1) Lastings Milledge - Speed is his trademark. He is perhaps the fastest player already in the Mets' entire organization. He has huge power potential and can hit anywhere in the lineup. Milledge thinks of himself more as a leadoff hitter. His less than average patience at the plate and budding power forecast a different story, but only time will tell. The bottom line is Milledge can play anywhere and has a higher ceiling than any Mets' prospect in the last dozen years.
2) Yusmeiro Petit - It is widely known that Petit does not have the great stuff scouts love. At 19 years old, Petit has such a professional approach to pitching. He just knows how to get batters out, period! Petit mixed up his pitches very well and has excellent command. He hides the ball really well as most batters can not pick up his pitches at all. His time in AA-Binghamton next season will be the tell-tale sign of just how good he's going to be.
3) Shawn Bowman - Bowman is one of the best defensive third base prospects in all of baseball, not just the Mets' system. He has a ton of power potential and has the make up of a leader on the field and in the clubhouse. It's hard to believe but Bowman has the talent to make David Wright eventually switch positions.
4) Ian Bladergroen - Ok, let's get this out of the way. No, Bladergroen is not likely to hit for such a high average as he did this past season for Capital City. But Bladergroen has big-time power potential and has a flare for knocking in the big run. When the game is on the line he's the one you want in the batter's box. A very good defender, Bladergroen has the look of a perennial .300 hitter with 30+ home run power.
5) Ambiorix Concepcion - Concepcion is another five-tool talent with great power projection and fantastic speed. The scary part about Concepcion is he's still got a lot to improve on. The Vlad comparison we've all heard are not far off. Actually, Concepcion has a more accurate arm.
6) Jamar Hill - Hill always had the tools but he finally put it all together in 2004 for the Bombers. Hill is one of the most athletic players in the Mets' system. He's a true student of the game. In fact, his one downfall might be he thinks too much when playing. He's the type of player that will need to progress level-by-level so he'll be in St. Lucie next season. But what a talent!
7) Gaby Hernandez - Hernandez, just a teenager, ranks only behind Petit as the pitcher with the highest upside. And like Petit, Hernandez could have a meteoric rise through the system. Hernandez had three plus pitches and pinpoint control, all pretty much amazing for such a young player.
8) Carlos Gomez - It was tough to not rank Gomez higher on this list, he's got that much ability. Gomez can do it all: run, throw, hit, hit for power, etc. The ball just jumps off of his bat and has plus tools across the board. By the way, Gomez turns 19 in December so he'll most likely add more power to his 6'4", 190 lbs frame. He could be near the top of the list next season.
9) Jesus Flores - Flores has all the tools (except speed). He can hit for power, average, and uses all fields. He is already the best defensive catcher in the system which is really saying something considering the Mets have Hietpas and Hathaway. Flores has Pudge-like offensive and defensive ability. He has the chance to be an extra-special prospect for the Mets.
10) Victor Diaz - Diaz hits for average (he has two batting titles in his career), he hits for power, and he's a run producer. Plus he's still only 23 years old. Diaz would rank much higher on this list if not for two things: patience at the plate and lack of position. Still Diaz has a bright future ahead of him at the Major League level. The question is: will it be with the Mets?
11) Matthew Lindstrom - Lindstrom just has nasty stuff, including an overpowering fastball. Lindstrom is routinely in the 94-96 MPH range and has even touched 100 MPH on the gun. He has been used primarily as a starter in his short tenure but many a scout believe his future is as a reliever. Lindstrom has closer-type ability.
12) Brian Bannister - Bannister is a much better pitcher than his stats indicate. He has an above average fastball, a true changeup, curveball, and has developed a cut-fastball. Bannister knows how to pitch and uses both sides of the plate very well, setting up his pitches exceptionally. With just four years of experience on the mound, he has room for further develoment.
13) Brett Harper - Harper can flat out hit. He does not have the prototypical home run power of a first baseman but does have good power. Harper uses all fields and has the chance to be a high-average hitter at every level. He needs to improve defensively, but he's not that far off.
14) Michael Jacobs - Jacobs only managed to get into 27 games with the Tides this season before missing the rest of the year with a torn labrum. The injury did not effect his throwing, just his swing. Jacobs was able to start swing lightly in the Instructional Leagues and he should be 100% by Spring Training. It remains to be seen whether or not he will be used as both a catcher and first baseman.
15) Alhaji Turay - Turay is a very intelligent player that has five-tool talent. When he's in the lineup he's one of the better run producers around. The problem with Turay has been staying healthy. He's the right-handed version of Cliff Floyd right now...a ton of talent that has a hard time staying in the lineup. At 22 years old, it's mind boggling as to what type of numbers he could produce given 500 at-bats.
