2012 Amazin Avenue Top 50 Mets Prospects: #31-40

We began our Top 50 prospects series on Monday and today we are rolling right along with another pitching-heavy segment in nos. 31-40.

As an aside, I’ll dabble in my own prospect evaluation philosophy here a bit to give everyone some background to the rankings as well as some discussion-fodder. Feel free to challenge me because as I pointed out previously, it’s more of a personal preference thing and by no means do I have the market cornered on insight into ranking prospects.

First off, I try to treat my prospect rankings more or less as a valuation guide. In other words, how much do I think each player is worth to the major league club at this moment in time. What I'm not doing is treating the rankings as a betting sheet, heavily featuring the guys who I think have the best chance to break out into future stars -- which I find is often the case.

A teenage potential superstar in the GCL may look a heck of a lot sexier but to me you have to be willing to strongly consider the potential league average player in Buffalo if you're truly evaluating risk and present value. Risk is such a huge factor for minor leaguers; so very few of them even appear in the majors let alone have meaningful careers. And the percentage of guys who appear in even one All-Star Game? Miniscule.

Every year I notice that underlying trend among prospect rankings where younger guys are in a way rewarded for their inexperience. My explanation? Though they've yet to show much -- if any -- of their ability, they've also yet to demonstrate their weaknesses. And a player like that lets us dream for a future star, no matter how unlikely that outcome. Obviously ceiling has to be considered when valuing a player, because once in a rare while that player may buck the odds and go all Jose Reyes. But 95% of the time they do not, and so most prospect lists tend to weigh potential and upside too heavily for my taste.

Clearly I tend to I fall more on the performance end of the spectrum; and I’m often in the minority there. And like I said, that's just me and my personal taste. You may feel differently and someone else may feel differently than that. Feel free to discuss.

But enough blabbering from me; let's get into the rankings:

31) RHP Erik Goeddel

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 0 0 1.50 3 3 0 0 0 6.0 5 1 1 0 0 2 2.20 .217
SAV SAL 3 5 3.39 15 13 0 0 0 71.2 58 29 27 5 24 67 0.97 .220
Minors
3 5 3.24 18 16 0 0 0 77.2 63 30 28 5 24 69 1.05 .220

The 2010 24th round steal out of UCLA was very good in 2011, flashing the kind of front of the rotation potential that had many scouts thinking he would have been an early round talent had he stayed another year. His low-to-mid 90’s heat paired with an advanced curveball gives him plenty of swing-and-miss while his change-up is passable and his command is solid enough for now. When everything was working he looked flat-out dominant as a member of the Savannah rotation. However, health has been his biggest weakness at both the collegiate and pro levels and he continued to suffer from nagging injuries last season which limited him to just 72 innings. While he’ll get every chance to stick in the rotation, most see Goeddel as a late inning reliever long-term due to the durability issues as well as a slight frame and his 2012 campaign will go a long way in settling that debate.

32) RHP Chris Schwinden

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
BIN EAS 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 3.0 2 0 0 0 0 5 0.00 .200
BUF INT 8 8 3.95 26 26 0 0 0 145.2 138 71 64 14 48 134 0.67 .250
Minors
8 8 3.87 28 26 0 0 0 148.2 140 71 64 14 48 139 0.66 .249
MLB
0 2 4.71 4 4 0 0 0 21.0 23 13 11 1 6 17 0.92 .274

The 25-yr old one-time 22nd rounder was a very pleasant surprise in 2011, considering that at this time last year he wasn't viewed as much more than organizational filler. Yet he not only showed that he could make the adjustment to more advanced minor league hitters -- after struggling in Double-A in 2010 -- he even held his own against major leaguers in his four starts in September. Schwinden looks sort of like Dillon Gee in the stuff department, sporting a solid four-pitch mix and spotting each of those pitches very well. Also like Gee Schwinden employs an effective cutter to keep his ball down and induce weak contact, throwing the pitch over 20% of the time -- though Gee uses his power change as his default secondary offering.

The issue here is that after having the first half of his life in 2011, he looked a heck of a lot less effective after the break (see, 5.54 ERA with a .310 opp. avg vs. 3.07 and .213 pre-ASB). His breakout season at such a high level certainly gives Schwinden a sudden and rather unexpected chance to have an meaningful big league career; though chances are he falls somewhere between the potential no. 5 he showed in the first half and the minor league depth he showed in the second as a swingman/bullpen depth-type.

