The Mets are fully focused on the big league roster right now, something that was made clear when the team parted with recent first round pick Jarred Kelenic and top pitching prospect Justin Dunn this winter in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal. That trade certainly took a bite out of their system—as did the graduations of recent top prospects like Peter Alonso and Amed Rosario—so while the farm is now quite thin as a result, there are still a handful of players that could play significant roles down the road. New York might have to find a long-term solution for all these shortstops when the time comes, though the potential to pair (#1) Andres Gimenez and (#2) Ronny Mauricio with Rosario has the club poised for an enviable surplus at a valuable defensive position.
Without a doubt, the strongest aspect of the Mets’ farm system right now is their infielders. (#1) Andres Gimenez doesn’t blow you away tools-wise like most upper-echelon prospects, but his well-rounded game and excellent instincts still give the ceiling of an above-average player. (#2) Ronny Mauricio is more the physical, five-tool top prospect type, with massive upside and the chance to be an impact big leaguer if he keeps developing at the plate. (#4) Mark Vientos is basically how you’d draw up a third base prospect, with prototype size, power potential, and arm-strength for the position. (#8) Shervyen Newton has enticing potential but has looked rough at the plate in 2019 and will need to develop offensively to actualize his ceiling. (#11) Carlos Cortes and (#12) Will Toffey could both get to the big leagues in smaller roles.
Three of New York’s top four pitching prospects are lefties. We’re a little higher than some on (#3) David Peterson—despite having stuff that grades more average than plus—because of his foreseeably high floor and potential for durability. (#6) Anthony Kay got a late start to his pro career due to injuries, but has moved quickly since and is off to a strong start in Double-A. (#8) Thomas Szapucki has touched the 96-97 mph range this spring in the South Atlantic League, flashing a sharp slider as well.
Both (#1) Andres Gimenez and (#2) Ronny Mauricio have the potential to be impactful big leaguers, but a mix of trades and prospect attrition has depleted the system’s general depth past the top. A glut of FV 40/High types cluster on the unranked portion of the list, and while there are some likely contributors there—especially the relievers, a position at which the Mets have a solid amount of prospect depth right now—none of them project to move the needle. While New York’s recent aggression on the international market is admirable (and there are a handful of recent J2 signees to be excited about), a deeper system wouldn’t have so many players of that demographic ranked on the back portion of their top 15.
TOP 15 PREF LIST
|5||Simeon Woods Richardson||RHP||50||Extreme||2022|
CREAM OF THE CROP
(#1) Andres Gimenez, SS
The Mets have shown they’re never afraid to push a middle infielder if they think he’s ready, and Gimenez has been the latest young player in the organization to be on that track. He cemented himself as one of the better shortstop prospects in the game in 2018, handling the Florida State League with aplomb before aggressive assignments to Double-A and the Arizona Fall League at the end of the year. We ranked him #50 overall on our recent Top 125 Prospect List entering 2019 despite his offensive struggles against older, more physical Fall League competition for Scottsdale, likely in part due to natural physical fatigue after a long season. The 20-year-old has struggled a bit in the early goings this year back at Double-A, but he’s one of the youngest players at the level and is showing the same tools, making us think he’ll adjust back to the Eastern League with more seasoning. Gimenez doesn’t stand out physically at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, but he’s a live-bodied baseball athlete with twitch that shows on both sides of the ball. His best tools are on defense, where he’s a standout gloveman at shortstop with sure hands, easy actions, and a confident overall demeanor. He can finish throws on the run from different arm slots while also able to plant his feet and put a 60-grade arm to use when he has to. At the plate, Gimenez has a direct swing from the left-side that projects to at least hit for average with gap sting mixed in. There’s batspeed to dream a bit of over-the-fence power, but we’re probably squinting too hard to say he’s likely to be a 20+ home run shortstop. He barrels fastballs to all parts of the zone but shows less bat-to-ball on secondary stuff, especially against lefties. There are still a handful of adjustments he’ll need to make before reaching New York, but at his age—and with Amed Rosario already in the fold at shortstop—there’s no need to rush Gimenez past this point until he’s ready. The defensive profile and up-the-middle skill set give a high floor, with a nice mix of potential ceiling as well depending on how his bat develops. He’s a potential above-average contributor at a valuable position.
