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Analysis

In the moments before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Mets sent two right-handed pitching prospects, Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to the Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes, who hits for power, but has a career .317 on-base percentage, will immediately help the Mets' offense if the team installs him in an outfield corner on an everyday basis.

Fulmer, the Mets' supplemental first-round pick in 2011, at No. 44 overall, is the better prospect of this pair. The 22-year-old is?a big guy at 6-foot-3 and 220-plus pounds, who throws hard. However, he's always been a little mechanical in his delivery. His repertoire and his approach starts with the gas.

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It is time. The Mets need offense and a left fielder. They have both, in the same person in Double-A, where 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto is hitting. Whether or not the team places Michael Cuddyer on the disabled list this week to help his knee recover, it is time for the Mets to promote Conforto from Binghamton to the big leagues.

Mets' left fielders simply have not hit enough. By Fangraphs' wRC+, where 100 is league average, Mets left fielders have combined for 80, 26th in baseball. Only the Reds, Nationals, White Sox and Angels have received worse offensive production from their left fielders. From a larger picture perspective, the Mets have scored 329 runs, the second-worst in baseball, more only than the Chicago White Sox. While the pitching is among baseball's best, the offense has been among the league's worst units.

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Last week, The Mets made official what the team had hinted at for weeks: they would bring left-hander Steven Matz to the big leagues. Matz, who turned 24 at the end of June, was, at the time of his promotion on June 26, clearly the organization's top minor league prospect.

Moreover, his work in the Pacific Coast League made plain that he is among the organization's top six starters. He is ready to step in and contribute to a major league rotation right now. That's the easy part.

The difficult part was fitting him into a rotation that has been the Mets' strength so far in 2015.?Entering this weekend's play, the Mets' starting rotation had the ninth-best ERA in baseball (3.80) and both the fifth-best FIP (3.49) and collective WAR (7.6).

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Sometimes, turning points in a baseball season are hard to find, or perhaps merely illusory. Sometimes they are real and glaring.?As the South Atlantic League enjoyed an off-day on May 5, the Sand Gnats were in last place in the seven-team Southern Division at 8-16, 7.5 games behind the division-leading Charleston RiverDogs.

Then, on May 6, the Gnats swept the Greenville Drive, and began a furious 31-15 close to the first half, sealing Savannah's fifth first-half title in six years.

"Everything starting clicking at that point," manager Jose Leger said of the early-May sweep. "We just started playing better baseball. Guys just gained a lot of confidence. They just kept going and going."

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The Mets officially completed their trade for Alex Torres with the Padres, sending lefty Brad Wieck to San Diego. The trade, which was announced on March 30, is now Torres for Wieck and RHP Cory Mazzoni.

The teams?had to wait to name Wieck because players cannot be traded until one full calendar year after they?are drafted.

Does Wieck's inclusion in the trade tip the balance toward the Padres? Not yet.?To acquire the rights to Torres for almost five years, the Mets traded two guys who might never pitch in the big leagues for five full years.

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The future is here for the Mets on the mound, but perhaps a more productive homegrown offense is on the way...

The Mets promoted 2014 first-round pick, left fielder Michael Conforto from advanced Single-A St. Lucie to Double-A Binghamton, putting him just two steps from the big leagues.?This?is more?significant?than the average minor league promotion from Single to Double-A, because it concerns an area of need on the big league team.

In 46 games with St. Lucie, Conforto hit .283, with a .350 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage, with 12 doubles and seven home runs. At the time of his promotion, he was tied for the league lead in total bases (85) and doubles and was second in slugging, fourth in homers and HR/AB ratio.

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Entering the 2015 season, Mets fans were concerned that the team's top catching prospect, Kevin Plawecki, was going to be blocked from the big leagues by Travis d'Arnaud. However, as is the case nearly every time, problems of "too much talent" are not problems at all. On Sunday, d'Arnaud fractured a finger on his right hand, and now the big league starting catching position is Plawecki's for the next few weeks

What should Mets fans expect from Plawecki, the Mets' first supplemental first round pick in 2012? A competent, if young, catcher. Put simply, that's a drop from the level at which d'Arnaud had started his?2015 season.

