Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
The Mets' farm system has improved, but Jonathan Mayo is even higher on some players than other outlets.
#6: Travis d'Arnaud
If it hadn’t been for some injuries, talk about d’Arnaud as a prospect would have long been a thing of the past and the buzz would be about him as one of the bright young catching stars in the big leagues. In 2012, he was tearing up the Pacific Coast League when he tore the PCL in his left knee. During the offseason, he was traded for an ace for the second time in his career. Initially a Phillies prospect, he was dealt to Toronto in the Roy Halladay deal. This time, he was the key part of a package sent from the Blue Jays to the Mets for R.A. Dickey. When healthy, he has the tools to be a top-flight all-around backstop.
The placement of d'Arnaud this high comes as no surprise, as the young catcher showed considerable promise in Triple-A last season before getting hurt. He should slot in as the Mets' catcher by mid-season with a chance to be a mainstay at the position for the next five to ten years. He was placed just behind Taijuan Walker and just ahead of Jose Fernandez. Both are considered to be among the best pitching prospects in baseball.
#8: Zack Wheeler
He came to the Mets in the 2011 deal for Carlos Beltran and in his first full season with his new organization, the two-time Futures Game participant reached Triple-A. Wheeler has evolved from more of a thrower into a complete pitcher, one who isn’t far from helping out at the big league level. Tall and projectable, Wheeler is a power pitcher with a feel for three pitches. His fastball is already plus, touching 98 mph, with some sink and he can add and subtract from it. He throws two breaking balls, a curve he’s always had and a newer slider, both of which can be at least above-average. His changeup has improved and should be an average third offering.
Wheeler and d'Arnaud both rank in the top 10 on this list, highlighting the excellent job that Sandy Alderson has done to acquire young talent. Wheeler and Harvey could combine at the top of the rotation for the next decade to give the Mets one of the most formidable duos in baseball.
When putting these two with d'Arnaud behind the plate, the Mets are in a really exciting place right now in terms of having premium talent at places where it is tough to find it. Wheeler could be in Flushing by mid-season if things go well for the right-hander in Las Vegas.
#29: Noah Syndergaard
Syndergaard had a very successful full-season debut where he made the All-Star team, held hitters to a .212 average and struck out 10.6 per nine innings. He uses his height well, throwing downhill with some movement. Though his fastball is plus, thrown up to 96 mph consistently, he’s more than just a thrower. His power curve has improved as he’s added velocity to it and it could be an above-average breaking ball in the future. He has a power changeup as well, which is still a work in progress, but could give him a third above-average offering.
This ranking was the shocker, as while Syndergaard is highly-regarded, no one has him this high. The 6-5 right-hander throws a huge fastball that some have put a 7 grade on, so while this grade may be premature, it is not insane.
In case you're missing my theme, this is another excellent move by Sandy Alderson. The second-best prospect acquired for R.A. Dickey, Syndergaard could go on to be a 2-starter and provide similar value in a few seasons.
As I mentioned at the top, Mayo tends to go his own route when it comes to prospect ranking. While the placement of d'Arnaud and Wheeler is hardly anything to write home about, Syndergaard at 29 will either look genius or idiotic at the end of the season. He is a candidate to break out similar to how Wheeler did when he came to the Mets. Mayo's list is another example of how Alderson has done a great job acquiring young, impact talent through trades. The Mets could be poised for long-term success very soon.