Coming off the coattails of Baseball America breaking down the top ten prospects from every team in the NL East, we take a look at the top ten prospects from the NL East.
There were a couple of surprises when looking at Baseball America’s list of the top ten Mets’ prospects, most notably Kevin Plawecki jumping to No. 5, and players like Cesar Puello not cracking the top 10. You won’t find any major surprises on this list, as it’s pretty evenly distributed across the five NL East teams.
1. Lucas Giolito, RHP Washington Nationals
The 6’6″ right-handed Lucas Giolito was touted as one of the top pitching prospects in the 2012 MLB draft. High school pitchers who can fire the ball at 100 mph tend to be highly rated guys. Many scouts had him tabbed as the greatest high school pitching prospect ever. He is also armed with a ridiculous 12-to-6 curveball to go along with the heat.
In his first professional outing back in 2012, he was removed after experiencing some discomfort in his throwing elbow. Giolito later had Tommy John Surgery to replace a damaged UCL. He came back in 2013 pumping in triple digit fastballs–in other words, he hasn’t skipped a beat.
Giolito has the potential to be an ace and has the potential to move quickly due to his advanced stuff. 2014 will be a test for the young fireballer as his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.
2. Maikel Franco, 3B Philadelphia Phillies
Maikel Franco has pretty much shot himself out of the cannon in the Phillies organization. He was signed as an international free-agent back in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic, and should be making his Triple-A debut and possibly be a mid-season call-up.
Franco’s swing generates a ton of power, featuring a big load and very quick hands through the zone, but he can be aggressive at times. He crushed 31 home runs between the FSL and EAS leagues in 2013. For being aggressive, he doesn’t strike out as much as you would think–only 12 percent of the time in 2013. He also hits for average.
His speed will limit him to a corner infield position, and he could be primed as the heir apparent at first base behind Ryan Howard.
Syndergaard, who will turn out to be the key acquisition from the R.A. Dickey trade, is a tall and imposing figure on the mound. Standing 6’6″, he looks as if he can dunk a basketball just as easily as he can whip a fastball by a batter.
His mechanics are effortless, and the ball explodes out of his hand with his high-90s fastball. His curveball is excellent, and while there have been some knocks on his changeup in the past, it looks like it is developing nicely. He keeps hitters off-balance, and when he needs to, can blow a 96 mph fastball by the hitter.
Syndergaard will start the season with Las Vegas (AAA) and be primed for an early July call-up.
Travis d’Arnaud will be inheriting the starting catcher job for the New York Mets in 2014. Is the ability to be an All-Star caliber catcher there? Yes. Are there still question marks with regards to d’Arnaud? Also, a yes.
The biggest question mark hanging over d’Arnaud’s head at this point is whether he can remain healthy enough to withstand the daily rigors of being an everyday catcher in the big leagues. The catching and hitting skills are there, but he has to be on the field or those skills don’t translate to anything.
Regardless, Mets fans should be excited to have a guy on the roster that can to potentially hit .300 and pop 20-30 home runs from behind the plate in the future.
I like Jake Marisnick a little bit more than Baseball America, who had him ranked No. 3 on their recent top ten prospect list for the Miami Marlins (behind Andrew Heaney and Colin Moran). Marisnick made his major league debut last season with the Marlins, and was completely over matched by the big league pitching–there is no nicer way to put it.
He strikes out quite a bit, but he can find success by staying off the front foot and trying to drive the ball to right-center. The Marlins rushed him a bit, and I would have liked to see him spend some more time in the minor leagues polishing up his hitting. The tools are all there, and he could have benefited from more minor league at bats.
The former third round draft pick is also an excellent defender who gets excellent reads and can cover a ton of green in the outfield. If he can polish up the hitting, he profiles as the best outfield prospect in the NL East (Brian Goodwin being a close second).
Here is the rest of the top ten in less detail…
6. Andrew Heaney, LHP Miami Marlins
Heaney has a silky smooth delivery. His fastball can get into the mid-90s and his slider is filthy. He also features and above average changeup.
7. Lucas Sims, RHP Atlanta Braves
A converted shortstop, he works off his fastball which sits in the low-mid 90s and is working on a changeup to go along with his mid-70s slurve.
8. Christian Bethancourt, Catcher Atlanta Braves
Mets fans will get this reference–Christian Bethancourt is basically Juan Centeno with power (maybe not as good defensively as Centeno, but you get the point). Bethancourt is an excellent defensive catcher who may be the starter in Atlanta with Brian McCann headed for free agency.
9. Rafael Montero, RHP New York Mets
If David Wright is Captain America, and Noah Syndergaard is Thor, then Rafael Montero is Hawkeye. Montero’s poise and pinpoint control make him a virtual lock for the Mets’ rotation in 2014 (barring any off-season moves).
10. Brian Goodwin, OF Washington Nationals
Brian Goodwin is a legit five tool talent. His instincts may hold him back from cashing in on those five tools and being an All-Star someday, but he should pan out to be a solid major leaguer. He has excellent speed, but there are still questions on whether he can stick in centerfield and what type of hitter he will become.