MMN 2018 Midseason Prospects: 40-31 Features Three New Players to System

By Daniel Muras

July 27, 2018 No comments

Luis Carpio/Photo by Ed Delany, MMN

No. 40 Luis Carpio, 2B/SS

Ht: 5’11” Wt: 190 lb. Level: St. Lucie

B/T: R/R Age: 7/11/1997 (22) Age Diff: -2.4

Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent from Venezuela (7/11/13)

2018 Stats: 86 G, 327 PA, 292 AB, 26 R, 15 2B, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 6 SB, 8 CS, .236/.303/.370

Previous Ranking: 43

Carpio had a breakout season as a 17-year-old in 2015, leading many to consider him a Top 10 prospect in a strong Mets farm system. He was praised for his extremely advanced hitting ability, which was believed would get him to the majors even if he needed to move to second base. Unfortunately, in 2016, Carpio would need surgery to repair a torn labrum led him to miss most of that season and he came back with seemingly diminished ability.

After a tough start the the 2018 season, one in which could partially be explained by his being 2.5 years younger than the competition, Carpio has begun to look more like his old self, only with much more power. Over his last 25 games, Carpio is hitting .326/.375/.517. His eight home runs this season more than double his previous career high of three.

This improved play led to Gimenez being promoted to Double-A, where Carpio has returned to shortstop. Recent reports are promising on both his range and arm. While it is way too early to return to the excitement regarding Carpio seen in 2015 and this may just be a hot streak, it is also hard to dismiss this performance by a talented player who only just turned 21-years-old.

No. 39 Ryder Ryan, RHP

Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 205 lb. Level: St. Lucie/Binghamton

B/T: R/R Age: 5/11/1995 (23) Age Diff: -1.4 (Binghamton)

Acquired: Acquired from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Jay Bruce (8/9/17)

2018 Stats: 2-0, 2.01 ERA, 31 G, 40.1 IP, 44 K, 1.017 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

Previous Ranking: Unranked

Many Mets fans were disappointed when the Indians’ 2016 30th round draft pick was the return for Bruce, but he has been extremely impressive since joining the Mets organization. Ryan’s being that a draft pick was more indicative of his being fairly new to pitching, having pitched in just a single game in college,

Ryan has more upside than one might expect from a 30th round draft pick. He has a big fastball that sits in the mid-90s and complements it with a solid breaking ball in the mid-to-high 80s. With that repertoire, Ryan has struck out 28.2 percent of batters in his professional career.

Ryan has had great stuff since he was drafted, but the one aspect of his game that needed work was his control, which has also improved in each of his professional seasons. Ryan’s BB/9 has dropped from 4.3 in 2016 to 2.5 in 2018.

No. 38 Scott Manea, C

Ht: 5’11” Wt: 216 lb. Level: Columbia

B/T: R/R Age: 12/21/1995 (22) Age Diff: 0.7

Acquired: Singed as a minor league free agent (7/28/16)

2018 Stats: 71 G, 286 PA, 235 AB, 36 R, 16 2B, 8 HR, 36 RBI, .264/.395/.434

Previous Ranking: Unranked

Manea was initially drafted in the 40th round by the Seattle Mariners in 2014, but ultimately didn’t sign. After two years in college, Manea signed with the Mets organization as an undrafted free agent and was assigned to the Gulf Coast League. After two lackluster seasons in short-season ball, he has had an unexpected breakout year in 2018.

Manea has combined his good plate discipline in the minors with newfound power. Whereas Manea had just a .054 ISO in 2017, this season his ISO is .170 in one of the most pitcher-friendly leagues in the minors.

Behind the plate, Manea appears to be very solid. He has thrown out 38 percent of runners attempting to steal against him, a very good rate. He has also cut down on his passed balls, allowing just four in 394.1 innings this season after allowing six in 265.2 innings in 2017.

