New York Mets’ Top 10 Corner Infield Prospects
New York Mets Top 10 Corner Infield Prospects
For the New York Mets’ farm system, the corners are a big problem as both first base and third base are weak spots -- so much so that combining the two positions barely yields 10 legitimate prospects. However, it works to combine the two into one list as many of their prospects have questions regarding whether they’ll be able to stay at third base or have move over to first base. So, just assigning a specific position to some of the Mets' corner infield prospects is an issue.
The Mets don’t have a lot to work with at third, but with David Wright signing a contract extension before last season, they don’t necessarily need much in the minors at that position. However, with the Mets likely to cut ties with Zach Lutz, among other players, there is some need to have a minor leaguer that can fill in for Wright in case of injury. In that sense, the Mets need to do a better job of developing third basemen in their farm system.
At first base, the Mets are also lacking prospects that are close to the majors that could help clean up the mess of players they have at that position. They did use their first-round draft pick this year on a first baseman, but that move likely won’t pay off for several years, meaning the farm system won’t be helpful in solving their current quandary at that position.
Between first base and third base, the Mets have some promising talent in their farm system, but few players that are close to reaching the majors. Here’s a look at their top 10 corner infield prospects.
10. Matt Oberste
The Mets took Oberste in the seventh round of this year’s draft. He didn’t have a great professional debut in Brooklyn, hitting just .208 and slugging a mere .286, but he looks the part of a first baseman, and his first full season as a professional in 2014 will be a lot more telling about what kind of prospect he’ll end up being.
9. Cole Frenzel
The Mets drafted Frenzel in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Draft because of his raw power, which has started to come out with seven home runs in 2013 while playing in a pitcher-friendly league. Even if the home run power isn’t there yet, Frenzel has shown plenty of gap power, as well as good patience at the plate and a good on-base percentage. However, the rest of his tools are lacking as he hasn’t hit for a good average; despite being able to play both first and third base, he isn’t a strong defensive player, which is why he’s yet to make it out of A-ball after three professional seasons.
8. Allan Dykstra
Dykstra is a little old to be considered much of a prospect, but he’s a former first-round pick and has plenty of power, so he’s at least a blip on the radar. He’s spent most of the last three seasons in double-A, hitting 47 home runs over that span. Outside of his power, none of his other tools are that impressive, but he could potentially be a replacement level player for the Mets, and considering their current issues at first base, they may be willing to give him a chance at some point.
7. Jhoan Urena
Urena is a major sleeper in the Mets’ farm system. He played the 2013 season as an 18-year-old in the Gulf Coast League and hit .299/.351/.376. He’s a big kid (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) who hits from both sides of the plate and has plenty of raw power despite not hitting a home run in 2013. He has a strong enough arm to play third base and perhaps just enough range to get by, but he doesn’t move well, which means if he loses foot speed as he continues to fill out, he may have to move over to first base. Most Mets fans don’t know about him, but a lot of scouts that saw him this year liked what they saw, and there’s a real chance that he makes a name for himself in the minors over the next year or two.
6. Elvis Sanchez
Sanchez was one of the top international free agents available when the Mets signed him at the age of 16 three years ago. He had a disastrous 2013 season, collecting just six hits in 20 games in his first experience playing baseball in the U.S., but that poor performance doesn’t mean he’s not a prospect that’s worth watching. Sanchez is still just 19-years old with a big frame and plenty of raw power, drawing comparisons to Mets prospect Aderlin Rodriguez, who has the most power in the organization. Sanchez's size will probably force him to move from third base to first base in the not-too-distant future, and while he is a long way from the majors, his size and his power make him an interesting prospect.
5. Pedro Perez
Perez was arguably the best prospect coming out of Colombia when the Mets signed him three years ago, and he’s still just 19-years old. His tools are raw, but he has an incredible amount of power, and he’s already starting to fill out his 6-foot-1 frame. Perez hit .264/.314/.365 for Kingsport in rookie ball in 2013, which showed noticeable improvement from the previous season. While he has a long way to go to get to the big leagues and still has a lot of developing left to do, Perez may be the most exciting out of all the international free agents the Mets have signed over the past few years.
4. Jayce Boyd
The fact that Boyd is so high on this list speaks to how weak the Mets are at the corners in the minors. Boyd spent 2013 mashing at both levels of A-ball, hitting .330/.410/.461. However, he was a little old to still be playing at that level and will have a lot to prove when he moves to double-A in 2014. Boyd is a quality defensive player at first base, although a shoulder injury limited him to playing only as a designated hitter for much of 2013. He’s a nice prospect, but his A-ball numbers in 2013 are deceiving and make him appear to be a more valuable prospect than he is. Boyd makes good contact and plays good defense, but if he wants to be a major league first baseman, he’ll have to start showing more home run power than he has up to this point in his minor league career.
3. Aderlin Rodriguez
Rodriguez may be third on this list, but there are serious questions about whether he’ll ever be able to get to the majors. Like the other players on this list, Rodriguez has serious raw power (probably the most of anyone in the organization) but not much else. Rodriguez hit 24 home runs in 2012, but was held to nine in 2013 because he missed most of the season due to injury. The Mets sent him to the AFL to get extra at-bats in hopes of preparing him to start 2014 in double-A, but even if he does, he still needs work rounding out his game before he’s anywhere close to ready for the big leagues.
2. Wilmer Flores
Flores made his long-awaited major league debut this year, and he’s still just 22-years old. After getting off to a good start, an ankle injury slowed him up and he ended up hitting just .211/.248/.295 in 27 games. The question with Flores remains where he will play, but he’s definitely a corner infielder, despite the fact that the Mets played him mostly at second base in the minors last season. Third base may be his best position, but that’s obviously not an option if he stays with the Mets. First base may be the best place to put Flores, although the future still remains uncertain for him, and there’s a chance he could be traded this offseason or begin 2014 back in the minors. However, despite all the questions regarding his position and his struggles in the majors, Flores has the potential to be an impact bat in a major league lineup, and that means he’s still one of the Mets’ top prospects.
1. Dominic Smith
The Mets took Smith 11th overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, and he may be the best prospect they have among position players. He projects as a plus defender at first base and an above-average hitter with power. Smith was one of the youngest players available in last year’s draft, but he had a very impressive professional debut, hitting .287/.384/.407 and being named one of the top five prospects in the Gulf Coast League. Smith is several years away from the big leagues, but he has incredible promise and the Mets may have found their first baseman of the future when they drafted him, even though they’ll have to wait a while for him to get to the majors.