New York Mets Top 30 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen July 11, 2022 © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the New York Mets. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Mets Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Francisco Álvarez 20.6 AAA C 2023 60 2 Brett Baty 22.7 AA 3B 2023 55 3 Ronny Mauricio 21.3 AA SS 2023 50 4 Alex Ramirez 19.5 A+ CF 2025 50 5 Matt Allan 21.2 A- SP 2024 45+ 6 Mark Vientos 22.6 AAA 1B 2022 45 7 Eric Orze 24.9 AAA SP 2023 45 8 Calvin Ziegler 19.8 A SP 2026 40+ 9 Dedniel Núñez 26.1 AA SIRP 2022 40+ 10 Colin Holderman 26.8 MLB SIRP 2022 40+ 11 Dominic Hamel 23.4 A+ SP 2025 40 12 Jose Butto 24.3 AA SP 2022 40 13 Joel Diaz 18.4 A SP 2026 40 14 Willy Fanas 18.5 R CF 2027 40 15 Khalil Lee 24.0 MLB RF 2022 40 16 Thomas Szapucki 26.1 MLB MIRP 2022 40 17 Nick Zwack 23.9 A+ SP 2025 40 18 Mike Vasil 22.3 A+ SP 2025 40 19 Michel Otanez 25.0 AAA SIRP 2022 40 20 Jordany Ventura 22.0 A MIRP 2023 40 21 Luis Rodriguez 19.6 A SP 2025 40 22 Nick Meyer 25.4 AAA C 2023 35+ 23 Grant Hartwig 24.6 AA SIRP 2024 35+ 24 Christian Scott 23.1 A SP 2025 35+ 25 Bryce Montes de Oca 26.2 AAA SIRP 2023 35+ 26 Junior Santos 20.9 A+ SIRP 2023 35+ 27 Robert Dominguez 20.6 R SP 2024 35+ 28 Raimon Gomez 20.8 A SIRP 2025 35+ 29 Wyatt Young 22.6 AAA 2B 2025 35+ 30 Hector Rodriguez 18.3 R 2B 2026 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B CF RF SP SIRP MIRP 60 FV Prospects 1. Francisco Álvarez, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (NYM) Age 20.6 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 233 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/40 70/70 50/60 40/30 40/45 60 Álvarez has been one of the more hyped prospects in the Mets system since signing out of Venezuela in 2018 for nearly $3 million, and he’s largely lived up to that hype. Considered too advanced for the team’s Dominican complex, he made his stateside pro debut in 2019 and followed that up by posting a .941 OPS across two A-ball levels in ’21 while still a teenager. Despite swinging and missing quite a bit at Double-A Binghamton, he clubbed 18 homers in 67 games and posted a 148 wRC+ before a recent promotion to Syracuse. Álvarez stands out for his offensive upside at a position that doesn’t offer much of it at the big league level. His swing decisions are mature beyond his years and his plus-plus raw power is already frequently seen in games. Álvarez begins in an open set up and then straightens out upon swing initiation without taking a big step or needing a timing mechanism. His swing is designed for power; it has a bit of a loop and a steep plane to it, enabling him to crush mistakes to left and center field. He doesn’t track pitches especially well (his head often flies all over the place) and he has mediocre barrel variability, so he’s likely to swing and miss at an above-average clip in the big leagues, but he’s going to get to an absurd amount of power for a catcher and produce at an All-Star offensive level for that position. Defensively, Álvarez is a bit of a mixed bag. He receives on one knee with the bases empty but mixes his technique with runners on. His traditional crouch can be a little high and make it tough for him to get to the ground to block balls, which he often tries to do with his hands rather than his whole body, and he’ll cost you a base now and then because of this. Álvarez has plenty of arm strength, and has gotten better at starting to exit his crouch before the pitch has reached him, or just cutting it loose from his knees when that’s not feasible. He’s barrel-chested and quite bulky, and will need to maintain his conditioning to be able to block and receive adequately. Álvarez likes playing the position and wants to control the game on the field, so while the profile is that of an offense-first catcher, he’s unlikely to be a true liability back there and has more than enough stick to make up for his defensive deficiencies. Though he has stuff to improve upon, Álvarez will compete for everyday catching duties in 2023. 55 FV Prospects 2. Brett Baty, 3B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Lake Travis HS (TX) (NYM) Age 22.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 70/70 45/60 45/40 45/50 55 Baty put on an absolute clinic during BP at the 2021 Futures Game, arguably showing the most raw power at the entire event aside from maybe Francisco Álvarez. He then had a great showing during an otherwise lethargic infield/outfield session, which most of the other prospects sleep walked through. When he was an amateur, Baty’s titanic size created consternation that he might end up at first base pretty quickly, but he looked very comfortable at the hot corner with the whole industry watching and has not only kept his body in check, but improved it and his general athleticism throughout his early-20s. While his mobility and arm strength are fine, Baty’s hands are still below average and he will flub the occasional grounder or exchange. The Mets have given him some run in left field, where he hasn’t seen enough action to have a great feel for how he projects there (he’s had to catch five total fly balls in his last three starts there prior to publication, all of which were routine). The strength of his Futures Game look and his first half at High-A in 2021 — including a girthy .309/.397/.514 line with Brooklyn — vaulted Baty into our 60 FV tier. His power production slipped at Double-A and again in the Fall League, where six weeks of looks helped me understand why. The length in Baty’s swing can create issues against velocity and cause him to drive the ball into the ground more than is ideal for a hitter with this much raw power. While his swing has changed a bit in 2022 (he has a bigger leg kick, though his hands look like they’re operating the same) and his groundball rates are way down, he remains vulnerable to fastballs on the outer edge, which he tends not to be able to catch up to. When he does, he has the power to do damage that way. He’s narrowed his approach to target pitches he can drive, tending to let strikes away from him go by. This is a very encouraging adjustment and lends hope to the notion that Baty will make more if his issues against fastballs up and away from him are exposed at the highest level. 