After posting a mediocre .695 OPS in a full season of AA baseball, many scouts and pundits soured on Andres Gimenez. For example, he dropped two ranks in my 2019 Top 50 Prospect List. He was still young (20 years old through most of 2019), he still showed promise (36 XBH and 28 SB) but his star had been dimmed in the esteem of those who talk about prospect players. Part of this trend was the emergence of Ronny Mauricio, who had a solid (if not spectacular) season in Low-A Columbia.

The Mets sent Gimenez and seven other players to the Arizona Fall League (AFL) to get some extra playing time. For those not familiar with the AFL, the league tends to get AA and AAA talent from around the league and is unique in that each team of players is comprised of prospects from multiple other teams. The Scottsdale Scorpions are made up of players from the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays. The team may have finished a dismal 12-17 but a number of Mets prospects managed to impress the scouts in their time there.

Gimenez stood above the crowd. He netted himself the AFL batting title and managed an impressive .371/.413/.586 batting line while playing shortstop. During this short season he knocked nine extra base hits, including five doubles, two triples and two home runs. He only stole two bases during the brief AFL season but there were likely a number of contributing factors to keep that number from being higher. The only issue with this tremendous performance is that the sample size of 18 games, which is hardly enough to determine if a performance is purely a lucky streak or a bona fide breakthrough.

Looking back at the regular season, Gimenez suffered through a dismal month of June and still managed to finish with an OPS near the .700 range. The batting line in June: .203/.261/.283 served to weigh down the season long numbers. If you, instead, begin to follow his stats from July onward (including the AFL games) you wind up with a batting line of .276/.316/.443 and a .759 OPS. So, if you look at his last 74 games you are left with a far more optimistic impression on his outlook than you may have had before.

This is all part of the reason that I have been so adamantly opposed to the idea of trading Gimenez away this offseason. Other people in the sports world argue that he is blocked at his natural position by Amed Rosario, who made defensive strides in the second half of 2019. Viewing development projections, it is hard to say that Gimenez appears likely to out hit Rosario but he certainly appears to be more of a base stealing threat. In most calculations, Rosario remains the player with the much higher offensive upside. Though, there seems to be a larger issue.

People seem to be ignoring the lack of depth the Mets have at the shortstop position and the possibility of Rosario’s defensive regression in 2020. If Gimenez were traded and Rosario got hurt, the Mets will be sending up Jed Lowrie (who can’t really field the position), Luis Guillorme or Luis Carpio. Sure, the Mets could sign a player as a backup option but the team’s bench is already stacked with overqualified and overpaid benchwarmers. With Gimenez having yet to play in AAA there is little to lose by having him start the year in Syracuse.

The final issue with trading him centers on the return that the Mets are likely to get. The team would be foolish to keep Gimenez off the table if they could net a superstar (in a position they actually needed) in a trade. The odds that another team is going to offer the Mets such a player in return for Gimenez are slim. Had the Mets looked to make a move in 2018 they might have been able to obtain someone like J.T. Realmuto (the Marlins had wanted more anyway) but a down season means that they are not going to be getting the same “Top Prospect” value for him anymore.

The strategy of selling on a young player coming off a disappointing year is not a good one. Consider that the Mets traded very little for J.D. Davis, who was once a well thought of hitting prospect. Instead, they should give Gimenez the time he needs in AAA to establish if his AFL success is more than a flash in the pan. If he doesn’t succeed to the same degree the Mets will still benefit from the depth he provides and, if he does, the 2021 Mets could well thank themselves for holding onto him.

Other Mets in the AFL

Jordan Humphreys back on the mound – After a few lost seasons thanks to health, Humphreys disappointed by only managing to throw in two innings of GCL rehab time for 2019. He made up for this with 11.2 innings in the AFL where he was able to limit his base runners and find success against players with many more innings in the upper minors than himself. It’s important to note this as Humphreys has not pitched above Advanced A and was facing plenty of AA and AAA talent this fall.

Ali Sanchez building a case – The defensive catcher was a solid, if not spectacular, force on the offensive side of play for the Scorpions. He finished the AFL season with a .656 OPS. Intriguing and odd, Sanchez did significantly worse against lefty pitchers in the AFL but this aberration has more to do with a scant 6 AB sample size.

Ryley Gilliam auditions for the bullpen – The Met farm hand made some waves as he was one of the sharper arms among Met relievers in 2019. In the AFL he produced a 10.9 K/9, a 1.07 WHIP and a 0.96 ERA over 7 games and 9.1 innings.

Blake Taylor puts his name on the radar – The only player whom the Mets sent to the AFL who wasn’t on my Top 50 prospect countdown did exceptionally well for himself. The lefty threw 9 innings and managed to hold opponents to a 2.00 ERA thanks to a nearly flawless 0.78 WHIP.

