by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Mets’ system has taken a hit in recent years, whether it’s been trades (like the recent trade to acquire Edwin Diaz/Robinson Cano), injuries or some uninspiring draft classes.  That doesn’t mean that they are void of talent, and they in fact have at least one prospect who should make a significant impact this season.  Where does the upside lie?  Is there value that people aren’t noticing?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Peter Alonso – First Baseman
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

It’s easy to argue that Alonso deserved an opportunity in the Majors last season, after hitting .285 with 36 HR over 478 AB between Double and Triple-A.  However the Mets opted to keep him in the minors, in part due to not needing to add him to the 40-man roster this offseason.  Make no mistake, though, he’s going to get his opportunity in 2019 and it could come as soon as Opening Day.

Overall Alonso posted a 9.5% SwStr%, an impressive mark for a power hitter, and even though the strikeouts regressed at Triple-A (25.9%) it’s not enough to waive significant red flags.  He has the potential to be a middle of the order force, bringing power and a strong average with him.

 

2) Andres Gimenez – Shortstop
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

Gimenez isn’t going to bring much power to the table, and while he didn’t strikeout much last season during his time at High-A (19.9%) and Double-A (14.4%) an 11.6% SwStr% is a red flag for this type of player.  He does bring some speed (38-for-52 SB last season), which will be his best skill, and having played most of the season at 19-years old (he turned 20 in September) he obviously still has time to develop.

The Mets have been aggressive with his promotions thus far, but the addition of Robinson Cano should help to slow his ascent as the Mets shouldn’t feel the need to push him.  That should help his development, though time will tell.

 

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3) David Peterson – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

With the trade of Justin Dunn, Peterson has assumed the role as the clear top pitching prospect for New York.  Splitting the year between Single-A (59.1 IP) and High-A (68.2 IP) he pitched to a 3.18 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, though there was a clear split in the numbers:

  • Single-A – 1.82 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
  • High-A – 4.33 ERA, 1.35 WHIP

There was some poor luck at High-A, with a .333 BABIP and 60.7% strand rate, as the 2017 first round selection showed strikeouts (8.09 K/9), control (2.11 BB/9) and elite groundball stuff (64.5%) overall.  Already 23-years old and standing 6’6” and 240 lbs., the southpaw could ultimately move quickly and if he can continue to grow in the strikeout department (11.3% SwStr%) he could see his grade rise into the B+/A- range.

 

4) Ronny Mauricio – Shortstop
Grade – B-
ETA – 2022

There are plenty of tools for Mauricio and there’s ample time for him to learn how to tap into them (he won’t turn 18-years old until April).  The results at Rookie Ball last season weren’t impressive (.273 with 3 HR and 2 SB), but keep in mind that he added 16 doubles and 3 triples over just 227 AB.  He should develop both his power and speed, while the expectation also is for him to stick at shortstop long-term.  We’ll need to be patient, but he could emerge as the team’s top prospect before long.

 

5) Mark Vientos – Third Baseman
Grade – B-
ETA – 2022

A second round pick in 2017, Vientos hit .287 with 11 HR over 223 AB at Rookie Ball last season.  There’s no questioning the power potential, and set to play the season at 19-years old there’s plenty of time for him to learn and develop his approach (11.2% SwStr%).  That said a 14.1% walk rate shows that he has patience, so as he continues to develop and further tap into his power the upside is clearly there.

 

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The Rest:

6) Anthony Kay – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
The Mets selected Kay 31st overall in 2016, despite him needing Tommy John surgery.  After missing all of 2017 he pitched at Single-A and High-A last season posting a 4.26 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 122.2 IP.  We need to give him a little bit of time to get his feet under him and there are going to be questions about his size (6’0”) and potential to struggle with home runs (41.6% groundball rate).  There’s potential, but he’s got a long ways to go.

7) Thomas Szapucki – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
Szapucki had been showing a lot of promise back in 2016 and early 2017, but Tommy John surgery ultimately cost him a good portion of ’17 and all of ’18.  We are going to have to be patient and give him time to get back into the swing of things, but if he shows the signs he could see a significant jump in grades by year’s end.

8) Franklyn Kilome – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
Acquired from Philadelphia Kilome has very good pure stuff, though he hasn’t learned how to harness it as of yet struggling to generate strikeouts (8.04 K/9) and walking too many (3.92 BB/9).  It makes you wonder if he’d be a better fit coming out of the bullpen, where he could quickly transform into a lights out late inning weapon.

9) Shervyn Newton – Shortstop (Grade – C)
His inclusion on this list is all about projection after hitting .280 with 5 HR and 4 SB at Rookie Ball last season.  A switch hitter, his 17.3% walk rate is highly impressive and if he can continue to mature (he’s listed at 6’4” and 180 lbs.) and tap into his power the upside will be obvious.  Don’t be surprised to see him take a significant step forward this season.

10) Simeon Woods Richardson – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C)
The Mets’ 2018 second round pick looked good over an incredibly small sample size (17.1 IP), with a 13.50 K/9 and 2.08 BB/9, courtesy of a 24.1% SwStr%.  He just recently turned 18-years old, so he has a lot of time, but reports have his velocity ticking up with the potential to bring a solid three-pitch mix.

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 Top 10 Prospect Lists:

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