Third Base1. Wilmer Flores
2. Aderlin Rodriguez
3. Pedro Perez
4. Jhoan Urena
1. I could have made Flores the Mets top first base prospect. However, I placed him here because I think his value would be maximized by playing third, which he began doing regularly stateside in 2012.
Flores was not great at third in 2013, but I think a team can play him there everyday. He should have enough arm for third, and the hands for the position. However, his relatively slow feet will put him out of position occasionally, and put him at a higher risk of throwing errors. It's possible he winds up playing mostly first base in the big leagues.
Flores, who will be 22 on Opening Day 2014, can hit. He's hit at every minor league stop. However, in 2013, he posted a career-best .210 isolated slugging percentage in Las Vegas and a walk rate of 5.4%, his lowest since his Florida State League in 2010 and 2011. Once in the big leagues, his walk rate slipped to 5.0%. That is below average. It is extremely difficult to be a valuable offensive player with a walk rate that low. A quick flip through Fangraphs' "Offense" stat, suggests that no player in the Top 30 in baseball had a walk rate that low until we get to Starling Marte at #31. Flores has been better in the winter, running walk rates of 8.2% and 9% in the last two winters in Venezuela and 7.3% in 2012 in the AA Eastern League.
Anyway, Flores won't play third base for the Mets, unless David Wright is hurt. So, he will likely begin 2014 in Las Vegas working largely at second, with games at both first and third to stay sharp at both in case the Mets need help at either.
2. Rodriguez hit .260/.295/.427 with 14 doubles and nine homers in 62 games for St. Lucie in an injury-shortened campaign. He followed that up with a .194/.205/.222 line with zero walks and 18 strikeouts in 19 games in the Arizona Fall League. There's real power here, but maybe nothing else.
3. I saw the best game of Pedro Perez's life, when he smacked two home runs on July 4th. He's a big kid who hit .264/.314/.365 at age 18 in the Appalachian League where he picked up all but nine plate appearances against pitchers older than himself.
4. Urena, who the Mets signed for $425,000 in 2011, hit .299/.351/.376 in 47 games in the GCL in 2013, while turning 19 on September 1. He drew nice reviews from
1. Baseball America's Ben Badler "Switch-hitter who can drive the ball from both sides ... he’s made a lot of strides with his pitch recognition and hitting approach and the raw power is definitely in there. He’s a big-bodied guy so he’s going to have to work to stay at third base, but the bat potential there is very intriguing."
2. Jeff Moore (now at BP): "Urena stood out on the field because of how he moved for a guy his size. Listed at 6'1" 200 lbs., he's probably put on a few additional pounds since then. The additional size helps him generate a powerful swing, but he handles it well, especially at third base. Despite his size, he shows good range at the position, and while he still has the inconsistencies that come with being 18, his hands are soft enough to become a good, consistent defender there. He has a plus arm that fires the ball across the diamond with easy action."