200lbs. He had a solid 2012 in low A. He throws a 92-93 mph fastball that hits 95 mph with heavy life and solid tailing action especially when he keeps it down. His slider profiles to a plus offering eventually with tight rotation and depth. His change is a fringy offering in the mid 80s. He holds his fastball velocity well. The big problems are his fringy command due to his delivery which hopefully, he will turn 20 3/15, can be fixed. He needs to strengthen his core as scouts say his body is soft. The Mets see him as a mid rotation guy while scouts see him as a reliever. Should start in high A with no need to rush him at 20.
10. Jeurys Familia, RHP: A big 6'4 230lbs pure power pitcher. He made a late season appearance in NY. His fastball sits at 94-95 mph as a starter and 98 mph as a reliever but can hit triple digits. He led AAA with 28 starts but lasted LESS then 5 innings per start and walked the ballpark. You can easily see where this is headed. This kids game is all about arm strength. He regressed with his command in 2012. He can't repeat his delivery and his command suffers. He is a pen arm through and through. He has a mid 80s slider with short break. He has a sinking change which he didn't throw when relieving in NY. He needs a pitch to combat lefties. He is slow to home and runners can steal easily on him. He is 24 and can still figure things out to become a starter but look for him as a power arm in the NY pen sometime in 2013 or could surprise and break camp in NY. Should start in AAA with an early call up to NY
The profile for Mateo (23) is indicating that he start at low A. There is little to be gained by starting back where he commanded last year with a 2.45 ERA and 0.90 whip. It was only 73 inn. but he struck out 85 with a 10/1 K/BB ratio while avg. more than 6 inn. per start. Moving him up two rungs to A+ will put him in competition with 2011 college draft players and 2010 players drafted out of HS. If he can handle the jump, it would put him on track for a 2014 call up. Rafael Montero (22) pitched at A and A+ last season with a combined ERA/whip of 2.34/.095. Montero threw 122 inn. w/110 Ks and like Mateo displayed excellent control with a 5/1 K/BB ratio. He could be competing for a rotation spot next spring and by the end of 2014 both of these pitchers will be looking to displace Dillon Gee in an all-home grown rotation.
YOGI, Mateo should possibly complete three steps this year. This kid could be playing a prominent role for the Mets sometime in 2014. I don't think Mateo is going to be a starter as much as a reliever because Alderson needs him here yesterday. Montero will be a smallish starter like Martinez if he makes it to the show as a starter.
cj, As bad as the bullpen has been, I would hate to see these guys converted to relief until they have shown that they don't have the stamina to start. Montero may be small compared to the new milinium 6'6" 230# standard, but both he and Mateo throw strikes. That preserves the dreaded pitch count and extends their innings. The Yankees over thought Joba and screwed him up, the Rangers jerked Neftaili Perez around and now the Reds are doing the same with Aroldis Chapman. It is not brain surgery, if the player can play, let him play. The other point is, dinner is done when it's done. The Mets pulled Mike Pelfrey out of the oven before he was ready. Resetting Mateo back at a level he dominated is leaving him in the oven too long. Keep challenging the players to excell and progress.
LOL, I like the analogy and I concur. It is a beautiful thing when your starter throws strikes especially with dominating stuff however physical makeup does play into the equation. Kazmir had a nice few years including ROY and AS but like Peterson thought through overuse and abuse he prematurely broke down. It would have been interesting to see if he would have has a "Billy Wagner" career had he been moved to closer which many scouts thought and compared him to. It is now a part of baseball that the more frail guys break down quicker. Pedro Martinez was the "exception" with his frame but he too broke down way too early with his HOF stuff however the right decision to was for him to start. Hopefully the Mets can shift through the "pros" and "cons" and make the right decisions too.
At least we have options beyond out trio of Harvey, Niese and Wheeler. That is a good thing.
BTW BA doesn't rank certain players ie Mejia due to servive time. Mejia was # 6 last year and would be ahead of Familia this year if ranked.
One quick point, a lot of fans devalue pen arms and closers for some reason yet those guys are vital to any quality caliber team and make a nice living now a days. Mariano Rivera made a career off of one amazing pitch and became baseball legend. Good teams have good pens. The Mets system is riddled with these guys as you will soon see and read about.
I don't think we're undervaluing relievers at all--it's just a matter of identifying where a pitcher should be early enough in his minor league career and grooming him there instead of jerking him around.
I also think you underestimate this board crazy joe. We're all pretty familiar with the entirety of the farm system and have been discussing many of these same prospects for years.
Good teams have good pens. The Mets system is riddled with these guys as you will soon see and read about.-cj
It does tend to work that way and over the past two years the bullpen has cost the Mets a dozen games a year with the BS and the inherited runs allowed to score. The Mets don't have that "good team" yet, but once we know that the top prospects of Harvey, D'arnard and Wheeler are the real thing and we have some offense and defense in the OF it's good to know that the pen will have plenty of arms to mix and match with to find the winning formula.