Plawecki's offensive performance in Triple-A is characteristic of what he is likely to produce in the big leagues. In 52 games over the last two years, he has hit .270, with a .325 OBP and .402 SLG in the offense-friendly Pacific Coast League. He's accomplished this with a line drive swing and an aggressive approach paired with a keen plate eye. In Triple-A, Plawecki's strikeout rate was just 12 percent, well below the PCL average of 20 percent. His walk rate of 7.2 percent was below the PCL average of 8.7 percent. Plawecki will attack early count fastballs if he gets something he can handle, rather than hanging around in the count. Once that opportunity passes, he is quite disciplined about swinging only at strikes. However, he will see many fewer hittable early count fastballs in the majors than he ever has at any point in his life. As with any young hitter transitioning to the big leagues, expect Plawecki's walk rate to decline some and his strikeout rate to rise.

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These four?Mets pitching prospects all have the potential to one day be an impact arm for the big-league Mets...

1)?RHP Michael Fulmer

Bats/Throws:?R/R
Height/Weight:?6'3", 200 lbs

Acquired:?Supplemental First Round (44th overall), 2011 Draft (Deer Creek HS)

Born:?March 15, 1993 (Oklahoma City, OK)

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Right-handed reliever Hansel Robles will join the Mets?to fortify the team's bullpen after Jerry Blevins' forearm fracture.

The 24-year-old Robles was off to a terrific start for Triple-A Las Vegas. In 7 2/3 innings over five outings, he had not allowed a run, while striking out 10 batters and walking one of the 30 opposing hitters he had faced. Two of the six hits he had allowed were doubles, but he had not allowed a hit to lefties in nine at-bats.

The Mets moved Robles out of the Double-A starting rotation in 2014 and into the bullpen at midseason, and his results have been excellent ever since.

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OF prospect Ricardo Cespedes and C?Ali Sanchez?are?all about potential, but with no US-based results. Cespedes and Sanchez both?commanded significant bonuses in the 2013 international class. After a year at the team's?complex in the Dominican in 2014, both should be ready for the Gulf Coast League in 2015.

CF Ricardo Cespedes

Bats/Throws:?L/L

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1)?INF Jeff McNeil

Bats/Throws:?L/R

Height/Weight:?6'1", 165 lbs

Acquired:?12th round 2013 draft (Long Beach State)

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1)?OF Ivan Wilson

Bats/Throws:?R/R

Height/Weight:?6'3", 220 lbs

Acquired:?3rd Round, 2013 (Ruston (LA) HS)

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This?trio of starting pitchers all have the potential to?live at the back of a big-league rotation, though each?are at least a few years away from being able to help the Mets.

1)?RHP Casey Meisner

Bats/Throws:?R/R

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Triple-A can be a funny level, as the roster is often an extension of the big leagues - it holds some of the roughly replacement level depth - mixed with top prospects hoping to break into the big leagues in a given year. This year's Las Vegas 51s is longer on the prospects than the depth.

Out in the desert, Wally Backman and pitching coach Frank Viola have an interesting roster to work with complete with players who should be contributing to the Mets in 2015.

StartersNoah Syndergaard Steven Matz Matt Bowman Tyler Pill Darin Gorski

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Fresh off a 2014 Eastern League Championship, the 2015 version of the B-Mets boast a potentially strong rotation?but likely not quite the depth of talent around the field to make another champagne-fueled run. On the position player side, Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini are really the guys to watch.

StartersGabriel Ynoa Michael Fulmer Luis Cessa Rainy Lara John Michael Gant

This is the second-most interesting rotation in the system after the Noah Syndergaard/Steven Matz combo in triple-A.

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The Mets announced the opening versions of their Single-A St. Lucie roster.?So, who is playing where to start the 2015 season?

OutfieldMichael Conforto Champ Stuart Maikis De La Cruz Victor Cruzado

Conforto, the Mets? 2014 first-round draft pick, is the big name here. The 22-year-old is a strong prospect; I have him ranked in the team?s top 10, as the fifth-best position player prospect and the second-best outfield prospect, trailing only Brandon Nimmo. He?s also at an age where he belongs, without question, in the FSL since the Mets took it slow with him last year. In 2014, Conforto spent had a strong enough debut with Brooklyn and joined Savannah for the playoffs. A polished college hitter, Conforto did not need to spend time with Savannah during the 2015 regular season. This assignment is not a surprise.

