Mets Prospect Performance Meter: July

Mets 2013 first-rounder Dominic Smith - (Photo Credit: Bryan Green)

Wheeler schmeeler; the Mets system is still an impressive showcase of top-tier pitching, with some nice offensive performances sprinkled in.

It's an exciting time in the Mets farm system. Aside from graduating the organization's top prospect, short-season leagues are underway and all of the team's top young minor leaguers are finally on the field. Additionally, we've seen the first wave of promotions with more sure to come.

Note, comments in this space correlate exclusively to each player's recent performance, not necessarily any placement in rankings.

Prospect This Month Comment
Travis d'Arnaud, C The boot is off. Unfortunately, d'Arnaud is still experiencing some (customary) pain in his foot during his rehab; looks like it will still be a little while before game action -- meaning we're likely well over a month from seeing him in Queens.
Noah Syndergaard, RHP He's been downright outstanding since a late-June promotion to Binghamton. In three starts he's posted a 1.50 ERA with 23 strikeouts versus just 4 walks in 18 innings. He's also posted a 24.7% swinging-strikeout rate thus far; the league leader (min. 50 IP) is 20.6%. Suddenly he's making a strong case to leapfrog d'Arnaud as the system's overall no. one.
Cory Mazzoni, RHP Mazzoni has pitched to decent results of late; however, the promising sign to take from his recent performance has been the drastic uptick in strikeouts. After striking out 20 batters over his first five starts of 2013, he's dispatched 50 over the next six. And that league leader in swinging-strikeout rate? Yeah, that's Mazzoni. Regardless, scouts are still torn on his long-term role.
Domingo Tapia, RHP
He's been up-and-down in 2013, his first season at Advanced-A. He's shown the same tantalizing fastball as before, but I do consider the the ballooning walk rate (see, 10.4 BB%) a genuine disappointment.
Wilmer Flores, 2B
Flores is the only player in the top 15 in the PCL in OPS under the age of 24. In fact, the 21-year-old is actually the fourth-youngest player in the league and while we have to remember it is Las Vegas, he's starting to showcase the kind of dynamic offensive profile to make us a lot more forgiving about his lack of defensive value.
Michael Fulmer, RHP
After a three-month delay, the 2011 supplemental-rounder is finally underway. In his first start with St. Lucie the hard-throwing righty allowed three runs with five strikeouts in five innings.
Brandon Nimmo, OF
In 23 April games, Nimmo batted .322/.421/.433. In 35 games since the injury that put him on the shelf he's batted .226/.335/.307. Obviously the 12% walk rate is nice, but the 29% strikeout rate ain't gonna fly at any level -- especially not with a sub-.100 ISO. He's still very young, but it's somewhat discouraging that the more we see of him the lower his ceiling seems to get.
Rafael Montero, RHP
Triple-A has proven a more challenging test for the 22-year-old, who has a 4.65 ERA in six outings. While he's still striking out plenty of batters, the walks are wayyy up, and hitters are finding him much easier to square up (see, .312 opponent average). This is what we meant when we said mid-rotation profile (no Pedro comps lately, huh?).
Phillip Evans, SS
After a brutal first half of the SAL season where he batted .205/.274/.367, Evans has rebounded batting .327/.391/.491. For reference, he has as many extra-base hits (seven) in the second half as he did in the first -- in almost a quarter of the games.
Jenrry Mejia, RHP
After a 'flareup' of the forearm issue kept him off the mound (again), his rehab has gotten back underway -- this time in the GCL.
Hansel Robles, RHP
It's been a season of stops and starts for the 22-year-old after he received a lot more attention when he was placed on the 40-man roster this winter. A recent oblique injury had him on the sidelines since mid-May. Fortunately, the stuff hasn't been compromised as he's still striking out about a batter an inning for St. Lucie.
Jacob DeGrom, RHP
Recently promoted to Triple-A as the 51s needed someone to take innings. Thing is he hadn't been stellar with Binghamton, posting a 4.80 ERA in ten starts. His first five starts have been up and down -- like the rest of his season. The strikeouts are still up though, lending more credence to the relief profile.
Kevin Plawecki, C
