2016 Initial Affiliate Roster: St. Lucie Mets | Astromets Mind

Thursday, April 7, 2016

2016 Initial Affiliate Roster: St. Lucie Mets

The men in the middle should combine for some awesome double plays this year

Reviewing the initial roster expected to play in St. Lucie

            The St. Lucie Mets released a preliminary roster Wednesday afternoon, so let’s take a look at how things break down. The team is a fair mix of new and experienced FSL players, with an average age of 23.3. The big names returning are Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena, and the big names joining the team are Wuilmer Becerra, Luis Guillorme, Chris Flexen, and John Mora. For now, this is the most exciting affiliate in the Mets system, but those returning infielders aren’t expected to stick around all year. The team should have solid pitching, and there’s always the possibility that Tomas Nido or Champ Stuart start to fulfill their potential – Nido took a big step forward in 2015 and reportedly looked good in Spring Training, Stuart took a big step backwards and I’ve heard little on him. For fun, I’ve included the twitter account of those players on social media, in case you want to let them know they are appreciated!

*Average age does not consider actual birth date, just age listed

Pitchers (15, Average age = 23.5)

Starters (6, 23.5)

Casey Delgado, RHP, 25, @TheRealCaseyD21
Chris Flexen, RHP, 21
Ricky Knapp, RHP, 23
Corey Oswalt, RHP, 22, @Coreyy_Oswalt10
Josh Prevost, RHP, 24, @jpre23
Scarlyn Reyes, RHP, 26

            I’m not sure if something is physically wrong with Michael Gibbons, because I’m surprised to see Ricky Knapp projected for the rotation over him. Knapp wasn’t good in the St. Lucie pen last year, but then was great as a starter for Savannah after his demotion, while Gibbons had success starting across four levels in his pro debut last year. The Columbia pitchers are really raw, so I doubt any of them force their way up to St. Lucie this year, which means these guys should have a full year in the FSL.

            Of the 6 starters, Scarlyn Reyes has the most A+-ball experience, as he split time between Savannah and St. Lucie last year. He’s the one guy I think is sure to leave the rotation at some point this year, because he’s older and headed for a bullpen role at the upper levels.
            Chris Flexen came back from TJS strong in 2015, and flashes the most potential of this group. I only caught him once with Savannah after he came back, but he was sitting mid-90’s with a nice curve.
            Corey Oswalt doesn’t flash anything above average, but he has good control of his repertoire, and I think he could be a Dillon Gee type.
            Josh Prevost is a big guy that gets by thanks to a big sinker. I’m not sure he has enough sink or secondaries to be a starter, but that sinker will keep him employed into the upper minors. As a starter, he’s Mike Pelfrey-lite, and as a reliever, he’s more like Mets prospect Zach Thornton. Prevost has been tabbed the opening day starter.
            Finally, Casey Delgado is an older pitcher that the Mets signed out of Indy ball last year. I caught him on MiLB.tv twice – July 6th and September 6th – and he shouldn’t have trouble starting the FSL, but I’m not sure how high he can climb.

Relievers (9, 23.6)

Alberto Baldonado, LHP, 23, @AlbertoB_01
Robert Coles, RHP, 24
James Duff, RHP, 22, @Jduff1522
Michael Gibbons, RHP, 23
Ben Griset, LHP, 24, @bengriset
Kevin McGowan, RHP, 24, @kevinmcgowanjr
Paul Paez, LHP, 24, @Paez29
Tim Peterson, RHP, 25, @timpeterson23
Corey Taylor, RHP, 23, @CDTaylor33

            There are clearly more names in the pen than spots available, so we’ll have to see who is injured/inactive. Christian Montgomery and Alex Palsha could force their way up from Columbia pretty quickly, but otherwise there shouldn’t be too much help coming through.
            Baldonado is an interesting power lefty whose I took a closer look at before the WBCQ.
            Robert Coles is repeating with St. Lucie for a third straight year, so he’ll either be heading up to Brooklyn soon, or heading off the roster.
            James Duff is the most interesting arm from this group, and he already had success with St. Lucie last year. I’m surprised he’s not off to Binghamton already, but I guess the Mets figure he’ll get more innings closing for St. Lucie to start the year.
            The Mets added Ben Griset to the Sand Gnats pen last year and he quietly had a nice year. He doesn’t have much heat, but his slow curve from the left side was nice to watch.
            Kevin McGowan spent the last year and a half starting for St. Lucie, but didn’t really stand out. Coming out of the pen, his fastball might sit mid-90’s instead of touching there, so there’s still reason to believe he can become a useful reliever.
            Paul Paez is a little (5’9”) lefty reliever who has had success for Savannah in the past, but is the most likely candidate to spend the year bouncing on and off the active list because he’s already shown big LOOGY splits.
            Tim Peterson was a rising reliever in the system two years ago when he reached Binghamton, but a PED suspension set him back last year, and the Mets left him back in Savannah after he resumed play.
            Finally, 2015 7th round pick Corey Taylor had a strong debut for Brooklyn and is a big guy (6’1”, but listed at 250 pounds) who figures to get regular work.

