A lot has been written about the Mets draft. The Mets were able to manipulate their money so as to sign three (3) first round talents in their first three rounds of the 2019 draft. While much has been written about Brett Baty, Josh Wolf and Matthew Allan it’s equally important for the Met fans reading this to realize what this draft will mean down the road.
Currently the AAA roster is without any marquee talent. Ali Sanchez is a quality depth catcher with good defense but he does not and will not project as a future MLB star. The likes of Dilson Herrera, Corey Oswalt and Chris Flexen don’t scream success either. This leads many to view the Met’s farm system as being subpar. I tend to be far less bleak about things.
The Mets lower minor league squads are filled to brimming with high-quality prospects that have strong MLB futures in their sights. While much time for mischief and poor performance remains to derail their futures the Mets will be enjoying their improvement on a year to year basis.
Building From the Ground Up
Blogs like to talk about marquee players, elite prospects and rank prospects every which way. When it comes down to it. A prospect’s value is based upon his impact to a major league squad and his proximity to making that impact felt. For this article I’ll be referring to where I perceive a prospect’s ceiling to be on a five star scale.
No MLB Future = ✩
Cup of Coffee = ✩✩
MLB Bench Player = ✩✩✩
MLB Starter = ✩✩✩✩
MLB Star = ✩✩✩✩✩
Obviously the player’s ETA is a much more concrete term. This represents the season at which point one believes they will reach the majors. Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up.
Mets 1 & 2
Freddy Valdez – OF, 17 (ETA 2024): ✩✩✩✩.5
Valdez came into the Mets system with some strong scouting that suggested that he could be a very powerful outfielder. At 6’3” he looked capable and through his debut in the DSL he’s been as strong as advertised. Both his SLG .441 and OBP .361 are impressive and his 6 stolen bases come as a pleasant surprise. The Mets are likely to allow him to skip the GCL in 2019 or quickly earn a mid-year promotion to the APP.
Carlos Dominguez – OF, 19 (ETA 2024): ✩✩✩.5
While Dominguez has outperformed Valdez on several fronts, it’s rare that an unheralded prospect makes a strong transition from the DSL to the stateside rookie levels. For that reason, Dominguez suffers from the Vicente Lupo effect.
Matthew Allan – RHP, 18 (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩✩✩
Matthew Allan was the third Met selected in the 2019 amateur draft but he was also ranked higher than Wolf or Baty when the draft kicked off. He was supposed to be a signing risk, but the Mets were able to save a ton of money by selecting college seniors with their 4th-10th round picks and signed him. Allan has pitched scant innings in the GCL and looks set to make his way upward when they 2020 season begins. He should begin the season with Kingsport or Brooklyn and seems a longshot for Columbia.
Josh Wolf – RHP, 18 (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩✩.5
While Allan likely has a touch more upside, both of these young pitchers project to be in the front-end of a rotation. Wolf has tossed a few more innings thus far but it would seem sensible to keep both of the young pitchers together as they make their way up through the system. That 2023 ETA assumes a fair amount of things going right and a lack of injury setbacks. 2020 would see Wolf/Allan in the NYP or APP, 2021 would see them finish the year in Advanced A and 2022 would have them pitching in Binghamton before they make their MLB debuts in 2023.
Adrian Hernandez – OF, 18 (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩✩
Hernandez is a “5-Tool” prospect and I’ve been more afraid of that classification than any other since watching the likes of Lastings Milledge and Alex Escobar come through the Met farm system. What matters is that he looked good before his injury and should be back to compete in a short season level again in 2020.
Federico Polanco – SS, 18 (ETA 2024): ✩✩✩.5
Polanco was good enough in the DSL to be promoted to the GCL this year. That is a very good sign but the transition has not gone smoothly. There is still reason to hope that Polanco can show some of his DSL-like performance before the year is out.
Francisco Alvarez – C, 17 (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩✩✩
Alvarez has quickly become one of my favorite prospects in the Met system. At the age of 17 he’s already played his way out of the GCL and done well enough in the APP to possible break with the Full Season SAL for 2020. Either way, if his bat can continue to translate at either of these more advanced levels he will quickly rocket up both the Mets Top 30 prospect list and make his way onto Baseball America’s Top 100.
Brett Baty – 3B, 19 (ETA 2022): ✩✩✩✩✩
The Mets top draft pick in the 2019 draft wasted no time in showing his value clubbing a 1.130 OPS in his five game debut at the GCL. He’s seen his batting average plummet in the APP but one has to look at OBP and SLG before giving up on him. His OBP is 120 points higher than his batting average and his SLG of .405 would be obscenely good if he got more balls to drop in play. It seems likely that he’ll be tied to Alvarez with either he or Palmer earning a trip to full season ball.
