We’ve established the current Top 50 prospects and talked about why they are ranked where they are at present. We now move on to where we expect some of these top players to begin their 2023 campaigns and what that may mean for their development.

#1 – Francisco Alvarez – C: AAA

Prior to Spring Training the hope, from myself and others, was that Alvarez would force his way onto the major league club. Spring did not go that way for him but he did get a few reps behind the plate with some of the major league arms he may soon be catching for. He was sent back down to AAA where he should hit every day and split catching duties with Hayden Senger. When his bat gets hot, calls for promotion will not be far behind, especially if Narvaez and Nido aren’t providing much offense.

#2 – Brett Baty – 3B: MLB

Where do I think Baty belongs? In the majors. Where did I expect the Mets to put him? In AAA. The Mets acted as expected and returned Baty to AAA, allowing Eduardo Escobar to return to third base without controversy. Escobar has not been doing much hitting all Spring and the leash is going to be short for the veteran to produce. Baty’s bat belongs in the Met lineup as protection for Pete Alonso but we’ll need to be patient a while longer. His demotion to AAA does have positive implications for others on this list, as Mauricio and Vientos will be fielded elsewhere from third base.

#3 – Kevin Parada – C: Advanced A

Parada should have no positional question as he proceeds to begin the year in Brooklyn. There is an argument to be made for him skipping Brooklyn and proceeding to AA Binghamton but I don’t see the Mets being that aggressive. Besides, if Parada hits well, the Mets could always promote him from one to the other after roughly 30-40 games. Parada has a bright future but needs to show off his potential in game action in his first full minor league season.

#4 – Ronny Mauricio – 3B/OF: AAA

The Mets could have had an interesting call on their hands this Spring as both Baty and Mauricio were looking well and both are most ready to play third base at the major league level. Mauricio has long been a shortstop prospect with little prospect of playing that position at the major league level. He earned MVP honors in the Dominican Winter League and found himself shifted to the hot corner in the process. With Baty returning to the minors the Mets should be determined to have Mauricio in the outfield where I see him fitting in at Right Field.

#5 – Alex Ramirez, CF: AA

A player with no positional questions is Ramirez. The young outfielder has looked good in his few Spring appearances and should be on track to begin his season as the starting center fielder and #3 hitter for the Rumble Ponies. He has a similar track record to Mauricio in terms of flaws in his swing. If he can improve his patience at the plate at all he could become a Top 3 prospect. Should the Mets be looking at trading for Alexis Diaz, I expect Ramirez to be a candidate for trade.

#6 – Mark Vientos, 3B/DH: AAA

There was an argument to have Vientos begin the year in the majors to split DH duties with Daniel Vogelbach but the Mets, in all their wisdom, sent Baty, Mauricio and Vientos back down to AAA. If the Mets are smart, they will have Vientos learn first base in AAA. Any position he can actually field would be an improvement over the none he can currently manage. The truth here is that his bat is ready but he’s not going to get a real chance in a Lefty/Righty split with Vogelbach. That will change if Vogelbach remains unable to, “Buy and effing hit.”

#7 – Jett Williams, SS: Low or Advanced A

At nineteen years of age and having never played in Port St. Lucie the odds are good the Mets will keep their shortstop in Low A and let him earn his way to Brooklyn. Unconventional wisdom argues that Williams looks to have an advanced bat and solid fielding already and keeping him paired with Parada could help both.

#8 – Blade Tidwell, RHP: Advanced A

The last man standing amongst “Top Met Pitching Prospects”, Tidwell is the highest rank pitcher in a system that used to be known as a factory for Ace pitchers. He begins the year at 21 years old and will be 22 by the end of the season. The Mets gave him a taste of the minors in 2022 and that seems to inidicate that an assignment to Advanced A is on the table. I expect Tidwell to be in Brooklyn at the front end of a rotation though perhaps pitching as the #2 pitcher behind Ziegler, who has more minor league innings.

#9 – Dominic Hamel, RHP: AA

If the Mets send Hamel back to Advanced A you’ll see at least one post from Brian and I complaining about it. Hamel pitched well in Brooklyn last year and looks poised and ready to begin the season in AA without controversy. Hamel is also on the older side of prospects so his placement as #9 is a little aggressive. With a hunger to have a solid pitching prospect in the upper levels of the minors Hamel’s stat line from 2022 is really quite solid.

