Mets360 2016 top 50 prospects: Players 34-31

This is the fifth entry in our prospect series, where we’re counting down the top 50 prospects for the Mets. Four people were involved in this project and what you see is a group consensus, not the results of one person. You can view 50-47, 46-43, 42-39 & 38-35 if you have not already seen it. Here are the next four:

David Thompson34. David Thompson – The Mets 4th round draft pick in the 2015 draft.  He has had his share of injury problems in college although he does project to still have a good power stroke.  Scouts questioned his health and the length of his swing which, in turn, caused Thompson to fall to the fourth round of the draft.  He spent 2015 playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones, who were pretty terrible on offense.  His line, .218/.268/.320, doesn’t impress anyone.  The hope is that he can start to turn those numbers around in 2016.

33. Jeff Diehl – The Mets drafted Diehl in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft.  He was scouted as a large-bodied catcher with good bat speed and power but one who needed to completely re-work their swing.  Perhaps his swing is the reason that he’s taken so long to reach full-season baseball, but his results in 2015 were more than decent.  Repeating a year in Brooklyn, he managed a .289/.394/.450 line on a team that couldn’t hit.  His 59 strikeouts in 58 games and his lackluster debut in Port St. Lucie are the obvious negatives on the year.  Moving forward, he’s a player who could have finally made the strides to up his game to the next level or his 2015 could be a meaningless flash in the pan.

32. John Mora – An international prospect who succeeded in the Dominican Summer Leagues and actually transitioned well once he was promoted.  Mora’s best tools are his contact and discipline.  He’s generates a lot of contact and doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone too frequently.  He has some speed, with 58 stolen bases in his minor league career, but he’s caught stealing too often to make that matter.  A big mark against Mora had been a lack of power but 2015 may have seen his power game make some strides.  With the Savannah Sand Gnats, a team who is never known for producing much in the way of power, he managed 22 doubles, 12 triples and 5 home runs.  This revelation will see him rocketing up a few of the prospect ranking lists.

31. Kevin Canelon – Signed out of Venezuela in 2010 Canelon looks like a typical lefty starter.  He’s got a fastball that tops out in the high 80s and uses a changeup as his strikeout pitch.  This is a formula that has worked for top pitchers like Tom Glavine.  Sadly, his fastball limits his projection and he will likely never project as more than a #5 pitcher.  In 2015 he pitched with the Cyclones and had a very respectable K/9 striking out 70 batters in 77.0 innings pitched.  His control is still a great tool and it should continue to see him to some success through Single A and into Advanced A.  If Canelon can improve his fastball’s velocity or movement, perhaps he might progress to a higher echelon of pitching prospect.

Mets360 2016 top 50 prospects: Players 42-39

This is the third entry in our prospect series, where we’re counting down the top 50 prospects for the Mets. Four people were involved in this project and what you see is a group consensus, not the results of one person. You can view 46-43 if you have not already seen it. Here are the next four:

Jeff McNeil42. Jeff McNeil – A 12th round pick in 2013, McNeil was pegged as a future utility player from the start. He’s hit well over his first three professional seasons, though it’s been achieved via a contact-only approach with little to no power. He’s undersized and, at 23 years old, his frame does not project to fill out further. His strength is severely lacking and his defensive versatility is undermined a bit by the fact that he’s fringe-average at second and third and doesn’t really have the range or arm for short, though he could play there in a pinch. Still, his contact skill should not be undersold as it’s probably close to plus. That, plus his defensive versatility and the fact that he hits from the left side suggest he has a decent chance at carving out a career in that utility role. He got his first taste of AA in 2015, albeit a short one. Across two levels he slashed .308/.369/.377 with an OPS of .746. He also stole 16 bases, which is a nice additional element to his game.

41. L.J Mazzilli – Also a 2013 draft pick, Mazzilli was selected in the 4th round as a second baseman. Unlike McNeil, there was more potential for Mazzilli to be a starter at the highest level if things broke right. He was drafted as a second baseman because he really doesn’t have the tools to play short and, though the bat projected to be solid, it didn’t project to play up at third. Without any standout tools, he was going to have to ride his bat to the big leagues. His bat has been solid enough through his first three seasons but not enough to greatly distinguish him from similar middle infield prospects in the Mets’ system. He’s another contact-oriented middle-infielder that gets on base and has shown an above average strikeout rate. He showed a bit of surprising pop in 2014 that added an interesting wrinkle to his projection, but it completely evaporated in 2015. He slashed .261/.332/.342 across A+ and AA in 2015. There’s a decent chance he starts 2016 at AAA where he’ll need to do a bit more with the bat as a 25-year-old to make it as a utility player in the big leagues.

