Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Mets Prospect Report: Week 8 (5/23 - 5/29)

Top Pitching Prospect of the Week

Jack Leathersich, RP (AA) - 2.2 IP, 0-0, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Any of the four starters in the Honorable Mention section would have been a fine choice for this spot, but I almost chose Leathersich last week so I put my finger on the scale and gave it to him this week. This has been a pretty typical week for the 22-year-old lefty, which is remarkable. Since the Mets drafted Leathersich in 2011, he has faced 456 hitters across four minor league levels and he has struck out 184 of them (40.4%). This despite a fastball that lives in the low 90s. To put that in perspective, the only Major League pitchers with a better strikeout rate over that period are Craig Kimbrel (46.2%), Aroldis Chapman (42.4%), and Kenley Jansen (41.4%). In fact, those three stud closers are the only MLBers with a K% north of even 35% over the past two calendar years. Leathersich's strikeout numbers are the eye-catcher, but his whole body of work this year has been impressive. He's been unscored upon in 17 of his 18 appearances this season. In May, Leathersich has 24 strikeouts against 3 walks and 5 hits in 11.1 innings. I fully expect the Mets to move the strikeout artist up to AAA in the fairly near future. And perhaps we'll even see Leathersich in Queens this September. Although as a 2011 draftee, there's no Rule 5 pressure pushing him north yet. One more thing, Leathersich is not a LOOGY. In fact, he exhibits an unusual (and significant) reverse platoon split. This year, lefties have hit .368/.455/.579 with 5 strikeouts in 22 plate appearances. Righties have "hit" .118/.238/.118 with 40 strikeouts in 81 plate appearances. It's not just a small sample quirk (though the effect is exaggerated in this small sample). Last year, lefties outhit righties against Leathersich too (.707 OPS for LHH vs. .515 OPS for RHH), and that was in 306 PA. He might not be the best prospect in the system, but he's certainly among the more interesting.

Age: 22
Acquired: 2011 Draft (Round 5, Overall Pick 162)

Signing Bonus: $110,000
MLB ETA: 2013-14

Honorable Mention:

Rafael Montero, SP (AA) - 6.0 IP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K
Jacob deGrom, SP (AA) -6.0 IP, 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Gabriel Ynoa, SP (A) - 8.0 IP, 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Luis Cessa, SP (A) - 6.2 IP, 0-0, 1.35 ERA, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

Top Positional Prospect of the Week

Wilmer Flores, 2B (AAA) - 32 PA, .419/.419/.581, 2 R, 5 2B, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K

It seems like Flores has been a prospect in the Mets' system forever, but he's still just 21 years old. And he's quietly more than holding his own in the Pacific Coast League, in his first crack at AAA. Flores leads the league in doubles (18), ranks fourth in extra base hits (24), ranks 7th in runs batted in (34), and owns the 5th-lowest strikeout rate in the league (10.5%). He may well be up with the big club right now if not for the unfortunate fact that the two positions at which he's accumulated the most playing time since abandoning shortstop are 3B and 2B, the only two positions currently blocked at the Major League level. With his 22nd birthday still a few months away, there's no rush to get Flores to the big leagues. The Mets appear content to leave him in Las Vegas for now, accumulating valuable at-bats against the eclectic a mix of veterans, prospects, and org men that dot the AAA landscape. Flores is using his second option this year, so he'll have one left for his age 22 season in 2014 (if necessary). Barring an injury to David Wright or Daniel Murphy (which may warrant an earlier call-up), I expect we'll get to see Flores debut late this year, likely when rosters expand in September.

Age: 21
Acquired: 2007-08 International Period
Signing Bonus: $700,000
MLB ETA: Late 2013

Honorable Mention:

Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B (A+) - 25 PA, .435/.440/.565, 5 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K
Jayce Boyd, 1B (A) - 24 PA, .455/.500/.545, 4 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF (AAA) - 34 PA, .296/.424/.778, 8 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 7 K
Allan Dykstra, 1B (AA) - 31 PA, .360/.484/.880, 6 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K

Top Age 27+ Minor Leaguer of the Week

Omar Quintanilla, SS (AAA) - 24 PA, .600/.625/.800, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 0 K

Prior Weeks

Week 7: Steven Matz, Cesar Puello
Week 6: Matt Bowman, Cory Vaughn
Week 5: Zack Wheeler, Aderlin Rodriguez
Week 4: Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Plawecki
Week 3: Rafael Montero, Jayce Boyd
Week 2: Jacob deGrom, Brandon Nimmo
Week 1: Rafael Montero, Kevin Plawecki

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