Top 50 Mets Prospects

Here are the Top 50 Mets prospects. InsidePitchMagazine.com gives insight on each selection in our rankings, but will follow up with more in-depth individual scouting reports throughout the offseason, starting in descending order.

IMPORTANT NOTES: Juan Urbina was left off the list. Given his new status as a prospect and lack of visibility for our purposes, we acted conservatively and left him off the list for this season.

Please, DO NOT reveal the rankings, either in parts or its entirely on other message boards and/or sites. This list is the property of Inside Pitch Magazine and we would like our extensive work to remain the privilege of our valued, paying subscribers.

We encourage our readership to read the rankings and take part in any discussion in our subscribers forum


Thank you.


1. Fernando Martinez – Injuries have caused disappointment regarding Martinez's advancement, but to this point there is no one on the list who surpasses his full range of tools. Plus power from line to line, increased plate discipline and defensive improvements make him a top flight prospect. He had an impressive streak of success in Triple-A prior to his big league debut. Observers see the tremendous natural talent, but now it is a matter of health and until that happens doubts will linger. However, no one should doubt that his talent can lead to long term productivity at the heart of the Mets order.

2. Jenrry Mejia – The young right-hander still needs to perfect his craft as a pitcher. That includes developing a more mature plan on the pound and improving his pitchability and sequencing. When he does that, Mejia will solidify his projection as a front end starter. Until then, projections have to leave room for him to possibly end up as a reliever. He features a 94-97 MPH with very tough run in on left-handers. He backs it up with a power changeup with sinking action, and a sharp, though inconsistent, curveball. His smaller stature has raised some concerns about his long term viability, but that changeup, for now, gives him the slight edge over Holt.

3. Brad Holt – Holt struggled with Binghamton, but his inconsistency with the B-Mets was not enough to worry scouts about his long term projection. Size, durability and a power fastball make the right-hander a very enticing prospect. His curveball was a hit or miss pitch in the last four weeks of the season, but its late, hard break makes it a very difficult pitch to drive. He throws his changeup in the high-70s, or roughly the ideal 15 MPH off his fastball, with decent fade. When he gains better feel for the pitch, it should allow Holt to affirm his projection as a starter.

4. Ike Davis – Davis erupted in for power and run production in his second season. With a redesigned swing and greater confidence at the plate, Davis assaulted the Eastern League for a .309 average, 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 55 games. His gap power has turned into home run power as he became lethal on the inner half of the plate. He still gets beat at times away with secondary pitches, but the adjustments made were the best in the system this year. A very good arm and an above average big league defender make the 2008 top pick the assumed heir apparent for 2011.

5. Wilmer Flores – The young shortstop possesses tremendous projection with the bat, but lacking speed and the unlikely future at shortstop have dropped him a few spots from last year's list. His power potential, leverage and bat control make him one of the most promising young hitters in the organization. Those traits should continue to flourish as he adds size and strength to a still wiry frame. Defensively, he projects best as a first baseman or corner outfielder, but his bat holds enough promise to keep him this high despite average tools in other areas.

6. Jonathon Niese – The left-hander struggled early but came on strong in Buffalo following a few tweaks with his grips. He finished with a 5-2 record and 1.72 ERA over his last nine Triple-A starts before returning to New York. He was steady in New York before suffering a torn hamstring. To regain his form when he returns, Niese will need consistency with his changeup and continue to sharpen his new cutter. The left-hander does not project higher than the middle of the rotation,but being a left-handed strike thrower with movement keeps his stock steady.

7. Ruben Tejada – It was certainly an aggressive move by the organization to send the 20-year-old shortstop to Double-A as a teenager, a year after hitting .229 in St. Lucie. Tejada responded with vigor by hitting .289 in 134 games, showing excellent contact skills and improved defense. That defense and his quickness in the field and on the bases will get him a look as a middle infielder with the Mets. He will not provide power, but provides enough with his remaining tools to earn him at least a utility role at the highest level.

8. Josh Thole – At this time last year, we wanted to see Thole repeat his success from 2008. Well, he did that by hitting .328 good for second place in the Eastern League. His defense is slowly but surely improving, most notably added quickness behind the plate. That quickness has helped compensate for an average arm when throwing out base runners. It is going to take more reps and time for Thole's defense to be big league ready, but as long as he continues to hit for average, he will assume a backup role with the Mets in the near future.

9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Nieuwenhuis exploded on the scene with one of the best offensive outbursts of the 2009 minor league season. His five very solid tools, including the best outfield glove in the system and valuable athleticism, all came to the surface in St. Lucie. He gets a little pull happy at times, but he boasts power to all fields with speed and aggressiveness to pile up extra-base hits. His home run power still rests almost exclusively to the pull side, but he is becoming the full package offensive outfielder the system very much needs.

10. Reese Havens – Nagging injuries have denied Havens consistent playing time. However, Havens is a talented hitter with excellent bat control, discipline and balance that project him to be a strong contact hitter with plenty of complimentary home run power. Despite a .247 average this season, his limited strikeouts and a high walk total point to continued offensive success as he moves up. Defensively, Havens has been moved to second base where the results are to be determined. Havens best route to success at the highest level is to continuously hit and to keep improving with the bat at every turn.

11. Jeurys Familia – Familia rocketed up the prospects list on the heels of his rapidly improving secondary offerings. His slider went from a marginal pitch this time last year to having plus potential. There are mixed signals about his changeup, but he flashed a strong edition of it late in the season and during Instructs. Combine those improving tools with command, size and strength, and Familia takes the top spot of the valued 2009 Savannah rotation.

12. Tobi Stoner – Stoner's depth of his five pitches makes him a viable big league arm even if his projection does not carry him above the back of a rotation. He hides the ball well and pitches backwards which makes his 90-92 MPH fastball velocity jump on hitters and that is pivotal to future success. He adds a very effective changeup and a big league slider, and running two-seamer that should allow Stoner to hang on at the highest level even if the results are not immediate.

13. Dillon Gee – The right-hander missed most of 2009 to a labrum injury, but his vault to Triple-A after four starts in Double-A in 2008 speaks to his maturity as a pitcher. Armed with a 90-91 MPH fastball and excellent command, and a plus changeup, Gee is able to control both sides of the plate with movement. The injury likely prevented him from a getting a look in the big leagues this season, but when healthy and effective, Gee should be one of the first to get a call off the farm.

14. Brant Rustich – Injuries have been significant speed bumps on the right-hander's path to New York. A final diagnosis was finally issued this year, but questions will remain until Rustich proves he can stay healthy. Before then, he will remain a feast or famine prospect who shows flashes of being a top five guy in the system. He owns a plus, mid-90s fastball and power slider, but is continually held up by missed time.

15. Zach Lutz – Finally healthy and able to get 100 games under his belt for the first time, Lutz showed the offensive prowess that makes him one of the best offensive corner infielders in the system. Good vision at the plate, balance and a disciplined bat make him a natural at driving the ball to the opposite field. He hit 11 home runs in 2009, but that number should rise as added strength returns to his lower half. Very strong knowledge of the game and a great makeup solidify Lutz's all-around package.

16. Kyle Allen – The Mets threw Allen right into the deep end of the pool in his second season by assigning him to the Savannah rotation. The right-hander responded emphatically by shaking off a rough April and becoming a model of consistency. His low-90s fastball, with run, and a changeup with plus potential were the cogs to his success. He fills out his repertoire with an improving slider which could determine his success when he makes the jump to St. Lucie. Clean mechanics and bulldog mentality round out a promising game.

17. Eric Niesen – Niesen settled in during his second crack in St. Lucie to begin 2009, but struggled upon his promotion to Binghamton. If the pattern holds true, Niesen should turn it around in Double-A in 2010. He can do that because he owns a low-90s fastball with tail and a running slider that can really work over hitters on both sides. To remain a starter, Niesen will need his changeup to catch up to his top two pitches. His velocity and the movement he generates were good enough to move him back up the rankings after sliding a bit last year.

