The New York Mets revealed today which prospects fans will be lucky enough to see at Port St. Lucie in just about 5 weeks and the list is not short on recognizable names, including two that Mets fans should get to know quickly.
The first thing the team did was add players to the 40-man roster, which comes with an invitation to major league spring training. This list consists of five prospects.
1. Tomas Nido, Catcher
Nido is just 22 years old and still in the lower levels of the organization. He spent 2016 with Single-A St. Lucie and had an impressive year. He’s refined his approach at the plate to be more of a contact hitter and while he didn’t put up the power numbers he was known for after he was drafted (just 7 home runs), he won the Florida State League batting title with a .320 average. He’ll likely earn a promotion to the newly named Binghamton Rumble Ponies for the coming season. MLB.com ranked Nido as the team’s 19th best prospect at the end of last season and projects his MLB debut for 2018.
2. Amed Rosario, Shortstop
This name should be familiar to Mets fans. Rosario is listed as the team’s best prospect and ended last season just outside the top 10 of all prospects across all organizations. He split 2016 between St. Lucie and Binghamton and is seen as the shortstop of the future for this team. He was one of three Mets representatives in the Futures Game last season. In 54 games at Double-A he hit .341. He’ll start the season at Triple-A but it isn’t impossible to see him debut for the Mets before his 22nd birthday in November. Either way, when Asdrubal Cabrera‘s contract expires following this season, Rosario is expected to be the next man up.
3. Wuilmer Becerra, Outfielder
Beccera was the final piece that the Mets acquired from Toronto for R.A. Dickey in 2012, and while that is 5 years ago, Beccera is still only 22 years old. He projects as a future corner outfielder and MLB.com rates his as the team’s 7th best prospect. He spent 2015 with St. Lucie and hit .312 but despite his power potential he hit only 1 home run, a number that it would be nice to see increase if he can do so without drastically increasing his strikeout rate. He won’t get the call this year but MLB.com thinks 2018 is a realistic shot for his debut.
4. Chris Flexen, Pitcher
Flexen was nearly traded at the deadline last season but after that deal fell through the Mets want to see what he can offer them this spring. MLB.com ranks him as the 29th best prospect in the organization, though they don’t project him as an ace. Different from recent Mets pitching prospects in that he isn’t a fireballer, he has a good feel for all three of his pitches and could be serviceable back-end pitcher in the future. He was 10-9 with a 3.56 ERA at St. Lucie last season.
5. Marcos Molina, Pitcher
Molina has struggled with injuries in his brief career and Tommy John surgery prevented him from pitching at all in 2016 but he’s still rated as the 11th best prospect in the organization. His fastball sits at 94 mph and he also has great command of his slider and changeup, posting a walk rate of just 6% when he was healthy.
Beyond those 5, the Mets also extended Spring Training invitations to 13 non-roster players.
1. Xorge Carrillo, Catcher
Carillo did not make the team’s top prospects list in 2016 according to MLB.com. He spent 2016 with Binghamton and appeared in 80 games. He posted a .267 batting average.
2. Dominic Smith, First Base
This is another name Mets fans should know as Smith was ranked the #2 prospect by MLB.com. He also appeared in the Futures Game alongside Rosario and actually started for Team USA. In 2015 he was the MVP of the Florida State League and spent all of 2016 with Double-A Binghamton. To go along with natural hitting talent he has started to develop more power as he hit 14 home runs with Binghamton last season while still hitting .302. He’ll get to the major leagues sooner rather than later and may push Lucas Duda for his job after this season.
3. Philip Evans, Shortstop
Evans was another prospect not on the radar before 2016 when he had a major bounce back campaign. After hitting below .250 for three straight seasons, Evans won the Eastern League (Double-A) batting title with a .335 average. Unfortunately there’s probably not an opening at shortstop at the moment with Rosario being as highly touted as he is plus Gavin Cecchini who saw some major league time last season.
4. Luis Guillorme, Shortstop/Second Base
MLB.com lists Guillorme as the 20th ranked prospect in the organization and the best defensive shortstop in a fairly stacked farm system. Right now his biggest issue is his lack of strength at the plate. While he has a good approach it won’t be enough to make him an everyday player at the highest levels. At St. Lucie he hit .263 in 2016 with just 19 extra base hits.
5. Champ Stuart, Outfield
Stuart earned a promotion to Double-A Binghamton last season but struggled when he arrived, hitting just .201 in his time there. At St. Lucie he hit .265 with an slugging percentage .407.
6. Travis Taijeron, Outfield
Taijeron spent all of 2016 with Triple-A Las Vegas and hit .275. Most impressive was his slugging percentage of .507. Taijeron was a name that some fans were throwing around as someone they wanted to see last year when the Mets ran into productivity problems in the outfield, but the team went with Brandon Nimmo instead.
7. Chase Bradford, Pitcher
Bradford pitched for Las Vegas last year and appeared in 56 games, all in relief. His ERA was 4.80 in a very hitter-friendly environment.
8. Kevin McGowan, Pitcher
McGowan split time between St. Lucie and Binghamton last year. He appeared in 15 games with St. Lucie, making two starts and posted an ERA of. 082. With Binghamton he appeared in 26 games, also making two starts and posted an ERA of 3.26.
9. Paul Sewald, Pitcher
Sewald spent all of 2016 with Las Vegas and saved 19 games for the 51s, posting an ERA of 3.29.
10. Corey Taylor, Pitcher
Taylor pitched for St. Lucie in 2016 where he compiled a very solid 1.87 ERA in 45 games to go along with 20 saves.
11. Logan Taylor, Pitcher
Logan Taylor pitched for Binghamton in 2016 and appeared in 44 games making 5 starts. He posted an ERA of 3.99.
12. P.J. Conlon, Pitcher
Conlon started 2016 with the Low-A Columbia Fireflies before earning a promotion to the St. Lucie Mets. With Columbia he was 8-1 with a 1.84 ERA in 12 starts. After his promotion he was 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA in 12 games and 11 starts. Conlon is ranked as the 26th best prospect in the organization according to MLB.com. Their scouts say his ceiling could be as a back-end starter but if that doesn’t work out he has good splits to become a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen.
13. David Roseboom, Pitcher
He pitched for Binghamton in 2016 and posted a 1.87 ERA in 52 games out of the bullpen including 14 saves.
These 18 players will be included along with players like Nimmo, Gabriel Ynoa, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Cecchini and T.J. Rivera who are still considered prospects despite seeing some time in the major leagues last season. Notably not on this list is Tim Tebow, who is still with the organization but probably needs more time to get his feet wet with baseball.
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Other News and Notes
The Mets also need help in the bullpen and Sandy Alderson has acknowledged that though he would like to move Bruce before pursuing relievers.