By: Stache Staff

The @MetsProspectHub Down On The Farm Report


Welcome to another edition of @MetsProspectHub’s look at what’s been happening in the farm system.

For this first look, I’ll discuss the team up to this point, and then, since I’ve brought the hotsheet back to MPH, I’ll discuss one pleasant surprise, and one big disappointment per team.

Las Vegas 51s

The 51s are off to an extremely impressive start, despite today’s tough 10-9 loss, Las Vegas is 31-12 and 11 games up in their division second place Albuquerque, who are 3 games under .500. Vegas boasts easily the best offense in AAA, with a team slash line of .300/.392/.479/.871, and 306 runs scored in 43 games (7.12 runs per game). Literally everyone who puts on a 51s uniform has hit well, with one very notable exception we’ll get to shortly. What adds to the Vegas domination is the fact they are 4th in the PCL in team ERA at 4.00. I know, #LOLERA, but unfortunately, doesn’t supply FIP (boooooo). However, they go supply WHIP, and the 51s are 11th in the 16 team PCL in that metric, allowing 3 baserunners per 2 innings. Vegas is 6th in overall runs allowed (including unearned runs), having allowed 197 runs in their 43 games (4.58 per game).

Pleasant Surprise: RHSP Jacob deGrom. deGrom, who’s been pegged as a bullpen arm by many, including me, got off to an extremely good start in Las Vegas, earning a promotion to the majors and showing off 4 quality pitches in his major league debut against the Yankees. Before that, though, he was dominating the PCL to the tune of a 2.58 era through 7 starts and 38.1 innings, and that only because his last PCL start was subpar (5 ip, 10 h, 5/4 r/er, hr, k) depressing his overall line considerably, which previously had been a 1.89 era with a 10/28 bb/k in 33.1 innings. In my opinion, it would be a disappointment if the Mets decide to option deGrom down instead of Montero, based solely on their first MLB starts, which is a wholly stupid and irrational thing to conclude based on a one start sample size (but I did anyway).

Big Disappointment: OF Cesar Puello. Part of this is the genius known as Wally Backman not playing Puello everyday (and don’t give ANY credence to his statement that he has “four 40 man outfielders” – that is a giant load of bullshit, especially when he plays Brandon Allen, 28 year old minor league journeyman FIRST BASEMAN with NO future in this organization, in left field ahead of Puello. Please, we’re smarter then that, Wally. However, when Puello has played, he’s been awful, posting a triple slash of .261/.325/.339/.665 (and it’s only that “good” because of a recent 6 game stretch where he went 9 for 21 with 2 doubles and a homer). The lack of any sembelance of plate discipline (5/22 BB/K in 120 PAs) is what is holding Puello back, many games I’ve listened to have featured Puello get ahead in the count, and then proceed to chase slop until he strikes out or makes weak contact. Of course, some people will point to Biogenesis and the like for his struggles this season, and will say 2013 was steroid fueled. Those people are idiots.

Binghamton Mets

The BMets are 23-16, they’ve won 5 in a row and are 2.5 games out of first place with a 4 day, 6 game series upcoming against first place Portland. The BMets are comparitively few top prospects on their team, but what they do have is some good (theoretically) AA players – though they are mostly playing extremely badly right now (Vaughn, Taijeron, Lawley have OPSes of .573, .721 and .596 respectively, Taijeron’s .721 comes with a .215 average). Most of the prospects in Binghamton would be ranked in the 30 to 60 range on our top prospects list, the exceptions being MPHs 10th (Kevin Plawecki) and 27th (Darrell Ceciliani). As of this moment, Matt Bowman, who was ranked 40th preseason, would vault into the top 30.

Pleasant Surprise. Infielder Matthew Reynolds, who has done nothing, absolutely nothing, in his first 2 seasons in the Mets system (.702 OPS in Savannah in 2012, .639 in St. Lucie in 2013), has exploded in the first 6 weeks of the 2014 season, running up a .331/.409/.403 line in 139 ABs. According to Jeff Paternostro of Amazin Avenue, Reynolds is stretched defensively at shortstop, with his arm being the questionable component defensively. Reynolds was a college third baseman, and has dabbled some at second this season with Wilfredo Tovar being the far superior defender, playing short on those occasions. My guess is the Mets will allow Reynolds most of this season, if not all of it, to consolidate gains in AA, considering his prior track record.