18. Robert Carson – Young left-handers that can regularly hit 90-91 MPH with a tough, late-breaking slider and successfully pitch to contact will always earn their share. Carson, 20, displayed all of those tools with Savannah and improved as the season went on. He still has work to do with his changeup, but his fastball/slider command in the bottom of the zone and ability to avoid the long ball fits the organization's mold. Those traits combined with his size and durability make him one of the most promising left-handers in the system.

19. Lucas Duda – Expectations were that the first baseman/outfielder would provide more home runs in his career to date. He has been short on the long ball, but Duda has always shown excellent plate discipline and execution against his pitches. That allowed him to rebound in batting average, hitting for a respectable .281 mark in his first Double-A season. He also dramatically cut down on his strikeout ratio while maintaining his high walk totals. Despite a shortage on home runs, that adjustment to the next level speaks to his discipline and ability as a hitter.

20. Scott Shaw – 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, and five pitches make Shaw a valuable piece to the farm even if he does not possess the high velocity or power breaking ball like other hurlers ahead of him. His fastball velocity has not returned as originally expected coming out of college, but he can still touch 91-92 MPH and backs it up with a tough slider and very good changeup. Lack of fastball command dinged his confidence, but Shaw remains a low-risk possibly high reward right-hander the organization can rely on.

21. Steven Matz – Though young and unpolished, the organization's top pick in the 2009 draft has tools that should bode well for him in the early stages of his career. It is still too early to project him all the way, but he already possesses three pitches which is a strong starting point coming out of high school. His fastball gets as high as 91-92 MPH, made more impressive coming from the left side. He has a reliable, though underdeveloped changeup, and a curveball which will be one of his main focal points next season.

22. Cesar Puello – A young player with five developing tools, Puello made strides at the plate this season by improving his power to all fields and better plate discipline. The latter allowed him see and drive breaking balls at a higher rate this season when he remained strictly a fastball hitter in 2008. Strength, speed, a true right fielder's glove and raw power make him an outfielder on the rise heading into next season.

23. Matt Bouchard – Many may see Bouchard's name and the first reaction is "why?". But as been discussed numerous times throughout our lists of tools rankings, Bouchard remains the best infield defender in the organization with plus tools and the flexibility to play three infield positions. That is a value that cannot be diminished despite lacking production with the bat over two seasons truncated by injury. Time and health may never allow Bouchard to fulfill potential, but he has organizational backing to give him continued opportunities.

24. Scott Moviel – The tall right-hander returned in the second half of the season after two procedures to repair the meniscus in his right knee. When he returned, Moviel sat 89-92 MPH with his fastball that has natural sink and run on it and solid secondary pitches in his slider and changeup. He was shaky at first as he learned to trust his knee and regain a feel for game action, but showed resiliency and effectiveness down the stretch. When healthy and possessing clean mechanics (always a test for the 6-foot-11 hurler), Moviel succeeds on the heels of his extension and movement.

25. Nick Carr – Lacking command a feel for a secondary pitch are two main ingredients preventing Carr from moving further up the list. Yet, he still packs a mid-90s fastball that can make him an asset out of the bullpen. He missed the second half of the season due to injury which further stalls his slow ascension up the system despite his arm strength. But he can become a fast riser once he regains the steep movement of his slider that he showed with Brooklyn in 2007 and early in 2008 with St. Lucie.

26. Shawn Bowman – The Mets protected Bowman from the Rule 5 Draft by recently adding him to the 40-man roster. That transaction may finally grant Bowman a look at the big league level after continuing to hit for a good average and play excellent defense. Bowman's power has not returned to its earlier form, and he needs better execution against breaking pitches and strike zone discipline, but his glove is a unique commodity which may finally land him a cup of coffee in New York in 2010.

27. Robbie Shields – Shields had a difficult first season at the plate, but it cannot be used to judge his long term projection. He admittedly got jumpy at the plate and took himself out of his comfort zone, but he is a patient hitter with a plan. He can hit to all fields and does not try to do too much. He played shortstop as a rookie but projects more as a Mark DeRosa type defender. How he bounces back from off-season Tommy John surgery will be pivotal to his sophomore season.

28. Aderlin Rodriguez – The Mets' lone 2008 international free agent signing was limited to just 17 Gulf Coast League games after he broke his wrist when hit by a pitch in Extended Spring Training. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he showed off an intriguing blend of size, strength, and tools. When he finally got on the field, Rodriguez showed projectable power and contact skills that should allow him to grow into a quality run producer. Defensively, he needs to clean up his football but showed off a plus arm.

29. Michael Antonini – It is not too much of a surprise that Antonini struggled in his first full season crack at Double-A and above. As predicted, the left-hander's success depended heavily on the consistency of his breaking pitch—a slider—but it eluded him too often in 2009. The numbers were difficult at times, but Antonini's ability to pound the strike zone and hit his spots with his fastball and good changeup will continue to give him opportunities and possible looks as a big league bullpen option.

30. Francisco Pena – The development of Pena's tools have not matched the speed in which he has moved up the system, but the young catcher is making progress. He still needs to learn to make adjustments at the plate, but improved this season in his ability to handle higher pitches and shorten up to drive breaking pitches. The defensive tools are improving steadily and right now project as a backup. Better physical conditioning and playing shape aided in his overall improvement.

31. Jefry Marte – Marte's stock came back down after struggling through his first full season with Savannah. Marte shows flashes of promise with the bat including raw power, but he remains a dead-red fastball hitter and hits almost exclusively to the pull-side. Defensively, Marte is an undeveloped third baseman who has a long way to go mechanically. However, given his youth, time is on his side but his projection is still a ways out.

32. Sean Ratliff – Lacking plate discipline has cost Ratliff from becoming a better contact hitter, but his big power and flexibility with solid defense at all three outfield positions raises his stock. He is a legitimate threat versus right-handed pitching. Better execution against secondary pitches—particularly from left-handed pitchers—and a stronger two-strike approach should help improve his hitting for average. In a system with a shallow pool of outfield prospects, Ratliff still has opportunities to increase his value and a strong 2010 season in St. Lucie would certainly do that.

33. Darrell Ceciliani – The 2009 third round pick was hot and cold at the plate in his first season, but his combination of speed and defense impressed coaches and scouts alike. His range and defensive acumen will allow him to remain a true centerfielder as he works his way up the system. Ceciliani brings a game-changing dimension with his speed and stolen base ability. His patience at the plate and contact abilities gives him the look of a true leadoff hitter. For now, a safe projection pegs Ceciliani as a fourth option in the outfielder with speed off the bench.

34. Ryan Coultas – Coultas made strides as a starter before his season ended in early June due to a labrum injury. The injury was not as serious as originally thought which is great news for the right-hander. He reinvented himself on the mound with three quality pitches, headlined by an impressive 92-94 MPH fastball. A lean, wiry frame will leave lingering doubts about the long term viability of his shoulder, but barring any setbacks, Coultas has the tools to have an impact out of the bullpen.

35. Eric Beaulac – Beaulac, like Stinson, has found inconsistent times as a starter and his mid-season spell in the bullpen figures to be precursor of a move that is bound to happen. His fastball/slider combination was enough to put together a strong effort in Savannah, but the lack of consistent fastball velocity, anywhere from 87-93 MPH and a very fringy changeup spell challenging times ahead as a starter. Given his early track record for strikeouts, Beaulac's quickest route to New York appears to be from the bullpen.

36. Armando Rodriguez – Rodriguez impressed many with his live fastball that sat 93-95 MPH in his last few starts. He gets good running action on the fastball with plus potential, and strong physical build allows him to maintain velocity during the second and third turn through the orders. He flashes a spotty slider, a budding changeup but pitchability remains a question for Rodriguez. Nonetheless, his power arm has garnered him worthy attention.

37. Carlos Guzman – Guzman put up fairly gaudy numbers with St. Lucie season, hitting .290 with 15 HR and 64 RBI in 126 games. But the numbers do not tell the story behind the tools. Guzman, a switch-hitter, draws all of his offense from the left side of the plate and almost a null from the rightside. He is a free swinger with shaky plate discipline who zeroes in on one pitch in one zone. That being said, one cannot completely overlook numbers, and he could continue to prove doubters wrong. As long as his bat stays productive, he could play his way into a fourth outfielder's spot, but stronger conviction points to an organizational bat.

