By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on July 18, 2014
The New York Mets’ farm system is well known for its deep and talented contingent of pitching prospects, and that’s been on display during the first half of the 2014 season. Jacob deGrom has come to the big leagues and become an asset to the Mets’ rotation, and behind him there are plenty more prospects moving up the ladder. Here’s a closer look at the Mets’ top 10 pitching prospects midway through the 2014 season.
Flexen isn't standing out with numbers this season, but he's barely 20 years old and already pitching in a full season league. Perhaps more importantly, he's shown steady improvement throughout the season, putting up a 7.11 ERA in April, a 5.73 ERA in May and a 2.57 ERA in June. That means he's making quick adjustments, which is great to see for a pitcher of his age.
The Mets added Taylor in the Ike Davis trade, and he gives the organization a lefty who's a long way from the big leagues but offers a lot of promise. It'll be a couple years until we know anything certain about Taylor, but on the basis of being a second-round pick last year and the key figure in the Davis trade, he's someone to watch.
Meisner has had an uneven 2014 season, mixing in a few good starts with a few rocky starts, but he's 6-foot-7' and has some of the best pure stuff of any pitcher the Mets have in the lower levels. He has a long way to go, but his ceiling is fairly high, so if he can put everything together he'll be a guy to watch closely in the years to come.
Injuries have really held back Mazzoni and kept him from already being in the big leagues. Meanwhile, the Mets have put together a good pitching staff without him, so there's not exactly a lot of room for him at the moment anyway. But he's finally healthy and on the verge of making his AAA debut, so he's getting back on track. If he can stay healthy he should find a home in middle relief while also providing some rotation depth.
Injuries and inconsistencies have stunted Fulmer's development and prevented him from being one of the top two or three pitching prospects the Mets have. But he's bounced back from a rough April and tossed a few gems over the past couple of months. If he can make it to AA by the end of the season and pitch well there, his stock will once again rise, as he has the stuff to be something special for the Mets.
Ynoa doesn't have standout stuff, but he put together a nice first half of the season, winning eight games, and earned a promotion to AA where he's fared well, including an outing of seven shutout innings. If he keeps it up, by this time next year Ynoa will give the Mets even more starting rotation depth in the minor leagues. Eventually he should be able to slide into the back end of a big league rotation.
At age 19, Molina has burst onto the scene as the Mets' next great pitching prospect. In 28.2 innings for Brooklyn this season, he has a 0.94 ERA, with opponents hitting just .129 against him. He's regarded as a plus athlete who can repeat his delivery and has above average stuff, which is why he's dominating lower level hitters. He's still a few years away, but the sky appears to be the limit for Molina.
Despite making four big league starts, Montero's stock has dropped a little this year. He hasn't had the same kind of control that he's had in past seasons, which may be a sign that he lacks confidence and doesn't trust his stuff. If he can get over that hurdle, he'll be an asset to a young Mets pitching staff. He missed some time with an injury, but he's back in AAA now and should be back in the majors by September, if not sooner.
Matz earned a mid-season promotion to AA and hasn't missed a beat despite facing better competition. Over his first five starts, Matz has three wins, an ERA of 2.79 and has struck out a batter per inning. At this point, all Matz needs is more real game experience, as he barely has 200 professional innings after missing so much time due to injuries. But when he gets more innings under his belt, he'll be ready for the big leagues, likely in 2015.
This year hasn't been ideal for Syndergaard, but he's still the Mets' best pitching prospect. He's had a world of trouble in six of his last seven starts, but it's important to remember that he's just 21 years old, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he's struggling in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He still has the talent needed to be an above-average big leaguer; he just won't get there as soon as we all thought, but he'll get there.
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