2021 New York Mets Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update
The Mets entered the all-star break with the fifth best winning percentage in the National League and a three and a half game lead in the NL East.
The Mets’ rotation had been key to the club’s first-half success. Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker led a starting corps that ranked second in the NL with a 3.88 ERA, even without expected contributions from Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard. Both spent the first half on the injured list.
Rookie righthander Tylor Megill made his debut on June 23 and appeared to be an organizational development success story who projects to hold down a spot at the back of the rotation.
The Mets’ offense paced the NL with a 121 OPS+ in the shortened 2020 season but was having trouble replicating that success in 2021. Mets hitters ranked 10th in the NL with a 91 OPS+ at the halfway point, owing to slow starts by Francisco Lindor and injuries that kept regulars Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil out of the lineup for long stretches.
On the farm, the Mets’ lack of depth at the upper levels meant that Megill will likely be the only rookie of consequence in 2021, though two prospects at High-A Brooklyn drew praise from scouts. Catcher Francisco Alvarez and third baseman Brett Baty represented the Mets in the Futures Game and put on two of the most electric batting practice displays.
Baty moved to Double-A Binghamton after the Futures Game, where he joined fellow slugging third baseman Mark Vientos. Both players expanded their responsibilities to include left field as the Mets sought ways to get both bats in their future lineup.
The Mets dealt Crow-Armstrong to the Cubs at the trade deadline to acquire Javier Baez and Trevor Williams.
Not only did the Mets’ system lose Crow-Armstrong this summer, but it also failed to acquire a top 10 prospect in the 2021 draft. That’s because the Mets and 10th overall pick Kumar Rocker failed to reach an agreement. The two sides had agreed on the parameters of a $6 million bonus, roughly the equivalent to the slot value at No. 5 overall, but negotiations broke down after Rocker’s physical revealed something the Mets didn’t like. New York receives the 11th overall pick in 2022 as compensation, adding it to the club’s standard first-round pick.
CitiField played as an extreme pitcher’s park in the first half, and the Mets had the pitching and defense to take advantage of the stifling home environment. The club’s home record trailed only the Giants and Dodgers for best in the NL.
With the Mets holding a slim lead in the NL East and having clear weaknesses in the lineup and back of the rotation to address, expect them to dip into their prospect reserve and acquire present value at the trade deadline.
Top 10 Prospects
1. Francisco Alvarez, C
Age: 19. Team: High-A Brooklyn
Heading into the Futures Game, Alvarez led all qualified teenage minor league hitters in full-season leagues with a 170 wRC+, showcasing the type of middle-of-the-order offensive potential that makes him one of the top catching prospects in baseball. The Mets quickly promoted Alvarez to High-A this season to challenge him both offensively—he put up a 1.213 OPS with more walks than strikeouts in 15 games at Low-A—and defensively. The organization wanted him to develop his pitch-framing in front of an umpire rather than the automated ball-strike technology of Low-A Southeast.
2. Brett Baty, 3B
Age: 21. Team: Double-A Binghamton
One of the more well-rounded high school hitters in the 2019 draft, Baty fell to 12th overall because he was 19 and a half on draft day. He answered his critics in the first half of 2021. After not homering in May, Baty turned the corner in June while sticking with his disciplined, all-fields hitting approach. He excels at driving the ball the other way—and frequently does.
3. Ronny Mauricio, SS
Age: 20. Team: High-A Brooklyn
The switch-hitting shortstop has added a lot of good weight to his 6-foot-3 frame and is still adapting to his new physique. Mauricio possesses high-end raw power but doesn’t get to it as much as he could because of questionable swing decisions that have led to too many strikeouts and ground balls and too few walks. He had also struggled at home in Brooklyn, a park that suppresses lefthanded power. Defensive ability has never been a question for Mauricio.
4. Mark Vientos, 3B/1B
Age: 21. Team: Double-A Binghamton
The Mets pushed Vientos to Double-A, where after a slow start he blasted nine home runs in June. He put in extra work after his slow start by studying his swing mechanics and the pitch sequences opposing pitchers were using. Vientos hits the ball harder than anyone in the system and shows aptitude for lifting the ball in the air to all fields.
