MMN Top 100 Prospects: #31-35 Batting Champ Tops Strong Group

By Mets Daddy

February 9, 2017 19 Comments

phillip evans

31. INF Phillip Evans

Ht: 5’9″ Wt: 220 2016 Level: St. Lucie & Binghamton

B/T: R/R Age: 9/10/92 (24) Age Dif: -1.3 (AA)

Last Year: N/A

Acquired: 11th Round Draft Pick in 2011

2016 Statistics: 105 G, 419 PA, 389 AB, 53 R, 125 H, 30 2B, 8 HR, 41 RBI, .321/.366/.460

Profile: Perhaps out of anyone ranked in MMN’s top prospect list, Evans is the most surprising name to be here. Based upon his 2016 season, and the talent he possesses, it seemed like he was going to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. He likely could help a team right now as a utility player, and he still has some upside to be more than that.

The main reason people believed Evans would be selected in the Rule 5 Draft was his bat. The Eastern League batting champion had his best year as a hitter. When he moved up to Double A, Evans hit the ball with much more authority than he had in his previous stops. Overall, Evans is an aggressive line drive hitter who is going to hit a fair amount of doubles.

In the field, he is a utility player mostly due to his size and his arm. The ideal position for him due to his size and his arm strength is second base. With that said, he will likely be a utility player if he reaches the major leagues. Accordingly, Evans should begin to learn the outfield, much like Matt Reynolds did last year, to increase his utility.

Mike M adds…

I’m weary of the breakout season Evans had given his high BABIP (.384), low walk rate (4.9%) and that he’s primarily a pull hitter. The good news is the ball comes of the bat hard for Evans, but I would like to see him have a more well-rounded approach at the plate. Despite the small frame, Evans is athletic and works hard to stay in great shape.

2017 Outlook: Due to the glut of middle infielders projected to start the year in Triple A, it is likely Evans repeats Binghamton. If he hits like he did last year, and with a few injuries at the major league level, Evans should find his way onto the Las Vegas roster before the season is over.

32. RHP Ricky Knapp

Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 215 2016 Level: St. Lucie, Binghamton, Las Vegas

B/T: R/R Age: 5/20/92 (24) Age Dif: -0.5 (Binghamton)

Last Year: N/A

Acquired: 13th Round Draft Pick in 2013

2016 Statistics: 13-6, 2.69 ERA, 25 G, 24 GS, 3 CG, SHO, 163.2 IP, 115 K, 1.143 WHIP, 6.3 K/9

Profile: Knapp is the end result of when your father, in Knapp’s case Rick Knapp, was a former major league pitching coach.  Knapp has good, clean mechanics which he repeats with ease. He has good command of all of his pitches, and he knows exactly when to throw them. And while this isn’t always teachable, Knapp is poised on the mound.

Knapp is a true four pitch pitcher with no true plus pitch and his fastball sits at 88-92 MPH. As noted above, he gets the most out of each of these pitches with location and with knowing exactly when to throw each pitch. He typically pitches to contact, which helps him to go deeper into games. In fact, Knapp threw the most complete games out of anyone in the Mets farm system last season with three. Despite pitching to contact, Knapp is able to keep a low ERA mostly due to his ability to generate a lot of ground balls.

2017 Outlook: Last year, Knapp received a few spot starts with Las Vegas, which is likely where he will start the 2017 season. Look for Knapp to struggle while pitching in Las Vegas as pitchers who have similar stuff and who pitch to contact like he does typically struggle in the Pacific Coast League. Still, Knapp is a good pitcher who has a future best suited to the back end of a major league rotation. If the Mets have the same rash of injuries they experienced in 2016, it is possible Knapp gets a call to the major leagues.

Photo Credit: Pat Sanchez/BrooklynBaseballBanter

Photo Credit: Pat Sanchez/BrooklynBaseballBanter

33. RHP Jordan Humphreys

Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 225 2016 Level: Kingsport & Brooklyn

B/T: R/R Age: 6/11/96 (20) Age Dif: -1.4 (Brooklyn)

Last Year: N/A

Acquired: 18th Round Draft Pick in 2015

2016 Statistics: 3-6, 3.58 ERA, 13 G, 13 GS, 75.1 IP, 85 K, 1.168 WHIP, 10.2 K/9

Profile: After an outstanding season in the Appalachian League, Humphreys is starting to make a name for himself. His name was scattered across the Top 10 in most pitching categories, and he was the league leader in strikeouts.

