MMN Top 100 Prospects: #41-45 Topped By Urena

By Mathew Brownstein

February 14, 2017 9 Comments

Photo by Ernest Dove

Photo by Ernest Dove

41. 3B Jhoan Urena

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 230  2016 Level: St. Lucie Mets

B/T: S/R  Age: 9/1/1994 (22)  Age Dif: -1.7

Last Year: #13

Acquired: Signed as international free agent by Mets, Sept. 8, 2011

2016 Statistics: 115 G, 430 PA, 383 AB, 52 R, 86 H, 17 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, .225/.301/.350

Profile: Third baseman Jhoan Urena has shown glimpses of why the New York Mets were intrigued enough by signing him out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, at times flashing a patient eye at the plate, putting the ball in play from both sides of the plate, and showcasing a solid arm at third.

The problem for the switch-hitting infielder is putting all those skills together in a full season above rookie ball, where only his 75 games played with Brooklyn in 2014 (.300/.356/.431) was his best season above the lower level ranks. An injury riddled 2015 season also hampered Urena, as he broke both hamate bones and never found himself in a consistent groove.

In 2016, Urena played the entire season with St. Lucie in the Florida State League, playing in a career high 115 games and slashing .225/.301/.350 in 383 at-bats. It was encouraging to see the power rise, especially in a tough hitter’s league like the FSL and also coming off of the two broken hamate bones from the year prior.

Urena played primarily third base in ’16, appearing in 76 games at the hot corner. He committed 21 errors at third (the same number as he did in 2015), but the Mets also deployed Urena at first for 21 games, making way for third base prospect David Thompson when he was promoted to St. Lucie in early July. Urena held his own, in 179 total chances he made 162 putouts, turned 10 double plays, and made just three errors in 175.2 innings at the position.

2017 Outlook: It’s tough to tell if the Mets will keep Urena at third, especially if they’re higher on Thompson or Eudor Garcia at the position, or if eventually the Mets decide to try top prospect Pete Alonso at that position as well (played third in high school and parts of college at the University of Florida). Urena still has youth on his side however, still only 22-years-old, and could finally make his way to Double-A Binghamton.

42. RHP Tyler Bashlor

Ht: 5’11″  Wt: 195  2016 Level: Columbia Fireflies and St. Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 4/16/1993 (23)  Age Dif: -0.1 (w/ St. Lucie)

Last Year: N/A

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

2016 Statistics: 4-3, 2.75 ERA, 38 G, 3 SV, 55.2 IP, 73 SO, 30 BB, .194 AVG, 1.24 WHIP (combined stats)

Profile: Tyler Bashlor waited a long time to get back to the mound, after being drafted by the Mets in the 2013 Draft and pitching in just 13 games with the Kingsport Mets in 2013. The right-hander underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2014, and wouldn’t return to the mound until 2016. Discomfort extended Bashlor’s stay on the disabled list, but finally, Bashlor made his return this past year, starting the season with Columbia.

Bashlor was extremely impressive with the Fireflies, appearing in 34 games, posting a 2.50 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched. He averaged 12.2 K/9 (tied for 3rd in SAL), and sits around the 94-97 mph range with his fastball.

Bashlor made a brief cameo with the St. Lucie Mets in August, appearing in four games while posting a 5.06 ERA, however, his August 28 outing where he allowed two earned runs over 1.1 innings ballooned his ERA to over five in such limited innings (5.1).

He was still right around the numbers he posted with Columbia during his stint with St. Lucie (.200 BAA in St. Lucie, .193 BAA in Columbia), an encouraging sign. However, it was evident that the later months took a toll on the 23-year-old, as he posted an ERA of 6.75 in July, 3.38 in August (while with Columbia), and 5.06 with St. Lucie in late August.

2017 Outlook: Bashlor offers an intriguing mid-90s fastball, along with a curve and changeup. After making it through a full season after his delayed start to his career, the Mets will want to see how he reacts after pitching his first full season after missing so much time. Bashlor should start the season with St. Lucie, and if he responds well to the friendly pitcher’s league, should see time in Binghamton at some point.

