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The Future of a Franchise Lies in Young Guns

(The Verge) – The New York Mets have endured four straight losing seasons. Their fan base hungers for some sort of hope. When will the losing stop and the team return to being a contender? The answer, may not be too far away. Current General manager Sandy Alderson has infused the Mets minor league system with a plethora of young talent, especially at pitcher. The Mets future success will rely heavily on the home grown players Alderson has brought to his organization. So, who are these young guns?
Whenever you talk about the Mets minor league system, one of the first names the comes to mind is pitcher Zach Wheeler. He has already drawn comparisons to the National’s young ace Stephen Strasburg. He is the Mets best pitching prospect, and is ranked as one of the better young right handers by Baseball America. The 22 year old’s debut in Queens is just a matter of time. He is projected to start the year at Triple A in Las Vegas. However, an injury in mid summer or a trade of starter Johan Santana could signal Wheeler’s presence in New York.
Wheeler has all the tools of an ace. Standing at 6’4 he has the presence of a dominant starter. His fastball is consistently clocked in the mid 90s, and can even reach the upper 90s. His slider is second best pitch. It has good bite and sharp downward action. His change up is what will allow him to be even more dominant. He is currently working to improve this pitch, and give himself a solid repertoire. The most intriguing thing about Wheeler, is that he’s rated as a better prospect than current Met starting pitcher Matt Harvey, who showed his potential in 10 impressive starts with the team last season. Harvey and Wheeler will look to give the Mets a 1-2 punch in their rotation for a long time.

Zack Wheeler, the most prolific new Mets prospect, is already causing some excitement with his potential. Image taken from: cd1.sbnation.com

What made off season headlines for the Mets this winter was when they announced the trade of Cy Young award winner and fan favorite R.A. Dickey. His move to Toronto was one that all 30 MLB executives agreed was a good move for the Mets. They received the best catching prospect in baseball in Travis D’Arnaud. The Mets also received the Blue Jay’s top pitching prospect, Noah Syndergaard. There is heavy pressure on both these players to make the Dickey trade a success.
D’Arnaud will start the season in Triple A, like Zach Wheeler. It is also just a matter of time before he emerges in New York. Once the Mets find a suitor for current catcher John Buck sometime in the summer, D’Arnaud is sure to get the call to Queens. He has great power for a catcher, and is projected to hit for a high average, too. The only knock on D’Arnaud is his knees; he suffered an injury last season that caused him to miss significant action. Injuries aside, D’Arnaud has Mets fans buzzing with his potential.
We can’t forget about Noah Syndergaard now can we? Although D’Arnaud was the centerpiece of the Dickey trade, Syndergaard was the kicker. Standing at 6’5 and 200 lbs, he has the makeup scouts desire in a front line starter. It is believed he has the tools similar to Zach Wheeler. There isn’t much to dislike about Syndergaard, but there is a catch. He is only pitching in A ball, so Met fans may not see him until next season. Still, there is much promise in this young right hander.
Noah Syndergaard is also becoming a top-notch Mets contender in the rotation this year. Image taken from: metsmerizedonline.com

Beyond the aforementioned Wheeler, Harvey, and Syndergaard, more pitchers exist in the Mets minor leagues. Young guns like Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia, Rafael Montero, and others are the next wave of diamonds ready to one day shine at the big league level. For now, the Mets are salivating over a rotation that may one day include Wheeler, Harvey, and Syndergaard. Add those to proven lefty John Niese, a solid Dillion Gee, and you have the making of a rotation that might be able to go punch for punch with any staff in the league. Most of those young guns have not yet  proved themselves at the big league level, but the potential is there. For those familiar with baseball, it is believed that good pitching beats good hitting over the long haul (ie, the San Francisco Giants proving that in two of the last three World Series). The Mets ship is headed in the right direction after several seasons of uncertainty and frustration. Most importantly, the hope is finally there for Met fans.