By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on May 1, 2014
Despite the New York Mets’ farm teams getting off to a great start in the month of April, several of their prospects, including a few of their best and most promising, have gotten off to a slow start in 2014. Obviously there is a lot of time left in the season to turn things around, but here are 10 Mets prospects who have had a disappointing April.
It's a little unfair to put Syndergaard on the disappointing list, because he's new to triple-A, pitches in a hitter-friendly league and he finished April with a strong performance. But opponents hit .270 against him, and until his final outing of the month he had an ERA over five. Synergaard shouldn't have been expected to dominate triple-A right away, but Mets fans expected a little better performance in April from the team's top prospect.
It's unfair to call Smith disappointing, because the Mets really challenged him by playing him in a full-season league. He also plays in a home park that's difficult for left-handed hitters, but Smith had to heat up over the past five games to lift his slash line to .217/.267/.253 at the end of April, which is decent, but not great. It's not a big deal, but it's disappointing to see him look a little overmatched early in the season.
Flexen took a big step up in competition, so it's not surprising that he's struggling after dominating rookie ball last year. But a month into the season his ERA is over seven, which is unacceptable. He's also walked 11 in 19 innings after only walking 12 all of last season. Flexen is only 19, so there's plenty of time to get things turned around, but April was not kind to him after such an impressive season in 2013.
Fulmer has had two excellent starts this year and two starts in which he got shelled, and that inconsistency is disappointing to see in one of the Mets' top pitching prospects. He'll get a little slack because he's coming off an injury-plagued 2013, but there's no excuse for giving up 30 hits in 18 innings and putting up an ERA of eight -- especially in a league that hit .198 against him in seven starts last year.
After being a dominant closer in double-A last year, the Mets thought Walters would be in a position to help out in the big leagues this year. But that plan is on hold after a 7.20 ERA in April. Even in a hitter-friendly league, there's no excuse for opposing hitters to be hitting .390 against Walters. He's had his share of good outings, but he needs to show more consistency going forward.
Cessa's stock rose significantly in 2013, but the only thing on the rise now is his ERA, which is 5.01. The most disappointing part of Cessa's season is that he's walked eight batters and only struck out seven in 23 innings. To be doing that while still in A-ball is not a good sign.
Performance wise, Ynoa may have been the best pitcher in the Mets' farm system last year, but he did not have a good April. After five starts and 24 innings, Ynoa's ERA is 6.93 and opposing hitters are batting .346 against him. He's not an overpowering pitcher and it'd be surprising if he didn't improve in the months to come, but Florida State League hitters should not be having that much success against him.
Puello will get a slight pass after he missed the last two months of 2013 with a PED suspension, but outside of the disappointing slash of .244/.271/.293, he's regressed to the player he was a few years ago. He only took two walks in April, and after stealing 24 bases last year, he has just two in 2014. He hasn't been awful, but he also doesn't look like someone who's close to a big league promotion.
Boyd got Mets fans excited by hitting .330/.410/.461 in a-ball last year, but he's off to a terrible start in double-a this year, hitting .182/.270/.258 in April. Boyd can't afford to have a down year, so he needs to get things turned around in a hurry -- especially since the situation at first base for the Mets is far from settled beyond 2014.
Vaughn is easily the most disappointing Mets prospect thus far. Due to a logjam in the outfield at triple-A, Vaughn was forced to return to double-A this year, and he's been terrible. After 20 games, he's hitting .176/.296/.235 in what was a disastrous month of April. Vaughn has the talent and pedigree to be a big leaguer, but he needs to get things turned around quickly, because his big league future is slipping away.
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