50 FV Prospects 3. Ronny Mauricio, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 21.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 55/60 40/55 50/50 45/60 60 In some ways, Mauricio has developed as well as could have been rationally hoped when he signed. He’s filled out and gotten stronger while remaining agile enough to play shortstop — some elements of his defense there are very special, while others still need polish. He has had stretches this year where his throwing has been tentative and others where he will air it out and show you a 70-grade arm. His ability to pick short hops is inconsistent, but once he corrals the ball, Mauricio’s transfer is incredibly fast, and he can turn a baseball around as quickly as anyone in the game. He bends well for his size and can throw from all kinds of funky platforms, projecting as a plus shortstop at peak even though there are clearly things that need to be fine tuned. Mauricio’s defense gives some of his offensive shortcomings room to breathe. He is an extremely aggressive hitter who tends to be fooled by changeups, and is likely to run OBPs around .300, but his raw power makes him a dangerous hitter from both sides of the plate, even though Mauricio only tends to make contact in narrow bands of the strike zone. He is capable of hitting huge pull-side homers from the left side of the plate, and has all-fields power from the right side. There’s a chance he turns into a glorified version of Freddy Galvis, but Mauricio’s long-term body/power projection could enable him to crest in the 30-homer area in his peak years. He’s still a risky prospect and will likely have some lean big league seasons along with huge power-hitting peaks. 4. Alex Ramirez, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 50/60 20/55 55/55 40/50 55 Ramirez spent all of 2021 at Low-A as an 18-year-old and slashed .258/.326/.384, which was slightly below the league-average line in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. It was exciting that the lanky and projectable Ramirez hit that well as a teenager in full-season ball, though his minuscule walk rate (6.9%), especially during a year when automated balls and strikes seemed to inflate FSL walk rates, was at least a yellow flag. Back in Port St. Lucie to start 2022, Ramirez was red hot for the first month of the season, slashing a whopping .385/.423/.606 while cutting his strikeout rate by about 30% (from 31% to 18%), though his walk rate dipped by about the same amount. After that it seemed like Ramirez was asked to try to demonstrate better plate discipline. He walked at hefty 15% clip in June, three times as much as he had to that point in the season, and his strikeout rate barely moved even though he was running deeper counts. He was rewarded with a promotion to Brooklyn not long before list publication. Still 19, Ramirez has plus bat speed and will show you big pull-side power already. His wispy, 6-foot-3 frame has room for another 30 pounds at least, and with that weight and strength could come huge raw thunder. Ramirez has to cut some mechanical corners to swing as hard as he does right now, but that might be ironed out as he gets stronger, and the bat speed and explosiveness he shows are very exciting. Purely on tools, Ramirez is among the top handful of teenage outfielders in the minors, and you can make a cogent argument to take him over Jasson Dominguez (who he outperformed in the same league) and Kevin Alcantara (who has better plate discipline, but is now a level below Ramirez after the promotion). So while acknowledging that the plate discipline piece here is troubling and creates bust risk, his ceiling merits inclusion in the Top 100. 45+ FV Prospects 5. Matt Allan, SP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Seminole HS (FL) (NYM) Age 21.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/70 45/60 30/45 93-96 / 97 The Mets put a lot of their 2019 draft eggs into a few high-upside baskets, and one of them was Matt Allan, who had huge stuff in high school — plus velocity, a plus breaking ball, and a plus changeup now and then — but was often pretty wild. The Mets made a $2.5 million bet on him in the third round, one of several multi-million dollar bonuses they gave to high schoolers that year. It meant the Mets had to target signable seniors earlier than other teams, but that also meant they got the best ones. Allan signed, went to the GCL, and was 92-95 mph in his early work there. He cleaned up his frame (which I think gives him a better chance to more consistently repeat his delivery) and was parked well into the mid-90s at both the 2020 alternate site and instructs. He made one big league spring training appearance in 2021 (it didn’t go well) and was shut down not long after that, leading to Tommy John surgery in May of that year. Now about 14 months removed from surgery, I don’t have an update on the state of Allan’s rehab except to say that he may not pitch in affiliated games until 2023. I imagine he’ll be good to go in time for instructs and I think it makes sense for him to throw there, but I don’t have confirmation on this. If I hear shortly after list publication, I’ll update this blurb. 