Yankees vs. Mets: First Base Prospects

Matt Snyder could really surprise some folks

Continuing our comparisons between the Yankees and Mets farm systems, we take a look at the crop of first base prospects in each system. Which system is deeper? Which prospects have the most power? The highest ceilings? Take a look at this comparison between the two rival New York farm systems.

The Two Farm Systems: Known for their great pitching depth, it's not always a banner comparison for the Mets to look across the way at other organizations' prospect depth at nearly every position, including first base. The good news, however, is that with 25-year old Ike Davis currently manning the position the Mets don't exactly have a need there right now.

While their current overall first base prospect depth is extremely thin, essentially having a cupboard full of more organizational types currently playing the position, they do have a pair of could-be first basemen who could have some legitimate production at the position if they were to be shifted there down the road, including Wilmer Flores and Aderlin Rodriguez, a pair of potential sluggers that would in fact change the landscape of this comparison.

Both Rodriguez and Flores are currently third base prospects, the latter of which is actually quite serviceable at the hot corner defensively. Flores hit an even .300 with 50 extra-base hits [including 18 home runs] between high-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in 2012, and there's some more untapped power potential in the 21-year old. However, moving him to first base should be a last resort option because he has more trade value as a third baseman and should only be shifted over to first if the Mets deal away Davis.

The 21-year old Rodriguez on the other hand is not a good defensive third baseman and doesn't project to ever be one long-term. His 6-foot-3, 210 pound listing is considerably off too. He is probably more in the 240 pound range and has the type of frame where keeping weight off could be an issue, so much so that really his only other defensive option is first base. The good news is though is he hit 24 home run between the two A-ball clubs last season and has more power coming.

Until either of those two switch permanently to first base, however, there is no discernible crop of legit first base prospects in the Mets' farm system and for now neither Rodriguez nor Flores qualify for this positional comparison breakdown and that leaves Yankees' first baseman Greg Bird the clear top first base prospect in either organization.

The fifth round pick in 2011 was selected a catcher and given the highest draft bonus of the Yankee class that year because team insiders felt his bat could play anywhere. After dealing with some back issues last season, the Yankees decided to better preserve his high offensive ceiling by moving him to first base. A sweet-swinging left-hander, he has the look of Ike Davis power potential with the hitting prowess of a David Wright type -- he has that kind of potential.

While Bird is really the only legitimate, top-shelf first base prospect in either organization right now, the Yankees do have some other 'sleeper' options worth tracking. Kyle Roller just hit 18 home runs in the pitching-friendly Florida State League, shows good patience at the plate, a decent chance to be a solid hitter, and plays serviceable defense. He is about to turn 25 years old though so he needs to have a similar season in Double-A this year to keep any sort of prospect status.

Luke Murton just clubbed 25 home runs in Double-A last year for the Yankees but he is going to turn 27 years old in May and isn't a very consistent hitter, but he could provide some right-handed power off of a big league bench. The Yankees just drafted a potential left-handed hitting version of Murton in Saxon Butler last year, a 33rd round pick who has hit 13 home runs in his first 61 games. There's a bit more intrigue here because he's younger, but he profiles better as a designated hitter type.

The Yankees do have two other 'what if' candidates that have real big league starting potential but for two very different reasons. Dominican native Reymond Nunez has raw plus power potential but the 22-year old hasn't had it show up in game production yet. Physically he compares very favorably to the Mets' Aderlin Rodriguez but the production has been very sub-par.

Matthew Snyder, the Yankees' tenth round pick out of Ole Miss in 2012, is one of the best pure hitters among the first base prospects in either organization. He drew more walks than he struck out in his debut season last year, hit .362 over his final seven weeks, and now the 6-foot-5 left-handed batter has added 25 pounds this offseason. Should his power go from more average to above average, he could be a real find.

While the Yankees have some potential in-house first base options should things break right, the Mets have more organizational type first base prospects right now. Eric Campbell isn't much younger than the Yankees' Murton, turning 26 years old near the start of the 2013 season, but he doesn't nearly have the power needed for the position at the big league level. Josh Satin, Triple-A tested, shows big league plate discipline but his power is more average at best.

Even the Mets' lower-level first base prospects, Jayce Boyd and Cole Frenzel, fit a similar Satin profile as players who should have very good minor league careers, ones who will hit well and show good plate discipline, but whose power is quite limited.

How Do They Compare In...

Power: Until either Flores or Rodriguez shift over to first base this is a clear-cut drubbing. Bird and Nunez have plus power potential, Roller, Murton, and Butler have above average power, and Snyder could bump his average power up a level too. Advantage: Yankees

Hitting For Average: The Mets can make it a go here as they're organizational type bats are solid hitters, they just lack power. Still, keeping the perspective long-term on viable big league prospects, the Yankees have too much with Bird and Snyder. Advantage: Yankees

Defense: Neither organization has a standout defensive first baseman but Bird has shown some real upside in the field, Roller is average, and so is Snyder. The Bombers get a slight edge here depth-wise. Advantage: Yankees

Overall Potential: Even if Rodriguez and/or Flores were to move to first base, Greg Bird would still probably be the higher ceiling prospect given his plate discipline, power potential, and left-handedness. The Mets would need one of those two to even make it a close call but as it stands right now the Yankees have too much depth here in comparison. Advantage: Yankees

Highest Ceilings: Greg Bird (Yankees), Reymond Nunez (Yankees), matt snyder (Yankees), Kyle Roller (Yankees), Saxon Butler (Yankees)

Best Power: Greg Bird (Yankees), Reymond Nunez (Yankees), Kyle Roller (Yankees), Saxon Butler (Yankees), Matt Snyder (Yankees)

Best Average: Greg Bird (Yankees), Matt Snyder (Yankees), Josh Satin (Mets), Kyle Roller (Yankees), Jayce Boyd (Mets)

Best Defense: Greg Bird (Yankees), Kyle Roller (Yankees), Matt Snyder (Yankees), Reymond Nunez (Yankees), Jayce Boyd (Mets)

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