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Mets Prospect Performance Meter, Mid-May

Midway through the second month of the season and the headlines are -- predictably -- dominated by top tier pitchers. However, if you look closely enough there are some hitters showing promise as well.

St. Lucie's Aderlin Rodriguez has been on  tear since the calendar flipped to May.
St. Lucie's Aderlin Rodriguez has been on tear since the calendar flipped to May.
(Photo Credit: Bryan Green)

With an overall record of 84 and 67, the Mets minor league affiliates have been largely successful thus far. More importantly, many of the club's top prospects are performing—specifically, the top tier of pitching talent. Additionally, despite the general paucity of impact positional talent throughout the organization, there's been a general uptick in outfield performance as well.

Note, performance indicators—meaning green and red arrows—correlate to a player's recent performance, not necessarily any movement in rankings.

Prospect This Month Comment
Zack Wheeler, RHP With three earned and 19 strikeouts over his last 20 innings pitched (three starts), it seems that the only thing standing in the way of an impending promotion to the majors is a potential injury. The mysterious clavicle thing sounds pretty innocuous, however, so don't be surprised to see Wheeler in Queens by this time next month.
Travis d'Arnaud, C Scheduled for a followup in New York on May 17th; it has now been about four weeks since the foot injury; the initial prognosis called for eight weeks on the shelf.
Noah Syndergaard, RHP The ERA is down to 2.61 as he continues to dominate the Florida State League. Since the seven-run blow up in April, the 20-year-old has allowed just two earned runs over the past 26 innings (four starts) versus 23 strikeouts and just six walks.
Collin McHugh, RHP After posting a 2.74 ERA in Las Vegas -- including one run over his last 14 IP -- the 25-year-old got the call up to Queens last weekend. He'll get his first shot out of the bullpen, where he'll likely be a jack-of-all-trades reliever, long-man, and spot starter -- a role that makes sense both for the player and the club.
Domingo Tapia, RHP
After getting on a serious roll (i.e., three earned over his last 20 IP) Tapia hit the DL on May 11th with a burn to his non-pitching hand (You've won this -- and every other -- round, George Foreman grill). Unfortunate as reports had been good on his improving slider.
Wilmer Flores, 2B
Just keeps doing the damn thing. Still batting about .270 with almost as many walks as strikeouts; but hit a couple bombs since we last checked. Is it unfair to expect an offensive tear from one of the league's youngest players?
Brandon Nimmo, OF
Finally hit the DL on May 9th after a hand injury had sapped most of his production. The 20-year-old is on the seven-day DL meaning we should expect him back any day now.
Rafael Montero, RHP
He's slowed his otherworldly pace of late -- including an unheard of five walks in a three-start period (gasp!). That, however, only means that he's sort of dominating the Eastern League, instead of completely obliterating it. It wasn't going to be as easy as it looked; however, I still expect a promotion to Vegas around the time Wheeler gets the call.
Jeurys Familia, RHP
Hit the major league DL on May 12th with biceps tendinitis. He's posting a decent 3.48 ERA through nine appearances with the big club thus far. Homers in each of his last two appearances -- not to mention as many walks as strikeouts (seven) -- have hampered the overall results.
Jenrry Mejia, RHP
Remember me? Despite being transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Rick Ankiel on the 40-man roster, Mejia has resumed throwing after being shut down with a sore forearm. Expect the 23-year-old to make a quick stop in St. Lucie soon, followed by an extended stay at Las Vegas -- potentially in relief.
Jacob DeGrom, RHP
The 24-year old hasn't been awful in his first month at Double-A, but he certainly hasn't been as good as we may have hoped based on his stuff and the success he had with St. Lucie. His ERA now stands at 4.86 after six starts and Eastern League batters are hitting .288 against him. Also, a K/9 around six does not point to a long-term starter.
Kevin Plawecki, C
Cooling off a tad, batting .235 with just two doubles in his last ten games. Still, he's second in the SAL in batting (.370), third in OPS (1.072), and leads the league in doubles (19) -- not to mention just 18 strikeouts in 36 games.
Wilfredo Tovar, SS
Still batting just .226, but he seems to be getting his feet underneath him -- hitting .290 over his last ten games. The lack of power is still annoying, if unsurprising, but he really will have to improve on just three walks so far this season if he's to project to the next level.
Aderlin Rodriguez, 1B/3B
The biggest power bat in the system is finally heating up after a tough April. In his last ten he's batting .333 with three homers and he's got his ISO back over .200 where it belongs. What's more, he's even walked five times after starting the season in a serious base-on-balls drought. The shift to first continues as he's seeing less and less time at third.
Cesar Puello, OF
Batting .310 with four homers over his last ten. The 22-year-old still has flaws in his game (see, 25:7 strikeout-to-walk rate and an on-base game built on batting average and HBPs), but a .288/.357/.510 line with five homers and seven stolen bases (0 CS) in Double-A is nothing to sneeze at -- especially when you consider the major league tools. Interestingly, he's played almost strictly in right field this year.
Gabriel Ynoa, RHP
The 37 hits in 39.2 innings aren't a great sign, but the 37 strikeouts in that span certainly help. Further a top ten swinging strikeout rate in the SAL speaks to the depth of his very advanced change up, not to mention his very strong command (4.3%).
Phillip Evans, SS
The 18% strikeout rate is so-so, the 11% walk rate is great. Ultimately, he just doesn't look like he's got the hit tool to project, especially if he doesn't stick at short.
Jack Leathersich, LHP
In 4.2 May innings, the 22-year-old has 12 strikeouts versus one walk. On the season he boasts the third-best K-rate in the Eastern League (42.3%) and batters are hitting .190 against him (strangely, lefties are batting .357 against him). If he keeps this up -- and Josh Edgin continues to struggle -- there's a chance we could see the Leather Rocket sooner than expected.
Cory Vaughn, OF
At .294/.379/.500, the 24-year-old is certainly doing his best to disprove the idea that he doesn't have enough bat for the highest levels. While his strikeout rate remains alarmingly high (25%), he's maintained a double-digit walk rate while showcasing the same power/speed combo that has always made him intriguing. Plus, he's 12-for-24 against lefthanders this season.
Juan Lagares, OF
He's certainly been very exciting on the defensive side of the ball. His offense, however, has been somewhat offensive (.139/.184/.167).
Zach Lutz, 1B/3B
After a very slow start, the 25-year-old pseudo-prospect is now batting .324 over his last ten games, including three home runs. It should be pointed out that a major league-ready power bat who also happens to be on the 40-man roster can only mash for so long before the big club takes notice. In other words, Ike, you might want to start hitting.
Steven Matz, LHP
The Long Island native has been just fine so far, striking out more than a batter an inning and posting a very strong sub-three ERA. The problem is that his walk rate (3.14) remains a touch high while Sally League hitters are hitting .284 against him. In any case, he's still showcasing the kind of mid-90's heat from the left side that makes him a top tier arm by default.
Rainy Lara, RHP
The 22-year-old has quietly allowed a single earned run over his past 21.1 innings, compiling 23 strikeouts versus one (yes, I said one) strikeout walk in that span. He doesn't garner as much praise from the scouting community as fellow Gnats Matz or Ynoa, but it's hard to argue with these results.

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