The polished outfielder who brings five tools in varying degrees was acquired from the Houston Astros in exchange for returning Justin Verlander after they let the Mets pay him $43.3 Million. Drew Gilbert is only 5’9” and is among the smallest top prospects I’ve ever written about. The Minnesota native went to college in Tennessee where he was the superstar of the 2021 College World Series boasting a .362/.455/.673 slash line. He was ranked 32nd overall in the 2022 draft and the Astros selected him 28th overall. His 2022 season was cut short due to an injury he sustained running into the outfield wall.
Gilbert began the 2023 season at 22 years of age and was assigned to Advanced A after missing most of the 2022 season. His 21 games in Asheville were enough to convince the Astros he was ready for AA but the results weren’t great. In 60 Texas League games last year he slashed a very human .241/.342/.371 before being traded. Then, in his final 35 games (now with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies) he jumped to a .325/.423/.561 slash line. These uneven numbers between the two AA levels is hard to evaluate and make his projections fuzzier. The only thing perfectly consistent is his on base percentage which remains roughly 100 points higher than the batting average.
Gilbert is one of the few modern day prospects I’ve seen who has a legitimate chance of being a hitter north of .300 for batting average. His ability to not strike out and draw walks allows him to see more pitches and should allow him to hit for a high average.
While Gilbert may get close to 30 home runs at the height of his most rosie projections, that will be around the top of his power potential. He appears to be far more of a 20-25 home run hitter but I think the Mets will take that production.
Williams, like Brandon Nimmo, is fast without being a natural base stealer. He could, especially with the changes to pitching rules, steal between 20-30 bases in a season but he’s not going to break any stolen base records or give pitchers fits.
The fielding isn’t bad and he splits time mostly between center field and right. It could be that he is going to push Nimmo into one of the corners if and when he reaches the majors.
I have Gilbert going to AAA in 2024 after playing an ultimately successful 75% of the year in AA. I’m doing this as much to spread the wealth and talent between levels as to put him where he belongs. He could have an impact on the 2025 team as Starling Marte’s future with the Mets will not be long and his defensive metrics will not slow him down.
The player I see in Gilbert’s numbers is Jason Bay. Most fans would likely sign up for this and back in the 200s Bay was rightly considered one of the best outfielders in the game. If you take away some of Bay’s power and put a few more stolen bases on the board I think Gilbert should fall somewhere in line… though he’ll be roughly five inches shorter.