45 FV Prospects 6. Mark Vientos, 1B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from American Heritage HS (FL) (NYM) Age 22.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 70/70 50/60 40/35 40/50 50 Vientos has filled out to the point where it is impacting his range and ability to flip his hips and make strong, accurate throws, so he now cleanly projects to first base only; he’s played exclusively first for the last couple of weeks at Syracuse. He is very similar to Bobby Dalbec, with plus-plus power undercut by strikeouts, and like Dalbec, Vientos will probably have some years where he hits in excess of 25 home runs but still performs close to replacement level. Vientos tends to be a late on fastballs and he struggles to get on top of ones at the top of the strike zone, but he very easily has the strength to put them out to the opposite field. He is on the Mets 40-man and with Pete Alonso entrenched ahead of him, he is a candidate to be moved in a trade, especially if the other party takes a model-driven approach. One of the younger prospects in his draft class, Vientos is still just 22 and hitting for huge power at Triple-A. If there’s a thing that cleanly separates him from Dalbec and makes that comp a little less snug, it’s that Dalbec only reached the upper levels at age 23/24. The younger Vientos should be given more grace for his strikeout issues. 7. Eric Orze, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from New Orleans (NYM) Age 24.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/50 60/60 45/55 93-95 / 96 Orze has the repertoire depth and command to start, and considering that 2023 is his 40-man evaluation year and that he’s on pace for about 70 innings this season, he could conceivably be stretched out to close to 100 innings next season and then 120 innings during his first year on the 40-man, if something close to the industry-standard increase of 30 annual innings is applied to his next two years of development. To this point, he has thrived in a long relief role, working as many as three innings at a time at Triple-A Syracuse. While his delivery has a bit of a head whack, Orze’s beautiful, spiral staircase arm action is short and repeatable, and he has especially good command of his breaking ball. His best pitch, though, is his splitter, which descends as if it’s on an invisible playground slide on its way to the plate. He could stand to refine his fastball location and live closer to the top of the zone than in the meat of it, but otherwise, he has all the ingredients to miss bats, or at least stay off of the barrel, with all three pitches. Even if the Mets don’t put Orze on my speculative path to starting (he began his career at a JUCO and missed huge chunks of two seasons at New Orleans due to injury and the pandemic, so there are late-bloomer traits here), he’s a near-ready multi-inning reliever who will provide viable upper-level depth next year while not occupying a 40-man spot unless it’s necessary, a super valuable piece for a contending team, and a huge draft and dev feather in the cap of the org. 40+ FV Prospects 8. Calvin Ziegler, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from TNXL Academy (FL) (NYM) Age 19.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/60 30/50 30/45 92-94 / 96 Ziegler was generating enough buzz during minor league spring training that a scout in Arizona mentioned his name to me totally unprompted, as a heads up that he might be breaking out. A Canadian high schooler in the Toronto area, Ziegler was in a bind ahead of the 2021 draft because travel restrictions were going to make it hard for him to be seen by scouts. He transferred to TNXL Academy, an athletics “school” in Florida, for his pre-draft spring. The Mets made him their second round pick and signed him for just over $900,000, then shut him down during the regular season. He’s come out hot to start 2022, at least from a bat-missing standpoint, though he doesn’t always work efficiently. Ziegler’s stuff isn’t appreciably different than when he was in high school, though he is mixing in his secondary stuff more heavily. He was using his fastball over 75% of the time on the summer showcase circuit, but his usage has been around 60% so far this year. Both Ziegler’s trademark breaking ball and his mid-80s changeup show bat-missing potential, though the former has much more consistent finish. While Ziegler doesn’t have the prototypical pitching prospect’s frame at a fairly mature six feet tall, his delivery is very athletic, and the power and balance he shows in his lower half as well as the flexibility of his upper back generate optimism that he might yet throw harder than his current 91-96 mph range. Ziegler’s “lack” of height and the way he gets deep into his legs during his delivery give his fastball a tough-to-hit line. Changeup and overall command refinement are all that stands between Ziegler and pretty comfortable projection into a rotation. At the time of Mets list publication, he has been out for a few weeks with biceps tendinitis but is already throwing again and should be back before the end of the season. 