ON THE HORIZON
(#3) David Peterson, LHP
Peterson was the Mets’ first-rounder in 2017 from the University of Oregon. He has so far lived up to his billing as a polished college lefty, moving quickly through the system and starting 2019 in Double-A. He’s more attractive for a high floor than a lofty ceiling, but the frame and tools are here to potentially wind up a durable #4 starter. A broad 6-foot-6, Peterson looks the part of an innings-eater—especially attractive for a lefty rotation piece. He pounds the zone with his fastball and shows burgeoning feel to land a full mix of secondaries, projecting for 55-grade control that ties together average raw stuff. The fastball sits at 91-to-92 mph with natural downhill plane and ability to mix different wrinkles. Peterson racked up a ton of ground ball outs through A-Ball because of ability to manipulate the late life on his heater, showing four-seamers, sinkers, and occasionally a short cut-like variant. His low-80s slider grades as an average pitch, backed by an improving changeup he leans on against righties that also can finish average with continued development. A true curveball rounds out the arsenal, used as a show-me back through lineups. Barring injury or any unexpected setback, Peterson could surface in the big leagues at some point next year.
(#6) Anthony Kay, LHP
Kay pitched his way into the first round mix at the University of Connecticut in 2016, though the Mets were able to sign him to a below-slot deal because of a medical issue that was identified during his physical. He was arguably overused in college and knowing what his workload was as an amateur, not many were surprised when he went down with Tommy John surgery before ever throwing a professional pitch. 2018 was his first official game in the minors, a full two years after being drafted. Kay’s arsenal has changed a bit since college, as he now is both throwing harder and relying more heavily on his breaking ball. The fastball sits at 91-to-93 mph and peaks around 94-95 mph, a few ticks up from where he was an amateur. He has good feel for changing the shape on an upper-70s breaker, a high-spin pitch he tunnels well off his fastball and can make look more like a curve or slider. His changeup—which was the go-to secondary in college—now grades out like a complementary offering to round out the arsenal. Kay is already 24 and will be Rule 5 eligible after this year, so it’s good to see the way he has started 2019 in the rotation at Double-A. Though they aren’t the exact same, there are similarities between he and (#8) Thomas Szapucki in that both southpaws could finish back-rotation starters if their durability and changeups progress enough, while also potentially fitting as lefty ‘pen options if they don’t.
(#9) Franklyn Kilome, RHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2020 Role Description: Setup Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’6” / 175 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: AA Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 9m
Kilome was emerging as one of the better arms in the Phillies system in 2017-2018 as he began to grow into an extra-gangly 6-foot-6 frame. He had a rocky first half of last year and was acquired by the Mets in the Asdrubal Cabrera deal right before the deadline. He pitched well upon moving to New York’s system but blew out at the end of the year, going down with Tommy John surgery and unlikely to get back in games until the middle of 2020. That makes it much more likely the 23-year-old righty moves to the ‘pen long-term. His size, stuff, and lack of consistent third pitch or control had already made that a possibility, but now it looks like the best way to fast-track Kilome after significant missed time. His stuff pre-injury was loud enough to potentially fit in high-leverage situations, starting with a mid-90s fastball that touched the 96-97 mph range even as a starter. His hard low-80s curveball flashed swing-and-miss action, and while the changeup has long been inconsistent, he made strides with the pitch down the stretch last year.
(#12) Will Toffey, 3B
Toffey was the A’s fourth-rounder from Vanderbilt in 2017, coming to the Mets last summer in the Jeurys Familia deal. His best attributes are an extremely disciplined approach and strong throwing arm, things that help aid his profile as a 3B with solid on-base ability. Despite his walk rates, he doesn’t project for a loud enough hit/power combo to project as a regular at the hot corner, and because Toffey doesn’t have the added value of center-diamond defensive ability, his upside is most realistically that of a FV 40 bench contributor.
