7/26/2013 11:00 A.M. ET
Mets' young crop of prospects growing fast
By Chris Iseman / MLB.com
All season long, pitching has dominated the discussion around the Mets. Matt Harvey has taken the National League by storm, and inciting more excitement among fans is that the organization is loaded with talented pitchers who could make an impact in the future.
Aside from Harvey, the Mets called up Zack Wheeler, whom they acquired in a trade with San Francisco in 2011, and he has shown flashes of dominance as he continues to evolve into a consistent Major League pitcher. Both Harvey and Wheeler have the ability to reach 98 mph -- and sometimes higher -- and have stellar secondary pitches that give hitters nightmares. There are plenty of other stud pitchers coming up through the Mets' system, including power arms Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero.
But with their selection of first baseman Dominic Smith in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft and several other talented position players, the Mets' system has some quality bats as well. Travis d'Arnaud, who was injured most of this season after fracturing a bone in his left foot on April 17, could see time in the Major Leagues later this season. Wilmer Flores continues to impress for Triple-A Las Vegas, and Brandon Nimmo won the Final Vote to play in the 2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field.
With a combination of talented arms and bats, the Mets have a stocked farm system that will provide the team with quality talent as it looks to turn into a contender in the near future.
While Wheeler was called up to the Major Leagues, he's still learning how to navigate big league lineups. Fastball command continues to be the key to his success, and he's still figuring how to get hitters out early in counts so he can go deep into ballgames. If Wheeler can correct the lingering issues precluding him from achieving dominance, he and Harvey could be a dominant 1-2 punch in the rotation.
But no one in the organization has graduated from the rankings completely as their prospects continue to develop.
Wilfredo Tovar fell out of the No. 16 spot because his offensive numbers weren't as impressive as the position players who worked their way onto the midseason rankings. It hasn't helped that he's developing slowly, as the 21-year-old didn't advance from Class A until 2012. Tovar's primary asset is his glove, as he projects to be able to play shortstop at a high level. But his bat lags behind.
Shortstop Matt Reynolds was ranked No. 17 by MLB.com. Drafted as a third baseman, Reynolds has shown he can be a quality defender as he continues to develop. If he ever does move back to third or second base, Reynolds could be above average.
Two other shortstops, Phil Evans and Amed Rosario, dropped off the Nos. 19 and 20 spots, respectively. The Mets paid Evans more than his Draft spot demanded to keep him from going to San Diego State, but so far, his bat hasn't lived up to expectations. But with a strong arm, Evans is a solid defender who could be a very quality shortstop as he continues to develop. Rosario, meanwhile, still has a long way to go before making an impact at the Major League level. He's only 17, but Rosario has shown ample promise as a great defender and a quality bat that could be dangerous down the line. The Mets spent $1.75 million to sign him, so they're hoping the investment pays off.
mets' top prospects
When the Mets drafted Smith with their first-round pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, they added a bat that's full of potential as well as a capable glove at first base. The Los Angeles product has a beautiful left-handed swing that scouts considered one of the best in the talent pool leading up to the Draft.
A good defensive first baseman as well, the Mets are thrilled to have a well-rounded player like Smith in their organization. Now slotted as the No. 7 prospect, Smith projects to be a very good first baseman in the Majors.
Cesar Puello moved up nine slots in the rankings after putting up incredible numbers with Double-A Binghamton. Just 22 years old, Puello has quickly become one of the best hitters in the organization. He's still progressing as an outfielder, but his bat makes up for any potential shortcomings.
Behind d'Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki is the best catcher in the Mets' system. While more of an offensive-minded catcher, Plawecki is working on his skills as a receiver, showing a strong arm and an ability to work with pitchers effectively.
Hansel Robles dropped seven spots in the rankings as he continues to refine his pitches and develop into a consistent pitcher. At just 22, Robles has plus-stuff and has some developing to do before he makes an impact at the next level.
Top 100 representation
Wheeler has already seen time in the Major Leagues, and is still learning how to command his pitches at the next level. But his impressive track record in the Minor Leagues earned him a spot at No. 8, and for good reason. He showed plenty of potential with an electrifying arsenal, and despite some struggles, Wheeler has shown he's one of the best and most exciting young pitchers in the game.
Syndergaard, ranked at No. 14, is among the next crop of pitchers coming up through the system. Much like Wheeler, Syndergaard is a hard thrower with tremendous secondary pitches. He's a great young talent who is nearing his chance to pitch on a Major League mound.
After an injury-plagued season, the ceiling is still very high for d'Arnaud at No. 23, and he could be in the big leagues toward the end of this season.
As an organization, the Mets have some nice talent coming up through the system. With three players in the Top 100, their future looks bright as they work toward becoming a contender. Although eight teams have more than three players in the Top 100, the Mets' three studs are very highly touted. They rank seventh in prospect points, a system that awards teams based on how highly their prospects rank.
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.