Baseball America

At Baseball America, Ben Badler broke down the Mets' 2013 international signing class at a level of detail only he can.

There's a new name, so we'll start with an excerpt on him:

RHP Scarlyn Reyes - $25,000 - "The Mets took?a flier on an intriguing arm last February when they gave $25,000 to 6-foot-3, 190-pound Dominican righthander?Scarlyn Reyes. By Latin American amateur standards, Reyes is already ancient, having turned 22 in November. Reyes also has a big arm, sitting at 92-94 mph, touching 97 and throwing a lot of strikes.

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Baseball America released their Top 100 prospects in baseball on Wednesday night and included four Mets: Noah Syndergaard at #16, Travis d'Arnaud at #38, Rafael Montero at #68 and Dominic Smith at #92.

John Manuel's player capsules are below. Subscribers can read lengthier reports here.


Tags: Baseball America, Other Prospect Rankings, Toby Hyde
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Baseball America has compiled a list of an estimate on what every Major League team spent on on international bonuses during the 2013 year. The problem with a list like this is that it spans two different signing periods: the back half of the '12-13 period when every team had $2.9 million to spend, and the '13-14 period where teams' official bonus pools ranged from $1.8 million (Nationals) to $4.9 million (Astros).

The Mets were 13th at $3.13 million in the 2013 calendar year. Most teams were in this range. Nearly half of the teams in baseball (14) spent between $2.5 million and $3.5 million.

The Mets began the 2013-14 signing period with a bonus allotment of $2,664,600, but added the #51 slot from the Angels, valued at $360,500 for OF Julio Concepcion and RHP Andres Perez in July. The Mets' total bonus pool for the 2013-14 signing period is $3,025,100.

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Ben Badler at Baseball America listed the Mets' signing of RHP Joel Carreno as among the publication's "Picks to Click." He wrote:

Carreno, who could be one of the steals (a relative term, of course) of the minor league free agent class. Carreno, who turns 27 in March, throws in the low 90s with a curveball that can help him miss bats, something he did more of in 2013 than ever before, perhaps in part because the Blue Jays made him a full-time reliever for the first time in his career.??After striking out 25 percent of batters in his minor league career, Carreno?s strikeout rate jumped to 34 percent last year between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo with a 2.43 composite ERA. Now he?s pitching well for Escogido in the Dominican League.
So, cheap bullpen help? Sure.
Tags: Baseball America, Toby Hyde

Lets get caught up with some links.

Last week, John Manuel wrote up the Baseball America Draft Report Card for the Mets' 2013 haul.

Position Guys

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Writing for Baseball America, Josh Norris named Noah Syndergaard the AA Eastern League's top pitcher, and #3 overall prospect trailing only Xander Boegaerts (BOS) and Miguel Sano (MIN).

Rafael Montero was #13 on the list.?Cesar Puello missed the list.

Norris' comment on Syndergaard in part:

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John Manuel ranked the Florida State League's prospects for Baseball America. He placed Thor (Noah Syndergaard) #6, making him the League's top pitching prospect after five high-end position player talents (Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Javier Baez, Gregory Polanco and Maikel Franco).


Manuel's comment in part:

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Baseball America named Steven Matz the #20 prospect in the 16-team South Atlantic League today. CF Brandon Nimmo did not make the list.

Their comment about Matz praises the work of Savannah Pitching Coach Frank Viola in teaching his pitchers to throw strikes (here, here) and then on Matz:

Matz didn?t paint corners as much as Ynoa or Cessa, but he did throw plenty of strikes while showcasing three potentially plus pitches: an 89-94 mph fastball that touched 96 as well as an intriguing curveball and changeup.

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Clint Longenecker named Amed Rosario the Appalachian League's top prospect for Baseball America. He also placed RHP Rob Whalen at #15 in the Appy League and RHP Chris Flexen at #19.

On Rosario:


he showed star potential in his debut season. With a lanky build, he?s an exceptional athlete with above-average speed.

Tags: Baseball America, German Ahmed Rosario, Toby Hyde
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Writing at Baseball America, Mike Kerwick names Rafael Montero the Mets' Best Pitcher and Wilmer Flores' the Mets' organization's Best Player.

In selecting Montero, Kerwick noted that his alternative was Noah Syndergaard:

Montero edges out Noah Syndergaard, a 21-year-old righty who has drawn raves since arriving in a trade with the Blue Jays....Montero had the better season, but scouts regard Syndergaard as having the higher upside.

