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. Kevin Plawecki, C
Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 23.1
Acquired: Supplemental 1st round, 2012
2013: 521 PA, ..305/.390/.448 53 K, 42 BB between Savannah (A) and St. Lucie (A+)
Date(s) seen: 4/18/13 and 4/19/13 @ Lakewood Blue Claws (PHI)
The short of it: Plawecki broke out with the bat in 2013, but remains dogged by concerns about his defense behind the plate.
The long of it: I saw a lot of Plawecki in 2012, and he struggled at the dish, popping up a lot of very hittable Penn League fastballs. This year when I saw him he was driving everything. Now you'd expect a good college bat from a major conference to whack A-ball, but Plawecki impressed me with his bat control and showed more pop overall than I expected. I don't think he's going to swart 20 bombs or anything like that, but he is a strong dude, and 10-15 home runs might not be out of the question. I really like the swing in general, and see him as a .270 hitter. That's not a super sexy bat, but certainly a nice one to have behind the plate. Coming out of college, there were some questions about Plawecki's defense and those have resurfaced recently, with Baseball America remarking that some scouts think he will have to move off catcher. Now there are some issues here. The arm is below-average, and he can be a bit stiff when blocking balls. Those are probably always going to be limiting factors. However, his receiving has improved across my 2012-2013 looks, and I think it's an underrated part of his game. He seems to work well with the staff, and I have generally been impressed with his game-calling relative to the other catchers on his team. It's always tough to know how much is being called from the bench at these levels, but Plawecki's games featured less of the "fastball for strikes one and two, offspeed to put away" track that you see a lot in the low minors. He seemed more willing to mix up sequencing. I don't think he will ever be mistaken for a Molina, but given the strides he's made so far, I think it is too early to predict a move to first base just because he doesn't light up a stopwatch.
The projection: Average major league catcher
Risk Factor: Medium-High. The arm has to be good enough to stay behind the plate, because the bat won't play anywhere else. I think he does enough other things well, but there's no fallback position for catchers. Reserving full judgement on the bat until I see him against Eastern League pitching.
What’s next: Plawecki will be the opening day catcher for the Binghamton Mets.
What I'll be looking for in 2014: Pop times are pop times, but any other gains he can make defensively behind the plate in terms of receiving or blocking could help shore up his projection as a major league catcher. Also, how his approach translates against better Double-A arms.