David Peterson solid but not spectacular – The left-handed starter had a solid 3.46 ERA but his 2.00 WHIP illustrates how much of a tightrope he was forced to walk. He needs to allow fewer baserunners to make anything of himself as a major leaguer starter and the 8 walks in 13.0 innings does not do him any favors.

12 comments on “Mets Minors: Don’t be so fast to trade Andres Gimenez

  • Chris F

    Any thoughts on giving Gimenez CF reps? Mauricio CF reps?

    • David Groveman

      Gimenez is a better defender than Rosario. Moving him to center seems counter-intuitive. If Gimenez winds up with MLB time (Rosario injury) or Rosario has defensive struggles we may see Rosario switched.

      Mauricio is too young to switch positions and is playing alongside Mark Vientos who already plays third.

      • Chris F

        Thanks. Im just trying to see a pattern that is more development based than trade for a dud based. How many SS do we need?
        Vientos and Baty covering 3B, Alonso set forever at 1B, Seems like CF is a real hole, and Im surprised someone with an arm, speed, and an ok bat cant be converted to CF

        • David Groveman

          My point is that you don’t want your best defensive shortstop switching position.

          Defensive depth chart:

  • Mike Walczak

    I think we need to keep as many good prospects as we can. We don’t want Giminez traded by trigger happy BVW for a 39 year old player.

  • TexasGusCC

    In the middle of the season, during one of our game chats, Brian asked me who I thought the #1 Mets prospect was and I told him Giminez by default. Not that Mauricio isn’t a good player, but my thinking is that Giminez had better numbers in that same level, so how is Mauricio better? When Seattle asked the Mets to protect two prospects knowing they would protect Alonso and probably their “#1 prospect”, the Mets fell into the trap by picking a limited upside glove type SS with speed. How rare… But, the Mets just love Giminez’s “Baseball IQ”. We shall see…

    Dave, your ranking of the shortstop defense intrigues me. With the logjam at SS, I thought Newton would be the obvious choice to move to CF or maybe Jaylen Palmer. If Mauricio is in fact the least of the defenders, his offensive upside makes him a natural to relocate because CF is the most important offensive position of the “middle of the field” defenders.

    • David Groveman

      Newton grade higher for pure speed. He is the best suited to center for the same reason.

      Both Newton and Mauricio are a bit tall for the shortstop position.

  • Brian Joura

    My opinion is that Gimenez will make a solid MLB player. But I certainly trade him in the right deal. I think Guillorme is an acceptable short-term replacement should Rosario get injured this year and I don’t share your concern over the height of some of the other SS in the system for a future replacement option.

    • David Groveman

      The key word there is “right” deal. The Mets should not be trading Gimenez cheaply or for “parts” which is the word I keep hearing in relation to J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith and Gimenez.

      To me, “parts” means players you could just as easily get through free agency on reasonable contracts.

  • Metsense

    David, you are correct, don’t trade Gimenez for parts. Gimenez is only 21 years old and is the best immediate prospect in the Mets organization
    In 2019, Rosario had a terrible start but rebounded exceptionally but all in all he was just a average offensive shortstop with a 102 OPS and his defensive metrics were below average. Rosario will be arbitration eligible in 2021. Hopefully Rosario will have an equal or stronger 2020 season and hopefully Gimenez will have a good season in Syracuse. Then in the winter of 2021, the Mets can decide who to trade when both of them would be desirable.

  • NYM6986

    As much as it pains me to trade prospects for aging talent, the reality is that getting a WS win is rare and if Cano and Diaz had decent but not spectacular seasons last year we might just have had our parade. Despite our defensive liabilities we are not far off from making the playoffs and once you make the playoffs anything can really happen. So with the right deal most of our prospects need to be on the table. Banking on a comeback from Cano, the return of Lowrie, and moving JD Davis and Dom Smith to an AL team where 1B is a need and they can hide JD’s fielding deficiencies as a DH.
    BVW has his work cut out but I think he will strike fast and improve the team, at least on paper. It’s an old dilemma; won’t spend the money on top FA and appear blind to the revenue that comes in when you put a winning team on the field. Add 5,000 fans to each game spending an average of $100 for tickets, food and trinkets and you gross $40 million over the course of 81 home games. That pays for a large chunk of an Anthony Rendon contract.
    Can’t wait for the deals to start.

    • David Groveman

      Hey Man,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Nothing you can say will convince the minor league guy at Mets360 that trading Jared Kelenic and Justin Dunn for an elderly middle infielder and an unproven closer was a good idea. We know why Brodie did it but the Mets would have been far better off, financially and farm system-wide, if the deal never happened.

      You had a major league ready and capable second baseman in Jeff McNeil, there were multiple closer on the free agent market and Dunn was a candidate to replace Zack Wheeler in 2020. To make things worse, Brodie added an expensive bench player that further handicaps the finances of the team.

      Brodie Van Wagenen had a horrible offseason and a very good draft last year.

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