The Mets' first season under general manager Brodie Van Wagenen had its ups and downs, as the club dug itself into an early hole by going 40-50 during the first half before surging to win 46 of 72 games after the All-Star break and finish with 86 wins. And while the Mets ultimately came up short in their quest to reach the postseason, there were enough bright spots along the way to warrant an optimistic outlook for the 2020 season.
Pete Alonso cracked the Mets’ Opening Day roster and emerged as one of baseball’s more prolific sluggers in his first big league season, hitting an MLB rookie record 53 home runs en route to NL Rookie of the Year honors. Fellow rookie Jeff McNeil was similarly impressive, posting a .916 OPS with 62 extra-base hits, while homegrown talents such as Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto enjoyed career-best years. Jacob deGrom won his second straight NL Cy Young Award as the headliner of a playoff-caliber Mets rotation.
|AL East ||BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR |
|NL East ||ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WSH |
|AL Central ||CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN |
|NL Central ||CHC, CIN, MIL, PIT, STL |
|AL West ||HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX |
|NL West ||ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF |
|Division ||Team |
Van Wagenen’s decision to trade Jarred Kelenic, the club’s top pick from the 2018 Draft, and 2016 first-rounder Justin Dunn to the Mariners in return for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano prior to the season didn’t play out as hoped, as both players endured their respective struggles. But the front office remained aggressive in its pursuit of cost-controlled talent, and when the Mets began to turn the corner in the second half, Van Wagenen sent the club’s two best pitching prospects (Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay) to the Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman, a free agent after the 2020 season.
Naturally, the aforementioned trades have had a negative impact on the Mets’ farm system, leaving it particularly thin on upper-level talent. The club does, however, have a promising crop of young players at the lower levels, including top prospect Ronny Mauricio and third baseman Brett Baty, the Mets’ top pick in the ’19 Draft.
And with recently hired first-time manager Carlos Beltrán now at the helm after a tumultuous season under Mickey Callaway, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Mets continued to trade from their remaining prospect depth in 2020 as a means of improving the big league roster.
TOP 5 PROSPECTS:
Ronny Mauricio, SS (No. 80 on Top 100)
Brett Baty, 3B (No. 81)
Andres Gimenez, SS (No. 92)
Matthew Allan, RHP
Francisco Alvarez, C
Complete Top 30 list »
HITTING & PITCHING PROSPECTS OF THE YEAR
Mark Vientos, 3B: The youngest player in the 2017 Draft, when the Mets took him in the second round, Vientos hit .255/.300/.411 with 12 home runs and 27 doubles in 111 games for Class A Columbia in his first full season. The 19-year-old was particularly good in the second half, slashing .271/.315/.462 with seven homers, 15 doubles and 37 RBIs over his final 52 contests.
David Peterson, LHP: Spending the entire season at Double-A Binghamton, the 2017 first-rounder posted a 4.19 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 116 innings while making 24 starts. He allowed just 11 home runs, thanks to a sinker that also helped him record a nearly 53 percent groundball rate.
Francisco Alvarez, C (No. 5): Signed for $2.7 million in July 2018, Alvarez was assigned to the Rookie Gulf Coast League for his pro debut and played all of seven games there before moving up to the Appalachian League where, at age 17, he batted .282/.377/.443 with five homers in 35 games. He ultimately hit .312/.407/.510 with seven homers between the two levels, showing an advanced right-handed bat with power potential and plate discipline to boot.
Desmond Lindsay, OF (No. 28): Injuries have limited Lindsay to just 242 games across five pro seasons -- during which he’s batted .238/.343/.367 -- since the Mets made him their second-round pick in 2015. After he appeared to start turning the corner during last year’s Arizona Fall League, the 23-year-old outfielder appeared in just 15 games in the Florida State League in ’19 before a calf injury forced him to the Injured List for the duration of the season.
Draft: Brett Baty, 3B, 1st round (No. 2 on Top 30); Josh Wolf, RHP, 2nd round (No. 9); Matthew Allan, RHP, 3rd round (No. 4); Jake Magnum, OF, 4th round (No. 25)
International: Alexander Ramirez, OF (No. 19); Eric Santana, OF; Yeral Martinez, OF
Waivers: Stephen Gonsalves, LHP (No. 23; from Twins)
The Mets brought in a haul during the Draft, as they landed one of the top hitters in the class in Baty with the No. 12 overall pick, as well as one of its highest-ceiling pitchers in Allan, who signed for $2.5 million as the No. 89 pick. Baty and Allan’s high price tags forced the Mets to target cost-effective players elsewhere in the Draft, though they were able to get Magnum, one of college baseball’s more consistent hitters, in the fourth round. The Mets also landed a high-profile international prospect in Ramirez, signing the 16-year-old Dominican outfielder for $2.1 million in July, and claimed Gonsalves, a former Top 100 prospect and potential bounce-back candidate in 2020, off waivers from the Twins early in the offseason.
2020 IMPACT PROSPECT
David Peterson, LHP: Taken 20th overall in the 2017 Draft out of Oregon, Peterson made the jump to Double-A last season and struck out 122 batters in 116 innings while pitching to a 4.19 ERA before continuing his season in the Arizona Fall League. The 6-foot-6 southpaw generates a healthy number of whiffs and has long been revered for his groundball tendencies, and as Mets’ most advanced starting pitching prospect, he’s a candidate to join the rotation at some point next season.
Hit: Andres Gimenez
Power: Brett Baty
Run: Blaine McIntosh
Arm: Shervyen Newton
Best athlete: Ronny Mauricio
Fastball: Matthew Allan
Slider: David Peterson
Changeup: Jose Butto
Control: Kevin Smith
HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT
The Mets have a very homegrown farm system, as all but three players on the team’s Top 30 list are products of either the Draft or the international market. Three of the Mets’ top five prospects were acquired via the latter route, and, overall, 10 of the team’s 11 international prospects rank within the Top 20 spots.
TOP 30 BY POSITION
Six of the top eight spots on the Mets Top 30 Prospects list are occupied by position players, and only one of them, Andres Gimenez, has celebrated his 21st birthday. The group gives the Mets a promising core of young talent to dream upon, but also leaves the organization with little in the way of potential 2020 contributors. The Mets do have some internal depth on the mound, though, with pitchers comprising nearly half of the team’s To 30 list. Thomas Szapucki and Jordan Humphreys made successful returns from Tommy John surgery last season and could be bullpen options for the club in 2020 along with Ryley Gilliam, while Peterson and fellow southpaw Kevin Smith are candidates to help fill holes in the rotation.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.