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Baseball America has named Rafael Montero the #1 prospect on this week's prospect Hot Sheet.

Excerpts from their comment:

The Mets signed him in January 2011 when he was 20?an age that makes him practically ancient in the world of international scouting?but he?s skyrocketed from the Dominican Summer League to Triple-A in just two seasons thanks to his impressive command of a solid arsenal. Little has fazed Montero on that journey, including the hitter-friendly conditions of Las Vegas. ... otherwise he overmatched hitters during his two home starts in Las Vegas.

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Baseball America has their annual "Best Tools" issue out. It has a whole bunch of Mets arms.

In Triple-A, Zack Wheeler earned the Pacific Coast League's "Best Pitching Prospect" and "Best Fastball."

In AA, Noah Syndergaard earned the same pair of awards for the Eastern League and for advanced-A St. Lucie. Also, BAa named Cesar Puello the Eastern League's "Most Exciting Player" and Binghamton Manager Pedro Lopez the League's "Best Manager Prospect."

Tags: Baseball America, Cesar Puello, Gabriel Ynoa, Noah Syndergaard, Toby Hyde
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Baseball America notices that Wilmer Flores is hitting well for AAA Las Vegas and pegs him as one of the prospects "surging" into the second half:

Flores has cracked 16 extra-base hits (five HR, 10 2B, one 3B) in the past 26 games for Las Vegas. With an uncharacteristic 22-4 K-BB ratio in that time, he appears to be making a concerted effort to hit for power, and so far it?s been working. Only Albuquerque outfielder Nick Buss has more extra-base hits (17) in this sample. The 21-year-old Flores has played four of his past eight games at first base, suggesting he may be auditioning for a look at that position in New York this summer.
Tags: Baseball America, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde

- Baseball America named Mets' first-rounder Dominic Smith to their 2013 High School Baseball All-American Team. Nathan Rode's comment will not surprise any regulars around here:

Smith led Serra High to a Southern Section Division III championship with a .493 average and seven home runs. ... Smith has a sweet, lefthanded swing and projects to hit for average and power. He also is an excellent defender at first...
OF J.B. Woodman, who the Mets selected in the 40th round, made the second team. Woodman has said he will go to college, and in fact, drove to Oxford, MS to head to school on Tuesday.

SS Luis Guillorme, the Mets' 10th round pick, was picked for the third team.

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Baseball America published their organizational rankings for 2013, slotting the Mets in at #16, between the Reds at #15 and the Orioles at #17.

The Mets are mid-pack for both baseball and a whole and the NL East: with the Marlins (#5) and the Washington Nationals (#13) above them and the Philadelphia Phillies (#24) and the Atlanta Braves (#26) in below.

Their comments for subscribers:

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Baseball America is up with their Top 10 Mets prospects:

They go with:

1. RHP Zack Wheeler

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Baseball America has their draft report card up for the Mets, and it's free for all so go read it, rather than relying on me to excerpt it.

Their draft report card is really a "best tools" in the Mets' draft class.

The BA "Quick Take:"

The Mets added three solid up-the-middle players at the top of their draft. On the downside, however, [Teddy] Stankewicz was the highest-selected prep pick in the entire draft not to sign.
Bonus spending:?$7.0 million
Tags: Baseball America, Draft, Toby Hyde

At Baseball America, Matt Eddy has named RHP Zack Wheeler the #2 prospect in the double-A Eastern League, trailing only Manny Machado.

On Wheeler, how about this comment?

"He's possibly the best pitching prospect I've ever seen," Erie manager Chris Cron said. "He has all the pitches and a free and easy delivery. He can go 98, 88, then 78 at will. For a kid, he really looks like he knows how to pitch because he changes speeds really well."
On Flores:

Tags: Baseball America, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler, Toby Hyde
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JJ Cooper ranked prospects in the Florida State League for Baseball America, assigning Wilmer Flores the #19 spot in the league.

His comment:

Flores knows how to stay inside the baseball, and he does a good job of driving the ball to the opposite field. He projects as a potential plus hitter with average power.

Tags: Baseball America, Rankings Season, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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Baseball America named Gavin Cecchini, ?the Mets' top pick, the 12th overall pick this year, the #12 prospect in a loaded Appalachian League. Matt Eddy began his League top 20 with Byron Buxton, Courtney Hawkins (#13 overall this year) and Bubba Starling.