The 22-year-old catcher has been nearly as good since being promoted to Advanced-A, batting .322/.365/.441. The only issue is that after posting a nearly 9% walk rate in Savannah, he's managed just two free passes with St. Lucie. Also, he played a game at first the other day; however, pay no mind. Lauded for his skills behind the plate, this was almost definitely a move to address recent back soreness.
Wilfredo Tovar, SS
It's been a slow climb, but the diminutive Tovar is on the upswing at the dish. Just look at his OPS by month: April - .503 | May - .570 | June - .658 | July - .694
Aderlin Rodriguez, 1B/3B
The 21-year-old Dominican has been on the shelf since June 12th with a hand injury. Before that he was showcasing a much better approach than what we saw back in April -- including five walks versus seven strikeouts in June.
Cesar Puello, OF
The loud tools are finally showing up all over the field as Puello is getting national attention with his outstanding performance for Binghamton. That includes an eye-popping June OPS of 1.362. Still not sure I fully buy the hit tool long-term -- based on his poor approach -- but it's become clear we're looking at a major leaguer. Feeling more comfortable with the Starling Marte-lite comp.
Gabriel Ynoa, RHP
He's got a 1.65 ERA with 41 strikeouts versus five measly walks over his last eight starts. He is benefiting from the vast expanses of Savannah (Home OPS: .517 | Road OPS: .645), but what Ynoa is doing is looking very legit. Simply put, the 20-year-old is pushing his way into the upper echelon of Mets pitching prospects.
Jayce Boyd, 1B
The 2012 sixth-rounder has batted .364 with a trio of homers and a .999 OPS over his first 17 games in Advanced-A. The plate discipline looks as good as ever and the pop he's shown thus far -- in two offense-suppressing environments -- is beginning to quell concerns about his long-term power potential.
Jack Leathersich, LHP
After mastering Double-A, the Leather Rocket has had a lot more difficulty with Triple-A hitters, allowing runs in each of his first three appearances for Las Vegas and posting a 7.15 ERA overall. The good thing is that the strikeouts are still up, but so are the walks and the hits. It's a definite concern for a guy that doesn't have premium stuff.
Cory Vaughn, OF
An ailing elbow landed Vaughn on the DL at the beginning of June, interrupting a very strong season for the 24-year-old. Fortunately, it looks like he won't require surgery so at this point he's on the rehab trail down in PSL; hopefully he'll be able to pick up right where he left off.
Dominic Smith, 1B
The 17-year-old from Cali has posted a .227/.300/.364 line through 12 pro games. Still way to soon to start making any sort of judgments.
Gavin Cecchini, SS
The 2012 first-rounder was off to a so-so start for Brooklyn (.259/.305/.315) when a high ankle sprain placed him on the DL. Unfortunately, these things can take time to heal and in the short-season leagues time is at a premium.
Zach Lutz, 1B/3B
Back to Vegas. In trademark Lutz fashion, a DL-induced missed opportunity has led Satin to pass him in the organizational pecking order. As both guys can attest, these chances have been few and far between -- the next one will probably come in another organization for Lutz.
Steven Matz, LHP
Posting a 0.68 ERA over his last four starts, including a .128 opponent average and just two extra-base hits allowed after running into some blister woes earlier this season. This kind of dominance paired with special stuff from the left side could end up being the biggest story in this system by year's end -- provided that the 22-year-old Matz can continue to stay healthy.
Rainy Lara, RHP
After pacing the SAL in ERA (1.42), Rainy has posted a 2.61 ERA in seven starts for St. Lucie. Furthermore, his excellent peripherals remain intact, with some slight regression in the form of more hits and walks -- expected from a guy who doesn't possess top-notch stuff. Regardless, he's still showing enough to remain in the discussion as a long-term major league piece.
Jeffrey Walters, RHP
The 25-year-old former seventh-rounder has been excellent in 2013, opening a lot of eyes and placing himself in the discussion as a future major league bullpen piece. He's got his velocity up into the mid-to-high 90s and his performance has benefited; he's posted a 2.50 ERA with a .223 opponent average and over a strikeout an inning as the Binghamton closer this season.

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