That's right, the most thorough, most analytical, and most relevant Mets prospect ranking on the internet is back for a mid-summer update!
Typically I don't like to affect too much change to player valuation based on a half-season of performance (or lack thereof). In fact, to me a midseason review is more a temperature check than anything, as you're pretty much aiming at a moving target.
However, I do think there's value in gauging where the top players in the system stand as a lot can happen in what is a somewhat significant sample. And you will notice that there are some guys who made rather significant moves, one way or another.
Just for reference, this is a refresh of the 2012 Preseason Mets Top 50 Prospects list, originally published back in February. Additionally, you can click on any of the player names to see their pre-season profiles.
*NOTE - This list does NOT include 2012 draftees
1) RHP Zack Wheeler (Preseason Rank: 2)
Developing command of his top shelf stuff paired with dominance of Double-A makes this a no-brainer
2) RHP Matt Harvey (1)
Steady as she goes
3) IF/OF Jordany Valdespin (6)
Boasts perhaps the highest ceiling of any non-pitcher in this system, showcasing many of those skills at the Major League level; burgeoning defensive versatility an added bonus
4) IF Wilmer Flores (11)
Elite bat is back as power development finally kicked into gear, enough so to quell concerns about defensive home
5) RHP Jenrry Mejia* (5)
Still younger than Familia, high-end stuff is back after surgery; needs to shake off rust and settle into a role
*Again, no longer rookie-eligible so he won't truly count on this list, but we mention him because for all intents and purposes he's still a prospect
5) RHP Jeurys Familia (3)
Struggling in Triple-A debut as one of the youngest at the level isn't the end of the world, needs more time
6) OF Brandon Nimmo (7)
Status unchanged; still based on elite scouting reports, not early performance
7) RHP Domingo Tapia (22)
Rockets up the list based on a nasty sinker that consistently hits triple digits; finally striking guys out and still not walking anyone
8) 3B Aderlin Rodriguez (17)
One of the youngest in the SAL features some of the best power; improving offensive approach/hit tool overshadows defensive issues
9) SS Phillip Evans (23)
Quickly showcasing the kind of skills to validate those 'potential first rounder' draft reports and prove he's a legit blue chip talent up the middle
10) RHP Michael Fulmer (12)
After early struggles the hard-throwing teenage righty quickly adapted to begin dominating hitters -- on average -- two years his senior
11) OF Matt den Dekker (15)
Impressive showing in Double-A but more of the same poor plate discipline still really handicaps his ceiling
12) SS Wilfredo Tovar (24)
If Tovar can replicate early season numbers in Double-A he's an easy pick for the top ten, perhaps top five
13) 3B Jefry Marte (21)
Fading a bit after an early season surge but overall numbers still pleasantly surprising from one of the youngest hitters in Double-A
14) OF Cesar Puello (8)
Certainly not lighting the world on fire at High-A, and perhaps becoming an even bigger concern is his problem staying healthy
15) RHP Collin McHugh (25)
Unheralded thanks to so-so stuff, just keeps doing his thing at Triple-A
16) RHP Cory Mazzoni (13)
Drops a few spots based on middling performance/scouting reports at High-A
17) OF Juan Lagares (10)
Move to CF and improved plate discipline help, but without much power he's got to hit a lot and hasn't
18) RHP Elvin Ramirez (NR)
Breakthrough prospect of 2012; faltered since the brief call-up but Minor League numbers still point to a strong late relief prospect, needs to sharpen the command some
19) LHP Josh Edgin (28)
Opened eyes in Spring Training, dominated Double-A but struggling a bit more with Triple-A; still looks like a good power lefty reliever
20) RHP Rafael Montero (44)
After his tremendous pro debut in 2011, slender righthander is proving he's legit by moving through A-ball without much issue at age 21
21) RHP Luis Mateo (43)
Like Montero, shoots up this list by validating a dominant pro debut with more of the same in A-ball; good build, mid-90's heat and strong command means there's potential to rise a lot more before the end of the season
22) 3B Zach Lutz (16)
Same old story, he hits but he's hurt
23) 2B Reese Havens (9)
Relatively healthier but suddenly not really performing; hit tool was never special but as BABIP normalizes and career Minor League average nestles in below .260 suddenly I'm wondering if it was ever even above average
24) IF Josh Satin
After a slow start he's back to his high walk, high doubles games, even adding some more home run pop; gunning for Justin Turner's job
25) OF Cory Vaughn (20)
Basically stagnant; power and patience look even better but continually terrible average as a 23-yr old in A-ball doesn't speak well of his hit tool
26) RHP Akeel Morris (18)
19-yr old drops a bit after beginning to confirm fears that when throwing more strikes, he's not a little but a lot more hittable
27) LHP Darin Gorski (19)
Thoroughly dominated A-ball based mainly on secondary stuff, same routine isn't working in Double-A
28) RHP Armando Rodriguez (17)
Transitioning into full-time relief role nicely; profiles as a Beato-esque reliever that's tough on righties, not so much on lefties
29) C Cam Maron (45)
Continues to successfully feature Thole Jr. approach at the plate in his first taste of A-ball
30) OF Darrell Ceciliani (26)
Intriguing when he's on the field, but inability to stay healthy is becoming a real concern
31) RHP Tyler Pill (35)
Polished college righty handled Low-A exactly as he should have
32) RHP Logan Verrett (37)
33) LHP Jack Leathersich (29)
Continues to strike everyone out, though finding High-A a tad trickier; talks of possibly starting have disappeared
34) OF Travis Taijeron (48)
Beat up SAL featuring some of the best power in the system, but uphill climb continues for the 23-yr old in A-ball that strikes out at a 25+% clip
35) C Albert Cordero (14)
Biggest disappointment of 2012 by far; completely floundering offensively after handling the same level in 2011, recent past performance and positional value buoys him for now
36) LHP Steven Matz (NR)
Finally pitching AND the mid-90's velo is back; potential is still very high but I'll need to see a good chunk of innings before I feel comfortable with his arm health
37) RHP Chris Schwinden (32)
Passed around like a rented mule this season; had more success in Triple-A but didn't fare well in Majors debut
38) IF Danny Muno (27)
Put up more solid numbers early, but PED suspension creates uncertainty here
39) RHP Erik Goeddel (31)
Shined early but he's missing far fewer bats, relief is once again looking like the long-term answer
40) RHP Jacob DeGrom (NR)
2010 ninth rounder coming out of nowhere after TJ, boasting legit major league stuff
41) OF Vicente Lupo (NR)
Always tough to value DSL contributions but aside from putting up some damn impressive totals so far he's got the scouting report -- and signing bonus -- to match
42) LHP Juan Urbina (30)
Reports of a bad XST, mid-80's velocity, initial assignment to Brooklyn bullpen followed by demotion back to Kingsport and nothing but middling performance on his resume, can you say overhyped bloodline prospect?
