Today, we’re on to prospects 11-15 on the official Real Dirty Mets list. Let’s take a look:
15. Jacob DeGrom, RP – DeGrom was a relative unknown heading into the 2012 season after missing all of 2011 because of TJ surgery, but now he is definitely on the radar. DeGrom features a heavy sinker that helped him produce a 2.51 ERA in 15 starts for Savannah before finishing the season with 4 starts in St. Lucie. Since he missed a full year, DeGrom is a little behind the curve age wise, but he has the kind of stuff and the kind of polish that will help him advance quickly in the system, and if nothing else, his one plus pitch gives him a chance to be a viable bullpen piece if he can get to the majors.
14. Wilfredo Tovar, SS – Tovar was added to the 40-man roster during the offseason, as he is already a major league caliber shortstop defensively, so if he can hit even a little he’ll stay on a big league roster for a long time as a backup middle infielder. Tovar spent the second half of last season in AA, where he struggled a bit, but managed to put up a solid line of .254/.308/.332. Being just 5’10’’ and listed at 160 pounds will keep him from hitting with much power, but if he can take some walks and make good contact in the upper levels he’ll have a chance to play shortstop everyday in the big leagues. Tovar won’t turn 22 until August, so there’s no need to rush him, meaning he’ll return to AA, but with his defense it’s just a matter of time until he makes his big league debut, which could be as soon as the latter half of 2013, depending on how things go.
13. Matt den Dekker, OF – den Dekker mashed the ball during the first half of last season in AA, only to struggle after being promoted to AAA, hitting .220/.256/.373, which will probably keep him from having a legitimate chance to make the major league club out of spring, although with Mets outfield being what it is, the door is a little open. The high strike out rate was probably the most alarming thing about his time in AAA. If he can’t remedy that, it’ll make him a bench piece in the major leagues instead of a starting centerfielder, which is a shame because his defense is spectacular. One thing to keep in mind about den Dekker is that he struggled in AA the second half of 2011 and then crushed the ball when he returned to that level to start 2012. If he can do the same thing in AAA to start the 2013 season, it would be hard not to give him a major league call up mid-season.
12. Rafael Montero, RP – It’s possible that no one in the organization had a more impressive 2012 than Montero, who blew through both Savannah and St. Lucie with little trouble. He was actually better in St. Lucie, striking out over a batter per inning with a WHIP of 0.9 and an ERA of 2.13. Montero works with an average fastball, a plus change up, and a decent slider, but he’s able to sequence his pitches in a way that few A-ball pitchers anywhere are capable of doing. He doesn’t have an ideal body, just 6’0’’ 170 pounds, which could eventually keep him from being a starter, and is the main reason I kept him out of the top-10 at this point, but I do think it’s possible that Montero could be a guy that could end up being the exception and being able to remain a starter. He’ll start the season in AA, which is a level I think he’ll be able to handle; after that, we’ll see, but his future appears to be bright.
11. Cesar Puello, OF – Puello’s stock plummeted in 2012, but I kept him on the fringe of the top-10 because of his tools. Five-tool players are rare, and Puello is one of them, but injuries slowed his development in 2012. He has now spent two full seasons in St. Lucie, with only marginal progress, and little guarantee that he’s ready for AA. He did walk more times in 23 AFL games than he did in 66 games in St. Lucie during the regular season, so that’s something. He has the defensive ability, the arm, and the base-stealing ability, but he’s got to get the job done at the plate. Whether the Mets push him to AA or give him more time in the Florida State League remains to be seen, but either way, 2013 looks like a make or break year for Puello.