New York Mets – 2014 UTR Organizational All-Stars

C  – Brandon BrosherRookie Kingsport – 19 yo;  (2013 – 36th round) 
  • .387 – 4HR – 6R – 8RBi –  .424/.774/.1.198  slash  –  PAG: 5.86 
  • Baseball America -NR   –  MLB Pipeline-NR   –  Baseball Prospectus-NR
  • My choice of the two-way beast from Springstead HS (FL) is based solely on projection. After all, since Brosher was drafted in 2013, he’s only logged 29 games. When the Mets drafted the young masher, he came to organization as mostly a first baseman and right-handed pitcher that could dial up his fastball into the mid 90’s. Yet, the Mets saw solid bat speed, huge raw power and chose to convert the 6’3 – 225 pounder to catcher.  He made his pro debut (2013) in the Gulf Coast League and in 22 games batted .180 with three home runs and 10 runs scored while playing mostly DH; posting a 2.27 PAG score.  Entering 2014, the system was looking forward to a solid year of growth behind the plate, but after only seven games (and a 5.86 PAG) the Florida native suffered a broken right leg. A similar type injury  suffered by NBA star Paul George during a Team USA basketball intrasquad showcase scrimmage on August 1, 2014.  For those with an extremely strong stomach, click here.  2015 should offer a fresh re-start to what the Mets look to be a solid career for the young slugger.
 
1B – Dominic Smith LoA Savannah – 19 yo;  – (2013 – 1st round)
  • .271 – 1 HR – 44 RBi – 52 R –  .344/.338/.683  slash    PAG: 2.44
  • BA/#11(2015)   –   MLB Pipeline/#5   –   BP/#8
  • PAG and TPS gives Jim and I an additional quantitative factor to consider if a few prospects sit rather close to one another, yet please take note, neither is a sole determiner when choosing prospects.  Such is the case with Smith.  He’s the clear cut top 1B prospect in the Met’s system since being drafted 11th overall in 2013 out of Junipero Serra HS (CA).  He posted a solid 3.04 csPAG in his pro debut. First for the Gulf Coast League and then a minuscule 3-game stint with Rookie Kingsport batting .301 with 26 RBi, 25 runs scored and 26:37 BB:K ratio.  The 2014 season was Smith’s first in full season ball; and even though the 6’0 – 185 lb. lefty saw a dip in overall production (2.44 PAG), the Mets still saw glimpses of the player they drafted as Smith  hit for average, clubbed 26 doubles for the Sand Gnats and displayed superior defense posting a .991 fielding percentage. Let’s not forget that the Los Angeles native won’t be a 20 year old until June so he has a lot of room to grow. Now onto the reason Jim and I do what we do. Smith is the easy 1B choice, but PAG sorted out another first base teenager in 2014-8th rounder Dash Winningham. He posted a better PAG score, but didn’t have the better season per say.  The 6’2 – 230 lb. lefty came to the Mets from Trinity Catholic HS (FL) boasting immense raw power.  In 52 games playing for the Gulf Coast League he posted a 2.77 PAG and 41% of his hits were for extra bases. He employs a dual timing mechanism in his swing which the Mets will most certainly want to quiet down for him to succeed at higher levels. It will be interesting to see where the organization supplants both Smith and Winningham in 2015.
 
