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.
5. Michael Conforto
I didn't see enough of Conforto this year to give him a full "Behind the Backstop," so I feel a little weird ranking him here at all. When it comes time to lock down my 2015 Mets prospect list, I will probably be going more off others' reports than my own two brief looks, only one of which featured him in left field. I am a bit concerned about how long the swing is and the ball didn't really jump off his bat, but Conforto is a prospect I won't really get a feel for until Double-A.
If I were making an "acquire list," I would probably have Molina ahead of Plawecki. I just don't know if that is the right way to do a "prospect list."
Plawecki is a guy I've generally been lower on than most, but he's a future major leaguer behind the plate with a good shot at being an everyday catcher. What he is not is an upgrade on Travis d'Arnaud on either the offensive or defensive side of the game. d'Arnaud may eventually be forced off catcher, but I don't think it will be because of Plaw.
The ranking of the top two Mets prospects I saw this year was the toughest decision for me across the whole list. I suppose you could also say then that it doesn't really matter, as there's only an eyelash or two between Nimmo and Herrera as prospects. I am often wrong about such things, but I think most other sources will have Herrera comfortably higher based on his better statistical performance in Binghamton and 66 MLB plate appearances where he didn't look completely overmatched. That's not unreasonable, but I just don't see much difference in the future projections here. Herrera and Nimmo are both prospects with the potential to be above-average everyday regulars, a floor of useful bench pieces, and a likely outcome somewhere in the middle. Herrera got to the majors first, and he strikes me as more of an early peak guy than Nimmo. However, he might not improve much past what he is right now. There's no standout tool or much projection here, rather a broad base of baseball skills. Yes, Herrera's a plus runner and has good power for his size, but looks more like a 10-15 home run guy to me. He's mechanical in the field, but athletic enough to be a solid, if unspectacular, second baseman.
Nimmo has his own flaws of course. The plus-power projection still hasn't shown up in games, he struggles badly against southpaws, and the overall profile doesn't look nearly as appealing in a corner (though he can play CF for me, he probably won't for the Mets). However, his approach is much more advanced than Herrera's, and he's more likely to put 20 over the fence in the majors. In the end, I think Nimmo will be better for longer, though Herrera might have the higher peak. As I said, there just isn't that much between them, and both are Top 100 types, albeit likely on the back half of that kind of list.
The ten best prospects I saw this year, non-Mets division:
1. J.P. Crawford (SS-Phillies)
2. Mookie Betts (2B- Red Sox)
3. Blake Swihart (C- Red Sox)
4. Aaron Sanchez (RHP- Blue Jays)
5. Kyle Freeland (LHP- Rockies)
6. Ramiel Tapia (CF- Rockies)
7. Kennys Vargas (1B/DH- Twins)
8. Ryan McMahon (3B- Rockies)
9. Deivi Grullon (C- Phillies)
10. Domingo Leyba (2B- Tigers)