Earlier today, Keith Law of ESPN released his annual ranking of the top 100 prospects in baseball. Five Mets made the list, and one of them is ranked shockingly high.
The Mets who made it:
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, 24th.
Travis d’Arnaud, C, 36th.
Dominic Smith, 1B, 37th.
Rafael Montero, RHP, 60th.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, 92nd.
Both Syndergaard and d’Arnaud fell in right around where most thought they would.
Law thinks Syndergaard has #2 starter upside, while most feel he has the potential to be much better than that. Still, he was placed in the top quarter of the rankings. Barring something odd happening, Syndergaard will be starting 2014 with Triple-A Las Vegas.
D’Arnaud continues to be negatively impacted in the rankings by two freak injuries that have limited his playing time over the last two seasons. That doesn’t mean his status as one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball is in question, just that most want to see him stay healthy in the majors and post the numbers that are expected of him.
The biggest surprise on the list is Smith, who the Mets took with the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft. The lefty swinging 18 year old has been shooting up prospect lists (he narrowly missed the MLB.com top 100) after a strong performance in the GCL in his professional debut in 2013.
Most view Smith as a first baseman who can hit for both average and power while playing gold glove caliber defense. He’s also seen by many observers as the prospect who had the best pure bat in the entire 2013 draft.
The reason his high ranking is surprising, is because Smith is so young and has so few professional at bats under his belt. He may start this season with Low-A Savannah, and all eyes will be on him now that he’s been given such lofty prospect status.
Rafael Montero‘s stock is up, so his ranking (60th) seems about right. He’s viewed by most as a solid middle of the rotation starter. Having watched him pitch over a dozen times, I think he’s being shortchanged a bit. He has a plus fastball, great mound presence, and impeccable command, but he will have to improve his secondary offerings. Like Syndergaard, it’s likely that Montero will start this season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Another mild surprise here was outfielder Brandon Nimmo being ranked at all. Nimmo spent last season with Low-A Savannah (one of the toughest home ballparks on hitters) while dealing with a hand injury that held him back a bit. Still, he put up a .397 OBP and appeared in the Futures Game at Citi Field. Nimmo will probably start the season with St. Lucie, and a promotion to Double-A Binghamton later in the season is possible.