It’s that time of year again. Time to give this prospect junkie his fix. Last year, I did farm system rankings for all of baseball, and so I wanted to do so again. As I explain with any farm system rankings, this is a completely subjective business. I do watch minor league baseball, I do a lot of research on the players, and I do talk to people who do talent evaluation in baseball. I certainly don’t have the clout in the prospect world that the guys at Baseball America have, nor do I care to. This is meant to be fun for me, and hopefully fun and informative for the reader. At the very least it should allow for some debate from other teams’ fans, as well as allow Tigers fans a glimpse into other organizations farm systems, so when the Tigers make a trade, there may be some knowledge of who they are getting. Last year, the Texas Rangers took the top spot. Who will it be this year?
*This is where the rankings get tough, because starting with the Cubs, these systems are very good to elite. I have gone back and forth on multiple scenarios, but hey, it’s not life and death, it’s just some pretty awesome farm system rankings.
1. Zack Wheeler(SP)- Wheeler has the repertoire to be a top of the rotation starter. He owns a mid 90’s fastball, a solid change, and throws both a slider and a curve which flash above average. Has bettered his command and should see some time in New York in 2013.
July 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA pitcherZack Wheeler
(45) delivers a pitch in the seventh inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
2. Travis d’Arnaud (C)- One of, if not the best catching prospects in the game along with Mike Zunino of the Mariners. d’Arnaud has a chance to be an above average offensive and defensive catcher, which is pretty rare in the baseball world.
3. Noah Syndergaard (SP)- Syndergaard pairs a heavy low to mid 90’s sinking fastball with a good change and at times hammer curve. He also is big, strong, and pretty athletic, leading many to think he will have real good command as well. Number two ceiling.
4. Gabriel Ynoa (SP)- Ynoa is projectable, but his stuff is already pretty good. He sits comfortably in the low 90’s with a smooth delivery that allows him to show better than average command. His breaking ball and change up are solid offerings as well, and with a bit more development, he could easily have three above average pitches and the command to go with it.
5. Michael Fulmer (SP)- There are some questions about Fulmer’s mechanics, however, he does have a really good fastball and slider. Just needs to develop the change a bit and strengthen his command.
6. Gavin Cecchini (SS)- Cecchini looks like a kid that is going to be able to stick at shortstop, and in the long run could be an above average defender there. Offensively, some believe he is going to be able to hit for average, but lacks pop. Good intangibles.
7. Rafael Montero (SP)- Montero has a solid three pitch mix, but doesn’t have an eye popping arsenal. Montero has plus command of his low 90’s fastball and pairs that with a good slider and change up. He is able to throw any pitch in his arsenal in any count.
8. Brandon Nimmo (OF)- Nimmo was considered a much above average athlete when the Mets drafted him, but reports on that has toned down quite a bit. Now seen as an average runner at best, Nimmo is going to have to live up to his power projection to fit in either LF or RF. Shows good patience at the plate, and because of rawness has trouble recognizing pitches at times.
9. Domingo Tapia (SP)- Tapia is probably an average breaking ball away from being a mid rotation starter. And he still might get there on the strength of his mid 90’s sinker and above average change up. Tapia has some projection remaining on that frame as well.
10. Luis Mateo (SP)- Mateo has about as much buzz about him as any Mets prospect. He shows excellent command of a low to mid 90’s fastball that shows some movement. He possesses a plus slider that has good sharp break. He lacks a change up though, and needs to move quickly.
Just Missed The List:
Flores is a skilled hitter, but he doesn’t have a defensive home as far as I can tell, and maybe doesn’t have the power to work at first base. Robles has a similar profile to Montero, but his secondaries aren’t as good quite yet. Familia has a fantastic arm and a chance for two plus pitches, but could battle injury and command issues often, ultimately projecting as a reliever. Lupo put up impressive numbers in the DSL, which is good, because reports on his power potential and hit tool were impressive.
Cessa is a guy that doesn’t get talked about too much, but was impressive in Brooklyn last season, owns a projectable frame and a solid repertoire already. A bit of an uptick on his fastball will put him on par with the other Latin pitchers. Lara is much in the same boat as Cessa but is a year older.
I have a feeling that some Mets fans might take issue with my rankings. I likely am going to be one of the few that have Flores outside of their top 10. His bat has potential obviously, but I don’t know if it is the kind of bat yet that will allow subpar defensive play regularly. I also ranked Mateo pretty low as well. While he could very well develop a change, it’s tough to say given that he is 22 already. At the very least, he should be a potentially dominating reliever.
Taking a quick glance, this system is obviously leans more heavily on pitching. There are even guys I didn’t even mention yet like Cory Mazzoni, Jake DeGrom, and Logan Verrett. Steven Matz has a plus arm from the left side, but in general the Mets don’t have many southpaw starting candidates worth being excited about.
Offensively, there is some potential, but most of it is in the lower levels. At least the higher end talent. Lupo and Wuilmer Bucerra offer quite a bit of upside as does SS Ahmed Rosario. Phillip Evans could be a power hitting 2nd baseman down the road. And the Mets always have guys like Cesar Puello and Aderlin Rodriguez that had/have considerable ceilings but haven’t developed yet.
From Brooklyn to St. Lucie, it is going to be interesting following the Mets pitching. Ultimately though, I think it’s the positional prospects that will either help advance or stagnate this system going forward. With a ranking of 11, I clearly believe it’s a strong system.