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Mets vs. Yankees: Outfield Prospects
For whatever reason, Mets' outfielder Carlos Gomez continues to fly under the radar of other prospect publications despite impressing scouts wherever he goes. Though most prospect rankings have both Jose Tabata of the Yankees and Fernando Martinez of the Mets ranked higher, mostly because of their younger age, the fact is Gomez can do more than both on a baseball diamond.
Gomez projects to have equal or better power than both; he has much, much more speed than both;, he's got a prolific arm; he is a demonstratively better defensive outfielder; and he has the potential to hit for nearly as high an average. In the prospect world, younger isn't necessarily better.
The raging debate between Yankees and Mets fans as of late has been: who is better, Jose Tabata or Fernando Martinez? While their talents are extremely close, Tabata gets an ever so slight edge due to better power projection. Both players project to hit for a high average, both have very good power projection, both have average speed, both have average arms, and both are really safe bets to reach their ceiling.
With the graduation of Lastings Milledge to the big leagues however, the Mets are pretty devoid of high ceiling outfield prospects. Jamar Hill and Ambiorix Concepcion, once considered high ceiling prospects, have proven to be more fourth outfielder types as they've climbed the minor league ladder. Both are still just one very good year away from resurrecting their top prospect status, but they'll need to show much more consistent contact for that to happen.
The Mets have a pair of young outfield prospects in Dustin Martin and Daniel Stegall who could possibly develop into starting outfield prospects in due time, but both lack the plus power potential to forecast as such right now. The likes of Corey Coles, Sean Henry, and Joe Holden all have flashed some tools, especially in the speed department, but each has a ceiling of a reserve outfielder type at the big league level.
The Yankees also have their fair share of reserve outfielder types. Justin Christian and Seth Fortenberry are pretty good bets to become reserve outfielder types down the road, but with their plus speed on the base paths and able to flash signs of other tools, they're not out of the starting equation all together.
Colin Curtis and Bronson Sardinha both lack a plus offensive tool in their games, but both are solid enough in all areas that they project to fit somewhere in between a reserve outfielder and a starter, depending on their progress.
Possessing a safe stable of legitimate big league outfielders, the Yankees also have more than enough high ceiling talents at the outfield position. Josue Calzado and Melky Mesa each have plus speed, plus arms, and plus power potential, but they'll need to show more consistency at the plate to reach their potential.
Tim Battle and Austin Jackson are also a pair of high ceiling outfield prospects who will need to cut down on their strikeouts and be more consistent at the plate, but it would be difficult to find better athletes in the outfield. Both have power projection and very good speed.
The Yankees also have a trio of prospects from the Dominican Summer League and July 2nd signing period that have as much upside as anybody on this list. Carlos Urena has the chance to be the Yankees' version of Carlos Gomez. Urena, like Gomez, is an elite defensive outfielder with a plus, plus arm. And also like Gomez, Urena has an uncanny knack for making contact and he too brings a ton of energy to the field.
Andres Dionicio has changed positions three times already and the jury is still out how he will handle the move to the outfield. But he boasts some of the best bat speed and power projections around. Zoilo Almonte is not only the top switch-hitting outfield prospect from either organization, but he's the only one. He projects to fit somewhere in between a Melky Cabrera and Bernie Williams type at the big league level.
While the Yankees have more than enough high-ceiling outfield prospects, they also have one of the safest bets to reach his ceiling in Brett Gardner. Gardner is an elite leadoff hitter with plus defensive ability in the outfield. He not only has the best speed from either organization, but he arguably has the best approach at the plate and he's easily the best bunter.
How Do They Compare In...
Power: The name of the game in the power department is projection. None of the top power hitting outfield prospects hit double-digit home runs this past season. It's more of a three-way tie at the current time between Carlos Gomez, Jose Tabata, and Fernando Martinez as to who has the best power. But outside of the Mets' big two - Gomez and Martinez - they can't hold a candle to the collection of potential power bats from the Yankees - Dionicio, Calzado, Mesa, Urena, Sardinha, Battle, etc. Advantage: Yankees
Hitting For Average: Tabata's slight edge in power allows him to hit balls into the gaps a bit more frequently and it should make him the top high-average hitter from either farm system. But both Fernando Martinez (.333 in Hagerstown) and Carlos Gomez (.341 in second-half at Double-A) of the Mets are right up there with him. The Yankees however can counter with Brett Gardner (.323 in Tampa) and Colin Curtis (.302 in professional debut). Throw in Justin Christian (.304 career hitter) and he offsets Dustin Martin of the Mets, who could be a very good high-average hitter. Advantage: Yankees
Defense: The ascensions of Melky Mesa, Josue Calzado, and Carlos Urena added to the stellar defensive abilities of Brett Gardner, Tim Battle, and Matt Carson gives the Yankees a slam-dunk edge in this category, even though Carlos Gomez is the best of them all. Advantage: Yankees
Speed: It would be a pretty close race among the top contenders - Brett Gardner, Carlos Gomez, Justin Christian, Tim Battle, and Austin Jackson. And while the Mets' Sean Henry, Daniel Stegall, and Joe Holden are very quick in their own right, there simply aren't enough wheels in Queens to keep up with the likes of Melky Mesa, Josue Calzado, and Seth Fortenberry. The Yankees have just too much speed as a whole. Advantage: Yankees.
Overall Potential: Carlos Gomez, Jose Tabata, and Fernando Martinez are easily the top three outfield prospects between both New York farm systems. All three have All-Star talent, period. And while the both organizations can put up another name or two in the high-ceiling department, the name to remember for the future is Carlos Urena. He has a very good chance to be equally as good as anybody on this list and his game compares very favorably to Carlos Gomez.
Highest Ceilings: Carlos Gomez (Mets), Jose Tabata (Yankees), Fernando Martinez (Mets), Carlos Urena (Yankees), Josue Calzado (Yankees)
Best Power: Carlos Gomez (Mets), Jose Tabata (Yankees), Fernando Martinez (Mets), Andres Dionicio (Yankees), Tim Battle (Yankees)
Best Average: Jose Tabata (Yankees), Fernando Martinez (Mets), Carlos Gomez (Mets), Brett Gardner (Yankees), Colin Curtis (Yankees)
Best Defense: Carlos Gomez (Mets), Tim Battle (Yankees), Josue Calzado (Yankees), Carlos Urena (Yankees), Melky Mesa (Yankees)
Best Speed: Brett Gardner (Yankees), Carlos Gomez (Mets), Justin Christian (Yankees), Tim Battle (Yankees), Austin Jackson (Yankees).
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