2019 New York Mets Top 10 MLB Prospects
*Note, this list has now been updated following the Mets/Mariners deal involving Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, who were previously New York's No. 4 and No. 5 prospects, respectively.
1. Andres Gimenez, SS
Born: Sept. 4, 1998. B-T: L-R. HT: 5-11. WT: 161.
Signed: Venezuela, 2015. Signed by: Robert Espejo/Hector Rincones.
Track Record: When international scouting director Chris Becerra left the Mets to join the Red Sox after the 2018 season, he left the organization stocked with high-upside shortstops. Gimenez succeeded Amed Rosario as the system's No. 1 prospect, and Ronny Mauricio has a chance to succeed Gimenez in a year or two. Gimenez ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the 2015 international signing class and three years later had reached Double-A Binghamton, where he held his own as a teenager. He accelerated his timetable in 2018 by taming the pitcher-friendly high Class A Florida State League and moving to the Eastern League in late July. All told, Gimenez set career highs with six home runs, 29 doubles and 38 stolen bases. Scouts regarded him as one of the top talents in both the Florida State and Eastern leagues, and at the Futures Game he struck a 106.5 mph ground ball—albeit for a double play—that was hit harder than all but five other fair balls at the exhibition.
Scouting Report: Gimenez is proof positive that looks can be deceiving. His lean physique, baby face and smaller stature belie a quick-twitch athlete with well-rounded skills, a high baseball IQ and leadership qualities. Elite contact ability and a quick, loose lefthanded swing give him above-average—and possibly plus—hitting potential. A discerning batting eye will keep his walk rate and on-base percentage high. While Gimenez shows merely gap power now, he generates impressive torque with his hips, and as his body matures he will hit for average home run totals. He is an average runner who reads pitchers well and uses his knowledge of game situations to steal bases. Scouts project Gimenez as a plus defender at shortstop with a plus, accurate arm. A quick first step, sure hands and quick exchange from glove to hand make him a reliable defender. Intense focus and a strong work ethic tie the whole package together on both sides of the ball.
The Future: Gimenez has the ceiling of first-division shortstop, but the presence of Rosario in New York might push him to second base, a position he played sporadically until starting there the majority of the time in the 2018 Arizona Fall League. Gimenez should reach Triple-A Syracuse in 2019 and could receive a late-season callup with an eye toward regular big league work in 2020.
Projected Future Grades On 20-80 Scouting Scale
Hit: 60. Power: 50. Speed: 50. Field: 60. Arm: 60.
2. Peter Alonso, 1B
Born: Dec. 7, 1994. B-T: R-R. HT: 6-3. 245.
Drafted: Florida, 2016 (2nd). Signed by: Jon Updike.
Track Record: Alonso led the minors with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs in a 2018 season split between Double-A and Triple-A, but his signature moments stand out more than raw totals. At the Futures Game he clobbered a homer that sailed over the left-field foul pole at 113.6 mph, an uncharted exit velocity for a ball hit so high. Then in the Arizona Fall League he turned around a 103 mph fastball from Blue Jays prospect Nate Pearson for a homer to center field. No major leaguer has homered on a pitch that fast in four years of Statcast data.
Scouting Report: Alonso is a polarizing prospect for scouts because his strengths and weaknesses are so pronounced. He makes the ball disappear in a hurry with 70-grade raw power and elite exit velocities. Alonso's disciplined plate approach helps him draw walks and wait for pitches to slug, but more advanced pitchers have gotten him to expand his zone against breaking pitches. Despite being a bottom-of-the-scale runner, he should hit for a decent average because he hits the ball so hard. Defense is Alonso's bugaboo and has become his developmental focal point. Hard hands and limited mobility at first base turn some routine plays into adventures, but he scoops throws from infielders well.
The Future: Alonso is an American League player in a National League organization. Alonso's bat should create significantly more runs than his glove allows, and he will be big league ready early in 2019.
3. Ronny Mauricio, SS
Born: April 4, 2001. B-T: B-R. HT: 6-4. WT: 166.
Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017. Signed by: Marciano Alvarez/Gerardo Cabrera.
Track Record: The switch-hitting Mauricio wore down while showcasing for teams, but the Mets stuck with him and signed him for $2.1 million in 2017. He made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2018 and hit .322/.333/.510 before fading in August.
Scouting Report: Mauricio is uncommonly developed—physically and at the plate—for a player who played all season at 17. He grew two inches to 6-foot-4 after signing and filled out his once-skinny frame to profile as a possible plus bat with plus power. Both his hand speed and bat speed stand out on the Mets' internal metrics, and his timing and barrel frequency are impressive. Long limbs could make him susceptible to hard stuff up and in, and his aggressive approach could cut into his on-base ability. Mauricio has below-average speed out of the batter's box but he accelerates underway with long, gliding strides. His plus athleticism and 70-grade arm suit him at shortstop, where he compensates for average range with quick reads.