He wrote of Cecchini in part:

He possesses the footwork, hands and range to be an average shortstop, but he'll need to further develop his average though accurate arm to seal the deal. He has average speed and is a plus baserunner.

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Earlier this week, Jim Callis in his "Ask BA" at Baseball America was asked to list his Top 10 prospects (excluding all guys currently in the big leagues) and he slotted in Zack Wheeler in at #9, behind #8 RHP Jose Fernandez (MIA) and in front of #10 OF Byron Buxton (MIN).

Then in a question in his chat later in the week, he responded to a Wheeler question in part by saying, "...?But you'll see him next season, probably in the Opening Day rotation."

The Mets have more or less promised that Wheeler will not be in the 2013 Opening Day rotation. So just wait a little longer on him.

Tags: Baseball America, Zack Wheeler, Toby Hyde

Now that the minor league season is complete, although the playoffs are still going on, the season wraps are coming. Baseball America did a wrap of their weekly Hot Sheet.

First, on a player, by player basis, they assigned points for each appearance, and based on a sliding scale for each player's location in each appearances, and RHP Zack Wheeler checked in at #7 overall in "Hot Sheet points." The only guys ahead of him were OF Wil Myers, LHP Danny Hultzen, RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Jose Fernandez, SS Alen Hanson and 1B Anthony Rizzo.

The surprise is that overall, the Mets had the second most "Hot Sheet points" as an organization behind only the Arizona Diamondbacks and were tied with the Marlins for the second-most players ranked in the Top 13 on a weekly basis. This of course does not mean that the Mets have the second-best system in baseball although its ranking should rise based on the progress of a number of key players. Rather, a number of Mets from Wheeler, 1B/2B/3B Wilmer Flores, Matt Harvey and guys like RHP Michael Fulmer, RHP Domingo Tapia and RHP Luis Mateo each had standout weeks.

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Baseball America is out with their always fun annual Best Tools Survey of minor league scouts and league managers.

Matt Harvey was named the Best Pitching Prospect in the International League despite not earning recognition for any single one of his pitches.

Zack Wheeler earned the nod as the Best Pitching Prospect in the Eastern League, with the Best Fastball and Best Breaking Pitch.

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In their annual mid-season update of the top 50 prospects in the game, Baseball America ranked Zack Wheeler #10 and Matt Harvey #34.

On Wheeler they wrote:

A delivery tweak from Dick Tidrow fixed control issues, but Carlos Beltran trade sent him on path to Big Apple
On Harvey:

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On Friday, Baseball America put Cory Vaughn at #2 on their weekly Prospect Hot Sheet. He crushed the ball hitting .367/.424/.900 with a double and five homers last week. When the Hot Sheet came out, he was hitting .293/.381/.587 in 24 games.

With one hit over the weekend, in 11 at-bats, he's "down" to .272/.359/.563. His eight home runs still lead the FSL. Vaughn is well ahead of last year's power pace when he hit 13 home runs combined between Savannah and St. Lucie, nine of which came during the second half in the FSL. Even if some of those balls stop going over the wall, his extra-base hit rate is up overall from 7.1% in 2011 to 12% in 2012.

It's an encouraging start for the 23-year old, but he might never reach his father's glory. As BA points out, "He's got a chance, but keep in mind that his father Greg, a four-time all-star, already had reached Milwaukee by the time he was 23."

Tags: Baseball America, Cory Vaughn, Toby Hyde

Baseball America placed RHP Matt Harvey on its Prospect Hot Sheet today at #6. He struck out 15 and walked three in his 13 innings this week.

The BA staff writes:

At times, like this past week, he shows flashes of frontline starter potential, with a plus fastball and a plus slider. Harvey is one step away from the big leagues, but there's still work to be done with his command and his changeup to be able to master Triple-A and be big league ready, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he spent the majority of the season in the International League.

Tags: Baseball America, Matt Harvey, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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1. Transactions

It starts in the big leagues. The Mets DLed Ronny Cedeno and replaced him with RHP Jeremy Hefner. Likely, eventually, they will add Jordany Valdespin too.

That opened up a spot for LHP Josh Edgin in the Buffalo Bisons bullpen. Edgin, the talk of spring training, had given up one run, on a solo HR in his 6.1 innings over six outings in AA. He'd fanned five, walked two and given up five hits. Edgin appears to be on the fast track to the big leagues. His stuff is basically ready - he's regularly 92-95 with his fastball with a slider that's at least MLB average.