5. Matt Allan, RHP
Age: 20. Team: High-A Brooklyn (injured list)
Regarded as the top high school pitcher in the 2019 draft, Allan aligned with the Mets in the third round based on bonus pool money. He had Tommy John surgery this spring and thus did not get a chance to test his enhanced repertoire in games. Allan had showcased high-end velocity and curveball command at the alternate training site last year, while brandishing a changeup that had become a legitimate third weapon.
6. J.T. Ginn, RHP
Age: 22. Team: High-A Brooklyn
Ginn lost most of his draft year at Mississippi State to Tommy John surgery but still pulled down the second highest bonus of the second round in 2020. He returned to action on June 3 for St. Lucie and began the process of building back the stamina to go five or six innings per start. Ginn’s power sinker and slider had returned to induce ground balls, while his control allowed him to navigate automated balls and strikes. Work remains to be done to regain feel for his changeup.
7. Tylor Megill, RHP
Age: 26. Team: New York (NL)
Used primarily as a reliever at the University of Arizona through 2018, Megill began the process of stretching out to starter distance in 2019 and used the lost 2020 season to build and maintain velocity. The results were on display in 2021, where he was the Mets’ top rookie. Megill has a slow heartbeat that made him unflappable in his first taste of the bigs. He pitches at 95 mph but has adjusted his fastball usage down in the majors to showcase his slider and changeup, for which he has learned a new grip from big league pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.
8. Alex Ramirez, OF
Age: 18. Team: Low-A St. Lucie
Ramirez signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, and along with the Athletics’ Robert Puason and the Yankees’ Jasson Dominguez was one of the few international free agents from that signing class in full-season ball. Ramirez was unchallenged by extended spring training, so the Mets assigned him to St. Lucie on June 1. He is a physical specimen who hits the ball incredibly hard, has worked to simplify his swing and appears to pick up spin out of the pitcher’s hand. The key will be making better swing decisions and connecting with more fastballs in the zone.
9. Robert Dominguez, RHP
Age: 19. Team: Rookie-level Florida Complex League
Dominguez signed in the middle of 2020 and has immediately jumped into the upper echelon of the team's pitching prospects. He was being eased into the 2021 season after some shoulder issues last year. His fastball was averaging 96 mph in the early going, and scouts who saw him spring training also saw a solid breaking ball and changeup.
10. Carlos Cortes, OF
Age: 24. Team: Double-A Binghamton
Free of the demands of learning to master second base, Cortes had settled into the corner outfield spots and put up his best season as a pro. His 13 home runs and .247 isolated slugging percentage were career bests. The 5-foot-7 Cortes doesn’t look the part of corner masher, but it’s his lefthanded bat that will carry him to a big league role.
11. Khalil Lee, OF
12. Calvin Ziegler, RHP
NEW One of the hardest-throwing Canadian high school pitchers of recent memory, Ziegler pitched at the TNXL Academy in Florida this spring to work around pandemic-related restrictions in his homeland. The Mets drafted him in the second round this year. Ziegler pitches in the low-to-mid 90s and tops out at 97 mph. He has flashed solid-average potential with his curveball and changeup. Ziegler has sharpened his control in the past year and must continue to improve his strike-throwing and feel for secondaries.
13. Junior Santos, RHP
14. Jaylen Palmer, 3B/2B/OF
15. Jose Butto, RHP
16. Dominic Hamel, RHP
NEW A 2021 third-round pick out of Dallas Baptist, Hamel ranked among the top 10 nationally for strikeouts this spring. His 90-94 mph fastball gets above barrels effectively, while his low-80s slider has above-average potential.
17. Thomas Szapucki, LHP
18. Jordany Ventura, RHP
19. Josh Walker, LHP
NEW Drafted in the 37th round in 2017 out of New Haven, Walker had struggled with injuries, including a nerve issue in his arm sustained in a vehicle collision in 2019, until this season at Double-A Binghamton. The 6-foot-6 lefty has long levers but strong control of fringe to average stuff, headlined by a fastball up to 93 mph that he moves around well.