The Future: Mauricio's ability on both sides of the ball should make him a first-division regular, if not at shortstop then at third base.
4. Mark Vientos, 3B
Born: Dec. 11, 1999. B-T: R-R. HT: 6-4. WT: 185.
Drafted: HS—Plantation, Fla., 2017 (2nd). Signed by: Cesar Aranguren.
Track Record: Vientos has spent two seasons in Rookie ball, but the time has not been spent idly. The high school shortstop shifted to third base in 2018 at Rookie-level Kingsport, while physical maturation has helped him develop his offensive game. Vientos ranked fourth in the Appalachian League with 11 home runs and third with 52 RBIs.
Scouting Report: Vientos hits the ball hard consistently thanks to hand speed and bat speed that rank among the best in the system. His projectable frame should equate to further strength gains and power production. Vientos started slowly in the Appy League, hitting .230 through his first 25 games, which underscores how his timing at the plate can be disrupted. Because of this he might not be more than a fringe hitter, but his disciplined approach will prop up his on-base percentage. As any fielder new to third base, Vientos needs reps to learn the footwork and associated angles at the hot corner, but his plus arm fits the prototype.
The Future: Power production will be key to Vientos' future. He profiles as a second-division regular or better as he embarks on full-season ball at low Class A Columbia in 2019.
5. Anthony Kay, LHP
Born: March 21, 1995. B-T: L-L. HT: 6-0. WT: 218.
Drafted: Connecticut, 2016 (1st). Signed by: Michael Pesce.
Track Record: The 31st overall pick in 2016, Kay had Tommy John surgery after signing and missed the entirety of his first two pro seasons. He made up for lost time in 2018 by pitching at two Class A levels, striking out a batter per inning as he regained feel he lost after his layoff.
Scouting Report: Kay returned to the hill in 2018 as a different pitcher than he was in college. More a fastball/changeup lefty at Connecticut, he emerged in pro ball with a vicious, top-to-bottom 80 mph curveball that he locates to both sides of the plate. His peak curveball approached 3,000 revolutions per minute, while his average spin rate ranked inside the top 10 percent in the minors. Kay tops out at 96 mph and sits 92-94 with an above-average, high-spin fastball that plays at the top of the zone in conjunction with his curve and mid-80s changeup at the bottom of the zone. His change flashes above-average potential and sinking action. Kay pitches with a bulldog demeanor.
The Future: Kay has mid-rotation potential if he can refine his curveball into a swing-and-miss pitch and improve his overall command. He will be ready for Double-A at some point in 2019 with a possible big league ETA of 2020.
Blue Jays Snag A Starter, Acquire Jose Berrios From Twins For Two Top Prospects
On Friday, the Blue Jays made the big move to buttress their starting rotation.
6. David Peterson, LHP
Born: Sept. 3, 1995. B-T: L-L. HT: 6-6. WT: 240.
Drafted: Oregon, 2017 (1st). Signed by: Jim Reeves.
Track Record: Peterson's pro workload has been interrupted by an ingrown toenail in his debut and then a tweaked knee at the outset of 2018. He struck out 8.1 per nine innings at two Class A levels in his full-season debut, but more notable was his contact management. He allowed just two home runs in 22 starts to go with a groundball rate of nearly 65 percent that ranked third in the minors.
Scouting Report: Peterson is a physical, 6-foot-6 lefthander with ample starter traits if not necessarily a huge ceiling. His fastball sits 89-91 mph and tops out 93 but looks a few ticks faster because his elite extension boosts his effective velocity. His fastball runs to his arm side. Peterson's best pitch is a slurvy, swing-and-miss slider at 78-81 mph that he commands as a chase pitch against lefthanders, a back-foot equalizer against righthanders and as a get-me-over pitch for called strikes. The unique angles he creates from his height and three-quarters arm slot help him leverage the ball down in the strike zone and limit hard contact. Peterson shows some feel for a fringy changeup.
The Future: Peterson has the best control and best slider in the system and will rely on those attributes to prop up the rest of an arsenal befitting of a No. 4 starter.
7. Shervyen Newton, SS
Born: April 24, 1999. B-T: B-R. HT: 6-4. WT: 180.
Signed: Curacao, 2015. Signed by: Sendly Reina/Hector Rincones/Harold Herrera/Chris Becerra.
Track Record: Born in the Netherlands, Newton trained in Curacao at the same facility as Jonathan Schoop and Jurickson Profar. The Mets signed him for $50,000 in 2015, but he didn't make his U.S. debut until 2018, when he thrived at Rookie-level Kingsport. He led the Appalachian League with 16 doubles and ranked second with 46 walks.
