MMN Midseason Top 40 Updated: #40-31 Led by Re-Emerging Harol Gonzalez

By Mets Daddy

August 3, 2017 6 Comments

Photo Credit: Allen Greene Photography

40. RHP Adonis Uceta

Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 225 lb Level: Columbia & St. Lucie

B/T: R/R Age: 5/10/1994 (23) Age Dif: 1.2

Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012

2017 Statistics: 4-0, 1.21 ERA, 31 G, 11 SV, 44.2 IP, 0.896 WHIP, 10.1 K/9

Previous Rank: 71

Profile: Prior to this season, Uceta was a struggling starting pitching prospect with two plus pitches, who just could not develop a breaking pitch to take him to the next level. With that repertoire, it became increasingly more apparent Uceta really belonged in the bullpen. That’s where Uceta found himself to being the season in Columbia.

Uceta’s stuff has translated much better to the bullpen. He’s added an extra tick to his fastball going from the mid-90s to 97 MPH. Between that and his change-up, the promising pitcher has become a near unhittable reliever. Opposing batters are striking out at a high rate, and they are only hitting .158 against him. He has also gotten better as the season has progressed.

After one poor outing in May, Uceta has ran off 23 straight scoreless appearances over 31.0 innings pitched. Batters are only hitting .144 against him, and they are striking out at a high rate. Of the 15 hits he has allowed, only three of them have gone from extra bases. It is during this stretch, he has emerged as the Fireflies closer being a perfect 9/9 in save opportunities. This has earned him a promotion to St. Lucie where he has continued his dominance.

The only real hold-up for Uceta at the moment is his walks like it was for him when he was a teenager. He has yet to harness his new unleashed stuff walking 3.2 batters per nine on the season. It should be noted, he has been making the necessary adjustments, and over his past 23 appearances, he’s walking 2.3 batters per nine. If he continues this trend, he’s going to be a fast riser in the Mets system.

39. RHP Austin McGeorge

Ht: 6’2” Wt: 215 Level: Columbia & St. Lucie

B/T: R/R Age: 11/27/94 (22) Age Dif: -1.1 (St. Lucie)

Acquired: 7th Round of 2016 Draft from California State University, Long Beach

2017 Stats: 1-1, 1.50 ERA, 21 G, SV, 36.0 IP, 0.89 WHIP, 11.8 K/9

Previous Rank: 59

Profile: McGeorge is an interesting pitching prospect. As a prep player, he focused more as a third baseman than as a pitcher. That changed in college where he became a reliever. It was there he developed what has been a devastating slider which is as developed an out pitch as you will see in the lower levels on the minor leagues.

In his brief professional career, McGeorge has used that slider and his low 90s fastball to completely dominate opposing batters, and that is before he has mastered the change-up he has been working on since getting drafted. With his repertoire, with McGeorge, we see the perfect marriage of prospect and system. As we have seen with Paul Sewald, the Mets have had success developing these types of pitchers. Put another way, we should see McGeorge improve from here, which is saying something.

38. RHP Tyler Bashlor

Ht: 5’11″ Wt: 195 Level: St. Lucie & Binghamton

B/T: R/R Age: 4/16/1993 (23) Age Dif: 0.9

Acquired: 11th round of the 2013 Draft from South Georgia College

2017 Stats: 3-2, 4.46 ERA, 36 G, 10 SV, 38.1 IP, 1.461 WHIP, 15.5 K/9

Previous Rank: 42

Profile: After missing a full season due to Tommy John surgery, and having complications delaying his return last year, Bashlor pitched well for Columbia earning a promotion to St. Lucie by year’s end. He struggled in his limited time in St. Lucie, but with his intriguing mid-90s fastball, curve, and change-up, many anticipated Bashlor would benefit from repeating St. Lucie and eventually force his way to Double-A Binghamton. It hasn’t worked out that way.

It is odd it hasn’t because Bashlor was great to start the season with reports that mid-90s fastball has been reaching the upper 90s. In April and May, Bashlor had a 2.84 ERA while limiting opposing batters to a .154 batting average. While Bashlor was walking batters at a high rate (6.2 per nine), there were no real signs he was due for a regression. In fact, what is truly bizarre is Bashlor has significantly cut down on his walks, and yet his numbers have fallen off a cliff.

Since June 4th, Bashlor has an 7.31 ERA despite reducing his walks per nine to a more manageable and yet still high 4.5. Delving deeper into the numbers, it seems the real culprit is his BABIP rising from .310 to .535. It should be noted, Bashlor is getting nicked up instead of gashed to pieces because most of these hits are singles. With the Mets scouting the talent rather than the stat lines, they deemed Bashlor ready for a promotion, and he is now in Binghamton.