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43. RHP Corey Oswalt

Ht: 6’5″  Wt: 245  2016 Level: GCL Mets and St. Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 9/3/1993 (23)  Age Dif: -1.1 (w/ St. Lucie)

Last Year: #56

Acquired: Seventh round of the 2012 Draft from James Madison HS in San Diego, Calif

2016 Statistics: 4-2, 4.06 ERA, 15 G, 14 GS, 68.2 IP, 71 SO, 18 BB, .268 AVG, 1.33 WHIP (combined stats)

Profile: The first thing that sticks out with right-hander Corey Oswalt is his size, standing six-foot-five and 245 pounds, the right-hander is a big kid with a sturdy frame. Since being drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 Draft out of high school, Oswalt has pitched for five of the Mets’ affiliates: Kingsport, Brooklyn, Savannah (now Columbia), GCL Mets, and St. Lucie, mainly as a starter.

While he’s been in the system for several years now, Oswalt is still just 23 years-old, and with St. Lucie last year was still -1.1 years younger than the average competition. He got off to a rocky start to the season with St. Lucie, in April he posted a 5.89 ERA in four starts, allowing 12 earned runs and seven walks over 18.1 innings pitched. He did post strong strikeout numbers however, averaging 11.3 K/9 for that opening month to the season.

He got into a more consistent rhythm in May and June, posting a 3.77 ERA and 2.45 ERA respectively, holding opponents to a .659 and .630 OPS. A shoulder strain injury would limit Oswalt to just a total of 14 starts in 2016 unfortunately.

The Mets sent Oswalt among others to the Arizona Fall League, where he led the Scottsdale Scorpions pitchers’ in wins (4), tied for first in innings pitched (27), and second in strikeouts (21).

2017 Outlook: Oswalt took a big step in 2015 while pitching for Savannah, tossing a career high 128.2 innings. With the limited games he pitched last season, Oswalt needs to make up some ground and could begin the season with Binghamton, to challenge him with the colder spring months and less pitcher friendly conditions that he had with the Florida State League.

44. C Patrick Mazeika

Ht: 6’3″  Wt: 210  2016 Level: Columbia Fireflies

B/T: L/R  Age: 10/14/1993 (23)  Age Dif: 0.6

Last Year: #36

Acquired: Eighth round of the 2015 Draft from Stetson University

2016 Statistics: 70 G, 293 PA, 239 AB, 34 R, 73 H, 14 2B, 3 HR, 35 RBI, .305/.414/.402

Profile: Since being drafted in the 8th round in the 2015 Draft, Patrick Mazeika has done nothing but hit while playing with Kingsport and Columbia over the past year and a half.

The 23-year-old catcher got off to a quick start upon his selection by the Mets, appearing in 62 games with Kingsport in 2015, slashing .354/.451/.540 (2nd in the Appalachian League in both BA & OBP), with 27 doubles (league leader), five home runs, and 48 RBI (2nd in league). The Stetson University alum (same school that Jacob deGrom attended) shared the Mets Sterling Award for best player for Kingsport, along with teammate Kevin Kaczmarski.

In 2016, the left-handed hitting Mazeika played with Columbia, however, his season was delayed until mid-May due to an elbow injury. His production took off following the second half of the season, where he posted a line of .342/.465/.456, with eight doubles, 24 runs, and 22 RBI in 45 games. He also posted solid splits against both righties and lefties, posting an .845 OPS against southpaws, and an .810 OPS against righties.

He started 45 games at catcher for the Fireflies last year, allowing 56 stolen bases while throwing out 23 base-runners (29% CS). The issues that Mazeika has come across is that he doesn’t move particularly well behind the plate, with his large frame often impeding him.

He has some experience at first base, both in college and playing 11 games in ’15 with Kingsport. Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso highlight that position in the Mets’ system currently, however, Mazeika’s patient eye at the plate and strong contact rate make him an appealing prospect to keep any eye on moving forward.

2017 Outlook: Mazeikia should begin the year with St. Lucie, as Tomas Nido (MMO/MMN’s No 10 Prospect for 2017) should begin the year with Binghamton after a successful season with St. Lucie in 2016. It’ll be worth watching to see if Mazeika can replicate the high on base percentage, and hitting for extra-bases playing a full season in Florida, while hoping to improve on his defense behind the plate.

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45. OF Kevin Kaczmarski

Ht: 6’0″  Wt: 195  2016 Level: Columbia Fireflies and St. Lucie Mets

B/T: L/R  Age: 12/31/1991 (25)  Age Dif: 1.3 (w/ St. Lucie)

Last Year: #49

Acquired: Ninth round of the 2015 Draft from University of Evansville

2016 Statistics: 111 G, 476 PA, 414 AB, 69 R, 116 H, 29 2B, 10 3B, 2 HR, 46 RBI, .280/.360/.413

Profile: Kevin Kaczmarski got off to a blistering start in his pro debut, just like fellow teammate Patrick Mazeika. Kaczmarski was selected in the ninth round of the 2015 Draft, and like Mazeika was sent to Kingsport, where he led the league in batting average (.355), hits (91), 2nd in stolen bases (20), and tied for 3rd in runs (47).