43) IF/OF Eric Campbell (NR)
Re-emerging as an on-base machine with a strong bat; however not enough power for a corner still leaves him without a true Major League profile
44) OF Bradley Marquez (39)
Move to CF official, prospect status unchanged for now though can't say I'm in love with the football/baseball timetable, check back in two years I guess
45) OF Gilbert Gomez (49)
After 2011 second half breakthrough, athletic 20-yr old has acquitted himself nicely in A-ball
46) LHP Mark Cohoon (34)
Continues to have trouble above Double-A and with mediocre at best stuff, looking more and more like Minor League filler
47) IF Juan Carlos Gamboa (38)
Shifted to second to make space for Evans; showcasing the strong plate discipline that put him on the map in 2010
48) LHP Adam Kolarek (NR)
2010 11th rounder features plus velocity from the left side as well as a 12+ K/9 and and a .150 mark against lefties in High-A
49) RHP Taylor Whitenton (41)
Still posting impressive strikeout and ERA totals after transitioning to bullpen High-A, though walk rates have ballooned back up
50) LHP Robert Carson (47)
Least impressive of all the potential LOOGYs on this list; fourth straight season with an opponent average at or above .270
Honorable Mentions: RHP Luis Cessa, C Francisco Pena, C Juan Centeno, RHP Jeffrey Walters, RHP Adrian Rosario
Dropped Off the Pre-Season Top 50: RHP Josh Stinson* (33), IF Robbie Shields (40), RHP Greg Peavey (42), RHP Nick Carr* (46), RHP Ryan Fraser (50)
*Left the organization
- Obviously I like Valdespin...a lot. Frankly, I think he gets judged too harshly for his age -- something I got into this winter -- and there's not enough respect for the fact that he is a middle infielder who could legitimately go 20/20 in the bigs...soon. For anyone that doesn't know, that's really valuable. Now I won't say that I categorically disagree with the 'trade him while the stock is high' sentiment going around lately -- he's still got a lot of rawness to work out. I'm just saying that I do think his stock is extremely high, and it is neither undeserving nor is it unsustainable. Again, he's got work to do to reach that ceiling but the fact that he's done it consistently now at the highest levels gives me a lot of confidence.
- I broke my own rule a couple times about resisting drastic change at the midpoint, mainly with Montero and Mateo jumping by over 20 spots in less than a few months time. Though to be fair I did say that both of these guys had huge fast riser potential before the season:
"Tempting to rank both guys higher on this list based on some outstanding numbers but I'm waiting for results against more age-appropriate competition before I really get excited."
- Similarly, Tapia and Evans made big jumps but again, these were guys who we knew had elite potential and just had to show a little bit before we could take them as legit premium guys...and they have.
- Aderlin moves back into the top ten as we knew all along he had elite power, it was just a matter of his approach letting him use it. And with his BB and K-rates both improving and his hit tool seemingly picking up as a result, he's looking mighty impressive thus far, especially as someone pretty young for his level.
- I had a tough time placing Matz. Obviously the scouting reports are still very good, but with such a short resume based on arm injuries it's hard to place him much higher so soon.
- I had a tough time with Cory Vaughn too. Hard to ding him too much as he's improved a lot of his key peripherals considerably this year. Problem is that while his eye is clearly good and when he does hit the ball he's got excellent power, I'm just starting to wonder how good he is at actually hitting the ball. The hit tool just might not be there while all the other tools are. Hopefully that BABIP bounces way back and he proves it was all just a lot of bad luck.
- Urbina lost out again, dropping into the 40's. And to echo my sentiment from this winter, I just don't see what he's got to hang his hat on at this point. What I said then is still true now, perhaps even more so after a terrible spring:
Frankly, I wonder what his stock would look like were his last name not 'Urbina'. I would personally rather have him earn his way back up the rankings with further development (than place him high and) have him sink his way further down with continued stagnation.
- Speaking of lefties on the decline, am I being too hard on Robert Carson? To me, for pitchers there are few worse harbingers for future success than high opponent averages in the low minors....and Carson has been putting up stinkers at every level since '09.
- I think there's a case to be made for Schwinden to drop a little harder considering he's been passed around in true Triple-A depth fashion. Not the best sign if 3-4 separate clubs scouted and dropped him that easily. It's just hard for me to kill him when there's a decent amount that points to him starting in the Majors -- and having some success -- in under two weeks.
So that's that. Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below!