#91 RHP Gabriel Llanes
Ht. 6’4” Wt. 205 Level: Brooklyn Cyclones
B/T: R/R Age: 1/15/96 (21) Age Dif: -1.4
Acquired: 2014 15th Round Draft Pick from Downey High School (Downey, CA)
2016 Statistics: 4-8, 3.94 ERA, 14 G, 13 GS, 80.0 IP, 37 K, 1.288 WHIP, 4.2 K/9
Profile: Typically, there are two types of prospects that have trouble controlling and locating their stuff. The first is the prospect who has not mastered his mechanics. The second, and perhaps the more intriguing, is the prospect that gets great movement on his pitches, but he just can’t harness those pitches. Llanes is a little bit of both.
From the mechanics standpoint, there is nothing overtly wrong with him; that is there are no red flags that indicate he is going to have arm issues in the future. With that said, Llanes has a lot of moving parts that is just robbing him of the ability to locate. He just needs to simplify a bit. He twists his body and has an exaggerated leg kick. It’s a lot of moving parts that appears designed to hide the pitch and generate velocity, but it really doesn’t do that. Instead, batters get a good look at his pitches, and he tops out at 93 MPH. Sitting there is perfectly fine if you have movement on your fastball.
Fortunately, Llanes fastball moves. It’s got good late life in the zone that has typically generated weaker contact. Indeed, he has kept the ball on the ground with a terrific 1.76 ground ball to fly ball ratio. He pairs that with a slider that has real promise, and as a result, he typically keeps the ball on the ground and in the ballpark. So far, Llanes has fooled around with a change-up, but at this point it is not a reliable pitch for him. If he is ever able to master the pitch, he could be a starting rotation candidate.
However, at this point in his career, he is not fooling anyone, and he is not generating the strikeouts someone with his stuff typically generates at the lower level of the minor leagues. Hopefully, if he tightens up his delivery, he could see better results.
2017 Outlook: Llanes should be in the rotation for the Columbia Fireflies to open the 2017 season. There he will work with Jonathan Hurst to tweak his mechanics and develop that change-up. Ultimately, Llanes will be in the right location for this stage of his development.
#92 RHP Michel Otanez
Ht. 6’4” Wt. 209 Level: DSL Mets
B/T: R/R Age: 7/3/97 (19) Age Dif: -1.1
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent from the Dominican Republic in 2017
2016 Statistics: 1-1, 4.64 ERA, 5 G, 5 GS, 21.1 IP, 21 K, 1.359 WHIP, 8.9 K/9
Profile: Otanez is one of those prospects who probably should be higher on this list because the 19-year old pitcher already has a fastball in the upper 90’s, and he has real strikeout ability. However, Otanez fell on our boards because the pitcher suffered a torn UCL, and he had Tommy John surgery in the fall.
2017 Outlook: Otanez will most likely spend the entirety of the 2018 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Should he progress well, the Mets may be inclined to bring him to the Instructional Leagues. If not, we may not see him again until 2018 where he may then be assigned to Kingsport. Ultimately, it is too soon to tell what his trajectory is going to be.
#93 CF Jacob Zanon
Ht. 6’1” Wt. 180 Level: Brooklyn Cyclones
B/T: R/R Age: 6/25/95 (21) Age Dif: -0.1
Acquired: 2016 15th Round Draft Pick from Lewis-Clark College
2016 Statistics: 44 G, 184 PA, 157 AB, 19 R, 31 H, 6 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 20 SB, 2 CS, .197/.284/.287
Profile: Now, Zanon is an interesting prospect and project for the Mets organization. This is a player that theoretically has all the tools to succeed, but there are a few issues standing in the way.
The first issue with Zanon is he never faced big competition in college. Originally, he was an NAIA player until he transferred to a Division II college before he was drafted. When he signed on with the Mets, he was assigned to Brooklyn where he was facing the higher competition he had never seen before in his life.
While you could see some glimpses of his talent, he mostly struggled at the plate like seemingly everyone did in Brooklyn last season. It’s important to not read too much into that as many college players struggle in the New York Penn League after a long college season.
The other issue with Zanon is the perception of an attitude issues. Last year, Zanon was once suspended four games for his involvement in a fight on the field. The incident was precipitated with Zanon not sliding into second, and his bumping the second baseman. When the second baseman proceeded to shove Zanon, Zanon responded by punching him. Again, this was one incident, and not too much should be read into it. However, it is there, and it does create a perception.
If there are truly no issues with Zanon, the Mets have themselves a sleeper. With his speed, he has the ability to swipe bags and cover ground in center field. Zanon’s arm is good enough to play in both center and right. At the plate, Zanon has the ability to hit for some power. If Zanon can put it all together, the Mets found themselves a small school steal. Only time will tell with him.
2017 Outlook: Zanon should begin the season with the Columbia Fireflies where his power hitting potential may not translate, but his speed should serve him very well.
