Earlier this week, Baseball America released its annual Top 100 prospects list, and the New York Mets had three players appear in the rankings. Mets top prospect catcher Francisco Alvarez (No. 13), third baseman Brett Baty (No. 39) and shortstop Ronny Mauricio (No. 92) all appeared in the rankings.
The consensus has been for a while now that that group makes up the top three prospects in the Mets organization. All three are set to start 2022 in the upper minors, meaning we should be seeing them in Flushing before too long, hopefully as productive members of the club’s new, young core.
The Mets’ minor league pipeline is interesting in that it is extremely top-heavy. Alvarez, Baty and Mauricio make up the top tier, and then there is also consensus that the second tier consists of pitchers Matt Allan and J.T. Ginn and infielder/outfielder Mark Vientos. After that you are looking at a whole mess of C/C+ type prospects which are good to have in your system, but they are also not players you can count on to be meaningful contributors at the MLB level.
While much has been written about the Big Three this week, let’s focus on the Next Three.
RHP Matt Allan
The Mets went way over slot to draft Allan out of high school in the 4th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, signing him for $2.5 million. The COVID-19 pandemic and Tommy John surgery last May have limited him to only 10.1 professional innings. The unknowns are simply too great right now for Allan, but the report on him has always been that of an advanced arm with some polish. At this point, it is impossible to say what he will be when he returns, but he will still be only 20 on Opening Day, and with some luck could finally get his career on track this year.
RHP J.T. Ginn
A second-round pick of the Mets out of Mississippi State in 2020, Ginn put together a strong professional debut in 2020. Between Low-A St. Lucie and High-A Brooklyn, he posted a 3.03 ERA and struck out 81 batters in 92.0 innings, while walking only 22. That is an impressive display of control, especially since his innings in St. Lucie were using the experimental Automatic Balls and Strikes system that saw the Low-A Southeast League walk rate was 10.4% with the system in place.
Ginn also notably posted elite groundball rates – 57.7% in Low-A and 64.1% in High-A. He does so with a three-quarters arm angle that produces plus horizontal run on his mid-90s fastball. His wipeout slider is probably his best pitch and generates a lot of swings and misses. As with most young pitchers Ginn’s changeup shows flashes but is a work in progress. The biggest questions surrounding him have to do with his durability, but he made 18 starts in 2021 and averaged better than 5.0 innings per start. He should start this year either back with Brooklyn or with Double-A Binghamton. It may very well depend on the status of the lockout and the availability of 40-man roster players to play in the minors.
UTIL Mark Vientos
Vientos just turned 22 years old in December, making his .281/.352/.581 line in 83 games between Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse in 2021 all the more impressive. His game power really came into form last season, resulting in a career-high 25 home runs to go along with 18 doubles in 310 at-bats. He sprays the ball all over the field and much of his home run power is to the opposite field, and he regularly clears 400-feet in carry.
He showed good plate discipline, and while his strikeout numbers are high, that isn’t a huge concern at the moment. Vientos will probably start the season back in Triple-A, but it would be very surprising if we don’t see him in the majors soon. The bat is legitimately good, but his defense has been more suspect. While Vientos has mostly been a third baseman throughout his career, he played a good amount of first base and left field in 2021 as well. He could probably still develop into a decent third baseman, but his future is likely in left or as a DH.