38. Josh Stinson – Stinson's career took many turns prior to 2009, but this season he finally found a niche as a reliever. By cutting down on his repertoire and focusing on a fastball/curveball combination, Stinson became very efficient. He used his two-seam fastball to attack hitters down in the zone and saw his groundball ratio spike as he prevents hitters from driving the ball (1 HR allowed in 78 2/3 IP). After trying seasons, the 21-year-old right-hander as found a projectable career path that could lead to longer term success if he can pass the test of each new level.

39. Richard Lucas – The third baseman battled back from an early injury and had a terrific showing in Kingsport before getting his first taste of Brooklyn in a brief stint. It was a step in the right direction for Lucas. He is a steady defender, but the biggest variable is his wide batting stance and lack of execution on secondary pitches that could cause significant challenges as he moves up. A later move to the outfield is a possibility as flexibility will play to his advantage in coming years. For now, there are still more questions than answers.

40. Rafael Fernandez – Fernandez's season ended due to injury 73 games into his first crack in Savannah, but coaches liked the adjustments they saw from the 21-year-old outfielder who brings great speed, defense and promise with the bat. He is still raw and did not provide much in the way of numbers (.254, 1 HR, 14 RBI), but when his tools blend and mature, Fernandez could play his way into a valuable fourth outfielder spot with speed and defense off the bench.

41. Nick Santomauro – Coming from an Ivy League school meant a significant jump in opposing talent level when he arrived in Brooklyn. He showed very good natural athleticism, sneaky raw power and a good contact stroke which make him an intriguing bat from the 2009 draft class. Santomauro has good size and built, but remains fairly unpolished with mechanics and will require many more reps to draw out his ability.

42. Brandon Moore – Moore had a very successful second season in Brooklyn where he showed off confidence with four pitches backed with excellent command. He relies on movement and location, but his slider provides a put-away pitch that allows him to attack hitters when ahead in a two-strike count. Repeating the short-season level provided a small safety net for Moore in 2009 but his game will be challenged in the long season leagues.

43. Eduardo Aldama – The 19-year-old right-hander had a very positive year in Kingsport where he showed off a blooming repertoire. His game is bolstered by a low-90s fastball, a good changeup and a developing breaking ball, but consistency with his secondary pitches remains touch-and-go. At 6-foot-1 and roughly 170 pounds, Aldama's size is something to monitor as he often used max effort on the mound which can shorten his projection.

44. Jordany Valdespin – Valdespin shows flashes of his tools, but he remains an unpolished commodity. With the bat, he can be quick on the inner third which provides him some power all to the pull side. However, he has a habit of reaching for the ball which forces him to rush his swing. Defensively, he has an above average arm but needs a lot of mechanical work. He possesses good yet not threatening speed, but can be an aggressive base stealer due to a good first step.

45. Alonzo Harris – Harris attracted many eyes when he popped ten home runs in 59 games with Kingsport this season, but those numbers are not the best judge of his bat. Those power numbers disappeared when pitchers adjust to him and he maintained an all-or-nothing approach at the plate. His athleticism and system-best speed make him a weapon on the bases, but lacking plate discipline and shaky defense open wholes in his projection.

46. Chase Greene – Like Harris, Greene's best tools for the moment are his top-flight speed and athleticism. In his first summer, the 2009 16th round pick showed excellent range in the outfield and a strong arm. At 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, he does not fit the prototypical mold of an outfielder, but his strength and bat control project well for his offense ability. That traits should allow him to grow out of a slash-and-speed hitter as he physically matures and adds more power.

47. Dylan Owen – Owen was forced to take a step backwards before he could take two forward this season which included a brief move to St. Lucie. Lack of fastball command burned him in 2009 and prevents him from finding consistency. However his excellent command of two breaking pitches should allow him to battle his way through trouble at the upper levels. The numbers were not pretty for Owen this year, but he will continue to get chances with a good bet to remain as an organizational piece.

48. Chris Schwinden – He is not flashy, he does not have the most overpowering stuff, but Schwinden has simply provided consistency and reliability. He features a 90-91 MPH fastball and improving mid-70s curveball, but it his command of the strike zone that makes him so effective. He hung on the periphery of the Top 50 last season, but a strong first crack at the long season leagues bumps into the list this year. He will continue to face challenges as he moves up, but if he retains his command he should remain on as an organizational arm.

49. Roy Merritt – Specialist relievers rarely crack the Top 50, but Merritt jumps in this year after showing growth in Double-A this season. He spent just 7 2/3 innings in St. Lucie in 2008. In 2009, he was regularly used in one inning or more appearances, but his tailing 88-90 MPH fastball and a good sweeping slider will land him as a lefty specialist at the highest level.

50. James Fuller – The left-hander moved into the rotation in his second season in Brooklyn armed with a 88-91 MPH fastball and two serviceable secondary pitches, allowing him to keep NYPL hitters at bay. His stuff figures to expose him as a starter as he moves up the ladder, but he is a strike thrower with a solid changeup that could help him grow into another lefty specialist. However, at 5-foot-11 concerns about long term strength and durability could hold off that growth.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIMPORTANT NOTES: Juan Urbina was left off the list. Given his new status as a prospect and lack of visibility for our purposes, we acted conservatively and left him off the list for this season.
\r\n
\r\nPlease, DO NOT reveal the rankings, either in parts or its entirely on other message boards and/or sites. This list is the property of Inside Pitch Magazine and we would like our extensive work to remain the privilege of our valued, paying subscribers.
\r\n
\r\nWe encourage our readership to read the rankings and take part in any discussion in our subscribers forum

