2012 Amazin Avenue Top 50 Mets Prospects: #21-30

Today we're moving on to nos. 21-30 in our Top 50 prospect countdown. For those that have missed it, we already hit on part I featuring nos. 41-50 last Monday and part II with nos. 31-40 on Thursday.

There's been some extremely interesting discussion and debate in the comments about many of the players thus far and things promise to only get better as we climb higher in the rankings.The more perspectives we hear from the better so be sure to keep up the good work on your end!

But for now let's move right along and get into today's rankings:

30) LHP Juan Urbina

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
KNG APP 4 6 5.95 12 12 0 0 0 56.0 68 43 37 9 20 49 0.65 .300

At no. 30, Urbina drops 19 spots from last year's list. That's because after an unspectacular but albeit forgivable pro debut, Urbina followed with an outright bad sophomore season in the rookie level Appalachian League. Add in the fact that the organization added a lot of minor league talent in 2011 and here we are. The 18-yr old lefty saw regression across most of his key indicators and the scouting reports didn't take the step forward that one would like for someone his age. Namely, his velocity did not jump up -- at least consistently -- from the 87-90 mph levels we saw last season. Now it should be pointed out that at times he flashed 93 but again, not consistently.

Yet more concerning to me was the fact that the league batted a robust .300 off Urbina, something that you don't really want to see at any level, but especially not against some of the rawest hitters in pro ball. And not when he posted a similarly high number last year (.284). He was still over a year younger than the league for 2011 but take fellow teenager and Kingsport starter Akeel Morris, who held Appy league hitters to a .166 mark. The league as a whole batted .261, a heck of a lot lower than they did against Urbina. In short, Urbina hasn't blown us away with his stuff nor his results. Obviously reports about an advanced change-up and very good pitching IQ are nice but typically when you've got a potentially special future starter you can see it in dominance against inferior competition. For me, he's going to have to earn his ranking going forward.

Why He's Here: I said I want to him to earn it; let me clarify. I was fine to boost him based on scouting reports, reputation and potential before his pro debut. I was fine to do it again last season even after a so-so first season. But at this point, considering that he hasn't taken any big steps forward in any major category, I can't let him slide on promise alone. Frankly, I wonder what his stock would look like were his last name not 'Urbina'. I would personally rather have him earn his way back up the rankings with further development than have him sink his way further down with continued stagnation.

And I know "stagnation" from an 18-yr sounds funny; it sometimes isn't even stagnation as much as slow growth. But let's do another comparison, this time a more apples-to-apples comp with another young IFA lefty also heralded for his advanced make-up and plus change, Yankees uber-prospect Manny Banuelos. At 18 Banuelos was holding Sally League hitters to a .219 average; that's a level above the Appy League. Additionally, his velocity was already described as an 'easy 92' with more on the way according to Scouting the Sally's Mike Newman. That is what a potentially special lefty looks like at that point. That's not to say Urbina can't or won't get there; but like I said I'm at the stage where I'd like to see him earn his way up the rankings with some development rather than the other way around.

29) LHP Jack Leathersich

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
BRK NYP 0 0 0.71 9 0 0 0 1 12.2 6 1 1 0 3 26 1.00 .136

The Mets 2011 fifth rounder selection out of DII UMass-Lowell, Leathersich absolutely blew away the competition in his short pro debut. Yes you're reading those numbers right, he struck out 26 of the 47 batters he faced. 55% of them. That's an otherworldly 18.47 K/9. Obviously 12+ innings is a short sample and we can't get too overexcited but that's pretty much best case scenario for any short debut. And that was after striking out 126 in 89 innings this spring as a junior.

Leathersich is a 21-yr old lefty who isn't exactly the tallest but has a sturdy 5'11", 205 lbs build. He is known for a his mid-90's heat as well as a bit of an unorthodox delivery -- like many undersized lefties with such velocity. He also throws an inconsistent yet promising curve. Before bolting for San Diego, Mets former scouting director Chad Macdonald stated that though he made his debut in relief the team will consider Leathersich as a starter based on the promise of his secondary offerings. I'd say it's probably doubtful that he sticks as a starter long-term but it's not hard to imagine Leathersich in a role similar to Kansas City rookie reliever Tim Collins.

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28) LHP Josh Edgin

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
SAV SAL 1 0 0.87 24 0 0 0 16 31.0 14 4 3 0 10 41 2.53 .135
STL FSL 2 1 2.06 25 0 0 0 11 35.0 30 10 8 2 13 35 1.91 .233
Minors 3 1 1.50 49 0 0 0 27 66.0 44 14 11 2 23 76 2.16 .189

Another lefty reliever, Edgin put his name on the map in 2011 with a definite breakout campaign. After reeling off an incredible run at Lo-A Savannah where he didn't allow a run seemingly for the entire first half, the 2010 30th round selection would go on to post an impressive 9.00 K/9 with a .184 opp. average against lefties at Hi-A St. Lucie. Edgin did slow a bit down the stretch -- including an August where he gave up more runs than the rest of his season combined. Though that's not entirely surprising considering he doubled his pro inning count from 2010. At 25, he's also a bit old for A-ball though that's probably due more to wasted time thanks to a collegiate transfer.

