By: Brian Mangan
Let’s get one thing straight: Wilmer Flores and Noah Syndergaard are stud prospects banging down the door to the major leagues. They are not Lastings Milledge, or Mike Pelfrey, or Alex Escobar, or any other recent failed Mets prospect that you’d like to compare them to as a “cautionary tale”. Flores and Syndergaard (and a few other current Mets prospects) have already done more, at a higher level, with a better track record than almost any “failed” prospects that Mets fans would like to compare them to.
Even if they weren’t clearly better prospects (which they are) than many of the flops, a full 53% of Mets prospects who made the MLB Top 50 from 1992 to 2009 made an All Star team at some point in their career, and 26% of them received MVP votes in at least one season.
I understand the hesitance of my fellow Mets fan to embrace a good thing. We have been burned before. But it’s time to see these guys for what they are, and not worry about the worst-case scenario alternatives.
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Wilmer Flores hit .311 and slugged .494 in Double-A in his age 20 season. He followed that up by hitting .321 and slugging .543 in Triple-A before his 23rd birthday. In 162 games in Triple A, he’s notched 28 HR and 143 RBI, which had led to Wally Backman calling him the “best RBI guy I’ve ever seen.” Concerns about his glove have a reasonable basis, but there is no reason to doubt his bat.
Noah Syndergaard rocketed through the system and reached Triple-A at an even younger age than Flores. Syndergaard posted a 3.00 ERA and 11.5 K/9 in Double-A when he was only 20, and then held his own with a 4.60 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in Triple-A at age 21. Only two starters in the entire PCL had a better K/9 than Syndergaard did last year, and that combination of stats and plus pitches are the reason MLB.com ranked him the 10th best prospect in all of baseball.
Both Syndergaard and Flores have proven all they can in the minors, and are merely awaiting their call to the big leagues.