Brian published his Top 50 and we’ve seen several other sites add theirs so I wanted to add my own to the mix. I created my own Top 50 several weeks ago and thanks to Brian and other baseball pundits have revised my list with a number of players I had missed. This list will change as Spring Training rolls along and I’ll be posting about movers and shakers in my bi-weekly updates.
Some people may question why, if I’m breaking up my list, would I start from the Top 10. The answer to this question is that there are far fewer controversies in the Top 10 than in rankings 11-30 or 31-50 even though the players in this grouping have the highest likelihood to reach the majors. Without further preamble, we have the Top 10:
1. Jett Williams, SS – AA Binghamton
2. Drew Gilbert, OF – AAA Syracuse
3. Ronny Mauricio, 3B/LF – MLB Queens IL
4. Luisangel Acuna, SS/2B – AAA Syracuse
5. Blade Tidwell, RHSP – AA Binghamton
6. Ryan Clifford, OF/1B – A+ Brooklyn
7. Kevin Parada, C – AA Binghamton
8. Christian Scott, RHSP – AA Binghamton
9. Colin Houck, SS – A St. Lucie
10. Mike Vasil, RHSP – AAA Syracuse
Jett Williams – He can field his position but with Lindor holding the reins on shortstop at the major league level, the Mets are considering shifting Williams to second base or the outfield. With the extension offered to Jeff McNeil and Williams good defensive metrics, a shift to the outfield seems like the most likely scenario and it’s very possible but we’ve yet to see him play out there. Williams has the bluster and bravado where he’s already stated he wants to reach the majors this season but the Mets are far more likely to hold him in AA a little while longer.
Drew Gilbert – A natural center fielder who can play the corners as well if he’s called upon to do so. Gilbert was likely the best quality prospect obtained in the 2023 firesale of Aces the Mets held. Gilbert is a solid player and his performance in Spring Training and AAA will be closely watched. The Mets may not be desperate for outfield assistance if Starling Marte is truly back to form and if Harrison Bader can tread water as the number 9 hitter.
Ronny Mauricio – The most natural fit for the Mets needs at designated hitter, Mauricio injured himself playing winter ball and will miss most, if not all, of the 2024 season. This heartbreaking turn of events (and the Mets lack of free agent activity) breathes new life and hope into Brett Baty and Mark Vientos who are both looking to bounce back after failing to impress. Mauricio wants to play and will do all in his power to come back this season if he can.
Luisangel Acuna – Like Williams, there isn’t likely a future for Acuna at shortstop and again, with McNeil, second base is less of a fit as well. If he’s going to find a role with the team, he’s going to have to make things happen and see the Mets get creative. Perhaps shifting McNeil to third base or, once again, seeing a prospect become an outfielder. With Williams nipping at his heels, there is even a question if Acuna will remain the AAA shortstop for long.
Blade Tidwell – The top pitcher in the Met farm system (at least on this list) Tidwell had two crazy seasons last year. He had a terrible season where he looked like one of the worst control pitchers in the team’s history and he had a great season where he looked like a budding Ace. Because of the dearth of other top-level pitching, I think Tidwell is ranked higher than he deserves but he certainly has the potential to be a front-line starter (at least half of the time).
Ryan Clifford – The Mets don’t have many prodigious hitters in their farm and Clifford is probably their best right now. Clifford hit a major wall in Brooklyn last season but being a regular attendee at Cyclone’s games I can attest that the stadium is bad for power hitters and pretty awful for left-handed ones. Clifford should repeat the level if only to show that he can adjust to pitchers and adversity but he may not show much to us until he reaches Binghamton.
Kevin Parada (The “Bold” Choice) – Nobody on this list is a bold choice but I’ll be putting a few of these in my later rankings and have the player who I rank higher than the pundits as my choice within the Top 10. Parada was in the aforementioned Cyclone Park and his numbers, offensively, for 2023 were not as strong as we wanted. Now that he is firmly in Binghamton, he cannot use Coney Island as an excuse. I happen to really like Parada’s swing and still think he’s a major prospect even if he’s less vital to the New York Mets.
Christian Scott – The darling of the Met system, Scott is slated to start his year in AA but will get some spotlight time in AAA to show he’s as good as his 2023 claims. Let’s not take his season away from him but let’s wait for a little more success before we affix labels better than Backend Starter to his ceiling. If Scott truly made these strides, we could have a Jacob deGrom on our hands. If he repeats his 2023 success, I’ll probably start opining about it often.
Colin Houck – Having just completed a “Deep Dive” article on Houck his profile is fresh in my mind. (Note to self: See if Brian will let me call Deep Dive Articles “Deep Dave’s) Houck isn’t built like a typical shortstop but he doesn’t have defensive concerns that came along with Ronny Mauricio back in the day. Houck is still expected to shift to second base or third eventually but he may also have the power to make such a move easy. Fans should be excited to see his first full year of service in the minors.
Mike Vasil – I originally ranked Vasil outside of my Top 10. He was 12th overall but multiple other lists convinced me that I was too high on an unknown catcher assigned to the DSL to leave Vasil outside, looking in. Anyway, I slice it, I still can’t view a future where Vasil is more than a back of rotation arm eating innings and shuttling between AAA and the majors for injuries. A control-oriented sinkerball pitcher, his upside is that of a “good” #4 pitcher who lets his defense and offense win him games. I’d vote him “Least Likely to Finish in the Top 10”.