Scouting Report: Newton is a tall, athletic middle infielder with wicked bat speed. He's a switch-hitter with who can drive the ball deep to his pull side while batting lefthanded with quick hands he uses to keep his bat on plane through the hitting zone. Some scouts see potential 70-grade power down the line as his 6-foot-4 frame matures. Newton works deep counts and collects lots of walks and strikeouts, which will depress his average but boost his on-base percentage. He is a below-average runner who some scouts project to third base or possibly even an outfield corner. The Mets think Newton has the range, hands and plus arm to stay on the dirt, possibly at second base.
The Future: Newton speaks multiple languages and translates for teammates, and that maturity will serve him as he advances to low Class A Columbia in 2019.
8. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP
Born: Sept. 27, 2000. B-T: R-R. HT: 6-3. WT: 210.
Drafted: HS—Sugar Land, Texas, 2018 (2nd). Signed by: Ray Corbett.
Track Record: One of the youngest players in the 2018 draft class, Woods-Richardson wowed scouts at showcase events and then gained velocity as a high school senior. The Mets nabbed him at No. 48 overall as the 12th prep pitcher drafted. He made an abbreviated debut at two levels of Rookie ball and put up a 26-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Scouting Report: Tall, athletic and broad shouldered, Woods-Richardson is a prototype fireballing Texas high school pitching prospect. What sets him apart is his fiery, almost angry, mound demeanor and "now" stuff. He topped out at 97 mph and sat 93 from an overhand arm slot. His fastball plays up thanks to a high spin rate and plus extension. Woods-Richardson has advanced feel for a plus 12-to-6 curveball with tight break that sits in the mid-to-high 70s. He also uses a fringe mid-80s changeup that shows promising fade and average potential.
The Future: Woods-Richardson clearly has the raw stuff to impact games in the big leagues—if he can navigate the long, perilous journey high school pitchers face in pro ball. An assignment to short-season Brooklyn is probable for 2019.
9. Franklyn Kilome, RHP
Born: June 25, 1995. B-T: R-R. HT: 6-6. WT: 175.
Signed: Dominican Republic, 2013. Signed by: Koby Perez (Phillies).
Track Record: Signed by the Phillies for just $40,000 a few months shy of his 18th birthday, Kilome developed into one of the system’s best pitching prospects as he added weight to his tall, skinny frame and tweaked his mechanics. Philadelphia traded him to Mets at the 2018 trade deadline for Asdrubal Cabrera. Kilome turned in three quality starts in seven tries for Double-A Binghamton after the trade but had Tommy John surgery in October and will miss all of 2019.
Scouting Report: Kilome’s work ethic and track record for durability—he had never missed a start or bullpen session for the Phillies—attracted the Mets, so his injury was surprising. He embodies the pitcher type the Mets have sought to acquire in recent seasons. Kilome is a 6-foot-6, power-oriented righthander with a 93-95 mph fastball that peaks at 97 mph and plays up thanks to a high spin rate and plus extension in his delivery. His curveball is a power spinner in the mid-to-high 70s that plays as plus. Kilome rounds out his arsenal with a fringy slider and changeup. His entire four-pitch arsenal is undermined by fringe-average control and high walk rates.
The Future: If he doesn’t improve his fastball command, Kilome has the raw stuff to dominate out of the bullpen. He should assume a rotation role when he returns to the mound in 2020 and could be ready for Triple-A in short order.
10. Thomas Szapucki, LHP
Born: June 12, 1996. B-T: R-L. HT: 6-2. WT: 181.
Drafted: HS—Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 2015 (5th round). Signed by: Cesar Aranguren.
Track Record: Szapucki struck out nearly 15 batters per nine innings in a pair of short-season assignments in 2016, but a pair of injuries compromised his 2017 encore. First he dealt with a shoulder impingement at low Class A Columbia that forced him out of action in April in May, then he had Tommy John surgery in July that knocked him out for the entire 2018 season.
Scouting Report: Szapucki threw two electrifying pitches when healthy and had obvious major league impact potential. His stabbing arm action has been described by scouts as being more typical of a reliever, but he repeats his low three-quarters arm slot and generates power and high spin on his fastball and breaking ball. Szapucki sits 93 mph and bumps 96 with electric life out of his lower arm slot. His high-spin curveball reaches home plate at 76-80 mph with sweeping, two-plane break. Below-average feel for his changeup and below-average control headlined his to-do list had he remained healthy in 2017 and 2018.
The Future: Health permitting, Szapucki is a near lock to pitch in the big leagues. On the high end of his forecast, he could be a potential No. 3 starter or high-leverage reliever. But first he must navigate a complete minor league season, which he will attempt to do in 2019.