New York Mets’ Top 10 Shortstop Prospects
New York Mets' Top 10 Shortstop Prospects
As the MLB season nears its end, the focus of the New York Mets will shift more and more to the 2014 season. They’ve put in a valiant effort in 2013, but it’s time to start looking towards the future, which is quite bright for the Mets.
As bright as the Mets future appears to be, there are a number of things they’ll have to accomplish and areas they’ll have to address this offseason, and towards the top of the list is the shortstop position. Jose Reyes isn’t walking through the door, and so there is no obvious answer to who their shortstop will be. Ruben Tejada has fallen out of favor with the Mets’ front office and has a lot to prove in September. Meanwhile, the Mets have relied on Omar Quintanilla to get them through much of the 2013 season. Quintanilla has done a fine job this season, and the Mets could bring him back next season, but he is far from their first choice for the position.
The first step for the Mets towards addressing their shortstop situation is taking stock of what they have in their farm system at that position. Unfortunately, the Mets don’t have a lot of options at shortstop in the upper levels of the farm system that will be able to help in the big leagues soon, despite having several talented players that are worth keeping an eye on. Regardless, it’s important to know what is coming in the years to come. Thus, I give to you a list of the top 10 shortstop prospects in the Mets' farm system.
10. Jeff McNeil
The Mets drafted McNeil in the 12th round of this year’s draft out of Long Beach State. In his first professional season, McNeil had one of the best batting averages in the Appalachian Rookie League, which indicates he may be able to move up through the farm system and has a legitimate shot at reaching the big leagues one day. He has good speed, which is a nice tool to have, and he has good defensive versatility in the event he doesn’t stick at shortstop, but he shouldn’t considered a top prospect.
9. Anthony Chavez
Chavez is a big kid with good bat speed, but he’s struggled to translate his talents into production at the lower levels of the minor leagues. He’s a good athlete, but he’s still quite raw, especially defensively. He has the kind of tools you want to keep an eye on, but he needs to start turning those tools into production, and he’s a long way from the big leagues.
8. Alfredo Reyes
Reyes has been slow to get out of the Dominican Summer League, but he’s still just 19-years old with a big frame that he’s still working to fill out. He has great defensive skills and good plate discipline, two skills that will keep him on the radar and give him a chance to move up through the system. In 2013, he had a line of .316/.392/.425, which should be good enough to move him stateside in 2014 when we’ll find out more about what he brings to the table.
7. T.J. Rivera
Rivera doesn’t have any tools that stand out, but he’s managed to be productive at every level he’s played at in the minors while being solid at shortstop defensively. He’ll be 25 at the start of next season, so his age is working against him, but he should finally get his chance to play in the upper levels of the minors in 2014. If he continues to produce, the Mets won’t be able to ignore him, and he has chance to become a shortstop or utility player.
6. Phillip Evans
The Mets paid a lot of money to sign Evans after drafting him in the 15th round in 2011, but his performance has been disappointing ever since. He has a good approach for a young player, but hit just .203 in 2013 in his first year of playing a full season in the minors. The Mets had high hopes for Evans, but his 2013 season was really disappointing and he really needs to bounce back in 2014. He does have the skills to reach the big leagues, but not if he can’t hit.
5. Luis Guillorme
The 18-year old Guillorme is a defensive wizard at shortstop. He has the range, hands and speed to play the position, and routinely makes highlight-reel plays. The down side to Guillorme is that he may not hit enough to get anywhere close to the big leagues, although he did hit .258 in the Gulf Coast League this year, which is a solid performance for a kid his age. He’s small (5-foot-10), so he’ll never hit for much power, and he’ll need to become a contact hitter that can get on base consistently. He’s years away, but if he can hit enough, his defense will carry him to the big leagues, where he could become an elite defensive shortstop reminiscent of former Mets’ shortstop Rey Ordonez.
4. Matt Reynolds
The Mets drafted Reynolds with the extra second-round pick they got in 2012 after losing Jose Reyes in free agency. It doesn’t seem like a great use of the extra pick unless Reynolds is able to remain a shortstop, which he’s done so far through two professions seasons. However, Reynolds struggled with the bat in 2013, hitting .226/.302/.337 in the highest level of A-ball. His ceiling isn’t all that high, but because of his ability to handle shortstop defensively, he has a good chance to become a major league utility player. He has an outside chance of being an every day shortstop, but he’ll have hit more than he did in 2013.
3. Wilfredo Tovar
The Mets added Tovar to their 40-man roster prior to the 2013 season because of his defensive prowess. This would make him a plus defensive shortstop in the majors right now, and makes him one of the top-20 prospects in the Mets’ farm system. The defense will always be there with Tovar, and it will be his offense that ultimately decides what he becomes in the majors. After a slow start in double-A this season, Tovar came on strong with the bat during the second half of the season, hitting .299/.359/.421 after the All-Star break. If he can keep that up, he might be able to hit enough to be an every day shortstop in the big leagues; if not, he should at least be a MLB backup middle infielder and defensive specialist.
2. Amed Rosario
The Mets paid Rosario $1.75 million to sign last summer, which is the most they’ve ever paid to an international free agent. Rosario is a great athlete with both speed and power, and is considered an elite prospect with exceptional talent. He is possibly the best Dominican prospect to sign with a MLB team last summer. He’s many years away, but he had a good showing in the Appalachian Rookie League at the age of 17, and he’ll be watched very closely in the years to come as he has as much upside as any prospect in the Mets organization.
1. Gavin Cecchini
Cecchini was the Mets' first-round draft pick in 2012, which many viewed as an odd choice for the 12th overall pick. But, he projects to be an average defensive shortstop in the big leagues, which can be a rare and valuable commodity. In 2013, Cecchini missed time due to an ankle injury, but bounced back and went on to have a 16-game hit streak, finishing with a line of .273/.319/.314. He doesn’t have much power, but that should be expected from a 19-year old, and as long as he hits for good contact and shows good plate discipline, he’ll be able to move up through the farm system and become the Mets’ shortstop of the future.