New York Mets 2021 MLB Prospects Chat

Our new Mets top 10 is here! Matt Eddy answered prospect questions below.

mike kelly (wyckoff, nj):

     hi…thanks for the early holiday treat. Surprised that Gimenez and Peterson still qualify for the list (though it makes the list stronger). Who is up next?

Matt Eddy: We have never factored MLB service time — or rookie eligibility, by extension — as part of our prospect eligibility calculus. In order to qualify, players must not exceed 130 AB, 50 IP or 30 relief appearances in the major leagues. We talked about adjusting the qualifying standard this year but opted to keep things consistent in what we hope is one outlier season.

Chris K. (Connecticut):

     Hi Matt, the Mets’ draft strategy over the past couple of years worked very well in the draft and the team has gathered a number of well-regarded picks. What major changes–if any–do you expect to see under new ownership and a new front office?

Matt Eddy: High school players are more difficult to sign than collegians because they have a lot more leverage. The Mets have done an excellent job assessing which preps will sign, dating back to the 2018 draft, which yielded the since-traded duo of Jarred Kelenic and Simeon Woods Richardson. Their top 10 is dominated by players who fit this description, including Matt Allan, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Brett Baty, Mark Vientos and Josh Wolf — with Isaiah Greene just missing the cut. It’s difficult to predict what a new owner and head of baseball ops will prioritize in the 2021 draft.

Logan Field (Mi):

     Great list! How close was Isaiah Greene? I know we took him in the competitive balance round B last year. Does that mean we get a competitive balance round A this year? I thought I heard that competitive round B and A alternate each year, meaning we would have competitive round A this year. Thanks!

Matt Eddy: The draft pick the Mets used to select Greene was compensation for losing free agent Zack Wheeler. The Mets are not eligible for MLB’s competitive balance lottery.

Sara (Maine):

     How far removed are Alexander Ramirez and Freddy Valdez from this list? Did they fail to crack the top ten because they are younger than the players above or is there more development that needs to be done?

Matt Eddy: Ramirez and Valdez are in the grouping huddled just outside the top 10.

Chamaco (Mexico):

     With the amount of money teams can spend in the international market capped, in what ways can the Mets make best use of Steve Cohen’s $14 billion to acquire and develop international talent? Are there areas where the Wilson’s lack of desire to spend have hamstrung the Mets internationally that could be easily remedied by new ownership?

Matt Eddy: With the amount of money teams can spend on amateurs capped and major league payroll essentially capped by the luxury tax, the most marginal value could probably be derived by embellishing the scouting, player development and analytics departments. Setting up a structure like the Dodgers should be the goal. Think about it. The Dodgers continuously find future MLB regulars despite not drafting until the 20s. They sign discarded players and turn them into regulars, e.g. Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Max Muncy. They make smart pro acquisitions, e.g. Josiah Gray, Jeter Downs. So while the Mets are most often compared with the Yankees, they *should* be emulating the Dodgers.

John (New York):

     It seems the Mets have been a lot less aggressive in the International Market the last two years. Do you expect that to continue?

Matt Eddy: This could be an issue related to a changeover in the international department. Director Chris Becerra left for the Red Sox following the 2018 season, when Brodie Van Wagenen was hired as general manager.

Jack (Brooklyn, NY):

     What’s the latest you’ve heard on Josh Wolf? Haven’t heard much since he was drafted.

Matt Eddy: The Mets did not invite 2019 second-rounder Josh Wolf to the alternate training site, so he spent the summer developing independently. He looked good at instructional league, flashing four plusses but inconsistent control. If he can throw enough strikes, he is a good name to file away for growth potential.

Ted (New York):

     You listed Jaylen Palmer as the fastest Baserunner? Reports have had his speed around 45-50 range, versus a Pete-Crow Armstrong who is a 60, Isaiah Greene at 65, and others who are faster. Has something changed?

Matt Eddy: The fastest baserunner category was a dead heat between Palmer, PCA and Isaiah Greene. But you’re right that PCA has a strong case. The player development staff had seen more from Palmer, so they felt more confident in choosing him. The player who is faster than he looks is Brett Baty. According to the GPS tracking the Mets used, Baty was one of the fastest players at the alt site.

Pat (New York):

     Matt: Thanks for the chat, looking into this system did you find that it’s one of the better “under-22 YO” systems? Seems like all of there talent is under 22. If Sandy holds prospects better than BVW could they be top 10 next year?

Matt Eddy: The top of the Mets’ prospect ranking skews young for sure. When I looked up the youngest top 10s of the past 15 years last offseason, I found that the 2020 Indians had the second youngest on record. The secret is to have no collegians and a high ratio of international signees. The youngest top 10 I found was, I think, the 2006 Yankees. As to the top 10 system part of your question: I think the Mets would be solidly top 10-12 if they had Jarred Kelenic and SWR.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Binghamton was a Met’s farm team on the original contraction list. The location seemed to have little going for it, but it ended up being saved. Have you heard what the factors were that saved the team from the contraction list?