Big Disappointment. RHSP Hansel Robles. Robles, who was put onto the 40 man roster at age 22 following a stellar season in Brooklyn (1.11 era in 72.2 ip, 47 h, 10/66 bb/k) did not reward the Mets for that in 2013, and was outrighted off the 40 man that winter to make way for Chris Young (rabble rabble #FreeLagares). Thus far in 2014, Robles has been a disaster with a .282 BAA, having allowed 31 hits and 13 walks in 28.1 innings, good for a 1.55 WHIP and 5.40 era (4.56 FIP). The lone plus is that he’s struck out 9.53 per 9 (30 in 28.1 innings), an increase of 2.51 over his 2013 number with St. Lucie (66 in 84.2 innings).

St. Lucie Mets

The SMets are 24-19, half a game back of first place Fort Myers in the FSL South. This team has several top 15 prospects (Nimmo, Matz, Herrera, Fulmer, Ynoa) and they have had a mixed grabbag performance thus far in 2014. Fulmer and Ynoa have been awful, while the former 3 have all had varying degrees of success.

Pleasant Surprise. OF Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo, who endured a very tumultuous 2013 in which he suffered through a hand injury all season, is fully healthy in 2014 and it shows. He’s sliced his strikeout rate from 27.3% last season (and 24.3% in 2012) all the way down to 18.5% this season. And he’s walking at a highly accelerated clip (20%) vs 2012 (14.3) or 2013 (14.8). While he does own a high .415 BABIP, minor league BABIP does not correlate in the same way that major league BABIP does. Nimmo already has 11 XBH this season in 160 ABs (1 per 14.55) vs 24 XBH in 395 ABs last season (1 per 16.46), and has stolen 7 bases in 9 tries after 10/17 last year. By any metric you want to use, Nimmo’s having a phenominal 2014 so far.

Big Disappointment. RHSP Michael Fulmer. Nimmo’s Class of 2011 running mate, however, is not. Fulmer’s proven to be incredibly hittable in the FSL this season, allowing opponents to pummel him at a .315 clip (47 hits allowed in 34 innings). Hie 5.56 era is supported somewhat by a 4.11 FIP. His k/9 is a career low 6.88, however, his bb/9 is also a career low (aka best) 2.12, and his BABIP against is .358 (though keep in mind what I said about BABIP re: Nimmo). Fulmer is 21 years old, on pace for a prospect in the FSL, and his command, at least, right now, is excellent. Fulmer’s last start (2.00 WHIP, but 2 runs in 5 innings with 7 Ks) shows some hope.

Savannah Sand Gnats

The Gnats are 28-14, 4 games up on second place Asheville, and have ridden, as usual, a stable of great pitching (owing as much to talent as to their home park, Grayson Stadium). With the exception of Chris Flexen (more on him in a bit), every Savannah pitcher with 10 or more innings has an ERA under 3.50. Savannah’s team ERA of 2.54 is first in the SAL by a wide margin (.31 better than Charleston), and their runs allowed (124) is 20 better than 2nd place Hagerstown. They’ve also scored the 5th most runs in the Sally (193).

Pleasant Surprise. SS Gavin Cecchini. I think everyone who reads MPH, or follows me on Twitter (@MetsProspectHub) knows I never have been a big fan of Gavin Cecchini. I felt the ceiling was much to low for a 12th overall pick, and in fact, I still feel that way. However, Cecchini’s season this year has been, so far, a total rousing success, he’s already got more XBH (14) then he had all of last year, in 13 less games (41 less ABs). Not to mention 1 more walk. So he’s hitting for more power (not easy to do at all at Historic Grayson) – (.041 IsoP last year, .150 this year), and walking at a much higher clip (6.6% last year, 8.8% this year). His strikeout rate is up a little from 14.2% to 17.1%, but considering his other offensive gains, that’s well worth it. His wRC+ is 114 (aka 14% better than the SAL), while in 2013 it was 94 (aka 6% worse than the NYPL). I’m not sure if you buy minor league wRC+ and wOBA, but whatever metric you want to use, Cecchini’s having a tremendous 2014. Oh yeah, he’s also #ONPACE for 27 steals. I’ll be very happy to continue eating crow on this one.

Bad Disappointment. RHSP Chris Flexen. Flexen has been absolutely and utterly non competitive this season, he has flat out been an abomination. Flexen has a 6.94 era, 1.91 WHIP, 22 walks and 45 hits in 35 innings, and just 21 strikeouts. He’s allowed 4 homers. Whatever statistic you want to use, he’s been horrid. In 34 less innings, Flexen’s already walked 10 more, while allowing just 8  less hits (2 less homers). On the plus side is age, Flexen is just 19, he does not turn 20 until July 1st of this season, so time is more than on his side, but his performance to date is alarming, especially coming off such a dominating season in Kingsport.

All right, thanks for reading. Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@MetsProspectHub), and whatever you do, you must follow @DailyStache because that account is just an absolute treasure.

Until next time, I’m Tejesh Patel of MetsProspectHub.

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