No. 37 Joe Cavallaro, RHP

Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 190 lb. Level: Columbia/St. Lucie/Binghamton

B/T: R/R Age: 7/19/1995 (23) Age Diff: -1.1 (St. Lucie)

Acquired: 2017 24th Round Draft Pick from the University of South Florida

2018 Stats: 9-3, 3.35 ERA, 17 G, 16 GS, 96.2 IP, 100 K, 1.148 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

Previous Ranking: Unranked

Cavallaro jumped onto the prospect radar with an outstanding first half with the Columbia Fireflies, in which he pitched to a 2.09 ERA and had a 9.7 K/9. That success was fueled largely by his deceptive, sidearm delivery.

His funky delivery and solid slider have made him especially effective against right handed batters. Righties have struck out 30.8 percent of the time and are hitting just .194/.266/.306 against Cavallaro. That delivery also helps him maximize his stuff as Cavallaro has a high 80s to low 90s fastball, which does have good movement. He also throws a slider and a change-up, both of which sit in the low-80s. The slider is currently the better of the two secondary pitches and is his go-to out pitch.

No. 36 Carlos Cortes, 2B/OF

Ht: 5’7″ Wt: 197 lb. Level: Brooklyn

B/T: L/S Age: 6/30/1997 (21) Age Diff: 0.0

Acquired: 2018 Third Round Draft Pick from the University of South Carolina

2018 Stats: 16 G, 65 PA, 58 AB, 6 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, SB, .241/.323/.328

Previous Ranking: N/A

With Cortes, the Mets finally got their man. After drafting him in the 20th round of the 2016 draft and failing to sign him, the Mets drafted Cortes again in 2018 and went almost $300,000 overslot to sign him.

The 5’7″, Cortes generates a lot of power with his bat speed and the uphill plane on his swing. While one may anticipate a batter with this approach swinging-and-missing often, Cortes struck out just 11.5 percent of the time in his sophomore year of college. This is indicative of not just his contact ability but his eye at the plate. Cortes’ walking 15.5 percent of the time is indicative of that.

On defense, what immediately jumps out at you is while he is left-handed when he plays outfield, Cortes is right-handed when he plays the infield. This is a result of the natural left-handed thrower learning to become an ambidextrous player so he could play infield. Certainly, it speaks to his work ethic and his drive to become a better ballplayer. It has paid off because it led to his being drafted by the Mets to be a second baseman.

(Jacob Resnick/MetsMinors)

No. 35 Daniel Zamora, LHP

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 195 lb. Level: Binghamton

B/T: L/L Age: 4/15/1993 (25) Age Diff: 0.6

Acquired: Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Josh Smoker (1/31/18)

2018 Stats: 1-1, 3.83 ERA, 33 G, GS, 44.2 IP, 60 K, 1.097 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 12.1 K/9

Previous Ranking: Unranked

Since joining the Mets organization, Zamora has seen his strikeouts tick up, with his walk rate decrease. One reason for the success is his better harnessing his pitches, which include a slider with a superior spin rate.

Zamora’s slider has a spin rate that is consistently around 2800 RPM. For comparison, Lance McCullers Jr.‘s curveball has an average spin rate of 2778. A high spin rate gives a breaking ball late break and makes it extremely hard to pick up out of his hand. Zamora’s slider is truly a swing-and-miss pitch and will be what will potentially allow him to succeed at the major league level.

Importantly, the left-handed Zamora is dominating left-handed hitters with them hitting just .165/.216/.242 against him.

No. 34 Kevin Kaczmarski, OF

Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 192 lb. Level: Las Vegas/MLB

B/T: L/R Age: 12/31/1991 (26) Age Diff: -0.5 (Las Vegas)

Acquired: 9th Round of the 2015 Draft from University of Evansville

2018 Stats: 45 G, 166 PA, 143 AB, 20 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 18 RBI, 3 SB, 4 CS, .343/.416/.420

Previous Ranking: 25

Kaczmarski was already 23-years old when he was drafted and has always been old for the levels at which he’s played, so he’s never gotten much attention in prospect rankings, but Kaczmarski has hit well no matter where he’s played.

