Down on the Farm: St. Lucie Mets
With summer closing and my second year of college approaching, I picked up another job. This job is on a farm. The description says I must weed and harvest. So I’ll do the same with the Mets, as I take a look “on the farm” at some of the Mets prospects (or weeds — it depends on your perception).
My first stop is in St. Lucie to check up on some of the bright stars in the Mets future. Remember Wilmer Flores, the once prized prospect of the Mets who’s been compared to Detroit Tigers first basemen Miguel Cabrera? Well, he just turned 20 last week and has a combined line of .273/.313/.391.
When I heard the Cabrera comparison, I fell in love. This is an example of why I don’t trust comparisons like that anymore. Flores is still very young but the promise that he had 2 years ago has vanished. He’s been lost behind the Matt Harvey’s, Zack Wheeler’s, and Brandon Nimmo’s (Cross your fingers).
The point is, Miguel Cabrera is a phenomenal athlete. He’s arguably one of the most productive players since he was called up. Meanwhile, in A ball, Flores has 9 home runs with 74 RBI. For a shortstop, those numbers are exceptional. But the fact is, Flores doesn’t possess the glove to handle short, third, nor second. He doesn’t have the bat to play at first so he’s likely going to be shifted to the outfield. Yes, he’s only 20 but we’ve waited since he was 16 to see the power potential. Unfortunately, as an outfielder, Flores doesn’t carry speed so centerfield is not an option and the power he’s shown is not enough to justify a corner spot.
That said, sadly, Flores isn’t a top 100 prospect anymore nor the shortstop in waiting. Next year is a big year for him — will the Mets stick him in St. Lucie for a little more seasoning or will they go all in with a promotion to Binghamton?
Speaking of sticking in St. Lucie, Greg Peavey is one of my favorite arms in the Mets system. Before college, Peavey was considered a top pitching prospect. But arm injuries sidelined his journey and the Mets might have found a steal in the 6th round.
Peavey is a finesse pitcher. He’s not going to blow you away with his fastball, but Peavey’s most impressive asset is his control. In 122.2 innings between Savannah and St. Lucie, Peavey has walked a total of 22, while striking out 98. In his first professional season, he’s maintained a 3.37 ERA in both leagues and has the make up to make him another one of those Mets success stories.
Moving to another pitcher, let’s take a look at Zack Wheeler. Fans forgot him after first start as Mets property, when he went 4 innings and allowed 4 runs. In his next start, Wheeler shined and showed a glimpse of what he could bring in the future. In 6 innings, he allowed 4 hits while striking out 7. He pitched again Saturday and had a solid showing taking the loss, going 5 innings, letting up 1 run on 3 walks and 3 K’s.
The reason why Wheeler was never pushed in the Giants system is because he’s a prized prospect. As Saturday showed, he has control issues. And while those are the only walks he’s allowed in a Mets uniform, it has me convinced that he needs some seasoning. Next year, Wheeler should start in Double-A and from there; he has a chance of making the majors as a September call up.
Some other notes from St. Lucie, Darin Gorski has remained un hittable. He’s easily been the Mets most valuable prospect this season. It’s a shame he hasn’t been promoted. Outfielder’s Cesar Puello and Cory Vaughn are struggling and 2nd round pick from the 2011 Draft Cory Mazzoni has been promoted to St. Lucie after dominating in Brooklyn.
In my next article we’ll take a look at Binghamton.
I think the most “valuable” prospect this year is debatably SS Jordany Valdespin who has just been promoted to AAA and is already doing well. He still has some work to do, but he could take over at second base next year as early as opening day or even SS if Jose Reyes ends up elsewhere.
As Kyle notes, Wilmer Flores is NOT an infielder. His feet are heavy and slow, and as he continues to grow into his 6’3″ frame he’ll have to be moved into a corner position — most likely an outfield corner. An immobile corner outfielder with below-average running speed and poor strike zone judgment has to prove he can hit many homeruns to make it to MLB. We’re looking at a Jack Cust-type of player, minus the walks.