The best Mets position prospects I saw this year: #8 Champ Stuart

The countdown of the best Mets prospects we saw in 2013 continues with Kingsport centerfielder, Champ Stuart.

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.

8. Champ Stuart, CF

6', 175 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R

Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 21.5

Acquired: 6th round, 2013

2013: 188 PA, .240/.388/.353, 58 K, 34 BB

Date(s) seen: 8/10/13 and 8/11/13 @ Greeneville Astros

The short of it: Toolsy centerfielder is sashimi-grade raw, but is one of the more intriguing 2013 draftees due to his true centerfield profile.

The long of it: Only saw him for two games as he was banged up this season, but Stuart made an impression. Serious athletic tools here. Ran 4.16 to first (65 speed) on an infield hit and easily stole second. Speed helped the defense play up in the outfield, as his reads aren't great, but Stuart could straight-up cover ground. If he gets better reads and pairs it with his speed and solid-average arm, that's a very attractive profile in center. Notice I haven't talked about his offensive tools yet? Yeah... I'm not convinced he'll hit enough without a major overhaul to the swing. Very noisy setup and he gets his hands set very late, and ends up lunging for off-speed stuff. Not much power projection here either. Still, I was tempted to go even higher with Stuart and I think there is big breakout potential here. As it stands, #8-#6 on this list are very tight in my mind, but I need to see him hit against better competition before I pull the trigger.

The projection: Average major league centerfielder with a glove-first profile.

Risk Factor: Very high. Hit tool/pitch recognition need major jumps, which is a problem. Athletic tools will keep him in the system for a while, but you still have to hit.

What’s next: Stuart was a young draftee by college standards and still is very raw at the plate. I expect him to be assigned to extended Spring Training and then Brooklyn in 2014.

What I'll be looking for in 2014: A quieter swing and more contact in first full pro season. I'll also be looking forward to watching this dude run, either on the bases or in the field. Love me some true centerfielders.

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