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.
3. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP
Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 20.8
Acquired: IFA, 2009
2013: 135.2 IP, 19.6% K, 3% BB, 123 H, 9 HR for Savannah (A)
Date(s) seen: 4/18/13 @ Lakewood Blue Claws: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, WP
The short of it: Ynoa earned hashtag status (#TMY) with a strong debut in full-season ball. He probably needs to do something about the beard though.
The long of it: After the 2012 season I referred to Ynoa as "the Rafael Montero starter kit," and like Montero in 2012, Ynoa had a strong season in Savannah where he showed outstanding control and three potential major-league-quality offerings. 158 is his Brooklyn weight and he looked closer to 180 in April, still very lean with one of the loosest arm actions in the system. Was still throwing from a low three-quarters slot at the time. Per Toby Hyde, the arm slot is closer to a true three-quarters now. Fastball was 91-93, has been a bit higher and a bit lower in various reports throughout the year. Control is well above-average, and Ynoa will just pound the zone with fastballs. Change is the best secondary, and it's a present-day average pitch, though he will occasionally slow his arm action on it. It shows both depth and fade and is too much for A-ball hitters when it is going good. Ynoa was reportedly working on a curve early in the season, and he threw a couple soft curveballs in this start, but primarily used a below-average, low 80s slider. He has some feel for it, but the low arm slot prevents him from really getting on top of the pitch, so it has a frisbeeish action that doesn't miss barrels. The higher arm slot could help in this regard. Ynoa is unflappable on the mound, never gets bothered by bad pitches or misplays behind him, just goes about his business. Needs to work on the 30 beard he's been rocking though.
The projection: Average major league starter (#3/#4)
Risk Factor: High. Lacks a clear plus offering. Will have to show he can miss bats in tougher pitching environments/against higher level hitters. Going to be a Double-A test guy.
What’s next: Ynoa will anchor the St. Lucie rotation, but could very well end the year in the Eastern League with a strong first half performance.
What I'll be looking for in 2014: Can Ynoa make further strides with the slider and settle more consistently in the 91-93 velocity range?