The Top Ten
1. RHP Noah Syndergaard
2. LHP Steven Matz
3. OF Brandon Nimmo
4. SS Amed Rosario
5. C Kevin Plawecki
6. 2B Dilson Herrera
7. RHP Marcos Molina
8. 1B Dominic Smith
9. OF Michael Conforto
10. 3B Jhoan Urena
The list focuses on eventual upside, and creates internal sense, so it works together.
I don't think the top spot is at all controversial. No other Mets prospect matches the potential of Syndergaard. If everything breaks right for Thor, he's an ace. Add in the act that he spent the entire 2014 season in Triple-A and seems on pace for a MLB debut in 2015, and that's an easy call.
After Syndergaard, I have the next five propsects in the system as Nimmo, Herrera, Matz, Plawecki and Rafael Montero. All played at Double-A or higher in 2014. Herrera and Montero reached the big leagues in 2014. Plawecki bopped at Double-A on his way to Triple-A. Matz was dominant, at times, in Double-A. Nimmo hit right handers, but not lefties, in Binghamton. These are all top 10 guys, and how a particular author orders them is largely a matter of personal preference, informed by the weights he or she places on the various statistical and scouting markers on each guy. Montero probably belongs at the back of the group because he does not have the ceiling of Matz, Nimmo or Herrera.
Molina, after Jason Parks ranked him No. 10 in the system last year, followed that up with a dominant season in Brooklyn. I was a little underwhelmed by the stuff when I saw him, as he was 91-93 with life down in the zone with his fastball. He was messing around with a changup that didn't do much. I have him comfortably in the second tier after Syndergaard with Rosario, Conforto and Smith, so No. 7 is a fine place for him.
Like Mellon, I have Conforto and Smith close in the rankings, but I have Conforto in front. Unlike the Matz/Plawecki/Nimmo/Herrera/Montero quintet, Conforto hasn't had a chance in full-season ball. Ranking Conforto in front of any of them requires a steadfast belief in one's scouting that Conforto offers that much more potential.
I'm surprised that Herrera slipped behind Rosario, but the writeup from Mellon in which he graded Rosario as having a plus hit tool and a plus glove at short with average tools elsewhere across the board, make that add up. Meanwhile, he assigns average tools to Herrera across the board, with a plus on the speed tool. I don't grade the two that way, so end up with Herrera in front of Rosario.
Urena at No. 10 is a modest surprise. I like Urena, and had him ranked as the No. 1 third base prospect in the system. He's a top 20 guy in the system for me based on questions about his eventual power production and whether he will have the range at third, rather than top 10.
Mellon has graded tools generously in some cases where a player has a tool below average, it is missing from the writeup. Dominic Smith, for example, was pudgy in 2014, and a well below average runner. This is absent from BP's report. First basemen are not expected to steal bases, but speed on the bases adds a little value. However, this is less important than overall physique and its importance in projecting how a player will produce as he ages, moving forward.