2B – L.J. Mazzilli  – LoA Savannah/HiA St. Lucie – 23 yo;  – (2013 – 4th round)
  • 301 – 11HR – 79RBi – 79R – 14SB –  .361/.440/.801 slash   –  csPAG: 3.35
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR   –  BP-NR 
  • Jim and I make our player choices soon after the minor league season ends even though we schedule and have paced out our Organization All-Star postings. The trade that brought Dilson Herrera to the Mets made the 20 year old Colombian the clear cut top 2B in the system. But this is UTR remember!  Mazzilli Jr, a 6’1 – 190 lb. Greenwich, CT native, had an excellent season posting a 2014 csPAG score well above his 2013 debut PAG of 2.67 for Short Season Brooklyn, but I’m going to temper my enthusiasm once again after the right handed Mazzilli was handed down a 50-game suspension (his second) for violating Major League Baseball’s substance abuse policy. The Mets organization stated Mazzilli has been diagnosed with ADHD and Hyperactivity Disorder. Major League Baseball hasn’t disclosed whether his suspension was related to his condition; and that drugs of abuse are not considered performance-enhancing drugs. His suspension will begin the first day of the 2015 season and my hope is to see the son of former Met great Lee Mazzilli Sr. right his wrongs and come back stronger than what he showed this past season.
 
 
3B – Jhoan Urena – Short Season Brooklyn  – 19 yo;  –  (2011 International signee/DR)
  • .300 – 20 2B – 5HR – 47RBi – 30R –  .356/.431/.787  slash  –  PAG: 3.11
  • BA-NR  –   MLB Pipeline/#20  –  BP/#10
  • When looking at the hot corner for the New York Mets, David Wright, a 7-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glover and 2-time Silver Slugger Award winner,  will most certainly go down as one of the greatest Mets to have ever played.  Sadly Wright isn’t getting any younger, but luckily for my Mets 3B O.A.S., when Wrights time is up, this could be when Jhoan Urena’s time could arrive.  New York plucked the 6’1 – 200 lb. Dominican from the 2011 International FA pool and he’s methodically climbed through the ranks making steady progress all along the way. He made his pro debut for Mets2 of the Dominican Summer League where he batted .278, collected 22 extra-base hits, stole 12 bases and posted a 3.27 PAG score in 64 games.  After being promoted state side to the Gulf Coast League to start 2013, Urena saw a PAG dip (2.47), but his concentration was on making hard contact;and saw a rise in batting average hitting .299 in 47 games.  2014 is when things seemed to click. The switch-hitter posted a 3.11 PAG for Short Season Brooklyn and his 85 hits not only led the New York-Penn League, but ranked second in the organization behind only the aforementioned Dominic Smith’s 125 hits.(UTR qualifiers only-HiA and below.) I’m anxiously awaiting Urena’s 2015 assignment. Will the organization plan to take one more step up the ladder to LoA or aggressively push the 20 year old to HiA St. Lucie? We’ll see. 
SS – Gavin Cecchini  – Short Season Brooklyn/LoA Savannah/AA Binghamton –  20 yo;  –  (2012 – 1st round)
  • .247 – 27 2B – 8HR – 56RBi – 79R – 10SB –  .328/.378/.707  slash  –  PAG: 3.00
  • BA/#10(2015)   –   MLB Pipeline/#10-NR  –  BP-NR
  • I think one of the biggest misunderstandings about what Jim and I do (with much respect to others) is we have never, nor will ever claim one prospect is better than another. We like lists, not rankings. Sure, we use the terms “ceiling”, “projection”, “progression” and dozens of additional terms that insinuate one kid is a step above the rest. However, one claim we Will make is that we’re not afraid to be different.  That’s UTR.  In fact, we dare to be different using self created statistical data, fundamental, advanced statistics to back our claims.  We’ll never ever get into a war of words with scouts (or some who think they are) regarding our choices because they’re just that: our choices; and the notion is we aren’t afraid to miss.  Hell, even the best at the highest levels can miss.  Ask the Yankees about 1991 top overall draft pick Brien Taylor.  Or the Oakland A’s about 1990 first rounder Todd Van Poppel.  How’d those top draft choices work out?  Stats are stats. It doesn’t matter how many headlines you make, when you were drafted or from where. When it’s all said and done, production is the only thing that matters.  Our UTR Organizational All-Stars are lists of the best in 2014, not necessarily the top prospect(s) in a system.  This brings me to [my] agreeing that 18 year old Ahmed Rosario is the top SS in the Mets system. Even though he posted a 2.71 PAG in 2014,  he possesses premium bat speed, his approach at the plate is far advanced for a kid his age and defensively he’s got every tool (good hands, footwork and superior arm). However, pound for pound, Gavin Cecchini had the better 2014.  With his first two pro seasons curtailed by injures, 2014 was the first he’s stayed healthy and the 6’1 – 180 lb. righty posted an even 3.00 PAG across three levels.  Cecchini doesn’t possess a plus tool, yet he’s a consistently good player. His bat is geared more toward line drives, has average speed and defensively the Louisiana native is sound, displaying clean footwork and a strong arm. Even though Cecchini is who is is, the main focal point is Rosario, the shiny new toy in the play room. And that’s ok by us. 

