Stoner, the Mets' 16th round pick in 2006, had the most success of this group, reaching the big leagues in September of 2009. He made four relief appearances in 2009, and one more in 2010, but will be remembered more for his name than his pitching. He was moving backwards in the minors too: AAA Buffalo where he pitched to a 5.97 ERA, was his only minor league stop in 2010 before making 16 starts for double-A Binghamton in 2011. This year, with prospects like Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, Zack Wheeler, Darin Gorski and Colin McHugh and Armando Rodriguez fighting for spots in double-A and triple-A there was no room anymore for a place-holder like Stoner. I had Stoner ranked #31 in the system in 2009, and #32 in 2010. He missed the 2011 and 2012 lists.
Merritt, originally a 27th round draft pick, was the 2009 Binghamton Mets Pitcher of the Year in 2009. (Hey, Josh Thole was the position Player of the Year: 1-for-2 ain't bad.) Merritt owned a 5.65 ERA at AA Binghamton in 2011, where righties hit .309/.367/.398 against him. I had Merritt ranked as the #40 prospect in the system in 2009 and 2010. He was unranked the last two years.
Niesen, the Mets 3rd round pick in 2007, just never threw enough strikes. Like Stoner and Merritt, he was pushed out of a job at AA by the guys coming up from behind. I had Niesen ranked #18 in 2010, when he was throwing 92 mph in Binghamton. Last season, in 27 games out of the B-Mets bullpen, he ran a 7.94 ERA and walked 31 guys in 28.1 IP. Ouch.
Nick Carr had a big arm, but no idea where it was going, and he hung around a-ball, and the bottom of my rankings for the last few years. I had him at #30 in 2009, and #35 in 2011 after his return from Tommy John Surgery, which was one of a series of injuries that kept him off the field. He was ok in 2011, pitching to a 2.40 ERA out of the St. Lucie bullpen, but walked 14 guys in 30 IP. He might find another job on his arm strength alone. I remember going to a St. Lucie Mets game in 2008, and swooning for Carr's arm when he was throwing 94 but chucking balls to the backstop.
Greene, a 16th round pick in 2009, who the Mets went over slot ($125,000) to sign was a speedy centerfielder who just never hit in the minors. Greene hit .256/.373/.337 in 29 games for Brooklyn last year as a 21-year old. I had Greene ranked #31 on my 2010 list, but he missed 2011 and 2012. Greene was the youngest guy released Monday. You know, if there isn't going to be room for Greene in the low minors, is that a sign that Brandon Nimmo is getting closer to locking down the Savannah centerfield job?
The Mets grabbed Ronny Morla as a minor league Rule 5 pick from the Cubs in December 2010. He spent most of last year with Savannah, putting up nice number out of the Sand Gnats bullpen, but he'll be 24 in May 2012 without a real out pitch.
I feel no guilt about having ever ranked any of these guys in my Top 41 Mets prospects. None were ranked in 2012, and only Carr made the 2011 Top 41. Basically, any guy in the bottom half of the Top 41, who slips off the list for a few years, is in pretty good danger of being released.