\r\n
\r\nThank you.
\r\n
\r\n
\r\n1. Fernando Martinez – Injuries have caused disappointment regarding Martinez's advancement, but to this point there is no one on the list who surpasses his full range of tools. Plus power from line to line, increased plate discipline and defensive improvements make him a top flight prospect. He had an impressive streak of success in Triple-A prior to his big league debut. Observers see the tremendous natural talent, but now it is a matter of health and until that happens doubts will linger. However, no one should doubt that his talent can lead to long term productivity at the heart of the Mets order.
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\r\n2. Jenrry Mejia – The young right-hander still needs to perfect his craft as a pitcher. That includes developing a more mature plan on the pound and improving his pitchability and sequencing. When he does that, Mejia will solidify his projection as a front end starter. Until then, projections have to leave room for him to possibly end up as a reliever. He features a 94-97 MPH with very tough run in on left-handers. He backs it up with a power changeup with sinking action, and a sharp, though inconsistent, curveball. His smaller stature has raised some concerns about his long term viability, but that changeup, for now, gives him the slight edge over Holt.
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\r\n3. Brad Holt – Holt struggled with Binghamton, but his inconsistency with the B-Mets was not enough to worry scouts about his long term projection. Size, durability and a power fastball make the right-hander a very enticing prospect. His curveball was a hit or miss pitch in the last four weeks of the season, but its late, hard break makes it a very difficult pitch to drive. He throws his changeup in the high-70s, or roughly the ideal 15 MPH off his fastball, with decent fade. When he gains better feel for the pitch, it should allow Holt to affirm his projection as a starter.
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\r\n4. Ike Davis – Davis erupted in for power and run production in his second season. With a redesigned swing and greater confidence at the plate, Davis assaulted the Eastern League for a .309 average, 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 55 games. His gap power has turned into home run power as he became lethal on the inner half of the plate. He still gets beat at times away with secondary pitches, but the adjustments made were the best in the system this year. A very good arm and an above average big league defender make the 2008 top pick the assumed heir apparent for 2011.
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\r\n5. Wilmer Flores – The young shortstop possesses tremendous projection with the bat, but lacking speed and the unlikely future at shortstop have dropped him a few spots from last year's list. His power potential, leverage and bat control make him one of the most promising young hitters in the organization. Those traits should continue to flourish as he adds size and strength to a still wiry frame. Defensively, he projects best as a first baseman or corner outfielder, but his bat holds enough promise to keep him this high despite average tools in other areas.
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\r\n6. Jonathon Niese – The left-hander struggled early but came on strong in Buffalo following a few tweaks with his grips. He finished with a 5-2 record and 1.72 ERA over his last nine Triple-A starts before returning to New York. He was steady in New York before suffering a torn hamstring. To regain his form when he returns, Niese will need consistency with his changeup and continue to sharpen his new cutter. The left-hander does not project higher than the middle of the rotation,but being a left-handed strike thrower with movement keeps his stock steady.
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\r\n7. Ruben Tejada – It was certainly an aggressive move by the organization to send the 20-year-old shortstop to Double-A as a teenager, a year after hitting .229 in St. Lucie. Tejada responded with vigor by hitting .289 in 134 games, showing excellent contact skills and improved defense. That defense and his quickness in the field and on the bases will get him a look as a middle infielder with the Mets. He will not provide power, but provides enough with his remaining tools to earn him at least a utility role at the highest level.
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\r\n8. Josh Thole – At this time last year, we wanted to see Thole repeat his success from 2008. Well, he did that by hitting .328 good for second place in the Eastern League. His defense is slowly but surely improving, most notably added quickness behind the plate. That quickness has helped compensate for an average arm when throwing out base runners. It is going to take more reps and time for Thole's defense to be big league ready, but as long as he continues to hit for average, he will assume a backup role with the Mets in the near future.
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\r\n9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Nieuwenhuis exploded on the scene with one of the best offensive outbursts of the 2009 minor league season. His five very solid tools, including the best outfield glove in the system and valuable athleticism, all came to the surface in St. Lucie. He gets a little pull happy at times, but he boasts power to all fields with speed and aggressiveness to pile up extra-base hits. His home run power still rests almost exclusively to the pull side, but he is becoming the full package offensive outfielder the system very much needs.
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\r\n10. Reese Havens – Nagging injuries have denied Havens consistent playing time. However, Havens is a talented hitter with excellent bat control, discipline and balance that project him to be a strong contact hitter with plenty of complimentary home run power. Despite a .247 average this season, his limited strikeouts and a high walk total point to continued offensive success as he moves up. Defensively, Havens has been moved to second base where the results are to be determined. Havens best route to success at the highest level is to continuously hit and to keep improving with the bat at every turn.
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\r\n11. Jeurys Familia – Familia rocketed up the prospects list on the heels of his rapidly improving secondary offerings. His slider went from a marginal pitch this time last year to having plus potential. There are mixed signals about his changeup, but he flashed a strong edition of it late in the season and during Instructs. Combine those improving tools with command, size and strength, and Familia takes the top spot of the valued 2009 Savannah rotation.
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\r\n12. Tobi Stoner – Stoner's depth of his five pitches makes him a viable big league arm even if his projection does not carry him above the back of a rotation. He hides the ball well and pitches backwards which makes his 90-92 MPH fastball velocity jump on hitters and that is pivotal to future success. He adds a very effective changeup and a big league slider, and running two-seamer that should allow Stoner to hang on at the highest level even if the results are not immediate.
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\r\n13. Dillon Gee – The right-hander missed most of 2009 to a labrum injury, but his vault to Triple-A after four starts in Double-A in 2008 speaks to his maturity as a pitcher. Armed with a 90-91 MPH fastball and excellent command, and a plus changeup, Gee is able to control both sides of the plate with movement. The injury likely prevented him from a getting a look in the big leagues this season, but when healthy and effective, Gee should be one of the first to get a call off the farm.
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\r\n14. Brant Rustich – Injuries have been significant speed bumps on the right-hander's path to New York. A final diagnosis was finally issued this year, but questions will remain until Rustich proves he can stay healthy. Before then, he will remain a feast or famine prospect who shows flashes of being a top five guy in the system. He owns a plus, mid-90s fastball and power slider, but is continually held up by missed time.
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\r\n15. Zach Lutz – Finally healthy and able to get 100 games under his belt for the first time, Lutz showed the offensive prowess that makes him one of the best offensive corner infielders in the system. Good vision at the plate, balance and a disciplined bat make him a natural at driving the ball to the opposite field. He hit 11 home runs in 2009, but that number should rise as added strength returns to his lower half. Very strong knowledge of the game and a great makeup solidify Lutz's all-around package.
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\r\n16. Kyle Allen – The Mets threw Allen right into the deep end of the pool in his second season by assigning him to the Savannah rotation. The right-hander responded emphatically by shaking off a rough April and becoming a model of consistency. His low-90s fastball, with run, and a changeup with plus potential were the cogs to his success. He fills out his repertoire with an improving slider which could determine his success when he makes the jump to St. Lucie. Clean mechanics and bulldog mentality round out a promising game.