 

LF – Vicente Lupo – Rookie Kingsport –  20 yo;  –  (2010 – International FA/VE) 
  •  .278 – 7HR – 24RBi – 28R – 7SB –  .415/.504/.918  slash  – PAG: 3.52
  • BA-NR   –   MLB Pipeline-NR   –   BP-NR
  • I’ll go on the record and agree that 2014 Oregon State 1st rounder Michael Conforto had a strong debut and immediately laid his claim to becoming the top power hitter in the Mets system.  However, what’s better than having one superior power bat at one position?  Having two. This brings me to Lupo.  I chose the  6’0 – 180 lb. Lupo as my 2013 Mets UTR Breakout Prospect of the Year and his history prior to the that season can be seen here.  Then come back and read on. Now 2013 was when my PAG scoring started to really gain traction.  So, taking Lupo’s first two seasons into account, his 2013 promotion to the Gulf Coast League was highly anticipated.  (especially after having highlighting Lupo over at MLBDepthCharts. (Now known as “RosterResource“). Lupo did nothing short of disappoint logging in a PAG score over 2 points lower (4.38 in 2012 vs. 2.35 in 2013) than his previous season repeating the DSL. As crazy as it sounds, Lupo almost seems to put up good numbers in odd years vs. even years on the calendar.  Even more crazy, his batting order splits show he excels when placed in an odd number of the order vs. even. Check it out.  So, if history continues the trend, Lupo may be in for a rough season. I’m hoping that’s not the case. He’s already known for having some of the best power in the Mets system.  I feel he possesses the talent to really take a great step forward placing himself among the top outfielders in the organization.        
CF – Brandon Nimmo – HiA St. Lucie/AA Binghamton –  21 yo;  –  (2011 – 1st round)
  • .278 – 21 2B – 9 3B – 10HR – 51RBi – 97R –  14SB –  .394/.426/.820  –  csPAG: 3.52
  • BA/#3  –   MLB Pipeline/#3  –   BP/#3
  • Had 2B Dilson Herrera stayed in the minors for the entire 2014 season, he’d be my unparalleled choice as the Mets top position prospect. But that doesn’t take anything away from 2011 – 1st rounder Brandon Nimmo. In fact, (as a Mets fan) it warms me to know the Mets have a much better system than people realize and Nimmo is The definitive position prospect in the system. It’s sad in a way that the Cheyenne, WY native’s pro career got off to such a rocky start, however scouts tab him as the hardest worker in the system and he’s made up for lost time. He’s added muscle to his already large 6’3 – 205 lb. frame,  carries growing power, major league ready defense and can draw a walk as well as any hitter in the minors.  This report on the much publicized Nimmo pretty much secures the notion that my writing partner Jim (who owns Nimmo in our N.L.-only fantasy league – the PFL) will latch onto Nimmo like grim death and refuse to ever trade Nimmo to me. I can be my own worst enemy. 
RF – Wuilmer Becerra – Rookie Kingsport –  19 yo;  –  (2011 – International FA/VE(Blue Jays)  –
  • .300 – 7HR – 29RBi – 37R – 7SB –   .351/.469/.819   –  PAG: 3.17
  • BA-NR  –  MLB Pipeline-NR  –  BP-NR
  • Becerra was the “throw-in” of 7-player trade that sent Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, C’s Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas to TOR. In return, the Mets received SP Noah Syndergaard, C Travis d’Arnaud, and C John Buck and Becerra. I absolutely love this kid.  The 6’4 – 190 lb. teenager occupies an intriguing set of tools. Speed and power headline the list and supreme athleticism is evident having been signed as a shortstop. The now outfielder  debuted in 2012 and after 11 games (2.27 PAG) his season came to an abrupt end  after getting hit in the face by an errant pitch from Yankees hurler Graham Stoneburner. Becerra came back in 2013 and struggled. Some say the young Venezuelan suffered lingering mental effects from the beaning incident, but he played on, still posting a paltry 2.35 PAG score. Then came the trade to the Mets; and it’s as if the change of scenery flicked on the switch. The teenager posted a 3.17 PAG for Rookie Kingsport and was among the Appalachian League leaders in runs scored (37), hits (62), home runs (7; Vicente Lupo had 7 as well) and total bases (97). Becerra has a lot of growing to do and if all the tools come together, he has the ability to make Sandy Alderson look like a genius and  make Mets fans extremely happy. 

