Sandy Alderson has a plan for the Mets organization, and a lot of it revolves around the farm system. Specifically, he has stated before that he won’t rush prospects, including guys like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Still, the front office has promoted prospects who have proved their mettle (such as Jack Leathersich), so here is a list of ten guys who will be promoted to various levels of the organization at some point this year.
Matt Harvey: Yes, Harvey will be promoted, but probably not until August or September. His numbers have been decent this year at Buffalo, but not spectacular: 53.1 IP, 51 H, 25 ER (4.22 ERA) 22 BB and 51 K. The K/9 has dipped a little compared to last year, but is still a very respectable 8.6. The walks are still a little bit of an issue, but he’s improved in his more recent outings. Sandy won’t rush Harvey, but he should be in Queens by year’s end.
Zack Wheeler: If Wheeler reaches the Majors this season, it won’t be until September, but he should see Buffalo this summer. The soon to be twenty-two year old has struck out 52 batters in 45.2 IP, while allowing just 27 hits and 10 earned runs, good for a paltry 1.97 ERA. However, he’s walked too many batters-21, so he needs to improve on control. Still, he has all the makings of a front-end rotation piece.
Elvin Ramirez: The right-handed reliever has already moved from Binghamton to Buffalo this season, and the way he’s pitching will earn him another promotion. In 23.2 minor league innings, Ramirez has surrendered just two earned runs on ten hits, walking eight
and fanning twenty-eight. Control had been an issue for Ramirez in the past (he owns a lifetime 4.7 BB/9) but he seems to have figured it out this year. It won’t be long before he arrives at Citi Field.
Matt Den Dekker: The University of Florida product had a strong 2011 and has followed up with a solid 2012 as well. In 209 PA at Binghamton, he’s batting .311/.375/.530 with six homers and sixteen doubles. Odds are those numbers will regress, given a BABIP of close to .400, and his walk rate has dipped from 8.3% to 7.7%, but his strikeout rate has also dropped, from 25.3% to 23.4%. Den Dekker can play center field well and also possesses some speed (although he’s stolen seven bases this year while being caught six times), but will need to cut down on the Ks. Still, he could be promoted to Buffalo sometime after the All Star break.
Cory Vaughn: Watching Vaughn can be like watching two different players. Sometimes, he is locked in, hitting for average, power and drawing walks. Other times, he can’t buy a hit and strikes out left and right. At St. Lucie, Vaughn is batting .238/.321/.463 with a FSL leading ten homers. The batting line may not seem promotion-worthy, but Vaughn possesses great power and a hot streak would bring all those numbers back up. At some point in 2012, he will be in Binghamton.
Wilmer Flores: It seems like Mets fans have been hearing about Flores forever, given that he was signed as a sixteen year old. He struggled last year at St. Lucie, but now, aged twenty, has started to put things together. In 183 PA, Flores is hitting .315/.350/.497 with seven homers (by comparison, he hit nine all of last season). He’s struck out just eighteen times, although he’s also drawn only nine walks. Seeing as it’s his third go around in the FSL, it’s hard to imagine Flores finishing the season there. If he continues to hit high-A pitching, Flores will move to Binghamton towards the end of the summer.
Tyler Pill: Taken by the Mets in the fourth round of last year’s draft, Pill has excelled at Savannah this season. In 46.2 innings, he’s yielded ten earned runs on 48 hits and seven walks while punching out 47. Pill has also served up just one long ball. With his outstanding control, he’ll likely be moved to St. Lucie after the ASB.
Rafael Montero: As good as Pill’s control has been, Montero’s has been a tad better. In 44.1 innings, Montero has issued only six walks, while allowing 13 earned runs and 37 hits with 34 strikeouts. He has the control to succeed in high-A and he will likely be promoted, along with Pill, after the break.
Domingo Tapia: Another member of the Savannah rotation, Tapia has been stellar this year, outside of one start. Powered by a hard sinker, Tapia has surrendered 38 hits and 11 walks while fanning 40 in 42 innings. He sometimes has stamina issues and needs to develop his secondary pitches, but his sinker alone should get him to St. Lucie.
Travis Taijeron: Taijeron burst onto the scene last season with Brooklyn, where he slugged nine homers in 225 PA. This season, he’s already smacked eight dingers in 186 PA to go along with a .279/.398/.519 line. To his credit, Taijeron also owns a 13.4% walk rate this year, although he’s also struck out at a 26.3% clip. Given his age (23) and power, he should be promoted to St. Lucie in the near future.