16) Aarom Baldiris - Baldiris can flat out hit. His approach at the plate resembles that of former Met, Edgardo Alfonzo. But like Fonzy, Baldiris has below average power, especially when playing third base. If he does move over to second base as he appears to be, Baldirs could be a very solid 2B prospect. Otherwise, he ranks behind Wright, Bowman, and even Davis on potential at third base.
17) Shane Hawk - Hawk is a really, really good left-handed pitching prospect. He has excellent command, good stuff, and simply overpowers hitters. He has a bright future as a lefty specialist down the road (at minimum), but don't count him out a solid reliever overall. He can get righties out too!
18) Corey Ragsdale - Ragsdale's tale of the tape is an infamous one by now. He's easily one of the best defensive shortstop prospects in all of baseball. He has a decent eye at the plate, good speed, and decent power. His problem has been contact. All he needs to do to be a big-time impact player at the Major League level is hit .250 consistently. If he can, he's one of the best prospects in the Mets system. He's one of the best athletes going but needs to hit for a higher average to make that leap.
19) Jesus Gamero - Gamero is an intriguing prospect. He has a lightning-quick bat and a short, compact swing that generates a lot of power. He has excellent speed and is a solid defender. He has the look of Concepcion-type talent and could have a breakout season in 2005.
20) Blake McGinley - McGinley does not have the blazing fastball or stuff to make scouts notice him. All he does is get guys out on a regular basis. He has a career 4.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a career 1.05 WHIP ratio. Who cares about his "stuff"? Look at the results!
21) Greg Ramirez - Whether a starter or reliever, Ramirez has done everything that has been asked of him. He has excellent command of his pitches and appears to have a bright future. A little old for the South Atlantic League, Ramirez is going to have to duplicate his success at the higher levels to remain ranked so high. He has the stuff and control to be very good.
22) Aaron Heilman - Heilman was a steady as they came until a disasterous time with the Mets in 2003. Even still, he was considered a strong candidate for the Mets rotation this past season but was sent to AAA-Norfolk instead. After struggling mightily in the beginning of the season, Heilman was one of the better pitchers in the Mets' organization the second half of the season. He's still a decent pitching prospect but has fallen out of favor with the Mets.
23) Bob Keppel - Like Heilman, Keppel had a disasterous start to the 2004 season but pitched quite well the second half of the year. Keppel has an extensive repertoire and good command of his pitches. His lack of strikeouts hurts his overall ranking but has the stuff to be a solid pitcher at the Major League level. Remember, he's still just 22 years old!
24) Bobby Malek - Two years removed from elbow surgery, Malek had a breakout season in 2004. He showed the power he displayed in college and has very good speed. Malek is a good outfield prospect that could further his status with an even better campaign in 2005 at Binghamton. He's a flat out gamer.
25) Angel Pagan - Pagan is a solid fourth outfielder prospect for the Mets and could be used as a spot starter too. He has surprising gap power and excellent speeed. Pagan can play any of the outfield positions and is a good contact hitter.
26) Royce Ring - Acquired in the Roberto Alomar trade, Ring fell out of favor with the Mets for some reason in 2005, being demoted to AA-Binghamton. Ring is still a solid left-handed relief prospect that could find his way into the Mets' bullpen as early as 2005.
27) Kevin Deaton - An offensive lineman growin up, Deaton is a huge presence on the mound, literally. He has excellent command of his pitches and for some reason has flown under the prospect radar. He has a fastball clocked regularly around 94 MPH and a tight curveball to go with a solid changeup. He could make some noise in 2005.
28) Wayne Lydon - Easily one of the fastest players in the Mets system, Lydon has done a lot to improve his overall worth as an outfield prospect by hitting for more power and showing more selectivity at the plate in the last couple of seasons. Like Pagan, Lydon has a realistic chance to break into the Major Leagues as a valuable fourth outfielder, pinch-runner, and defensive replacement.
29) Craig Brazell - Brazell seemingly will never get a true shot with the Mets. He has a ton of power and makes good contact despite not being the most patient hitter at the plate. The fact the Mets are down on his patience hurts his overall ranking. He's better than #29 but does not figure in the Mets' long term plans.
30) Kole Strayhorn - Acquired from the Dodgers in the Jeromy Burnitz deal, Strayhorn is a very good relief pitching prospect. He battled injuries all season in Binghamton this past year. Still just 22 years old, Strayhorn needs to show he can remain healthy. He's a potential closer down the road.
31) Miguel Pinango - There is no set timetable for Pinango to return after an injury cut his 2004 season short after just three starts. When healthy, he's the epitome of control on the mound and has the chance to be a very good pitching prospect for the Mets. If he returns to form in 2005 he'll be among the top Mets prospects for sure.