Schwindenera_medium

33) RHP Josh Stinson

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
BUF INT 3 7 7.44 13 13 0 0 0 61.2 77 54 51 7 33 32 1.20 .312
BIN EAS 4 3 3.99 27 2 0 0 6 47.1 46 22 21 1 16 39 1.56 .257
Minors
7 10 5.94 40 15 0 0 6 109.0 123 76 72 8 49 71 1.34 .289
MLB
0 2 6.92 14 0 0 0 1 13.0 14 10 10 1 7 8 1.33 .286

The 23-yr old former 37th rounder stepped into the limelight as a legitimate major league relief prospect in 2011, making the climb from Double-A all the way up to the show. Though he continued to bounce between the bullpen and rotation as needed in the minors, the Mets used him strictly in middle relief which is most definitely his long-term home going forward. And while he didn’t quite put up the prettiest numbers in Queens – or in Buffalo for that matter – the 6’4" righty did showcase the kind of stuff that gives him every chance to stick in the Met ‘pen long-term. Namely, Stinson features an excellent hard-sinking fastball which he can regularly dial up to the mid-90’s when he pitches in short spurts. While his secondary offerings -- namely a slider/curve mix --are rather pedestrian, his fastball alone has driven superb ground ball rates at virtually every level. As we saw in his 13 big league innings last September, command is certainly something that he’ll have to sharpen but the stuff is definitely there for Stinson to become a key contributor by the end of 2012.

Stinsongb__medium

34) LHP Mark Cohoon

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
BIN EAS 1 3 3.81 9 9 0 0 0 52.0 59 31 22 7 17 44 1.38 .284
BUF INT 4 11 6.11 18 18 0 0 0 94.1 120 68 64 11 38 51 1.11 .321
Minors
5 14 5.29 27 27 0 0 0 146.1 179 99 86 18 55 95 1.19 .308

Rough year for the soft-tossing lefty as he learned the hard way that finesse stuff doesn't play nearly as well at the highest levels. His once pinpoint command continued to degrade as he's been forced to nibble thanks to his mediocre stuff. Meanwhile his K-rate dropped under five this season and hitters had no problem squaring him up as they posted a .321 opponent average off him in Triple-A .

Now Cohoon is a very smart pitcher who showed a lot the last couple seasons especially the ability to improve over time, doing so at each level of the minors. So I do expect some gains next year in Buffalo; the question is will he be able to show enough after getting blasted by minor leaguers to once again give confidence that he can do it consistently in the majors? The ceiling of a serviceable no. 5 is still there but at 24 the less attractive career as a quad-A journeyman a la Pat Misch or Chuck James is suddenly becoming a lot realer

Cohoonwalks_medium

35) RHP Tyler Pill

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 0 0 4.50 2 0 0 0 0 2.0 3 1 1 0 0 1 0.33 .375
BRK NYP 1 0 3.86 7 1 0 0 0 7.0 4 3 3 0 3 9 9.00 .174
Minors
1 0 4.00 9 1 0 0 0 9.0 7 4 4 0 3 10 2.50 .226

Drafted in the fourth round out of Cal-State Fullerton, Pill is a pitchability guy in the mold of 2010 draftee Greg Peavey. The 21-yr old righty features average fastball velocity at best, but also boasts excellent command as well as good deception in his delivery. At 6'1" he's not oozing with projectability so don't expect a huge bump in velocity but he's also extremely athletic and has demonstrated a very good ability to use his advanced cutter to put hitters away.

What Pill has that the aforementioned Peavey does not is an excellent ability to miss bats; he showed this in his brief debut with the Cyclones. However, deception without great stuff doesn't always translate at the higher levels so the sustainability of that skill as he climbs will determine his long-term success. And though BA's Ian Kennedy comp may be a bit too lofty at this point, pre-2011 Kennedy is certainly something reasonable to hope for.

36) RHP Armando Rodriguez

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
STL FSL 4 4 3.96 16 16 0 0 0 75.0 60 38 33 11 29 74 0.58 .218
Minors
4 4 3.96 16 16 0 0 0 75.0 60 38 33 11 29 74 0.58 .218

Remember two springs ago when Omar Minaya compared the soon-to-be 24-yr old Rodriguez to Jenrry Mejia? Sounded stupid then and sounds even stupider now. Not to say that Rodriguez isn't any good but the competition certainly began to catch up to the strong-armed righty in in 2011 as he post a nearly 4 ERA and an even worse 4.49 FIP in Hi-A. I must point out though that his excellent .218 opp. average does give me hope that he's got the stuff to get more advanced hitters out.

Now he's currently active down in the DWL and it doesn't hurt that he's having a good amount of success, racking up over a K an inning there. But it's important to note that he's doing so strictly in relief, a role that the Mets may be wise to try him in. His secondary repertoire just isn't developing as planned. With his superb mid-90's fastball he could potentially dominate the late innings and at 6'3", 250lbs there's a good chances he adds a tick or two in short stints. He may warrant a bit more time as a starter as an oblique injury derailed him from the get-go last season, but with the recent influx of pitching talent into the organization I wouldn't wait long.

