Monday, February 4, 2013

Top 5 Mets Catching Prospects

by John Vittas

5. Blake Forsythe

Univ. of Tennessee (3rd Round pick in 2010)

Bats: Right                         Throws: Right

Opening Day Age: 23

Projected Opening Day Assignment: Double-A Binghamton

Blake Forsythe 

Positives: good power, strong walk rate and OBP, above-average arm, making gradual progress at each level, posted career-high average this year (.244), can be a run producer

Negatives: does not hit for average (never hit above .250 in a season), strikes out a lot

ETA: 2015

Projection: Forsythe was a disappointment in his first two professional seasons after being drafted highly out of Tennessee. After getting his numbers up in 2012 at the High-A ball level, Blake is starting to prove his worth. He gets on base quite a bit and possesses some power, so if he can keep improving as an all-around hitter, he  has a chance to crack the Major Leagues as a serviceable backup.
Best Case Scenario: power-hitting backup catcher (Kelly Shoppach/Rod Barajas)
Worst Case Scenario: doesn’t handle the upper levels and is dropped in 2014

Not in any Major Rankings
John Vittas Rank: #56 prospect in the system

4. Juan Centeno

34th Round pick in 2007 Draft out of Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Bats: Left                            Throws: Right

Opening Day Age: 23

Projected Opening Day Assignment: Triple-A Las Vegas

Juan Centeno

Positives: very strong defensive catcher, good eye, most advanced of all catching prospects not named d’Arnaud, high batting average at high level (AA), doesn’t strike out much

Negatives: did not hit a single HR in 2012, only 12 doubles (no power), not a big guy (5’9”) so therefore little chance to generate any more power than he has now

ETA: 2014

Projection: Centeno continues to hit for a high average, batting .285 at Double-A in 2012. That ranks top-10 in the organization for full-season players. With good plate discipline and a strong defensive skill set, Juan could prove to be a serviceable backup in the Major Leagues, but needs to prove himself in Triple-A first. If he fails to hit a single home run in Las Vegas, then we really have a problem.
Best Case Scenario: Josh Thole with better defense
Worst Case Scenario: light-hitting third catcher

Not in any Major Rankings
John Vittas Rank: #39 prospect in Mets system

3. Cam Maron

Hicksville High School (Hicksville, NY) – 34th Round, 2009 Draft

Bats: Left                            Throws: Right

Opening Day Age: 22

Projected Opening Day Assignment: High-A St. Lucie

Cam Maron

Positives: breakout season in 2012, batted .300 in a notorious pitchers’ league, tremendous walk rate (13.4%) and OBP (.389), handled playing every day for a full season very well in his first go-around, good arm, stays within himself, Mets fan from birth – turned down college scholarships not because he was offered a healthy signing bonus, but because he was picked by his favorite team

Negatives: still needs to develop some power and prove he can hit at the upper levels

ETA: 2015 -2016

Projection: Maron was one of the nicest surprises in the system in 2012, putting up good offensive numbers on a team that lacked them. After three years in the Minors, he knows what he needs to do to hit at each level. Cam began his pro career working out with his childhood hero out on Long Island, Jose Reyes.
Best Case Scenario: Platoon MLB catcher with Josh Thole-like numbers
Worst Case Scenario: struggles against lefties and never sees Triple-A

Not in any Major Rankings
John Vittas Rank: #36 prospect in Mets system

2. Kevin Plawecki

Purdue University (1st Round Pick, 35th Overall – 2012)

Bats: Right                          Throws: Right

Opening Day Age: 22

Projected Opening Day Assignment: High-A St. Lucie

Kevin Plawecki

Positives: walked more than he struck out, power to all fields, compact, fluid swing, soft hands, good receiver and solid overall defensively, played at a high level in college, calls a good game

Negatives: average arm, very little pro experience to this point

ETA: 2015

Projection: Plawecki is a very solid all-around catcher who doesn’t have any glaring weakness. As long as he keeps hitting at every level, he has a clear path to the Majors.
Best Case Scenario: Solid everyday MLB catcher (.280, 15 HRs, 40+ doubles with a good walk rate)
Worst Case Scenario: he can’t hit the upper-levels and fizzles out in Double-A Ranks:  #17 prospect in Mets system
John Vittas Rank: #13 prospect in Mets system

1. Travis D’Arnaud

Lakewood H.S. (Lakewood, CA) (Drafted by the Phillies in the 1st Round of the 2007 Draft)

Bats: Right                                      Throws: Right

Opening Day Age: 24

Projected Opening Day Assignment: Triple-A Buffalo

the fierce Travis d'Arnaud

Positives: extremely athletic, outstanding arm, silly power and still hits for an equally ridiculous average, doesn’t let it get to his head, values the importance of being on the same page with the pitching staff

Negatives: one and only flaw – injuries, coming off of a knee injury from 2011 and has had back problems before

ETA: mid-to-late April 2013

Projection: Barring further injuries, there’s no reason D’Arnaud can’t be a superstar. He has the makings of one of baseball’s best. My only question is, will it come this year or will it take him some time to find greatness. Besides, how many 24-year-olds do you know that have been traded for two Cy Young-Award winners before they can even sniff a Major League pitch? The word phenom fits here.
My guess is the Mets start D’Arnaud in Vegas to appear prudent, but John Buck and Anthony Recker just aren’t good enough reasons to keep their best bat 3,000 miles away, so they call him up 3-4 weeks into the season.
Best-Case Scenario: the next Mike Piazza with a better glove and an actual arm
Worst-Case Scenario: power-hitting MLB backup (Kelly Shoppach) Ranks: #1 in system
                           #6 prospect in baseball (#1 catcher)
Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus Ranks: N/A (came out before the Dickey trade)
John Vittas Rank: #2 prospect in Mets system

Honorable Mention: Francisco Pena (#63), Tomas Nido (#85)

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