MMN Top Mets Prospects: 30-26 Features Mix of Backgrounds

By Jacob Resnick

January 15, 2018 10 Comments

Juan Uriarte by Jacob Resnick/MetsMinors

We’ve reached the top 30 in our prospect countdown. As always, links to the rest of the top 50 can be found at the bottom of this article.

30. RHP Jamie Callahan

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 230 lbs  2017 Level: Triple-A/MLB

B/T: R/R  Age: 23 (8/24/1994)  Age Dif: -4.6 (AAA)

Acquired: From the Boston Red Sox with RHP Gerson Bautista and RHP Stephen Nogosek for RHP Addison Reed on 7/31/2017

2017 Triple-A Stats (BOS/NYM): 63, 2.94 ERA, 41 G, 52.0 IP, 66 K, 17 BB, 1.25 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 11.4 K/9

The most major league ready of the three arms acquired in the Addison Reed deal last summer, Callahan only needed ten innings with Las Vegas before the Mets deemed him worthy of a September call-up. His cameo was brief and therefore it’s difficult to get an accurate reading on his future big league prospects, although, in 6 2/3 innings, Callahan struck out five batters and pumped his fastball at the 96 mph that it normally sits at.

Callahan, for the most part a two-pitch pitcher, is able to generate considerable sink on his fastball by utilizing an over-the-top motion and his large frame, while complementing it with a hard, tight-breaking slider. The development of that breaking ball as a major league-caliber out pitch is what Callahan’s success ultimately hinges on.

You can already see the potential of the pitch, especially here against a left-handed batter.

There will certainly be an uphill climb for Callahan to carve out an opening day role in the Mets’ bullpen, but a strong performance in a high-leverage Las Vegas role will put him in line to be among the first recalled to Flushing in 2018.

29. OF Adrian Hernandez

Ht: 5’9″  Wt: 210 lbs  2017 Level: DNP

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

Acquired: As an international free agent from the Dominican Republic on 7/2/2017 for $1.5 million

2017 Stats: N/A

Ranking players who are not yet 18 and have yet to play in the United States should generally be avoided (due to a lack of reliable scouting reports), but Hernandez, a physical specimen, and his hefty signing bonus are an exception.

The reports that are out there praise his powerful bat, above-average speed, and ability to stick in center field. Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about Hernandez following his signing:

Hernandez has drawn comparisons to former big league outfielder Jose Guillen, an excellent athlete with a strong, well-proportioned frame who plays with high energy at all times. He’s an aggressive hitter with outstanding bat speed and raw power, one who uses a toe tap for timing. That pop shows up more on the pull side right now, but he does have the ability to drive the ball to all fields.

The Dominican Prospect League showcased Hernandez’ skills in November of 2016.

The raw power is very real, although the swing does look a bit long. Fortunately, that isn’t something that will go undiagnosed, if it hasn’t already been corrected. It’s unlikely that Hernandez spends more than one season (if that) in the Dominican Summer League, as he embarks on what looks like a long and successful career.

28. C Patrick Mazeika

Ht: 6’3″  Wt: 208 lbs  2017 Level: High-A/Double-A

B/T: L/R  Age: 24 (10/14/1993)  Age Dif: +0.3 (A+)

Acquired: 8th round of the 2015 Draft from Stetson University

2017 High-A Stats: 100 G, 352 AB, 45 R, 101 H, 21 2B, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS, 53 K, 48 BB, .287/.389/.406

There are only two Stetson Hatters in the Mets’ organization. All-Star Jacob deGrom is one, and Mazeika, the Atlantic Sun Conference freshman of the year in 2013, is the other. Mazeika’s initial assignment to Kingsport in 2015 was probably too passive in hindsight, but he still took care of business by hitting .354, falling one point shy of teammate Kevin Kaczmarski for the Appalachian League batting title.

Mazeika’s calling card is his hit tool, which grades as major league average and has provided him with a .311 career average. His .375 wOBA in 2017 placed him fourth in the Florida State League and rated him well above the league average of .317.

Mazeika has a loose, level, swing from the left side, but fails to generate much power from his legs. Given his subpar defense from behind the plate, Mazeika’s profile doesn’t really work at first base, so the upcoming season will be crucial in terms of what his major league future looks like.

Until he arrived in Binghamton in mid-August (where he only played in six games before hitting the disabled list for the remainder of the season), Mazeika has been older than league average at each of his stops, so one could argue that he hasn’t truly been tested yet, though that will change in 2018.

Mazeika has received an invite to big league spring training this year, and will then be slated to open the 2018 season with the Rumble Ponies.

27. RHP Christian James

Ht: 6’3″  Wt: 210 lbs  2017 Level: Rookie (Kingsport)

B/T: R/R  Age: 19 (5/24/1998)  Age Dif: -1.7

Acquired: 14th round of the 2016 Draft from East Lake HS (Tarpon Springs, FL)

2017 Stats: 23, 4.18 ERA, 11 G, 11 GS, 51.2 IP, 58 K, 16 BB, 1.355 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 10.1 K/9

James isn’t a household name in the Mets’ system at the moment, but all signs point to him trending that way. The teenager fared extremely well against the competition in Kingsport last season, posting three nine-strikeout outings (with only four total walks issued) and finishing fifth in the Appalachian League in total punchouts.

Here’s what the tall right-hander looks like in action.

James attacks hitters with a 90-92 mph fastball, a potentially plus breaking ball, and an excellent change that dies in front of the plate. I chatted with multiple scouts last season who had recently come off trips to Tennessee, and they all spoke highly of James. It’s possible we see him in the Columbia rotation to open 2018.

26. C Juan Uriarte

Ht: 6’0″  Wt: 182 lbs  2017 Level: Rookie (Kingsport)

B/T: R/R  Age: 20 (9/17/1997)  Age Dif: -1.3

Acquired: As an international free agent from Mexico on 7/4/2014

2017 Stats: 52 G, 200 AB, 36 R, 61 H, 13 2B, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 31 K, 15 BB, .305/.372/.455

Perhaps no Mets minor leaguer enjoyed a better breakout season than Uriarte, one of the stalwarts on a Kingsport team that finished third in the Appalachian League in hitting. The 20-year-old got off to a fast start, ripping two home runs in the second game of the season, which began a 15 game stretch in which he drove in 17 runs and struck out only five times in 72 plate appearances. He finished strong too, hitting .424/.472/.515 over a nine-game hitting streak in late August.

The Mexican native is beginning to fill into his athletic frame and has added additional power in the process, more than doubling his ISO from 2016. Watch as Uriarte effortlessly drills a ball off the right field wall.

How many catchers in rookie ball can take a pitch to the opposite field like that?

The bat isn’t even Uriarte’s best tool. Those same scouts who watched Christian James pitch were equally impressed by his backstop, who, according to the evaluators, possesses a plus glove that could take him to the major leagues on its own. The muscle that Uriarte has added since his signing has helped his throwing arm as well, which has produced a sub-1.9 pop time and a 33% caught stealing percentage in 2017.

Uriarte should open 2018 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, which puts him in a similar situation as Ali Sanchez two seasons ago. Sanchez, though a year younger, was a highly regarded glove-first catcher coming out of rookie ball when he joined the Cyclones. Sanchez then hit .216 with Brooklyn and had his 2017 in Columbia cut short by injuries, causing his prospect stock to plummet. With Uriarte, however, there’s a legitimate reason to believe that history won’t repeat itself.

50-41: Led by Jacob Rhame

40-36: Led by Wagner Lagrange

35-31: Led by Gregory Guerrero

Stats via Baseball-Reference.com and Fangraphs.com, Callahan video via BaseballSavant.com