6 prospects with promise in Mets' system

October 10th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Anthony DiComo’s Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

One area in which the Mets have unquestionably improved over the past year is their farm. Former general manager Billy Eppler (somewhat infamously) refused to move any of his best prospects at the 2022 Trade Deadline, then supplemented that group with a historic influx of talent this past July and August. As a result, the Mets now feature a strong system, headlined by Luisangel Acuña, Drew Gilbert and their own Draft picks Jett Williams and Kevin Parada.

“It’s better,” incoming president of baseball operations David Stearns said of the bunch he inherited. “This is a farm system, both through some maturation of current players here and clearly a very aggressive Trade Deadline, that I think got a whole lot better this year. There are some very promising players at the upper levels of the system. So, I’m eager to get to know them better, to understand what our internal valuations are of them, and watch them get better.”

With Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio all ending the season in the Majors, there’s plenty of room for others in the system to emerge in 2024:

Three players who forced their way onto the radar this year:

RHP Christian Scott: A fifth-round Draft pick in 2021, Scott led the Minor Leagues in walk rate among players with at least 80 innings. That helped him jump multiple levels to Double-A Binghamton, where he helped to guide the Rumble Ponies to the Eastern League Championship Series. Such control is a skill set Scott has always possessed, but that he took to an extreme in holding opponents to a rate of 1.2 walks per nine innings. As a result, Scott went from preseason afterthought to the Mets’ 12th-ranked prospect, according to Pipeline.

“For me, I know hitting’s the hardest thing to do in the sport,” Scott said in September. “So, I’m trying to make it as hard on them as I possibly can.”

RHP Tyler Stuart: Raise your hand if you knew the name “Tyler Stuart” before this season. Many Mets fans still don’t, but should. Stuart just finished second among all Minor League pitchers in ERA (minimum 80 innings) after leading that category for much of the summer. The 6-foot-9 right-hander finished with a 2.20 mark split between High-A Brooklyn and Binghamton, including six shutout innings to cap his season. He’s now the Mets’ 17th-ranked prospect, with a chance to impact the big club as soon as late next season.

OF Matt Rudick: There aren’t many Minor League prospects quite like Rudick, a 5-foot-6 left-handed batter who struck out just 44 times all season. Rudick has some pop for a player of his stature and can steal a base or two, but what really stand out are his bat-to-ball skills. At age 25, Rudick hit .271 at Binghamton, while rising to become the Mets’ 27th-ranked prospect. Rudick’s ultimate ceiling remains to be seen, but if he’s going to get a big league shot, it will probably happen at some point next season.

Two possible breakout players to watch in 2023:

RHP/DH Nolan McLean: A true two-way player, McLean was the Mets’ third-round Draft pick this season after starring for three years at Oklahoma State. The Mets are letting McLean continue his two-way journey in the Minors, where he made two pitching appearances and appeared in eight games as a hitter upon signing. Next year will be a significant test for McLean, who must prove he can play at a high level in both roles. If he can, McLean will become one of the most intriguing prospects in New York’s system.

SS Diego Mosquera: Mets officials were high on Mosquera coming into this season, but he struggled offensively in his first taste of full-season ball at Single-A St. Lucie. That’s not surprising for a 19-year-old who has never played a full season before, and Mosquera is sharp enough defensively that he should continue to climb the ladder no matter what he does at the plate. Should he break out offensively, Mosquera could rapidly rise in the system ranks.

One big question for next season: Where will Acuña end up? (And how quickly can he get there?)

The organization’s No. 1 overall prospect, Acuña is capable of playing shortstop, second base and even center field, though he didn’t man the latter position after coming to the Mets in a midseason trade for Max Scherzer. Mets officials have described Acuña as someone who can play all over the diamond, starting at different positions on different days. But he’s obviously not going to get much time at shortstop anytime soon, which makes second base his most obvious future home. That could mean a full-time shift to the outfield for Jeff McNeil once Acuña arrives.

The talented Acuña stole 57 bases at Double-A this year and figures to begin next season as a 22-year-old at Triple-A Syracuse. He could force those decisions by midsummer if he continues to develop as the Mets hope.