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The Mets acknowledged Gimenez's talent by signing him for $1.2 million in 2015, when he ranked as the No. 2 prospect on the international market, but they now hold his athleticism, maturity and work ethic in similarly high regard. After hitting .350 in his pro debut in 2016, when he led the Dominican Summer League with a .469 on-base percentage, he skipped domestic short-season ball entirely to make his U.S. debut at low Class A Columbia in late April 2017. As one of four 18-year-old regular position players in the South Atlantic League, Gimenez more than held his own, ranking 12th in the league with a .346 OBP and 11th with a 15.3 percent strikeout rate. Described as a “ball of dynamite” by one Mets official, Gimenez has a shorter, thicker build than many shortstops but compensates with twitchy athleticism. Scouts expect him to impact the ball more frequently as his body matures in his 20s. Gimenez pushed his average to .289 on Aug. 2, but he closed the year in an 18-for-91 (.198) skid as he dealt with a jammed thumb and general fatigue. Nothing phases Gimenez at the plate, where he has the attributes to be an above-average hitter. His lefthanded swing is direct to the ball, and he identifies pitches well, doesn't swing and miss often and hangs in versus southpaws. Skeptics question his batting upside potential, however, because he has average present running speed, while his power projects to be below-average. Body control and quick actions serve Gimenez at shortstop, where he has above-average range, reliable hands and an arm that plays up to plus thanks to a quick release and accuracy. His instincts and feel for the game will keep him at shortstop--where he has plus defensive potential--as he climbs the ladder, while his arm and reliability would allow him to shift to second or third base as needed. Given his youth and distance from the big leagues, Gimenez's future role has not yet come into focus. Some scouts fall short of giving him a single plus tool, which could make him a second-division regular or utility infielder, but those who see a plus middle-infield defender and above-average hitter envision a potential double-play partner for shortstop Amed Rosario in Queens. Gimenez has three more minor league levels to master before then, and that task begins at high Class A St. Lucie in 2018.
An unsigned 28th-round pick out of high school, Peterson blossomed as an Oregon junior after he clicked with new pitching coach Jason Dietrich. He ranked sixth in Division I (and first in the Pacific-12 Conference) with 140 strikeouts. The Mets selected him 20th overall in 2017 and signed him for a tick less than $3 million. Peterson walked 3.5 per nine innings in his first two college seasons before reducing that rate to 1.4 in 2017, when he showed the best control in his draft class. A physical, 6-foot-6 lefthanded starter, he has ordinary fastball velocity--he sits 90-91 mph and peaks at 95--but above-average sink and run to go with a wide repertoire. Peterson shows advanced command of an above-average, low-80s slider that flummoxes batters with its unique angle and deceptive late drop. It's an out pitch versus lefthanders and a back-foot weapon against righties. His fading changeup could develop into an above-average weapon now that he has sharpened his fastball command. He throws an occasional fringy curveball early in counts. Peterson signed at deadline and then had surgery to remove an ingrown toenail, which inhibited his ability to walk or pitch, so he made just three abbreviated starts at short-season Brooklyn, none more than 39 pitches in duration. He notched 20- and 17-strikeout games at Oregon in 2017, but his repertoire suggests more of a durable, strike-throwing, groundball-oriented No. 3 or 4 starter.
Dunn worked primarily as a reliever at Boston College until moving to the rotation two months before the 2016 draft. He pitched well enough in eight starts to generate first-round attention, and the Mets selected him 19th overall. He shined at short-season Brooklyn in his debut but struggled with the jump to high Class A St. Lucie in 2017, where he ran up a 5.00 ERA. As a starter with an athletic delivery, quick, loose arm and pitchability, Dunn could be in line for better days ahead. He flashes a plus fastball and slider, his primary weapons in college, but below-average control and command hampered his effectiveness. At his best, he ranges from 92-96 mph with above-average life on his fastball and breaks off a mid-80s slider with late three-quarters tilt. He even shows surprising command of a changeup given his bullpen background, but just as a platoon split plagued him in college, Dunn needs to find a way to retire lefthanded batters after they hit .345/.464/.462 against him in the Florida State League. If he improves his fastball command, changeup and stamina, Dunn could profile as a No. 3 or 4 starter. If he doesn't, he should have no trouble reaching the big leagues as a high-leverage reliever. A key development year in which he should reach Double-A awaits.
