With the beginning of the ATJ prospect rankings just one week away, it's time to preview the list and drop some hints on what to expect.
But first off, we'll hand out some superlative awards:
1. Domingo Tapia
2. Noah Syndergaard
3. Cory Mazzoni
4. Miller Diaz
5. Akeel Morris
Best Slider: Jack Leathersich
Nominees: Jeff Walters, Adam Kolarek, Michael Fulmer, Luis Mateo
Best Curveball: Beck Wheeler
Nominees: Rob Gsellman, Chris Flexen, Noah Syndergaard, Andrew Church
Best Changeup: Rafael Montero
Nominees: Ricky Knapp, Darin Gorski, Gabriel Ynoa, Adam Kolarek
Most Improved Pitcher: Akeel Morris
Nominees: Chris Flexen, John Gant, Miller Diaz, Beck Wheeler
Most Disappointing Pitcher: Domingo Tapia
Nominees: Matt Koch, Armando Rodriguez, Cory Mazzoni
Most Improved Position Player: OF Travis Taijeron
Nominees: OF Joe Tuschak, C Kevin Plawecki, 1B Jayce Boyd
Most Disappointing Position Player: SS Phillip Evans
Nominees: OF Alonzo Harris, INF Matt Reynolds, OF Gilbert Gomez
Most Power: OF Travis Taijeron
Nominees: 3B Aderlin Rodriguez, OF Dustin Lawley, OF Cesar Puello
Travis Taijeron finished second in the organization with 23 home runs in 2013.
Best Contact Hitter: C Kevin Plawecki
Nominees: SS Jeff McNeil, 1B Jayce Boyd, SS Gavin Cecchini
Best Pure Hitter: 1B Jayce Boyd
Nominees: C Kevin Plawecki, 1B Dominic Smith, 2B LJ Mazzilli
Best Defensive Catcher: Juan Centeno
Nominees: Albert Cordero
Best Defensive Infielder: SS Wilfredo Tovar
Nominees: 1B Jayce Boyd, SS Luis Guillorme, 1B Matt Oberste
Best Defensive Outfielder: Matt den Dekker
Nominees: Patrick Biondi, Darrell Ceciliani
Best Athlete: OF Cesar Puello
Nominees: OF Champ Stuart, SS Amed Rosario, OF Joe Tuschak
Most Speed: OF Champ Stuart
Nominees: OF Alonzo Harris, OF Eudy Pina, OF Cesar Puello
Now to preview the rankings, here are the guys that are no longer eligible to be on the Prospect List:
Graduated to the Majors: Zack Wheeler (Midseason #1), Travis d’Arnaud (4), Wilmer Flores (7), Matt den Dekker (30)
Dropped from Rankings: Andrew Church (#25), Logan Verrett (#29), Casey Meisner (#33), Jeff Reynolds (#43), Alonzo Harris (#45), Matt Koch (#47), Ricky Knapp (#50)
Minor League Free Agents: Armando Rodriguez (#21), Francisco Pena (#35)
Hits 25-years old by Opening Day 2014: Travis Taijeron (Midseason #19), Jacob deGrom (#22), Beck Wheeler (#36), Eric Campbell (#37), Adam Kolarek (#38), Chase Huchingson (#39), Jim Fuller (#42), Danny Muno (#44), Darin Gorski, Jeff Walters, Bret Mitchell
So yes, with Zack Wheeler debuting in Flushing this summer, there will be a new No. 1 prospect in the Mets system.
|Photo: Brent Porciau (topvelocity.net)|
Who will replace Zack Wheeler as the No. 1 prospect in the system?
Although d'Arnaud, Flores and den Dekker will remain on most prospect lists, I consider their debuts in the Bigs to end their prospect status. That's why guys like Vic Black and Jeurys Familia won't be on the list, either.
Andrew Church, Casey Meisner and Ricky Knapp were just not impressive enough in their pro debuts to warrant a return to the list. Reynolds, Harris and Koch were all huge disappointments, and Verrett, although effective, just gives up too many hits to stay in the Top 40.
Everyone on the 25-plus list could potentially end up in New York, and all of those names are very successful Minor League players. DeGrom and Walters in particular have a chance to spend the majority of 2014 in Queens.
Nine players will make their debuts on the ATJ Prospect List, including four players in the top 16. The obvious name to debut is infielder Dilson Herrera, who the Mets acquired in the Marlon Byrd trade. The other three are young and raw, but turned their superior tools into professional success in 2013.
Two of the new names are from the 2013 draft class. In fact, there are five players in the top-40 who entered the system this past June via the draft.
1. Steven Matz (#34 Midseason)
Matz dominated in 2013, his first full Minor League season since being drafted in 2009. His mid-90s fastball, 1.55 ERA in June and July and legendary postseason performance send him soaring into the Top 10.
2. Robert Gsellman (#48 Midseason)
Gsellman cracked the top-50 in June because of his superb spot starts in St. Lucie and Savannah. Otherwise, the 20-year old would be another newbee to the list along with his fellow 2011 draft class compatriots.
3. LJ Mazzilli (#46 Midseason)
Despite all the hype, I started Mazzilli low on the list because of his reported "average tools." But after flirting with a .300 season in the New York-Penn League, it's pretty obvious this kid can hit.
LJ Mazzilli began his pro career in the same city that his dad made it big, New York
4. Champ Stuart (#49 Midseason)
I started Stuart low for the opposite reason of Mazzilli, he had the tools but no numbers. After a respectable first pro season with the bat, he might have a chance.
5. Jayce Boyd (#15 Midseason)
Boyd is rising through the system quickly after a monster offensive campaign in 2013. One of the most decorated college hitters in the system, Boyd was ahead of the game from Day 1. He's no Michael Wacha, but it's very possible he could go from Florida State to the Majors in under three years.
6. Gabriel Ynoa (#20 Midseason)
The Dominican won the South Atlantic League Player of the Year Award at just 20-years old. He formed a dynamic duo with the aforementioned Steven Matz. Both will make huge jumps on the ATJ List heading into 2014.
1. Rainy Lara (Midseason #9)
2. Luis Cessa (Midseason #23)
3. Darrell Cecliani (Midseason #24)
4. Ivan Wilson (Midseason #18)
5. Cory Vaughn (Midseason #11)
Lara, Cessa and Ceciliani all had very good statistical seasons in 2013. However, with their prospect clocks running out, they were either passed up by other players or I had them pegged too high to begin with.
Wilson and Vaughn still have Major League tools, they just didn't perform in the second half.
10 PLAYERS OF THE ATJ TOP 40 METS PROSPECTS WILL BE REVEALED EACH OF THE NEXT FOUR TUESDAYS:
Tuesday, November 12: No. 31-40
Tuesday, November 19: No. 21-30
Tuesday, November 26: No. 11-20
Tuesday, December 3: No. 1-10