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The Mets promoted manager Jose Leger from Kingsport to Savannah for 2015 and rewarded him with the least-talented roster (on paper) that the Gnats have had in over half a decade.

Wuilmer Becerra, Casey Meisner and Luis Guillorme will be carrying the prospect torch on this team.

OutfieldersWuilmer BecerraPatrick BiondiVincente LupoJohn MoraStefan Sabol

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?I think I spy another hitter,? an excited Keith Hernandez said on air as Michael Conforto pulled in to second base after hitting two-RBI double in the bottom of the third inning on Saturday.

The Mets drafted Conforto, 22, with their top pick in 2014.

He was 3-4 with three RBI on Saturday, during which he grabbed the attention of team executives and fans.

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The Mets announced the field staff for both of their full-season Single-A affiliates?in Savannah and St. Lucie. In both cases, both teams will return the same pitching and hitting coaches as in 2014, under the direction of newly promoted managers.

The Mets promoted Luis Rojas from Savannah, where he had managed for three seasons, to St. Lucie to be the team's manager. Although the Gnats won a SAL championship in 2013 (In part thanks to the post-season dominance of Steven Matz and Gabriel Ynoa) and make the postseason in 2013, records are a poor way to evaluate the efficacy of a minor league manager. The much more important question is whether the manager works hard, and induces his players to work hard for him through good times and bad. Rojas, the son of Felipe Alou gets it. The bi-lingual skipper was both a calming and firm force with his players. He had his emotional moments in disputes with umps, or elation over a championship, but his pitch and feel for the game are superb. I've worked with Rojas for four seasons in Savannah, and can say clearly he made my job easier. He always had a good explanation for what was going on the field, and why he made one decision over another. For a great example of his ability to discuss the game, and his preparation, take a look at his comments from one of my favorite plays of 2014, when Champ Stuart scored from second base on a sacrifice fly.

Joining Rojas in St. Lucie will be pitching coach Phil Regan, back for his seventh season at the level and hitting coach Joel Fuentes for his second year. Regan has a reputation within the organization as a technician who is strong on pitching mechanics. Fuentes talked about making a tweak in Dilson Herrera's swing here.

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This is the final position look at the Mets system and likely the last substantive post before we get started on my annual Top 41 prospects in the system.

The sheer number of right-handed pitchers in a system means that ordering this group helps give structure to an overall system?s ranking. However, this year, for the Mets, this is much less true than in years past, at least at the top. I have only three right-handed pitchers in the team?s overall Top 10 and five in the Top 20. The right-handers flex their muscle in the back half of my Top 41, taking over 50% of the spots between 21 and 41 at last count.

The relative weakness of the right-handed pitchers in the organization is balanced by a strong big league rotation and upper level options (Hi, Thor). Likely lurking at triple-A to start 2015 will be Noah Syndergaard, who is an elite prospect and Rafael Montero, who could probably be a back-end starter now if the team needed big league innings.

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The Mets still need an upgrade at shortstop. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported on Sunday that the Mets were interested in the Nationals' Ian Desmond as part of the deal that eventually sent second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Oakland A's. Escobar was then flipped to the Nationals for reliever Tyler Clippard.

The Rays wanted Noah Syndergaard, the Mets top prospect and one of two more "top" prospects. Desmond is signed for 2015 and then can become a free agent. Before the 2014 season, he turned down a seven-year, $107 million contract offer from the Nationals that would have covered his final two years of arbitration and his first five years of free agency. Instead, he and the Nationals came to terms on a two-year $17.5 million deal for 2014 and 2015. So, entering the 2014 season, Desmond valued his free agent years at over five years and $90 million or $18 million annually. After a 4.1 fWAR 2014, his age 28 season, which was second-best among MLB shortstops, and his third-straight year above 4 fWAR, he has helped his value.

It stands to reason that the Mets were not willing to trade Syndergaard and a second top prospect (perhaps Steven Matz or Brandon Nimmo) for one year of Desmond. However, teams, the Mets included, can trade for a player with the intention of signing him to a longterm extension. The Mets did this in the winter of 2008, of course, with Johan Santana. Even further back, the Mets acquired Mike Piazza, only to later work out an extension with the slugging catcher. Analyzing the wisdom of such a trade and sign is difficult without knowing the precise prospects or money involved. However, it is likely such a move would pay dividends in terms of an improved team on the field in 2015.

