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Mets prospects showcase their talents in winter ball

Juan Lagares poses for photos during MLB photo

Juan Lagares poses for photos during MLB photo day. (March 2, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Just because the major league season is over doesn’t mean baseball is done. Several of the Mets’ top prospects are honing their skills in winter ball, both in the United States and abroad. Here are some of the more notable performers and performances:

Juan Centeno

Centeno, 24, went 3-for-10 in a late-season call-up with the Mets. He may be better known as the guy who finally caught Reds speedster Billy Hamilton stealing.

Centeno is hitting a paltry .083 in just 12 at-bats for the Gigantes de Carolina of the Roberto Clemente Winter League. But Centeno’s best attribute has always been his defense behind the plate, particularly his arm – and unfortunately defensive stats aren’t readily available for winter ball.

Juan Lagares

Lagares, 24, his just .242 for the Mets in 2013, but he was a revelation in center, posting 26 Defensive Runs Saved. DRS is an advanced metric that is the primary defensive component in the all-encompassing Wins Above Replacement stat.

Lagares is batting .400 (26-for-65) with three extra-base hits (all doubles) and four stolen bases. He’s struck out nine times but hasn’t drawn a walk while playing for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League.

Cam Maron

The 22-year-old Huntington native is highly thought of by scouts who cite is excellent work ethic. Despite subpar results at Single-A advanced in 2013 (.622 OPS), Maron has a career minor league average of .284 and on-base percentage of .387.

Maron hit just .216 in 51 at-bats, but does have an impressive .365 OBP. He’s walked (12) as much as he’s struck out (12) while playing in the Arizona Fall League.

Cesar Puello

The power-hitting 22-year-old outfielder had a breakout season in 2013 at Double-A, batting .326 with a .403 OBP and 16 home runs. But he was suspended for 50 games for his involvement with a banned substance as part of the Biogenesis investigation.

Puello hasn’t picked up from where he left off pre-suspension. He’s batting .204 in 49 at-bats, but does have two home runs with Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League.

Wilfredo Tovar

The 22-year-old shortstop prospect spent last season at Double-A, hitting .263 with a .323 OBP and four home runs. He could be an option for the Mets as soon as 2015.

Tovar, playing for Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan Winter League, is hitting .295 (13-for-44). Impressively, he has a .477 slugging percentage due to his five extra-base hits (one home run).

Jordany Valdespin

The soon to be 26-year-old Valdespin had an interesting 2013, from his reported clubhouse issues to a demotion and finally a 50-game suspension as another casualty of the Biogenesis investigation.

Valdespin is doing what he always does – making rare contact, but hitting the ball hard. He’s playing for the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League, and is batting .200 (11-for-55) but with five extra-base hits and three home runs.

Jeurys Familia

Familia, 24, has struggled with his control during a few short stints in the majors. In 23 innings during the last two seasons, he’s walked 18 and struck out 18, showing a propensity to be tough on hitters – but also wild.

Familia has pitched 8.1 innings of relief spanning eight games in the Arizona Fall League. He’s struck out 11 and only allowed one home run, but has a 6.48 ERA.

Gonzalez Germen

Germen, 26, became a useful piece of the Mets bullpen in 2013, posting a 3.93 ERA in 34.1 innings.

Germen has been more lucky than good for Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League. He’s allowed three hits and walked five in 4.1 innings of relief (five games). Yet despite striking out just one, he boasts a 0.00 ERA.

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