*MLB Prospect Watch will be recapping each farm system as a whole, focusing on particular players who did something noteworthy this season. For the next 30 (business) days, we will be featuring one organization per day.
The Mets farm system has been coming on strong of late, using a combination of success on the international market, consistent drafting (thanks to some early picks) and most importantly, successful acquisitions of prospects in rebuilding trades. Some of that talent has already begun to graduate to the big leagues, but the biggest wave is on the way, and is on the mound. The cupboard is far from bare at the plate, however, and the Mets have potential impact prospects both near the majors and just beginning the developmental process. While perhaps not the deepest system, the Mets do boast one of the most balanced farm systems in baseball.
Biggest Step Fowrard: Steven Matz, LHP: The stuff was never a question for Matz, who has had success at every stop as a professional. But with Tommy John surgery in his past and knee surgery this past off-season, it was important for Matz to pitch an entire year and show that he is healthy, both of which he accomplished this season. More that that, though, he also refined his mechanics, answered any questions about possibly having to move to the bullpen, had success in Double-A, and established himself as the top left-handed pitching prospect in the Mets system. Matz is now a guy the Mets can count on moving forward as they make long-term plans.
Take a Step Back: Dominic Smith, 1B: It's not fair to get too tough on Smith, who hit .277 with a .341 on-base percentage as a 19-year-old, and one of the youngest position players, in the South Atlantic League. He also played all of his home games in Savannah, a park known to zap power. That said, one home run all season from a first base prospect, and one that projects to have above-average power, is disheaertening. Smith's tools are all still in tact, so there's no reason that he can't take steps forward, though the Florida State League won't be much more forgiving in terms of power. Reports have Smith sacrificing some power for the sake of being a better all-around hitter, and he demonstrates plus power in batting practice, but he'll need to show more of it in games if he wants to be a first baseman in the major leagues.
Ready for the Majors: Noah Syndergaard, RHP: Syndergaard's stuff was still just as good this year as it was in the past, the kind of stuff that got him named among the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. He had some minor elbow and shoulder issues, but he responded from them just fine and his stuff was not diminished. SImply put, pitching in Vegas sucks and pitching prospects shouldn't be subjected to it. His struggles there stalled him briefly, but he'll be in the majors next season, possibly out of spring training, though probably after the super two deadline in June. There's not much left for him to prove in Vegas.
Statistical King: Dilson Herrera, 2B: Herrera's meteoric assent through the minors started in St. Lucie and ended in Queens, something that even he didn't see coming. When it was all said and done, he hit .323/.379/.479 combined between High and Double-A. That's not an accurate depiction of the kind of player Herrera can be in the majors, but he has established himself as a player the Mets can consider for their future, possibly as their everyday second baseman. He could probably still use some time in Triple-A, but needs forced a major league call-up. Expectations are through the roof for Herrera, so he's bound to disappoint a little, but he should be a quality major leaguer and fill a role on the Mets roster in some regard.
Newest Addition: Michael Conforto, OF: The 10th overall pick in the June draft, Conforto came in and did exactly what an advanced college bat should do in the New York-Penn League - hit. He hit just three home runs in 42 games, but should project for more power than that. He's not a surefire middle-of-the-order bat, but he should be an everyday player in the Mets outfield. He could move quickly through their system and may not need more than a half year at each level.