There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009.
The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013′ will look back on some of the major happenings in each MLB organization since the beginning of April as a primer for the upcoming FanGraphs Top 10+5 prospects lists. This series will run throughout September and October. I hope you enjoy the series and are eagerly anticipating the start of ‘Prospect List Season.’
The player listed in the sleeper section was featured in a pre-season series that looked at one fringe prospect in each organization that was expected to take a big step forward during 2013, chosen by myself, a scout or a front office talent evaluator.
The Graduate: Zack Wheeler, RHP: Wheeler entered 2013 as the organization’s top pitching prospect. After making 13 starts at the Triple-A level, he received a call up to the Majors and never looked back. Although he held his own, Wheeler will need to improve his fastball command to realize his full potential and develop into a No. 2 starter behind (an eventually healthy) Matt Harvey.
The Riser: Kevin Plawecki, C: The catching ranks around baseball are thin, especially in terms of high-ceiling prospects. Plawecki had an impressive first full season in the minors and could develop into a big league regular. The big league club already has high-ceiling rookie Travis d’Arnaud starting behind the plate so there is no clear path to regular playing time for Plawecki unless the former Jays prospect falls on his face or continues to battle injuries.
The Tumbler: Luis Mateo, RHP: Pitchers Rafael Montero and Mateo both entered 2013 looking to build upon breakout 2012 seasons. The former reached triple-A and should see the Majors in 2014 but the latter blew out his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery in June after appearing in just four games in ’13. Mateo won’t return until late 2014 when he’ll be 24 years of age with just one game of experience above A-ball and four games above short-season ball. A future move to the bullpen might help expedite his arrival in The Show.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Ivan Wilson, OF: Wilson, 18, has one of the highest ceilings from the Mets’ 2013 draft but — after splitting his athletic focus in high school — he’s also quite raw on the baseball diamond. The Louisiana native possesses impresses raw power and has surprising swiftness for someone with a 6-3, 220-pound frame. A strong spring in 2014 could push him to low-A ball but he might require some additional time in extended spring training.
The Sleeper: Danny Muno, IF: Muno doesn’t have a huge ceiling but he does a number of useful things. The infielder can play three positions (second, third base and shortstop), he swings from both sides of the plate and he’s an on-base machine (He walked more than 90 times in 127 games). His numbers have dropped off with each promotion through the minors so his ceiling is diminishing with each move but he should at least see some time in the Majors as a role player.