New York Mets top prospect list 2020: Infielder Ronny Mauricio is the name to know
The Mets don't have much of a farm system at this point
With the regular season concluding, we've decided to take a look at each team's future -- not by using a crystal ball or other psychic abilities, but by evaluating their farm systems. Below you'll find our ranking of the top five prospects in the organization -- sorted by perceived future potential -- as well as five other players who fit various categories. Those categories are:
2020 contributor: A player who is likely to play a role for the big-league team next season.
Analyst's pick: A player who is a strong statistical performer and/or whose underlying measures are better than the scouting reports suggest.
Riser: A player on the way up.
Faller: A player on the way down.
One to watch: An interesting player to keep in mind (for whatever reason).
These rankings were compiled after talking with various industry sources about the systems (and players) in question. It should be acknowledged that this process is more art than science, and that there are limits to ordinal rankings. Still, it's an intuitive system, and our hope is that the write-ups will answer any questions by providing additional context and analysis of each player -- such as their pluses and minuses; the risk factors involved; and their estimated arrival date.
One last word on eligibility: we're following MLB's rookie guidelines by disqualifying any player with more than 130 big-league at-bats or 50 innings pitched.
The Mets don't have a good farm system, but they have produced some quality contributors in recent years and boast a few players who are worth monitoring.
1. Ronny Mauricio, SS
No position player in the Mets system has a better chance at becoming a star-level performer than Ronny Mauricio, a switch-hitting shortstop who won't turn 20 until April … of 2021.
Mauricio nonetheless spent the season in A-ball, where he finished just short of being a league-average hitter. Of course, the stats don't matter here. What matters is that he shows the potential for multiple average or better tools, and could someday bat in the middle of an order.
If there's a drawback worth noting to Mauricio's game, it's that he's likely going to have to move off shortstop as he adds weight. That's not too big a deal, since third base is his likeliest landing spot. He's years away from reaching the majors, but make a note of the name.
2. Mark Vientos, 3B
New York's second-round pick in the 2017 draft, Mark Vientos hails from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida -- the same program that has produced first basemen Eric Hosmer and Triston Casas, among others.
Vientos might end up over at first base himself before all is said and done. He's already a below-average runner who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds and who figures to continue adding weight as he matures -- he won't turn 20 until December. The Mets have every reason to keep him at third base for the time being, with an eye on him becoming tolerable there.
The real draw with Vientos is his bat. He broke out in 2018, hitting. 287/.389/.489 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts and 11 home runs in the Appalachian League. His 2019 wasn't nearly as good -- his walk rate, strikeout rate, and power production all went in the wrong direction -- but he was also more than two years younger than his average level of competition and his overall line was still better than the league-average.
Vientos, by the way, was still named the organization's minor-league hitter of the year -- a tidy statement on the org's state as much as anything.
3. Andres Gimenez, SS
Andres Gimenez just turned 21 in September, meaning he played the entire season as a 20-year-old in Double-A -- or four years the junior of his average competitor. It's important to keep his age in mind because it helps contextualize his performance. He hit .250/.309/.387 -- numbers that don't appear impressive on the surface, but exceeded or were in line with the league-average marks of .238/.311/.366. Again, considering his age? Not so bad.
Granted, there are serious questions about Gimenez's offensive potential going forward. He doesn't walk much and he's unlikely to produce ample power, putting more pressure on his hit tool. He did lift the ball more often this season, but he also fanned more often, too -- to the extent that his 0.24 walk-to-strikeout ratio would've finished bottom-10 in the majors.
Even so, Gimenez is likely to enjoy a lengthy big-league career due to his defense. He has all the right weaponry to serve as a good shortstop for years to come, beginning with a strong arm and extension to soft hands and an innate feel for the position. Those traits give him a wide berth, and should help cover for his various offensive deficiencies.
4. Brett Baty, 3B
The No. 12 pick in June's draft, Brett Baty spent most of his professional baseball introduction in the Appalachian League, where he hit .222/.339/.437 with a 30 percent strikeout rate. Woof.
Age tends to matter in prospecting only on the extremes. Based on that transition, you know what's coming next. Here it goes. One of the main knocks leading into the draft was Baty's age. He'll turn 20 in November, making him a far older than the typical high-school draftee. With that in mind, you'd like to see Baty perform better out of the gates against lower-level competition, since he's ostensibly more mature -- physically, emotionally, spiritually, and so on.
The book on Baty is that he has on-base skills and well-above-average thump, but it's unclear if he'll be able to stick at third base and the strikeout rate needs to be kept in check. Check back in a year, when he's able to legally drink, to see where things stand.
5. Matthew Allan, RHP
The Mets' third-round pick, Matthew Allan was available only due to signability concerns. The Mets were able to coerce him out of his commitment to the University of Florida with a $2.5 million signing bonus, well over slot value for the No. 89 pick in the draft.
Allan has a starter's build -- he's listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds and has a strong lower half that, in theory, suggests he should be able to rack up innings down the road -- and the makings of a quality fastball-curveball combination.
Allan is a teenage pitcher, meaning the usual caveats apply. He needs to work on his changeup -- top prep arms almost never have to throw one -- and command and so on and so forth. He might end up hurt, he might end up in the bullpen, he might end up retiring to become a monk. He also might -- just might -- end up as a mid-rotation starter or better.
2020 contributor: David Peterson, LHP
David Peterson is a big, physical left-hander who could reach the majors as soon as this season. Historically a contact manager, he did strike out more than a batter per nine in Double-A. Even so, Peterson projects as a No. 4 type without swing-and-miss stuff. There's value in that -- particularly if his groundball percentage translates to the highest level -- but no one should have illusions about him becoming the Mets' next homegrown ace.
Analyst's pick: Thomas Szapucki, LHP
Perhaps it's cheating to include Thomas Szapucki here, but to be fair he has always produced when on the mound. The issue is that he hasn't pitched a whole lot, especially recently, as Tommy John surgery wiped out nearly all his 2016-17 seasons. This year he threw 61 innings, which represented a new career-high. Szapucki has the stuff to start, yet he might end up in the bullpen over durability concerns. His delivery bears some resemblance to Ryan Yarbrough's, so maybe the Mets will end up using him in a similar manner. Who knows.
Riser: Francisco Alvarez, C
Francisco Alvarez won't turn 18 until mid-November, but improved his stock by hitting .282/.377/.443 with five home runs in the Appalachian League. Alvarez has to work on the nuance aspects of catching -- to be expected given his age -- yet he has an above-average arm and has plenty of time to potentially mature into at least a backup-caliber catcher.
Faller: Desmond Lindsay, OF
The 53rd pick in the 2015 draft, Desmond Lindsay hasn't yet lived up to his promise. It doesn't help that he was limited to just 15 games this season after originally going on the injured list due to a strained calf, effectively ending his year in April. Lindsay won't turn 23 until January and still has louder tools than his numbers suggest, but at some point you have to give up the ghost.
One to watch: Shervyen Newton, SS
Give the Mets this much: At least they have some interesting shortstop prospects. Shervyen Newton is similar to Mauricio, in that he's a tall switch-hitter with legitimate offensive upside, including good raw pop. The difference is that Newton is more unrefined at the plate -- exhibiting a lot of swing-and-miss tendencies -- but has a better chance at sticking at shortstop. The range of outcomes here is so wide as to be laughable. As such, let's conclude by advising you to check back in a year to see if Newton can defy gravity -- or, at least, minor-league pitching -- and climb up the list.
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