Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (24) | 2011 (20) | 2010 (25) | 2009 (17) | 2008 (28)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [77-88] NL East
AAA:  [67-76] International League — Buffalo (PCL Las Vegas beginning 2013)
AA:  [68-74] Eastern League — Binghamton
A+:  [83-52] Florida State League — St. Lucie
A:  [69-67] South Atlantic League — Savannah
A(ss):  [45-31] New York-Penn League — Brooklyn

Arizona Fall League PlayersSurprise Saguaros
Ryan Fraser (RHP); Chase Huchingson (LHP); Adam Kolarek (LHP); Greg Peavey (RHP); Daniel Muno (2B); Darrell Ceciliani (OF); Cesar Puello (OF)

Graduated Prospects of Note
Matt Harvey (RHP); Jennry Mejia (RHP); Jordany Valdespin (OF/2B); Kirk Nieuwenhuis (OF)

The Run Down
I normally don’t spend much time on ballpark factors, but they’re as real in the minors as they are in the majors and they should be noted.  The Mets are moving their Triple-A affiliate from chilly Buffalo to the scorched earth of Las Vegas, where baseballs fly outa the ballpark by the five-gallon bucket.  I find this move particularly fascinating because the Mets have a handful of promising prospects who’ll be passing through Triple-A this year — a group that includes high-impact guys like Zack Wheeler (probably) and Wilmer Flores (definitely).  It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of impact Vegas has on their production.  When evaluating prospects from a fantasy perspective, it’s always best to draw from a broader sample than just one level.  Do keep that in mind when the hype-machine says Wheeler is awful, and Flores is totally hot-shizz in 2013.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Zack Wheeler, RHP:
  Wheeler had a phenomenal 2012, posting impressive numbers between Double- and Triple-A:  3.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 8.9 K/9.  The 22-year-old features a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s, and he counters with plus-plus curve, a slider, and a change — the latter two are both nice offerings.  It’s a deep repertoire for a pitcher of his age, but Wheeler commands it well and baffles hitters with his sequencing.  He’ll have a chance to earn a starting gig during spring, but I expect the Mets to start him in Vegas and bring him up mid-season.  ETA:  2013

2.  Wilmer Flores, 3B: His doubters were outspoken after a lousy 2011, but Flores shut them up quickly in 2012, hitting .300/.349/.479 with 50 XBH (18 HR) in 497 PA between High-A and Double-A.  He’s blocked by David Wright for now, but the 21-year-old is extremely athletic and the Mets could feel comfortable moving him elsewhere if need be.  ETA:  Late 2013

3.  Brandon Nimmo, OF:  The Mets’ first-rounder in 2011 played short-season ball at Brooklyn in 2012, hitting .248/.372/.406 on the year.  Nimmo is incredibly raw, but scouts are in love with him.  I’m hopeful he’ll produce better as he matures.  ETA:  2015

4.  Jeurys Familia, RHP: After a huge 2011, Familia regressed in 2012 at Triple-A Buffalo.  An ERA near 5.00 and a WHIP at 1.59 were products of inconsistency — his fastball is fantastic, but he struggled to locate it last year.  Beyond his heater, the 23-year-old is a bit limited, which has some folks speculating that he’ll end up in the ‘pen.  There’s still plenty of time for him to figure things out, but don’t expect dominant numbers from him in the launching pad that is Las Vegas.  ETA:  Late 2013

5.  Michael Fulmer, RHP: Fulmer had an outstanding year in 2012 at Low-A.  The 19-year-old overpowered South Atlantic League hitters and posted an ERA at 2.74, and a WHIP at 1.20 while whiffing 8.4-per-nine.  With big frame and a power arsenal, this one could move quickly if development goes well.  ETA:  2014

6.  Gavin Cecchini, SS:  The Mets took Cecchini out of high school with the 12th overall pick in June.  The pure-shortstop is pretty much a sure-thing defensively, but there are those who doubt his bat.  Of course, there’s a long way to go in deciding how well-equipped Cecchini is at the plate.  He should play some full-season ball in 2013 at Savannah.  ETA:  2016

7.  Domingo Tapia, RHP:  At 6-4, 186, Tapia has a projectable frame and his upper-90’s heat is intriguing. He struck out 101 Low-A hitters in 108.2 IP at Savannah with an ERA at 3.98 and a WHIP at 1.41.  His ceiling is pretty high if his secondary stuff comes around, but there are many who don’t think that’ll happen.  ETA:  2015

8.  Matt Den Dekker, OF:  In a season split between Double- and Triple-A, Den Dekker was superb in the Eastern League, but quite the opposite once he reached International League play.  The 25-year-old ended the year at .274/.321/.458 with 17 homers and 21 stolen bases.  Expect bigger numbers in 2013 at Las Vegas.  ETA:  Late 2013

9.  Cesar Puello, OF:  Puello was limited in 2012 due to a broken hand, but scouts still like him.  His approach needs significant refinement (58/7 K/BB in 2012), but his aggressive nature brings nice power potential.  He’ll be tested in 2013 when he reaches the upper levels.  ETA:  2014

10.  Juan Lagares, OF:  After a slow start in 2012, Lagares had a big second half and wound up at .283/.334./389 over a full season at Double-A.  At 23 years old, he needs to discover his power-stroke soon if he’d like a shot at a full-time corner outfield post.  ETA:  2014

  1. Wheeler says:

    As a Giants fan that Wheeler trade stung especially after the season Beltran had. Oh well…..still got the ring

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:

      It really was an empty trade for SF in hindsight… they certainly could’ve held Wheeler & won with the same team in 2012.

  2. Seth says:

    I don’t know that I would describe Wilmer Flores as extremely athletic. He’s a 30 runner on the 20/80. Love his bat though.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:

      Valid point, but as Will makes clear below, just because there’s correlation between speed & athleticism, doesn’t mean that one is dependent on the other… a 3 runner can be a great athlete just the same as an 8 runner can be a poor athlete, as crazy as that may sound.

  3. Will says:

    Speed isn’t necessarily a pre-requisite for being termed athletic. Under your premise, I would assume you don’t see the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Ryan Zimmerman, Allen Craig, Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, Josh Hamilton, Josh Willingham, or Adrian Beltre as being extremely athletic? Not all about speed. Very little is about speed actually.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:

      Well said. It’s your classic correlation/causation fallacy.

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