37) RHP Logan Verrett

21-yr old Mets 2011 fourth rounder Logan Verrett resembles the aforementioned Pill in that he boasts a less than stellar fastball -- typically working around 90-91 mph. But what Verrett has going for him is that he also features good command and at least one extremely well-developed secondary offering. In fact, according to reports some within the Mets organization have Verrett's slider as the best breaking pitch from any pitcher they drafted in 2011. Additionally, he flashes a major league average change and at 6'3" he possesses at least some projectability. Though I will say that I would have liked to see a bit more swing-and-miss from him at the college level. To me, Verrett could easily follow the path of another mid-sized righty with an ok fastball, but very strong slider in Collin McHugh as a potential mid-to back of the rotation piece down the line.

38) SS Juan Carlos Gamboa

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MEX MEX .265 21 49 13 13 4 0 2 9 23 3 11 1 0 .302 .469 .771
MTS GCL .340 17 53 10 18 4 0 0 3 22 9 15 0 0 .435 .415 .851
KNG APP .256 19 78 12 20 4 0 3 10 33 6 15 4 2 .302 .423 .725
SAV SAL .455 4 11 1 5 1 1 0 3 8 2 0 0 0 .538 .727 1.266
Minors
.293 61 191 36 56 13 1 5 25 86 20 41 5 2 .355 .450 .805

I've made it no secret that I'm high on the relatively unknown 20-yr old infielder from Mexico. In his first pro season in the States all the little lefty did was post an .800+ OPS while showing the kind of lateral quickness and ability with the glove to legitimately project as a major league shortstop defensively. Despite the fact that his stature (5'7", 150lbs) makes Ruben Tejada look like huge, he shows surprising pop thanks to a pretty big stroke from the left side. Add in the fact that he balances that swing with highly advanced walk rates that regularly fall in the mid-teens and you're talking about a kid who could easily be a household name -- among Mets prospects -- by this time next year.

39) 2B Robbie Shields

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
SAV SAL .274 60 226 30 62 20 4 2 26 96 29 36 9 4 .354 .425 .779
STL FSL .269 20 67 14 18 5 0 1 12 26 8 9 0 0 .338 .388 .726
Minors
.273 80 293 44 80 25 4 3 38 122 37 45 9 4 .350 .416 .76

It was just a couple of drafts ago that Shields was a somewhat high profile third round draft pick with a nice offensive mix and enough glove to stick in the MI. Unfortunately, injuries -- namely TJ surgery -- changed his trajectory quite a bit. However, he proved last season between Savannah and St. Lucie that he's still got the kind of offensive upside that bears watching. In a way he's like a poor man's Reese Havens.

While he ultimately may not have the kind of power to profile as a serious home run threat in the bigs, he was the team leader in doubles in his time with Savannah and has real gap power. What's more, he also maintained his excellent 10+ BB% upon his move to Hi-A, greatly improving his K:BB rate from his first couple of seasons. Now he's unfortunately lost a ton of time the DL so age is clearly working against the 24-yr old Shields who was old for both leagues in 2011. However, I think it's very fair to say that if he stays on the field, he could at the very least fill a similar role as a Justin Turner in the bigs -- making the same mid-to-late 20's debut -- though with a little more upside based on better athleticism and overall speed. Not the kind of flashy talent you hope for with a high pick but certainly not without it's value.

40) SS Bradley Marquez

The Mets' 16th round selection in 2011 out of Odessa High School in Texas,19-yr old Brad Marquez is first and foremost an athlete. In fact, he hasn't played an inning of pro ball yet and he may already be the top athlete in the entire system (that includes the fastest). That's why he in addition to beginning his pro career, Marquez will also be playing football for the Red Raiders of Texas Tech, where he just completed his freshman season and is already committed for at least a sophomore campaign.

It's not ideal but clearly the Mets had to be flexible to add such a dynamic player to their system -- it's not often that this kind of ceiling comes along so late. However, it should be pointed out that Marquez is already very raw and light years from the majors, even without the distraction of a second sport. In addition, scouts have come away unimpressed with his defensive chops and it sounds like nearly a sure thing that he'll be moving to center field at some point to take full advantage of his plus speed.

Why He's Here: I've seen Marquez far higher on some other lists but tying back to my earlier discussion about projection vs. performance, he is a perfect example of a player with all of the talent in the world but an almost equally massive amount of associated risk to bust. And to me, you have to balance those two aspects almost equally despite the temptation that we all feel to err on the side of the tools. It's easy to get excited about a talent like Marquez but let's wait to see if he can actually play baseball at a competitive level before we start projecting the next Jose Reyes. Obviously the sky is the limit for him but the low minors are littered with stud athletes whose actual baseball skills never really materialized. The ability to consistently hit a baseball is probably the hardest, most specialized skill in all of sports, and athleticism is not always a key to success. More often than not -- while growth is possible -- either you can do it at a major league level or you can't, and as of now we know very little about Marquez' actual skills.

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