32) Nick Evans - Unlike Bowman, Evans' biggest need for improvement is his defense. Evans can flat out hit and his power potential has scouts drooling. Led the GCL Mets with 7 home runs and has the chance to be awfully good at the plate.
33) Mike Carp - Carp was the Mets' 9th round selection in the 2004 draft and could be a very good prospect down the road. Some scouts say his approach at the plate and work ethic remind them of a left-handed version of David Wright. Only time will tell but he has the look of a special player and could make a Bowman-like rise in the prospect rankings.
34) Scott Hyde - He wasn't even supposed to see live action after being selected in the 7th round of the draft. Some scouts believe he's one of the better "sleepers" in the 2004 draft and Hyde has a ton of potential. He's the Cyclones' starter, a very good rotation mind you, with the highest upside.
35) Joseph Hietpas - Already one of the best defensive catchers in all of minor league baseball, Hietpas has had troubles offensively or else he would have ranked much higher. We think he's ready for a breakout season in 2005 and if he does, he'll propel himself into the Top 20. He's that good defensively. Hietpas is the catcher version of Ragsdale.
36) Blake Eager - Some scouts believe Eager has the stuff to be a top pitching prospect in the Mets' system rather quickly. He has excellent command of his pitches and has a plan on the mound.
36) Caleb Stewart - Drafted in 2004, Stewart has above average power projection. He has good speed for a guy his size and has an excellent eye at the plate. He's a sleeper out of this year's draft and could surprise folks quickly. He's one to keep an eye on!
38) Dante Brinkley - A leader in the clubhouse and on the field, Brinkley does a little bit of everything. He plays good defense, can steal bases, and hits for decent power. He needs to be challenged in 2005 and should start in St. Lucie.
39) Aaron Hathaway - Along with Flores, Hathaway is already one of the best defensive catchers in the Mets' system. He has a cannon for an arm and has more offensive potential than he showed at Brooklyn in his professional debut. He could skip a level in '05 and go right to St. Lucie.
40) Evan MacLane - Like Petit and McGinley, MacLane doesn't dazzle you with tremendous stuff. He simply gets batters out and has impeccable control of his pitches. The fact that he's a lefty will aid his cause as he rises through the ranks.
41) Neal Musser - Once considered a top prospect in the Mets' organization, 2004 was a bounce back season for Musser. He's still only 24 years old and should not be forgotten as a legitimate pitching prospect. 2005 will be a pivotal year for him when he's a part of the Norfolk rotation.
42) Sean Henry - Playing SS for the GCL Mets in 2004, there's already speculation that Henry could find his way over to second base. He has excellent speed, a good eye at the plate, and decent power. If he moves over to 2B, he could be one of the Mets' best prospects at that position. Only 19 years old, he has a ton of room to improve his power potential.
43) Michael Devaney - Among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA, Devaney has a solid repertoire and good command of his pitches. He might be the Cyclones' pitcher that skips low-A ball in '05 and goes right to St. Lucie. Along with Hyde, he's the Cyclones' starter with some decent upside.
44) Ryan Harvey - We can't discount his SAL All-Star nomination in 2004, but at 25, time is running out for Harvey to remain a legitimate prospect. He could skip St. Lucie and go right to Binghamton in 2005.
45) Orlando Rengel - Still has room to fill out and already has a solid four-pitch repertoire with a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. He's been clocked as high as 95 MPH with his fastball and has room to improve his speed.
46) Jose Gomez - A big bodied pitcher (6'2", 250 lbs), Gomez is armed with a fastball that regularly hits 94 MPH and get as high as 96 MPH on the gun. He has a developing changeup and slider.
47) Corey Coles - Coles barely makes the top 50 because of his hustle and desire. He puts 110% out on the field on every play. His problem appears to be he puts too much pressure on himself. He'll have to put up good numbers at the higher levels next season to stay in this class.
48) Jonathan Slack - Slack is a good all-around player with excellent speed. He's a little old for A-ball but should be in AA-Binghamton in 2005. He has a chance to be a decent fourth outfielder down the road.
49) Cory Wells - Blessed with a ton of talent, the word on the street is he sometimes seems less than enthusiastic in the field. Apparently he plays better when his good friend Lastings is around. He's going to have to produce quickly to catch up to Lastings if he wants to play with him. Has tools & game similiar to Jamar Hill.
50) Blake Whealy - #50 was a tough call. We put Whealy here over others simply on the merits of his fantastic turnaround at Cap City in 2004. He's going to have to duplicate his numbers at higher levels in a hurry to stay on this list.