One of the challenges for ranking the Mets’ prospects is how to handle when a player goes from a pretty good hitter’s park in Kingsport to a pretty good pitcher’s park in either Brooklyn or Columbia. Last year’s top hitting prospects from the APPY did not repeat their numbers at the higher levels. How much do you dock them, especially when new hitters have put good numbers up in Kingsport?

There’s no right answer to that question. And the same thing can be said for proximity to the majors versus raw talent years away. That guy in the short-season league may have tools you can dream on but he still has to go through so many levels before he reaches the majors. Is a 125 wRC+ in Double-A better than a 150 wRC+ in the APPY? And how do you handle the MLB ball being used in Triple-A this past season while the rest of the minors used a different one?

These questions and more lead the creation of top prospects lists to being more art than science. Few lists look good in hindsight and doing these open you up to ridicule, both now and in the future. And that’s okay. If you can’t handle that, you shouldn’t make one in the first place. The list that follows is based on assumed MLB impact. Patrick Mazeika may very well make the majors one day. But if he does, his impact will be negligible, the equivalent of Joe Depastino. So he doesn’t make the cut here.

You could make a case for any of the top five to be the team’s #1 prospect. The next level for me is guys six through 12 and then 13-21. The rest all have something going for them, although at least as many question marks as they have strengths. If your favorite guy is ranked 44th and you think he should be 28th – you won’t get much push back from me.

Here’s the list. There are two numbers following the brief write-up, with the first one being where they ranked last year on my list and the second being their ranking on David Groveman’s list. The number for David’s list will be hyperlinked to his write-up on the player, which will have more detailed information.