Junior Santos – RHP, 18 (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩✩
Santos has begun to see his raw power translate into strikeouts in 2019. The 6’8” righty has 32 Ks in 31.1 innings but he’s got 29 Ks through his last 27. Santos showed impecable control in the DSL but has been far more wild stateside. The Mets consider Santos more of a long term project and he seems likely headed to Brooklyn in 2020.
Jaylen Palmer – 3B, 19 (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩.5
Palmer is currently splitting time with Baty and will hope to start his 2020 season in a different level than the Brett the Met. I would bet on Baty playing in Columbia with Palmer manning the hot corner for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Gregory Guerrero – 2B, (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩
We seem to forever be waiting for Guerrero to make good on his scouting profile. He showed signs of it towards the beginning of 2019 but seems to have regressed steeply. It seems like the prospect star might be quickly fading here.
Garrison Bryant – RHP, 20 (ETA 2022): ✩✩✩✩
Before the season it would have been hard to rank this Met 36th round pick as a potential MLB arm but Bryant has been leading the Cyclones and looking like the team’s “Ace” at times. In 64 innings he has 61 Ks and a 0.83 WHIP. In 2020 he’ll get his second chance of impressing in Columbia.
Wilmer Reyes – SS, (ETA 2022): ✩✩✩.5
Seeing Reyes play reminds me a lot of Newton. The shortstop seems to swing for the fences in each at bat and seems a little over-excited in the field. With Mauricio and Newton wedged ahead of him, he’ll have plenty of time to develop and has an outside chance of reaching the majors as a starter.
Luke Ritter – 2B, 22 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩
One of the many college senior prospects the Mets drafted in 2019, Ritter looks like an adult playing with kids at times. His fielding at second is sharp and he has a professional approach at the plate but his future seems relegated to the bench.
Ronny Mauricio – SS, 18 (ETA 2022): ✩✩✩✩✩
Mauricio has gone from a Top Prospect to the #1 Met Prospect in about half a year. Considering his age, his numbers in Low A Columbia are extraordinary and he seems poised to proceed to Advanced A as one of the youngest players at that level. The shortstop has struggled to show power and patience in his second year but the former may have been hindered by the SAL and the latter should hopefully get better with time.
Mark Vientos – 3B, 19 (ETA 2022): ✩✩✩✩✩
The Mets other Top Overall Prospect candidate shares the left side of the infield with Mauricio. Vientos was a solid second round selection in the 2018 draft who has rewarded the Mets by producing solid hitting and power at both Kinsport and Columbia. Some might even argue about his being a better prospect than Mauricio but that’s a good problem to have. The quartet of Mauricio, Vientos, Alvarez and Baty are a larger core of top flight position players than the Mets have had in recent memory. With an oversized shortstop and two third basemen it’s likely that the Mets will be shifting one or more of these players to the outfield before long.
Shervyen Newton – IF, 20 (ETA 2023): ✩✩✩✩
Some people rank Newton in the Mets Top 10 but I’m no longer one of them. The physically gifted infielder strikes out a ton and has had major problems getting on base. Should he ever get his head on straight he has the skills to be a star but his ceiling is hurt by the glaring flaws present in his game.
St. Lucie Mets
Thomas Szapucki – LHP, 23 (ETA 2020): ✩✩✩✩.5
Szapucki missed all of 2018 and most of 2017 thanks to injury but is quickly making up for lost time in 2019 with a successful debut in Advanced A. The lefty hasn’t pitched a full season in his time with the Mets but seems to be a shoe-in candidate for AA in 2020 where a successful debut could see him skipping AAA entirely.
Jordan Humphreys – RHP, 23 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩✩
Also coming off an injury, Humphreys has only managed two innings in the GCL as he works to rehab. The pitcher who shined so brightly in 2017 will need to do a lot to follow Szapucki to AA in 2020 but should hope to finish this year back with St. Lucie. The Mets would do well to begin his 2020 campaign in Advanced A as well.
Wagner Lagrange – OF, 23 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩✩
One of the best stories from the 2019 Mets minor leagues, Lagrange has improved his game by mighty leaps this season, emerging as the best outfield prospect in the system. That could change if Vientos or Mauricio switches position but for now it seems he’s more than capable of playing up to the level of a major leaguer. If he continues at his 2019 pace his ceiling could even go higher.
