New York Mets

The Mets system is very unbalanced.  At the top of the list are some of the best prospects in the game.  Francisco Alvarez has the upside to be a Top 3 catcher in the game and Ronny Mauricio will likely slide over to second, making him a very interesting target in fantasy. Baty and Vientos have their warts but both will be Major Leaguers.  I’m a fan of Matt Allen, but he had TJ surgery in May and there is now even more risk associated with him. Ginn is interesting and Ramirez while terrible young could be a stud.  After that…I dunno.  I don’t see any Major Leaguers and if there are, I don’t see any impact Major Leaguers.  Maybe it doesn’t matter as the Mets might just buy their way to the playoffs over the next few years.  One thing is for sure, Cohen will make it interesting.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Francisco Alvarez
  • Biggest Mover: Alexander Ramirez
  • Emerging Prospect: Robert Dominguez

1. Francisco Alvarez (C)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 3 Catcher
  • Tools Summary: Plus power with a patient approach.  He has all the tools to be a Top 3 catcher in fantasy leagues

I finally got a chance to see Francisco Alvarez live and now know what all the fuss is about.  The kid has great bat speed and an approach that could make him one of the best offensive catchers in the game.  He’s got a catcher’s body, so don’t expect him to beat out many hits.  However, he could hit 25+ home runs with a high OBP and hit .260.  And here’s the best part, he just turned 20 and should start the 2022 season in Double-A.  Defensively, he’s fine, far from a great receiver, but adequate, especially when you consider the offensive upside

2. Ronny Mauricio (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Double-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B
  • Tools Summary: His power is starting to develop but he’s still overly aggressive at the plate.  He’s an average runner and should be able to steal a handful of bases annually

Mauricio spent most of 2021 in High-A where he started to show the power we thought was always there.  In 100 games, he slugged .452 with 19 home runs.  He also continued to steal bases, although he only was successful in 9 of 16 attempts.  The concern continues to be on how much he’ll hit.  He makes decent contact (24% strikeout rate), particularly when you consider the type of power he will develop, but he swings at everything, always had.  When I saw him, he was eager to chase and wound up going 1 for 8 in the two games I attended.  He struck out twice but there was a lot of weak contact.  He’s a good shortstop but he’ll be blocked there.  So, if he stays a Met, he’ll likely move to second or third and that should drive up his value.

3. Brett Baty (3B)

  • Highest Level:  Double-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 1B
  • Tools Summary: 70-grade raw power is starting to show but it’s more doubles than over-the-fence.  He Will work a walk but with too much swing and miss in his game

Brett Baty’s carrying tool is 70-grade raw power.  But so far, it’s been more doubles-power than over-the-fence power.  In High-A this year, he slugged .514 but only had 7 home runs in 209 plate appearances. He did though, have 14 doubles.  It was similar production after his promotion to Double-A.  However, the home runs will come as he learns to control the loft in his swing.  He does have a good approach but does strike out too much.  I wouldn’t call him a three true-outcome player, but a line of .250/.350/.500 would not be out of the question.  Ag 6-foot-3, a move to first base could be in the offering.

4. Mark Vientos (3B)

  • Highest Level:  Triple-A ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 1B
  • Tools Summary: 70-grade raw power but with concerns about how much he’ll hit

I had a chance to see Mark Vientos this year for a couple of games in Double-A and was perplexed as to what I thought his ultimate ceiling would be.  He’s a big kid with big bat speed and just raw strength.  He could easily grow into 30 home runs.  But, he’s got big holes in his swing, partly because he’s 6-foot-4, which pitchers can exploit.  Plus, he’s aggressive at the plate.  While he showed more plate patience than he did in 2019, he still only walked 8% of the time in Double-A.  I think he eventually moves to first and you could see him as a .240/.320/.500 hitter with 30 bombs a year.  That’ll play.  But, with his approach and strikeout rate, a bad BABIP could turn things south.  Those are the parameters, so set your expectations accordingly.

5. Matt Allan (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 30 SP with risk
  • Tools Summary: Missed the 2021 season after having TJS in May

I liked what the Mets did in 2019 when they grabbed Matt Allan in the third round. Teams thought he would not sign and instead attend college before re-entering the draft three years later.  But, the Mets overpaid and got their guy.  Since he signed, the Mets have cleaned up his delivery.  He was reportedly throwing better at the Alt-Site in 2020 with more command of his mid-90s fastball.  He’s always had the double-plus curveball.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see him this year as he had TJS in May.  He’ll likely miss most of next season.  Assuming he comes back close to the same player, the ceiling is a number two starter.

6. JT Ginn (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: Seemingly fully recovered from TJS, he has two elite pitches in his fastball-slider.  He should stay a starter but if the third pitch doesn’t develop, he could fall back as a lockdown closer

A  year removed from Tommy John Surgery, JT Ginn got back on the mound and looked great.  Across 18 starts in Low and High-A, he pitched to a 3.03 ERA striking out nearly 8 per nine and only walking 2.1 per nine. His fastball velocity wasn’t all the way back, but his slider was wicked.  The change-up is still a work-in-progress, but assuming it can become a useable pitch, he has the stuff to be at least a number three starter, if not more. 