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\r\n17. Eric Niesen – Niesen settled in during his second crack in St. Lucie to begin 2009, but struggled upon his promotion to Binghamton. If the pattern holds true, Niesen should turn it around in Double-A in 2010. He can do that because he owns a low-90s fastball with tail and a running slider that can really work over hitters on both sides. To remain a starter, Niesen will need his changeup to catch up to his top two pitches. His velocity and the movement he generates were good enough to move him back up the rankings after sliding a bit last year.
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\r\n18. Robert Carson – Young left-handers that can regularly hit 90-91 MPH with a tough, late-breaking slider and successfully pitch to contact will always earn their share. Carson, 20, displayed all of those tools with Savannah and improved as the season went on. He still has work to do with his changeup, but his fastball/slider command in the bottom of the zone and ability to avoid the long ball fits the organization's mold. Those traits combined with his size and durability make him one of the most promising left-handers in the system.
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\r\n19. Lucas Duda – Expectations were that the first baseman/outfielder would provide more home runs in his career to date. He has been short on the long ball, but Duda has always shown excellent plate discipline and execution against his pitches. That allowed him to rebound in batting average, hitting for a respectable .281 mark in his first Double-A season. He also dramatically cut down on his strikeout ratio while maintaining his high walk totals. Despite a shortage on home runs, that adjustment to the next level speaks to his discipline and ability as a hitter.
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\r\n20. Scott Shaw – 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, and five pitches make Shaw a valuable piece to the farm even if he does not possess the high velocity or power breaking ball like other hurlers ahead of him. His fastball velocity has not returned as originally expected coming out of college, but he can still touch 91-92 MPH and backs it up with a tough slider and very good changeup. Lack of fastball command dinged his confidence, but Shaw remains a low-risk possibly high reward right-hander the organization can rely on.
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\r\n21. Steven Matz – Though young and unpolished, the organization's top pick in the 2009 draft has tools that should bode well for him in the early stages of his career. It is still too early to project him all the way, but he already possesses three pitches which is a strong starting point coming out of high school. His fastball gets as high as 91-92 MPH, made more impressive coming from the left side. He has a reliable, though underdeveloped changeup, and a curveball which will be one of his main focal points next season.
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\r\n22. Cesar Puello – A young player with five developing tools, Puello made strides at the plate this season by improving his power to all fields and better plate discipline. The latter allowed him see and drive breaking balls at a higher rate this season when he remained strictly a fastball hitter in 2008. Strength, speed, a true right fielder's glove and raw power make him an outfielder on the rise heading into next season.
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\r\n23. Matt Bouchard – Many may see Bouchard's name and the first reaction is \"why?\". But as been discussed numerous times throughout our lists of tools rankings, Bouchard remains the best infield defender in the organization with plus tools and the flexibility to play three infield positions. That is a value that cannot be diminished despite lacking production with the bat over two seasons truncated by injury. Time and health may never allow Bouchard to fulfill potential, but he has organizational backing to give him continued opportunities.
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\r\n24. Scott Moviel – The tall right-hander returned in the second half of the season after two procedures to repair the meniscus in his right knee. When he returned, Moviel sat 89-92 MPH with his fastball that has natural sink and run on it and solid secondary pitches in his slider and changeup. He was shaky at first as he learned to trust his knee and regain a feel for game action, but showed resiliency and effectiveness down the stretch. When healthy and possessing clean mechanics (always a test for the 6-foot-11 hurler), Moviel succeeds on the heels of his extension and movement.
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\r\n25. Nick Carr – Lacking command a feel for a secondary pitch are two main ingredients preventing Carr from moving further up the list. Yet, he still packs a mid-90s fastball that can make him an asset out of the bullpen. He missed the second half of the season due to injury which further stalls his slow ascension up the system despite his arm strength. But he can become a fast riser once he regains the steep movement of his slider that he showed with Brooklyn in 2007 and early in 2008 with St. Lucie.
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\r\n26. Shawn Bowman – The Mets protected Bowman from the Rule 5 Draft by recently adding him to the 40-man roster. That transaction may finally grant Bowman a look at the big league level after continuing to hit for a good average and play excellent defense. Bowman's power has not returned to its earlier form, and he needs better execution against breaking pitches and strike zone discipline, but his glove is a unique commodity which may finally land him a cup of coffee in New York in 2010.
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\r\n27. Robbie Shields – Shields had a difficult first season at the plate, but it cannot be used to judge his long term projection. He admittedly got jumpy at the plate and took himself out of his comfort zone, but he is a patient hitter with a plan. He can hit to all fields and does not try to do too much. He played shortstop as a rookie but projects more as a Mark DeRosa type defender. How he bounces back from off-season Tommy John surgery will be pivotal to his sophomore season.
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\r\n28. Aderlin Rodriguez – The Mets' lone 2008 international free agent signing was limited to just 17 Gulf Coast League games after he broke his wrist when hit by a pitch in Extended Spring Training. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he showed off an intriguing blend of size, strength, and tools. When he finally got on the field, Rodriguez showed projectable power and contact skills that should allow him to grow into a quality run producer. Defensively, he needs to clean up his football but showed off a plus arm.
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\r\n29. Michael Antonini – It is not too much of a surprise that Antonini struggled in his first full season crack at Double-A and above. As predicted, the left-hander's success depended heavily on the consistency of his breaking pitch—a slider—but it eluded him too often in 2009. The numbers were difficult at times, but Antonini's ability to pound the strike zone and hit his spots with his fastball and good changeup will continue to give him opportunities and possible looks as a big league bullpen option.
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\r\n30. Francisco Pena – The development of Pena's tools have not matched the speed in which he has moved up the system, but the young catcher is making progress. He still needs to learn to make adjustments at the plate, but improved this season in his ability to handle higher pitches and shorten up to drive breaking pitches. The defensive tools are improving steadily and right now project as a backup. Better physical conditioning and playing shape aided in his overall improvement.
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\r\n31. Jefry Marte – Marte's stock came back down after struggling through his first full season with Savannah. Marte shows flashes of promise with the bat including raw power, but he remains a dead-red fastball hitter and hits almost exclusively to the pull-side. Defensively, Marte is an undeveloped third baseman who has a long way to go mechanically. However, given his youth, time is on his side but his projection is still a ways out.
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\r\n32. Sean Ratliff – Lacking plate discipline has cost Ratliff from becoming a better contact hitter, but his big power and flexibility with solid defense at all three outfield positions raises his stock. He is a legitimate threat versus right-handed pitching. Better execution against secondary pitches—particularly from left-handed pitchers—and a stronger two-strike approach should help improve his hitting for average. In a system with a shallow pool of outfield prospects, Ratliff still has opportunities to increase his value and a strong 2010 season in St. Lucie would certainly do that.
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\r\n33. Darrell Ceciliani – The 2009 third round pick was hot and cold at the plate in his first season, but his combination of speed and defense impressed coaches and scouts alike. His range and defensive acumen will allow him to remain a true centerfielder as he works his way up the system. Ceciliani brings a game-changing dimension with his speed and stolen base ability. His patience at the plate and contact abilities gives him the look of a true leadoff hitter. For now, a safe projection pegs Ceciliani as a fourth option in the outfielder with speed off the bench.
