Aggressive drafting has helped the New York Mets restock their farm system. With another draft in the books here’s how the top-10 stands.
When Brodie Van Wagenen left CAA to become the New York Mets general manager, fans and the media alike questioned the hire. Van Wagenen has had his ups and downs as a general manager, but his work with the MLB Draft has been phenomenal. The Mets have earned enormous praise from around the league for their draft strategies in 2019 and 2020.
The Mets are using the early rounds in the draft to stack up on elite talent, and then taking older prospects late in the draft. That way they can sign them to under slot deals and sign all their elite prospects. It’s how the Mets signed Matt Allan in 2019 and it’s how they signed J.T. Ginn in 2020.
Van Wagenen pointed to this uber aggressive draft style as the reason he felt comfortable trading away top prospects in the past. Only time will tell if that strategy will work out, but it’s safe to say the Mets system might be filled with more potential than any other in MLB.
10. Isaiah Greene, CF
The New York Mets selected Isaiah Greene with the compensation pick they got for losing Zack Wheeler. The high schooler from Corona, CA has all the athleticism to be a five-tool player, but the technique needs work.
His defense in center field is above-average, though he may have to move to left field due to the presence of Pete Crow-Armstrong. He could be a plus defender once he makes that move.
At the plate, he’s a work in progress. His numbers in high school were disappointing, but when he went up against elite competition in the summer, he looked like he belonged. He was outplaying many of the top high school prospects.
If he can consistently play at that level he’s going to be a star. His strong launch angle swing should add power that he hasn’t shown to this point as his body fills out. Look for him to top out around 15-20 home runs a season.
What really sets Greene apart is his speed. He’s a plus-plus runner and he puts it to work on the bases. Greene was a perfect 17 for 17 on stolen base attempts in high school. The Mets haven’t had that kind of stolen base threat since Eric Young Jr. led the majors in stolen bases in 2013.
9. David Peterson, LHP
New York Mets fans will get a first-hand look at David Peterson in 2020. He’s on the team’s 60-man player pool and is expected to be the team’s sixth starter.
Peterson was impressive in spring training, showing off his style of pitching. Peterson can get strikeouts, but he often relies heavily on his sinker to induce groundball outs.
That style tends to only work with a strong defense behind him. That’s one of the reasons Peterson has struggled mightily in the minors. Peterson had an ERA of 4.33 in A+ and 4.19 in AA, but his FIP was outstanding in both stops, 2.98 in A+ and 3.19 in AA.
The hope is that with a strong major league defense behind him, Peterson could finally produce results. The Mets have a similar pitcher on the major league roster in Marcus Stroman, it’ll be interesting if Peterson will be able to find similar success in his career. More realistically, Peterson is likely to end up a four or five starter.
8. Mark Vientos, 3B
Mark Vientos is one of the big sliders on this list. I had him as the Mets’ sixth-best prospects before the season, but with new additions and COVID-19 robbing him of a season worth of development, he slides down the list.
Vientos has worked hard to improve defensively at third base. It was once a question if he’d have to move off the hot corner and into the outfield or first base, that’s no longer the case. Vientos is aided by a plus arm that should help him become a capable defender at the position in the future.
Vientos is still a lumbering runner, but that doesn’t matter much outside of the base paths.
At the plate, Vientos needed a ton of work. His power can go up against anyone in the system. If he continues to develop as a hitter he could hit 30-plus home runs in a major league lineup. Will he hit enough to make it that far though?
He had a 24.2% K rate at A ball in 2019 and his BB rate was a dreadful 4.8%. His pitch recognition is some of the worst in the organization and it’s holding him back. 2020 was going to be a big year for Vientos as he looked to improve his eye and pitch selection.
Without seeing improvement in that area I had no choice but to knock Vientos down the list. That said, he still has huge potential. If hits his ceiling as a hitter he could be a middle of the order bat that changes the face of a team. The more realistic expectation at this point seems to be a player similar to Todd Frazier.
7. J.T. Ginn, RHP
The New York Mets shocked most draft analysts when they selected J.T. Ginn in the second round. The expectation was if Ginn, a draft-eligible sophomore, slid out of the first round he would return to Mississippi State. The Mets weren’t going to allow that to happen.
They took a shot on the talented righty who has been dealing with injury issues for the last year and a half. After dominating in his first six college starts, Ginn began to feel arm pain. He pitched through it his entire sophomore season, though his numbers suffered. When he came back in his sophomore year he found out he’d torn his UCL and needed Tommy John Surgery, costing him all of 2020.
It’s possible that Ginn would have been a top-10 pick had he been healthy. His fastball is electric, and his slider is among the best in the draft class. He has frontline potential if he can regain the stuff he had pre-TJ.
The Mets have a great history of developing pitchers after Tommy John—Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler just to name a few. Ginn has stuff comparable to those elite pitchers, if he can stay healthy he could be the next great pitcher out of the Mets’ system.
6. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF
The New York Mets’ first-round pick lands just outside the top five. Pete Crow-Armstrong doesn’t have the top-end potential that many in the Mets’ system have. He’s never going to be a middle-of-the-order bat who wills teams to wins with his offense. That’s just not who he is as a player.
Crow-Armstrong is a game-changer on the defensive side of the ball. He’s an elite center fielder and could likely step into a major league game today and still be the Mets’ best defensive outfielder. He likely has a number of Gold Gloves in his future.