9. Dedniel Núñez, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 35/40 94-97 / 98 Núñez was among the 2019 minor league leaders in fastball spin rate, but he wasn’t throwing all that hard. His heater was generating a 15% swinging strike rate even though he sat just 89-93 mph as a starter. The Giants made him their 2020 Rule 5 pick, but he never threw a pitch for them due to a Tommy John and was returned to the Mets during the 2021-22 offseason. Now in the bullpen, he is throwing extremely hard coming off of surgery, sitting 94-97 and kissing 99 throughout his rehab, which has progressed to Double-A Binghamton as of list publication. My notes have Núñez throwing a curveball back in 2019, but he now has a slider in the 87-90 mph range, and some of them are very nasty, though he has (understandably) been fastball-reliant as he gets his footing coming off TJ. He is in position to play an integral 2023 bullpen role for the big league team because several current Mets relievers will be coming off the books, but if there are injuries ahead of him late in 2022, he may be up if the org thinks he’s a better option than some of the pitchers at Syracuse who are currently on the 40-man. The moment Núñez’s slider clicks, that will be true. 10. Colin Holderman, SIRP Drafted: 9th Round, 2016 from Heartland CC (IL) (NYM) Age 26.8 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 65/65 55/60 40/45 50/55 94-96 / 98 Holderman began his college career at Southern Illinois, then transferred to Heartland and was about to kick back to Mississippi State when the Mets attracted him to pro ball with a $400,000 bonus. Here we have a case of nominative determinism, as Holderman has the stuff to pitch high-leverage innings. He experienced a four-and-a-half tick bump to his fastball velocity between 2019 and ’21, moving from the 90-92 mph range to 94-96, and that trend has continued into 2022, as he’s added another tick. Though he’s worked with four pitches in the past (he was throwing more changeups and what looked like a curveball as recently as the 2021 Fall League), Holderman’s sinker/slider combination carries him. Per Synergy, his fastball is generating a 68% groundball rate at Triple-A, and its sink and tail sets up hitters to swing inside his slider. He projects as the third banana in a contending team’s bullpen. 40 FV Prospects 11. Dominic Hamel, SP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Dallas Baptist (NYM) Age 23.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 196 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/60 55/55 45/50 30/45 91-95 / 97 After he struggled early in 2022, Hamel turned a corner in June and was dominant through the middle of the summer with St. Lucie. He garnered a whopping 21 swings and misses across six innings in relief of a rehabbing Jacob deGrom before a promotion to High-A. Though he sits 92-93 mph, Hamel’s fastball has plus-plus spin and rides at the letters. Automatic pitch tagging can sometimes conflate his sliders and curveballs because some of his sliders have huge vertical depth. Though his slider doesn’t finish down and away from the zone with great consistency, it’s nasty enough that the ones that back up can still freeze hitters. Hamel’s mid-70s rainbow curveball (it sits 73-75; the sliders sometimes have curveball shape but are consistently 80 mph and above) has cartoonish depth, and is tough for hitters to square even if they spot it popping out of his hand. His changeup has progressed since college (his usage of it has nearly doubled) and is already about average in quality, and it gives him a pitch with arm-side action. Arguably still straddling the starter/reliever line from a command standpoint, in my estimation post-draft Hamel has upped his chances of starting based on the progress of his repertoire. If his command improves as he climbs, he’ll end up in the 45-50 FV area. 12. Jose Butto, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (NYM) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/50 55/60 45/45 89-94 / 97 Butto has a plus changeup and throws lots of strikes, though he has adopted more of a power pitcher’s fastball usage style in 2022, bullying hitters at the letters. While he’s averaged fastballs in the 92-94 mph range across the entire year, Synergy Sports has him reaching back for 96-97 and sitting 94 more recently. The control-over-command style extends to Butto’s secondary stuff, as he’s imprecise but locates well enough to start. His fastball doesn’t have huge carrying life that would enable it to play in the strike zone, so he has to nibble up above it, which might be contributing to his slight uptick in walks in 2022. While he perhaps lacks the special command that would elevate a fair starter’s repertoire into the middle of a rotation, Butto is a high-probability back-of-the-rotation option. 13. Joel Diaz, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 18.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 55/60 30/50 25/55 93-95 / 96 Diaz dominated the DSL in 2021, sitting mostly 91-92 mph with a great curveball. After he spent some time in extended spring training, he was skipped over the GCL and sent right to Low-A toward the end of May, and while his surface-level performance hasn’t been great there, he still has good stuff for a somewhat projectable 18-year-old pitcher. Diaz is now sitting 93-95, but without effectual life or movement, and his fastball has been vulnerable to Low-A hitters. His curveball, however, is excellent, a two-plane yakker in the upper-70s, and Diaz can land it in the zone or bury it for whiffs. Diaz has a great looking frame, but it isn’t all that projectable. Because of this, it’s a little less likely that he develops impact velocity, though that was also true a year ago and he’s added a few ticks since then. It’s the lack of movement on that pitch, not the velocity, that has been an issue for Diaz so far. While he has a 30-grade changeup at the moment (some of them have so little separation from his fastball that they’re being auto-tagged as sinkers), Diaz’s arm action and delivery portend a better one with time. Poised and mature, the Mets dev group seems to love this guy, which is part of why they felt compelled to push him to full-season ball this year. If we’re making an apples-to-apples comparison to same-aged domestic prospects in the draft, Diaz’s broad strokes profile (above-average arm strength with “round down” movement/traits, plus breaking ball, less-than-typical body projection) would command close to a $1 million bonus, a high-variance prospect on the 40/40+ FV line, with me choosing to round down based on the fastball traits. 