7. Alexander Ramirez (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Low-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 30 OF with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: Toolsy player with an intriguing power-speed combination.  He needs to control the strike zone better, but he’s still very young with a lot of time to develop as a hitter

There was a lot of anticipation for the debut of Alexander Ramirez this season.  Signed in 2019 out of the Dominican for $2 million, the Mets gave him an aggressive assignment to Low-A to begin the season.  In comparison, most of the others in the International class started in Rookie Ball.  In 76 games, he slashed .258/.326/.384 with five home runs and 16 stolen bases.  He was aggressive at the plate and struck out 31% of the time, but all things considered, you have to be impressed.  He’s got all the tools to be a star with plenty of bat speed and the ability to steal 20 bases annually. As is usually the case, it will be about his ability to control the strike zone.

8. Khalil Lee (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Triple-A ETA: 2021 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 OF
  • Tools Summary: A little bit of speed, a little bit of power, a lot of walks, and a lot of strikeouts

While he just turned 23, I’m not sure Khalil Lee will be an impact Major Leaguer.  There’s still a little bit of speed for some stolen bases, he’s got good bat speed but just strikes out too much to count on him getting to his power consistently.  He did walk a lot in Triple-A and has always been able to exhibit that skill.  So, there’s a little bit of speed, a little bit of power, a lot of walks, and a lot of strikeouts.  Maybe with a high BABIP, he could be a number four outfielder on a fantasy team.  But, is he going to get consistent playing time with the Mets to make him fantasy-relevant?  I’m not sure.

9. Carlos Cortes (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Double-A ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 75 OF
  • Tools Summary: He’s a 5-7 corner outfielder with a little bit of power and no speed

It’s hard to get your arms around Carlos Cortes.  He’s listed at 5-foot-7 and you would think he’s fast, but he’s not.  He does have a little bit of pop though.  He controls the strike zone adequately, posting a 25% strikeout rate and a 10% walk rate in Double-A this season.  Is that enough to make him a full-time regular?  I don’t think so.

10. Calvin Ziegler (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2025+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 SP
  • Tools Summary: 6-foot right-handed pitcher that doesn’t project to have any plus pitches.  If he develops above-average command and control, you could project a number four starter

The Mets 2021 draft strategy blew up on them when Kumar Rocker wasn’t signed.  You see, they had to save money with their other picks to afford the signing bonus demands of Rocker.  Therefore, many of their other picks were less costly options.  Their second-round pick, Calvin Ziegler, was one of them.  He’s a 6-foot right-handed pitcher who can touch the mid to upper 90s that will flash solid secondary pitches.  If he has average control, he might be a number four/five starter, or a bullpen arm.  He will make his professional debut in 2022.

11. Robert Dominguez (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Complex League ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling:  Closer with risk
  • Tools Summary: Throws hard but the delivery points to a possible bullpen role

Dominguez finally got on the mound this season and pitched 12 innings in the Complex League.  For all of us who have been waiting to see if the hype was real, it was a bit of a letdown.  In those limited innings, he struck out 12 and walked 10.  He still throws hard but his secondary pitches need a lot of work.  His delivery is still on the violent side indicating that a bullpen role might be the preferred development path.

12. Dominic Hamel (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling:  Reliever
  • Tools Summary: Power pitcher with a solid fastball-slider arsenal

Hamel was the Mets’ third-round pick last June.  He had an impressive junior year at Dallas Baptist where he struck out 136 while walking 43 in 91.2 innings.  He did post a 4.22 ERA because he gave up a ton of home runs.  He’s a power pitcher with a solid fastball-slider with a chance to start but more likely becomes a bullpen arm at the highest level.

13. Jose Butto (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 75 SP
  • Tools Summary: Average arsenal points to a back-of-the-rotation pitcher

Butto split his season between Low and High-A and pitched well.  He pounds the strike zone and uses his change-up as his primary weapon.  His fastball is not great.  It sits 91 to 93 MPH but doesn’t have a lot of spin.  The breaking pitch is still a work-in-progress.  He might profile like a back-of-the-rotation pitcher.

14. Jaylen Palmer (3B)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 75 OF or extra bat
  • Tools Summary: Showed good speed but as he fills out, he will not be a speed guy.  He needs to develop power and if he can make enough contact, he could have a Major League career

Palmer split his time between Low and High-A this year and slashed.244/354/.368 with 30 stolen bases and 6 home runs.  While he made marginal contact in Low-A (28% K/9), after his promotion he struck out nearly 40% of the time in 169 plate appearances.  However, he was also able to work a walk.  So what do we have?  First, he’s got good speed now, but he’s 6-foot-4 and as he fills out, he’s not going to be a speed guy.  The strikeouts will likely be there.  Could he develop solid power and be a three-true-outcome player?  Maybe.

15. Thomas Szapucki (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2021 Fantasy Ceiling:  Up-and-down guy or reliever
  • Tools Summary: Injuries have taken their toll

Thomas Szapucki was one of the most talked-about pitching prospects after an impressive 2016 where he showed great stuff and pitchability.  Since then, he’s had TJS and a host of other health issues and just has not pitched.  He didn’t particularly pitch well in 2021 but still made his Major League debut anyway.  He got hit hard in his one start and didn’t have great stuff either.  The health didn’t last long and had ulnar nerve replacement surgery and missed the second half of the season.  Since a lot of Dynasty League owners are holding onto him, I’m not.  He could be an up-and-down guy but unfortunately, the injuries have taken their toll

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