#94 RHP Luis Mateo
Ht. 6’3” Wt. 200 Level: Binghamton & Las Vegas
B/T: R/R Age: 3/22/90 (27) Age Dif: -0.7 (Triple-A)
Acquired: International Free Agent from the Dominican Republic in 2010
2016 Statistics: 4-4, 2.69 ERA, 51 G, SV, 67.0 IP, 52 K, 1.313 WHIP, 7.0 K/9
Profile: At 27 and with only three games about Triple-A, it is fair to question why Mateo would be on any prospect list. Normally, these types of pitchers are overlooked because theoretically, they have missed their chance to impress.
With Mateo, he is still in the minor leagues mostly because he has had two elbow surgeries that have cost him about three years of development time. In reality, the 2016 season was the first real season Mateo had since he was a 23-year old prospect to keep your eye on with Binghamton. Back then, Mateo had a mid 90s fastball and a wipeout slider. Back then, it was really a question of how long until he was going to make it to the majors. Now, the question is if he can get there.
In his first full season since his elbow surgeries, there were some things to like about Mateo, and some things you didn’t like. On the positive, Mateo lasted the full season which was a question mark after his surgeries. Also, Mateo showed fairly decent control for a pitcher who has not pitched in about three years. Finally, Mateo was able to generate a lot of ground balls with a 1.56 ground ball to fly ball ratio.
On the down side, Mateo didn’t look like the pitcher he did back in 2013. First and foremost, the velocity is just not there yet. While he was getting it up to the upper 90s back then, right now he generally sits in the lower 90s. Also, whereas he had a wipeout slider, this past season it looked mostly flat. Arguably, Mateo should see his stuff get back to where it once was being another year removed from Tommy John. However, as we have see with Josh Edgin and Bobby Parnell, that is certainly no guarantee.
2017 Outlook: Mateo should begin the season in Las Vegas to open the 2017 season. If he gets his stuff back to where it once was, he may very well find himself with the opportunity to get called up to the majors in the event of an injury. If he does not get his stuff back, it is likely Mateo is going to get tattooed in the Pacific Coast League like he did last year in his three appearances there.
#95 C Brandon Brosher
Ht. 6’3” Wt. 235 Level: Brooklyn, Columbia, St. Lucie
B/T: R/R Age: 2/17/95 (22) Age Dif: -1.7 (St. Lucie)
Acquired: 2013 36th Round Draft Pick from Springstead High School (Spring Hill, FL)
2016 Statistics: 43 G, 164 PA, 142 AB, 16 R, 26 H, 2 2B, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 6 SB, .189/.287/.324
Profile: One of the difficulties when scouting and reviewing catching prospects is you never know when it is just going to click. As we saw with Tomas Nido, it finally clicked for him this past season, and we saw him rocket his way up the prospect lists, including the one assembled by the staff at MMN. For others, it takes longer, or in some occasions, it just never happens.
At this point, it is difficult to say where Brosher will wind up. It is possible it will one day click, and he will become the next huge prospect in the Mets farm system. On the other hand, it is the fourth year of this experiment, and Brosher is not showing any real signs of improvement in his game. In fact, you could argue there has been some regression.
When the Mets drafted Brosher, they were drafting a high school player with raw power. In high school, Brosher played first base, and he pitched. While he was not much of a pitcher, he could get his fastball up to 90 MPH. With his skill set, the Mets envisioned Brosher could be a catcher with a big arm and a bigger bat.
We have at least seen the glimpses of the big bat. When Brosher gets a hold of one, it goes a long way. However, he tends to get too big, and there are a lot of swing and misses. In fact, Brosher struck out in an astoundingly high 36% of his plate appearances. What is odd about this was Brosher typically has a good eye at the plate, and coming out of the draft, he had a line drive swing. In the minors, his skillset either doesn’t translate or has eroded.
Behind the plate, he continues to lose opportunities and at-bats because he has been stuck behind much better defensive catchers like Ali Sanchez. In fact, he only caught in 24 of the 43 games he played last year. Worse yet, he was a DH in the remaining 14 games meaning he is not getting the chance to at least see if he could handle another position like his natural first base position.
Behind the plate, Brosher is still raw. He doesn’t quite have the footwork down, and as a result even with his strong arm, he has difficulty throwing out base runners. While he isn’t a sieve letting up passed ball after passed ball, he also isn’t quite low enough or is framing pitches well enough to get that strike for his pitcher.
It is possible learning the catching position is stalling some of Brosher’s development as a hitter. He certainly wouldn’t be the first catching prospect who had this issue.
2017 Outlook: Brosher will likely open the season splitting catching duties or backing up Sanchez in Columbia. There he is going to have to put a lot of work in as both a catcher and a hitter.
2017 MMN TOP 100 PROSPECTS