The RDM top prospect list continues with 41-45 today. You’ll want to pay close attention to the first guy we look at today, as well as learn the names of the pitchers we cover. Let’s get to it:
45. Vicente Lupo, OF – This is a name you’re going to want to learn. Lupo isn’t higher on my list because he’s never played stateside, but his numbers as an 18-year old in the Dominican Summer League were insane: .343/.500/.608 with 10 homers, 3 triples, 18 doubles, and 12 stolen bases on 19 attempts. He also drew more walks (46) than he had strikeouts (45). He’s obviously far away from the big leagues, but he’ll be one of the most intriguing prospects the Mets will have in short season ball this summer, with the GCL being the most likely destination, but Brooklyn being a possibility if the Mets want to challenge him.
44. Akeel Morris, RP – What’s Morris still doing in the top 50? Good question. He’s been in the system for three seasons and he’s already been moved to the bullpen, hasn’t been promoted to Brooklyn, and is coming off a season with an ERA just a hair below 8 in the Appalachian League. Still, it’s tough to completely give up on him. Part of the reason is because I wrote my first RDM piece about him: http://realdirtymets.com/2010/11/19/how-i-wish-for-akeel-morris-to-succeed/. But also, he still has an electric arm, and while the move to the bullpen was a demotion, Morris improved tremendously after the move. He struck out 27, had an ERA of 1.13, and a WHIP just over 1 in 16 relief innings last year, as opposed to the 12.90 ERA and WHIP close to 2 he recorded as a starter. Pitching from the bullpen will limit his innings and slow his development some, but if he can work on his control, develop a second pitch, and continue to get batters out working from the ‘pen, he’ll have a chance to move up in the farm system.
43. Luis Cessa, RP – Cessa is a young guy with a live arm, coming off a good season in Brooklyn, in which he had an ERA of 2.49 in 13 starts. His strikeout rate wasn’t great, but his WHIP was just a tad over 1. He’ll be 21 in April, so he’s right on schedule, but right now he doesn’t have much in his arsenal outside of his fastball, but it’s a good fastball with nice movement, so it’s a good place to start.
42. Hansel Robles, RP – The Mets added the 22-year old Robles to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule-5 Draft. This was after Robles had an incredible year at Brooklyn, going 6-1 with a 1.11 ERA in 12 starts. The Mets protected Robles, in large part, because of the Alderson administration’s emphasis on pitchers that throw strikes, but other than that, there’s not much to get too excited about regarding Robles. He’s 5’11’’, so he doesn’t have the body to remain a starter long term, and while he can throw in the low to mid 90’s, he didn’t have a high strikeout rate last year, and at 22, he should have been dominant against New York Penn League hitters. That’s not to say Robles isn’t a guy to watch, but his ceiling isn’t all that high, and he’s never even pitched at full season ball, so it was a rather questionable move for the Mets to protect him at this point in time.
41. Armando Rodriguez, RP – Rodriguez made a seamless transition from starter to reliever last season, giving him a chance to break into the big leagues as a middle reliever at some point this season. In AA last year, he had a 1.1 WHIP and struck out a batter per inning, which is what you like to see. The ceiling isn’t high, but he throws hard enough, has a decent repertoire, and has been a productive pitcher for his entire minor league career. The simple fact that he has a chance to pitch some major league innings, as early as 2013, is enough to put him on the list.