We’ve made it to the top 20 of the official RDM prospect list, meaning after getting through 30 guys that probably won’t amount to much, today we’ll see a few guys that are pretty close to the big leagues with prospects 16-20. Let’s take a look:
20. Juan Lagares, OF – In 2012, Lagares couldn’t quite replicate the avalanche of power he hit with in 2011, but he remains an athletic and somewhat toolsy player that has a chance to be a useful utility player. He played mostly centerfield last year and handled the position well, which is good because without a lot of power he’s going to have to play centerfield to get to the big leagues. This will be his second season on the 40-man roster and he’ll finally get a taste of AAA in 2013, so he’s getting close, and if all the chips fall right, he may be a guy that could platoon with a left-handed centerfielder for the Mets one day.
19. Colin McHugh, RP – McHugh made his big league debut last September, and despite a 0-4 record and an ERA over 7, he showed some promise. He has a good repertoire of average pitches, including a real nice curve, and he knows how to sequence them. The Mets will give him some more seasoning in AAA this year, but he’s a big-league pitcher, even if it means a move to the bullpen, where he could be a rather useful swingman capable of pitching multiple innings and making the occasional start when needed.
18. Kevin Plawecki, C – The Mets stretched a little to draft Plawecki where they did, but they needed a catcher, and so far so good. Plawecki was already calling games in college, which is rare, so he’s mentally capable of handling a staff and physically he has the tools to be an average defensive catcher. With the bat, he led Brooklyn in homers with 7 and also drew more walks (25) than strikeouts (24). It can be tough to gauge college players the year they were drafted, but at this point there’s reason to believe Plawecki could become a big league starter, and even more reason to think he’ll be at least a back up.
17. Steven Matz, LP – In a lot of ways ranking Matz this high goes against my philosophy that health matters, and matters a lot, but Matz was just so impressive in the little time he had in 2012 (just 6 starts for Kingsport). In the only 29 innings of his professional career Matz has 34 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.55. The most likely scenario is that Matz is never able to stay healthy long enough to do anything substantial, but 2013 will be another chance for him to stay healthy, and if he can, he’s a very intriguing prospect.
16. Cory Mazzoni, RP – Mazzoni gets ranked 16th because in 2012 he got a lot closer to the big leagues, but his ceiling went down considerably. With his lack of height, Mazzoni was always a long shot to be an MLB starter, but the way his strikeout rate fell has made him look more like a middle reliever than a potential 7th or 8th inning guy. After being drafted in 2011, Mazzoni has risen quickly and may even be making a case for a big league promotion at some point in 2013, but his stuff is nothing to get too excited about and will keep him from making an impact in the majors.