Stephen Villines, RHP
Villines’ numbers at the amateur level were always excellent, but his performance outweighed the tools in college at the University of Kansas. He played four years in the Big 12 and is the program’s all-time saves leader, pitching well in the Cape for two summers before being selected by the Mets in the 10th round in 2017. His pro career has been similar—cruising through the low levels of the minors and already in Triple-A just shy of two years after being drafted—but he’s now performing at a level close enough to the big leagues that his success is getting hard to second guess. Villines throws from an extra-deceptive low-sidearm slot that’s close to submarine. His fastball rarely cracks 90 mph but has well above-average movement that hitters can’t square up. His frisbee slider has historically been the go-to off-speed, and while it’s still a part of his mix, he’s made strides with a changeup to work against lefties. It’s tough to miss tons of bats with this type of stuff, but Villines has put up strikeout numbers like a power arm even against advanced competition in the upper-minors. He’s pitched his way into prospect status, and while it’s easiest to project Villines as a potential middle innings piece at best, there might be so much deception he winds up as more. He’s a surprising overachiever in this system that keeps exceeding expectations and could give the Mets a ‘pen option as early as late 2019.
Eric Hanhold, RHP
Ceiling: 40 Risk: High ETA: 2018 Role Description: Middle Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’5” / 220 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: MLB Age (as of April 1, 2019): 25y, 5m
Hanhold flew under the radar at the University of Florida, having to split innings with future top pros like A.J. Puk (Athletics), Dane Dunning (White Sox), Logan Shore (Tigers), and others. A sixth-round pick by the Brewers in 2015, he came to the Mets as the PTBNL in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers. Hanhold sputtered as a starter but moved quickly upon transitioning to relief, making his big league debut last season. He has started the year in Triple-A in 2019, but figures to see time in New York’s bullpen as an optionable middle relief piece. His sinking, running fastball has plus velocity, sitting 95-to-96 mph and scraping higher. The primary off-speed is a hard slider in the upper-80s that grades as an effective breaking ball. He’ll wrinkle a changeup to keep lefties honest but is mostly a two-pitch guy. At 25-years-old, Hanhold is basically a finished product that brings the extra value of being able to step into a Major League role right away.
Ryder Ryan, RHP
Ceiling: 40 Risk: High ETA: 2020 Role Description: Middle Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 205 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: AA Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 10m
Ryan comes from a baseball family, as his dad reached Triple-A and uncle Jason Ryan pitched in the big leagues. Ryder was on the map early as a prep underclassman, a raw power/arm-strength two-way prospect that intrigued teams both as a hitter and on the mound. He honored his commitment to UNC but fell in the draft because he didn’t perform at the plate and wound up leaving the program in 2016. The Indians still drafted him in the 30th round that year, and he has moved fairly quickly since as a power-armed reliever. New York acquired him from Cleveland in 2017 in exchange for big league outfielder Jay Bruce. Ryan’s fastball tops out around 96-97 mph and sits regularly in the mid-90s. He pairs that with a hard slider in the 84-to-88 mph range that’s more cut-like at the high end of the velocity band. A strong 6-foot-2 with the ability to pitch from the windup, Ryan could be a middle reliever with multi-inning potential—a role that he has been pitching in so far this year with Double-A Binghamton.
Ryley Gilliam, RHP
Gilliam passed on interest from pro teams in high school, blossoming into a top college closer at the University of Clemson. He was the Mets’ fifth-round pick three years later, the type of advanced ‘pen arm that can move quickly through a system. A short, athletic 5-foot-10, Gilliam generates velocity and high spin on his curveball by way of a very fast arm-stroke. The fastball touches 96-97 mph but has worked in the 92-to-94 mph range in 2019, likely an attempt to better control the zone after consistently high walk rates early in his career. His go-to secondary is a hard curve in the upper-70s that shows the power and sharpness of a potentially above-average pitch. If Gilliam starts to control his fastball while simultaneously getting back to the 95-to-97 mph range, the breaking ball is enough of a swing-and-miss weapon to fit in setup situations. Even if not, Gilliam’s solid two-pitch mix is advanced enough to push for middle relief innings as early as next season.
Gavin Cecchini, INF
Ceiling: 40 Risk: High ETA: 2016 Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 200 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: MLB Age (as of April 1, 2019): 25y, 3m
The 12th overall pick from a Louisiana high school all the way back in 2012, it’s surprising Cecchini even qualifies as prospect eligible seeing as he debuted in 2016. His loudest proponents saw an offensive-minded infielder with enough glove to stay at shortstop early in his career, but it hasn’t worked out that way to date. He was showing signs of enthusing progress at the plate last season before a deep bone bruise in his foot cost him the rest of 2018. Maybe he’ll find some magic with the bat by developing more power and lift, but Cecchini’s most realistic outcome at this point is a bench player with infield versatility.
