5 New York Mets Prospects To Watch During Spring Training

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New York Mets: 5 Prospects To Look for In Spring Training

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Courtesy of @AdamRubinESPN

MLB Spring Training is right around the corner and for the New York Mets, as always, there are more questions than answers. We're well aware of the problems the Mets have at first base and shortstop, as well as various bullpen concerns. Will we see any future stars in Spring Training? Are there any rays of hope?

The good news is that help seems to be on the way as it pertains to the bullpen and starting pitching. Of the five prospects, four on this list are pitchers. The bad news is that offensive help probably won't come through the farm system. Historically, the Mets have focused on drafting young arms rather than bats to improve their team, and this is truer than ever before.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this strategy; pitching is the most valuable asset a club can have. However, a little offense every now and then never hurt anybody either.

The major problems that have surfaced for the Mets since their last playoff appearance in 2006 have related to offense. Unless the team decides to tackle these issues through trade or free agency, it doesn't appear that will change anytime soon. And no, the additions of Chris Young and Curtis Granderson alone will not provide the Mets with sufficient enough offense to be a playoff-caliber team.

But before we start discussing the playoffs, let's take a look at the five key Mets prospects who will be participating in Spring Training.

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5. Cesar Puello

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Cesar Puello ​(RF) has some issues. For one, he was suspended 50 games last year for Biogenesis involvement. He also doesn't hit for any sort of power nor does he drive in runs.

On the bright side, he has good speed and finds a way to get on base. He has a career minor league average of .287 to go along with a .357 OBP. He's also stolen 135 bases with a success rate around 72 percent. Even more impressive was his 2013 AA campaign in which he hit .326. Oh, and he's only 22 years old.

The Mets have been looking for a consistent lead-off hitter ever since Jose Reyes left, and perhaps Puello will fit the bill some day.

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4. Jeff Walters

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Courtesy of @jawalters11

Jeff Walters (P) is someone who could give the Mets considerable bullpen depth.

Walters has a career ERA of 2.91 in the minors in 106 games and has experience closing games. He had an excellent AA year in 2012 where he saved 38 games in 42 chances with a WHIP of 1.11 while allowing hitters just a .224 AVG. At 26 years of age, Mets fans should expect to see Walters sooner rather than later.

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3. Jeurys Familia

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Jeurys Familia ​(P) has had a few brief stints in the major leagues and they haven't gone particularly well, but it's still way too early to tell whether or not this 24 year old has what it takes to make it in the bigs.

At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he can be an intimidating presence on the mound and the Mets like his stuff. Walks have been an issue for Familia, but the Mets' front office still have a lot of confidence that he has the tools to bring it together. Familia also has the capacity to start or come in from the bullpen. In the minors, he has a career ERA of 3.81, batters have hit .243 against him, and he's only allowed 31 HR in 576.2 IP.

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2. Ryan Reid

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Scott Cunningham - Getty Images

Ryan Reid (P) just might be a late bloomer. At 29, he's the oldest of the five prospects on this list, but he is also one of the brightest. Reid has 543 strikeouts in 544 IP in the minor leagues to go along with a solid 3.87 ERA.

Where Reid really impressed was during his only big league stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013. In seven games with Pittsburgh, Reid pitched to an ERA of 1.64, a WHIP of 1.09 and kept opponents to an average of .231. As a prospective bullpen arm, it would be surprising not to see Reid pitch at the major league level in 2014.

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1. Steven Matz

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Courtesy of @AdamRubinESPN

Steven Matz (p) is a very interesting prospect. On the down side, he's never pitched past single A and he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010. Still, he's a local kid from Stony Brook, NY, only 22 years old and a left-hander. Oh, and he appears to be very good.

In 135.1 IP in the minors, Matz has only allowed 102 hits, struck out 155 batters and held opponents to a .211 average. This was good enough for a 2.39 ERA and a WHIP of 1.16. He may only be a spring chicken, but look for Matz to strut his stuff in Spring Training.

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