Top 2020 Prospects: New York Mets

I’ve been estimating the time of arrival for every prospect in these team previews, but I’m not sure that adds much value in this case. There could be help on the way to Metropolis, but it ain’t Superman, and it won’t arrive for a long, long time. 

That said, the Mets are seeking accelerants. Ronny Mauricio followed the Amed Rosario path of aggressive assignments but fared poorly in the Midwest League at 18. I’ve seen the parks in that league. They’re cavernous and cold. That early-season, frozen-air fun of Spring in the Midwest bested Malcom Nunez and Jhon Torres in 2019, so Cardinals pulled them back. Worked with them. Sent them to warmer, softer climes. The Mets went the other way, leaving Mauricio to fight it out for 116 games.

The plan has its downsides, but I like the idea of trying to accelerate a player’s timeline if he meets the challenge. If a player gets red hot for a month in low A, he might as well be promoted to high A. If he gets demolished at high A for the rest of the season, he repeats the level the following year. If he instead has another hot month, bump him again to AA. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe the logistics make this impossible. But imagine an organization where everyone knows one hot month is all it takes to climb the ladder. I don’t know. Maybe it’s too soft a factor to make a blip. Anyway, I think these Mets are being very aggressive in playing the age-to-level lottery. 

 

1. SS Ronny Mauricio | 18 | A | 2023

I’d be selling if I had dynasty shares of Ronny Mauricio. Fangraphs has him ranked as the 24th prospect in all of baseball, and I can pull anything like that in return, I’m all about it. Maybe he’ll put up a monster season and make it hurt, but I’m betting the wait time here is lengthy, and that the hype he has now is partly due to being the chosen one amid the emptiness that is this system. One of the other kids in class could easily take the mantle. I’ll bet it’s this next guy. 

 

2. C Francisco Alvarez | 18 | R | 2024

3. 3B Brett Baty | 20 | R | 2022

4. SS Andres Gimenez | 21 | AA | 2021

Francisco Alvarez signed for the largest international signing bonus in Mets franchise history and looks about as good as a low-minors catcher can. He’s also a nice example of what we discussed in the opener regarding aggressive promotions. Alvarez spent just seven Ruthian games in the Gulf Coast League (where he was 2.4 years younger than average) before being sent to the Appalachian League (where he was -3.4). 

Side note, 2.7 million dollars does not strike me as a huge signing bonus. I mean the largest in the club’s history? Just one year later, he’s probably already worth several times that to the organization in the cold terms of the business. This is apart from the labor they get all the years in between. Don’t mean to soapbox here–just struck me as odd. I do not like the caps on budgets. It’s just so gross I don’t know what to say about it. I know minor league pay is the issue of the moment, and it’s a vital one, but the reality that the next step is an international draft gives me the shivers. We’ll go from gross to whatever’s likely worse than gross but who knows because it’s all gross. 

Jasson Dominguez across town is a good example of this. He signed for almost twice what Alvarez did. He’s probably worth ten times what he signed for and was the day he signed it. It’s hard to wrap your head around. And the Yankees paying that money to Dominguez meant they had to squeeze every other player they signed. Or sign no other players. It’s just hard for me to comprehend. Although yes, I realize capitalism is only fun when rich people come together to make sure nobody gets paid what they’re worth. 

Baty about Brett is the theme of a Mets Fan Club Halloween Party in Flushing this week.

I think.

Unless they’ve flushed the theme since. Which I should’ve probably done with this bit. 

Happy Halloween!!

Anyway, Brett Baty played 51 games across three levels after the Mets took him 12th overall in June. That’s 51 games total—not 51 games at each level. Draftniks loved Baty’s upside. Several called him the best high school hitter in the class despite dinging him a little for being an old high schooler. It’s a weird new groove happening all over the country: youth sports are so intoxicating for parents that some hold their kids back before kindergarten so they’ll be the big kid on the team. Real Team America stuff. 