14. Willy Fanas, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 18.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 40/55 25/55 55/50 30/50 50 Fañas (he uses a tilde in his name but his minor league player page does not, and for technical reasons, we can’t add it to certain parts of the site without breaking stuff) is a twitchy, switch-hitting center field prospect who creates significant power despite a short swing. He has above-average physical projection and might grow into above-average raw power, though that will likely come with a move to an outfield corner. He is swinging and missing a fair bit in the DSL right now, but has everyday tools. 15. Khalil Lee, RF Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Flint Hill HS (VA) (KCR) Age 24.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/60 35/50 55/55 45/55 60 Lee was a two-way high schooler with more of a leadoff skill set until he got yoked as a senior and showed up to pro ball with surprising power. He had four years of statistical success while with Kansas City, but his in-game power output has come down as he’s climbed the minors. He was part of the Andrew Benintendi three-team deal, ended up with the Mets, and has had spare big league reps over the last two years amid continued strikeout struggles. He is still a power-over-hit type of prospect who takes giant hacks, often falling to one knee as he finishes. His big, long, uppercut swing and huge bat speed generate considerable raw power but also lead to lots of strikeouts, and he can really only impact pitches in the bottom of the strike zone. He has the tools of a Three True Outcomes platoon right fielder, one who potentially plays above-average corner outfield defense thanks to his speed, but there’s K-related bust risk here. 16. Thomas Szapucki, MIRP Video Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Dwyer HS (FL) (NYM) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 181 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 60/60 45/45 45/45 88-94 / 96 A fastball/curveball prospect who has dealt with injury and inconsistent velocity, Szapucki’s changeup has developed to a degree, and his fastball has stabilized in the 92-94 mph range across the last two seasons as he has continued to start at Triple-A Syracuse. While there are times when Szapucki’s changeup has bat-missing fade, his feel for locating it is still pretty fringe-y, and his breaking ball remains his weapon of choice against both-handed hitters, as it has the angle to miss bats to the back foot of righties. His heater lives off of its angle and sneaks past bats at the top of the zone. While the Mets have gradually built his per-game innings count throughout 2022, Szapucki’s funky low-slot deceptiveness has a long-relief look, and his dwindling options make it more likely that he sticks on the big league roster in a bulk middle-inning role. 17. Nick Zwack, SP Drafted: 17th Round, 2021 from Xavier (NYM) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 55/60 40/50 30/50 92-93 / 95 Zwack’s east/west sinker/slider combination has carved the lower levels, and the Mets promoted him to Brooklyn after just four totally dominant Low-A outings. His success has continued, and he has a sub-2.00 ERA after 10 starts with Brooklyn. While Zwack’s command isn’t quite as precise as his early-career walk rates might lead you to believe, his slider is very nasty and his well-located changeups play. He’s only sitting 92-93 mph, but that’s up a few ticks from last year. Very similar to Szapucki, except a few levels below him, Zwack projects in the bulk reliever/fifth starter area, more if the velocity keeps coming. 18. Mike Vasil, SP Drafted: 8th Round, 2021 from Virginia (NYM) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 50/50 40/50 30/45 91-95 / 97 Vasil looked like a late first/comp round prospect in high school, then had an untimely injury as a senior and only pitched a little bit before the draft, sitting his usual 92-95 mph. He ended up at Virginia anyway, where he regressed. He was sitting 91 throughout his draft year, but he’s already had a rebound after leaving Charlottesville and is back to sitting 92-95, and is reaching back for 97. His slider has also gotten much harder, up from 82-83 mph all the way up to the 85-88 range at peak. Vasil will flash an above-average changeup and his curveball’s shape is much different than that of his slider. Vasil needs to polish his command, but he has the four-pitch foundation to work in the back of a rotation, and it’s encouraging how quickly things have progressed for him since departing UVA. 19. Michel Otanez, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 70/70 50/55 20/35 97-99 / 102 The three hardest throwers in this organization are Edwin Díaz, Jacob deGrom, and Otanez, who is averaging 98-99 