We’ll provide periodic rankings and updates of the top minor leaguers in the Mets and Yankees farm systems throughout the season. For the purposes of this list, players with significant major league experience (Vic Black, Travis d’Arnaud, etc…) will not be considered. All stats are current as of April 9:
1. NOAH SYNDERGAARD, RHP, Triple-A Las Vegas
The Mets’ top prospect, and one of the top starting pitching prospects in the majors, gave up six hits and two earned runs in six innings during his first start for Triple-A Las Vegas. He walked one and struck out five.
2. RAFAEL MONTERO, RHP, Triple-A Las Vegas
Montero has allowed three earned runs in 11 innings (two starts) for Las Vegas, allowing 10 hits and demonstrating his trademark control with just one walk and 14 strikeouts.
3. DOMINIC SMITH, 1B, Single-A Savannah
Smith played in just 48 games for the Mets’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2013, but posted impressive numbers (.287 average, .384 on-base percentage). He’s off to a slow start in 2014, going 4-for-18 with three strikeouts.
4. BRANDON NIMMO, OF, Single-A Advanced St. Lucie
The athletic Nimmo has raised his average and on-base percentage during each of his first three seasons in the minors. He’s off to a strong start for St. Lucie, going 5-for-16 with two doubles and four walks. He's also struck out five times.
5. STEVEN MATZ, LHP, Single-A Advanced St. Lucie
Now fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Ward Melville's Matz is pitching for St. Lucie a season after dominating with Savannah (2.62 ERA, 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings). In five innings, Matz has allowed seven hits, one walk and two earned runs and struck out five.
6. KEVIN PLAWECKI, C, Double-A Binghamton
Plawecki firmly put himself on the prospect map by making strong contact and showing excellent plate discipline last season at Savannah and St. Lucie. In his first taste of Double-A, Plawecki is 3-for-11 with a walk and two strikeouts.
7. CESAR PUELLO, OF, Triple-A Las Vegas
Puello was enjoying a powerful season at Double-A in 2013 when he was suspended for his involvement with PEDs as part of the Biogenesis investigation. He’s 7-for-23 this season with a double, two walks and seven strikeouts. Whether he displays his old power is the big question mark.
8. JACOB DEGROM, RHP, Triple-A Las Vegas
After an impressive spring training, deGrom could have put himself on the map for an early call-up. In one start for Las Vegas, he allowed three hits, a walk and an unearned run, striking out six in six innings.
9. GABRIEL YNOA, RHP, Single-A Advanced St. Lucie
Ynoa showcased pinpoint control in 2013, walking only 16 in 136 innings at Savannah. He has one walk and one strikeout along with eight hits in 5.1 innings this season, allowing two earned runs.
10. ROBERT GSELLMAN, RHP, Single-A Savannah
Given his 2013 campaign (2.58 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.6 K/BB at three levels of A ball), it’s a wonder Gsellman doesn’t crack Baseball America’s list of the Mets’ top 30 prospects. He had an uneven first start for 2014, allowing 10 hits and two walks in 5.1 innings, but permitting just two earned runs and striking out five.
11. MICHAEL FULMER, RHP, Single-A Advanced St. Lucie
Fulmer only pitched 46 innings in 2013 after undergoing right knee surgery. He had a rocky debut this season, allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs in just 3.2 innings. Fulmer, who possesses a fastball that can reach around 95 mph, did strike out four.
12. DILSON HERRERA, 2B, Single-A Advanced St. Lucie
The raw, high-energy player thrived in the Mets system at the tail end of 2013 after he was acquired from the Pirates as part of the Marlon Byrd and John Buck trade. He’s 3-for-17 with two walks and five strikeouts to start 2014.
13. GAVIN CECCHINI, SS, Single-A Savannah
The athletic, toolsy shortstop, still needs to show he can harness his gifts. He’s 4-for-20 with a home run, two walks and four strikeouts to start the 2014 season.
14. JACK LEATHERSICH, LHP, Double-A Binghamton
It’s rare that a relief prospect garners such fan attention, but Leathersich’s strikeout numbers are eye-popping. It’s his control that’s done him in since a promotion to Triple-A last season. He’s starting 2014 at Double-A but his wildness hasn’t gone away. Though he has seven strikeouts in 2.1 innings, he’s also allowed two hits, three walks and three earned runs.