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New York Mets

The Mets have a solid top tier in their minor league system with many famous names, including Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, Brett Baty, and their 2022 first-round draft pick, Kevin Parada.   All of these players, plus more, have a chance to be impact players in the Major Leagues.

What surprised me was their pitching depth.  Some interesting arms have a chance to be contributors in the big leagues one day, including Blade Tidwell, Joel Diaz, and Calvin Ziegler.  All three helped St. Lucie win the championship in the Florida State League.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Francisco Alvarez
  • Biggest Mover: Alex Ramirez
  • Emerging Prospect: Willy Fanas

1. Francisco Alvarez (C)

  • Highest Level: Triple-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 Catcher
  • Tools Summary: All-star upside with plus power and a feel to hit

Francisco Alvarez is one of the best prospects in the game and should continue the offensive upgrade of catchers that started a couple of years ago.  He has excellent 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 a .260 batting average.  And here’s the best part, he only turns 21 in November.  Defensively, he’s fine, far from a great receiver, but adequate, especially when you consider the offensive upside.

2. Kevin Parada (C)

  • Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 Catcher
  • Tools Summary: All-star upside with power and a feel to hit

Why did the Mets draft another catcher in Kevin Parada when they have one of the best young catchers in the minor leagues?  Because, as with Francisco Alvarez, the upside is substantial, and when he fell to pick 11, the Mets felt like they had to take him.  Plus, having too many catchers can be a good thing.  It’s the most demanding defensive position on the field to develop.

Parada was arguably the best hitter in the draft.  He has a mature approach and is tough to strike out.  In his junior year at Georgia Tech, he struck out 10.5% of the time and walked 10% of the time.  In his first ten games in Low-A after the draft, he did strike out 12 times in 41 plate appearances, but I’m going to chalk that up to a small sample size.  In addition to his plus hit tool, there’s plenty of bat speed to project 20+ home runs at the highest level.  Neither Alvarez nor Parada can catch like Yadier Molina, but Parada is athletic enough to move to first if he finds himself blocked.  He’s a catcher, so don’t expect any stolen bases. 

3. Brett Baty (3B)

  • Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B with contact challenges
  • Tools Summary: Plus raw power with solid OBP skills, strikeouts could put pressure on his batting average.

I’ve seen Brett Baty multiple times and have been impressed.  He’s a big kid at 6-foot-3 but moves well with tremendous raw power.  Across Double and Triple-A last season, he slugged .533 with 19 home runs.  He will strike out as the swing can get long, but he should compensate with strong walk rates.  The ceiling is a full-time regular with .330 OBP and 25 home runs with a guy who might only hit .240. 

4. Alex Ramirez (OF)

  • Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF
  • Tools Summary: He took a significant step-up in 2022 by making harder contact and showing an improved hit tool.

I’ve long been a fan of Alex Ramirez.  He was a large international bonus baby sign by the Mets in 2019, and while he was overmatched in 2021, he corrected that in 2022.  He was noticeably stronger with superior plate coverage and contact.  In 2021, he struck out 31% of the time but cut that to 22% last season while improving his walk rate in a meaningful way.  The power is still more doubles-power, but as he continues to fill out, I think there’s above-average future power to go along with solid-average foot speed.  The upside is a full-time regular with a chance to be a number three outfielder in a fantasy league.

5. Ronny Mauricio (SS)

  • Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 2B with risk
  • Tools Summary: There is the potential for plus future power with some stolen bases, but his aggressive approach could limit his upside and, ultimately, his playing time at the highest level.

Mauricio spent all of 2022 in Double-A, where he built upon the power he displayed in 2021.  There are plenty of exciting tools with plus bat speed that should allow him to hit 20+ home runs, and at least early in his career, he should be a plus runner.  But his approach is uber-aggressive, resulting in him walking 4.4% of the time last season.  If it came with a sub-15 % strikeout rate, it might work, but he struck out 23% of the time, which is a problem.  After watching him again in 2022, I’m unsure whether he’s a full-time regular on a Championship Level team.

6. Jett Williams (SS)

  • Highest Level: Complex ETA: 2026 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 SS with risk
  • Tools Summary: Toolsy with a feel to hit.  He’s not a big guy, standing 5-foot-8.

The Mets had two first-round picks last July and, in the 14th slot, selected high school shortstop Jett Williams.  Everyone I spoke with talked about his crazy bat speed.  When I commented that he was only 5-foot-8, the answer was…so…  He’s also a plus runner, and most evaluators believe he will hit after getting acclimated to pro ball.  If you can ignore his small stature, the total package is exciting, with a chance to be an impact fantasy player.  After he was drafted, he played in 10 games in the Complex league, going 8 for 32 with a home run and six stolen bases – so far, so good.

7. Mark Vientos (3B)

  • Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B with contact challenges
  • Tools Summary: Plus raw power with solid OBP skills, strikeouts could put pressure on his batting average.