mph and has touched at least 102 this year. In addition to having elite velocity, Otanez’s fastball has exploding life. He has had severe issues with walks since returning from the pandemic off year and moving to the bullpen, this amid a four-tick fastball velocity bump. For nearly two months of 2022, across 15 Double-A appearances (he is used very conservatively, often with four days of rest between relief outings, and hasn’t thrown on back-to-back days), Otanez’s walks were down, but they have returned to a problem area since he was promoted to Syracuse. Squarely in the Phillippe Aumont demographic of relief prospect, Otanez could have stretches where he is utterly dominant and others where he is frustrating and wild, and the way he’s been deployed should give us some amount of pause about him pumping 98-102 with more frequent and variable use. Purely on stuff, Otanez belongs in the 40+ tier, but instead grades here due to apprehension regarding his consistency. 20. Jordany Ventura, MIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 22.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/55 50/55 40/50 40/50 91-94 / 95 The athletic little Ventura was coming off TJ and made a handful of Low-A appearances before he was shut down at the end of June with a pectoral strain. He was sitting 93-95 mph during the healthy portion of that small window, but was down in the 92-93 range and getting knocked around in his final outing before hitting the IL. Though he’s never had an issue with walks and will show you three above-average pitches, Ventura’s recent injury track record (and his inability to build a workload foundation as a result) slides his projection toward the bullpen, where he profiles as a good multi-inning fireman. Ventura’s high slot helps him stay on top of his nasty two-planed curveball, and he can turn over a tailing changeup from that slot, though with mixed consistency. How the Mets handle the back half of Ventura’s 2022 will be interesting. This is his 40-man evaluation year, he’s one of very few pitching prospects in this system with overt big league stuff, and he’s badly in need of innings, so extending him into the Fall League makes sense if the Mets are inclined to be bold and give him an opportunity to earn a 40-man spot even though he has very little full-season experience. 21. Luis Rodriguez, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/60 55/60 30/45 30/50 92-95 / 97 The extremely projectable Rodriguez belongs in the 40+ FV tier based on his combination of velocity (up to 97 mph), his fastball’s riding action, and the vertical snap he gets on his curveball, but he had Tommy John in March and will miss all of 2022. The lefty-pitching prototype should be back in the middle of next summer and has one of the higher ceilings in this system. 35+ FV Prospects 22. Nick Meyer, C Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from Cal Poly (NYM) Age 25.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 35/35 30/30 30/30 60/60 60 Meyer is a fantastic defensive catcher with a plus arm, and he has long performed above the average of whatever minor league level he’s been assigned to, mostly due to contact skills rather than any kind of power. The catching situation in crowded, but Meyer is ready to be the third catcher on someone’s 40-man and should have a very long career as a backup/third catcher. 23. Grant Hartwig, SIRP Undrafted Free Agent, 2021 (NYM) Age 24.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 60/60 40/45 40/50 92-94 / 95 A 2021 undrafted free agent, Hartwig has already reached Double-A after throwing 30 dominant innings at both A-ball levels. He sits 93-95 mph, and while his fastball plays down a little bit due to lack of command, it’s heavy enough to induce grounders even when Hartwig misses his spot. His upper-70s slider has plus two-plane break, and he commands it down and to his arm side with more regularity than the fastball. He’s already looking like a high-probability middle reliever. 24. Christian Scott, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Florida (NYM) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/60 30/40 30/45 93-95 / 96 Another of the many recent pitching prospects who were squeezed out of the rotation at Florida, Scott worked out of the Gators bullpen throughout his college career but has moved into a pro rotation and is off to a good start. He’s retained most of his velocity even as his per-outing innings count has built to five, sitting 92-95 mph and touching a little above that, though its shape isn’t great for missing bats. Scott’s power breaking ball is his best pitch, and hitters in the Florida State League struggle to identify it out of hand (they’re worse than the SEC hitters Scott saw in college and he could use a promotion). Mostly this is a late-blooming prospect who has some rep-based projection because he pitched out of the bullpen in college and missed most of the 2020 season due to the pandemic. While his delivery still has a relief look, Scott has the spin talent to develop a second good breaker and give himself a shot to start down the line — just further down the line than is typical for a 23-year-old. 25. Bryce Montes de Oca, SIRP Drafted: 9th Round, 2018 from Missouri (NYM) Age 26.2 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 265 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops 70/70 60/60 45/45 30/30 96-99 / 102 Montes de Oca is among the hardest throwers in the minors, with the emphasis on thrower in this case because he also has one of the most violent deliveries. His arm swing is very late relative to foot