(#3) Ronny Mauricio, SS
Ceiling: 55 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2022 Role Description: Above-Average Player
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 166 lbs. B/T: S/R Highest Level: A Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 11m
Mauricio was one of the top available talents in the 2017 international signing class, agreeing to terms with the Mets for a hefty $2.1 million bonus. He was advanced enough to skip right to the GCL last summer, where he more than held his own as a 17-year-old before a brief eight-game stint in the Appalachian League to finish the year. He’s extremely young for the South Atlantic League but doing just fine, especially impressive considering how many talented, high-profile teenage prospects struggle through April in full-season ball. A rangy, quick-twitch 6-foot-3, Mauricio’s athleticism and projectability jump off the page. His actions on both sides of the ball are effortless, and there’s unusual coordination for a player of this size and age. A switch-hitter, he’s significantly more advanced batting left-handed. Mauricio shows a fluid, balanced stroke from both sides of the plate, but there’s much more barrel-feel and general zone awareness when facing righties. His burgeoning raw power likely won’t show up in games for awhile, as he’s much younger than his competition and has two swings to develop. That said, with such a long-levered frame and a fast bat, it’s easy to see the potential for power down the line. Defensively, he’s surprisingly light on his feet for a larger player and shows the actions to potentially stick at the position. There’s easy carry across the infield with more than enough strength to stick at 3B if he outgrows the middle of the field. It will be a few years until we really know what Mauricio will be, but what’s exciting is there’s a scenario where he develops into a star. Mauricio has a chance to impact the game with all five tools, with an especially high ceiling considering his switch-hitting, center-diamond upside. He has the upside to be the organization’s top prospect of the future.
(#4) Mark Vientos, 3B
Vientos was known to scouts early in his prep career, and that “prospect fatigue” could have played a role in him sliding to the second round in 2017. He was extremely young for his draft class, so he’s still 19-years-old two years after turning pro. Despite his age, Vientos didn’t look the least bit overmatched last summer in the Appalachian League, slashing .287/.389/.489 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Originally a shortstop through high school, the 6-foot-4 infielder has moved full-time to the hot corner and profiles better there defensively. He’s thickened since turning pro—which has dropped his run grade fairly significantly already—but shows the actions for 3B and has more than enough arm for the left side of the infield. Vientos’ offensive tools are what separate him and give the upside of a solid regular, with the chance to produce both average and power. His bat stays in the zone a long time with natural leverage, and the fact Vientos has upped his fly ball percentage so far in the South Atlantic League bodes well for the development of his power. His track record of performance against older competition and prototype corner infield tools place him among the organization’s top prospects.
(#5) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
Woods Richardson was very young for the 2018 draft class, pitching his entire pro debut in the GCL last summer as a 17-year-old and not turning 18 until after the season. A two-way prospect that also drew scouts’ attention as an infielder, the Mets took him in the second round last year from a Texas high school. He didn’t allow an earned run in five GCL outings after signing, earning a promotion to the Appalachian League at the tail end of 2018. The Mets showed confidence in Woods Richardson by sending him straight to the South Atlantic League this year to begin his first full pro season, where he’s one of the league’s youngest players. Pitching controlled 2-4 inning outings so far in 2019, he put together a string of quality appearances at the start of this year but has struggled at times overall against much older competition. The fastball works in the 90-to-95 mph range, sitting 91-92 mph, with reports of 96-97 mph from last summer in the GCL. There’s late finish to the pitch up in the zone, hinting that more velocity is coming as Woods Richardson finishes filling out an athletic 6-foot-3 frame. He spins a hard mid-80s breaking ball that flashes signs of developing into a future above-average slider. His changeup is less advanced than the rest of the arsenal, but he’s using it in A-Ball games right now and the pitch shows glimpses of separation and armside fade. It will take time given his age and proximity, but Woods Richardson arguably has the highest ceiling of any arm in the system. With projection across the board, his body, delivery, and stuff have mid-rotation starter upside.