Jeremy Vasquez – 1B, 23 (ETA 2022): ✩✩✩.5
The contact oriented first baseman plays the wrong position to have much of a future in the MLB with the Mets. Vasquez has been one of the most consistent hitters in the Met organization all season but would need to show more power to be considered an option as a starting MLB player.
Carlos Cortes – 2B, 22 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩.5
Despite his size, Cortes has shown good power in the Florida State League. The third round pick from the 2018 draft has handled Advanced A well, especially now that he is able to play full time. He’s likely to stick by Vasquez and make his way to AA in 2020.
Desmond Lindsay – OF, 22 (ETA Never): ✩
I am likely trolling Lindsay a bit with this ranking but with his perpetual injuries and lack of performance it seems entirely unlikely that he will ever have a future in the majors.
Binghamton Rumble Ponies
Andres Gimenez – SS, 20 (ETA 2020): ✩✩✩✩.5
The star has dimmed and this five star prospect has lost half a star already. His ceiling is likely that of an MLB regular but his age keeps his ceiling a bit higher for now. There will be little, if anything, keeping Gimenez from reaching the majors in 2020, especially if the Mets remain intent on moving Amed Rosario into center field. His 2019 has been poor and his 2020 could begin, again, in AA depending on if the Mets are planning to hold him back another year for development.
David Peterson – LHP, 23 (ETA 2020): ✩✩✩✩
I’m less doom and gloom on Peterson than others but I certainly don’t see him as a front end starter in the majors. I think he could eventually be a very serviceable lefty starter. Look for Peterson’s ceiling to land him at a #3 pitcher with him being far more likely at a #4 or #5.
Luis Carpio – 2B/SS, 22 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩.5
It’s like Luis Guillorme jr. Carpio profiles as a bench player who could be a starter if things break right. His numbers in Advanced A suggest far more of a starter than those since his promotion. With quality prospects waiting for promotion it seems that there is no where for Carpio to go but AAA.
Kevin Smith – RHP, 22 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩.5
There may be some who project Smith above Peterson but I think he looks like more of a longshot to the majors at the moment. His stuff in Advanced A was exceptional and he’s only taken a little bruising since earning his promotion to AA but it seems far more likely that he’s a backup starter than a back-end rotation option.
Tommy Wilson – RHP, 23 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩.5
Wilson has a higher capacity for stirkeouts but is a year older than Smith which will make him suffer from comparison. That said, the former 19th round pick seems to be a polished diamond in the rough type pitcher and already seems to be on track for more of an MLB career than a 19th rounder typically sees.
Tony Dibrell – RHP, 23 (ETA 2022): ✩✩✩.5
His stats from Advanced A were very promising but the 6 game experiment in Binghamton has been an abject failure. Dibrell will need to repeat this level and has taken a serious hit in the value department.
Ryder Ryan – RHP, 24 (ETA 2020): ✩✩✩.5
The relief pitcher seems to have a major league future but it remains to be seen if he’s actually a high-leverage reliever or not. The Mets will likely test him out with some high leverage outings in AAA in 2020.
Patrick Mazeika – C/1B, 25 (ETA 2021): ✩✩✩
A hitting catcher who seems destined to only see part time work in the majors, Mazeika has gotten some of the mystique to his hit tool back with a successful second showing at AA. The Mets will not need his services while Wilson Ramos is on the team but should the Mets be looking at a starting catcher who is known more for defense, Mazeika becomes a strong offensive change of pace.
David Thompson – 1B/3B, 25 (ETA 2021): ✩✩
A .711 OPS in a power position does not cut it at this age. Thompson needed to show us far more, especially after his demotion from AAA.
Franklyn Kilome – RHP, 24 (ETA 2020): ✩✩✩✩
Having spent all of 2019 injured it’s hard to project Kilome into the 2020 plans but it seems that most scouts see him as a reliever and I could see the Mets looking to add his live arm to the bullpen at some point next season.
Harol Gonzalez – RHP, 24 (ETA 2020): ✩✩✩.5
Gonzalez has been the very model of dependability and should be an option to be the #5 or #6 starting pitcher option in 2020 out of camp. He doesn’t have anything that makes him stand out as a star but he seems like a quality innings eater.
Ali Sanchez – C, 22 (ETA 2020): ✩✩✩.5
Sanchez isn’t a starter in most people’s books. He flashed a great bat for about a month this year but has fallen off sharply since that point. The defensive catcher will be a major league starter if he can get his OPS closer to the .700 mark or a bench catcher if it remains where it is.
All and all, the farm for 2020 will look better thanks to the majority of the Met talent residing in the lower levels of the farm system. By 2021 the Mets should have a lot of talent waiting in the wings and by 2022 the face of the team could be completely changed.