The best Mets position prospects I saw this year: #11 Juan Centeno

Gordon Donovan

The countdown of the best Mets prospects we saw in 2013 continues with Juan Centeno, future backup catcher to the stars

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.

11. Juan Centeno, C

5'10", 190

Bats/Throws: L/R

Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 24.4

Acquired: 32nd round, 2007

2013: 261 PA, .301/.339/.373, 24 K, 12 BB between Binghamton (AA) and Las Vegas (AAA)

Date(s) seen: 4/11/13 and 4/12/13 vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR)

The short of it: Welcome to the Fraternal Order of Backup Catchers (FOBC), Mr. Centeno.

The long of it: Well you probably know about the arm by now. I pulled 1.83 on the throw, Ben Lindbergh has 1.78. Either way, that's about as good as it gets. Centeno's throwing is the best in the system, despitenot having what you would call 'elite' arm strength. I generally had him at 1.9-2.0 on his throws (which is still quite good), but he makes up time with a quick transfer and good footwork. His throws are also very accurate. He's well-rounded behind the plate as well. He's a strong receiver and frames well (though not as well as d'Arnaud). He does have issues with balls in the dirt, as he's not great at moving laterally. Overall though, the defensive profile is plus; which is good, because he isn't going to hit a ton. Centeno often gets comp'd to Josh Thole as a left-handed, contact-oriented hitter, but he may actually have less power than Thole and displays a much more aggressive approach. He's going to need to hit for a decent average to stick on a major league diamond, because it's likely to be a pretty empty one. Still, I've seen a lot of Centeno over the last two years, and I think he will stick around the majors for a good long while.

The projection: Defense-first backup catcher

Risk Factor: Low. Centeno is major-league-ready, and the defensive tools should ensure a career at the highest level.

What’s next: If the Mets elect not to go with a veteran backup for Travis d'Arnaud, Centeno is an ideal backup catcher for the 2014 Mets, given his handedness and plus defensive profile.

What I'll be looking for in 2014: Can he hit .240-.250 against major league pitching?

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