The New York Mets have been aggressive in using some of their prospects in order to better the Major League roster (notably the seemingly ill-fated trade to acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz but also in the deal that netted them Marcus Stroman among others). While they were also aggressive in their draft strategy, which helped recoup some of what was lost, there are still significant questions up-and-down these rankings. Many of their top prospects are a few years away, and even those players have questions as to just how high their ceiling is. Does that mean it’s a system to completely ignore? There is potential, and while it’s not particularly deep let’s take a look at who brings the upside:
1) Andres Gimenez – Shortstop
ETA – 2020
Grade – B
Gimenez spent the year at Double-A and was solid, hitting .250 with 9 HR and 28 SB over 432 AB. Obviously the number that seems to be his carrying tool is his speed, though he went 28-for-44 on SB attempts so he needs to learn to become more efficient on the bases. Let’s also not forget that he went 38-for-52 in ’18, further supporting the speed potential. At 20-years old he has time, and the ability to steal 20+ bases is going to make him an attractive asset moving forward.
It’s also interesting that the left-handed hitter carried a reverse split in ’19:
- vs. RHP – .223/.274/.365
- vs. LHP – .320/.394/.443
That’s promising, as is the fact that he maintained his SwStr% (11.6% in ’18, 11.5% in ’19) despite playing at Double-A as a 20-year old. He may never be a true superstar, but the upside value is there.
2) Ronny Mauricio – Shortstop
ETA – 2022
Grade – B
When we look at Mauricio it’s all about projection, as the 18-year old (he’ll turn 19 in August) has a long ways to go in his development. Spending the year at Single-A he hit .268 with 4 HR and 6 SB over 504 PA, as he posted a 12.0% SwStr% and walked just 4.6%. Of course playing his first year in full season ball fatigue may have been a factor, as he was producing significantly better in the first half:
- First Half – .290/.333/.394
- Second Half – .245/.280/.319
With age and maturity he should refine his approach, and there is power potential to tap into. It’s easy to get distracted by the hype currently, but you need to be patient in your expectations. He’s young and inexperienced, so give him time to see if he can put it together. If he does the upside is there and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him rise into a B+ type prospect by year’s end.
3) Matt Allan – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2022
Grade – B
Allan was viewed as having the talent to be a first round pick, but signability concerns caused him to drop to the third round. The Mets reaped the reward of taking the gamble in making the selection, as they ultimately were able to lock him up.
He pitched 10.0 innings as an 18-year old after being selected, posting 14 K vs. 5 BB in the process. Obviously we aren’t going to draw any definitive conclusions off such a small sample size, but it was impressive and there’s no question that he has the size and stuff to thrive as a starter. With more data to work with, as well as the Mets history of developing pitchers, would it be surprising to see him emerge as the team’s best prospect?
4) Brett Baty – Third Baseman
ETA – 2022
Grade – B
The Mets’ first round pick in 2019, you have to wonder if part of the reason he was selected there was to save in their bonus pool to give them the money to sign Matt Allen later on (Baty signed for under slot value). Baty was seen as older for a high school prospect, and the lack of experience was obvious as he posted a 28.5% strikeout rate courtesy of a 15.8% SwStr%. That said he also displayed patience, with an impressive 15.4% walk rate, and that speaks to a much better approach that should allow him to post at least a solid average (think .260-.270). Couple that with his power potential, which is his obvious carrying tool after posting 25 extra base hits in just 228 PA (16 doubles, 2 triples and 7 HR) and there’s obvious potential. Whether he can stick at 3B remains to be seen, though his bat will play at 1B as well (though with Pete Alonso in place, that could ultimately make him a trade candidate down the line).
5) Francisco Alvarez – Catcher
ETA – 2024
Grade – B-
Alvarez became a hot name in prospect circles in 2019, after hitting .312 with 7 HR in 182 PA as a 17-year old. Of course his age alone, as a catcher, tells you how far off he is of arriving but he made a statement that he could emerge as the Mets catcher of the future. The fact that, at his age, he posted an 11.5% walk rate speaks to his approach at such a young age. Couple that with the potential to physically mature into more power only adds to the appeal, especially if he can do it as a catcher. There’s a long time for him to develop, but keep a close eye on him.
The Next Five:
6) Mark Vientos (3B, Grade – B-) – There was a bit of hype surrounding Vientos heading into ’19 but he fell flat at Single-A hitting .255 with 12 HR over 454 PA. The biggest concern was his 16.0% SwStr%, which led to a 24.2% strikeout rate and poor 4.8% walk rate. At 19-years old he does still have time to develop, and he should be able to turn a corner in terms of both his power and average. Just stay patient and as he matures and isn’t overmatched in terms of his age, he should be able to put things together.
7) David Peterson (LHP, Grade C+) – A 2017 first round pick, Peterson’s numbers at Double-A weren’t overly impressive (4.19 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), but the underlying metrics scream of significantly better success. His 9.47 K/9 was backed up by a solid 13.7% SwStr%, and his 52.6% groundball rate and 2.87 BB/9 will play well (though it had been better previously). He may not be an elite starter, but as a southpaw he should be a solid one for the back of the rotation.
8) Thomas Szapucki (LHP, Grade – C+) – He worked his way back from Tommy John surgery and was limited to 61.2 IP, so we need to take the numbers into perspective. He did show an ability to get swings and misses (10.51 K/9) and given the layoff he gets a pass on his 3.79 BB/9 (as it could easily improve with more time back). It’s possible he ultimately plays better as a left specialist, though the stuff is there to thrive as a starter. Time will tell, but with another year of health he could move up the rankings.
9) Freddy Valdez (OF, Grade – C+) – Signed by the Mets in ’18, Valdez made his professional debut at 17-years old in ’19 and held his own (.274 with 6 HR and 6 SB over 270 PA at Rookie Ball). Obviously he’s a long ways away, but 25 extra base hits and an 11.5% walk rate is certainly going to open some eyes at his age.
10) Josh Wolf (RHP, Grade – C+) – Wolf is the third 2019 draft pick to make this list, after being selected in the second round. The 18-year old only threw 8.0 inning last season, so obviously we aren’t going to put much stock in the results. The said he has the size we look for from a starting pitcher and he already owns two potentially plus pitches. Like many high school pitchers the question will be whether or not he can develop his changeup.
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: