While we wait for the 2020 MLB season to get underway, it’s time to take a closer look at players who could one day be on opening day rosters. For the next month or two, we’ll be examining each team’s farm system, which will contain several prospects that will either one day be contributors for them, or could be used to acquire impact major leaguers.
Since we’ll be going in alphabetical order by city, our 18th farm system overview will be of the New York Mets. We’ll rank their top ten prospects, discuss some of their other notable minor leaguers, and then analyze the overall state of the farm system.
#1: RHP Matthew Allan
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 225 lbs
Drafted: 3rd Round- 2019
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 65 Third Pitch: 52.5 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 55
The MLB draft is much different than other drafts, as it contains both high-school and college prospects, which often can lead to signability concerns. Therefore, where a player is drafted is not always a reflection of their true talent, and that’s definitely the case with Matthew Allan. Since he had a strong commitment to the University of Florida, as well as a high asking price in terms of his bonus, the 18-year-old fell to the third round of the 2019 MLB draft, where the Mets essentially sacrificed the rest of their draft funds in order to draft him; they signed him to a well over-slot $2.5 million bonus. In doing so, they were able to land a pitcher who, in my opinion, was a top-ten prospect in the entire draft. With a powerful curveball, a mid 90s fastball, and a solid changeup, he already has the refined pitching arsenal needed to strike out hitters- he’s a true power pitcher. Now, his command is still being worked on, but when it’s all said and done, that shouldn’t be a long-term concerned, and given his age, he’s well ahead of the curve. My comparison for Allan heading into the draft was Trevor Bauer, and that still seems logical. I expect him to be a high-end #2 starter in the future, and one of the major steals in 2019 draft.
#2: 3B Brett Baty
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 210 lbs
Drafted: 12th Overall- 2019
Hit: 55 Power: 60 Field: 47.5 Arm: 55 Speed: 42.5
Overall Grade: 54.375
Not only did the Mets drafted Allan, their best prospect, in the third round of the 2019 MLB draft, but their first selection landed them their best position player prospect in Brett Baty. Considering that the Texas third baseman hadn’t been linked to New York at all prior to the draft, it was a surprise pick, but certainly not a poor one. With excellent lefty power and a tremendous feel for hitting, he’s the overall package offensively, especially if he can limit his strikeouts. Now, he’s not going to be a great defender at third base, but he also won’t be a liability, and with that offensive profile, that’s all he needs to be defensively. It’s not ideal that he’s already 20-years-old despite just being drafted out of high school, but given his high floor (and ceiling), that’s fine. I expect him to be a potent force in the middle of the order of their lineup by 2022.
#3: LHP David Peterson
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 240 lbs
Drafted: 20th Overall- 2017
Fastball: 50 Breaking Ball: 57.5 Third Pitch: 55 Command: 55
Overall Grade: 54.125
In the end, having a reliable fastball is arguably the most important factor for a pitcher, as most pitch it more than 50% of the time. That’s David Peterson’s one major flaw, as his fastball sits in the low 90s with inadequate spin rates, and is probably only an average offering for the future. However, besides that, there’s a lot to like with the 24-year-old. His breaking ball is definitely his best pitch, but right behind it is his changeup, which both complement that sinker well- he induces a lot of weak contact and ground balls. Add in his above-average command, and the fact that he still struck batters out (9.47 K/9) at a decent clip in Double-A this past season, and he’s a sure bet to be a solid #3 starter in the future. If Dallas Keuchel was able to win a Cy Young, I don’t see why Peterson can’t have a lot of success at the major league level.
#4: LHP Thomas Szapucki
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 181 lbs
Drafted: 5th Round- 2015
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 60 Third Pitch: 47.5 Command: 47.5
Overall Grade: 52.25
Whereas Peterson looks primed to be a durable, reliable starting pitcher, Thomas Szapucki is quite the opposite. With mid 90s fastball with excellent spin, as well as a good breaking ball, he has a dominant two-pitch mix that allows him to thrive as a strikeout pitcher, especially with his deceptive delivery. Yet, his development was slightly stunted after he underwent Tommy John surgery that cost him most of 2017 and all of 2018, so both his changeup and command now appear likely to be below-average. Therefore, I’m not sure he has the durability or the skills needed to be a starting pitcher, but in a multi-inning relief role, the 23-year-old could flourish. There’s no indication that the Mets will move him out of the rotation, but if they decided to, he’d undoubtedly be able to fill a role in their bullpen.
#5: RHP Josh Wolf
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted: 2nd Round- 2019
Fastball: 55 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 52
Baty and Allan were the headliners of the Mets’ 2019 draft haul, but in between them, they selected another solid prospect. Coming out of high school in Texas, Wolf is by no means a polished prospect, but with his 6’3″ frame, he’s super projectable, and his fastball now sits in the upper 90s with deadly movement; his breaking ball has also improved, and his changeup is at least average. His command needs more refinement, but at 18-years-old, he has plenty of time to develop properly. He’s not the most exciting prospect in the world, as he’s the traditional high-school pitching prospect, but in the future, I could see him slotting into the middle of a Mets rotation with Allan at the top.
#6: 3B Mark Vientos
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 185 lbs
Drafted: 2nd Round- 2017
Hit: 50 Power: 55 Field: 47.5 Arm: 60 Speed: 40
Overall Grade: 51.985
Coming into 2019, expectations were very high for Mark Vientos, who was coming off a strong 60 game stretch in Rookie-Ball, as had a very high ceiling when he was drafted out of high school in 2017. With some definite raw power, tremendous arm strength, and super high exit velocities (per MLB Pipeline), he has all the tools to be a star third baseman. However, following the 20-year-old’s struggles in Single-A, it’s far from a given that he reaches that potential. Between his subpar 4.8% walk rate and 24.2% strikeout rate, there are a lot of reasonable concerns regarding his plate discipline, and right now, he’s underdeveloped in terms of his infield defense. When you add it all together, you have a classic boom-or-bust prospect. It’s impossible to tell right now which end of the spectrum he’ll fall under, though on the bright side, his youth is on his size.