Tags: Baseball America, Binghamton Mets, Josh Edgin, Transactions, Toby Hyde
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Baseball America's most recent Prospect Hot Sheet has a pair of Mets: Zack Wheeler is ranked #6 and Domingo Tapia is in the ?"Helium Watch" section.

An excerpt from their comment about Wheeler:

The EL is a long way from the big leagues, granted, but one couldn't ask for much more from Wheeler than he's shown thus far. He's throwing strikes with two plus pitches and showing flashes with his third and fourth offerings.
They promise more on Tapia later.

Tags: Baseball America, Domingo Tapia, Zack Wheeler, Toby Hyde
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As part of their chat for the release of their Top 100 prospects, a gang of Baseball America writers took questions about prospects. A few Mets questions snuck in.


Mike (NY):?Jim, an org ranking question - about where would you rank the Mets' farm system? I remember reading you wrote 10-15 but based on this list it seems like they'll be more 20-25.

Jim Callis:?I always seem to estimate high during the season. They were No. 24 in our preliminary rankings in the Prospect Handbook, and the A's will move ahead of them after all their trades and the Cespedes signing.
Steve (Kansas):?Was Jeurys Familia any close to making the list?
Jim Callis:?One of the eight editors voted him in their Top 100, and two others listed him in their 101-150 range. So not particularly close for Familia. ...

Tags: Baseball America, Jeurys Familia, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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Two Mets made today's Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: Zack Wheeler at #35 and Matt Harvey at #54.

The magazine's comment on Wheeler:

Will have to pay Paul DePodesta to dress up like Dick Tidrow now that he's a Met.
Tidrow is the Giants' VP of Player Personnel. Fill in the blank: This joke is _______________.

Tags: Baseball America, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Toby Hyde
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Baseball America named Jeurys Familia as the #13 prospect in the Eastern League for 2011.

John Manuel explained the ranking:

Familia toned down his delivery from his phrenetic motion he showed prior to 2011, and that allowed him to throw more quality strikes with one of the EL's most explosive fastballs. His loose, whippy arm helps him sit at 92-96 mph with hard life down in the zone.

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Baseball America released their Florida State League Top 20 Prospects on Monday, and Matt Harvey landed at #2 and Wilmer Flores at #20 as selected by Jim Shonerd.

Shonerd quotes a scout on Harvey:

"Physical. Held his velocity. All the stuff was projectable, too."
and then runs through his arsenal:

Tags: Baseball America, Cesar Puello, Darin Gorski, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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So I missed that BA released their New-York Penn League Top 20 Prospects Rankings last Sunday. ?Seriously? ?Sunday. ?Anyway, Danny Muno, coming off a .355/.466/.514 season with 23 doubles, 43 walks and 39 strikeouts slotted in at #18.

Aaron Fitt wrote in part:

"He has some of the best knowledge of the strike zone I've ever seen from a young kid," Brooklyn manager Rich Donnelly said. "His bat is going to play and his OBP is ridiculous. He's been a winner his whole life. He's a tough kid and I just like him."

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Baseball America is into their league-by-league top 20 lists and has named Mets RHP Rafael Montero the #20 prospect in the GCL.

Ben Badler wrote this about Montero:

Montero's best pitch is his fastball, which sits at 90-93 mph and touches 95 with late hop, making it tough for hitters to pick up. His fastball plays up because his command of the pitch was so advanced for Rookie ball. He'll need to improve his secondary pitches, a fringy changeup and a below-average breaking ball, though he throws them both for strikes.
Montero's interesting in that he signed late by international standards - he'll be 21 in October - but he blew through four levels in the system this year.

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Writing at Baseball America, Steve Popper names Jordany Valdespin the Mets' "Best Player," Matt Harvey as the team's "Best Pitcher," and Matt den Dekker as one to "Keep An Eye On."

The mildly funny part? Valdespin was not honored by the Mets as part of the team's Sterling Awards. ?Here's Mets Director of Minor League Operations Adam Wogan on Valdespin:

"He's athletic enough to play shortstop. ?He's working on becoming more consistent there and in all phases of the game. He also showed that the hand-eye coordination and bat speed are translating into performance."
Rob Steingall at SNY's Why Guys got all excited about den Dekker. ?It's nice to get excited about den Dekker, but before pencilling him right into your Mets centerfield fantasies, realize that he hit .235/.312/.426 for AA-Binghamton with 91 strikeouts in 72 games, fanning in 29% of his AA plate appearances in the season in which he turned 24. ?So, whether or not you think the Mets should tender an offer to Angel Pagan for 2012, Matt den Dekker has almost nothing to do with the decision.
Tags: Baseball America, Jordanny Valdespin, Matt den Dekker, Toby Hyde

Baseball America now has the results of their annual Best Tools Survey online.