Catchers (2, 25)

Tomas Nido, 22, @tnido24

            Patrick Mazeika might join the fray at some point, but for now Tomas Nido should be the everyday catcher. Nido was very aggressive at the plate in 2015, posting a terrible 25.7 K%: 3.6 BB%, but is very good defensively behind the plate, and shows some nice pop potential when he makes contact. He’s posted much better plate discipline numbers in the past, and they’ll be preaching approach at the plate to him in St. Lucie, so he’s a potential breakout prospect in my eyes. Ricardo is a Cuban catcher the Mets signed last year, but he barely hit when he finally got in game action last year, and offensive expectations were never that high for him anyway.

Infielders (7, 22.7)

Phillip Evans, 23, @PEVANS28
Luis Guillorme, 21, @lguillorme13
Jonathan Johnson, 27, @jjohnson102788
Michael Katz, 23, @Kat_Daddy25
Amed Rosario, 20, @Amed_Rosario
Jhoan Urena, 21, @jhoanurea

            St. Lucie has a pretty stacked infield, with a middle infield combo that B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez referred to as, “the best in the minors.” Phil Evans is repeating with St. Lucie for a third season, and he doesn’t really fit in anywhere defensively, so it’s hard not to see him as the odd man out, even if Jonathan Mayo was told he looked good in Spring Training. Kevin Taylor is another Indy sign in the system, and he can play everywhere defensively, but he’ll be competing with Evans and Johnson for the backup infielder role. Johnson was an all-star and had a strong 2015 with Savannah, but given his age and lack of pop, the odds are really not in his favor. Vinny Siena will probably join the roster once Amed Rosario is promoted and 2B opens up.
            Guillorme might be the better defender, but Rosario’s higher prospect status bumps Luis to the other side of the diamond. He’ll be fine defensively there, and he won’t lose his edge at shortstop just because he spends half of a season at 2B. He was a bunt and slap hitter last year, so it’ll be interesting to see if he expands his offensive game this year.
            After being skipped over the SAL, Urena had a forgettable 2015, missing a lot of time with injuries, and struggling to hit when healthy. When healthy, he’s considered the top 3B prospect in the system by many (I lean Eudor Garcia), so bouncing back this year would be huge not only for the Urena, but for the Mets system.
            Michael Katz missed the first half of last year dealing with injuries, but came back and put on a solid power display with Savannah. He should provide similar production to former St. Lucie First Baseman Matt Oberste, but unlike Oberste, Katz won’t have to share 1B with a top prospect.
            Finally, Amed Rosario heading back to St. Lucie was a letdown for me. He didn’t stand out at the plate with St. Lucie last year, but he held his own, and then looked fantastic during his two weeks with Binghamton. The Mets want him to go someplace warm to start the year, and to more than hold his own before they promote him, but I really don’t think the FSL will be able to contain him anymore. Just like Dominic Smith, he seems poised for a big year in 2016.

Outfielders (4, 22.8)

Wuilmer Becerra, 21, @WGBB4
John Mora, 22
Champ Stuart, 23

            I’m guessing Taylor, Johnson, or even Evans will join this rotation, but the playing time should be taken care between these four guys. Biondi and Stuart will share CF, with the split likely determined by how well Champ is playing this year. Wuilmer Becerra will be the everyday right fielder, and John Mora will be the everyday left fielder.
            Behind Rosario, Becerra is the stud of the team. He doesn’t have as high of an upside as Rosario, but Becerra has the potential to be a starting RF in the majors, and those don’t grow on trees. He’ll end up with average speed, above average power, and strong defense in RF, but his success hinges on learning not to chase bad breaking balls.
            John Mora is very similar to Eric Young Jr. in my eyes, but he’s already shown a more patient approach at the plate than EY ever did. EY is a borderline bench player, and that would be a great outcome for a cheap IFA signee like Mora. Mora is fast, but he hasn’t learned to control his speed yet, and he got poor reviews in CF. Still, he’s a lot of fun to watch, and will be a top-15 prospect in the system this time next year.

            Overall, with a foundation of speed, defense, and solid pitching, this team should be very good in the FSL this year. I almost feel bad for opposing pitchers and catchers, because most of the lineup is going to be looking to run once they get on 1B, and they almost all have a track record of good success rates.

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