So far things have gone much better in Binghamton with him pitching 3.1 scoreless and hitless innings in two appearances. He’s still striking out batters at a high rate, but he’s also still walking batters at a high rate. Sooner or later, Bashlor is going to have to harness his stuff and learn how to strike out a high number of batters without walking as many batters as he does.

37. OF Wagner Lagrange

Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 195 lb. Level: Kingsport

B/T: R/R Age: 9/6/95 (21) Age Dif: 0.7

Acquired: International Free Agent out of the Dominican Republic (2015)

2017 Stats: 28 G, 134 PA, 121 AB, 18 R, 42 H, 6 2B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 2 SB, .347/.388/.471

Previous Rank: NR

Profile: After struggling last season in his first professional baseball experience in the Gulf Coast League, Lagrange is back to putting up the excellent numbers he put up in the Dominican Summer League which led to him being the 2015 Sterling Award winner for the best prospect at that level.

What really stands out when looking at Lagrange is how good of a hitter he has become. With the season he is currently having, you can look at any one of his numbers to prove that point, but there is one thing that stands out – he has walked more times than he has struck out. This is really not anything new for Lagrange as for most of his professional career he has been near a 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Generally speaking, Lagrange’s strikeout rates have been excellent whereas his walk rates have been slightly below average. Of course, his relatively low walk rates are offset by his ability to make contact. What makes him even more lethal at the plate is he comes up to the plate with an idea of what he wants to do, and he executes.

Another promising sign for Lagrange has been his increase in power. Already this season, Lagrange has matched his career total in homers in about 20% of the games played. There’s value in a hitter who can consistently put the ball in play; there’s even more value when that same player can do that with power. If he continues this trajectory, he is going to look more and more like a middle of the order bat. For now, he is a player who continues to improve and will sooner or later force the Mets to get aggressive with him in terms of promotions.

36. LHP Blake Taylor

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 220 lb Level: Columbia

B/T: L/L Age: 8/17/1995 (21) Age Dif: -0.8

Acquired: Acquired from Pirates on June 15, 2014 as the PTBNL in a trade that sent 1B Ike Davis to Pittsburgh and RHP Zack Thornton to the Mets

2017 Stats: 1-9, 4.94 ERA, 18 G, 17 GS, 85.2 IP, 1.541 WHIP, 7.6 K/9

Previous Rank: 67

Profile: When the Mets traded Davis to the Pirates, it seemed as if the team had found a gem in Taylor. The left-handed starter had a 2.25 ERA with a mid 90s fastball and a good curve ball. Taylor’s rise was then derailed as he needed Tommy John surgery.

Since returning from the surgery last year, Taylor has had difficulty locating his pitches. In 86 innings, he has walked 5.1 batters per nine innings. The walks are hurting him. In each and every one of his starts, he has walked at least one batter. He had a two start stretch where he couldn’t get past the fifth inning. Then on July 3rd, he had a great start allowing no runs and just three hits over eight innings. At that point, it seemed his season had turned around.

Then came disaster in his last start. Over 3.1 innings, he allowed 11 earned on twelve hits. In that game, Taylor walked three and struck out none. Without that start, his stats were better. He had a 3.94 ERA and a 1.421 WHIP. Still, the start did happen, and three of his last four starts are poor. Furthermore, even with the one poor stat omitted, his ERA aren’t good considering the Sally League is a pitcher’s league.

Taylor is still getting his stuff back, and he is still one pitch short of being a starting pitcher. He is also building up his stamina after missing time due to Tommy John. Over his last few appearances, we have seen the Mets really restrict his innings and pitch counts likely indicating he is nearing his innings limit for the year. Ultimately, there is still a lot of work ahead for Taylor, but the talent is still there.

(jacob Resnick/MetsMinors.Net)

35. C Ali Sanchez

Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 200 Level: Columbia

B/T: R/R Age: 1/20/97 (20) Age Dif: -1.5

Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent for $690,000 (7/2/13)

2017 Stats: 56 G, 200 PA, 182 AB, 20 R, 42 H, 3 2B, HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 3 CS, .231/.288/.264

Previous Rank: 14

Profile: No prospect has seen a bigger drop in our rankings than Sanchez. The reason why is the same issues that have held him back throughout his professional career have continued to emerge this year. Namely, injuries and the inability to hit.

While Sanchez has a good approach at the plate and knows what he’s doing, the injuries are holding him back. Last year, it was an injury that was presumed his hand injury felt him back. This year, it was a broken hamate bone in his left hand that has not only held him back offensively, it has also ended his season.

The real shame is these injuries are holding back an exceptionally skilled young defensive catcher. He has a strong accurate arm, is a good pitch calleer, and is a good receiver. This is largely the result of his athleticism and soft hands. Overall, he is everything you want your catcher to be behind the plate. For him to be more than that, he is going to have to stay healthy, and he is going to have to get better at the plate. Those two likely go hand-in-hand.

