Coming off a fourth-place finish in the National League East as part of the organization’s fourth straight season without making the playoffs, the Mets will take the field under new ownership in 2021 after Steve Cohen officially purchased the franchise for $2.4 billion in early November.
It wasn’t long after the two sides had finalized the deal that Cohen installed Sandy Alderson as team president, while also parting ways with a slew of executives, including general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and farm director Jared Banner.
The good news is that whoever lands those now-vacant positions with the Mets will be inheriting a promising farm system that has only grown stronger in recent years as the organization has targeted young, high-ceiling players via the Draft and international market.
The Mets’ efforts in those departments are reflected in the team’s Top 30 Prospects list, where nine of the top 10 spots belong to players age 21 or younger. That wave of talent represents the organization’s future, as the Mets currently lack upper-level talent following the graduations of rookies Andrés Giménez and David Peterson in 2020.
The Mets should add another impact prospect to their system with the No. 10 pick in the 2021 Draft -- the club’s highest pick since it selected Jarred Kelenic in ’18. The last time the Mets had the No. 10 pick, they took Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto (’14), a 14.4-bWAR player in six seasons.
FARM SYSTEM RANKINGS
2020 Midseason: 20 | Preseason: 20
2019 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2018 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2017 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2016 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2015 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
Only the top 10 systems were ranked from 2015 to 2019 preseason; the top 15 systems were ranked 2019 midseason.
TOP 5 PROSPECTS
Trade: Robel García, INF
Free Agent: Sam McWilliams, RHP (No. 26)
The early returns on Crow-Armstrong and Greene have been enormously positive, as both prep outfielders were among the biggest standouts during Mets instructional camp. Ginn spurned the Dodgers as a first-round pick two years ago and would have been a first-rounder again this year if not for Tommy John surgery in the spring. Walters and Dyer are good athletes capable of playing multiple positions, and Orze beat cancer twice en route to pro ball. McWilliams was one of the hottest Minor League free agents this offseason and signed a $750,000 big league contract with the Mets despite logging an 8.18 ERA in Triple-A a year ago. García, a .208/.275/.500 hitter in 31 big league games, was claimed off waivers from Cincinnati.
2021 IMPACT PROSPECT
Thomas Szapucki, LHP: The former fifth-round pick (2015) returned from a nearly 22-month absence (Tommy John surgery) in 2019 to post a 2.63 ERA with 72 strikeouts in a career-high 61 2/3 innings across three levels, including Double-A. The Mets are increasingly confident the 24-year-old southpaw can remain a starter, especially after he made progress developing his changeup during a healthy summer at the team’s alternate training site. But should that not work out, Szapucki could still impact games as a reliever with his deceptive fastball and plus curveball.
2022 TOP PROSPECT
Francisco Alvarez, C: Signed by the Mets for $2.7 million in July 2018, Alvarez established himself as one of the sport’s premier catching prospects during his age-17 pro debut, posting a .312/.407/.510 batting line while advancing to the Rookie Appalachian League. The teenager projects as a plus hitter with plus power and has the defensive tools needed to stick at the premium position.
Hit: Francisco Alvarez
Power: Brett Baty
Run: Isaiah Greene
Arm: Brett Baty
Field: Pete Crow-Armstrong
Best athlete: Jaylen Palmer
Fastball: Matt Allan
Curveball: Matt Allan
Slider: J.T. Ginn
Changeup: Jose Butto
Control: Josh Wolf
How the Top 30 Was Built
Free Agents: 1
The Mets’ Top 30 is teeming with homegrown talent, with all but two players on the list coming from the Draft or the international market. The latter group accounts for the top two spots on the list -- Mauricio ($2.1 million) and Alvarez ($2.7 million) both signed for seven figures -- as well as half of the Top 30, while Draft picks round out the rest of the Top 10. In recent years, the Mets’ high-ceiling targets have been a mixture of power-hitting third basemen (Brett Baty, Mark Vientos (No. 7) and Jaylen Palmer (No. 20), athletic outfielders (Pete Crow-Armstrong and Isaiah Greene) and right-handed pitchers with electric stuff Matt Allan (No. 4), J.T. Ginn and Josh Wolf (No. 9).
Top 30 by Position
Pitchers comprise more than half of the Mets' Top 30 Prospects list, and seven of those hurlers are age-22 or younger. The hot corner is another apparent position of strength for the organization, with three third basemen ranked in the top 20. Still, the Mets’ system also features at least one impact prospect at every up-the-middle spot and the potential for even more if some of the club’s key Draft picks and international signees develop as expected.