Today’s minor league spotlight will look at the MVP’s for your South Atlantic League Champion Savannah Sand Gnats. On the pitching side we’ll look at Gabriel Ynoa and for among position players Brandon Nimmo.
Ynoa was just incredible this season, winning 15 games in just 22 starts. He doesn’t have stuff that will blow you away, so he only struck out 106 in 135 innings, but his ERA was 2.72 and his WHIP was 1.02. He knows how to throw strikes, which the Mets will love, and had a few more fly ball outs than groundouts, as he used a spacious home ballpark to his advantage.
Of the large contingent of young foreign-born pitchers that all had great seasons in Brooklyn in 2012, Ynoa probably had the best follow up, even though most of the pitchers in that group rose higher in the farm system. He’s the youngest of the group, and won’t even turn 21 until late May, which is part of what makes him a better prospect than the other guys that spent 2012 in Brooklyn.
Right now, I have Ynoa ranked 7th among pitching prospects in the Mets system and 15th overall. I wouldn’t put him in the Steven Matz, Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia category because he doesn’t have as high of a ceiling, but he’s right below those guys, and if I were making a prediction for 3 to 5 years down the line, I’d be willing to bet Ynoa is a #4 or #5 MLB starter. To read a little more about Ynoa, click HERE
As for Nimmo, he gets the nod over Jayce Boyd and Kevin Plawecki because he spent the entire season in Savannah, and was an important part of an otherwise subpar Sand Gnats lineup. Nimmo had quite an uneven season, but that was mostly due to a hand injury that hurt his bat speed and took away his power. In April, he hit .322/.421/.433 and after struggling through the middle of the season with the effects of the injury he hit .324/.473/.412 in August. So he didn’t quite have the power back by the end of the year, but he had nearly as many walks as strikeouts in August.
The injury was certainly a set back for Nimmo, but he wasn’t going to get a mid-season promotion anyway and I doubt it will keep the Mets from starting him in St. Lucie next year. It was his first real injury as a baseball player, so in a way there’s something to be gained from it in terms of his development, as he now has some experience with dealing with an injury. Some fans may be disappointed at how he’s coming along, but I think he’s right on track, despite the injury. He’ll start next year in St. Lucie, and I think there’s a chance he’s ready to have a breakout year, start showcasing some power in game situations, and possibly push for a promotion to AA at some point.
Right now, I have Nimmo as the Mets 2nd best prospect among outfielders, behind only Cesar Puello, who favor because he could be half a season or less away from the big leagues. I have Nimmo 3rd among position players and the Mets 5th best prospect overall. (I should not that I’m not including Travis d’Arnaud as a prospect because I don’t expect him to ever play in the minors again unless he’s rehabbing an injury, but I did include Wilmer Flores, who I have one spot behind Nimmo mostly because Nimmo has a position and Flores doesn’t.)
I don’t have a completed prospect list just yet, but you can see my list of the top 10 outfield prospects, with Nimmo at number 2, HERE.