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.
14. Jim Fuller, LHP
6' 1", 170 lbs
Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 26.8
Acquired: 21st round, 2008
2013: 50 IP, 28.3 K%, 12.2 BB%, 33 H, 2 HR between St. Lucie (A+) and Binghamton (AA)
Date(s) seen: 7/19/13 @ New Britain Rock Cats (MIN): 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
The short of it: When healthy, he's the best of the long list of LOOGy options in the Mets system right now.
The long of it: Fuller had quite the long trip to get here, indeed he'll turn 27 in the middle of next season. He was part of the vaunted 2010 Savannah rotation, then lost all of 2011 to a torn labrum, and was sitting in the mid-80s when I saw him last year for Savannah. I wrote him up as a non-prospect then, but another full year away from the shoulder surgery and a move to the pen has done wonders for his stuff. Fastball has ticked back up to the upper 80s, touching 91, and one scout referred to it as 'invisible.' The same scout called him 'a major league arm.' Fuller still throws the slow curve and appears to be working a low 80s slider into the mix as well, but it's the fastball deception that's going to be his ticket to the majors as a left-on-left guy. So far, so good as lefties hit just .154/.225/.231 against him this year. If the slider continues to make strides, Fuller could be the guy Terry Collins gets to use in every single game as soon as the middle of next year.
The projection: LOOGy
Risk Factor: Medium. Troubling injury history and had some bicep tendinitis this year. Pretty much is what he is, and will need to tighten up that slider.
What’s next: Trying to figure out how minor league bullpens are going to shake out in September is a fool's errand. Fuller will be in either Binghamton or Vegas. He could be a tempting target in the Rule 5 as well, if a team wants a cheap lefty for their major league pen, but most teams have guys that fit Fuller's profile.
What I'll be looking for in 2014: A more consistent slider and continued health.