34.OF Adrian Hernandez

Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 180

B/T: R/R Age: 2/8/2001 (16)

Acquired: 2017 International Free Agent from Dominican Republic ($1.5 million bonus)

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

Profile: Hernandez was ranked as Baseball America’s 16th best player in this year’s international free agent signing class. The young outfielder has outstanding five tool skills including outstanding speed, a strong arm, and still developing power. If he develops as expected, the Mets may very well have a five tool center fielder for years to come.

33. OF Quinn Brodey

Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 200 Level: Brooklyn

B/T: L/L Age: 12/1/1995 (25) Age Dif: 0.0

Acquired: Third round of the 2017 Draft from Stanford University

2017 Stats: 34 G, 144 PA, 129 AB, 15 R, 34 H, 6 2B, HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB, CS, .264/.326/.333

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

Profile: Early in Brodey’s collegiate career, he split time between pitching and the outfield. As time progressed, Brodey focused solely on the outfield for the past two seasons. In those two seasons, Brodey has steadily improved.

The main area Brodey has improved is his selectivity at the plate. He has seen his walk rate improve. With him becoming more selective, Brodey has begun identifying his pitches, and he is finding pitches to drive. While is is yet to really begun driving the ball in the New York Penn League, he has shown the selectivity at the plate which has helped him get drafted.

Brodey is going to have to develop that power too because he is best suited to left field. With his speed and a somewhat below average arm, Brodey is going to have to be an offensive left fielder. For that to work, he is going to have to develop power. Fortunately, we have recently begun to see him hit for some power with him just hitting his first home run as a professional. Ultimately, if he continues with his approach and makes adjustments to his swing, he will likely be the hitter the Mets believed they were drafting.

(Jacob Resnick/Mets Minors)

32.OF Jose Medina

Ht. 6’3” Wt. 180 Level: Columbia, St. Lucie, Brooklyn

B/T: R/R Age: 10/21/96 (20) Age Dif: -1.0 (Brooklyn)

Acquired: Signed as an IFA in 2013 from the Dominican Republic

2017 Stats: 63 G, 248 PA, 226 AB, 33 R, 58 H, 7 2B, 3 3B, HR, 15 RBI, 24 SB, 2 CS, .257/.312/.327

Previous Rank: 76

Profile: Medina showed an advanced approach for a 19 year old in the Appalachian League. That approach led the Mets giving the lanky 20 year old right fielder an assignment to Columbia to start the season. After a hot start there, he was assigned to St. Lucie where he struggled mightily. The Mets demoted Medina to Brooklyn when the New York Penn League season began.

The season started extremely well with Medina hitting .295/.354/.432 with a double, triple, homer, and four RBI while being a perfect 6/6 in stolen base attempts in his first 11 games. Since that time, he has bounced between Columbia, St. Lucie, and Brooklyn getting uneven results at each stop. Right now, he is in Brooklyn, which is probably where he needs to be. While in Brooklyn, we have seen Medina get on base at a good .340 clip and be able to utilize his speed both in the field and on the base paths.

Ultimately, it has been an uneven season for the 20 year old, which is to be expected. What is important is Medina has shown flashes of being a good hitter, a better fielder, and an even better base runner.

(Jacob Resnick/Mets Minors)

31. RHP Harol Gonzalez

Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 170 Level: Columbia

B/T: R/R Age: 3/2/95 (22) Age Dif: 0.1

Acquired: Signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2013

2017 Stats: 8-7, 3.70 ERA, 18 G, 18 GS, 3 CG, 114.1 IP, 1.286 WHIP, 6.5 K/9

Previous Rank: 25

Profile: The 2016 New York-Penn League ERA and strikeouts leader has found a tougher go of it in the Sally League this year. The main reason seems to be his fastball that tops out at 94 MPH is just not missing bats the way it did last year. Same goes for his secondary pitches, which last year seemed advanced for someone at this stage of his development.

Before overreacting to these struggles, there are still some positive signs for him. He is still a workhorse in the rotation that eats up a lot of innings. In all but three of his 16 starts, he has pitched at least six innings, and his two complete games are the second most in the Sally League. A big reason why Gonzalez has lasted long in these games is he attacks the strike zone aggressively.

Another big reason for his struggles has been the home run rate. Whereas Gonzalez’s ground ball to fly ball rate was 1.58 last year, it is now at 1.18. That change is indicative of player’s ability to not only make better contact with his pitches, but their ability to drive it somewhere. So far this season, he has allowed 11 homers, which is nine more than he allowed all of last year.

Recently, Gonzalez seemingly has made the necessary adjustments to succeed at this level. Over his last four starts, he is 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 0.833 WHIP, and a 7.2 K/9. In this stretch, he has still been a bit susceptible to the long ball, but in sum, Gonzalez has shown the ability to go deep into games and put up quality starts again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: These rankings have been updated to reflect changes that have occurred in the Mets minor league system since the trade deadline.