 

 

Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
1. RHP John Gant(12) SP/TPS .089
  • 21 years old – (LoA Savannah)
  • 21st round – 2011
  • 2014 UTR Breakout
  • 4-Time UTR Mention (April 26th, May 24th, July 7th, August 3rd)
  • I was spot on in choosing Gant to breakout in 2014. He went 11-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 21 starts at LoA Savannah. He ranked amongst the organizational leaders in wins, ERA, and strikeouts (114). Spending the whole season in LoA kept Gant under the radar, but I believe he isn’t done yet and 2015 could really be his breakthrough year. He has a funky delivery that flashes a load of deception. The fastball (upper 80’s) is fringy, but its his off-speed stuff that will move him up the ladder. He’s received comps to another Met, in Dillon Gee.
 2. RHP Robert Gsellman(11) SP/TPS .106
  •  21 years old – (LoA Savannah)
  • 13th round – 2011
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (April 11th, July 18th, August 2nd)
  • Gsellman is another solid Mets prospect who’s had success without a lot of flare. Drafted out of  high school in 2011, Gsellman has already seen some time at HiA St. Lucie, where he held his own in two appearances. With Savannah, he put up similar numbers much like his rotation mate John Gant, but he could be a step ahead of Gant in development and stuff. He has a repeatable easy, low-effort delivery from a 3/4 slot that comes across his body adding deception. Add to that, a decent curveball and a changeup that acts like a splitter which is his best pitch.
3. RHP Gabriel Ynoa – (10) SP/TPS .132
  •  21 years old – (HiA St. Lucie / Double-A Birmingham)
  • Undrafted – 2009
  • Ranked #15 by Baseball America / #12 MLBPipeline
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (May 24th, June 6th)
  • A couple years back, when the Mets MLB rotation was a train wreck, I hawked their lower levels to find an arm to stash on my fantasy team. Some top-ranked pitchers were either already on somebody’s roster or just didn’t appeal to me. I prefer the UTR kids, as they better afford the chance of sticking on a MLB roster (sans a big salary), if they do make it to the Show. Gabriel Ynoa and Rafael Montero were at the top of my list in 2012, and I went with Montero during the 2013 draft.  Ynoa has a 4-pitch stockpile in a mid 90’s fastball, slider, changeup, and improving curveball. He doesn’t strikeout a lot hitters, but he has excellent command and control of all his pitches.
 4. RHP Kevin McGowan – (9) cSP/TPS .136
  •  22 years old – (LoA Savannah / HiA St. Lucie)
  • 13th round – 2013
  • UTR Mention (May 26th)
