For the second consecutive week in our weekly look at the New York Mets top 30 minor league prospects Domingo Tapia earned 'pitcher of the week' honors. Maybe it's time people start taking notice.
Here is our weekly look at how some of the Mets top 30 prospects performed during the past week.
Pitcher Of The Week: Domingo Tapia (5.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, Win)
To avoid repeating, here's what I wrote about Tapia's upside last week:
Because he only has one pitch, he's probably going to be moved to the bullpen as he advances through the system. However; if he improves his secondary pitches he could be a hidden gem in the Mets system. His fastball/groundball combo remind me of Fausto Carmona a bit.
At first glance, Tapia's 3.94 ERA isn't going to blow anyone away, but as I pointed out last week, that number is highly inflated from one horrific start. If you remove his April 26 start from the equation, Tapia's ERA would be 1.73 on the season. Also, his FIP of 2.33 and low LOB percentage suggest he's been a bit unlucky on the season, probably all in that April 26 start, in which he allowed eight of his 14 earned runs this season.
Tapia has a lot of things you have to like in a pitching prospect: a big-time fastball, a low walk rate, a decent strikeout rate and high groundball rate. If Tapia continues to pitch like this, he'll be in Double A soon.
Hitter Of The Week: Matt Den Dekker (.370, 1 Double, 1 Triple, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 5 Ks, 2 SBs)
Den Dekker was a fifth-round pick by the Mets in 2010. He has speed and decent arm, which paired with his instincts on defense, make him a good defensive outfielder. On offense, his hitting tool grades as just average, he strikes out too often, and his speed rarely shows up on the basepaths.
However; Den Dekker is putting together a very solid season with the Birmingham Mets in Double A. His slash line on the season is .295/.361/.525 and his strikeout rate is down from last season. If he can continue this pace, he may be able to be a below average starting outfielder in the majors, but it's more likely he tops out as a reserve. At 24 he's not young for his level at all.
Top 10 Prospect Spotlight: Jeurys Familia
Familia has some of the best stuff in the Mets system, but walks far too many batters to be considered an elite prospect. In 32.2 innings, he's walked 27 batters this season. However; when he has his control, he shows flashes as to why he's considered one of the Mets top prospects. He went six innings in a winning effort this week, in which he walked a season-low two batters.
Prospect Spotlight: Juan Lagares
I'm cheating a bit here, because Lagares is far from a top 10 prospect – usually a requirement for the spotlight – but there's not too much going on in the Mets below average system this week and Lagares had a week on par with this week's 'hitter of the week'.
Lagares his .440 this week, with two extra base hits and a stolen base. The 23-year-old was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 as a shortstop, but never panned out and is now an aging, fringy outfield prospect. What makes him interesting is the significant strides he made in 2011. His contact, power and ability to draw walks all improved at three different levels in 2011 and seemed to have carry over a bit in 2012. His walk rate is up to 8.6 percent – by far the highest of his career – and considering his relatively low BABIP, his .270 batting average is solid. The only numbers he hasn't maintained are the power numbers, but it's still early in the season.
Maybe Lagares finally figured it out after six years. He's someone to keep an eye on as the season progresses.