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MLB New York Mets

Preview of New York Mets’ Prospects In Arizona Fall League

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Preview of New York Mets' Prospects In Arizona Fall League

Preview of New York Mets' Prospects In Arizona Fall League
Brad Barr - USATODAY Sports

Now that the New York Mets’ season is over, the winter ball season is right around the corner for several Mets players -- especially their prospects. One of the more notable winter leagues is the Arizona Fall League, which begins October 8 and runs through the middle of November. After a successful minor league season in which four of the Mets’ affiliates made the postseason, including the Savannah Sand Gnats who won their league championship, the Mets are sending seven players to the AFL.

The AFL is an important part of minor league baseball, as it has long been considered MLB's finishing school; it’s a place where teams can send their top prospects to further prepare them for the big leagues. Of course, there are a lot of different reasons why teams choose to send players for extra reps following the regular season, and we’ll see that in the group of players the Mets are choosing to send to Arizona.

Among the players sent to the Fall League last season was Cesar Puello, who had a successful stint in Arizona that helped propel him to a great season in 2013 until his Biogenesis suspension ended his season early. The Mets have made some interesting choices with regard to the prospects they have chosen to play in the Arizona Fall League. They haven’t chosen to include any of their truly elite prospects, but there are prospects that they have high hopes for and have a real chance to get to the big leagues.

This season, Mets prospects will be playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions among players from four other organizations. Here’s a closer look at the seven players the Mets are sending to the AFL, why they’re playing in the fall league, and what the Mets hope to gain from sending these players for extra reps.

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Chasen Bradford, Pitcher

Chasen Bradford, Pitcher
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Bradford has never been considered much of a prospect, but he had a solid season in high-A and then put up a 0.71 ERA in 25 innings in double-A, so the Mets want to see if he’s for real and if he can pitch in a major league bullpen one day. He’s a sinker ball pitcher with a nice changeup, but he’s never been considered as someone with great stuff, so he may be a little over his head in the AFL and should be considered a long shot to get to the big leagues.

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Jeurys Familia, Pitcher

Jeurys Familia, Pitcher
Jim O'Connor - USATODAY Sports

It’s unusual for a player with major league experience to pitch in the AFL, but Familia missed so much time this season because of injury that the Mets want him to get extra work after throwing less than 20 innings between the majors and minors this year. Familia should have no trouble handling the batters in the AFL, but his performance will be of secondary importance to Familia being healthy and throwing without pain because he has a chance to be real important to the Mets’ bullpen next year.

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Cam Maron, Catcher

Cam Maron, Catcher
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Maron got limited reps during the second half of the season because he was playing at the same level as Kevin Plawecki, the Mets’ top catching prospect. Maron doesn’t have much power, but he makes good contact with the ball and knows how to take a walk, which the Mets like. The Mets may want to push him to double-A to start the 2014 season, and the AFL will give him a preview of what pitching in double-A will be like. He’s a long way from having a future in the big leagues, but a good performance in the AFL can help his prospect status.

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Hansel Robles, Pitcher

Hansel Robles, Pitcher
Steve Mitchell - USATODAY Sports

Despite never pitching in a full season, the Mets added Robles to their 40-man roster before the 2013 season, believing he would move fast through the system. However, he had a rather mediocre year. He missed some time with an injury, which is part of the reason the Mets are sending him to the AFL. They also want him to face tough competition and hopefully accelerate his development. His numbers in high-A this season were ordinary and his strikeouts are not what they need to be, and there’s a chance the Mets are using the AFL to determine if they want to keep him on the 40-man roster through the winter or not.

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Aderlin Rodriguez, Third Base

Aderlin Rodriguez, Third Base
Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

Rodriguez has the most pure power of any prospect in the Mets’ farm system, but he was injured in the middle of June and never made it back before the end of the season. So, he needs to make up for lost time. He had an exceptional May in high-A, and has worked hard to make marginal improvements in all aspects of his game over the past couple of seasons; but outside of his power, none of his other tools stand out. Not only does he need at-bats so he can be prepared to go to double-A next year, but the Mets need to determine if they want to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. It’ll also be interesting to see if he plays third base or first base as his future position is still undecided, unless he ends up in the American League where he could become a designated hitter.

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Cody Satterwhite, Pitcher

Cody Satterwhite, Pitcher
Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

Satterwhite was a second-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2008, and after he missed all of the 2012 season, the Mets signed him late in the 2013 season. Sending him to the AFL means the Mets like what they have and want to see more of him. He has great size and velocity, but has missed a lot of time due to injury and has never been able to put everything together and have sustained success in the minors. He climbed as high as double-A in 2009, and there’s no doubt he has the potential; going to the AFL is a way for the Mets to gauge where he’s at and what they can expect from him in 2014 and beyond.

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Cory Vaughn, Outfield

Cory Vaughn, Outfield
Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

Vaughn was off to a great start in 2013, but was then slowed down by injury and needs to make up for lost time as the Mets will have to decide whether or not to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Vaughn has more than enough tools to have a big league career, but his swing has complicated and has led to a lot of strikeouts in his career, as well as a batting average that isn’t high enough to get him to the majors. One positive about Vaughn is that he crushed lefties in 2013 and could be a platoon player down the line. With a strong performance in the AFL, Vaughn can put himself on the Mets' radar heading into 2014, as there are clearly openings in their outfield, but if he struggles against pitching in the AFL, it’ll be a sign that his complicated swing won’t be able to handle the kind of elite pitching he’d face if he ever gets to the big leagues.