We’re going to try something new this year with the top prospect list. There are still 50 names but instead of trying to put them in a ranked order, they will be grouped in levels and listed alphabetically. All prospect lists are a snapshot in time. Just because Player X is in one group in this snapshot doesn’t mean he will be in the same group next year. Some players improve and others regress. We’ll have more information on if the international signing or draft pick has something going for them or if they’re more hype than production. So, here’s my best guesses as of late March 2022 on the Mets’ farm system.
Our first group is the Patrick Mazeika Level. These players all have something going for them and have a shot to make the majors. But it’s unlikely that they’ll be multi-year contributors in any significant way.
Keyshawn Askew – Long, lean LHP who can throw in the 90s. Tenth-round pick in 2021 out of Clemson.
Carlos Dominguez – Dominican native put up an .879 OPS as a 21 year old in rookie ball in U.S. debut.
Daniel Juarez – LH reliever from Venezuela. Made his U.S. debut at 20 and had 46 Ks in 31.2 IP.
Kevin Kendall – Seventh-round pick in 2021 from UCLA posted .872 OPS in Lo-A.
Justin Lasko – SP dominated A-ball at age 24 and reached Double-A. Full mix but not overpowering.
Nick Meyer – If he was younger, you could see him being Tomas Nido. Instead, he’s likely to be the player for which this level was named.
Bryce Montes de Oca – Finally made his debut after being drafted in 2018. 47 Ks in 34 IP.
Stephen Nogosek – B-R says his rookie status is intact. Don’t let the Paul Blart, Mall Cop mustache fool you – he throws hard and now looks like he could be a decent middle reliever.
Michel Otanez – Old for level but 58 Ks in 40.1 IP keeps him as someone to watch.
Jose Peroza – Slugged at SLU but 21-year-old Venezuelan found the sledding tougher at BRK.
Wilmer Reyes – Speedy infielder bounced back from knee surgery. Make or break year in ’22.
Carlos Rincon – Hit 22 HR in Double-A, including 10 in 160 PA for Mets after Billy McKinney deal.
Oscar Rojas – Mexican native has deep arsenal and will throw any pitch at any time.
Willy Taveras – Made it to Double-A last year. Dominican had a 2.45 ERA with 60 Ks in 47.2 IP as reliever.
Wyatt Young – Middle infielder selected in 15th round out of Pepperdine in ‘21. Mets had him with big club for a bit in Spring Training.
Our second group is the Kirk Nieuwenhuis level. These are the guys that if everything breaks right, they could put up 1,000 PA or pitch 125 games in the majors. Of course, things rarely break right and it should be expected that most, if not all of these guys, fall far short of those markers.
Jose Butto – Has a great change up but will need more than that to make the leap to the majors.
Travis Blankenhorn – Has already made his MLB debut. Could see him playing six years with four teams.
Carlos Cortes – Has decent pop but time is running against him.
Colin Holderman – A true power pitcher with solid off-speed pitches, Holderman has been dogged by injuries. Could move quickly as a bullpen power arm.
Khalil Lee – The sky’s the limit if he can get his strikeout rate under control. But that’s a mighty big if.
Jake Mangum – Old when drafted, Mangum was really hurt by the missed Covid year. Probably belongs in the Mazeika level but despite his age, you could see him being a reserve outfielder for a few years.
Brian Metoyer – The best curveball in the farm system but is the fastball good enough?
Eric Orze – Two-time cancer survivor added velocity and made it to Triple-A as a reliever.
Nick Plummer – Former first-round pick finally puts it together last year and rather than put him on the 40-man, the Cardinals cut ties with him. Sounds suspicious. Same BABIP and K% concerns as Lee.
Junior Santos – Should be in Hi-A this year at age 20. But at some point, there’s got to be something there besides young for the league.
JT Schwartz – Pac 12 batting champion, Mets made him a fourth-round pick last year. Didn’t hit in Lo-A.
Christian Scott – Fifth-round pick in ’21 from Florida, Scott has a big fastball.
Hayden Senger – Good defensive catcher but can he hit?
Joander Suarez – Venezuelan native showed good change to go along with solid fastball but underwent TJ surgery last year.