Matt Eddy: This is a better question for J.J. Cooper, the minor league reorganization expert. I think the creation of another full-season East Coast league helped keep Binghamton alive. Now the Mets can use some combination of the Florida State, Eastern, International and *working title* leagues.

JD (AZ):

     Hi Matt, do you expect us to see Thomas Szapucki in Flushing this year? At this point is he viewed as a starter or reliever?

Matt Eddy: The answer probably lies somewhere in between. Lefty Thomas Szapucki has the riding fastball and diving curveball that is en vogue today. But with durability questions and lack of a reliable third pitch, he could be pressed to throw 100 pitches or face 18+ batters per outing. But multi-inning relief is a possibility.

Jonathan (OH):

     What’s the latest on Vientos? I hear good reports from podcasts I have listened to lately, is he still the future Mets third baseman? How does Baty play into this? Who are you taking between the two?

Matt Eddy: The Mets are higher internally on Baty because he’s a better athlete with better plate discipline and a tick more power. But some external scouts put a 70 raw power on Vientos, so he is obviously no slouch in that department. It’s just that some outside observers see that power as being his only major league attribute, making him a second-division type of player for the most pessimistic scouts. Vientos will be pressed at third base, and as a first baseman/DH his path becomes more difficult.

SBNY (Philadelphia PA):

     I keep seeing Mauricio rank high on the prospect rankings, but his stats so far haven’t been that impressive. Can you provide a comp for him?

Matt Eddy: Shortstop Ronny Mauricio is the ultimate “projection” prospect. But you’re right that he hasn’t maintained a high level of production over extended stretches. He hasn’t been completely overmatched, but he clearly needs to improve his selectivity and attack angle. He will show scouts plus raw power, even straightaway, in BP. The thing that buoys his value as a top prospect is his defensive value. Mauricio is a lock to stay on the infield, probably at shortstop with good range, arm strength and quickness.

Bob (Florida):

     Does Allan have SP1 or SP2 upside?

Matt Eddy: Optimists say No. 2 starter. Realists have him more like No. 3.

Mike (Honolulu):

     Which top Mets prospects score high on the “makeup” scale? Who has the elite work ethics, drive, etc.?

Matt Eddy: The Mets stress makeup with their top picks, so you can bet any player who received a notable bonus the past few years received high marks for makeup.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Now an Oriole, Kevin Smith was a top 10 Met prospect in the Handbook last year. If he was still a Met would he still be in the Met’s top 10?

Matt Eddy: Probably not. David Peterson passed him this year by reaching the majors and holding his rotation spot with more good outings than bad. Also: the Mets added three top 10-caliber prospects in the 2020 draft between PCA, Ginn and Greene.

Pat (NYC):

     Biggest sleepers? Names we may not know or see much about? What’s the buzz?

Matt Eddy: The two names I would file away are catcher Endy Rodriguez and righthander Jordany Ventura. Rodriguez is an athletic, switch-hitting catcher with notable framing ability and power. Ventura is a quick-armed starter prospect with good present velocity and life to go with a late-breaking curveball. He sells his changeup and throws strikes, but at this point a lot of projection is required.

David (Brooklyn):

     If Brodie didn’t trade, Kelenic, Dunn, Kay and Woods Richardson where would they sit in your Top 10 re-order?

Matt Eddy: Jarred Kelenic would be the system’s No. 1 prospect and in contention for top 10 overall in the game. Wood Richardson would probably rank a tick ahead of Matt Allan, just based on being one draft class more experienced and having already reached high Class A.

Corey (Seattle):

     Has the shine come off of Mauricio a bit?

Matt Eddy: I think you can make the case. It’s tough to know what to do in light of the lost season and limited looks afforded scouts this year between the alt site and instructs. The 2021 season will be huge.

Zak (RI):

     Thanks for the chat. I see Baty moved down the top 10 list, with guys like Allan and Gimenez moving up. Is this a case of guys like Allan/Gimenez improving or were there some concerns that people saw with Baty at the Alternate site?

Matt Eddy: The ranking reversal is more a function of Andres Gimenez proving quite capable in the big leagues coming off his big AFL campaign and Matt Allan adding a changeup to go with a top-shelf fastball/curveball combo. Even experienced LH hitters at the alt site had a hard time with Allan’s change. Baty’s selling points are his power and discipline. He hits the ball very hard with consistency and can homer deep to the opposite field. Scouts ding him for his swing-and-miss, and while he might not have the swing flexibility to hit for a high average, his upside is .240 hitter with lots of walks and 30 home runs.

Matt Eddy: Thank you for all the great questions. Thanks for subscribing, reading and engaging with BA in what has been the most challenging year of our lifetimes.

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