The Mets began the year with four players on the cusp of the majors ready to make an impact. What they did not begin the year with was doubt about who was the Top Prospect in the organization. Francisco Alvarez had the highest ceiling and has proven up to the task of making the next step into being a major league catcher. For 2024 the title of Top Prospect is harder to put your finger on.

The Contenders:

Kevin Parada, C (AA): The most obvious choice for Top Prospect is the internal option. A player whom some fans felt made Alvarez expendable. Parada’s offensive chops seem to be legitimate but the likeliness of the Mets holding onto both Parada and Alvarez is pretty low. For fans who think Parada will simply shift to another position, you may want to re-think as Parada’s lack of footspeed won’t do him favors in left field and he isn’t likely to be a power replacement on the level of Pete Alonso at first.

In His Favor: Parada has draft pedigree being a high draft pick and ranked even higher than where the Mets once drafted him. Scouts are often wrong but they would not have their positions if they weren’t occasionally right. Additionally, the offense that Parada is capable of will more than play at his position and will likely make him an appetizing trade chip.

Against Him: Defense is not Parada’s strength and while he seems to be a capable catcher he’s going to be a bat-first catcher. This means that he needs to continue to hit and hit a lot in order to provide the Mets or another team with elite value and he will need to stay at the catching position for his offense to play as elite. The next issue is his age, as he’s actually slightly older than Alvarez who is already in the majors.

Luisangel Acuna, SS/2B (AA): The Mets traded Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers in exchange for the talented shortstop prospect and younger brother of Ronald Acuna Jr. The speedy infielder has a background and makeup to be an elite leadoff hitter and runner but his power and on base credentials are in question.

In His Favor: Acuna has stolen 55 bases this season and could be the Mets first big-time base stealing threat since Jose Reyes. His defense is thought of as strong and would only be rated as higher if the Mets shifted him to second base (since Francisco Lindor isn’t going anywhere) in the future.

Against Him: In the power department, Acuna likely only tops out at around 15 home runs. There is always a chance that he evolves through his career and shifts from speed to power but that is the distant future. Ultimately, unless Acuna becomes a better contact hitter or develops better discipline his ceiling isn’t as high as a Top Prospect’s should be.

Drew Gilbert, OF (AA): The Mets traded their other aging Ace for Gilbert and Ryan Clifford. While the Mets should have likely looked to get a little pitching talent in these deals, most scouts agreed that the Mets were getting solid value back. Gilbert has power, some speed and pretty good contact and is a solid overall outfielder.

In His Favor: Since joining the Mets organization, Gilbert has actually had an uptick in production. While the Binghamton Mets play in a division noted as being slightly harder offensively he’s actually produced an OPS over 200 points higher. The Mets have been playing Gilbert primarily in Center Field and if that is the position he can stick to, his offensive numbers would make him an elite player at that position.

Against Him: Typically, players who are able to stick in Center are a little faster on the basepaths than Gilbert is. With Starling Marte entering the final year of his contract and with Brandon Nimmo regressing in Center it will be of extreme importance that Gilbert prove capable defensively.

Jett Williams, SS (AA): As a writer, I will take ownership that I have not been overly high on Williams in the past. Williams, only 19 years old, is a smaller player and he began the season in Low A St. Lucie. The Mets likely waited too long to promote Williams to Brooklyn but has reportedly changed courses by aggressively giving him a look in AA to end the year.

In His Favor: Despite being of a shorter build, Williams shows solid speed and power. He’s a step or two behind Acuna in stolen bases but somehow generates more consistent power. Most importantly, his ability to get on base seems to be the biggest feather in his cap. Williams is more than capable of taking a walk and avoiding unnecessary strikeouts.

Against Him: Williams is only 5’6” tall and players like Jose Altuve are not amongst the most common. He’s proving doubters wrong daily on this account and is certainly a prospect on the rise.

Ultimately the stocks are up on Gilbert and Williams and slightly down on Parada and Acuna for the year. Scouting and pedigree still make up part of a player’s overall evaluation and it’s hard to drastically change from previous rankings. Based upon all that we’ve discussed above, the Mets top prospect rankings might shake out as follows.

1. Drew Gilbert, OF
2. Kevin Parada, C
3. Jett Williams, SS
4. Luisangel Acuna, SS/2B

10 comments on “Mets Minors: With Ronny Mauricio in the majors, who is the top prospect?

