2023 New York Mets Top 10 Prospects Chat
- Do you think Baty, Vientos and Alvarez will make the Mets team out of spring training?
Matt Eddy: Hello! I think there is a scenario in which Baty makes the team with a huge spring training. But more Triple-A time could also benefit him to prepare him for the defensive demands and just to see better overall command of secondary stuff. I don't think Alvarez or Vientos have the same odds, just based on the composition of the MLB roster and in Alvarez's case just the value of further defensive reps behind the plate. (The one caveat here is that if Alvarez looks amazing enough in spring training to be viewed as a potential ROY, then the upside of a 2024 draft pick might make it worth it to carry him Opening Day.) I expect the Mets will go into 2023 with Vientos as Plan B or C at DH, and probably more Plan C based on what a struggle it was in 2022 to get production from that lineup spot.
- Would you expect the Mets to put any limitations on Blade Tidwell's workload as a starter next season after his shoulder injury at Tennessee, or is this someone who could throw ~100 innings in Brooklyn now that he's almost one year removed from the injury? It seems like they tried to take it easy on their top pitching prospects like Ziegler and Vasil last year.
Matt Eddy: Something in the neighborhood of 100 to 120 innings will likely be the goal for Blade Tidwell in 2023. If he's healthy and strong, I would expect a similar usage pattern as Dominic Hamel. With Ziegler and Vasil, it was injury and fatigue that limited their usage.
- Hi Matt. Any sense on whether Baty has the inside track to the starting 3B gig? I guess things could change depending on what the Metropolitans do during the offseason but curious to know if you know their thoughts.
Matt Eddy: I think Escobar will go into 2023 as the favorite to start at 3B. He swung the bat well late in the season and played solid defense all year. Luis Guillorme will probably be the primary backup. But there is less certainty in the outfield, where McNeil, Canha and Marte are the only capable starting players currently on the roster. DH production also could be an issue. There probably will be at-bats for Baty -- and later Alvarez -- it's more a question of which position the Mets want to focus those at-bats. Typically, veteran players get first dibs, and rookies work around the vets.
mike kelly (wyckoff, nj):
- hi....do the Mets have a higher rate of their pitchers being injured (TJ in particular) than other organizations? Or does it seem that way because I pay more attention to them And of the arms they have traded away, who will be the biggest regret? thanks for the chat
Matt Eddy: Good question about the TJs. I don't have a response that would be anything more than a guess. The Mets have had comparatively few premium arms since the graduation of Steven Matz in 2016, and Matt Allan was known to have a partially torn elbow ligament at the time of the 2019 draft. In recent years, TJ for young pitchers like Jordany Ventura and Luis Rodriguez had interrupted positive strides. My guess is that the Mets would fall somewhere in the middle of procedures and magnitude of those lost years.
- Was Dominic Hamel close to making the top ten? what was holding him back from making the list in your opinion?
Matt Eddy: Hamel falls firmly in the 11-15. His fastball has good characteristics but fringe-average velocity. If it continues to play against more advanced competitions, then he will be an easy top 10 call. He commands a good slider but probably needs more feel for something slower like a curveball or changeup to become a no doubt starter. He's got potential above-average fastball and slider, which will serve him in an MLB role to be determined.
- How much does Mauricio's winter league run move the needle to get him back into Top 100 consideration? Is it Licey or Mets call to have him finally get some run at 3b, or any position other than SS?
Matt Eddy: It's going to be a big year for Mauricio, who does everything well but control the zone and get on base. But his raw power impacts games, as evidenced by his LIDOM leading totals for XBH, totals bases and slugging. I think positions is determined by both LIDOM club and MLB organization. The Dominican teams want to win now and align players accordingly, but I'm sure there is communication with MLB player development when it comes to secondary positions.
- Do you think there are any young under-the-radar pitchers who could pop next year (guys like Tong, Ovalles, etc.)?
Matt Eddy: The usual suspects apply here, including Jordany Ventura, Luis Rodriguez and Javier Atencio. At High-A Brooklyn, Luis Moreno and Jeffrey Colon exceeded expectations and will be tested at Double-A in 2023. In terms of 2022 draftees, I would circle sixth-rounder Tyler Stuart (22-year-old from Southern Miss) and seventh-rounder Jonah Tong (Georgia prep) as the best under-the-radar bets. With Stuart, the Mets see enough to give the college reliever a shot in the rotation. He's 6-foot-9 with velocity, control and a slider that flashes plus. (Remember that once upon a time Tylor Megill was a college reliever.) As for Tong, he has fastball metrics that pop, feel for spin and an athletic delivery. He has a starter's starter kit, so to speak, but it will take time.