Everyone likes Andres Gimenez more than I do. Perhaps you know the feeling. I never really got into “Lost” either, and it must be something about Damon Lindelhoff’s aesthetic because this new “Watchmen” premiere didn’t really do it for me either. I liked the casual dinner cocaine, but the rest seemed like pretty standard fare. 

Same goes for Gimenez. The standard fare part. No comment on his dinner habits. One of my main concerns is where he’ll play. Maybe he learns center field? Maybe the Mets don’t play Cano even though the GM is his agent? Maybe Amed Rosario gets hurt? Or regresses on defense? Present paths to positions don’t always matter to a great prospect’s timeline, but they matter more the further you go down the talent ladder.

 

5. 3B Mark Vientos | 20 | A | 2023

6. RHP Matthew Allan | 18 | A- | 2024

Congratulations if you traded Mark Vientos for a nice price last winter or spring! One of the weird things I’ve learned about dynasty leagues is it doesn’t matter if a guy like Vientos comes around a few years from now. If a player is headed for a downturn in value that seems likely to last a year or more, it makes sense to trade them, especially if you can get a good MLB piece in return. There are lots of players. So, so many players. Time is always at work in dynasty baseball. Sometimes for you, sometimes against. I’m still learning, but I know time is among the most difficult and least maximized assets from what I’ve experienced so far. Natural variance might be neck and neck. 

Anyway this report on Vientos’ death is an exaggeration. He’s got a strong arm and plus power. He’s got plenty of time. I think they’ll send him to St. Lucie, and if he hits as a 20-year-old in High-A, they’ll push him again. The more I write about this system, the more intrigued I become. But it’s all relative. Didn’t have kind thoughts at first glance.  

Matthew Allan reminds me a little of Matthew Liberatore and a hundred other pitchers who fell in the draft due to signability concerns, inked an overslot deal (2.5 million) and performed well right away. It was only 10.1 innings, but he threw his final two in the Low A New York-Penn League. And the front office cheer leaders go “Be! Aggressive! B! E! Aggressive!”

 

7. LHP David Peterson | 24 | AA | Late 2020

8. SS Shervyen Newton | 20 | A | 2023

9. OF Freddy Valdez | 18 | R | 2023

10. OF Kenedy Corona | 20 | A- | 2023

A 2017 first-round pick out of Oregon, David Peterson is learning to maximize his advantages as a 6’6” lefty with a thick base. His mechanics are good but not perfect. His lede (right) leg doesn’t always clear though, a trait that’s easy to see but tough to correct. When those landing toes are slightly pigeoned toward first base, it cuts him off and saps some torque and velocity. He lands straight-on once every few pitches, so it’s not like he’s repeating this slight funk on purpose. He’s also not launching himself because he’s not landing strong. The command of his fastball and slider are good, but I worry that’s partly because he’s not throwing as hard as he can and that he might sacrifice that for a while if he learns to really let it go like that wizard girl in Frozen. This has been an advertisement for extreme athleticism on the mound—something we won’t see here. 

Shervyen Newton struck out 32.9 percent of the time in 109 South Atlantic League games. Slugged .330. Not ideal for a 6’4” power prospect. Will they send him to High-A anyway? Who can say?! Wheeeeee!!!!

Freddy Valdez ended 2019 with a promotion to play three games in the Gulf Coast League. Samples don’t get much smaller than that. So why mention it? Gas. Not lighting. It’s just another glimpse of the Mets plan to hit the gas whenever a player shows the ability to adapt against older competition. Valdez won’t make his bones on defense, so if he keeps hitting, the Mets will keep pushing him. 

You’ve probably got time to run to the store and get some limes before the Kenedy Corona party kicks off. Still, I want an invite. I think. I mean we’ll see. I mean these guys are closer to kids than guys. Maybe I’m just feeling old today. Life is fleeting. Drink Corona. Or Don’t. What do I care. 

 

Radio Flier: 

This whole list is a flier, but I can tack Endy Rodriguez onto the back end. He’s barely played, but he’s hit when he has, posting Weighted Runs Created Plus scores of 104, 165, 144, and 197 across two levels the past two seasons.

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