It was a disappointing season for the Mets in 2016. A year after taking home the National League Pennant and losing in five games to the Kansas City Royals, expectations were for them to be back in the playoff chase with arguably the best rotation in baseball. But injuries to Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom plus an awful season from Matt Harvey slowed the Mets down towards the end as they were unable to catch the Washington Nationals for the NL East crown and eventually lost to the San Francisco Giants in the Wild Card game.
The Mets rotation is too good to let them down two years in a row though, right?! It’s never a good thing to base a team's success around pitching as starting pitchers can so easily get hurt for extended periods of time, but fortunately for New York, their lineup might make some improvements. With guys like Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith waiting in the minors, they might be able to help Yoenis Cespedes carry that lineup to more success in 2017. Even with the young talent on that team, it will still take quite a bit of added production to match the star-studded Nationals.
By the way, if you are interested in more MLB prospects columns, head on over to our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. Throughout the offseason, you will find the rest of our team prospect breakdowns, fantasy baseball prospect rankings, tiered positional rankings, keeper values articles, and more - all in one easy place.
New York Mets Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Today I am beginning my list of prospect systems in the NL East. I have already covered the American League. Later, I will delve into the Miami Marlins and New York Mets. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.
Top Overall Talent: Amed Rosario
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Amed Rosario
Over the course of the past two seasons, Rosario’s stock has skyrocketed to the point that he is now ranked as the fifth best prospect according to MLB.com and eighth best by Baseball America. He can really hit and looks like an absolute lock to hit at or near .300 every season of his big league career. Throw in some stolen bases and the occasional dinger and you’ve got quite the promising shortstop prospect.
Rosario is rated very highly by MLB.com and Baseball America, and he certainly is a valuable prospect. But I do just want to note that fantasy owners should not view him quite as highly as a top-10 prospect. He gets a lot of credit for his incredible defensive ability, but there are other shortstop prospects out there ranked below Rosario by those two websites who are probably better fantasy assets. This is not to say that Rosario isn’t a valuable player as he is still definitely a top-50 dynasty prospect, but he is not a better fantasy asset than guys like Brendan Rodgers or Willy Adames.
Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2017: Desmond Lindsay
Biggest Boom or Bust: Desmond Lindsay
Lindsay is a young, potentially explosive outfielder and exactly the kind of sleeper guy dynasty owners love. Scouts have identified Lindsay as a potential five-tool outfielder if he can continue to grow and add some more loft to his swing. Scouts also see him as someone who can potentially swipe his fair share of bags.
The only reason for concern here is his youth (only recently turned 20 years old), inexperience (46 total games above Rookie League) and the fact he is still only identified as a guy with raw tools. In 32 games at Low-A this past season, he mustered four home runs and three stolen bases which is on pace for a 20/15 season, but it awaits to be seen if he can actually maintain that pace. He is no doubt an exciting prospect, one that dynasty owners should follow as he continues to develop.
Biggest Sleeper: Thomas Nido
If you’re a frequent reader of my articles, you probably know I’m a fan of catchers who rake. And Nido has certainly started to hit a little bit. From 2015 to 2016, he reduced his strikeout rate by 14 percent, raised his walk rate by 1.5 percent, added a home run to his previous total (six in 2015 to seven in 2016) and added over 60 points to his batting average. And scouts are believers in his new-found bat, citing his improved hand-eye coordination and improved plate discipline. He will begin 2017 in Double-A where we will get a real chance to see if his bat is for real. If it is, dynasty owners could find a major sleeper bat at a weak offensive position.
Top Prospect Hitters
Best Power Hitter: Dominic Smith
Before the 2016 season began, some were beginning to call into question whether Smith would ever be able to translate his raw talent to on-paper production. Then Smith went out and had the best season of his career, posting a .302/.367/.457 slash line with a career-high 14 home runs and career-low 13.7% strikeout rate. He also maintained a respectable 9.2% walk rate and sustainable .329 BABIP. It is tough to be considered a potent offensive prospect at a demanding position like first base, but Smith is certainly on the path to establishing himself as a well-rounded, middle-of-the-order hitter. If he can develop more power, his combination of a .290+ average and 20+ home runs should make him worth owning in most dynasty leagues.