Matt Eddy: We interrupt this chat with errant thoughts about pitching prospects traded by the Mets. I swear I saw a question to that effect in the chat room. Limiting the scope to pitchers traded in 2022, Carson Seymour would be a strong contender for the 11-15 group, Nick Zwack more 16-20 and Franklin Sanchez somewhere in the 21-30. All have MLB upside but enough questions to keep them from the Mets' top two tiers.
Warren (New London):
- I know we're not supposed to take the 2026 lineups too seriously, but I was a little surprised to see Mark Vientos at 3B and Brett Baty in LF, rather than the other way around. Is it that you wanted to get them both in but you don't think Vientos can play the outfield?
Matt Eddy: Vientos will move in the other direction -- more time at 1B or DH. Baty should have the ability to handle 3B or LF capably for several seasons. Yes, the 2026 lineup alignment is clumsy without Nimmo or a suitable replacement.
- Khalil Lee - prospect or suspect?
Matt Eddy: Prospect, but more in the sense of bench player or fill-in.
Toy (New York):
- Who is one arm outside the top 10 that could make a big jump into the top 10 by mid-season and/or potentially get called up? Could it be Mike Vasil?
Matt Eddy: There are a lot of pitchers clustered in the 11 to 25 range, including Vasil, Dominic Hamel, Joel Diaz, Jose Butto, Jordany Ventura, Luis Rodriguez, Junior Santos, Javier Atencio, Christian Scott, Jeffrey Colon, Luis Moreno and so on. Having one of two from this group take a big step forward in 2023 would do wonders for the organization's pitching future. Internally, the Mets are excited about the High-A Brooklyn -- Hamel, Vasil, Moreno, Colon, Scott -- group that led the SAL in fewest runs allowed as it moves to Double-A. It will be a big test.
- What happened to Joel Diaz in 2022? He had a great playoff start but was mostly bad throughout the year. Young guy being pusehd too fast or did his stuff not play the way they thought?
Matt Eddy: Joel Diaz got tested in Low-A and hit hard for much of the season. His velocity and life were good -- he sat 94 and topped 96 -- and his curveball showed good snap. His biggest problems were command of his curveball, lack of conviction in his changeup and the ABS system. The Florida State League walk rate is up a full batter per 9 innings compared with 2019, and a lot of young pitchers are feeling the squeeze.
- It’s hard not to be discouraged by the progress or lack thereof for Ronny Mauricio. Are there signs that he can make the adjustments needed?
Matt Eddy: He makes as much impact on contact as Alvarez or Baty. Maybe more. The key will be simply swinging at fewer pitches to force pitchers to give him more hittable pitches and to get himself into more advantage counts. I would be interested to see examples of young hitters who accomplished that.
- Two questions about Jett: You mention Bregman and Pedroia, but I can't help but see a good bit of Madrigal in his profile. Does he have enough power to avoid that path for his future? Also, how would you rank Jett next to his fellow middle infield draftees, Zach Neto and Termarr Johnson?
Matt Eddy: Williams doesn't have that power at present, but perspective is important here. Williams is a better prospect at age 18 than Bregman (#121 out of high school) or Pedroia (predates BA500) were. But I agree that I wouldn't put Bregman power on him at this stage of his development. Pedroia could be more realistic. He topped 20 HR once and generally hit 12 to 15. Second base is also Williams' most likely position. As for 2022 draftees, I think Johnson, Neto and Williams went in the appropriate order for upside/risk.
Charles Schneider (Cinnaminson, NJ):
- Do you think Francisco Alvarez will be promoted to "The Show" in 2023 ?
Matt Eddy: Absolutely. It's only a question of when. The thing I liked about Alvarez during his 2022 callup is that he did not seem fazed in the slightest by the big stage or the high level competition he faced. Six of his 14 PA came against Max Fried, Kenley Jansen and Raisel Iglesias. In terms of his composure at a young age, Alvarez reminded me a bit of the 20-year-old Andres Gimenez when he came up in 2020.
- It feels like the Mets always put together strong draft classes while rarely having high picks. What's their secret?
Matt Eddy: The Mets scouting department has done a great job assessing talent at the top of the board, taking future major leaguers they know they can sign. There are exceptions -- Kumar Rocker in 2021, Gavin Cecchini in 2012 -- but for the most part, their first-round picks and other high-round picks have returned MLB value or trade value. The 2021 draft might have been a turning point in terms of later-round picks building value. A lot of those pitchers drafted after the top two rounds showed well in 2022, Seymour and Zwack well enough to have trade value.
Matt Eddy: Thanks for the great questions today.