It's that time of year again. The minor league seasons have wrapped up, the Arizona Fall League is in full swing, and prospect writers everywhere begin to turn their attention towards making lists. Last year I did a more comprehensive report on each prospect I saw in 2013 at the end of the season. This year since I was writing up most of these guys as I went along, I will include just some additional notes and that all-important ordinal ranking. If I wrote a fuller report on a player, the link is in their name.
We will keep the usual disclaimer:
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 roughly consistent with how I would order the players within the Mets system right now, although that may change between now and when I actually lock down my 2015 list. Oh yeah, I am not a scout.
25. Jimmy Duff
There were more than a handful of other guys I could have put in this spot over Duff. Just on the pitching side, Rainy Lara is closer to the majors, while Miller Diaz and Brad Wieck have a bit more stuff. For bats, Dustin Lawley or LJ Mazzilli have better odds of at least getting a cup of coffee worth of major league service time. However, there is just something about Duff that I like (well, at least enough to put him #25 on this list). Props to Alex Nelson, who was first on the bandwagon in our draft review podcast.
24. Dario Alvarez
I've already answered two e-mails about Alvarez on the podcast, but if you don't know the back story, he started the year as a swingman in Savannah and finished the year in the Mets bullpen. That is quite impressive, but I still have questions about his long-term viability at the major league level. Alvarez is your standard fastball/slider LOOGy type, but the fastball tops out at 91 or so, and the slider is a 40-45 grade offering. He was able to dominate minor league bats due to an extremely funky arm action, but funk only gets you so far against the big boys. The Mets have burned through lefty relievers in recent years, so Alvarez will get opportunities, but the lack of stuff or upside keeps him rather low on my list for a guy that has logged major league innings.
23. Matthew Bowman
I'm going to be lower than most on Bowman, despite seeing him rack up double-digit strikeouts in a start for Binghamton in June. The general commentary I've heard around Bowman this year amounts to, "well, he could be Dillon Gee," but Gee himself is an outlier. His stuff wasn't appreciably better than a half dozen other guys that came up with him in the system, but he is the only one that made an impact in the majors, and even that didn't happen until he developed two useable breaking balls after getting to the bigs. Frankly, Bowman doesn't even have Gee's stuff, and I don't see an obvious fallback bullpen role for him. He's more likely to be Chris Schwinden or Dylan Owen in this case.
22. Wilfredo Tovar
I'm tired of writing about Wilfredo Tovar. I recall someone on twitter recently said he would have a ten-year career and get like 39 plate appearances. That feels about right.
21. Hansel Robles
The Robles who I saw in April and June probably doesn't deserve to be quite this high on my list. As a starter his velocity was down from my Brooklyn looks, and the secondary stuff didn't show up much and wasn't as sharp when it did. He looked like a dude that was headed for the pen, and not necessarily a major-league-quality arm once he got there. The former happened shortly after my second look. As for the latter, well he started touching 98, and in the playoff appearance I saw on MiLB.tv he was sitting in the mid-90s. That plays up from his low armslot and makes me think he can at least be a ROOGy-type in the majors, with a shot at a setup role. It's not super-sexy, but the Zoolander jokes are still in play for y'all.
Up next: A plus shortstop I am not tired of writing about and an outfielder with by far the loudest tools in the system.