MLB.com released its annual top 100 prospect list on Tuesday night. For the full list, click here.
I thought I’d share some of the players of local interest – Yankees and Mets players as well as former Hudson Valley Renegades who made the cut.
6. Travis d’Arnaud – Mets, catcher
The big piece acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade to Toronto this winter, d’Arnaud (pronounced: Darno) should be the Mets’ everyday catcher before long. He hit 16 home runs in 67 game at Triple-A last season before tearing the PCL in his left knee. He might start out the season in the minors yet again, but he’ll be hitting in the middle of the Mets’ lineup pretty soon.
8. Zack Wheeler – Mets, starting pitcher
Acquired from San Francisco in the Carlos Beltran trade in 2011, Wheeler has a shot to be a dominant No. 1 pitcher in the majors. He was 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 19 starts at the Double-A level in 2012. Wheeler should start the season at Triple-A and could be called up to the big leagues at some point over the summer if the Mets’ rotation is hurting. He’s got a fastball, curve, slider and change-up.
29. Noah Syndergaard – Mets, starting pitcher
Another player the Mets got in the Dickey trade, Syndergaard is a few years from the majors. He won’t turn 21 until August, so he’ll have a few years to hone his skills in the low minors before we see him in Flushing. At 6-foot-5, his fastball will be his best pitch.
36. Gary Sanchez – Yankees, catcher
Another 20-year-old, Sanchez is also years from the majors but projects as both a solid and powerful hitter and a strong defender behind the plate. Sanchez’s prospects are one reason why the Yankees felt able to trade Jesus Montero to Seattle last offseason. The Yanks could use some help at catcher, but you won’t see Sanchez in the majors until the summer of 2015 at the earliest.
41. Mason Williams – Yankees, outfielder
Right now, Williams projects as an elite speed and defense-type outfielder. The question is, will his bat come around? If he can prove that he can hit for power and average in the minors, he could be a star on the major league level. He could also be Brett Gardner 2.0 if the power isn’t there. He’s still 21 and hasn’t played above A-ball, so Williams is also a few years away – at the earliest.
44. Taylor Guerrieri – Rays, starting pitcher
Guerrieri was a big reason why the Hudson Valley Renegades won the 2012 New York-Penn League title. The hard-throwing righty had a tremendous season, in large part because he didn’t’ walk anybody, just five in 52 innings. He won’t turn 21 until December, so he’s also far from the big leagues, but he’s looking like another one of the great pitchers Tampa Bay has developed over the years. He could be terrorizing Yankees hitters sometime in the summer of 2015.
75. Tyler Austin – Yankees, outfielder
Austin led the Yankees’ farm system in batting average and slugging percentage last year and even played a bit at Double-A. He won’t be a superstar in the big leagues, but he could turn into a Nick Swisher-type in the corner outfield if he progresses. There’s a chance we might see Austin at the end of the bench in September, but he’s probably looking for his first shot in the minors at spring training in 2014.
With three of the top 29 prospects in baseball, the Mets’ farm system should be paying dividends on the major league level pretty soon. What about the other side of town? Are the Yankees in trouble, especially on the pitching front? What do you think? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.