Alonso's incredible righthanded power translated from Florida to pro ball. He launched a 421-foot home run to center field at the 2015 College World Series, and the blast still stands as the longest at Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park. In 2017 he walloped a Florida State League-leading 16 home runs at high Class A St. Lucie at the time the Mets promoted him to Double-A--despite missing six weeks with a broken hand. Alonso generates by far the highest exit velocity and has the most power in the Mets system. He looks for pitches to elevate with his plus-plus raw power, and the ball carries to all fields when he connects. In addition to plus game power, Alonso has a chance for an average hit tool because he hits the ball hard with frequency and doesn't swing and miss as much as many sluggers. A well below-average runner and uncoordinated, slow-bodied defender, he committed 19 errors at first base in 2017, the majority of them fielding miscues and dropped catches. He requires a lot of work to be playable in the field. Alonso has crushed lefthanders as a pro, compiling a 1.166 OPS, but he has hit a more modest .256/.316/.456 against same-side pitchers. Regardless, his power will play in the big leagues, perhaps in the second half of 2018, whether as a regular or a platoon masher.
One of the most promising pitchers in the Mets system, Szapucki looked sharp during his full-season debut at low Class A Columbia. He made just six starts, however, because he missed April and May while recovering from a shoulder impingement, then had Tommy John surgery in July that will cost him the 2018 season. His 2016 season also ended prematurely with back stiffness at short-season Brooklyn. A physical 6-foot-2 lefthander, Szapucki when healthy delivers high-quality stuff from the left side out of a low three-quarters arm slot. He ranges from 90-96 mph and sits 93 with electric life on his plus fastball. He commands his big-breaking, low-80s slider and uses it as an out pitch. Szapucki even showed feel for a changeup he has developed in his three pro seasons, though it remains fringe-average. His control grades as below-average but can be improved with better direction to the plate. Szapucki might have ranked No. 1 in the system had he remained healthy--he has that kind of ceiling. If he recovers fully and proves his durability, he can develop into a No. 3 starter. He turns 23 in 2019, when he is targeted to return to the mound.
The youngest player selected in the top 10 rounds of the 2017 draft, Vientos didn't turn 18 until December of his draft year. His father was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in New York a Mets fan and couldn't contain his excitement when New York selected Vientos in the second round and signed him for $1.5 million out of Florida prep power American Heritage. The Mets zeroed in on Vientos early in the spring season, drawn to his fast, powerful swing, strong hands and projectable 6-foot-4 frame. He started slow in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League but then hit .305/.339/.467 in 115 August at-bats. After hitting only one home run as a prep senior, Vientos clubbed four homers in the GCL, and the Mets believe his knack for elevating the ball will lead to plus power down the road. Though he is a well below-average runner, he has plus hands and an above-average arm at shortstop. Most scouts project him to third base because he's not as quick as a typical shortstop and his frame still has plenty of room to fill out. Vientos offers a promising blend of offensive upside and left-side-of-the-infield value, but he is four years or more away from the big leagues. With a good spring training, he could be on track for low Class A Columbia in 2018.
Noted for his arm strength early in his career, Molina began to produce results and gain prospect helium at short-season Brooklyn in 2014. He lost momentum in 2015 and 2016 as he dealt with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, but a convincing season at Double-A Binghamton in 2017, after recovering from a lat strain, restored his shine. With a workhorse physique and easy, athletic delivery, Molina throws strikes and generates above-average life on all his pitches. He sat 94 mph in the Arizona Fall League in 2016, but his velocity dipped to 91 mph with a peak of 93 in 2017 as he focused on commanding and sinking the ball. He commands his high-spin two-seamer to both sides of the plate and hides the ball well. Molina's plus low-80s slider has late three-quarters tilt and depth to play against batters on both sides of the plate. His mid-80s changeup took a step forward in 2017 and projects as average. Based on his pitch profile and sharp control, Molina has the attributes to be a No. 4 starter. If he rediscovers a few ticks of velocity, he could be better than that. He figures to be the next Mets starter to make his major league debut at some point in 2018.
