I have gone through each long-season team in the Mets’ system and analyzed their top performers, surprises, disappointments, and their outlook for the second half. Now, it’s time to look at the organization as a whole with mid-season awards. This is the final post in this series.
Biggest Surprise: Travis Taijeron, OF
Not many even considered Taijeron a top 40 prospect in the Mets system before this season started. However, through 76 minor league games this season, he has changed his status dramatically.
Taijeron has had a stellar season at the plate. Through 272 at-bats between St. Lucie and Savannah, he is hitting .287 and leads the Met organization with 16 home runs and 54 RBI. He also has an outstanding .401 on-base percentage.
In 2011, Taijeron didn’t show nearly this much power. This year, he has shown that he’s a legitimate run-producer. He even earned himself a promotion to St. Lucie and has already hit four homers through 12 games.
Hopefully Taijeron can continue this display of power and help the Mets one day.
Biggest Disappointment: Reese Havens, INF
This year was really the last chance for Reese Havens. At 25, 2012 was going to be the third season for Havens in Double-A Binghamton. He needed to step up.
Instead, Havens (when healthy) has really struggled at the plate. Once thought of as the best or one of the best hitters in the Mets organization, Havens is hitting just .218 this season through 58 games. Last year through 58 games he was batting .289.
He’s getting too old to be considered a prospect anymore. He won’t appear on my top prospects list (or many others) next year at 26 years old. He was a college graduate and they usually come up to the big leagues at 24 to 25, but Havens isn’t even close to being ready to hit big league pitching. He hasn’t even made his Triple-A debut yet.
I was really hoping that Havens could finally get healthy and start rising again. However, I’ve only been disappointed with his performance halfway through 2012.
Best Hitter: Wilmer Flores, INF
Wilmer Flores could have been the “Biggest Surprise” award winner, as well as the “Best Hitter” award winner.
Flores has restored his top prospect status this season, having a fantastic season between St. Lucie and Binghamton. Flores earned himself a Florida State League All-Star nomination, and even ended up being the MVP of the All-Star Game. In 64 games in St. Lucie, Flores hit .289 with ten homers and 42 RBI. In Binghamton, he’s been even better. After his promotion, he’s hitting .364 in 55 at-bats.
Flores’ stock dropped dramatically last season, going from a top 100 prospect to another international free agent bust. He wasn’t very impressive in 2011 in 133 games with St. Lucie, but at 19, he was probably too young to be playing in the really tough Florida State League. That’s the landing spot for most of the first-round college pitchers, which means that Flores was facing refined pitchers two to three years older than him. He gets a pass from me on last year.
The one thing that Flores really needs to improve on is his defense. He doesn’t really have a position. Everything will fall into place for him, however if he hits and that’s what he’s done through the first half of 2012.
Wilmer Flores is once again a name to watch as he rises through the minor league system.
Best Pitcher: Zack Wheeler, SP
Zack Wheeler can be described with one word: dominant.
Wheeler has been incredible with Double-A Binghamton, going 8-4 with a 2.62 ERA. He has been so dominant, striking out almost one batter per inning. Thanks to a few adjustments to his mechanics, his control has improved tremendously as well.
Wheeler is now one of baseball’s best prospect. According to Baseball America, he’s now the 10th best prospect. That’s 24 spots better than his pre-season rank.
Wheeler now looks like a future anchor of the Mets staff. If he can continue to improve on his control and continues to dominant the way he has in the minors, he could find himself in the Mets rotation in 2013.