strike, and can be hard to time. The good news is that Montes de Oca’s stuff is good enough to do damage even when he’s not locating. He sits in the upper-90s, his fastball has big tailing movement, and it pairs nicely with the glove-side length of his slider, which is how he most often finishes hitters. As ugly as his delivery is, it helps make hitters uncomfortable, and BMdO is missing a ton of upper-level bats. He has a shot to be on the up/down bullpen shuttle back and forth from Syracuse next year. 26. Junior Santos, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 20.9 Height 6′ 8″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 45/50 40/45 30/40 93-95 / 98 Santos pitches like a XXL José Ureña, with an eerily similar delivery that creates sink (he has a 60% groundball rate, way above his 49% 2021 mark) and tail on his mid-90s fastball, but is tough to repeat. Though he’s started throughout his pro career, Santos’ general athleticism, maxed-out frame and inconsistent release funnel him to the bullpen with relative certainty. While he lacks the long-term physical projection typical of a 20-year-old, he may yet throw harder in relief. The east/west action on his fastball and slider combo can make him an uncomfortable at-bat for righties even though his slider doesn’t have a ton of movement in a vacuum. In essence a “look” or specialist relief prospect at a distance from the big leagues, I’ve cooled my FV jets a bit here. 27. Robert Dominguez, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (NYM) Age 20.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 50/60 40/45 20/50 93-96 / 99 Dominguez was a known and not all that highly regarded pitching prospect at the beginning of 2019, when he was a 17-year-old Venezuelan righty with some effort who sat 90-93 mph; that’s typically a $10,000 to $25,000 bonus type of pitcher. Then he was 94-97 at an event in the summer, which caused teams to reconsider him, though some clubs wanted to see it another time or two to make sure it wasn’t an anomaly. The Mets moved quickly, but Dominguez’s bonus, which I was told was $95,000, reflected that level of uncertainty. Between when Dominguez was waiting for his contract to be approved and the end of Dominican instructs, he continued to sit in the mid-90s and hit 99, flashing a plus breaking ball at times. He was deployed with extreme caution in 2021, working in two-inning relief stints with significant rest between outings, sitting 94-95 with sink. He had Tommy John not long before the 2022 season and is a high-priority rehab target for mid-to-late 2023. 28. Raimon Gomez, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (NYM) Age 20.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 40/50 30/40 94-97 / 99 The hard-throwing Gomez has been sitting 94-96 mph and has peaked at 99 out of the St. Lucie bullpen, while bending in a slider in the 84-88 mph range that is above average due more to its velocity than its raw movement. Some of the few changeups he’s thrown have had encouraging vertical drop, enough that Gomez looks like a potential three-pitch prospect on paper. Even though his frame is relatively maxed out, he is also super loose and has a lightning-quick arm. His feel for throwing strikes, especially quality fastball strikes, is not anywhere close to where it would need to be for Gomez to start, but he only signed last August and had all of 12 innings under his belt entering this season. His workload will likely need to be managed very conservatively, in part because of when he signed and how few innings he threw last year. Because Gomez is so new to pro ball, it’s reasonable to be optimistic about big growth in the strike-throwing/command realm, and there’s a remote chance he ends up starting eventually since he basically has a five-year dev timeline encompassing his first option year. For now, he’s an exciting out-of-nowhere, old-for-the-market international signee whose pro career is just underway. 29. Wyatt Young, 2B Drafted: 15th Round, 2021 from Pepperdine (NYM) Age 22.6 Height 5′ 7″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/60 20/20 20/30 40/40 40/45 40 Young might be Michael Stefanic, the Sequel, as he is extremely difficult to make swing and miss but is so lacking in big league physicality that most eyeball scouts are inclined to dismiss him. He has among the lowest swinging strike rates in the org (at 8%, it’s not quite at Stefanic’s level, but is still good) and has reached Triple-A in his first full season by virtue of his bat-to-ball skills. Young is almost impossible to beat with velocity, and while he’ll occasionally turn on an inside pitch, he mostly serves singles to shallow left field. Without much power he is unlikely to make a huge impact, and Young will need to find another viable position or two if he’s actually going to play a consistent active roster role, but he already looks like an above-replacement second base option in case of injury emergency. 30. Hector Rodriguez, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (NYM) Age 18.3 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 186 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 20/30 20/30 45/45 30/50 40 The compact Rodriguez has plus-plus bat control, but he’s a little less athletic than is ideal for a young prospect with very little physical projection. Because he has such prodigious feel for the barrel and can play the middle infield, he has a path to a big league role, it’s just a little tougher to get excited about his upside due to the lack of projection. