If the excitement of the World Series wasn’t enough, the Mets can also celebrate the success of Michael Conforto and Steven Matz in 2015. Both look like solid fantasy options moving forward. As much as it hurts my insides as a Phillies fan, the Mets should be good for a while with that pitching staff. On the farm there aren’t a ton of impact fantasy players if you’re not counting Matz anymore. Dom Smith might be your best bet, but he’s yet to show his game power. Amed Rosario hasn’t taken off offensively, and Marcos Molina went under the knife. There’s a lot of international talent in the low minors however, and those signings will keep feeding the system. What this farm lacks in star power it makes up for in depth.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Steven Matz, LHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA/AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 105.1 IP, 2.05 ERA, 2.9 BB/9, 9.1 K/9
Matz has all of the characteristics of a #2 starter on paper, and when you combine that with his proximity and pitcher-friendly home park it adds up to a solid Top 50 prospect that’s attractive in redraft formats. A six-point difference between his strikeout and walk rates in his 35-inning MLB stint last year points to the potential for a Top 50 starter overall in 2016.
Dominic Smith, 1B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 497 PA, .305/.354/.417, 6 HR, 0 SB, 7% BB, 15% K
Smith’s bat is not in question and his approach is sound, but he has yet to show the power that we typically look for in a fantasy first base profile. That power may come in time, but it may also be an issue of Smith choosing to steer his approach towards average instead of power. Even if that’s the case, there’s still 15-20 homer potential, so this is one of those prospects who might actually be underrated at this point.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Gavin Cecchini, SS | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 485 PA, .317/.377/.442, 7 HR, 3 SB, 9% BB, 11% K
Cecchini will have more value in deep formats, but there’s 15/15 upside at short and the grades on his defense bode well for him to stick at the position. Positive growth in both his plate discipline and average in Double-A in 2015 mean that he’s probably ready to give Triple-A a whirl. He could be in line for some MLB time this year as well, but the Mets infield is a bit blocked up.
Brandon Nimmo, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 434 PA, .269/.362/.372, 5 HR, 5 SB, 11% BB, 18% K
Nimmo’s plate discipline and defensive skills give him a relatively high floor, but there aren’t enough fireworks in the bat to make him a future fantasy stud. He could still get to 15 homers and 15-20 steals, which is solid, but none of the offensive tools are looking to be more than average across the board. He’ll most likely start the year in Triple-A with a chance for some MLB time later this summer.
Jhoan Urena, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: Rk/A+
2015 Stats: 241 PA, .222/.274/.302, 2 HR, 3 SB, 6% BB, 17% K
Urena might actually be one of the best fantasy bets in this tier despite not reaching the upper levels of the minors yet. A switch-hitting third baseman with above-average pop and a solid hit tool, it could all gel together as a middle-of-the-order hitter down the road. The potential for 20 dingers is obviously nice, but it’s still a long way off and he hasn’t shown much game power yet. There’s an interesting ceiling here but also one of the longest waits of this group.
Matt Reynolds, MI | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats: 496 PA, .269/.321/.402, 6 HR, 13 SB, 7% BB, 19% K
In most systems there are the 25-27 year old “prospects” who take a back seat to the higher ceiling guys in their early twenties. Reynolds fits the mold of the former. He could end up being an empty batting average utility player or one that hits for some power and speed, but in both cases there won’t be enough to warrant owning him outside of mono formats. Even then it’s a stretch with the options the Mets currently have ahead of him up the middle.
Champ Stuart, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 382 PA, .176/.271/.242, 4 HR, 21 SB, 10% BB, 37% K
Stuart is basically a SAGNOF type, but it’s an awfully risky profile to invest in. Not only does he have the crazy strikeout rate (he hasn’t struck out in less than 29% of his plate appearances in the last three seasons) but there’s just not enough in the stolen base column for a guy who grades out at an 80 for his wheels. In other words, I’ll swallow the dicey bat if you’re putting up crazy steals totals, but not if you’re barely cracking 30 in the low minors – even if it’s in <400 plate appearances.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Amed Rosario, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 427 PA, .253/.302/.329, 0 HR, 13 SB, 5% BB, 18% K
I listed Rosario as a top 50 prospect at this time last year, but unfortunately he didn’t do a whole lot offensively to make that look like a good call. There is still upside to like and he’s obviously been young for each level, but he’s morphing into one of those defense-first 15/15 profiles that we probably won’t care too much about in fantasy. He’s an interesting buy-low in deeper formats but somebody you can probably ignore for now in shallow leagues.