(#7) Shervyen Newton, INF
Newton signed for just $50K in 2015, an absolute steal considering his tools and where he now ranks among New York’s top prospects. He spent two years in the DSL before putting up strong numbers in the Appy League last summer, skipping over the GCL entirely. The 20-year-old infielder has struggled mightily in his first exposure to full-season competition in 2019, but he’s young and athletic enough—especially as a switch-hitter learning two swings and approaches—to likely make some adjustments back to the level as this year goes on. Newton is a physical specimen with premium athleticism through a wiry 6-foot-4 frame. He has been playing mostly 2B with Low-A Columbia in deference to top prospect (#3) Ronny Mauricio at short, though Newton is uniquely mobile for his size and has a chance to finish a playable defender at shortstop himself even as he fills out. He’ll be an above-average glove at the hot corner if he does move down the defensive spectrum long-term, where his 55-grade arm fits well on the left side of the infield. Newton flashes raw power from both sides of the plate, though limited present barrel control and swing consistency influence how much he’s able to currently lift the ball. Those same issues have led to lots of contact issues early this year, with a strikeout rate around 30-percent that has made it hard for his power to show up in games. Newton has looked quite raw at the plate the first half of 2019, though his high-ceiling tools and general long-term upside at a valuable defensive position still place him among the better prospects in the organization. He’s a high-variance player with a classic risk/reward toolset, one that will move up into the FV 50 tier (or higher) if his hit tool trends in the right direction and could also fall short if doesn’t.
(#8) Thomas Szapucki, LHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2021 Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 181 lbs. B/T: L/L Highest Level: A Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 9m
Szapucki has long showed intriguing left-side velocity and feel for off-speed, but he’s missed time with injury and has a fairly long list of past health issues. Back, shoulder, and elbow problems cost him time each of the last three years, including Tommy John surgery that shut him down for the entire 2018 season. A fifth-rounder from a Florida high school in 2015, Szapucki will turn 23-years-old this summer without having pitched higher than Low-A. Despite this, his stuff remains unchanged and he has touched the 96-to-97 mph range on his heater pitching in relief stints this year in the South Atlantic League. Szapucki has appeared as a starter and reliever this year building back mound time, going 2-4 innings per outing. Though his fastball works with closer to average velocity starting games at 92-to-93 mph, there’s back-rotation upside if he proves durable enough and continues developing his changeup. The injury issues and lost development time could point to a longer-term fit in relief, where the flashes of high-90s velocity he shows in short stints could make Szapucki a valuable left-handed ‘pen piece.
(#10) Francisco Alvarez, C
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2024 Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 220 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: DNP Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 4m
Alvarez was one of the most highly-touted amateurs on last year’s international market. The Mets signed him to a hefty $2.7 million bonus the first day he was eligible to turn pro last July. A thick-bodied 5-foot-11, Alvarez already is close to mature and will need to keep his body in check. He’s extremely strong for his age, however, with massive forearms and hands that bode well for future pitch receiving. Alvarez earned his prospect reputation on the strength of an advanced bat, generating big raw power for his age with a strong, balanced stroke. There’s length to his swing-path but ample time to make adjustments, with hands that explode through the zone with rare batspeed for a hitter this age. Alvarez’ defense at catcher isn’t as refined, and his long-term defensive home will come down to how much progress he makes as a receiver. His arm is very strong and could finish an above-average tool, something that should help him stay at the position down the road. Alvarez is still just 17 and has yet to play in any official pro games, one of the youngest players currently stateside for Extended Spring Training but already holding his own. The chance to be a power producer at a premium position gives Alvarez a very high ceiling, though there’s similarly high risk considering his proximity and the general attrition rate for catching prospects.
(#11) Carlos Cortes, 2B
Cortes has been known to scouts since his days as a prep underclassman in Florida. The Mets drafted him out of high school but he honored his commitment to the University of South Carolina. New York picked him again two years later in 2018 as an eligible-sophomore, this time in the third round. He’s somewhat of an oddity, a switch-thrower who hits left-handed with a bat-must-carry profile at only 5-foot-9. His barrel-control and batspeed are above-average, giving the chance to hit and produce surprising power by way of strong contact. Cortes has yet to settle in to any true defensive home, moving between 2B, catcher, and the outfield in college at South Carolina. The Mets put him at the keystone to start his pro career, and while he’s less mobile than most shorter players, there’s some hope he can stay there with continued reps. We like his feel to hit, but without much defensive/baserunning value or blow-the-doors-off power, he’ll really need to perform to move out of the FV 40 tier. New York felt confidently enough in his offensive polish to sent the 21-year-old infielder straight to High-A to start his first full pro season.