20. Patrick Mazeika, C/1B
21. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/OF
NEW A Twins’ third-round pick in 2015, Blankenhorn rode the waiver merry-go-round this spring before settling with the Mets. He’s a bat-first utility type who handles second base and corner outfield.
22. Hayden Senger, C
NEW Senger had previously flashed offensive upside in the second half of 2019, but he put up consistently solid numbers as he climbed to Double-A in 2021. He has average defensive potential at catcher with an above-average arm.
23. Michel Otañez, RHP
24. Ryley Gilliam, RHP
25. Luke Ritter, 2B
NEW Ritter garnered a reputation as a versatile gamer at Wichita State, and that trend has continued following his seventh-round selection in 2019. While he’s already 24, Ritter has proved capable at second base and first base for High-A Brooklyn while flashing power with 11 home runs—10 of which were hit away from his pitcher-friendly home park.
26. Shervyen Newton, SS/2B
27. Joander Suarez, RHP
28. Jake Mangum, OF
29. Nick Meyer, C
NEW One of the finest defensive catchers in the 2018 draft when he was coming out of Cal Poly, Meyer had not distinguished himself offensively in pro ball. That changed in 2021 thanks to a swing adjustment that helped him reach Triple-A.
30. Joshua Cornielly, RHP
2022 MLB Draft: Kumar Rocker Signs With Frontier League's Tri-City ValleyCats
One of this year’s biggest draft mysteries is finally resolved.
The Mets have a pair of 21-year-old third base prospects whom they envision as big league regulars one day. That's why Brett Baty (left field) and Mark Vientos (first base, left field) have begun expanding their position profiles at Double-A.
Righthander Tylor Megill has the makings of a No. 4 or 5 starter, which is a much more favorable evaluation than he would have received this spring.
Double-A Binghamton outfielder Carlos Cortes delivered big power from a 5-foot-7 frame and had found a home in left field, where he can throw with his natural left hand. The ambidextrous Cortes had failed to develop at second base because his righthanded throwing did not meet the standard for the position.
Scouts marvel at High-A Brooklyn shortstop Ronny Mauricio’s raw power, and he had connected for a number of resonant blasts in games, but his overall productivity was below league average for the High-A East.
Low-A St. Lucie middle infielder Shervyen Newton injured his shoulder while diving for a ball and will be sidelined for the season. He hit .190/.312/.293 with 58 strikeouts in 30 games beforehand.
Righthander Marcel Renteria looked good at the alternate training site last year, and the reliever received some consideration for the 40-man roster last offseason to shield him from the Rule 5 draft. This year the 26-year-old lost the handle on his control at Triple-A and fell out of the top 30.
Lefthander David Peterson officially graduated from BA prospect status after tossing 49.2 innings as a rookie in 2020. The 2017 first-rounder out of Oregon had pitched to a 5.54 ERA through 15 starts this season before straining his right oblique on July 1. The injury could sideline him for as many as eight weeks.
Righthander Matt Allan had Tommy John surgery in May, putting him on track to return to game action toward the middle of 2022.
Lefthander Thomas Szapucki made his big league debut this year in his seventh pro season but had ulnar nerve transposition surgery in July and will miss the season.
Emerging righthander Jordany Ventura wowed the Mets during minor league spring training but came down with a sore elbow late in camp. He had Tommy John surgery this spring.
Righthander Joshua Cornielly had shoulder injuries this spring and had trouble getting a visa out of Venezuela. The Mets were hoping he could build toward a return late this season.
Outfielder Stanley Consuegra missed the 2019 season with injury, lost 2020 to the pandemic and continued to be snake-bit by injuries this season. He missed spring training after having an appendectomy, then when he returned to play in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League he was shelved after being hit by a pitch in the hand.
Righthander Daison Acosta is out for the season after having Tommy John surgery.
Righthander Richard Brito signed as a 21-year-old in July 2020, but he probably won’t debut this season after having an arm surgery.
Shortstop Wilmer Reyes shined at instructional league last fall but had not played in 2021 after he tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee. The Mets were hoping for an August return.