Mets Invite Five Prospects To Spring Training

Christopher Pasatieri

Cory Mazzoni, Rafael Montero, Juan Centeno, Josh Satin, and Matt den Dekker will all be spared from the back fields in St. Lucie for a few weeks at least.

This evening the Mets have announced five more non-roster invitees to 2013 Spring Training. Right-handed pitchers Cory Mazzoni and Rafael Montero, catcher Juan Centeno, infielder Josh Satin, and outfielder Matt den Dekker will all be in major league camp come Februrary. None are currently members of the Mets 40-man roster, and only Satin has any previous major league experience.

Mazzoni was the Mets second-round draft pick in 2011 and finished 2012 in double-A. The right-hander from NC State posted a 3.93 ERA across 144 innings for St. Lucie and Binghamton this year, striking out 104 and walking only 36. This is most likely just a reward for a good 2012 season, but Mazzoni could be ready for the majors quickly with a move to the pen, and that is where many prospect evaluators think he will end up. He features a low-90s heater that can touch higher, a slurvy breaking pitch, and a split-finger that functions as a change-up, but struggled with platoon issues and missing bats in his first full professional season. Assuming the Mets want to give him another year as a starter, Mazzoni wil likely start 2013 back in the Eastern League.

Montero was the Mets Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2012, pitching to a 2.36 ERA across both A-ball levels. He actually posted better numbers at St. Lucie than Savannah and finished with 110 strikeouts and a mere 19 walks in 122 innings of work. Montero was signed as a 20-year-old out of the Dominican just a few weeks into Sandy Alderson's tenure at the beginning of 2011. Amazingly, he started 2011 in the Dominican Summer League and will start 2013 in major league camp. Montero also features a three-pitch mix, a fastball, slider, and change-up. The fastball sits 91-93, and reports had the slider and change making major strides throughout the 2012 season. This news makes it more likely that Montero starts 2013 in Binghamton, and he could be ready for a major league audition some time in 2014.

Juan Centeno is a catcher, and you always need extra catchers in big league camp. However, Centeno did turn himself into a bit of a prospect this year (albeit one that just missed our Top 50 prospect list). In 79 games for Binghamton this year, he hit .285/.337/.342. He's a good catch-and-throw guy behind the plate, though his receiving skills are in need of a bit more polish. The entire package here is often described as Josh-Thole-lite. Again, you always need catchers in big league camp.

Josh Satin had a brief cup of coffee with the Mets this season during the period when Ruben Tejada, Justin Turner, and Ronny Cedeno were all on the DL. Satin only received one at-bat with the Mets in 2012, striking out against Craig Stammen in that game against the Nationals we'd all rather forget. He spent the rest of the season with AAA Buffalo, batting .286/.391/.442 in 131 games while playing first, second, and third base. He's mostly infield depth at this point, but should find the friendly confines of Cashman Field in Las Vegas much to his liking.

Matt den Dekker spent some time in big league camp last year when every single Mets outfielder was injured. This year of course, every single Mets outfielder is like three-and-a-half guys. In 2012 den Dekker raked in Binghamton, but struggled greatly after a promotion to Buffalo. He hit just .220/.256/.373 with a 90:14 K:BB ratio in 77 games after his promotion to AAA. Den Dekker is the most likely of the five to break camp with the team, though I don't see it as being all that probable. Den Dekker has a major-league-ready defensive profile, and enough pop and speed to add some flexibility on the bench, but it's more likely den Dekker ends up back in AAA. Then again, he'll have by far the best glove of the guys in camp, and the Mets outfield situation is muddled. (to put it nicely)

These five will join pitchers Carlos Torres and Aaron Laffey, infielder Brian Bixler, and outfielder Aaron Brown, all of whom signed deals this offseason that included invitations to Spring Training.

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