New York Mets 2011 Minor League Review
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:
2011 (20) | 2010 (25) | 2009 (17) | 2008 (28) | 2007 (13) | 2006 (28)
2011 Affiliate Records
MLB: [77-85] NL East
AAA: [61-82] International League – Buffalo
AA: [65-76] Eastern League – Binghampton
A+: [72-68] Florida State League – St. Lucie
A: [79-60] South Atlantic League – Savannah
A(ss): [49-29] New York Penn League – Brooklyn
R: [39-29] Appalachian League – Kingsport
The Run Down
In their acquisition of Zach Wheeler from San Francisco in the Carlos Beltran trade, the Mets bolstered their farm system, tremendously. Wheeler possesses multiple plus offerings to devastate AA hitters in 2012. He’s probably a year or two away from the big leagues, though, so don’t bother queuing him in your standard league auctions. The Mets do, however, have a couple pitchers worth noting for 2012 fantasy purposes (see Harvey & Familia). And it might be interesting to keep an eye on Jenrry Mejia, who should be back from Tommy John surgery by June. Their system also features a handful of hitting prospects (Havens, Flores, Lagares, Puello) who’ll make nice regulars in the near future. I’m skeptical that any of them will arrive before September, though.
Arizona Fall League Players – Peoria Javelinas
Robert Carson (LHP); Collin McHugh (RHP); Erik Turgeon (RHP); Taylor Whitenton (RHP); Juan Centeno (C); Wilfredo Tovar (2B)
Justin Turner (2B); Lucas Duda (1B); Fernando Martinez (OF); Dillon Gee (RHP); Pedro Beato (RHP); Ryota Igarashi (RHP)
Players of Interest
Kirk Nieuwenhuis | OF:
Stephen noted Nieuwenhuis’s struggles at AAA in his 2010 Mets Review. But before labrum surgery ended his 2011, the outfield prospect was doing a fine job of quelling any skepticism regarding those 2010 numbers. In 221 plate appearances with Buffalo in 2011, Nieuwenhuis slashed .298/.403/.505 in 221 trips to the plate, including 25 XBH. His K% (26.7%) is still concerning, but his BB% was much improved, and along with it, his OBP and SB. We’ll see how long it takes him to get back on track following surgery. I do anticipate Nieuwenhuis to arrive at some point in 2012, though.
Matt Harvey | RHP – SP:
In his first year of pro ball, Harvey totaled 156 K’s in 136 IP between High A and AA. He’ll begin 2012 in AAA. With a high 90s fastball and a filthy slider, he projects as a frontline guy. Harvey could certainly get a shot if the Mets’ rotation isn’t healthy.
Jeurys Familia | RHP – SP:
After a shaky 2010, Familia corrected himself in 2011. He’ll be pitching in the Buffalo rotation to begin 2012, but if he can command his impressive fastball against AAA hitting, I suspect we’ll see Familia up with the Mets before long. Whether that will be as a starting pitcher or as a late-innings reliever remains a mystery. I’m thinking the latter is more likely.
Chris Schwinden | RHP – SP:
Until he incorporated a cutter into his repertoire in 2010, Schwinden was a rather boring pitching prospect. If you ask me, he’s still pretty boring, but that doesn’t change the fact that he earned four starts with the big club in 2011, and given that experience, he’ll be back up if needed in 2012. Mixing four pitches (FB, CT, CB & CH) with decent command, Schwinden, I suppose, could be worth a look as a spot-starter or as a two-start plugin in weekly formats.
Reese Havens | 2B:
The 2008 first round pick is yet to play a full season. Injuries have been tough on Havens. A protruding rib caused him to miss almost all of 2010, and a back issue kept him out for extended stretches in 2011. When healthy, though, Havens has always hit, and his career AA line (.301/.379/.505 in 317 PA) provides a glimpse at his potential. The Mets are surely guarding their expectations until they’ve seen he can play a full season. But provided he can stay healthy, Havens seems to be New York’s best long-term option at 2B. I’m thinking a 2013 arrival is most likely, here.
Wilmer Flores | 3B/SS:
In a full season at High A, Flores posted a .689 OPS. Unimpressive, I know. Scouts love the kid, though, and at 20 years old he’ll be one of the youngest AA players in 2012. Flores profiles at 3rd better than he does at short, and he should make that transition this coming season. A nice year with Binghamton could warrant a September call up, but don’t expect to see much of Flores in the big leagues until 2013 or 2014.
Juan Lagares | OF:
An impressive 2011 earned Lagares a spot on the Mets’ 40-man. Between High A and AA he slashed .349/.383/.500, including 44 XBH and 15 SB in 505 PA. A long, athletic frame should allow Lagares to develop more pop. Like Flores, he’s young and he might still be a year or two away, but I fully expect Lagares to be a regular corner outfielder at the big league level.
Cesar Puello | OF:
Here’s yet another extremely talented and extremely young Latin hitting prospect. Perhaps the brightest in the group, Puello should be joining both Flores and Lagares in Binghamton to begin 2012. With good range and a strong, accurate arm, he profiles in right. And with 20-homer-a-year power potential, it’s no wonder that Puello’s been tabbed as the Mets’ right fielder of the future. 2012 should be a good indicator as to how far off that future might be.