He also shared the Mets Sterling Award with Kingsport along with Mazeika. While those numbers are impressive, he was 2.4 years older than the average competition in the Appalachian League, and came back down to earth a bit when he began the 2016 season with Columbia.

In 69 games with Columbia, Kaczmarski slashed .268/.347/.418 with 28 extra-base hits, 28 RBI, and 41 runs scored. The left-handed hitting outfielder posted solid splits for ’16 as well, hitting .273/.366/.416 against righties, and .303/.340/.404 against southpaws. Kaczmarski earned a promotion to St. Lucie at the end of June, where in 42 games he lifted many of his numbers from Columbia, including batting average (.302), OBP (.383), stolen bases (8), and OPS (.788).

Kaczmarski is a hitter, no doubt about that, however, his age doesn’t help him, as he just turned 25 in December (he spent five years in college, missing his true freshman year due to a broken foot). He needs to show that he can replicate his strong eye at the plate (career .381 OBP in minors and .431 in college), while continuing with his solid stolen base numbers and extra-base hits at the upper levels.

2017 Outlook: He should begin the 2017 season with Binghamton, and does offer versatility in the outfield as he has experience playing all three positions in the last two years in the minors. He’s played predominantly left field (777 innings), followed by right (461.1), and center (222.1). At the very least he offers outfield depth with some decent speed on the base paths.

2017 MMN TOP 100 PROSPECTS

1-5 Led by Amed Rosario

6-10 Led by Justin Dunn

11-15 Led by Wuilmer Becerra

16-20 Led by Luis Caprio

21-25 Led by Josh Smoker

26-30 Two Possible 2017 Mets Bullpen Pieces

31-35 Batting Champ Tops Strong Group

36-40 Sewald Ready For Majors

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  • I thought Urena looked pretty natural at 1B. I like his power from both sides of plate. I really want him to be productive big time this year.
    Kaczmarski just looks like a pro ball player to me. Have no idea if that means starter or 25th man but just think he’ll be in majors some day.
    I watched a pretty dominating oswalt start last year but can’t simply judge off that.
    Bashlor makes me happy.

  • danielm – LGM

    I still have hope for Urena. Wrist injuries can really mess a guy up at the plate and he did show improvements the 2nd half of last year, hitting .255/.335/.430 after June 11 last year. That’s pretty good for the pitcher-friendly FSL.

  • Not4

    Me as well. This year is likely a make or break year for him.

  • Not4

    Bashlor could be a nice BP piece. Love to see him repeat last years success in AA.

  • Michael Mayer

    Me too, had solid winter ball season too. Still has a nice swing, wonder how much the hamate injury has hampered him.

  • Ari Berkowitz

    Urena had a low BABiP of .255 last season and still finished close to league average overall. I’m not saying Urena will break out, but if I was trying to systematically put together a list of players who’d break out, I’d be looking at those who’ve improved there secondary skills (BB, K, XBH) and Urena improved in every regard last season. He’s always had a low BABiP though.

  • Ari Berkowitz

    Oswalt has an inconsistent release point and follow through or what some might call “arm action”. This is making it hard for him to spot his pitches, but most importantly his fastball. Additionally, he has a little bit of the late pronation, which while it might boost his velocity, also boosts any likelihood of arm trouble. Luckily the Mets are top notch when it comes to “fastball command” and the likes of Glenn Abbott, Franky V and D Money certainly seem capable of turning Oswalt into the next deGrom, Gsellman, Lugo, etc. The main difference is lack of innings, Oswalt has only ~350 pro innings under his belt at this point.

    So basically, Oswalt just needs experience practicing what the Mets are preaching and as his arm action becomes more and more consistent via repetition, he will look more and more like a serious pitching prospect, given his repertoire and arm talent.

  • Michael Mayer

    Hey Ari, I was hoping you could shoot me an email at michael.mayer4@gmail.com so I could ask you a few questions.

  • Destry

    I hope the Mets don’t label Kaczmarski as 4th OF. He was one of the top college hitters his senior year. The kid can hit, run, and play D. What more do you want from an OF?