Trio of Mets prospects take stage at Futures Game

Trio of Mets prospects take stage at Futures Game

SAN DIEGO -- Most references to the Mets' farm system these days include lamentations over the state of things. The Mets traded away so much of their upper-levels talent to acquire Yoenis Cespedes and friends at last year's Trade Deadline. Most other prospects of note have long since graduated to the big leagues, prompting even general manager Sandy Alderson to say recently that "there's no question our farm system is not quite as healthy today as it was."

Three of the most notable exceptions, Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario and Dilson Herrera, spent Sunday trying to shift that conversation in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Rosario, the Mets' second-ranked prospect, hit back-to-back singles during a seven-run ninth inning with Herrera, his potential future double-play partner. And perhaps neither of them boast as much promise as Smith, the Mets' top-ranked prospect, who finished 0-for-4 with an RBI.

"It's a blessing, an honor to be here in this Futures Game," said Herrera, who insisted on conducting interviews in English, his second language. "I feel excited because this is a big opportunity for me. I'm so happy."

Rosario might be the most intriguing of the Mets' three Futures Game prospects, if for no other reason than the position that he plays. A shortstop with big league defensive chops, Rosario is still working on translating his hitting potential into in-game power -- he has three home runs in 82 games between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. But scouts peg Rosario as a future double-digit home-run hitter in the Majors, giving him a decent chance to outslug fellow prospect Gavin Cecchini in his bid to become the Mets' shortstop of the future.

"I don't feel a lot of pressure coming from that," Rosario said. "I just really try to focus on working hard, and continuing to do my job."

Herrera was nearly the Mets' second baseman of the present, until the team traded for Neil Walker this winter. Still just 22 and with little left to prove in the Minors, Herrera -- who has slugged 12 home runs in 73 games at Triple-A Las Vegas -- is a good bet to slide into that role next Opening Day.

"I feel ready," he said.

Then there is Smith, the Mets' first-round Draft pick in 2013. Like Rosario, Smith is working on putting his natural power to use in games. But he is bigger and stronger at 6-foot, 230 pounds -- which is good, because as a first baseman, Smith must hit with authority to become an impact player.

"I just try to grind every day like I always do," Smith said. "It's definitely a lot harder than last year, but I'm learning a lot."

For all three Mets prospects, the Futures Game provided a chance to showcase their skills on a national stage, much as Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo did last year, and Noah Syndergaard and Kevin Plawecki the year before. All of those players made the Mets in short order.

Sunday, Smith simply smiled when asked about his yellow-and-brown Padres-themed Futures Game uniform.

"Not as good as the blue and orange," he said. "But good for today."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.