Like with most young pitchers, Humphreys best pitch is his fastball. While he throws it in the low 90s, batters tend to either swing and miss it, or they drive the pitch into the ground. At the moment, Humphreys has been developing a change-up to compliment his fastball.  While it will trick batters at the lower levels, he needs to improve the pitch more for it to become a true weapon.  He also has an inconsistent curveball. Like most Mets pitchers with a future, he is likely going to need to learn the slider.

While he could still further mature and develop into a major league starter, at the moment, Humphreys appears to be a pitcher who can be a quality bullpen arm.

2017 Outlook: With the Fireflies rotation appearing to be set, Humphreys could begin the 2017 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones where he will need to work on his secondary pitches if he wishes to continue a career trajectory as a starting pitching prospect.

34. RHP Cameron Planck

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 225 2016 Level: High School

B/T: R/R Age: 3/5/98 (18) Age Difference:  N/A

Last Year: N/A

Acquired: 11th Round Draft Pick in 2016

2016 Statistics: N/A

Profile: From the glorious long hair to the mid-90s fastball, it’s as if Planck came out of central casting to be the next Mets starting pitching prospect.  But Planck didn’t come from central casting, he came from Kentucky, and in reality, he almost didn’t come to the Mets at all.

Planck initially committed to pitch for the University of Louisville, and he seemed intent on going there. As a result, Planck dropped in the draft. The Mets were able to entice Planck to skip college and begin his professional career by giving him a $1 million signing bonus. To put it in perspective, a $1 million bonus is typically given to a team’s second round draft pick.

Due to the high number of innings he threw in high school, and the time it took to sign him, the Mets agreed to not have Planck pitch during the end of the 2016 minor league season. Accordingly, his first action in a Mets uniform did not occur until the Instructional Leagues.

Mike adds…

His fastball already sits in the 90-94 MPH range and tops out at 96. His changeup showed improvement in instructs and he told MMN’s own Ernest Dove in an interview that he’s now throwing a knuckle-curve.

2017 Outlook –  Planck appears as if he will start the season as part of the Fireflies rotation. While there, Planck has to work on repeating his delivery while also working on his secondary pitches.  Depending on how quickly he improves his mechanics and secondary pitches, he could end the season with St. Lucie.

35. 3B Eudor Garcia

Ht: 6′ 0″ Wt: 240 2016 Level: Gulf Coast & Columbia

B/T: L/R Age: 5/17/1994 (22) Age Dif: 0.6 (Columbia)

Last Year: #22

Acquired: 4th Round Draft Pick in 2014

2016 Statistics: 55 G, 224 PA, 204 AB, 27 R, 56 H, 14 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 31 RBI, SB, .275/.326/.426

Profile: Garcia got a late start to the season because he was suspended 80 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. When he did play, his numbers dipped despite his repeating the level.

As a hitter, Garcia still has much promise. He has a compact left-handed swing, and he knows what he wants to do at the plate. He has shown signs of promising power, and if he took a more patient approach at the plate, he could one day be a very good major league hitter.

At this time, the question is what will Garcia’s position ultimately be. While he has the athleticism for third base, he does not possess the arm strength for the position. That would suggest he would be best suited to moving to first base or even DH in the future.

2017 Outlook: Garcia seems ticketed to begin the year with St. Lucie. After what was a lost year for him, and with the Mets having a strong draft class behind him, he has a lot to prove this season.

2017 MMN TOP 100 PROSPECTS

1. Amed Rosario, SS

2. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP

4. Thomas Szapucki, LHP

5. Desmond Lindsay, OF

6. Justin Dunn, RHP

7. Gavin Cecchini, INF

8. Brandon Nimmo, OF

9. Andres Gimenez, SS

10. Tomas Nido, C

11. Wuilmer Becerra, OF

12. Peter Alonso, 1B

13. Marcos Molina, RHP

14. Ali Sanchez, C

15. T.J. Rivera, INF

16. Luis Carpio, INF

17. Merandy Gonzalez, RHP

18. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

19. Gregory Guerrero, SS

20. Chris Flexen, RHP

21-25 Led by Josh Smoker

26-30 Led by Nabil Crismatt

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  • Metro North Rider

    Couple of things..(1) Evans listed at 5’9″ and 220 lbs. Wow. He doesn’t seem that round. (2) Have trouble believing that Planck’s first pro ball experience will be in full season ball. He’s only 18. Maybe if the Mets signed him out of college, but he’s probably headed to Kingsport.

  • Michael Mayer

    Evans is a big workout guy, that 220 is muscle. Well I think the Mets look at the instructional league as pro ball experience and it could depend on how he looks this spring. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him start in Kingsport.