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\r\n34. Ryan Coultas – Coultas made strides as a starter before his season ended in early June due to a labrum injury. The injury was not as serious as originally thought which is great news for the right-hander. He reinvented himself on the mound with three quality pitches, headlined by an impressive 92-94 MPH fastball. A lean, wiry frame will leave lingering doubts about the long term viability of his shoulder, but barring any setbacks, Coultas has the tools to have an impact out of the bullpen.
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\r\n35. Eric Beaulac – Beaulac, like Stinson, has found inconsistent times as a starter and his mid-season spell in the bullpen figures to be precursor of a move that is bound to happen. His fastball/slider combination was enough to put together a strong effort in Savannah, but the lack of consistent fastball velocity, anywhere from 87-93 MPH and a very fringy changeup spell challenging times ahead as a starter. Given his early track record for strikeouts, Beaulac's quickest route to New York appears to be from the bullpen.
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\r\n36. Armando Rodriguez – Rodriguez impressed many with his live fastball that sat 93-95 MPH in his last few starts. He gets good running action on the fastball with plus potential, and strong physical build allows him to maintain velocity during the second and third turn through the orders. He flashes a spotty slider, a budding changeup but pitchability remains a question for Rodriguez. Nonetheless, his power arm has garnered him worthy attention.
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\r\n37. Carlos Guzman – Guzman put up fairly gaudy numbers with St. Lucie season, hitting .290 with 15 HR and 64 RBI in 126 games. But the numbers do not tell the story behind the tools. Guzman, a switch-hitter, draws all of his offense from the left side of the plate and almost a null from the rightside. He is a free swinger with shaky plate discipline who zeroes in on one pitch in one zone. That being said, one cannot completely overlook numbers, and he could continue to prove doubters wrong. As long as his bat stays productive, he could play his way into a fourth outfielder's spot, but stronger conviction points to an organizational bat.
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\r\n38. Josh Stinson – Stinson's career took many turns prior to 2009, but this season he finally found a niche as a reliever. By cutting down on his repertoire and focusing on a fastball/curveball combination, Stinson became very efficient. He used his two-seam fastball to attack hitters down in the zone and saw his groundball ratio spike as he prevents hitters from driving the ball (1 HR allowed in 78 2/3 IP). After trying seasons, the 21-year-old right-hander as found a projectable career path that could lead to longer term success if he can pass the test of each new level.
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\r\n39. Richard Lucas – The third baseman battled back from an early injury and had a terrific showing in Kingsport before getting his first taste of Brooklyn in a brief stint. It was a step in the right direction for Lucas. He is a steady defender, but the biggest variable is his wide batting stance and lack of execution on secondary pitches that could cause significant challenges as he moves up. A later move to the outfield is a possibility as flexibility will play to his advantage in coming years. For now, there are still more questions than answers.
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\r\n40. Rafael Fernandez – Fernandez's season ended due to injury 73 games into his first crack in Savannah, but coaches liked the adjustments they saw from the 21-year-old outfielder who brings great speed, defense and promise with the bat. He is still raw and did not provide much in the way of numbers (.254, 1 HR, 14 RBI), but when his tools blend and mature, Fernandez could play his way into a valuable fourth outfielder spot with speed and defense off the bench.
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\r\n41. Nick Santomauro – Coming from an Ivy League school meant a significant jump in opposing talent level when he arrived in Brooklyn. He showed very good natural athleticism, sneaky raw power and a good contact stroke which make him an intriguing bat from the 2009 draft class. Santomauro has good size and built, but remains fairly unpolished with mechanics and will require many more reps to draw out his ability.
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\r\n42. Brandon Moore – Moore had a very successful second season in Brooklyn where he showed off confidence with four pitches backed with excellent command. He relies on movement and location, but his slider provides a put-away pitch that allows him to attack hitters when ahead in a two-strike count. Repeating the short-season level provided a small safety net for Moore in 2009 but his game will be challenged in the long season leagues.
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\r\n43. Eduardo Aldama – The 19-year-old right-hander had a very positive year in Kingsport where he showed off a blooming repertoire. His game is bolstered by a low-90s fastball, a good changeup and a developing breaking ball, but consistency with his secondary pitches remains touch-and-go. At 6-foot-1 and roughly 170 pounds, Aldama's size is something to monitor as he often used max effort on the mound which can shorten his projection.
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\r\n44. Jordany Valdespin – Valdespin shows flashes of his tools, but he remains an unpolished commodity. With the bat, he can be quick on the inner third which provides him some power all to the pull side. However, he has a habit of reaching for the ball which forces him to rush his swing. Defensively, he has an above average arm but needs a lot of mechanical work. He possesses good yet not threatening speed, but can be an aggressive base stealer due to a good first step.
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\r\n45. Alonzo Harris – Harris attracted many eyes when he popped ten home runs in 59 games with Kingsport this season, but those numbers are not the best judge of his bat. Those power numbers disappeared when pitchers adjust to him and he maintained an all-or-nothing approach at the plate. His athleticism and system-best speed make him a weapon on the bases, but lacking plate discipline and shaky defense open wholes in his projection.
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\r\n46. Chase Greene – Like Harris, Greene's best tools for the moment are his top-flight speed and athleticism. In his first summer, the 2009 16th round pick showed excellent range in the outfield and a strong arm. At 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, he does not fit the prototypical mold of an outfielder, but his strength and bat control project well for his offense ability. That traits should allow him to grow out of a slash-and-speed hitter as he physically matures and adds more power.
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\r\n47. Dylan Owen – Owen was forced to take a step backwards before he could take two forward this season which included a brief move to St. Lucie. Lack of fastball command burned him in 2009 and prevents him from finding consistency. However his excellent command of two breaking pitches should allow him to battle his way through trouble at the upper levels. The numbers were not pretty for Owen this year, but he will continue to get chances with a good bet to remain as an organizational piece.
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\r\n48. Chris Schwinden – He is not flashy, he does not have the most overpowering stuff, but Schwinden has simply provided consistency and reliability. He features a 90-91 MPH fastball and improving mid-70s curveball, but it his command of the strike zone that makes him so effective. He hung on the periphery of the Top 50 last season, but a strong first crack at the long season leagues bumps into the list this year. He will continue to face challenges as he moves up, but if he retains his command he should remain on as an organizational arm.
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\r\n49. Roy Merritt – Specialist relievers rarely crack the Top 50, but Merritt jumps in this year after showing growth in Double-A this season. He spent just 7 2/3 innings in St. Lucie in 2008. In 2009, he was regularly used in one inning or more appearances, but his tailing 88-90 MPH fastball and a good sweeping slider will land him as a lefty specialist at the highest level.
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\r\n50. James Fuller – The left-hander moved into the rotation in his second season in Brooklyn armed with a 88-91 MPH fastball and two serviceable secondary pitches, allowing him to keep NYPL hitters at bay. His stuff figures to expose him as a starter as he moves up the ladder, but he is a strike thrower with a solid changeup that could help him grow into another lefty specialist. However, at 5-foot-11 concerns about long term strength and durability could hold off that growth.
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\r\n","mobileBody":" \r\nIMPORTANT NOTES: Juan Urbina was left off the list. Given his new status as a prospect and lack of visibility for our purposes, we acted conservatively and left him off the list for this season.
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\r\nPlease, DO NOT reveal the rankings, either in parts or its entirely on other message boards and/or sites. This list is the property of Inside Pitch Magazine and we would like our extensive work to remain the privilege of our valued, paying subscribers.
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\r\nWe encourage our readership to read the rankings and take part in any discussion in our subscribers forum