At the plate, Crow-Armstrong is a hit over power player. He isn’t going to hit many home runs. He’ll probably hover around 10 a season, but he should put up high batting averages and on-base percentages.
His speed will likely help compensate for the lack of power. Helping stretch singles into doubles, doubles into triples, and stealing bases. Crow-Armstrong is an ideal leadoff hitter.
At his best, he could look a lot like Lorenzo Cain. If his power never develops he could look like Ender Inciarte.
5. Andres Gimenez, SS
Andres Gimenez went from a top-50 prospect in 2019 to completely off many top-100 boards in 2020. A poor offensive season knocked him down a number of lists. He rebounded in a huge way at the Arizona Fall League to end 2019, but he wasn’t able to back that up in spring training.
Gimenez hit just .214/.290/.393 in the spring. It’s a small sample size that doesn’t mean much, but it stands out when there are questions about a player’s bat.
At his best Gimenez has a strong hit tool that leads to a high average and on-base percentage. The power has never really been there for Gimenez, and that’s not expected to change.
His defense has always been a standout tool. He has potential Gold Glove defense at shortstop and has been named the best defensive shortstop in the minor leagues.
Gimenez has also developed into a strong base stealer. He stole 66 bases between 2018 and 2019.
The question has always been about whether or not he’ll hit enough. If he can’t, he looks a lot like Jose Iglesias. If he can, then Gimenez could be a lot like Jean Segura with better defense.
4. Brett Baty, 3B
The New York Mets’ 2019 first-round pick has offensive potential that can match anyone in baseball. The only question is whether or not he’ll develop a good enough eye at the plate to make it work.
Brett Baty strikes out a ton. He also earns a ton of walks and hits for a ton of power. A decade ago this kind of player wouldn’t have been recognized as an elite prospect. In modern baseball, the three true outcome player has become incredibly valuable. Look no further than Joey Gallo for an example of how much this type of player is valued.
Baty is similar to Gallo in a lot of ways. A struggling defensive third baseman with a cannon for an arm, a ton of power, a ton of strikeouts, and a ton of power (did we mention that already?). Gallo became valuable because he realized his offensive potential by making more contact and playing competent outfield defense.
Baty will likely need to follow a similar career arc. He’s going to need to hit more and strike out less, and he’s going to need to find a defensive home. The power and walks are a great start to any player’s toolset, but that’s all they are.
The potential for greatness is apparent for Baty, but he’s got a long way to go before he gets there.
3. Matt Allan, RHP
Matt Allan is the Mets’ top pitching prospect and it’s not close. The Mets’ third-round pick in 2019 was flat out dominant in his debut season. He pitched to a 1.08 ERA in Kingsport before blowing teams away in the playoffs for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
His fastball sits in the mid to high 90s and has great break. Allan told ESNY earlier in the offseason that he’s been working on improving his fastball break all offseason.
Allan also throws a curveball that sits in the low 80s with two-plane break. The pitch is plus-plus and Allan has been working to add even more break to the pitch. It will likely be his main strikeout pitch throughout his career.
Allan also throws a changeup, but it’s a clear third pitch for him.
There’s room to dream on Allan. He has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in all of baseball if he puts everything together. Even if he doesn’t, he should still develop into a middle-of-the-rotation starter or a reliever in the back end of a bullpen.
2. Francisco Alvarez, C
Francisco Alvarez is the most exciting prospect in the Mets’ system—a catcher who debuted in professional baseball at 17 years old and dominated. Alvarez slashed an absurd .312/.407/.510 across two levels in 2019.
Alvarez’s bat is his strongest tool. He can hit and hit for power. Both tools are plus and they should be why he runs through the Mets’ minor league system.
Defensively, Alvarez needs work. He isn’t a poor defensive catcher, but he isn’t great. He has the tools to be an above-average defender, but he needs more time to work on the mechanics.
Alvarez was expected to make his full-season debut at just 18 years old in 2020. COVID-19 stopped that from happening, but that’s not going to stop the hype around Alvarez. He’s one of the game’s best catching prospects after just one short season, imagine where he could be after a full season.
1. Ronny Mauricio, SS
Ronny Mauricio is one of the top prospects in the majors. Depending on the evaluator, Mauricio is already among the top 25 prospects in the game, and most have him in the top-50. The potential is sky high with Mauricio.
His defense at shortstop is only average, but his plus arm helps him make up for that. His lack of speed and his large body could mean that Mauricio will eventually have to move off shortstop to third base, which would limit his value. However, that isn’t a concern for the time being.
At the plate, Mauricio is more tools than production. His size and his swing give him plus power potential, but he’s never slugged better than .410 in a single season. His hand-eye coordination and bat speed should help him be a high contact hitter, but he’s hit .273 and .268 in his two professional seasons.
The big issue with Mauricio now is his eye at the plate. He strikes out a ton and he doesn’t walk. He’s a free swinger and it’s limiting his offensive production.
The hope is that as Mauricio grows into his body, he’s only 6-foot-3 and 166 pounds, he’ll grow into more power. By the time that comes, he’ll have matured enough as a batter to make use of that newfound power.
He’s a lot like Amed Rosario at the same age. The question will be how he develops going forward. Mauricio has all the tools to be one of the best shortstops in baseball if his production matches his potential.