If Leathersich is sturdy, then at 6'1", 225 lbs Edgin is downright stocky. Ultimately, Edgin's strong low 90's fastball and excellent low 80's slider as well as his solid command are what give him a chance to move fast. Paul DePodesta even hinted that we could potentially see Edgin in Queens in 2012 if things break right. He'll break the season in Bingo and we should know relatively quickly whether or not we're looking at a potential power LOOGY.

27) SS Danny Muno

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
BRK NYP .355 59 220 45 78 23 3 2 24 113 43 39 9 4 .466 .514 .980

To this point, it looks like the Mets got a steal in Muno, their 2011 eighth round selection who signed for just $10,000. The soon-to-be 23-yr old switch-hitter out of Fresno St. would go on to have one of the most impressive debuts of any player drafted in a season for the Cyclones reminiscent of Ceciliani's 2010. Muno would lead the league in average, OBP and doubles while ranking third in SLG. However, like Ceciliani Muno posted an unsustainable .435 BABIP; but his outstanding 16% walk rate will help cushion the blow as he regresses.

Though he has a strong arm there are questions if Muno has the lateral quickness to stick at short. Additionally, scouts don't see him developing a ton of power. And so some see him more as a utility infielder with good on-base skills, not unlike Royals utility man Chris Getz. He probably sports a little more power/overall hitting ability and while it's not the sexiest comp, for $10k it'd definitely be a win for Sandy and Co.

26) OF Darrell Ceciliani

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
SAV SAL .259 109 421 62 109 23 4 4 40 152 52 96 25 8 .351 .361 .712

One of 2010's most dynamic prospects, the 21-yr old Ceciliani found the Sally League a bit more challenging than his time with the Cyclones. The speedy lefty saw declines pretty much across the board, including most notably his 100+ point drop in BABIP. After posting a .430 mark last year we knew some regression was in order; the problem is even with a sort of high .327 mark in 2011, he was barely able to keep his average respectable. And while he was able to make some moderate strides being more selective in the second half, it came at the expense of some power.

Ultimately, he did boost his walk rate above the 10% threshold which isn't insignificant. And he did maintain an ISO above .100, which is solid for a center fielder. He also continued to show off his excellent speed while manning a good center field. Hamstring injuries bothered him once again but he managed to bounce back relatively quickly. The offensive potential he showed in 2010 paired with the fact that he falls high on the defensive spectrum keep him relatively high on this list. However, we may have to revise his offensive ceiling from Jacoby Ellsbury down to the still respectable Brett Gardner.

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25) RHP Collin McHugh

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
STL FSL 1 2 6.31 9 6 0 0 1 35.2 47 27 25 3 14 39 1.63 .318
BIN EAS 8 2 2.89 18 16 1 0 2 93.1 78 32 30 2 32 100 1.00 .223
Minors 9 4 3.84 27 22 1 0 3 129.0 125 59 55 5 46 139 1.13 .252

After a slow start in St. Lucie, the 24-yr old righty got the call up to Double-A to pitch the back end of a doubleheader on May 31st and never looked back. He would go on to post a 2.62 FIP in Binghamton, absolutely dominating in the second half of the season and after hanging around the periphery of the prospect discussion before, he placed his name firmly in the discussion as a future big leaguer.

The '08 18th rounder showed an excellent mastery of his four-pitch mix, while featuring a little more velocity on a fastball that now sits around 91-93 mph with excellent movement. As always, his slider was an excellent weapon for him, inducing plenty of strikeouts and pushing his K/9 up to the mid-9's. Strong command and the ability to throw any pitch in any count give McHugh the chance to anchor the back end of a rotation in the mold of a Dillon Gee or provide excellent relief depth. Though he seemed to tire and scuffled a bit in the AFL, he figures to reach Buffalo at some point in 2012 and at this rate Citi Field won't be too far away.

24) SS Danny Muno

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
BRK NYP .355 59 220 45 78 23 3 2 24 113 43 39 9 4 .466 .514 .980

To this point, it looks like the Mets got a steal in Muno, their 2011 eighth round selection who signed for just $10,000. The soon-to-be 23-yr old switch-hitter out of Fresno St. would go on to have one of the most impressive debuts of any player drafted in a season for the Cyclones reminiscent of Ceciliani's 2010. Muno would lead the league in average, OBP and doubles while ranking third in SLG. However, like Ceciliani Muno would post an unsustainable .435 BABIP; but his unheard of 16% walk rate will help cushion the blow as he regresses.

Though he has a strong arm there are questions if Muno has the lateral quickness to stick at short. Additionally, scouts don't see him developing a ton of power and so some see him more as a utility infielder with good on-base skills, not unlike Royals utility man Chris Getz. He probably sports a little more power/overall hitting ability and while it's not the sexiest comp, for $10k it'd definitely be a win for Sandy and Co.