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. High-Variance Youngsters Simon Juan, OF Junior Tilien, SS Dangelo Sarmiento, SS Jesus Baez, SS/3B Blaine McIntosh, CF Juan, who was given one of the club’s more lucrative 2022 bonuses, is a typical bat speed/frame power projection outfielder. Tilien has become much more physical than he was as an amateur and is hitting for surprising power at Low-A, albeit with some chase/strikeout yellow flags. Sarmiento and Baez are generating buzz in the DSL. Sarmiento is more skills-oriented and projectable, while Baez is physical and has present power. McIntosh can really fly and still has room for another 20 pounds or so. He’s quite raw for a 21-year-old. A Host of Other Interesting Relievers Ryley Gilliam, RHP Eris Albino, RHP Brendan Hardy, RHP Marcel Rentería, RHP Gilliam looked like a big league-ready fastball/curveball middle reliever but is missing 2022 with TJ. Albino is a huge (6-foot-6, 230 pounds or so) 18-year-old in the DSL who has touched the 97-99 mph range. Hardy, 22, was a 31st rounder out of a Mississippi high school in 2018. He’s had velo bumps in consecutive years and has gone from sitting 87 to sitting 94. He has great long-term physical projection and will flash an above-average slider, though his command is still pretty loose. Rentería, 27, sits 94-96 and has an average mid-80s slider. Low-Slot Relievers Locke St. John, LHP Alex Valverde, RHP Keyshawn Askew, LHP St. John, 29, only sits 88 mph, but he commands an above-average changeup and a slider that is aided by his slot. He’s good upper level relief depth as a “look” reliever, and other clubs have been interested in him. Valverde, 25, is a little stiffer than your typical low-slot guy, but he also throws a little harder, up to 95, and he has a power-action mid-80s changeup. Askew, a great name for a low-slot guy, needs to be promoted. He’s dominating Low-A hitters worse than those he faced at Clemson with a low-90s two-seamer/slider combo. Catching Depth Vincent Perozo, C Hayden Senger, C Perozo is a husky 19-year-old with pop. Senger is part of the crowded upper-level group and perhaps the best athlete among them, though his swing is grooved and his defense is more solid than spectacular. College Performers Rowdey Jordan, 3B Jake Mangum, OF JT Schwartz, 1B Zach Ashford, OF If you follow college baseball at all, you’re already very familiar with all of these names. Jordan is a switch-hitter with a plus arm who can play third base. Mangum is the Timmy Chang or Ty Detmer of college baseball, the all-time SEC hits leader with good feel for contact but little pop. They’re both out of Mississippi State. Schwartz is a contact-over-power lefty stick from UCLA. Ashford (Fresno State) has a bench outfield ceiling. This whole group could play a low-impact role toward the bottom of a roster. Scary Strikeouts Brandon McIlwain, OF Shervyen Newton, SS Nick Plummer, OF Omar De Los Santos, OF Jaylen Palmer, OF McIlwain is a potential late-bloomer who took a detour from baseball to play quarterback at South Carolina and Cal. He’s reached Double-A and some of the bat-to-ball cracks are starting to show. Newton has one of the most enviable physiques in pro ball but the strikeout issues are running wild now at High-A. Plummer signed a big league deal and the whole industry is still rooting for him given how many years he lost to injury while he was a Cardinal, but he’s struggled. De Los Santos has a hilariously whippy swing that I’m skeptical will play once he leaves Low-A. Palmer, a local kid, is punching out a ton at Brooklyn, too. System Overview Of the tumult and scandal that has surrounded the Mets during the last several years, punting most of their 2021 draft class stands out for its effect on the farm system. A few good players graduated and were then dealt (Andrés Giménez), and there are also premium prospects in other systems as a result of trades (Pete Crow-Armstrong made a swing change after he left the org and broke out in a huge way, while Endy Rodriguez is tracking like a top 100 guy). All of these deals have cost the Mets some depth (there are 12 players on The Board who were originally signed by New York and are now with another org), but the club is one of the favorites to win the World Series in part because they’ve made those moves. New GM Billy Eppler was let go by one weird ownership situation and joined another (with a brief pit stop at William Morris Endeavor in between), as his new boss is a doom-scrolling billionaire. Whether Eppler’s draft trends from Anaheim (lots of toolsy young athletes like Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh) follow him to Queens is still to be determined, though we’ll start to get a feel for that this week. Obviously elements of the amateur staff from the last several years are still around, and while the failure to secure a safety valve prospect during the Kumar Rocker draft was a big goof, the org’s recent creativity and willingness to take risks in the draft room is part of what got them the high-upside prep pitchers in the org, as well as some of the players who were traded to Oakland (J.T. Ginn) and Cleveland (Isaiah Greene, Josh Wolf) in big deals. The good news for Eppler is that while he struggled to put enough pitching depth in place while he was with the Angels, this org comes with lots of it already built into the system, including a bunch of upper-level relievers who could help replace the handful of free agents-to-be. There have been many instances of guys throwing harder in this system over the last little bit, each a feather in the cap of all the parties involved: scouting, the dev group, and of course, the pitchers themselves.