Mets Prospects to Watch in 2010

Flickr photo courtesy of Eric Kilby

I’m working on a post of five prospects that could make an impact at the Major League level in 2010. These players are the prospects that you should be paying attention to this year as the Mets of the future. Enjoy:

1. Reese Havens, SS/2B (age 23)

Reese Havens, in my opinion, is really one of the more underrated prospects in the Mets system. While there may be questions of where he will wind up (SS or 2B), he has a strong skill set for a middle infielder: power and plate discipline. Havens is coming off of a solid campaign in the Florida State League in which he put up a batting line of .247/.361/.422 while smacking 14 HR and driving in 52 runs. He has had a bit of an issue with staying healthy so that is going to be quite important for him in 2010, but he is easily one of the top candidates to have a real breakout year next season.

Projected starting level: AA

2. Jenrry Mejia, RHP (age 20)
Jenrry Mejia was the top ranked Mets’ prospect by Baseball America this year. While he isn’t a very tall guy — about 5’10”  — he possesses a mean fastball that he can dial up to the upper 90’s with great movement. His second best offering is a an upper 80’s changeup that often gets misinterpreted for a two-seam fastball due to the way it moves and the velocity it has; Mejia had a terrific 59.3% groundball percentage across high-A and AA this past year due specifically to that changeup. Mejia also throws a curveball, though its not as consistent as his other two pitches, and inevitably could determine what kind of pitcher he becomes, whether it be a bullpen flamethrower, an average starter, or a front-end starter. Mejia pitched across two levels this past year — high-A and AA — where he had mixed success. He absolutely dominated the Florida State League in his stint in high-A posting a 1.97 ERA in 9 starts but found a challenge once he was promoted to the Eastern League (AA). While the 4.47 ERA with the Binghamton Mets wasn’t spectacular, he still managed a terrific 9.54 K/9 and 56.3% groundball rate, which is very impressive for a 19 year old at that level. With some improved consistency in his curveball and some better fortune, Mejia is another prime candidate to have a big season next year.

Projected starting level: AA

3. Kyle Allen, RHP (age 19)

Kyle Allen spent the past season in low-A pitching for the Savannah Sand Gnats of the South Atlantic League. Allen’s repertoire is as follows: a low-90’s fastball with good movement, a mid-80’s slider, and his best pitch, a changeup, which he has great control of.  Allen had a lot of success this  year posting a 3.45 ERA in 19 starts with solid 7.97 K/9, giving up only 109 hits in 125.1 IP, and putting up a great groundball rate of 55%. Fellow Savannah starters Jeurys Familia and Robert Carson enjoyed great seasons as well which put Allen under the radar a bit, I do believe he has the best upside out of that group.

Projected starting level: high-A

4. Jeurys Familia, RHP (age 19)

Jeurys Familia enjoyed a terrific season pitching for the Savannah Sand Gnats last year putting up strong numbers: 10-6 record in 23 starts, 2.69 ERA, a solid 7.32 K/9, and the most impressive stat: a 0.20 HR/9 ratio. Familia, at this stage, is mainly a two-pitch pitcher who relies on his great moving, low-to-mid-90’s fastball and a low-80’s slider. In order for Familia to remain a starter he is going to have to improve on his changeup.

Projected starting level: high-A

5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF (age 22)

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, or “Captain Kirk”, is coming off of a great season in high-A. Kirk batted .274/.357/.467, swatting 16 HR, scoring 91 runs, driving in 71, and he even swiped 16 bases. He was promoted to AA just before the season ended where he put up an impressive 1.128 OPS, albeit in 36 plate appearances. What could determine Nieuwenhuis’ future is how he progresses vs LHP; he posted a meager .642 OPS vs them in 2009 while he crushed righties for a .920 OPS. Kirk is definitely going to be a guy that you’ll want to keep your eye on next season.

Projected starting level: AA

Other prospects to watch that didn’t make this list: Wilmer Flores, Jefry Marte, Eric Niesen, Robert Carson, Cesar Puello.

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