  • McGowan is a polished pitcher that was taken out of a northeastern school (NH) in 2013. These types of arms tend to be late bloomers due the cold weather dampening their seasons. He split time between LoA and HiA last season, but it would have been best to have him work on his pitches at the lower level. Maybe with the other pitchers making this list planted at LoA, things may have been crowd in Savannah. That being said, McGowan could be groomed for the bullpen, as his mid 90’s fastball and slider with work well in relief.
5. RHP Domingo Tapia – (8) SP/TPS .170
  •  23 years old – (HiA St. Lucie)
  • Undrafted – 2009
  • UTR Mention (July 14th)
  • Tapia just got into the #5 spot nudging out Miller Diaz. I could have cheated Tapia of the mention due to his gaudy TPS rate which highlighted his poor control last season (51 walks / 56 strikeouts). Tapia is intriguing that he can throw some serious heat that can touch the triple digits. I don’t understand why the Mets have him throwing the ball every fifth day, maybe it’s to have him work on his secondaries. If he can harness that power and can maintain a repeatable delivery, maybe he could stay in the rotation.
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
1. RHP Akeel Morris (17) RP/TPS .043
  • 21 years old –  (LoA Savannah)
  • 10th round – 2010
  • 7-Time UTR Mention (April 9th, May 9th, May 12th, July 28th, August 2nd, August 3rd, August 6th)
  • Morris was the UTR darling in 2014. His named appeared on my tracking sheets almost every time he took the ball. He didn’t allow an earned run until mid-May during his 13th appearance. Then it wasn’t until late June before another run crossed the plate (3 runs), which was his worse outing of the season. He ended with a paltry .063 ERA over 41 appearances with 16 saves.
2. RHP Tim Peterson – (12) cSR/TPS .072
  • 23 years old –  (LoA Savannah / HiA St. Lucie / Double-A Birmingham)
  • 20th round – 2012
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (May 1st, June 9th)
  • Peterson’s ceiling would be that in the long relief role.  He’s a two-pitch arm without any glaring tool, but shows very good command of those pitches. Coming out of the draft, the report was his fastball was hittable and those up in the zone could leave the park. So far, that hasn’t been the case in either concern. Peterson has shown that he can miss bats in striking out 70 batters over 54.2 innings.
3. RHP Darwin Frias – (7) RP/TPS .065
  • 22 years old –  (LoA Savannah)
  • Undrafted – 2008
  • Frias could be a sleeper in 2015. He took huge strides in 2013 with Short-Season Brooklyn by posting a 10.7 K9 rate. He bolstered that last season (11.9) with Savannah while posting a 2.98 ERA over 43 appearances.
Top 5 TPS – Starting Pitchers
 