(#13) Adrian Hernandez, OF
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2023 Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 5’9” / 210 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 18y, 1m
Hernandez and (#3) Ronny Mauricio were the gems of New York’s 2017 international class, Hernandez agreeing to a $1.5 million bonus that July. He’s a plus athlete that’s built like a running back (think of Delino Deshields Jr. as a physical comp) at 5-foot-9 and 210 pounds, with explosive batspeed and first-step quickness. Hernandez has intriguing raw power potential despite being so short, as he has both the physical strength and swing leverage to drive the ball. Whether or not he can produce game power without sacrificing contact remains to be seen, though he held his own as a 17-year-old in the DSL last summer and showed some extra-base pop. Hernandez requires the standard level of projection most teenagers do, with the accompanying risk involved as well.
(#14) Junior Santos, RHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2023 Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’8” / 218 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 7m
Santos signed for $275K in September of 2017. He has grown three inches and added velocity since then, now standing 6-foot-8 and able to reach the mid-90s with his fastball. DSL stats often don’t paint the full picture, but it’s impressive that a pitcher this young and large was able to limit walks to the degree Santos did last summer. He only issued six free passes in 45 Rookie-level innings, and the Mets felt he was polished enough to come stateside to the GCL at the end of last year as a 17-year-old. The rest of Santos’ arsenal is fairly raw, with early-stages feel for spin and a developing changeup. He’s one of the biggest wildcards in the system, one who move up prospect lists with more demonstrated feel for an off-speed pitch as he ages. Santos’ size, velocity, and ability to throw strikes at this age makes him an exciting lottery ticket in a pipeline fairly thin on potential impact past the top.
(#15) Willian Lugo, 3B
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2024 Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 215 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: DNP Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 2m
The Mets didn’t just receive (#12) Will Toffey or big league reliever Bobby Wahl when they traded bullpen stalwart Jeurys Familia to the Athletics last summer. They also acquired a million dollars of international spending capacity, $475K of which was used on Lugo. Born in January of 2002 and still just 17-years-old, Lugo signed last August and has yet to play in any official games. He’s in Florida with the Extended Spring Training group, with physicality and present power that are starting to turn heads. Lugo has grown a good deal since signing, now 6-foot-3 and a large-bodied 215 pounds. He’s an impressive build with the look of a future slugger, and while he signed as a shortstop and still getting reps there, he’ll move to a corner fairly soon. His arm is close to average—enough for the left side of the infield—but a thick lower-half limits his first step and ability to finish plays on the run. At the plate, Lugo takes a strong cut with explosive pullside contact when squared. He crushes mistakes with advanced power that’s already showing up in game situations. Lugo’s shows big league raw power even as a teen, and considering his size and remaining growth potential, it could get to the 55/60-grade range at maturity. The hope is that he’ll hit enough to tap into it at higher levels, especially as it isn’t a lock he’s even a 3B long-term. Lugo is almost so broad that he might wind up on an outfield corner or even 1B, so what’s currently an age-appropriate, fastball-hunting approach will need to develop more contact on soft stuff while learning to use the big part of the field. Given how far away he still is and the lack of any pro track record, Lugo is 100-prevent a lottery ticket right now. Even so, the frame and power potential are very interesting and make him a definite prospect to follow.
Desmond Lindsay, OF
The tools that made Lindsay a second-round pick from a Florida high school in 2015 are still evident. He’s a plus athlete with good strength that translates to intriguing speed and power tools. Injuries have really eaten into his development, as the 22-year-old outfielder has played in less than 250 pro games over the last five seasons including this year. In high school he battled vision and hamstring issues, the lower-half injuries lingering into his first few years in pro ball. He then injured his elbow and required surgery in 2017. It looked like Lindsay was turning a corner last season when he started generating some buzz in Fall League, but he got off to a putrid start in High-A to begin 2019 and hit the IL once again with a leg injury shortly before this piece was published. If we felt more confident Lindsay could actualize his low-end regular/fourth outfielder ceiling he’d be a 45/Extreme, but it’s getting harder and harder to place him outside the generic FV 40 bench tier given the injury track record and lack of offensive performance.