In A-ball, BA named Matt Harvey as the Florida State League's "Best Pitching Prospect. ?Darin Gorski picked up some love as having the FSL's "Best Changeup." ?Matt den Dekker was named the League's "Best Defensive Outfielder."

Gnats players were shut out in the South Atlantic League, but manager Ryan Ellis was named the League's "Best Manager Prospect."

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The more pitching prospects the better. Hard throwing ones are even better. Ted and Jim talk about why Wheeler is so exciting, his mechanics and a precedent for pitching prospects learning better control, and Mets' fan paranoia.

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Today, Baseball America revealed its Mid-season Top 50 prospect list. Matt Harvey cracked the list at #30.

Considering that Harvey was not even ranked in BA's?2011 Top 100 list?in February, this is a huge leap for him.

So far this season, Harvey is 8-4 with a 3.35 ERA between High-A St. Lucie and AA-Binghamton. In 88 2/3 innings of work, Harvey has given up 87 hits while walking 28 and striking out 106.

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Last week, Baseball America ranked Jordany Valdespin at #7 on their weekly Hot Sheet and wrote:

Scouts never questioned Valdespin's raw tools, but they cautioned that the young middle infielder's game required a lot of refinement. Playing shortstop every day at Double-A may have afforded Valdespin that extra incentive he needed to mature. He's swiped 16 bases in 19 tries on the year, and in June he's turned on the power (five homers, .733 slugging) and tuned down the strikeouts (11 percent of at-bats). His performance may prove to be a statistical blip, but the Mets have to be happy with what they've seen lately.
It's 100% true that two and a half hot weeks may be a blip. ?Or they may not be.

On the other hand, I just don't buy that playing short stop gave Valdespin the "incentive" to mature. ?The incentive to be a better hitter would be in place whether he was playing second, short or catcher. ?Minor league ballplayers always have an incentive to improve. ?They're getting lousy paychecks in small towns. ?You don't think they see the big leagues in the distance? ??If we're talking about a major offensive improvement with Valdespin, and a surprising power surge, we should be talking about hitting mechanics and an improved approach.

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At Baseball America, Matt Eddy talks to new Mets Minor League Pitching Coordinator Rick Tomlin to put together an interesting piece on the Mets new pitching philosophy and the hard-throwing prospects in the AA rotation, Jeurys Familia, Brad Holt and Robert Carson.


Tomlin summarizes the new pitching philosophy as emphasizing:

Tags: Baseball America, Brad Holt, Jeurys Familia, Robert Carson, Toby Hyde
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For the third time this season, Jeurys Familia has made Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet. ?Familia was recognized for his latest start, when he pitched seven shutout innings, while giving up only three hits, walking three, and striking out six.

Here is an excerpt from BA on Familia:

In his final 14 FSL starts prior to a bump to Binghamton, Familia logged a 3.11 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 102-to-24 over 84 innings. So what we've seen early in 2011 is not necessarily an April fluke.

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According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Mets have agreed to term with right-handed pitcher Luis Mateo for $150,000. ?The 21-year old Mateo is an interesting story. ?According to Badler, Mateo had originally come to terms with the Giants in July of 2008 for $625,000. ?The Giants had Mateo's contract voided when he failed a team physical with bone chips in his right elbow. ?No surgery was needed, so the Padres agreed to terms with Mateo in November of the same year.

It turned out that the Padres contract never became official due to a MLB investigation on Mateo's date of birth. ?MLB suspended Mateo in March 2010 for one year for lying about his age, and his date of birth was changed from March 17, 1992 to March 22, 1990.

Here is what Badler had to say about Mateo as a pitcher:

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Baseball America put RHP Matt Harvey at #3 on their weekly Prospect Hot Sheet. The writeup is largely without insight beyond the stats, but this stat is pretty:

"The Mets' 2010 first-round pick leads the FSL and ranks seventh in the minors with a 1.10 ERA in 32 2/3 innings, and he's also second in the league with 39 strikeouts."

Tags: Baseball America, Matt Harvey, Toby Hyde