*****

50. Jake Mangum – Everyone seems to love him besides me. Can he hit? (NR, 38)
49. Quinn Brodey – L/L outfielder can do a little bit of everything but is too much of a tweener for my tastes. (NR, 29)
48. Branden Fryman – Son of former All-Star Travis Fryman, Mets drafted him out of high school in 2016 and then again out of Samford in 2019. Showed good contact skills in his pro debut last year. (NR, NR)
47. Jace Beck – The 6’9 RHP had a strong pro debut, as he fanned 10 in 8 IP and picked up two saves. (NR, NR)
46. Dedniel Nunez – Power arm whose peripherals exceeded his results. (NR, NR)
45. Bryce Hutchinson – Oft-injured pitcher was finally healthy and did well as a reliever then moved to the rotation the last month of the season. (NR, NR)
44. Jeremy Vasquez – Low power 1B had a solid season in the FSL but did most of his damage at home, where his OPS was 227 points higher. (23, 26)
43. Tommy Wilson – Fly ball pitcher kept the ball in the park in the FSL but surrendered 11 HR in 69 IP in Double-A. (NR, 15)
42. Ryder Ryan – After missing a month with an undisclosed injury, Ryder finished the year with a 1.20 ERA and a 1.133 WHIP in 30 IP, with 26 Ks. (43, 33)
41. Hayden Senger – Built like an NFL Tight End. Need to see what happens with his power once he escapes Columbia. (NR, NR)
40. Blaine McIntosh – This seems to be the CF from the 2019 Draft on which to dream. McIntosh turned down a scholarship to Vanderbilt to sign with the Mets. The final numbers don’t look good but in his final nine games he posted 11 hits and eight walks. The defensive rep is very good and he comes with elite speed. (NR, NR)
39. Scott Ota – A low-cost senior drafted in 2019, Ota showed power and patience in his pro debut and put himself as a guy to watch. (NR, 39)
38. Franklin Parra – Raw lefty from the 2018 Draft limited batters to a .490 OPS in 21 IP and fanned 29 in the GULF. (NR, NR)
37. Michel Otanez – Posted 70 Ks in 63 IP split between two short-season leagues. (NR, NR)
36. Jefferson Escorcha – Lefty put up a 2.38 ERA and a 1.152 WHIP in 41.2 IP in the APPY as a 19 year old. (NR, 49)
35. Yoel Romero – Saw more game time than expected, as he played in SAL and FSL before the opening of the NYP League. Had an OPS 176 points higher in road parks than his home parks last year. (41, 46)
34. Matt Blackham – Fanned 70 in 55.1 IP split between Double and Triple-A but too many walks. (44, 48)
33. Adonis Uceta – Bounced back nicely after injury-shortened 2018. Great in Double-A but hammered in both games in Triple-A. (45, 44)
32. Wagner Lagrange – Had the highest OPS (.748) of any hitter to appear in at least 50 games with Columbia in 2019. Promoted to the FSL and in 36 games put up a .776 OPS, the second-highest mark on the club among those with at least 100 PA. (NR, 18)
31. Wilmer Reyes – Infielder put up an OPS 137 points higher than the club average for Brooklyn. (NR, 37)
30. Wilfred Astudillo – Threw out 12 of 26 baserunners who tried to steal. Switch-hitter posted a .731 OPS for the year. (NR, NR)
29. Andres Regnault – Posted an .865 OPS over his final 26 games, with 13 XBH in 114 PA. (NR, 47)
28. Steve Villines – Dominated at Double-A and got a promotion. In his first 11 games in Triple-A he posted a 1.98 ERA and held opposing batters to a .620 OPS. But then he got rocked in back-to-back outings and found himself back at Binghamton. In his final 20 games of the season, Villines notched a 1.67 ERA and a 1.052 WHIP. (33, 28)
27. Franklyn Kilome – Missed all of 2019 and has not shown up in any winter leagues yet, either. (14, 9)
26. Tony Dibrell – Pitched well in the FSL but got smoked after promotion to Double-A. (13, 21)
25. Daison Acosta – After four starts in Brooklyn, Acosta made his full-season debut at age 20. Made eight strong starts before fading in his last three appearances with the Fireflies. (NR, NR)
24. Harol Gonzalez – After a disappointing 2018, which included an 0-9 record with a 7.79 ERA in Binghamton, Gonzalez came back with a vengeance last year. He posted a 3.42 ERA in his second shot at Double-A and went 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA after his promotion to Syracuse. But his Triple-A FIP was an ugly 6.03, as he had an unsustainable 97.7 strand rate. (NR, 16)
23. Ryley Gilliam – Started in the FSL and ended up in Triple-A. Has trouble at the higher levels but had a strong season in the Arizona Fall League, where he fanned 11 in 9.1 IP. (20, 30)
22. Ali Sanchez – Defensive backstop nailed 43% of opposing baserunners but has almost no power. (27, 19)
21. Gregory Guerrero – After missing all of 2018 with a shoulder injury, Guerrero came back strong, putting up an .846 OPS in his first 25 games, with 11 XBH in 104 PA. But he slumped badly at the end of the year. Will need to do it over a full season to keep a spot in the third grouping. (49, 22)
20. Jaylen Palmer – Tied for fifth in the APPY in Total Bases with 100 as an 18 year old. (38, 24)
19. Hansel Moreno – Got off to a dreadful start and found himself demoted to the SAL. But heated up and earned promotion back to FSL, where he hit at the higher level. In his final 299 PA, he posted a .755 OPS. (25, 27)
18. Jose Butto – Had an eight-start stretch in the middle of the year with a 1.99 ERA and a 1.037 WHIP with 46 Ks in 45.1 IP. (30, NR)
17. Adrian Hernandez – Got off to a hot start and then suffered a season-ending leg injury. Considered a five-tool talent, it remains to be seen how the injury will affect his speed and overall development. (21, 13)
16. Jordan Humphreys – After missing all of 2018, came back to make two starts in the GULF and hurled 11.2 IP in the Arizona Fall League, with a 0.77 ERA and a 1.029 WHIP. Added to 40-man roster after the season. (18, 23)
15. Kevin Smith – LHP fanned 130 in 117 IP last year split between Hi-A and Double-A. (48, 12)
14. Shervyen Newton – Season got off to a late start due to a shoulder injury and then didn’t hit a lick. Had a solid month of July but otherwise it was a lost season. Strikeouts a major concern. (5, 17)
13. Junior Santos – Numbers don’t look good but he was a 17 year old holding his own in the APPY. (9, 20)
12. Alexander Ramirez – Last year’s big international free agent signee, Ramirez is a power/speed guy who plays CF. (NR, NR)
11. Luis Carpio – Middle infielder dominated in his second go-round in the FSL and more than held his own after a promotion to Double-A. Binghamton’s team OPS was .686 and Carpio posted a .709 mark as a 21 year old. (22, 11)
10. David Peterson – Considered a disappointment by many, his peripherals paint a much rosier picture than his actual ERA. He gets groundballs and strikeouts but was done in last year by a .340 BABIP allowed and a 66.3 strand rate. (6, 14)
9. Josh Wolf – Mets second-round pick in 2019 had a solid debut season in the GULF, with 1 BB and 12 Ks in 8 IP but he allowed four runs to score. (NR, 8)
8. Brett Baty – A month younger than Vientos, Baty spent most of the year in the APPY, where he put up a .775 OPS. Played at three levels and delivered 25 XBH in 228 PA. (NR, 6)
7. Freddy Valdez – Heralded international signing had a strong year in the Dominican as a 17 year old and ended up with a cup of coffee in the GULF, where he went 4-10 with a double and a homer. (12, 10)
6. Mark Vientos – Didn’t match his strong season in the APPY from 2018 but had a tough go with his home park, where he put up an OPS 132 points lower than he did in road parks. Finished the year on an up note, with a .774 OPS in his final 182 PA as a teenager in the SAL. (3, 1)
5. Thomas Szapucki – After missing most of 2017 and all of 2018, Szapucki saw time at three levels last year and posted a 2.63 ERA with 72 Ks in 61.2 IP. (11, 5)
4. Andres Gimenez – After a disappointing turn in the Arizona Fall League in 2018, Gimenez got off to a rotten start in 2019. He was saddled with a .562 OPS after 45 games. But in his final 219 PA, Gimenez posted a .771 OPS. And in his second go-round in the AFL, Gimenez put up a .371/.413/.586 line in 75 PA. (1, 3)
3. Francisco Alvarez – Easily the best story of the year, Alvarez debuted in the GULF as a 17 year old and quickly hit his way to a promotion to Kingsport. He finished with a .916 OPS. But he allowed 15 PB in 229 innings behind the plate. (10, 2)
2. Ronny Mauricio – He has a higher ceiling than Gimenez. But at Columbia last year, Mauricio put up a .665 OPS in 504 PA. At the same level in the same park at the same age, Gimenez put up an OPS 30 points higher. (2, 4)
1. Matthew Allan – Rated by some as the best high school pitcher in the 2019 Draft, Allan fell to the third round due to signability concerns. He blew away the competition in the GULF and made one appearance in the NYP. (NR, 7)