1. LHP Kevin CaneloncSR/TPS .022
  • 20 years olds – (GCL Mets)
  • Undrafted – 2011
  • Canelon has also made the list as a possible breakout for 2015. After three seasons with the DSL Mets where he was very solid, he was brought state-side in 2014 with the GCL Mets. He made 12 appearances (5 starts) and unbelievably walked only one batter over 37.1 innings, with 30 strikeouts. Pitch information on Canelon is scarce, but he should be fun to watch in 2015.
2. RHP Miller Diaz – cSR/TPS .068
  • 22 years olds – (LoA Savannah)
  • Undrafted – 2009
  • UTR Mention (May 2nd)
  • I may have mentioned this during one of my earlier profiles in the American League, but the nice thing about breaking down these pitchers on two distinct lists is so guys like Diaz wouldn’t be overlooked. The right-hander didn’t score enough mention points to make the previous list, but posted a very good TPS…which is the number that matters to me. He could make another list with Canelon as a possible breakout candidate in 2015. After a solid 2013 at Short-Season Brooklyn, Diaz continued that performance in his first full season with Savannah. It was  a small sample in that he only pitched 68 innings, going 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA.  He has solid fastball (92-94 range), improving secondary offering of a slider and split-change.
3. RHP Marcos Molina – cSR/TPS .069
  • 19 years old – (Short-Season Brooklyn)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • Ranked #10 by Baseball Prospectus / #16 MLBPipeline
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (June 27th, August 2nd)
  • Molina has always faced hitters much older than him and it hasn’t  faze him at all. The young right-hander’s performance at Brooklyn this season made an echo on the radar which included the starting nod for the NY-Penn League All-Star game. Molina shows an advanced feel of his pitches at such a young age. He throws a two-seamer around the mid-90’s, slider that can contort hitters on both sides of the plate and a plus change-up. Savannah saw some outstanding pitching in 2014 and looks like more of the same in 2015 with the arrival of Molina.
4. LHP Adrian Almeida  – cSR/TPS .078
  • 19 years olds – (GCL Mets)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • Here’s another 19 year old with an refined feel of pitching. Unlike Molina, which they signed with the Mets around the same time, Almeida has an advanced curveball for his age. He has a projectable frame that already throws a fastball in the low 90’s and which should see a spike in velocity as he fills out. He should fill the vacancy of Molina’s departure at Short-Season Brooklyn in 2015.
5. RHP Robert Whalen – cSR/TPS .078
  • 20 years olds – (LoA Savannah / GCL Mets / LoA Savannah)
  • 12th round – 2012
  • Ranked #27 by Baseball America
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (April 16th, July 29th)
  • Whalen was a former UTR Mention during his time with the Kingsport Mets (Appy League) in 2013. He had an impressive season despite missing some time after being drafted out of high school in 2012. Although he missed a month and half with a hand infection in 2014, Whalen went 9-1 with a 2.01 ERA. He has solid command of a low 90’s fastball (tops at 94 mph) and a plus-plus curveball. He keeps the ball in the park (3 HR’s over 143 career innings) and produces a ton of ground balls.
Top 3 TPS – Relief Pitchers
 
1. RHP Akeel Morris –  RP/TPS .043
  • 21 years old –  (LoA Savannah)
  • 10th round – 2010
  • 7-Time UTR Mention (April 9thMay 9thMay 12thJuly 28thAugust 2ndAugust 3rd, August 6th)
  • Morris was the UTR darling in 2014. His named appeared on my tracking sheets almost every time he took the ball. He didn’t allow an earned run until mid-May during his 13th appearance. Then it wasn’t until late June before another run crossed the plate (3 runs), which was his worse outing of the season. He ended with a paltry .063 ERA over 41 appearances with 16 saves.
2. LHP Brad Wieck – cSR/TPS .053
  • 22 years old –  (Short-Season Brooklyn)
  • 7th round – 2014
  • UTR Mention (July 17th)
  • A presence on the mound, the  6’9″ 255 lbs Wieck had an outstanding season with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2014. He has some mechanics issues to work out as Jeffrey Paternoster at Amazin’ Avenue reports that he not using his height to advance his delivery.
3. RHP Darwin Frias –  RP/TPS .065
  • 22 years old –  (LoA Savannah)
  • Undrafted – 2008
  • Frias could be a sleeper in 2015. He took huge strides in 2013 with Short-Season Brooklyn by posting a 10.7 K9 rate. He bolstered that last season (11.9) with Savannah while posting a 2.98 ERA over 43 appearances.
 
 
2014 Breakout Grades
 
The following pitchers were chosen in early March. Their selection was based solely on their previous season’s TPS rating and using the UTRMinors.com criteria for those under the radar.
 
SP John Gant – Accurate selection in picking Gant for a breakout in 2014. Lately its been rather easy considering all the outstanding arms within the organization. I couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the name listed above. Grade A
 
 
 RP Ricardo Jacquez – Posted outstanding numbers with Kingston in 2013 that included a 14.4 K9 rate. He apparently suffered some kind of undisclosed injury before the 2014 season, as he didn’t log any innings. – Grade F 

 

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