#7: SS Andres Gimenez
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 161 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2015
Hit: 55 Power: 40 Field: 57.5 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 57.5
Overall Grade: 51.5
Oftentimes, a player can have four of the five tools, but if he’s too deficient in the one he’s lacking, it could negate the value he brings in other areas. That may be the case with Venezuelan shortstop Andres Gimenez, who is already entering his sixth season in professional baseball, and has long been considered a top prospect in the Mets farm system. Although his walk rates don’t match up with the rave reviews about his approach, he has an advanced feel for contact, and is a fringe 60-grade defender at shortstop. Yet, largely due to his lightweight nature, he’s never going to hit for any sort of power whatsoever, as evidenced by his .387 slugging percentage in Double-A this past season. Now, he does have good loft on his swing, so perhaps he can hit for more than expected, similarly to Ozzie Albies, but if that’s the case, he’ll have to hit ground balls at a far lesser rate (49.8%). The 21-year-old’s pure hitting ability and defense in intriguing, but since he’s never going to be a physical specimen, his margin for error will be slim. Perhaps he can still be a future everyday shortstop, but for that to happen, he’ll certainly have to refine his approach at the plate, and even then, his upside is limited. New York has spent a lot of time developing him, but I’m afraid it could all go for naught given his lack of improvement.
#8: C Francisco Alvarez
Height: 5’11” Weight: 220 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2018
Hit: 55 Power: 47.5 Field: 50 Arm: 55 Speed: 42.5
Overall Grade: 51.25
Teenage catcher prospects are always the most volatile, but right now, the Mets appear to have gotten one of the better prospects in a 2018 international signing class that included Diego Cartaya and Marco Luciano. Signed for $2.7 million out of Venezuela, the 18-year-old already debuted in Rookie-Ball this past season, and more than held his own, posting a 129 weighted runs created plus (wrc+) and .377 on-base percentage. Based on his beautiful swing and advanced approach, it’s more than likely that those numbers weren’t a fluke- he’s going to consistently get on base. Even if his power is average at best, it won’t matter as long as he gets on base, and at the moment, the chances of him sticking behind the plate are very strong- he’s even a plus athlete for the position, despite his stocky build. It’s very early, but Alvarez appears to be a starting catcher, which is something that every team needs; he doesn’t have much upside, but I expect him to move up very quickly through New York’s farm system.
#9: SS Ronny Mauricio
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 166 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2017
Hit: 52.5 Power: 52.5 Field: 50 Arm: 60 Speed: 45
Overall Grade: 51.25
By now, you’ve noticed that the old Mets regime was very active in the International market, and in 2017, their main prize was Dominican shortstop Ronny Mauricio. Built like a young Manny Machado, he hasn’t yet quite adapted to professional baseball like the Padres’ star third baseman. Though Single-A is quite the aggressive assignment for an 18-year-old, Mauricio underwhelmed with a .307 on-base percentage and 93 wrc+, while it’s also worth noting he didn’t exactly light up Rookie-Ball either. As a switch hitter with more power to come as he fills out his frame and a good overall feel for hitting, it’s easy to get excited about his long-term potential. However, with his lack of on-base skills and high ground ball rates, he still has a lot of work to do, while it’s likely he’ll outgrow shortstop- he’s not a great athlete either. Perhaps against players closer to his age, he’ll showcase his true talent, but for now, I’m skeptical about Mauricio’s long-term future, especially with a new front office that isn’t exactly proficient in analytics or player development. Regardless, we’ll all just have to take a “wait and see” approach with him at the moment.
#10: SS Shervyen Newton
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 180 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2015
Hit: 42.5 Power: 52.5 Field: 50 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 47.5
Overall Grade: 49.125
When your team opts to not add you to the 40-man roster, and then no other team selects you in the Rule 5 draft, it’s not always the greatest sign. However, in Shervyen Newton’s case, this “rejection” isn’t a disaster. At just 20-years-old, he clearly isn’t close to major-league ready, which would explain why no team felt safe adding him to their roster, even with a decently high ceiling. Yet, had he shown more signs of improvement, I’m guessing a team would’ve been much more willing to take a risk on him. The Dutch shortstop’s strikeout rate has been above 31% in each of the past two seasons, while he’s struggled to hit for power or get on base; his defense is fine, but not strong enough to overcome those issues. As a switch hitter with lots of raw power, Newton’s a very fascinating prospect. However, he’s yet to prove himself as anything more than a potential future role player, and it’ll take some major improvement in his next stint at Single-A for that to change.
Best of the Rest
- Desmond Lindsay strikes out way too much and isn’t a great defender, though he at least will walk at a decent clip. He’s a future fourth outfielder in the Keon Broxton mold.
Farm System Overview
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen gutted the farm system in his first year as general manager by trading away Jared Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Anthony Kay, which is unfortunate. His first draft was so strong, and had he kept those prospects, the Mets would probably be considered to have one of the premier farm systems in the entire game. They’re hoping for good development from a lot of risky prospects, in addition to adequate returns from that 2019 draft, but if all goes well (a major if), they may be much better positioned for the future than I’m giving them credit for. I’m skeptical of the front office, and am hoping they don’t continue to trade away their young talent, but at the very least, the Mets have one of the most fascinating farm systems in baseball.