The New York Mets minor league system has been consistently producing major league talent. Sandy Alderson has done an admirable job acquiring young, talented pitchers through trades. Although these pitching acquisitions were not major league ready at the time of the acquisition, they developed through the system quickly. Last year marked the break out appearance of Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard is the second Alderson acquisition to bust onto the major league scene, Zack Wheeler is was the first to debut in 2013.
Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard joined homegrown talent Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom in the Mets rotation. 2015 also marked the development of another home grown player, Steven Matz. However, Matz was unable to play more than six starts due to injury. The injuries did not prevent him from making three appearances in the postseason. While he appeared to be fatigued in his playoff starts, he was able to contribute four to five quality innings in each outing. This season will be a huge step for Matz.
Starting pitching was the strength of the system, but Jeurys Familia solidified the closer’s role as well in 2015. For the second consecutive season, Familia made 76 regular season appearances. According to FanGraphs, Familia’s WAR went up almost one run from 2014’s 0.8 to 2015’s at 1.6. The front of the rotation is in good hands for a long time and now the back end of the bullpen is locked in with Jeurys Familia.
Despite the organization’s reputation for producing great pitching, outfielder Michael Conforto was able to reach the big club in just his second season as a professional. Michael Conforto was able to jump right into the lineup and contribute against right handed pitching. He hit nine homeruns, and FanGraphs projects Michael Conforto will hit 19 homeruns and knock in 68 RBIs, while producing a 2.3 WAR rating. Conforto has the potential to be a .300 hitter, but will struggle this season as he adjusts to hitting left handed pitching at the major league level. Fielding was the big knock on Michael Conforto throughout his time in the minor leagues, but he was able to perform admirably in left field.
With the continued success of young players reaching the major league level, who is next for the 2016 season? Many New York Mets fans have heard the name, Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo was Sandy Alderson’s first draft pick as the New York Mets General Manager. Brandon Nimmo was a first round draft pick out of high school in Wyoming. A tall and lanky teenager was expected to take some time to fully develop. The last two seasons, Nimmo has taken big strides resulting in a promotion to Triple A Las Vegas. Brandon Nimmo will more than likely make his major league debut this season in Queens.
The hype will be focused on Brandon Nimmo, but the rookie that will make the most impact this season will be shortstop Gavin Cecchini. Cecchini was the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Mets have seen the Louisiana native jump up the system and hit .317 at AA Binghamton last season. Cecchini comes from a baseball family where his father is a Louisiana baseball coach. He has the all around athleticism to play well defensively at any infield position. Cecchini possesses a short stroke with a slightly long stride. Cecchini has a comparable swing to Baltimore Orioles shortstop, J.J. Hardy.
If Gavin Cecchini gets off to a good start, he will find himself at AAA Las Vegas. Las Vegas shortstop, Matt Reynolds has played admirably, but would be better off at another position. The uncertainty in David Wright’s health may open up a spot for Gavin Cecchini to slip into the big league roster. Asdrubal Cabrera was signed this offseason to play shortstop, but has stated his willingness to slide over to third base. Cecchini would provide the best defensive option at shortstop.