24) SS Wilfredo Tovar

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
SAV SAL .251 131 491 70 123 21 3 2 41 156 44 53 15 9 .318 .318 .636

Tovar was perfectly fine in 2011, heading back to Savannah and once again showing off the skills that put him on the map last season and move him up this list in 2011. Specifically the plus defensive abilities at shortstop, the excellent contact skills as well as an improving eye at the plate. Now he didn't make huge strides in any one area -- and he's still not hitting for any power -- but he was solid across the board this year. His average dipped a bit compared to his .281 mark in 44 games with Savannah last season, but it was mostly due to a drop in BABIP (.271).

As an added bonus, Tovar made a surprise appearance in the AFL and shined, showing off the kind of power in about 100 at bats that we've never seen from him before. In fact, he ranked second in the entire league in doubles, trailing only league MVP and Rockies top prospect Nolan Arenado. Yes, the AFL is an offense-friendly environment but that's exactly the kind of gap-power you want to see Tovar develop in the coming years. I'm always a big fan of Tovar as one of only a handful of prospects in this system with a true major league plus skill at his disposal right this minute (defense). And in my view there's no reason why he can't become a player very much like Ruben Tejada, just a little slower/less aggressive on the development curve.

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23) SS Phillip Evans

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MTS GCL .333 4 15 3 5 2 0 0 1 7 2 3 0 1 .412 .467 .878
KNG APP .364 3 11 3 4 2 0 0 3 6 1 2 0 0 .417 .545 .962
BRK NYP .125 2 8 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .125 .125 .250
Minors .294 9 34 7 10 4 0 0 4 14 3 5 0 1 .351 .412 .763

Speaking of draft steals, the Mets plucked this top round talent in the 15th round due to signablilty concerns based on a perceived strong commitment to SDSU -- ultimately inking him for $600k. The 19-yr old Cali kid is considered very advanced/polished for a high school product. He already shows a good idea of the strike zone while featuring very quick hands and a nice compact swing from the right side. In addition, his excellent athleticism and very strong arm give him every chance to stick at short long-term and though he's not quite a burner, he has the kind of quickness to take 15-20 bags a year. He's also been lauded for his high character and work ethic.

Now some feel that as he adds bulk to his already study frame (185lbs) he'll be forced to move to second base. His power has also come into question as he's listed at just 5'10" and for anyone who got to see him in his brief time with Brooklyn he looks even smaller in person. However, he's got some nice natural loft to his swing and he absolutely knows how to pull a ball. I've got to say that so much about Evans screams out Dustin Pedroia to me: Smallish infielder out of Cali, good strength/athleticism, excellent pull-side power, good quickness, great makeup. And while it's hard to project anyone to an MVP-level, I could definitely see Evans ceiling as a 20/20-type, with the requisite disclaimer about any and all high school players currently being worlds away from that ceiling.

22) RHP Domingo Tapia

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
KNG APP 5 5 3.78 11 11 0 0 0 50.0 50 28 21 3 16 30 1.90 .258
BRK NYP 1 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 0 6.0 5 0 0 0 0 6 1.75 .227
Minors 6 5 3.38 12 12 0 0 0 56.0 55 28 21 3 16 36 1.89 .255

At 6'4", 186lbs, the 20-yr old Tapia looks the part of a horse. What's more, he learned to harness that build this year as his already intriguing sinking fastball blossomed into a truly plus, mid-90's offering and according to reports he was regularly hitting triple-digits. Even better, Tapia has a refined control of that pitch which affords him highly advanced command for someone so young and with so much stuff. That in and of itself drives Tapia up these rankings.

In fact, the rest of his repertoire is developing at best at this point, which is most evident in his shockingly low 5.40 K/9. Though it should be noted that his feel for a change-up is encouraging, as seen by the strong reverse-splits. However he still needs some sort of additional secondary offering to keep hitters off balance. This season, Appy Leaguers were clearly able to gear up for the fastball but based on sheer velocity and movement they still weren't making good contact; he won't be able to count on the same trends as he climbs. Yet the sky is the limit for an arm like this. The last pitcher to come through at this age with a build and a fastball like this was Familia.

21) 3B Jefry Marte

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
STL FSL .248 131 483 56 120 22 2 7 55 167 41 86 14 2 .313 .346 .659

At 20, the enigmatic third baseman continued to provide more questions than answers in 2011. Unlike most seasons, Marte started the year like a house afire, showing the kind of development in his plate discipline and power that made it look like he was finally putting it all together. By the end of May he was hitting .285 with nearly an .800 OPS. That's when things took a turn as he deviated from his typical trend and had an awful second half. Suddenly he wasn't hitting at all let alone hitting for power and his improved walk rate sunk like a rock. Ultimately, he ended up with a pretty ugly line which left 2011 looking like a step backwards.

Then a surprise call out to the AFL changed things. For four weeks he was one of the top hitters in the talent-heavy circuit, once again slugging the ball while posting a superb 1:1 K-to-BB rate against older more seasoned competition. Scouts marveled over his raw hitting ability and suddenly Marte's stock as a pure right-handed power hitter was once again rising. Unfortunately he broke his wrist before the end of the season but he'd already done enough to once again make people wonder. I'm still a little more on the short side with him right now as his fielding is still a question mark and I've got to see at least one full good season before I buy in; but even I will admit that the talent is clearly in there somewhere.

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