  • danielm – LGM

    I’m not buying into Evans’s breakout year just yet. He makes a lot of hard contact. I could see him running above average (.310-.320) BABIP long-term. But no way can he maintain a .384 BABIP. He needs to walk a lot more to be a valuable MLB player, in my opinion. But we’ll have to see. Maybe he’ll continue to prove me wrong.

    Planck is a guy who I’m really excited to see how he does with the help of the Mets coaching staff.

  • Yeah, I do not believe that Planck is starting out at Columbia. At best, he’d be at Brooklyn but more likely Kingsport. Kid’s young and they already have a ton of pitchers in line for Kingsport including Szapucki, Humphreys, both Gonzalez, Holderman, and possibly one of these lefties: Taylor/S. Torres, P. Torres, Simon

    They’ve all earned it over Planck.

    Let’s debate.

  • I agree on Evans, I have that same skepticism, and so did my partner at MTP Chris. A guy who doesn’t hit spray and doesn’t have a lot of power and is reasonably limited to two spots in the infield (2B/3B) doesn’t have a lot of value to me.

    I seriously doubt that Planck is going to Columbia.

  • danielm – LGM

    I don’t see Planck starting in Columbia either. All of the guys you said should be their over him. Although I do think Szapucki should start in St. Lucie and maybe you could use P. Torres as reliever. Simon starts in Brooklyn to work on control. Planck starts in Brooklyn. Then you have a Columbia rotation of Humphreys, Gonzalez x2, Holderman, Taylor, and S. Torres.

  • See the thing with Szapucki is that he has to build innings, and he ended at 52 with a back injury on August 12th, and needs to start slow and be moved slowly. Likely starts with a few starts in Columbia. Plus, there is a bunch of Starters ahead of him in St. Lucie too. Currently have:

    Marcos Molina
    Justin Dunn
    Andrew Church
    Chase Ingram
    Kevin Canelon

    Most likely Simon and Sixto round out the Brooklyn Rotation or come in when others are called up, or take the Church route. Think Placido’s advanced feel has him starting, but I could be wrong.

  • danielm – LGM

    I remember reading a post-draft scouting report that had Placido as mainly a two-pitch pitcher (FB/CB). I usually advocate for pitchers starting as long as they can, but this organization has a lot of SP. Since Placido has fairly low upside and does have an advanced feel, I think he could be fast tracked as a lefty reliever

    Szapucki does have to build innings and there isn’t a ton of room in PSL Starting in Brooklyn won’t hurt S. Torres or Simon, but I do think Sixto could handle the more aggressive assignment, especially considering he’s a year older than most 2015 HS draftees.

  • You may be right, and I may have to pencil him in for relief in Columbia, but they usually know how to develop a change pretty well, and like to keep players as starters, but I definitely can see him going to the pen, and getting an uptick or two in velo from the 88-92 he was. Not sure how Columbia’s pen is shaking out right now, so maybe he and a few others go to that side. I wonder if they convert Gabriel Llanes to relief since people weren’t big fans of him as a starter?

    One thing I forget is that if there is a logjam, I wonder if they will piggyback? they seem to do that a bit.

  • Michael Mayer

    100% agree on Evans, I personally have McNeil higher than him. Better speed, better defender and I think will be better offensive player.

  • Michael Mayer

    Agreed on Placido, I think he is this year’s Conlon. Like his stuff and ability to pitch. Definitely see him in the Columbia rotation.

  • danielm – LGM

    Just an idea in an attempt to figure out how to fit everyone in. A piggyback with Szapucki could be interesting, considering the Mets are going to need to limit Szapucki’s innings.

  • Torres may very well be, but he throws a bit harder than Conlon and dominated D2.

  • Michael Mayer

    Throws a little harder, but don’t think his repertoire is as good as Conlon’s.

  • Jamets

    Comps:

    Evans – Miguel Tejada
    Knapp – Tom Glavine
    Humprheys – Trever Hoffman
    Planck – Jake Peavy
    Garcia – Bob Horner

  • Conlon was in a D1 excellent school and great change, which not many have and doing well on a mid 80’s fastball

  • mr. belvedere

    No way Planck starts in Columbia, drafted out of HS last year and didn’t throw a pitch after that…he’s gonna be in short season ball somewhere

  • mr. belvedere

    Can’t see Szapucki repeating Kingsport under any circumstances, the kid was a man among boys there last year…if he needs to build innings, I’d see him no lower than Brooklyn to start, although as dominant as he was, i think he starts in Columbia

  • I have said Columbia, and that’s where I believe he lands.