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\r\nThank you.
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\r\n1. Fernando Martinez – Injuries have caused disappointment regarding Martinez's advancement, but to this point there is no one on the list who surpasses his full range of tools. Plus power from line to line, increased plate discipline and defensive improvements make him a top flight prospect. He had an impressive streak of success in Triple-A prior to his big league debut. Observers see the tremendous natural talent, but now it is a matter of health and until that happens doubts will linger. However, no one should doubt that his talent can lead to long term productivity at the heart of the Mets order.
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\r\n2. Jenrry Mejia – The young right-hander still needs to perfect his craft as a pitcher. That includes developing a more mature plan on the pound and improving his pitchability and sequencing. When he does that, Mejia will solidify his projection as a front end starter. Until then, projections have to leave room for him to possibly end up as a reliever. He features a 94-97 MPH with very tough run in on left-handers. He backs it up with a power changeup with sinking action, and a sharp, though inconsistent, curveball. His smaller stature has raised some concerns about his long term viability, but that changeup, for now, gives him the slight edge over Holt.
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\r\n3. Brad Holt – Holt struggled with Binghamton, but his inconsistency with the B-Mets was not enough to worry scouts about his long term projection. Size, durability and a power fastball make the right-hander a very enticing prospect. His curveball was a hit or miss pitch in the last four weeks of the season, but its late, hard break makes it a very difficult pitch to drive. He throws his changeup in the high-70s, or roughly the ideal 15 MPH off his fastball, with decent fade. When he gains better feel for the pitch, it should allow Holt to affirm his projection as a starter.
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\r\n4. Ike Davis – Davis erupted in for power and run production in his second season. With a redesigned swing and greater confidence at the plate, Davis assaulted the Eastern League for a .309 average, 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 55 games. His gap power has turned into home run power as he became lethal on the inner half of the plate. He still gets beat at times away with secondary pitches, but the adjustments made were the best in the system this year. A very good arm and an above average big league defender make the 2008 top pick the assumed heir apparent for 2011.
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\r\n5. Wilmer Flores – The young shortstop possesses tremendous projection with the bat, but lacking speed and the unlikely future at shortstop have dropped him a few spots from last year's list. His power potential, leverage and bat control make him one of the most promising young hitters in the organization. Those traits should continue to flourish as he adds size and strength to a still wiry frame. Defensively, he projects best as a first baseman or corner outfielder, but his bat holds enough promise to keep him this high despite average tools in other areas.
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\r\n6. Jonathon Niese – The left-hander struggled early but came on strong in Buffalo following a few tweaks with his grips. He finished with a 5-2 record and 1.72 ERA over his last nine Triple-A starts before returning to New York. He was steady in New York before suffering a torn hamstring. To regain his form when he returns, Niese will need consistency with his changeup and continue to sharpen his new cutter. The left-hander does not project higher than the middle of the rotation,but being a left-handed strike thrower with movement keeps his stock steady.
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\r\n7. Ruben Tejada – It was certainly an aggressive move by the organization to send the 20-year-old shortstop to Double-A as a teenager, a year after hitting .229 in St. Lucie. Tejada responded with vigor by hitting .289 in 134 games, showing excellent contact skills and improved defense. That defense and his quickness in the field and on the bases will get him a look as a middle infielder with the Mets. He will not provide power, but provides enough with his remaining tools to earn him at least a utility role at the highest level.
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\r\n8. Josh Thole – At this time last year, we wanted to see Thole repeat his success from 2008. Well, he did that by hitting .328 good for second place in the Eastern League. His defense is slowly but surely improving, most notably added quickness behind the plate. That quickness has helped compensate for an average arm when throwing out base runners. It is going to take more reps and time for Thole's defense to be big league ready, but as long as he continues to hit for average, he will assume a backup role with the Mets in the near future.
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\r\n9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Nieuwenhuis exploded on the scene with one of the best offensive outbursts of the 2009 minor league season. His five very solid tools, including the best outfield glove in the system and valuable athleticism, all came to the surface in St. Lucie. He gets a little pull happy at times, but he boasts power to all fields with speed and aggressiveness to pile up extra-base hits. His home run power still rests almost exclusively to the pull side, but he is becoming the full package offensive outfielder the system very much needs.
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\r\n10. Reese Havens – Nagging injuries have denied Havens consistent playing time. However, Havens is a talented hitter with excellent bat control, discipline and balance that project him to be a strong contact hitter with plenty of complimentary home run power. Despite a .247 average this season, his limited strikeouts and a high walk total point to continued offensive success as he moves up. Defensively, Havens has been moved to second base where the results are to be determined. Havens best route to success at the highest level is to continuously hit and to keep improving with the bat at every turn.
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\r\n11. Jeurys Familia – Familia rocketed up the prospects list on the heels of his rapidly improving secondary offerings. His slider went from a marginal pitch this time last year to having plus potential. There are mixed signals about his changeup, but he flashed a strong edition of it late in the season and during Instructs. Combine those improving tools with command, size and strength, and Familia takes the top spot of the valued 2009 Savannah rotation.
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\r\n12. Tobi Stoner – Stoner's depth of his five pitches makes him a viable big league arm even if his projection does not carry him above the back of a rotation. He hides the ball well and pitches backwards which makes his 90-92 MPH fastball velocity jump on hitters and that is pivotal to future success. He adds a very effective changeup and a big league slider, and running two-seamer that should allow Stoner to hang on at the highest level even if the results are not immediate.
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\r\n13. Dillon Gee – The right-hander missed most of 2009 to a labrum injury, but his vault to Triple-A after four starts in Double-A in 2008 speaks to his maturity as a pitcher. Armed with a 90-91 MPH fastball and excellent command, and a plus changeup, Gee is able to control both sides of the plate with movement. The injury likely prevented him from a getting a look in the big leagues this season, but when healthy and effective, Gee should be one of the first to get a call off the farm.
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\r\n14. Brant Rustich – Injuries have been significant speed bumps on the right-hander's path to New York. A final diagnosis was finally issued this year, but questions will remain until Rustich proves he can stay healthy. Before then, he will remain a feast or famine prospect who shows flashes of being a top five guy in the system. He owns a plus, mid-90s fastball and power slider, but is continually held up by missed time.
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\r\n15. Zach Lutz – Finally healthy and able to get 100 games under his belt for the first time, Lutz showed the offensive prowess that makes him one of the best offensive corner infielders in the system. Good vision at the plate, balance and a disciplined bat make him a natural at driving the ball to the opposite field. He hit 11 home runs in 2009, but that number should rise as added strength returns to his lower half. Very strong knowledge of the game and a great makeup solidify Lutz's all-around package.
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\r\n16. Kyle Allen – The Mets threw Allen right into the deep end of the pool in his second season by assigning him to the Savannah rotation. The right-hander responded emphatically by shaking off a rough April and becoming a model of consistency. His low-90s fastball, with run, and a changeup with plus potential were the cogs to his success. He fills out his repertoire with an improving slider which could determine his success when he makes the jump to St. Lucie. Clean mechanics and bulldog mentality round out a promising game.
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\r\n17. Eric Niesen – Niesen settled in during his second crack in St. Lucie to begin 2009, but struggled upon his promotion to Binghamton. If the pattern holds true, Niesen should turn it around in Double-A in 2010. He can do that because he owns a low-90s fastball with tail and a running slider that can really work over hitters on both sides. To remain a starter, Niesen will need his changeup to catch up to his top two pitches. His velocity and the movement he generates were good enough to move him back up the rankings after sliding a bit last year.
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\r\n18. Robert Carson – Young left-handers that can regularly hit 90-91 MPH with a tough, late-breaking slider and successfully pitch to contact will always earn their share. Carson, 20, displayed all of those tools with Savannah and improved as the season went on. He still has work to do with his changeup, but his fastball/slider command in the bottom of the zone and ability to avoid the long ball fits the organization's mold. Those traits combined with his size and durability make him one of the most promising left-handers in the system.
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\r\n19. Lucas Duda – Expectations were that the first baseman/outfielder would provide more home runs in his career to date. He has been short on the long ball, but Duda has always shown excellent plate discipline and execution against his pitches. That allowed him to rebound in batting average, hitting for a respectable .281 mark in his first Double-A season. He also dramatically cut down on his strikeout ratio while maintaining his high walk totals. Despite a shortage on home runs, that adjustment to the next level speaks to his discipline and ability as a hitter.
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\r\n20. Scott Shaw – 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, and five pitches make Shaw a valuable piece to the farm even if he does not possess the high velocity or power breaking ball like other hurlers ahead of him. His fastball velocity has not returned as originally expected coming out of college, but he can still touch 91-92 MPH and backs it up with a tough slider and very good changeup. Lack of fastball command dinged his confidence, but Shaw remains a low-risk possibly high reward right-hander the organization can rely on.
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\r\n21. Steven Matz – Though young and unpolished, the organization's top pick in the 2009 draft has tools that should bode well for him in the early stages of his career. It is still too early to project him all the way, but he already possesses three pitches which is a strong starting point coming out of high school. His fastball gets as high as 91-92 MPH, made more impressive coming from the left side. He has a reliable, though underdeveloped changeup, and a curveball which will be one of his main focal points next season.
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\r\n22. Cesar Puello – A young player with five developing tools, Puello made strides at the plate this season by improving his power to all fields and better plate discipline. The latter allowed him see and drive breaking balls at a higher rate this season when he remained strictly a fastball hitter in 2008. Strength, speed, a true right fielder's glove and raw power make him an outfielder on the rise heading into next season.
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\r\n23. Matt Bouchard – Many may see Bouchard's name and the first reaction is \"why?\". But as been discussed numerous times throughout our lists of tools rankings, Bouchard remains the best infield defender in the organization with plus tools and the flexibility to play three infield positions. That is a value that cannot be diminished despite lacking production with the bat over two seasons truncated by injury. Time and health may never allow Bouchard to fulfill potential, but he has organizational backing to give him continued opportunities.
