Readers of my weekly articles have read a lot about Peter Alonso, the Mets selected him with their third pick in the 2016 draft and paid him under slot money. At the time of the draft I was not pleased, thinking, “Great, we take a guy who is instantly blocked by one of our only high caliber draft picks.” To be fair, I wasn’t wrong. Dominic Smith is currently in the majors and slotted to get a full season shot at securing the starting first baseman job.
Meanwhile, Alonso will likely return to AA (where he played out the last 11 games of his season) as the top hitting prospect in the Mets farm system. He will serve as a handcuff to Smith and could be called up should Smith struggle offensively for the first half of the season. The shame here is that the Mets don’t have the flexibility to have both Smith and Alonso on the same team as neither is suited to another position.
The fact that we’re even talking about Alonso is pretty miraculous anyway. In the first half of the season he managed to suit up for only twenty five games and managed a measly .564 OPS in that time. Thankfully he somehow managed to kick things into a higher gear and managed a 1.006 OPS in his final 57 games in Advanced A and a .918 OPS after his promotion.
Looking at Alonso without considering Smith and you see a top offensive prospect with a ton of potential. He’s likely to have secured himself a spot in the Top of most Met “Top Prospects” list and he’s the only high impact prospect currently in the upper levels of the minors.
Other Top Performers:
Chris Flexen – While not many people will be enamored of Flexen’s major league performance in 2017, they should note that he began the year in Port St. Lucie having battled significant injuries in 2015. His performance in AA is worth noting as it was certainly good enough to earn the 23 year old pitcher a place in 2018’s AAA rotation.
Corey Oswalt – Unlike Flexen, Oswalt was afforded the chance to complete an entire year in AA without promotion. The results look far better on paper as Oswalt currently looks like the top minor league depth option to be waiting in the 2018 wings. The Mets have lots of decisions to make regarding their 2018 rotation but I expect to see Oswalt in the majors at some point.
Patrick Mazeika – The hitting catcher hit the ground running before slowing down in Advanced A. The big knock against Mazeika’s bat is his power and his A+ SLG of .406 supports that. His short tenure in AA saw him hit 5 doubles in 6 games and there is still reason to hope that his bat will shine in the future.
P.J. Conlon – The Irish lefty from Belfast continued his solid pitching ways in 2017 and it was a bit surprising to see the Mets switch him to relief for the final 6 games of the season. It could have been an effort to limit his innings, it could have been an experiment or it could signal that the Mets plan to convert Conlon into a high leverage reliever to replace (or support) Jerry Blevins.