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Fangraphs, led by Kiley McDaniel, released their Top 28 Mets prospects.

One of the things that becomes quite clear reading the list is that McDaniel has seen relatively few of these players in person in the last few years. Rather, like Baseball America, he is relying on what sources tell him for the list. The result is that I end up diverging from these assessments where they do not match what I have seen in person. (In my own Top 41, I think I have seen all but four players live in the last two years or at spring training, and three of those players were drafted in 2014.)

Let's revisit our tool, the composite Top Prospects list:

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On Wednesday, Baseball America released their Top Ten Mets prospects list. They release their full Top 30 as part of their Prospect Handbook in early 2015. Baseball America is the second of the five major national prospect rankings to come out so far, joining Baseball Prospectus. ESPN.com, MLB.com and Fangraphs are yet to come.


Here's the Baseball America list of the Top 10 Mets Prospects:

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The Rule 5 draft is the annual event in the baseball calender that draws the most attention to the relative talent available in the market.

Teams pick in reverse order of their overall records from last season, the same order they will use come June in the amateur draft. Any player not on a MLB 40-man roster is eligible to be drafted as long as he meets one of these two requirements: this is his fifth Rule 5 draft and he signed his first professional contract at age 18 or younger OR this is his fourth Rule 5 draft and he signed his first professional contract at 19 or older.

Any player who is picked in the Major League phase of the draft, must remain on his new team's active roster for at least 90 days, or be offered back to his original team.

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The Yankees acquired a shortstop when they traded for Arizona's Didi Gregorius. As it happens, the Mets also need a shortstop.

General Manager Sandy Alderson's recent endorsement of Wilmer Flores as the Mets' Opening Day starter merely said that it was?a "likelihood" that Flores would start. As endorsements go, that's weak. Manager Terry Collins refused to even go that far on Monday.

Flores hit .251, with a .286 OBP and .378 SLG in 78 games with the Mets in 2014, good for a 88 wRC+ (where 100 is average), in the season in which he turned 23-years-old. Partial season defensive numbers are extremely unreliable and split on Flores: while he was worth +4.0 runs by Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), he was worth -3 runs by Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). To be clear, I think Flores can hit at the big league level, although I don't know where he will play defensively, and I do not think he can play shortstop everyday.

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We ran through all of the positions?concluding with center field, so today we'll take a look at the pitchers in the Mets organization, starting with the left-handers.


LHP

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The Mets added six players to their 40-man roster on Thursday, headlined by the team's top prospect, Noah Syndergaard.

Thursday was the deadline for teams to finalize their rosters for the Rule 5 draft which will take place on the final day of the winter meetings in Anaheim. The Mets pursued a similar strategy as they have under Sandy Alderson in protecting nearly any pitcher they could who has a chance to provide big league -- possibly bullpen -- value in the next two years.

This strategy, of erring on the side of adding an extra arm or two, perhaps creates extra churn at the back end of the 40-man roster. For example, the Mets added Hansel Robles in 2012 after a nice season with short-season Single-A Brooklyn. He was removed after an injury-marred and ineffective 2013, and earned his way back on with a good 2014 in the bullpen.

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The Arizona Fall League is over for Mets prospects, including Brandon Nimmo and Matt Reynolds, who participated in baseball's finishing school for top prospects.


It's important to remember a few things while looking at the results that each guy put up in the league:

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Baseball Prospectus released their list of Top 10 Mets Prospects on Monday. In the first list after the Kevin Goldstein and then Jason Parks eras, this one was written by Chris Mellon. It is the first of the major national lists to come out, in front of Baseball America, MLB.com and Fangraphs. (Note: Fangraphs warrants inclusion in that august foursome as an important prospect list because I think Kiley McDaniel, the new head of their prospect coverage does good work.)


The Top Ten

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We finish up our rankings of non-pitcher Mets prospects by position with center field, a traditional glamour spot. Pitchers are coming next. As has been the case at most positions, there?s a clear #1, this time Brandon Nimmo. Behind Nimmo, there are a group of interesting athletes, which is sort of what?s supposed to happen for one of baseball?s most demanding positions.

At the big league level, center field is not an area of need. Following Juan Lagares? Gold Glove win on Tuesday night, the rest of baseball recognized and made official what Mets fans already knew: Lagares is a sublime defender. A league average hitter in 2014, Lagares provided roughly double the value (always use ?rough? when talking about single year defensive estimates) with his glove as with his bat on his way to becoming, by fWAR, the Mets? most valuable position player.


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Our review of Mets prospects, having finished the infield, heads to the outfield. We'll start with corner outfielders today and then follow with the centerfielders. We?ve been through?catcher,?first base,?second,?shortstop?and third base.

As with most of our positions so far, really all but shortstop, there?s a clear top prospect at the position. This time it's 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto. This is one of the thinnest areas in the Mets? system, a problem exacerbated by the fact that teams must play two corner?outfielders per game.

Corner outfield remains an area of need for the Mets. Despite the addition of Curtis Granderson last winter, by Fangraph?s WAR, Mets? cornermen ranked 18th?in baseball at 3.1 total WAR contributed.

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In baseball, the minors are a land of constant churn, and prospects come and go. So, meet Jhoan Urena, a 19-year-old,?who falls solidly into the "coming" category, who with a very nice 2014 in the New York-Penn League claimed his spot as the top third base prospect in the Mets organization. Baseball is part of the plan for Jhoan (it's prnonounced Johan): five years ago, the day before his father passed away, young Jhoan promised his father that he would play professional baseball.

He's playing, and hitting. His .300 batting average was fifth in the New York-Penn League in 2014. His 20 doubles were tied for second. His 122 total bases were third. The counting stats overstate his case a little as he was the the NYP leader in games played (75) and at bats (283). Even that though is something Urena can be proud of: he played in all but one of the Cyclones' games and was the only player on the circuit to play in more than 71 games and pick up more than 283 at bats. Durability is a good thing, and at age 19, Urena played everyday for almost three months.

As Cyclones hitting coach Benny diStefano said, "The bottom line is, this kid has a lot of ability."

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This completes our review of Mets infield prospects, ranked by position at the conclusion of the 2014 season. We've been through catcher, first base, second, shortstop and now... third base.

In the last decade, developing a third baseman has been an extremely low priority for the Mets, who are?blessed with David Wright, one of the organization's all-time greats, at the position nearly every day. Now 31, and coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, one marred by a lingering shoulder injury, and signed through 2020, the Mets must count on a big bounceback from their Captain.

If Wright does get hurt again in 2015, the current roster offers Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores (as long as he's not playing shortstop) as two potential fill-ins. Who else is there for the longer term?

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We're almost finished with the infield in our look at Mets prospects. This is part four after catcher, first base and second base.

Shortstop rankings are always fun.


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This is part three of the Mets's system review by position, following catchers and first basemen. Like the first two, the Mets do not have a glaring need at second base at the big league level now with Daniel Murphy entering his final season of arbitration eligibility. Murphy, by fWAR, was the 11th-best second baseman in 2014, as part of a .289 average, with a .332 OBP and .403 SLG campaign in 143 games. He ran a 110 wRC+ (where 100 is league average, not adjusted for position), and by UZR, was six?runs below average at second.

"Second base prospect" is a funny term. By definition, all second basemen would be more valuable at shortstop, but for one reason or another, they are not everyday shortstops. Meanwhile, second base itself is a plenty demanding position in its own right.


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Like catcher, first base is not a position where the Mets have a need at the big league level. Lucas Duda's 30 home runs put him No. 11 in baseball, and he happily beat up on right-handed pitching while playing competent defense. He still needs a right-handed hitting platoon partner.

Looks around the minors at first base can be a funny exercise. Many MLB first basemen begin their careers at third base, behind the plate or even at shortstop. Last year, the first base list for the Mets was Dominic Smith and everyone else. In 2014, it's still Smith and everyone else.


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Let's rank and review! To accomplish both simultaneously, we'll?review Mets prospects by each position on the diamond. For this exercise, we will start behind the plate, and snake our way around the diamond in ascending order by scoring number (so, C-1B-2B-3B-SS-LF-CF-RF) and then finish up with pitchers. Each player, even one who plays multiple positions, will only be listed once.