He has never had an OBP below .347 or an OPS under .739 at any level. Furthermore, he has not struck out more than 19.5 percent at any level and has consistently had high BABIPs, which is largely a product of Kaczmarski’s speed.

With the way Kaczmarski has consistently hit, he has progressed through the Mets farm system, and he earned a brief promotion to the majors this season. If he continues hitting the way he has been hitting, it should not be his last.

No. 33 Freddy Valdez, OF

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 212 lb.

B/T: R/R Age: 12/06/2001 (16)

Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent from the Dominican Republic (7/2/2018)

2018 Stats: Has not played

Previous Ranking: N/A

Valdez was just signed earlier in July and was given a $1.45 million signing bonus, which was the second largest bonus given by the Mets during the international free agency signing period. Valdez ranked among the 2018 top 30 best international prospects of by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America and his offensive potential is big reason why. Just 16-years old, Valdez is already 6’3″ and 212 lbs. and is expected to grow into some big power as he physically matures.

Valdez is already a below-average runner, so he’ll almost certainly be forced into a corner outfield spot, but, if his bat develops, he should still provide plenty of value. Valdez will likely begin his professional career in the Dominican Summer League in 2019.

No. 32 Juan Uriarte, C

Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 182 lb. Level: Brooklyn

B/T: R/R Age: 9/17/1997 (20) Age Diff: -1.0

Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent from Mexico (7/4/14)

2018 Stats: 1 G, PA, AB, K, .000/.000/.000

Previous Ranking: 26

After an impressive 2017, in which he hit .305/.372/.455 with a career-high fivehome runs, Uriarte entered 2018 with hopes that he would emerge as the next top catching prospect. However, it has truly been a lost season for the young catcher. In his first and only plate appearance of the season with Brooklyn, Uriarte fouled a ball off his leg and had to be removed for the game. While the Mets have been quiet about the specifics of the injury, Uriarte was placed on the 60-day DL, indicating that the injury was severe enough to essentially end his season before it really started.

When healthy, Uriarte is impressive on both offense and defense. His 2017 breakout saw him realize some of his power potential and he has also showed good bat-to-ball skills, striking out in just 13.7 percent of his plate appearances. Behind the plate, Uriarte has received praise from both his glove and arm. Assuming he comes back from his injury at full strength, he should be able to stick at catcher in the long term. The future is still bright for Uriarte, but it is unfortunate that his development has been delayed by a year.

Harol Gonzalez/Photo by Ed Delany

No. 31 Harol Gonzalez, RHP

Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 160 lb. Level: St. Lucie/Binghamton/Las Vegas

B/T: R/R Age: 3/2/1995 (23) Age Diff: -1.4 (Binghamton)

Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent from the Dominican Republic (3/26/14)

2018 Stats: 1-10, 4.30 ERA, 17 G, 16 GS, 96.1 IP, 69 K, 1.298 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

Previous Ranking: 37

One look at his win-loss record and ERA makes it seem as though Harol Gonzalez has been having a poor season. However, Gonzalez had a 2.84 ERA before a terrible three start stretch with Binghamton following his promotion to Double-A. While he wasn’t dominating the competition, he was pitching deep into games by limiting his walks and striking out enough batters to be successful (7.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 with St. Lucie).

Gonzalez’s stuff isn’t flashy, but he has a wide variety of pitches that he can throw for strikes and with which he can get batters out. His fastball’s velocity has ticked up over the past couple of years to the point where it’s now consistently in the low 90s and tops out at 93-94 MPH. Gonzalez actually throws two kinds of changeups, a split-change that’s around 83-85 MPH and a more traditional change-up that’s a few ticks slower. His go-to secondary pitch has become his slow curveball, which sits in the mid-70s and has greatly improved since he began developing it with Brooklyn in 2016. He will still occasionally throw his low-80s slider, although it remains his most inconsistent pitch.

 

Previous Rankings

50 – 41 led by Wagner Lagrange