  • Metsense

    There are many moving parts. Hopefully the Mets decide on a plan. Hopefully these players reach their potential and the Mets promote them when they do.
    I. Gilbert, RF, arrival 2025, hopefully summer 2024. Marte has 2 more years and will be the 4th outfielder.
    2. Williams, CF, arrival 2026, hopefully summer 2025, in 2026 Nimmo would move to LF and bats third. McNeil would become a utility player by then. (OF & 2B)
    3. Acuna, 2B, arrival 2025, hopefully summer 2024. Pushing McNeil to LF or RF.
    4. Parada, DH/C , arrival 2026, hopefully summer 2025. Alvarez C 67% / DH 33%. Two good hitting catchers is a rare commodity. It would keep them fresh. I hope they keep them both.
    Mauricio should switch to 3B because Baty is not cutting it at the major league level. Don’t bury Baty but he had a chance and fail. He will have to wait for another chance. It is big business.

  • Steve_S.

    I’m fine with your “final 4” though I might have put Williams at 3 over Parada.

    The Mets might go with Parada as the backup catcher to Alvarez, with both DHing at times to get more ABs. No?

    • David Groveman

      It’s possible but with the dearth of pitching prospects in the Met system I can’t imagine a world where the Mets hold onto both and don’t get more pitching.

  • TexasGusCC

    Well, let’s say that only two of the four Baby Mets on the team now live up to the hype. Then, let’s say two of these four also do. So in two years, you will add those players to Lindor, Nimmo, and Alonso to give the team seven out of the nine everyday players. This kind of planning with these cheaper producers allows the team to add a special bat to the lineup like Ohtani or Soto.

  • Brian Joura

    It’s fascinating to me to watch how the Mets – and their fans – are treating and will treat these trade acquisitions moving forward. There are discussions to be had about sample size and BABIP and promotion strategy.

    Acuna looked great in the Texas League with a .381 BABIP and it’s been another matter entirely with his .294 rate with the Mets. At this point, there are legitimate reasons to have him start 2024 back in Double-A. What he’s done in 150 PA since joining the Mets is underwhelming. Alex Ramirez was much better at Brooklyn last year in a bigger sample size plus a much-tougher park to hit and the Mets sent him back there this year.

    Gilbert looks overmatched in the Texas League and then is great once he joins the Mets, thanks to a 77-point jump in BABIP. But he’s also hitting for more power, with a .222 ISO with Binghamton. At the time of the trade, my thought was that it would make sense to start him back at Double-A next year. Now, I’m on the fence.

    There’s still time for everyone to add to their stats. Acuna is already doing better than he was when he first came over but not to the degree that he was doing as a Texas Ranger. And it will be curious to see the lineups now that Williams in in Binghamton, too. Does he slide over to play 2B? Does either he or Acuna get reps in CF with Gilbert there?

    I wish they were playing tonight with the MLB club in a rain delay. All of those hitters and Blade Tidwell gets the start tomorrow, too. We should have the game chatter for the Double-A game instead of the Mets. That BNG pitching staff is quietly loaded now. He’s flying under the radar but Dominic Hamel has been terrific in his last dozen or so starts. And there’s also Stuart and Scott, too.

  • T.J.

    Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but none of these guys excite me at this stage. Ironically, a guy that excites me more than any of this group is a guy the Cubs have called up. PCA, the former Met #1 pick. He too will need to prove he can do it in the show, but he brings an air of excitement with a plus plus skill and possible multiple tools. I hope that all of this group excel in the bigs, but if even 2 of the 4 are decent that would be a success. And decent won’t be good enough to take the reins from an aging Nimmo, Lindor, and Pete 3 years from now.

    • David Groveman

      Don’t make me wax poetic on missing Pete Crow-Armstrong.

  • Woodrow1

    Ryan Clifford?

    • David Groveman

      When I was drafting this up I had begun to write up pieces for both Blade Tidwell and Ryan Clifford but they didn’t belong. To me, Clifford is clearly the #5 prospect and Tidwell ranks below him. I was trying to keep this article to focus on the players I saw having a claim to the “Top Prospect” mantle.

  • Dan Capwell

    Is “none of the above” a choice? None of those guys really gets me too excited, and watching Baty and Vientos struggle so badly at this level is a sobering reminder that most prospects don’t arrive at the majors fully ready for prime time. While all four/six could be useful major leaguers, I don’t get a Darryl Strawberry or David Wright vibe from any of them. And, none of them is a pitcher.

    My advice to the organization is to keep right on tanking. That means more Trevor Gott, Drew Smith, and SRF in late innings. Hold on to that #6 RD1 spot, as it is protected. Who knows, maybe they can move up during the pre-draft lottery. Then they can add some elite college-level talent that can contribute soon.

    Otherwise, their two biggest winter acquisitions should be Yoshinobu Yamamoto and David Stearns.

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