Catcher, is for the first time in some time, not a major concern for the Mets. Travis d'Arnaud, after his early-season struggles, and his get-right session in Las Vegas produced the best season by a Mets catcher in years. His 105 wRC+ was the best for a Mets' backstop since Josh Thole's 103 in 2010, although that covered under 300 plate appearances. The last Mets backstop to match d'Arnaud's?105 wRC+ was Ramon Castro (126) in 157 PA in 2007. Counting playing time, the last Mets' backstop to achieve a 105 wRC+, in at least 400 PA was Paul Lo Duca in 2006.

However, d'Aranud has been injury-prone in the last few seasons, and his 2014 ended early with surgery needed for bone chips in his elbow. Catchers take such a physical beating that depth is particularly important.

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Twice in the last two years, a Mets affiliate, the B-Mets in the Double-A Eastern League in 2014 and the Savannah Sand Gnats in the Single-A South Atlantic League in 2013, won their league championship. Left-hander?Steven Matz?started both games.

Matz, one of the top pitching prospects in the Mets' organization did not just start both, he was dominant -- twice. For?Savannah in 2013, the southpaw shut out a solid Hagerstown offense through 5 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts, while allowing only one runner to third, and that came in an inning with a pair of infield basehits. For?Binghamton in 2014, working against Richmond, Matz took a no-hitter, with 11 strikeouts into the eighth inning in a 1-0 game. However, after a pair of hits, he bequeathed two runners to Hansel Robles, who allowed one to score.

Matz's two start "Clinching Game" combined line is the stuff makes fans drool: 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 20 K. He struck out 41 percent of opposing batters in these two starts and walked 8 percent.

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Mets instructional leaguers played their first game on Monday, on the road, in Viera against the Nationals' youngsters. Campers were expected to report to "Instructs" on September 15, for their first workout on September 16.

Instructs are a funny beast, they have practice and games, like spring training, but the vibe is different. In spring training, the focus is on getting better for the season to come. Spring training has everyone in the organization. Here, with just a few exceptions, the players are restricted to those who will being 2015 in advanced Single-A and below. Thus, with a smaller group, the top lower-level prospects have more time for one-on-one instruction with the team's coaches and coordinators. Skill development is the priority over competition.

Instructional league inclues just six games for young Mets farmhands in the 12 days from September 22 through October 3.?All games are scheduled for 1 p.m..

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The Binghamton Mets won their first Eastern League championship since 1994 and they did it in impressive fashion on Friday night, completing a three-game sweep of the Richmond Flying Squirrels with a walk-off victory in the series clincher. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic season for manager Pedro Lopez and his group of Double-A Mets prospects.

The B-Mets were one of two EL teams to post more than 80 wins during the regular season, going 83-59 and finishing second in the Eastern Division behind the Portland Seadogs (Red Sox) who compiled 88 victories. It was that same Portland team who Binghamton defeated in a tough five-game series in the opening round of the postseason before moving on to the championship series.

Overall, the B-Mets offense was outstanding throughout the campaign, leading the league in batting (.278), slugging (.423), on-base percentage (.353), OPS (.776), walks (492) and runs (718). They were also second in home runs with 124. The pitching wasn?t bad either, compiling a league-best 1,106 strikeouts and the second best WHIP, 1.29.

Tags: Analysis, Rob Brender
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This is part three of our August Stock Watch?for Mets prospects.

Part one looked at players who were on the Pre-Season Top 41 list. Part two, looked at guys who were not on the pre-season Top 41, but joined the organization since Opening Day 2014. Now, we look at guys who have jumped into the top 41, who were Mets? employees at the start of 2014. We looked at some of these gentlemen, in less detail, in June and?July.


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The Mets announced their Sterling Award Winners for 2014 yesterday, recognizing the top overall pitcher and position player in the system and the top player at each level.


