Disclaimer (because someone will ask why a player I didn't see isn't on this list): This is a ranking of the best Mets prospects I saw in person this year. This is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. I did not see Las Vegas, St. Lucie or the GCL team this year. If a player is not on the list, it is most likely because I did not see him. Otherwise, all rankings are consistent with how I would order the players within the Mets system. Oh yeah, and I am not a scout.
6. Jeff Walters, RHP
Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 26.4
Acquired: 7th round, 2010
2013: 56 IP, 26.7 K%, 7.1 BB%, 46 H, 2 HR
Date(s) seen: 4/12/13 and 4/14/13 vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR)
5/20/13, 7/18/13 and 7/21/13 @ New Britain Rock Cats (MIN)
5 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
The short of it: Legit major league arm, legit major league mullet
The long of it: I saw Walters a couple times in 2011 as a starter for Brooklyn and wrote him up as a non-prospect. He had a high-80s sinker, could touch 91, and a vague idea of a breaking ball. So imagine my surprise to see him touching 96 out of the pen this year. The fastball is actually better at 91-93, as he can run it down in the zone at that velocity range, but having 95-96 in your back pocket certainly doesn't hurt. Command is still a tad on the fringy side, espcially when he reached back for the top end of his velocity. Second pitch is a mid-80s power slider. It's a bit inconsistent, but flashes plus. Fastball command needs to get tighter for a real late inning profile, but he already has closer flo' if nothing else. Walters doesn't get rattled on the mound, and goes right after hitters. Mechanics are about what you'd expect from a would-be power reliever, some effort in the delivery, but he generates serious armspeed and I like the high-three-quarters release point.
The projection: 7th inning guy
Risk Factor: Medium. Major-league-ready, but needs tighter fastball command and a more consistent slider to reach his projection. May end up a middle reliever or more up-and-down guy as a floor.
What’s next: Walters will have to be added to the 40-man this offseason and could very well compete for a major league job this Spring depending on how much the front office spruces up the bullpen. If he fails to make the team out of camp, he'll close in the less forgiving confines of Las Vegas.
What I'll be looking for in 2014: To see if he can get the slider consistently to solid-average or plus.
Bonus Video (w/ notes from Alex Nelson)
"I couldn't get a great look at his arm action here, but he looks much cleaner overall than he has in the past. He drifts through his settling point well, he takes a nice stride and lands smoothly, the arm does an okay job of staying with the body until release, he follows through nicely. He's probably pronating a tad later than he should, and he might be tensing his forearm too soon--Tommy John surgery may be in his future if that's the case--and I'm not crazy about the way he jerks his glove down at the end of his delivery, but his control has been fine so it's not too worrisome. He looks okay to me, better than I thought he would back in 2010."