#10 – Daiverson Gutierez, C: DSL

At the age of 17 with a birthday in September I would say that Gutierez will only see time in the DSL this season. It’s possible the Mets aggressively bring their top international signee stateside but I don’t think they will in this case. He profiles, according to scouts, to have and offensive upside akin to Francisco Alvarez but it should be noted that at 6’2” he’s a bit tall to last behind the plate.

#11 – Calvin Ziegler, LHP: Advanced A

Some players on this list have controversial assignments or are being challenged to be promoted sooner. This is not the case for Ziegler, who had a good year in Low A and seems ready to be promoted to Advanced A to little fanfare. Ziegler’s numbers don’t jump off the page, which is why he ranks below both Tidwell and Hamel but he’s more than a year Tidwell’s junior and has time to progress at a more leisurely pace.

#12 – Anthony Baptist, OF: DSL

Just a little younger than Gutierez, Baptist also has a very low chance of playing stateside. The left handed center fielder grades extremely well for defense and speed but also has solid ratings across the board. The title “Five Tool Prospect” has been a dirty word to me since the days of Lastings Milledge but Baptist could be a very exciting prospect once he gets stateside.

#13 – Mike Vasil, RHP: AA

The number of 8th round draft picks who make MLB impacts is not very high. Expectations for Vasil should be tempered with a healthy amount of skepticism but, at the same time, his results in 2022 were very good. He earned himself a promotion from Low A Port St. Lucie to Advanced A Brooklyn and finished the year with a respectable 78.1 innings under his belt. He may already be 23 years old but assuming these numbers don’t fall apart in AA the Mets/

#14 – Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP: IL/MLB

Before his injury it seemed that Montes de Oca actually had a really good chance of starting the year in the majors. He was injured before Edwin Diaz and, ultimately, would have been a near lock for the bullpen were he healthy. Instead he’s working on his road to recovery.

#15 – Jacob Reimer, 3B: Low A

This writer may be higher on Reimer than others but there is a reasonably high amount of upside for the young third baseman. Even so, it’s appropriate for the Mets to start him down in Low A and give him time to mature.

#16 – Jose Butto, RHP: AAA

This is the last year that Butto will appear on the Top Prospect lists. He’s ultimately a back of rotation starter on a team with less expectations than the Mets and a piece of rotational depth below David Peterson, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi and others.

#17 – Willy Fanas, OF: Low A

After leap-frogging Simon Juan in the rankings, the best performer from the previous crop of Mets international signees should be making his stateside debut. We will see if his talents are real or if he will go the way of Vicente Lupo.

#18 – Nick Morabito, OF: Low A

Undoubtedly, other writers will rank Morabito higher and some might suggest he’s ready for Advanced A. There is little from the scouting profile for this player that excites and whether he goes to Low A or Advanced A, his stats will now need to make his case.

#19 – Joel Diaz, RHP: Low A

The 19 year old starter had some bumps last year for Port St. Lucie but his overall numbers were pretty solid for a player whose age would have suggested him being better used in Rookie ball. I want him to repeat in Low A and outright earn a promotion to Brooklyn.

#20 – Hayden Senger, C: AAA

For everyone annoyed by Senger ranking this high, you should know it’s unlikely that he will ever be ranked higher. Even if he reaches the full projection of his abilities (a slightly better hitting Tomas Nido) his limited ceiling will keep him from ever rising again over 20th in the organization. Senger is unlikely to rise above my projection as a solid defensive backup catcher and that is fine.

6 comments on “Mets Minors: Top prospect destinations

  • Steve_S.

    Excellent writeup, David. I would put Bryce Montes de Oca higher (maybe #10).

    • deegrove84

      If healthy, maybe. I like him a lot and he was showing MLB readiness. Based on his 2022, he’s where I think he belongs.

      I will tell you that I’m on the Grant Hartwig hype train though.

      • Brian Joura

        In 2019 it was Joe Shaw
        In 2021 it was Eric Orze
        In 2022 it was Grant Hartwig

        Older pitcher goes from A-ball to Triple-A in one season. Who will it be this year? Trey McLoughlin, perhaps

      • Steve_S.

        Noooo, Montes de Oca needs surgery and may be out for much of the year! Bone chips in his throwing arm’s elbow!

  • Brian Joura

    I liked what I saw from Vasil in his 3-IP stint against the Braves’ “A” lineup the other day. He had the one bad pitch to Olson, but otherwise looked like he belonged out there.

    Age is a concern. Hope he finishes the year in Syracuse.

  • T.J.t

    Well done, as usual, and much appreciated…you’ve set a perfect table for the 2023 season. Let’s roll.

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