KG: Well, nobody is saying Lagares is going to hit .370. But he does have a better hit tool then Puello or Capt. Kirk, and that matters, and none of them is going to be a center fielder in the big leagues. Puello is still far more tools than reality, and his approach is a complete mess, while Nieuwenhuis is certainly the most likely to have a career, but the ceiling is questionable.
TH: As a follow-up from me, you wrote that Lagares could grow into 15-18 HR annually, while his career-high is nine from 2011. Nieuwenhuis has a couple of 15+ HR seasons to his credit in 2009 and 2010. Do you think Nieuwenhuis, who's about a year and a half older, has come closer to maxing out his power development?
KG: I do. The thing about Nieuwenhuis is that he's kind of a what you see is what you get type. There are so few weaknesses in his game, but no star-level tools either.
TH: Dave in Spain wants to know: Which prospect in this Top 20 has the best chance of shooting up the rankings this year? Who could drop off the radar completely?
Kevin: Well, first off, tell Dave that he is in friggin' SPAIN, and has better things to do than worry about Mets prospects.
TH: like drink good spanish wine, and eat delish spanish cheese?
KG: Or just, you know, hang out in Spain.
KG: Akeel Morris has really great stuff and it all looks right and will a few refinements, I could see him moving up significantly next year. As far as the opposite goes, I realize he's young, but at some point Wilmer Flores has to hit to the position he's going to end up at.
TH: Good answers. I've been getting lots of Valdespin questions. You have him ranked as a 2B. I've never talked to anyone outside the Mets organization who thinks he can play shortstop. Have you?
Kevin: Not really. One of those frustrating types who has the athetlicism for the position, but just can't play it.
TH: And because of this, and the fact that he has some strike zone control, I still have Reese Havens ahead of Valdespin. You went tools of Valdespin. Am I just being stubborn? How hard a decision was this for you, recognizing that they're separated only by Jenrry Mejia's surgically repaired UCL in your rankings?
KG: Havens is incredibly hard to rank, at least for me. What do you do with a player like that? Like I wrote, if he had been healthy throughout his career, he's already be the Mets second baseman, and probably an established one. But here we are, and he misses 80 games a year. His career high is 97, and that's three years ago now. What do we do with that?
TH: Hope he doesn't develop arthritis like Fernando Martinez? Sorry, cheap Mets joke.
KG: Exactly. At some point it's going to take it's toll.
TH: The perfectgame wants to know: "Did you give C Albert Cordero any consideration for a spot at the back end of your Top 20? Cordero and LHP Josh Edgin, while neither a top prospect, are two of the guys I'm most interested in following this season. Any thoughts on either player?" I know Edgin was your sleeper
KG: Edgin was my sleeper, and I know the Mets think he can move quickly, and scouts agree. As for Cordero, he not only received consideration, he was the LAST cut from the list, so he's No. 21.
TH: As long as we're on guys who missed. I think I'm the highest on Aderlin Rodriguez of anyone still out there. I get the negatives: the batting average was iffy this year, he swings all the time, he struggles at third. Still, he has significantly more power than Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte, both of whom still land in your Top 20. How much did Rodriguez miss by?
Kevin: He would have been in the 20s. I just don't think he's anything more than a 1B, and 1B can't have the kind of holes in their game that he does.
TH: So the implied logic is that you give Marte a better chance of staying at third than Rodriguez?
Kevin: and a batter chance to hit more than his weight.
Kevin: Look, Aderlin has CRAZY raw power, but that's it. Every other aspect of his game is a mess right now.
TH: Yeah. I think I've written nearly that exact sentence. I saw a lot of Aderlin in 2011.
KG: Sure, you know him as good as anyone. You've seen the mess and once ever eight days he hits a ball 430 feet.
TH: Pretty much. With lots of pop-ups in between. I guess for me, he has a plus, if not better, MLB tool. I'm not sure Marte does. And Aderlin's arm is better.
Kevin: Marte is at 17, and that was a late surge. A couple of scouts in the Arizona Fall League had good things to say about him, at least offensively, so I put him up there, to the chagrin of our Cordero fan.
TH: Ha. Right.
TH: More from reader UBE13: Do you hold out any hope for Cory Vaughn?
KG: minor, tiny hope
TH: Ok, lets step back a moment from individual guys. Is there anything that made the Mets list particularly difficult from your perspective?
KG: Not really. They're all hard, you know? I flip them all over the place and talk to a lot of people and I'm never 100% comfortable. But there was nothing specific to the Mets list.
me: Thank you!
Kevin: no problem