*****

Injuries knocked guys like Raul Beracierta, Stanley Consuegra, Desmond Lindsay, Bryce Montes de Oca, Juan Uriarte and Chris Viall from the list. May they all be healthy and force their way back on the 2021 version.

8 comments on “Mets 2020 Top 50 prospects

  • TexasGusCC

    Nice job Brian. As you say, these lists are hard. What jumped out at me is the amount of guys in the back half of your list in the very low minors. One thing I heard in an interview – or read – about two months ago was that Baty is extremely athletic with a sporadic arm. He sounds like an outfielder to me, more than a third baseman. In fact, the scout said he was the Mets second chance at Kelenic. That’s pretty impressive athleticism, if true.

    • Brian Joura

      Thanks Gus!

      As for the back of the list, you could easily sub in guys like Carlos Cortes and Will Toffey and Corey Taylor and Kyle Wilson and get guys from the high minors and full-season leagues. But I see no upside in those guys.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if Baty ends up in the OF. But he won’t play CF, which kills the Kelenic comparison, at least for me.

      • TexasGusCC

        I’m glad you didn’t, even though I saw Cortes in the top 20 somewhere. Kelenic has played all three outfield spots as the Mariners feel Rodriguez is a better centerfielder, and there were articles supposing Kelenic to move off centerfield as he got older due to body size and quickness. But, the Mets drafted Cortes multiple times and Minaya is on record saying he absolutely loves this kid. So, obviously Cortes has one very influential person on the Mets singing his praises. One guy’s name to throw in somewhere is Carlos Dominguez from the DSL that I seemed to have a man crush on all year, it nobody agreed with me, LOL!

      • Steve S.

        Love Allan’s potential, and I like him at #1 too!

        Alvarez was quite the story, and he would be my #2.

        I don’t see Mauricio so high. I’d move him down for now.

  • NYM6986

    Great analysis. Does it paint a picture of a truly bad minor league system that there appears to be no emerging stars, or is this similar to what we might see if we were to make the same report on most other teams? It can’t be that we traded away the cream of the crop and all we are left with is skim milk. If that is the case then we have to be in win now mode with the big club and need to add more free agents to make that happen. Does seem like much help is on the way anytime soon.

    • Brian Joura

      Anytime you rate a farm system, what you’re doing is rating a moment in time. Farm systems are fluid and can change drastically in very little time.

      I think right now most people have the Mets’ system in the bottom third, somewhere in the 20s. But look at how much talent has left the system in the last 18 months. All-Stars Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso are playing for the Mets, while Dunn, Kay, Kelenic and Woods-Richardson have been sent out of town.

      Because of that, the system is bottom-heavy. There is a lot to like with the Mets’ recent draft picks and international signings but a lot of these rankings are due to projection rather than actual production. But what happens when these guys get some playing time? Seven of the first nine guys on my list are in Lo-A or lower. What does the system look like if 3 or 4 of those guys stay healthy and cash in on their talent? Suddenly you have production to go along with projection and things are a lot different.

      Sure, it would be better to have guys who’ve succeeded in Hi-A and Double-A at the top of your top prospect list. The Mets are probably two years away from that. But I like the path they’re on.

  • TexasGusCC

    Just another point of view, John Sickles put out his list and names 127 players, his top 100 (105), another twenty names “in the conversation”, and two more injured prospects. The only Met:

    72) Ronny Mauricio, SS, New York Mets, Grade B+: Previously No. 69; .268/.307/.357 in Low-A but only 18 years old; strong defensive tools and considerable promise with the bat though understandably raw; a projection pick, do not expect quick impact.

    Kelenic was #12, Woods-Richardson was #70, Dunn was #81, and Kay was #86. This is merely FYI, as I understand you have to give in order to get – and boy we couldn’t stop giving Seattle and took his worst contract. Hard to believe DiPoto could expect a better deal. I think David Stearns in Milwaukee was dreaming of this return when he sang out Hader’s name.

  • Rob

    Great job again Brian. While the list isn’t to exciting I do see a few breakout players. Should not have given up kelenic considering money the took off Mariners.

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