Thomas Szapucki – Longtime top prospect still might make it as a lefty reliever.
Josh Walker – Speaking of potential lefty relievers, Walker limited LHB to a .464 OPS in 131 PA last year.
Our third group is the Ruben Tejada level. These are guys with a pedigree who just haven’t shown it yet, whether that’s because they’re newly-signed or if they got off to a tough start. Tejada put up just a .588 OPS in his first season in the U.S. but went on to amass 2,396 PA in the majors. The hope is that a few of these guys end up in the next category, even if most will slip to the Nieuwenhuis or Mazeika level.
Jose Acuna – Venezuelan native had 7 IP in the FCL, the new rookie league, at age 18. Three-pitch repertoire gives hope for a starting pitcher.
Stanley Consuegra – Seems like he’s been around forever but injuries and the Covid year delayed his U.S. debut to last season, when as a 20 year old, he put up an .825 OPS in the FCL.
Levi David – Ninth-round pick in ’21, David has a power arm and a plus curve. He didn’t pitch professionally last season.
Joel Diaz – Absolutely dominated the DSL at age 17 last year. Great fastball – will have to see if anything else develops.
Robert Dominguez – The Mets are slow-playing things with Dominguez, who’s 6’5 and throws in the mid-90s. Hopefully he throws more than 12 IP in 2022 so we get a better feel for him as a prospect.
Willy Fanas – CF from the Dominican received $1.5 million, the second-highest bonus this year for a Mets international signee.
Dominic Hamel – Third-round pick in ’21, Hamel has a full repertoire and the Mets were further impressed with the spin rates on his fastball, slider and curve.
Simon Juan – The big catch in this year’s international draft class, Juan is a power-speed guy who is at least going to start out in CF.
Jaylen Palmer – Queens native is another power-speed guy who’s played in both the infield and outfield in the low minors, although it seems like he’s more of an OFer now. Strikes out too much.
Dangelo Sarmiento – Venezuelan SS was the third of the Mets’ big three 2022 international signings.
Mike Vasil – Eighth-round pick in ’21 out of Virginia, Mets reworked some mechanics and hope they have a steal with the 6’5 Vasil.
Jordany Ventura – Mets liked what they saw from Ventura in 52.1 IP in 2019 but he hasn’t pitched professionally since, first with the Covid year and then he missed 2021 with TJ surgery.
Calvin Ziegler – Second-round pick in ’21, the 19 year old from Canada has a starter’s repertoire and has hit 97 mph with his fastball. Has yet to pitch in the pros.
Our final group features the club’s top prospects, the ones everyone expects to reach the majors and be contributors. Let’s call this the Pete Alonso level, although no one should expect the equivalent of 53 homers. Injuries aside, it would be a disappointment if these players didn’t star in New York at some point in the future.
Matt Allan – Mets jumped through hoops to be able to afford a first-round bonus to a third-round pick. Injuries have limited him to 10.1 IP as a pro.
Francisco Alvarez – The bat is real and the HR he launched in Spring Training was a massive blast. The question is how good he’ll be behind the plate. Scouts think he can become a league-average defensive catcher, which would be a great combo to have with the plus bat.
Brett Baty – Made great strides in 2021 and might be the second-best prospect in the system. But also comes with defensive issues, which may knock him off third base.
Ronny Mauricio – The production of Alvarez and Baty have made Mauricio almost an afterthought. But he’s still long on tools while being a young SS. And he posted an OPS 44 points higher than team AVG at Hi-A BRK last year at age 20.
Alex Ramirez – Played in a full-season league last year at age 18 and held his own, which is a fantastic sign. Also showed great instincts in CF. Scouts project power as he fills out, which could be why the Mets were willing to trade Pete Crow-Armstrong last year.
Mark Vientos – Plays the same position as Baty and comes with even more defensive questions. But 25 HR from a 21 year old in the highest levels of the minors covers up a lot of sins.
Everyone dumps on the depth in the farm system but if given a choice, always pick stars over depth. There are 13 players in the Tejada level who could jump into being legitimate prospects. It would be extra nice if a few of those pitchers make that leap. Kumar Rocker would have been nice to have in the system, even if he needed surgery.