Tebow, top prospects among Mets' ST invites

February 13th, 2021

NEW YORK -- Yes, will be back in Mets camp this year. But he won’t be the only non-roster invite of note.

Following a season in which none of their top prospects received Minor League reps, the Mets are inviting nearly all of them to Spring Training for a taste of the big leagues. That includes blue chippers Ronny Mauricio and Francisco Alvarez, as well as a trio of prominent selections from their past two Drafts: Matthew Allan, Brett Baty and Pete Crow-Armstrong.

The Mets have invited a massive total of 68 players to camp.

Crow-Armstrong is a surprise inclusion considering he is just 18 years old and, realistically, multiple years away from making the Majors. But the lack of a Minor League season in 2020 prevented Crow-Armstrong from making his professional debut, so a big league camp invite allows him to get his first organized reps before Minor League camp opens. An excellent defensive center fielder who profiles as a future leadoff hitter, Crow-Armstrong was the 19th overall selection in last year’s Draft, and he is the organization’s fifth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He came to the Mets from the same California high school that produced big leaguers Jack Flaherty, Max Fried and Lucas Giolito.

Mauricio, Alvarez, Allan and Baty received more reps than Crow-Armstrong last summer, as they were included in the Mets’ 60-man player pool. Alvarez recently clocked in at No. 48 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list, hinting at the likelihood that he will be the Mets’ top overall prospect when their team list is unveiled next month. He is a 19-year-old catcher with a potent bat, but he has yet to play above Rookie-level ball.

Like Alvarez, Mauricio was a prominent international signing for the Mets, still plenty raw at age 19 despite his advancement to Class A Columbia in 2019. Mauricio has appeared in seven Grapefruit League games over the past two springs, but this will be his first full-time assignment to big league camp.

Allan and Baty were two of the top three picks in ex-GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s 2019 Draft class, along with Josh Wolf, whom the Mets dealt to Cleveland in the Francisco Lindor trade. Allan is a hard-throwing pitcher who ranked 75th on MLB Pipeline’s recent Top 100 list. Baty did not crack those rankings, but he is a powerful corner infielder who hit seven home runs over his first 51 professional games.

Realistically, those players will only spend a short time in big league camp before heading back to the Minors. None of them are serious considerations to make the Opening Day roster.

Neither is Tebow, who will return to the Mets for his fifth Spring Training. Now 33, Tebow lost a full year of development time due to COVID-19, but he remains committed to trying to reach the big leagues.

“I’m already behind the 8-ball in age and time and experience in all of these things, so of course it makes it harder,” Tebow said in November. “But I think at the same time, I try to learn from every bit of it. And that’s all that we can do.”

Other non-roster invitees include veteran reliever Jerry Blevins and outfielder Mallex Smith, who have more realistic shots to make the team. The full list of Mets NRIs is as follows:

Pitchers (12): RHP Mattnew Allan, LHP Jerry Blevins, RHP Oscar De La Cruz, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Ryley Gilliam, RHP Harol Gonzalez, RHP Trevor Hildenberger, RHP Tylor Megill, RHP Marcel Renteria, RHP Jared Robinson, RHP Arodys Vizcaíno, LHP Tom Windle

Catchers (4): Francisco Alvarez, Bruce Maxwell, Nick Meyer, David Rodríguez

Infielders (7): Brett Baty, Brandon Drury, Jake Hager, Ronny Mauricio, José Peraza, Wilfredo Tovar, Mark Vientos

Outfielders (5): Pete Crow-Armstrong, Johneshwy Fargas, Drew Ferguson, Mallex Smith, Tim Tebow