Jordan Humphreys, RHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2021 Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 223 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: A+ Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 9m
Humphreys fits the Mets’ mold of a later-round prep pitcher with physicality and polish. It’s a similar background to Christian James (On the Horizon), also a high school arm from Florida picked after the 10th round. Humphreys enjoyed lots of early career success in the lowest parts of the minors since signing, putting up gaudy numbers in the Appy League and South Atlantic League between 2016 and 2017. He got moved up to High-A midway through 2017 and lasted two starts in the Florida State League before going down with Tommy John surgery, something that cost him all of last year and the early parts of 2019. Humphreys is the type of arm that posts big strikeout numbers at low levels because of his pitchability and control, but he lacks the power stuff to keep missing bats at the same rate higher up the chain. The fastball works in the 90-to-94 mph range, sitting in the low-90s, with advanced command to both sides of the plate. He throws three off-speed pitches, primarily a solid curveball and changeup backed up by a show-me slider later in games. It’s tough to place Humphreys exactly given his injury and time off, but the best-case ceiling is a #5 starter who fills the zone with a deep mix of decent stuff. He’ll move up this list if he shows the same stuff and performance upon returning, and trend the other way if the arsenal has backed up as a result of surgery.
Tony Dibrell, RHP
The Mets signed Dibrell to an under-slot bonus out of Kennesaw State in 2017, and he has put up numbers through A-Ball as an older pitcher with some feel. He’s the type of prospect that starts to get challenged more up the ladder and shouldn’t be judged solely by his production. That said, Dibrell’s overall pitchability and advanced changeup still give him a shot at a big league role. The fastball sits in the upper-80s, touching 92 mph, delivered consistently around the plate with run and occasional angle. His 79-to-82 mph slider flashes sharp finish at best but can get slurvy, mixing an occasional show-me curve with less velocity and loopy shape later in games. Dibrell’s go-to secondary is the aforementioned changeup, coming in at 80-to-82 mph with excellent separation and tricky armspeed. The pitch gets long fade action with consistent plane-changing sink down in the zone. There’s not a ton of ceiling, and given the fact Dibrell routinely dips into the upper-80s with his heater, he could pretty easily wind up stalling as a upper-level/4A depth piece. Solid strikethrowing ties a fringy mix of stuff together, giving long relief or spot-starter upside.
Christian James, RHP
Ceiling: 40 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2021 Role Description: Long Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 200 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: A Age (as of April 1, 2019): 20y, 10m
The Mets have a track record of developing prep arms drafted after the 10th round, and James fits that mold. A 14th round pick in 2016 from a Florida high school, James’ control and ability to induce weak contact are more notable than his raw stuff. The fastball works in the 88-to-92 mph range, sitting right around 90 mph, with some chance to tick up a bit as he fills out a broad 6-foot-3 frame. Despite fringy velocity, he gets above-average sink on the pitch that helps it play up and stay on the ground. His go-to secondary is a shapely breaking ball at 79-to-83 mph, showing slurvy three-quarters shape with consistent action and depth. A low-80s changeup is a developing third speed that projects as a workable offering. James’ ability to throw three pitches for strikes and consistently stay around the plate is advanced for his age, tying together a fringy mix of stuff. There might not be a carry pitch for a true back-rotation profile—though that’s the max ceiling—but James’ heavy sinker/slider mix and control gives him a chance to reach the big leagues as a longman/spot-starter type.
Freddy Valdez, OF
Ceiling: 40 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2024 Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 212 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: DNP Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 3m
Valdez was another J2 bonus baby last year, signing for $1.45 million from the Dominican Republic. He’s a physical specimen, already 6-foot-3 and nearly 220 pounds as a 17-year-old. While that listing may sound fairly physically mature, there’s still a looseness to how he’s put together that hints at more room to fill out. Valdez’ size and strength generate advanced raw power for his age, still adding batspeed through a loose, leveraged cut. He was signed as a CF but is large enough already that it’s likely he moves to RF. Valdez is mostly a collection of interesting tools at this point, still plenty raw and a few years away from being ready to leave the complex.