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A look at the Mets' top 5 prospects

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia throws a bullpen session

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia throws a bullpen session during spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Feb. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

A look at who are considered the Mets' top prospects in the minor leagues.

MATT HARVEY: RHP, 23, Triple-A Buffalo

Harvey earned his first invitation to major-league camp this year and experienced some growing pains in getting ready for the season. After not allowing a hit or run in four scoreless relief innings, Harvey was thumped in his first start by the Nationals, who drilled him for three homers and five runs in one inning. Harvey added a sinker during the offseason, so it sounds like that might be a good pitch to work on.

ZACK WHEELER: RHP, 21, Double-A Binghamton

Acquired from the Giants last July for Carlos Beltran, Wheeler impressed during his stints on the complex’s backfields this spring. With a fastball that reached 97 mph, and sat in the 93-94 range, the hard-throwing Wheeler also relies on a changeup, a big-breaking curve and is still fine-tuning his slider. Needs to work on his command.

JEURYS FAMILIA: RHP, 22, Triple-A Buffalo

Another hard-thrower, with a sharp slider, Familia is currently a starter but his destiny could be in the bullpen if he fails to develop an effective third pitch. Familia whiffed 96 in 87 2/3 innings last season at Double-A Binghamton, where he won the Sterling Award as the team’s MVP. A quick start with the Bisons could make him the first to jump to the majors.

JENRRY MEJIA: RHP, 22, Triple-A Buffalo

Rushed to the majors as a reliever in 2010, Mejia has paid the price of that ill-fated decision ever since with numerous injuries, including Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011. The good news is that Mejia’s rehab is on schedule and he could get a shot at the major-league level later this year, if needed.

KIRK NIEUWENHUIS: OF, 24, Triple-A Buffalo

Nieuwenhuis was limited to just 53 games last season due to surgery to repair a torn labrum and his development was slowed as a result. With the Mets badly in need of outfield depth, the power-hitting Nieuwenhuis is an attractive option — Terry Collins compared him to Jim Edmonds — but he was derailed this spring by an oblique injury. Still, he’s on the short call-up list if the Mets need help, especially a replacement centerfielder.


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