Now that the list has hit the Top 25 you’ll probably start to see many familiar faces and some higher value draft picks or international signees. This group contains a 2nd round pick who saw immediate success in Rookie ball, our #2 international signee from 2018, a quality starting pitcher prospect and two catchers with dispersant talent-types.
What really excites me about this group of players is where this group of players is falling in the overall rankings. Pitchers like Woods-Richardson and James would easily be Top 20 in most previous seasons I’ve made this list and I’ve seen players who have gotten $1.45 Million as an international signee ranked, right off the bat, in some people’s Top 10s. The depth of talent in the Met minor league feels a whole lot deeper than anyone is really ready to give them credit for.
- Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP (APP) – If not for the Met farm system’s rebound, it would not be absurd to see people talking about Woods-Richardson as a Top 10 prospect for the Mets. Considered a fringe first round pick, the Mets have reason to hope that he develops into an “Ace” caliber arm and have plenty of hope for him remaining in the rotation. His performance as a 17 year old in the GCL and APP, while short, was pretty impressive. It will be interesting to watch his numbers in 2019 as he’s given more innings against players who should be significantly older than he is.
Gus: He was drafted in June and he seemed a bit raw at the time. However, he impressed in a short spells throughout rookie leagues with 3-4 year older competition. I predict that he will be in Brooklyn next June.
Chris: Great start for Woods-Richardson in limited IP and years younger than peers, and gives you the sense another of the great arms is on the way – or it’s easy to dream it. He has an over-the-top delivery with what looks like fast arm action. The fastball naturally runs away from lefty hitters a bit like Wheeler.
Patrick Mazeika, C (EAS) – Brian Joura will not believe me when I say that I ranked Mazeika far lower than Gus or Chris in this list. I’m a well known Mazeika fan but his 2018 was a major disappointment for me. The hitting lefty catcher wasn’t great in Binghamton where he failed to force his way into the PCL. As Gus notes, his last 19 games were markedly better than his first 68. Who knows, maybe I can keep arguing about Mazeika with Brian for another couple years?
Gus: An offensive catcher that worked hard on his defense, threw out 33% of base stealers but suffered from passed balls, he is still a work in progress. The offense at catcher is real and doesn’t grow on trees. He was hurt early on and his numbers showed, but in August he was a beast: 73PA, .354/.425/.538/.963 with only a .333 BABIP.
Chris: Mazeika is the opposite of Sanchez, being a hit-first catcher (avg, on base, and slug) with not a ton of defense. With catching being a bit of a black hole in the system, I found it hard to have him fall too far, but it would be nice to see him develop as a more complete this season given an overall disappointing ’18 in AA. Its now or never is my guess.
23. Freddy Valdez, OF (N/A) – The two signees in 2018 were both noted for their power. Valdez was more highly thought of for his defense and is a more well rounded prospect, for the moment. He will never be considered a plus runner and his size could eventually force him to first base but the Mets must have seen something they liked to give him that kind of money.
Gus: A signee in the 2018 international free agent class, a 16 year old corner outfielder with huge power. We shall see if he makes good on his promise.
Chris: Interesting guy picked up on the international market this year. Seems to be a power-hitting corner outfielder. At 16 yo he’s 6’3″, 200 lbs, so it’ll be interesting to see how he profiles as he matures into his body. He’s a bit of a lumbering runner that resembles Flores a bit to my eyes. He grades as a 50 arm by scouts, but the video I watched made me a bit skeptical of that, with multiple bounce, off-line throws that need a lot of run up before he actually throws.
- Christian James, RHP (NYP) – Notching 9 successful innings in Advanced A and Double A at the Age of 20 should have us more excited than we are. Usually spot starts are a tricky thing but James made it look easy. For a player who isn’t going to strike out that many in a game they need to have great control and keep the opposing batters from driving the ball. James has a pretty good GO/AO rate. Only problem is that this type of pitcher needs great defenders to succeed.
Gus: 20 yr old did well in a spot start in AA is very impressive. His low strikeouts were offset by a 18% Line Drive% and 54% Ground Ball%. He offers 94 MPH fastball, a curve and a change up, but has an inverted W. If he was a lefty, he would be top-10.
Chris: I confess that he was not on my top 25 (as far as I actually ranked prospects for this exercise). At 20 years old, to make a solid start in AA is admirable on its own. As he’s also 150 IP in the minors with a 1.15 WHIP and 2.53 ERA he’s a little beyond basic admiration.
Ali Sanchez, C (FSL) – I find it funny that after years of Gus telling me I ranked Sanchez too low, I’ve ranked him higher than Gus. This defensive catcher has been in the Met system, seemingly forever but at 21 he’s still comparatively young. His .681 OPS in the SAL and FSL were high marks for his minor league career but it looked like he turned a corner offensively. He will never be Mike Piazza but the Mets would not be unhappy to have a defense-first catcher at their disposal.
Gus: Being available for Rule 5 last year, Sanchez is now starting to show some hitting ability to go with outstanding defense.
Chris: Sanchez is a defense-first catcher that seems like he can really handle things behind the plate. He’s got a 40-50% caught stealing and the defense and arm grade out 60 and 65, respectively. My guess it’s worth the patience to see if his bat comes around. While it looks like he has a decent swing, but the back foot moves a lot. Bryce Harper can do that, but it seems like a detractor for a guy looking to hit more.