New York Mets Breakout MLB Prospects Entering 2024


Entering 2024, we’re examining multiple Mets prospects on the verge of a breakout season. To qualify as a breakout prospect for this exercise, a player must rank outside the Top 10 Prospects in his organization entering the year.

You can find all of our preseason prospect rankings here and a link to breakouts for all 30 teams here.

Mets Top Prospects In 2024

We rank the top players in New York’s system entering the season complete with new scouting reports, tools, grades & more.

Breakout Prospects

Nolan McLean, RHP

Preseason rank: 14
BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme.

TRACK RECORD: McLean starred in baseball and football in high school outside Raleigh, N.C., and briefly played both sports at Oklahoma State before dropping football. He continued as a two-way player for the Cowboys, playing third base and then right field while notching 11 career saves as a reliever. The Orioles drafted McLean in the third round in 2022 as an eligible sophomore but did not sign him. One year later, the Mets drafted him in the third round and signed him for slot value of $747,600. McLean made six lineup appearances at DH and two on the mound in a brief pro debut.

SCOUTING REPORT: The Mets will let McLean serve as DH on occasion in 2024—he slugged .561 in three collegiate seasons with a 35% strikeout rate—but his developmental focus will be pitching. The organization is excited by the raw stuff he showed in an offseason pitching camp and believes he can move quickly in pro ball. McLean averages 95 mph on his two-seamer with an easy motion and has topped at 98. His velocity could climb as he adapts to a pro starter’s routine. McLean’s high-spin slider has plus potential with mid-80s velocity—up to 88 mph—and two-plane break. He also throws a quality high-70s curveball on occasion. McLean didn’t throw a changeup as a college reliever, but the Mets like what they have seen in side sessions. His athleticism and strong frame stand out. McLean walked nearly 13% of collegiate batters as a reliever, so control is a giant question mark. 

THE FUTURE: The Mets have turned college relievers Tylor Megill and Christian Scott into notable pro starters and will look to do the same with McLean. He should break camp with High-A Brooklyn in 2024 and deepen the organization’s growing store of athletic pitchers drafted out of college.

Scouting Grades
Fastball: 55. Curveball: 55. Slider: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 40.

Jesus Baez, SS

Preseason rank: 16
BA Grade: 50. Risk: High.

TRACK RECORD: Exemplary bat speed and raw power drew the Mets to sign Baez for $275,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2022. He blasted seven homers and won the organization’s Dominican Summer League player of the year award in his 2022 pro debut. Baez found the going tougher in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League in 2023, where he hit .210 but supplied enough extra-base thump that his .123 isolated slugging ranked 14th among qualified 18-and-younger hitters in the power-suppressing league.

SCOUTING REPORT: Baez hits the ball harder than most 18-year-olds, and the ball sounds different coming off his bat when he barrels it. He identifies pitches well by staying within his zone and making contact at a high rate for a hitter with power. Baez started slowly in the FCL and began to press, which led to an elevated groundball rate, less-than-ideal angles and a .245 batting average on balls in play that was among the lowest in the league. Being more selectively aggressive could enable him to grow into a .240-type hitter with above-average power and on-base ability. Baez has cleaned up his shortstop actions and has soft hands, but his thickening 5-foot-10 frame, plus arm and lack of twitchiness mark him as a future third baseman. He is a well below-average runner.

THE FUTURE: With a likely corner profile, Baez must figure things out offensively. He has plenty of time to do so and will be a part of the Low-A St. Lucie infield picture in 2024. With Colin Houck and Marco Vargas also projected to the Florida State League, Baez may begin playing more third base.

Scouting Grades
Hitting: 40. Power: 55. Run: 30. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

Jeremy Rodriguez, SS

Preseason rank: 17
BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme.

TRACK RECORD: The Diamondbacks signed Rodriguez out of the Dominican Republic for $1.25 million as the headliner of their 2023 international class. As one of the younger players eligible to sign, Rodriguez debuted as a 16-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. Arizona dealt him to the Mets just minutes before the 2023 trade deadline, and acquired veteran outfielder Tommy Pham and $820,000 to pay down half of his expiring contract. Rodriguez’s .878 OPS ranked inside the top 10 among qualified 17-and-under DSL shortstops.

SCOUTING REPORT: Rodriguez has a wiry 6-foot frame and the type of bat speed and approach that portends significant offensive growth. His focal point early in his career will be adding strength to hit the ball harder. He averaged an 81 mph exit velocity in his pro debut, a figure that was low even among his age peers. Where the lefthanded-hitting Rodriguez shines is swing decisions. His miniscule in-zone miss rate stands out, while his low swing rate translated to few strikeouts and a high walk rate. Assuming strength gains as he matures, Rodriguez projects as an above-average hitter with solid-average power. Rodriguez’s range and instincts are short for shortstop, though his fringe-average speed and average arm would fit at second base.

THE FUTURE: Rodriguez will make his U.S. debut in 2024, likely in the Florida Complex League. He will be 17 years old for the first month of the FCL season and could receive a late cameo with Low-A St. Lucie. In time, Rodriguez has the attributes to develop into a regular major league second baseman.

Scouting Grades
Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Run: 45. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

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