Stellar groups of starting pitchers often come in threes. The Braves had Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The Oakland A's had Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.
The Mets may be about to break the trend.
When righthander Noah Syndergaard, 21, makes his likely major-league debut in late June, a measure that will limit him to three years of arbitration, he'll be the third of the Mets' top-flight pitching prospects, joining Zack Wheeler and the injured Matt Harvey.
Acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade, Syndergaard has all the minor-league numbers you want in a pitcher: a 4.06 career strikeout-to-walk ratio, 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings, a 1.11 WHIP.
But close on his heels will be Rafael Montero, a 23-year-old righty signed out of the Dominican Republic with a 4.87 career strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 1.01 WHIP. He doesn't possess Syndergaard's heater, but his pinpoint control has made him dominant. Even in the pitcher's purgatory of Triple-A Las Vegas, where short fly balls often become home runs, Montero had a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts and gave up only four home runs.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have seen offensive prospects rise to the top.
Catcher Gary Sanchez, 21, has a powerful bat. Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez smashed two home runs in 11 at-bats in spring training and has 58 home runs and a .468 slugging percentage in four minor-league seasons. But his average has fluctuated and he posted a career-worst .412 slugging percentage in 2013 during his first taste of Double-A. His defense has been in question, but he's showing big improvement behind the plate. The question that will follow him: Is he just a sequel to Jesus Montero?
Third baseman Eric Jagielo, 21, was taken in the first round of the 2013 draft and hit .268 with a .381 on-base percentage and six home runs in 54 games in rookie and Class A ball. He has limited experience but projects well for an organization light on infield talent.
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