40. Thomas Szapucki – This one is based on projection as the Mets drafted this prep left-handed pitcher in the fifth round of the 2015 draft and signed him for slightly overslot. His best pitch right now is his live, sinking fastball that reportedly tops out at 95 MPH and sits in the low 90s. At 19 years old with room for his body to fill out more, it’s possible that he can get that to sit closer to mid-90s. That would essentially be a plus pitch for a southpaw. He really only has one other offering at this point, a breaking ball that flashes plus which has been labeled as both a curve and a slider. Either way, it was known to have the best spin rate for a breaking ball of the 2015 prep class. He’s been reportedly working on a change, which he’ll need if he hopes to remain a starter moving forward. The problem with that, and with his projection in general, is that his low 3/4 arm slot is high effort and puts stress on his shoulder. That not only complicates developing the change, but also is concerning for future health. He’s got some mechanical work to do and is a ways off, but the upside here is potentially a mid-rotation starter or a very good reliever. He had only three appearances in 2015 for the Gulf Coast League affiliate so there isn’t much to go by there, so we’ll get our first real taste of his potential in 2016.

39. Rainy Lara – It’s been an interesting ride for Lara, who has been in the Mets’ system for what seems like forever. His career started off strong in the Dominican Summer League in 2010, albeit slightly old for that league at 19 years old. He really started making a name for himself as part of the dominating 2012 Brooklyn Cyclones staff that also included Hansel Robles, Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Mateo, and Luis Cessa. Despite his success, the Mets were slow and methodical with his progression. That appears to have been for good reason, as Lara has struggled at the highest levels in the system. Although there were signs of trouble at both levels of A ball, he really hit a wall when he arrived at AA Binghamton in 2014. His strikeout rate collapsed, his WHIP and ERA ballooned, and he was giving up more hits than ever. He did show signs of improvement in AA in 2015, however, and got his strikeout rate back up to 6.7 and his WHIP down to 1.2. He was a disaster in his five starts at AAA, though, which should be acknowledged but taken with a grain of salt. The long and short of it is that Lara doesn’t have good stuff, he’s a righty with low velocity that relies on deception that hasn’t really flown at the higher levels, and his best bet is a move to the bullpen. It’s possible he can become an effective swingman/spot starter, but may have a career of shuttling between AAA and the MLB as an emergency starter.

Alex Robinett Becoming More Than a Bronx Bomber

Alex Robinett (Robert M Pimpsner)

One of the most difficult challenges for any person upon entering college is choosing a career that makes true difference in the world. Few of those professions take on any inherent meaning and serve simply to make ends meet. visit site to read more]

Staten Island Yankees Release 2016 Schedule

Stadium Composite Image

The Staten Island Yankees have released their 2016 season schedule today and the Baby Bombers will continue the hunt for their seventh New York-Penn League Championship on Friday, June 17 when they open up the season across the Verrazano Bridge … [visit site to read more]

Tradable Yankees Upper-Minors Prospects

Gary Sanchez romains a valuable trade piece for the Yankees if they choose that route.

Throughout the majors are players who were drafted by another organization and became stars with another – or maybe even a third.

Over the past few years, the Yankees have swapped top-level prospects such as outfielder Austin Jackson and catcher … [visit site to read more]

2015 Staten Island Yankees Players of the Year

Junior Valera was one of the most consistent hitters all season (Robert M Pimpsner)

For the first time since 2011 the Staten Island Yankees made the New York-Penn League playoffs, making their seventh trip to the finals but fell to the West Virginia Black Bears to end their bid for the championship.  The team featured many … [visit site to read more]

Baby Bombers’ Luck Goes “Bear”, Fall to West Virginia In NYPL Title Sweep

The Staten Island Yankees season ended with a tough loss to the Black Bears in the Championship Series (Robert M Pimpsner)

STATEN ISLAND, NY –With a sweep of the Tri-City Valleycats, the Staten Island Yankees advanced to their seventh New York-Penn League Championship Series, where they had never ended up on the losing side.

Unfortunately, as the … [visit site to read more]

SI Yanks Fall in Game One of NY-Penn League Championship

Luis Cedeno struck out 8 batters in 6 shutout innings in relief. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

MORGANTOWN, WV – The Staten Island Yankees find themselves down 1-0 in the 2015 New York-Penn League Championship Series after they fell to the West Virginia Black Bears 4-3 in 11 innings on Monday night.  Both teams were fresh … [visit site to read more]

2015 Staten Island Yankees Season In Photos

The view from the SI Yanks radio booth as Trey Amburgey steps up to the plate (Robert M Pimpsner)

Tonight the Staten Island Yankees will make their seventh appearance in the New York-Penn League Championship Series. In the six previous times the Yankees came out victorious with the last one coming in 2011. Since that time Staten Island has … [visit site to read more]

SI Yanks Aim for Seventh NY-Penn League Championship against Black Bears

Will the Staten Island Yankees be celebrating once again? (Robert M Pimpsner)

With their victory Sunday evening the West Virginia Black Bears advanced to the New York – Penn League Championship series against the Staten Island Yankees.  The Black Bears are in their first season while the Yankees are making their seventh … [visit site to read more]