Most Likely to Hit over .300: Amed Rosario
Best Burner on the Bases: Amed Rosario
Rosario may not be the most explosive prospect in baseball, but he certainly still has the tools to be a valuable asset to dynasty owners. After all, he did slash .341/.392/.481 in 237 PA at Double-A last season (granted, largely thanks to an unsustainable .433 BABIP). Oh and let’s also not forget the 19 stolen bases he accumulated between 120 games at High-A and Double-A. Rosario does not have much power, but 15-20 steals to go along with a .300+ batting average should prove very valuable for dynasty owners.
Top Prospect Pitchers
Strikeout Machine: Justin Dunn
With the 19th overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Mets opted to go with a slightly risky bet in Boston College pitcher Justin Dunn. Scouts have been split on whether or not Dunn’s future lies in the bullpen or the rotation. One thing about Dunn is for certain, he gets a lot of swings-and-misses. In 30 innings at Low-A, he struck out 27.8% of opposing batters. He possesses a mid-90s fastball with late life, a mid-80s slider and a pair of underdeveloped pitches in his changeup and curveball.
His command is solid and he could stay in the front-end of a rotation if he proves durable over the long season and can develop those two below-average off-speed offerings. Even if he does get moved to the bullpen permanently, his swing-and-miss stuff is enough to warrant an opportunity to close.
Best Command: Robert Gsellman
Gsellman proved in 2016 that Jacob deGrom isn’t the only New York pitcher with a sick flow who can dominate. Upon reaching the big leagues after a brilliant Double-A campaign and awful stint at Triple-A, Gsellman posted a 2.42 ERA and 2.63 FIP in 44.2 innings of work, solidifying his candidacy for a starting spot in 2017. Gsellman does not have the most overwhelming array of pitches, but he knows how to use them and generally stays out of trouble with the walks. Expect him to retake his spot in the rotation at the start of 2017 and though he likely won’t replicate quite the same success he found in 2016, his excellent control helps provide him with a high floor and he should be counted on to post a 3.50 ERA.
Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the New York Mets
1. Amed Rosario (SS, AA)
Rosario is know more for his glove than his bat, but that’s more of a testament to his defense than a knock on his hitting ability. He will produce more than enough to warrant owning in most dynasty leagues.
2. Dominic Smith (1B, AA)
Smith has finally started to flash some of that elite power scouts have predicted from him. He should hold his own at first base.
3. Robert Gsellman (SP, MLB)
Gsellman exploded onto the scene in 2016 and likely established himself as the Mets’ fifth starter for next season. Don’t expect him to replicate the same level of success, but he should still be a reliable arm for years to come.
4. Desmond Lindsay (OF, A-)
Lindsay is all upside at this point, but he could be a real impact player down the road if everything clicks for him.
5. Gavin Cecchini (SS, MLB)
Though not the most exciting prospect in the world, Cecchini now figures to be the Mets’ franchise second baseman now that Dilson Herrera is gone. Cecchini is really a batting average only kind of producer.
6. Justin Dunn (SP, A-)
It still awaits to be seen if Dunn is a starter or reliever, but his stuff will make him productive in whatever role he is put in.
7. Brandon Nimmo (OF, MLB)
Nimmo has lost a lot of prospect shine from a couple years ago and now is only moderately exciting. He is mostly just a batting average guy who might post a 10/10 HR/SB ratio.
8. Thomas Szapucki (SP, A-)
Szapucki has dazzled since being drafted by the Mets, but many scouts still have him as a bullpen arm given his shaky control. He still has time to establish himself in a rotation and his strikeout potential gives him serious upside.
9. Wuilmer Becerra (OF, A+)
Becerra is getting a tad old for someone only at High-A and his raw stuff has yet to translate to actual production, but the 22-year-old still has some time left to turn into the explosive outfielder some have seen in him.
10. Thomas Nido (C, A+)
It’s always nice to find a catcher who can hit and Nido certainly did that in 2016. Owners will need to monitor his success in Double-A though when he will be sufficiently challenged.
As far as farm systems go, this one is really middle-of-the-road. There is not a lot of high impact pitching, though Dunn and Gsellman certainly have some promise. There is also really no elite level fantasy bat. Rosario and Smith will certainly produce for fantasy owners, but neither will do quite as much as a Gleyber Torres or Cody Bellinger.
Top-to-bottom though, there is not a real particular weakness. They have some depth which is more than can be said for a lot of other organizations. Dynasty owners should probably just focus on the top-10 in this system, though deeper leagues might be able to find some more talent deep down, guys like T.J. Rivera and Matt Reynolds who could be solid depth pieces.