While Mark Vientos is a few slots behind Brett Baty, they are very similar players.  Both have plus raw power with a solid walk rate and too many strikeouts.  Baty is a little more athletic, and I like his swing more than Vientos, but both have a chance to be full-time regulars.  Vientos also saw playing time in New York at the end of the season, and while he didn’t perform, the exposure should help once he is ready for a more prolonged look.  That look could happen next season, but the Mets roster is stacked, and that Baty fellow is hanging around.

8. Blade Tidwell (RHP)

  • Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2025-26 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: He has a starter frame and the big fastball but needs to improve his secondary pitches and control.

Blade Tidwell was limited to 39 innings in his junior year at Tennessee with a shoulder injury, but the Mets were impressed enough to take him in the second round last July.  If healthy, he’s got a big fastball and solid secondary pitches.  He doesn’t repeat his delivery, so he struggles to throw strikes.  That was evident in his 8.1 innings in Low-A after he signed.  He walked six.  But the Mets are good at developing pitchers, and Tidwell has a lot to work with.  If it all comes together, he could be a mid-rotation starter.

9. Joel Diaz (RHP)

  • Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2025-26 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: He’s athletic with a solid three-pitch mix.  While he didn’t always throw strikes last season, there is a ton to like here.

With Roberto Dominguez recovering from TJS, Joel Diaz is now the top-ranked young Latin pitcher in the system.  He throws hard with high spin and has two solid secondary pitches in his curveball and change-up.  After dominating the DSL in 2021, Low-A was more challenging as he couldn’t throw strikes consistently.  However, he pitched in a gem in the championship game where he came in relief and tossed six shutout innings striking out 11 and walking one, and got the win.  There’s a lot to like here with a ceiling of a number three starter, maybe more.

10. Calvin Ziegler (RHP)

  • Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 SP or High-leveraged reliever
  • Tools Summary: He’s athletic with a solid three-pitch mix, but his control was AWOL last season.

Calvin Ziegler was the Mets’ second-round pick in 2021 and finally got on the mound last season.  He has a nice three-pitch mix with a fastball that will touch 96 MPH but had trouble finding the strike zone, walking over six per nine.  He’s athletic with a simple delivery but short in stature for a pitcher at 6 feet.  He did miss time last season with bicep tendinitis, but he was back in action in September and looked fine.  While there’s a long way to go, the ceiling is a number four starter or a high-leveraged bullpen arm.

11. Jose Butto (RHP)

  • Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 SP or reliever
  • Tools Summary: He has a nice three-pitch but probably works best as a reliever.

Jose Butto has a nice three-pitch arsenal with a fastball that sits 94 to 95 MPH with high spin, a hard curveball, and a change-up with plenty of fade.  His fastball grades out as plus, but the secondary pitches are more average for me. He’s always been able to throw strikes and did so again across Double and Triple-A and even in his spot start in the Major Leagues.  The ceiling for me is a number four starter, but he might work even better in the bullpen as his fastball would play up a grade. 

12. Matt Allan (RHP)

  • Highest Level: DNP ETA: Unknown Fantasy Ceiling: Unknown
  • Tools Summary: He hasn’t pitched in three years because of multiple elbow surgery.

The Mets selected Matt Allan in the 2019 Draft.  Many thought they would not be able to sign him given his strong commitment to the University of Florida, but they got it done.  That’s the last of the good news.  He didn’t pitch in 2020 because of the pandemic.  He didn’t pitch in 2021 because of Tommy John Surgery.  He didn’t pitch in 2022 because of follow-up surgery to his TJS.  Assuming he pitches next season, it will be four years since he threw a ball in competition.  So, I have no idea what to expect; therefore, I’m unsure where to rank him or whether he should be on this list.  Hopefully, we will know more next year.

13. Dominic Hamel (RHP)

  • Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling: Closer
  • Tools Summary: He has an excellent fastball-slider combination.

Dominic Hamel has some of the best swing-and-miss stuff in the Mets system.  However, he can’t throw enough strikes, which might move him out of the starting rotation into the bullpen.  That might be ok as his 93 to 95 MPH fastball will play up a couple of ticks, and he can drop his change-up and focus on his slider.  That combination might work and give him a closer ceiling.

14. Willy Fanas (OF)

  • Highest Level: DSL ETA: 2026+ Fantasy Ceiling: Unknown
  • Tools Summary: Toolsy international signee with a feel to hit.  While there’s plenty of bat speed, he needs to get stronger.

Willy Fanas signed with the Mets in January and played well in the DSL over the summer.  He’s toolsy with double-plus speed and bat speed to eventually hit for power.  He made solid contact on his way to hitting .257 with a .330 OBP but showed no power.  Again, he’s young and needs to get stronger and more experienced, but the Mets have done an excellent job with acquiring players from Latin America, and Fanas is a name to know.

15. Jaylen Palmer (2B)

  • Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2025+ Fantasy Ceiling: Extra Bat
  • Tools Summary: Toolsy, but his lack of contact is holding him back.

Jaylen Palmer has 70-grade raw power and is a plus runner.  However, in repeating High-A, he struck out 39% of the time.  Plus, despite his huge raw power, it’s only showing up in batting practice as he slugged .324.  The tools are exciting, but there’s a long way to go.

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