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\r\n24. Scott Moviel – The tall right-hander returned in the second half of the season after two procedures to repair the meniscus in his right knee. When he returned, Moviel sat 89-92 MPH with his fastball that has natural sink and run on it and solid secondary pitches in his slider and changeup. He was shaky at first as he learned to trust his knee and regain a feel for game action, but showed resiliency and effectiveness down the stretch. When healthy and possessing clean mechanics (always a test for the 6-foot-11 hurler), Moviel succeeds on the heels of his extension and movement.
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\r\n25. Nick Carr – Lacking command a feel for a secondary pitch are two main ingredients preventing Carr from moving further up the list. Yet, he still packs a mid-90s fastball that can make him an asset out of the bullpen. He missed the second half of the season due to injury which further stalls his slow ascension up the system despite his arm strength. But he can become a fast riser once he regains the steep movement of his slider that he showed with Brooklyn in 2007 and early in 2008 with St. Lucie.
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\r\n26. Shawn Bowman – The Mets protected Bowman from the Rule 5 Draft by recently adding him to the 40-man roster. That transaction may finally grant Bowman a look at the big league level after continuing to hit for a good average and play excellent defense. Bowman's power has not returned to its earlier form, and he needs better execution against breaking pitches and strike zone discipline, but his glove is a unique commodity which may finally land him a cup of coffee in New York in 2010.
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\r\n27. Robbie Shields – Shields had a difficult first season at the plate, but it cannot be used to judge his long term projection. He admittedly got jumpy at the plate and took himself out of his comfort zone, but he is a patient hitter with a plan. He can hit to all fields and does not try to do too much. He played shortstop as a rookie but projects more as a Mark DeRosa type defender. How he bounces back from off-season Tommy John surgery will be pivotal to his sophomore season.
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\r\n28. Aderlin Rodriguez – The Mets' lone 2008 international free agent signing was limited to just 17 Gulf Coast League games after he broke his wrist when hit by a pitch in Extended Spring Training. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he showed off an intriguing blend of size, strength, and tools. When he finally got on the field, Rodriguez showed projectable power and contact skills that should allow him to grow into a quality run producer. Defensively, he needs to clean up his football but showed off a plus arm.
\r\n
\r\n29. Michael Antonini – It is not too much of a surprise that Antonini struggled in his first full season crack at Double-A and above. As predicted, the left-hander's success depended heavily on the consistency of his breaking pitch—a slider—but it eluded him too often in 2009. The numbers were difficult at times, but Antonini's ability to pound the strike zone and hit his spots with his fastball and good changeup will continue to give him opportunities and possible looks as a big league bullpen option.
\r\n
\r\n30. Francisco Pena – The development of Pena's tools have not matched the speed in which he has moved up the system, but the young catcher is making progress. He still needs to learn to make adjustments at the plate, but improved this season in his ability to handle higher pitches and shorten up to drive breaking pitches. The defensive tools are improving steadily and right now project as a backup. Better physical conditioning and playing shape aided in his overall improvement.
\r\n
\r\n31. Jefry Marte – Marte's stock came back down after struggling through his first full season with Savannah. Marte shows flashes of promise with the bat including raw power, but he remains a dead-red fastball hitter and hits almost exclusively to the pull-side. Defensively, Marte is an undeveloped third baseman who has a long way to go mechanically. However, given his youth, time is on his side but his projection is still a ways out.
\r\n
\r\n32. Sean Ratliff – Lacking plate discipline has cost Ratliff from becoming a better contact hitter, but his big power and flexibility with solid defense at all three outfield positions raises his stock. He is a legitimate threat versus right-handed pitching. Better execution against secondary pitches—particularly from left-handed pitchers—and a stronger two-strike approach should help improve his hitting for average. In a system with a shallow pool of outfield prospects, Ratliff still has opportunities to increase his value and a strong 2010 season in St. Lucie would certainly do that.
\r\n
\r\n33. Darrell Ceciliani – The 2009 third round pick was hot and cold at the plate in his first season, but his combination of speed and defense impressed coaches and scouts alike. His range and defensive acumen will allow him to remain a true centerfielder as he works his way up the system. Ceciliani brings a game-changing dimension with his speed and stolen base ability. His patience at the plate and contact abilities gives him the look of a true leadoff hitter. For now, a safe projection pegs Ceciliani as a fourth option in the outfielder with speed off the bench.
\r\n
\r\n34. Ryan Coultas – Coultas made strides as a starter before his season ended in early June due to a labrum injury. The injury was not as serious as originally thought which is great news for the right-hander. He reinvented himself on the mound with three quality pitches, headlined by an impressive 92-94 MPH fastball. A lean, wiry frame will leave lingering doubts about the long term viability of his shoulder, but barring any setbacks, Coultas has the tools to have an impact out of the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\n35. Eric Beaulac – Beaulac, like Stinson, has found inconsistent times as a starter and his mid-season spell in the bullpen figures to be precursor of a move that is bound to happen. His fastball/slider combination was enough to put together a strong effort in Savannah, but the lack of consistent fastball velocity, anywhere from 87-93 MPH and a very fringy changeup spell challenging times ahead as a starter. Given his early track record for strikeouts, Beaulac's quickest route to New York appears to be from the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\n36. Armando Rodriguez – Rodriguez impressed many with his live fastball that sat 93-95 MPH in his last few starts. He gets good running action on the fastball with plus potential, and strong physical build allows him to maintain velocity during the second and third turn through the orders. He flashes a spotty slider, a budding changeup but pitchability remains a question for Rodriguez. Nonetheless, his power arm has garnered him worthy attention.
\r\n
\r\n37. Carlos Guzman – Guzman put up fairly gaudy numbers with St. Lucie season, hitting .290 with 15 HR and 64 RBI in 126 games. But the numbers do not tell the story behind the tools. Guzman, a switch-hitter, draws all of his offense from the left side of the plate and almost a null from the rightside. He is a free swinger with shaky plate discipline who zeroes in on one pitch in one zone. That being said, one cannot completely overlook numbers, and he could continue to prove doubters wrong. As long as his bat stays productive, he could play his way into a fourth outfielder's spot, but stronger conviction points to an organizational bat.
\r\n
\r\n38. Josh Stinson – Stinson's career took many turns prior to 2009, but this season he finally found a niche as a reliever. By cutting down on his repertoire and focusing on a fastball/curveball combination, Stinson became very efficient. He used his two-seam fastball to attack hitters down in the zone and saw his groundball ratio spike as he prevents hitters from driving the ball (1 HR allowed in 78 2/3 IP). After trying seasons, the 21-year-old right-hander as found a projectable career path that could lead to longer term success if he can pass the test of each new level.
\r\n
\r\n39. Richard Lucas – The third baseman battled back from an early injury and had a terrific showing in Kingsport before getting his first taste of Brooklyn in a brief stint. It was a step in the right direction for Lucas. He is a steady defender, but the biggest variable is his wide batting stance and lack of execution on secondary pitches that could cause significant challenges as he moves up. A later move to the outfield is a possibility as flexibility will play to his advantage in coming years. For now, there are still more questions than answers.
\r\n
\r\n40. Rafael Fernandez – Fernandez's season ended due to injury 73 games into his first crack in Savannah, but coaches liked the adjustments they saw from the 21-year-old outfielder who brings great speed, defense and promise with the bat. He is still raw and did not provide much in the way of numbers (.254, 1 HR, 14 RBI), but when his tools blend and mature, Fernandez could play his way into a valuable fourth outfielder spot with speed and defense off the bench.
\r\n
\r\n41. Nick Santomauro – Coming from an Ivy League school meant a significant jump in opposing talent level when he arrived in Brooklyn. He showed very good natural athleticism, sneaky raw power and a good contact stroke which make him an intriguing bat from the 2009 draft class. Santomauro has good size and built, but remains fairly unpolished with mechanics and will require many more reps to draw out his ability.
\r\n
\r\n42. Brandon Moore – Moore had a very successful second season in Brooklyn where he showed off confidence with four pitches backed with excellent command. He relies on movement and location, but his slider provides a put-away pitch that allows him to attack hitters when ahead in a two-strike count. Repeating the short-season level provided a small safety net for Moore in 2009 but his game will be challenged in the long season leagues.
\r\n
\r\n43. Eduardo Aldama – The 19-year-old right-hander had a very positive year in Kingsport where he showed off a blooming repertoire. His game is bolstered by a low-90s fastball, a good changeup and a developing breaking ball, but consistency with his secondary pitches remains touch-and-go. At 6-foot-1 and roughly 170 pounds, Aldama's size is something to monitor as he often used max effort on the mound which can shorten his projection.
\r\n
\r\n44. Jordany Valdespin – Valdespin shows flashes of his tools, but he remains an unpolished commodity. With the bat, he can be quick on the inner third which provides him some power all to the pull side. However, he has a habit of reaching for the ball which forces him to rush his swing. Defensively, he has an above average arm but needs a lot of mechanical work. He possesses good yet not threatening speed, but can be an aggressive base stealer due to a good first step.
\r\n
\r\n45. Alonzo Harris – Harris attracted many eyes when he popped ten home runs in 59 games with Kingsport this season, but those numbers are not the best judge of his bat. Those power numbers disappeared when pitchers adjust to him and he maintained an all-or-nothing approach at the plate. His athleticism and system-best speed make him a weapon on the bases, but lacking plate discipline and shaky defense open wholes in his projection.
\r\n
\r\n46. Chase Greene – Like Harris, Greene's best tools for the moment are his top-flight speed and athleticism. In his first summer, the 2009 16th round pick showed excellent range in the outfield and a strong arm. At 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, he does not fit the prototypical mold of an outfielder, but his strength and bat control project well for his offense ability. That traits should allow him to grow out of a slash-and-speed hitter as he physically matures and adds more power.
\r\n
\r\n47. Dylan Owen – Owen was forced to take a step backwards before he could take two forward this season which included a brief move to St. Lucie. Lack of fastball command burned him in 2009 and prevents him from finding consistency. However his excellent command of two breaking pitches should allow him to battle his way through trouble at the upper levels. The numbers were not pretty for Owen this year, but he will continue to get chances with a good bet to remain as an organizational piece.
\r\n
\r\n48. Chris Schwinden – He is not flashy, he does not have the most overpowering stuff, but Schwinden has simply provided consistency and reliability. He features a 90-91 MPH fastball and improving mid-70s curveball, but it his command of the strike zone that makes him so effective. He hung on the periphery of the Top 50 last season, but a strong first crack at the long season leagues bumps into the list this year. He will continue to face challenges as he moves up, but if he retains his command he should remain on as an organizational arm.
\r\n
\r\n49. Roy Merritt – Specialist relievers rarely crack the Top 50, but Merritt jumps in this year after showing growth in Double-A this season. He spent just 7 2/3 innings in St. Lucie in 2008. In 2009, he was regularly used in one inning or more appearances, but his tailing 88-90 MPH fastball and a good sweeping slider will land him as a lefty specialist at the highest level.
\r\n
\r\n50. James Fuller – The left-hander moved into the rotation in his second season in Brooklyn armed with a 88-91 MPH fastball and two serviceable secondary pitches, allowing him to keep NYPL hitters at bay. His stuff figures to expose him as a starter as he moves up the ladder, but he is a strike thrower with a solid changeup that could help him grow into another lefty specialist. However, at 5-foot-11 concerns about long term strength and durability could hold off that growth.
\r\n
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