Sterling Player of the Year - 2B Dilson HerreraSterling Pitcher of the Year - LHP Steven Matz

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This is the first of two supplements?to out August Stock Watch that looks at how the top prospects in the Mets' system fared in the final months of the regular season. This first post looks at players who are likely to be on the off-season Top 41 Mets prospects list, but were not in the Mets' organization on Opening Day, 2014. The second part will look at guys who have jumped into the top 41, who were Mets' employees at the start of 2014. We looked at these guys, in less detail, in June and July.


Acquired via the 2014 Draft

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The minor league regular season ended on Monday, so it's time for the final stock watch, a monthly look at the Mets pre-season Top 41 prospects. We?did this?routine in May?and?June, and July.

(Again, guys who were not on the preseason Top 41 (Matt Reynolds, Jhoan Urena, Michael Conforto, etc.) will get their own post soon.)


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Many of the Mets' best prospects were promoted this weekend as the Mets added depth and a starter (hello, Dilson Herrera!) in the big leagues, and fortified the playoff rosters for their three affiliates headed to the post-season. Triple-A Las Vegas, Double-A Binghamton and Single-A Savannah are all going to the playoffs, so guys from advanced Single-A St. Lucie and short-season Single-A Brooklyn filled in gaps on those rosters.

It is basically against the rules for players to move down levels for the playoffs, but there is no prohibition on promoting players.


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With their first-round pick, at No. 10 overall in 2014, the Mets drafted Oregon State left fielder Michael Conforto. One of the top collegiate hitters in the draft class, Conforto was the kind of player fans hoped would climb quickly through the system on his way to the big leagues.

The Mets began Conforto off with the Brooklyn Cyclones, in the short-season Single-A New York Penn League.?Similar players, collegiate hitters from the top of the draft,?had spent less than a month playing in, and generally dominating, short season ball, before moving on to full-season minor leagues.

Conforto looked like he was comfortably on this path.?In his first 12 games in a Cyclones' uniform, he?hit a scorching .409/.490/.523 with five doubles, six walks, a .486 BABIP and seven strikeouts.

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The Arizona Fall League announced the first round of player allocations to this year's rosters to minor league baseball's equivalent of "finishing school" for top prospects. The Mets are going to send OF Brandon Nimmo, INF Matt Reynolds, RHP Cory Mazzoni, RHP Rob Whalen, RHP Paul Sewald and RHP Julian Hilario to go along with a position player to be named later.


OF Brandon Nimmo

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First basemen are expected to hit the ball over the wall. So far, in the 2014 season, Mets prospect Dominic Smith has only done so once.

Smith, the Mets' first-round draft pick in the 2013 draft, has one home run for Savannah, hit last weekend in Augusta. How big a deal for this in the 19-year-old?

Smith has played 115 games for the Savannah Sand Gnats and hit .276/.349/.341 with 24 doubles and that one home run. He has run a very healthy walk rate of 9.8?percent?and a strikeout rate of 15.6 percent. He's shown plate discipline and strike zone control while displaying an ability to shoot singles back up the middle and into left field as illustrated in his hit chart below (courtesy MLBFarm.com). Note that in the spray chart below, right field is less "busy" than center and left field.

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While the big league Mets sit at 57-63 -- a .475 winning percentage that is unlikely to?yield a playoff berth -- their organization?s overall record is a lot higher.

Combined, all nine of the Mets minor league affiliates have a .555 winning percentage, a 421-338 record.?Looking only at their full-season affiliates, instead of all nine, the organization has an even higher winning percentage: .590 (284-197), 9.5 games better than the next best organization, the Texas Rangers.

For the full season affiliates, offense has been the name of the game. They?ve scored 5.11 runs/game, the best amongst all clubs? full season minor league systems, and have the best run differential at +380. That differential is 104 runs better than Texas.

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Matt Reynolds?could very well be?major leaguer.

Coming off a week in which he hit .533/.588/.767, the 23-year-old Reynolds?was named the Pacific Coast League's Player of the Week for the period?ending August 3. In 43 games in Triple-A, in the thin air of Las Vegas, he's hitting .329/.390/.470 with 15 walks and 41 strikeouts while playing eight games at second base and 33 at short.

The Mets drafted Reynolds in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Arkansas, where he was primarily a third baseman. They shifted him back to his natural shortstop position for his?professional career. Reynolds?isn't going to dazzle anyone with his range?or his arm, but can he hit enough?

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