International Reviews: New York Mets
See Also: 2014 Mets International Review
See Also: 2013 Mets International Review
See Also: 2012 Mets International Review
Top signing: SS Gregory Guerrero, Dominican Republic, $1.5 million.
Total signings: 35.
The Mets managed to get two of the best players on the international market last year and stayed within their bonus pool to do so, filling out the rest of their signings with mostly $10,000-and-under exempt players. Even though the Mets essentially put their entire pool into two seven-figure players, several scouts from other clubs said the Mets got excellent value, particularly with Venezuelan shortstop Andres Gimenez, who ranked as the No. 2 international prospect for July 2 and signed for $1.2 million, combining an advanced bat with good tools and athleticism at a premium position with sound fundamentals and instincts for his age.
Gimenez, 17, is a player some scouts see being able to deliver comparable value to fellow Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres of the Cubs. Gimenez is 5-foot-11, 165 pounds with a simple, short, fluid and repeatable swing from the left side. Several scouts considered Gimenez one of the best pure hitters in 2015, with a chance to hit .300 because of his explosive hands and ability to control the barrel through the hitting zone for a long time, resulting in hard line drives and the ability to use the opposite field. Gimenez’s game will be more about getting on base than hitting home runs, but with his bat speed, broad shoulders, strong hands and room on his frame to add weight, he should be able to grow from his current gap power and hit 8-12 home runs in his prime with a chance for more. Gimenez projects to stick at shortstop, with scouts grading his fielding out anywhere from steady to potentially plus. His speed and arm strength are both above-average, with his throwing stroke having smoothed out since he signed and his footwork getting better to go with good hands. Gimenez trained with Eduardo Navarro.
While Amed Rosario started his career in the United States, he was the exception for the Mets, who are likely to start both Gimenez and Dominican shortstop Gregory Guerrero in the Dominican Summer League. Guerrero, a 17-year-old who signed for $1.5 million on July 2, is a nephew of Vladimir Guerrero and a cousin of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who signed with the Blue Jays for $3.9 million last year. Guerrero has grown taller and is now 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, adding more physicality to a player who was one of the more polished players in the class in terms of his overall baseball acumen and game awareness. Guerrero is a smart player with a mature hitting approach for his age. He starts his righthanded swing with a hitch, but it’s a loose, whippy swing with good bat path. Guerrero keeps his hands short to the ball and the barrel through hitting zone, finishing with a good follow-through. He can get pull-conscious, but he has good strike-zone discipline and makes contact at a high rate, with some scouts projecting him to be a plus hitter.
Guerrero has strong wrists and good bat speed, with his gap power steadily increasing and his BPs getting louder as he’s started to look to launch balls, with a chance to grow into average power. Guerrero is a below-average runner and isn’t a flashy athlete, so some clubs wondered whether he would fit better at second or third base, but several scouts felt comfortable with his ability to stay at shortstop. His plus arm is plenty for the position and his instincts help make up for his lack of pure foot speed, with his defensive actions and footwork getting cleaner over the past year and a half. Guerrero trained with one of his uncles, former big leaguer Wilton Guerrero.
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AL and NL Rookie of the Year candidates, dark horses and players to keep an eye on.
The biggest bonus the Mets gave beyond their big two signings was $50,000 to 16-year-old shortstop Shervyen Newton out of Curacao on July 2. He’s a long, lanky 6-foot-3, 160-pound switch-hitter with smooth actions and a strong arm, although it might take time for him to come around due to his lack of present strength.