Desmond Lindsay, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: Rk/A(ss)
2015 Stats: 134 PA, .263/.364/.386, 1 HR, 3 SB, 13% BB, 30% K
The Mets took Lindsay in the second round of the 2015 draft (53rd overall). It’s a power/speed combo that will take some time to develop, but the reward down the road could be an outfielder that contributes in all of the standard fantasy cats. The easy plus tool is his speed, but the bat and power aren’t too far behind. He’s a projectable high school bat that makes sense to target in first-year player drafts.
Eudor Garcia, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 429 PA, .296/.340/.442, 9 HR, 5 SB, 5% BB, 22% K
Garcia was recently suspended for PEDs, which will put a little dent in his development but doesn’t really change the long-term picture. He’s a big guy with big power, and the potential is there for 20+ homers. Savannah is one of the toughest places to hit in the minors and the drug suspension adds a kink to the profile, so right now it’s a little tough to judge what we have here. I’d cautiously buy in most deep formats though and wait to see how he performs on the other side of his 80 games.
Greg Guerrero, SS | Age: 17 | ETA: 2020 | 2015 Level: DNP
2015 Stats: N/A
Both Guerrero and Gimenez were J2 signings last summer, and both look like they’ve got some potential in fantasy. Guerrero has the hit/power profile that we like and some baseball in his blood as the nephew of Vlad Sr. The Mets liked him enough to hand him a seven-figure bonus. Baseball America liked him enough to rank in the top ten of a solid international crop. Obviously you’re only peeping him in deep leagues with big farms, but he’s a name to tuck away.
Andres Gimenez, INF | Age: 17 | ETA: 2020 | 2015 Level: DNP
2015 Stats: N/A
Gimenez also got over a million dollars last July 2nd, but he’s more of a table-setting hit/speed profile with gap power. Ben Badler, the international guru over at Baseball America, ranked this kid second among all of the J2 signings. That’s a nice endorsement and scouts in general like Gimenez’s advanced approach. You’ll need to wait a long time for the tools to cook, but he’s an interesting stash.
Marcos Molina, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk/A+
2015 Stats: 44.1 IP, 4.26 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 7.9 K/9
The big concern with Molina at this point is his health. The overall outlook probably doesn’t change much (mid-rotation starter) but missing time with Tommy John will dampen his value for at least the next year or two. Luckily the Mets have plenty of young pitching to rely on while they take their time getting Molina back to full strength. For this year he’s safe to ignore but I might look to buy low since he’s still young and showed flashes of a quality arsenal before the injury.
Wuilmer Becerra, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 487 PA, .290/.342/.423, 9 HR, 16 SB, 7% BB, 20% K
I’m just going to start adding vowels wherever I feel like it. My new name will be Muike. Done. Becerra does a little of everything well and at the end of the day it’s probably a fourth outfielder profile. That won’t get much love in most leagues, but there’s enough pop and speed to keep him interesting in the deep leagues. He should spend the majority of this season in High-A with the possibility of some Double-A reps by the end of the year.
Luis Carpio, MI | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 207 PA, .304/.372/.359, 0 HR, 9 SB, 8% BB, 16% K
A lot of organizations have little patterns or mini-trends within them. The Mets seem drawn to middle infielders, or at least they have a bunch of quality players up the middle at this moment. Carpio is more about defense than offense, which really limits his fantasy value. He’s just 18, and a lot of development can happen with bats when there’s this long of a lead until they reach the majors. The current grades on his offensive tools don’t suggest anything special outside of some steals though.