The Mets' top draft pick in 2015 after they sacrificed their first-rounder to sign free agent Michael Cuddyer, Lindsay has flashed impact potential in pro ball--but only in glimpses and only in between injuries. Hamstring trouble affected him in high school and in his first two pro seasons, then in 2017 he was plagued by elbow trouble that required season-ending surgery in late July to transpose his ulnar nerve. At full strength, Lindsay has power-speed potential and a discerning batting eye. He struggled out of the gate in 2017 at low Class A Columbia and hit just .149 through his first 38 games, but an altered eyeglass prescription might have cued a late surge. In his final 27 games before surgery, he hit .300/.352/.560 with six of his eight home runs. Lindsay has plus raw power and impacts the ball to all fields when he connects, but he didn't do that often enough, with rates for walks (13 percent) and strikeouts (31 percent) that ranked among the highest in the South Atlantic League. A prep third baseman, Lindsay has used his above-average speed to develop into an average center fielder with an average arm. A healthy season would go a long way toward determining Lindsay's future potential and timetable. Moving to a more hitter-friendly park at high Class A St. Lucie in 2018 could help.
Flexen began the 2017 season on the disabled list after having surgery to remove a bone spur from his right knee. He ended it in the big leagues after a 10-start run through the minors that included his first seven turns at Double-A. Flexen missed time in 2014 and 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery and wasn't ready for prime time as an emergency callup in 2017, as indicated by his 7.88 ERA in 48 innings. Flexen added a few ticks to his fastball, threw more strikes and improved the effectiveness of his mid-70s curveball in 2017. In fact, he recorded the second-highest curveball spin rate on Mets' big league staff, finishing (a distant) second to Seth Lugo, owner of the highest-spin curve of the Statcast era. Flexen pitches at 92 mph and can reach 96, while adeptly adding sinking or riding life to his fastball by changing his grip. He made progress with his average changeup, but would benefit from developing his fringe-average slider into a chase pitch. Flexen commands three pitches but lacks a knockout offering. Without an out pitch, he profiles as a No. 5 starter or reliever.
Guillorme won the low Class A South Atlantic League MVP in 2015 despite not hitting a single home run. He continued his high-contact, low-watt production with a season of extremes at Double-A Binghamton in 2017. He ranked second in the Eastern League with 72 walks while turning in the EL's lowest strikeout rate (10 percent) and isolated power (.048). Guillorme drew national attention during spring training 2017 when he nonchalantly barehanded a bat hurtling for the Mets dugout. Appropriately, his scouting report begins with lightning-quick hands and reflexes, which he parlays into plus defensive ability at shortstop and second base. He confidently makes difficult plays in the field with above-average range, a solid-average arm and a great internal clock. Guillorme hardly ever pulls the ball and has bottom-of-the-scale power, but he could develop an average hit tool because he works deep counts, hits the ball hard consistently and uses the whole field. As a lefthanded batter who brings a plus glove to shortstop, second base or third base, Guillorme is a shoo-in for a utility infielder role. If his bat develops, he could be a second-division regular, possibly at second base for the Mets, where no long-term solution is apparent.
Mets international scouts first set eyes on Mauricio at a Dominican Prospect League event. They stuck with him in the months leading up to the 2017 signing period, when the 16-year-old ranked as the No. 3 prospect on the international market but appeared fatigued at times as he showcased daily for teams. The Mets ultimately signed Mauricio for $2.1 million, a franchise record for an international amateur, surpassing Amed Rosario in 2012. A switch-hitter from a young age with plenty of room to fill out his 6-foot-2 frame, Mauricio could develop into a power-hitting shortstop with the fluid actions to stick there. Direct to the ball despite long limbs, he projects for plus power once he fills out his skinny frame. His effortless stroke is compact, particularly from the left side, and he has good bat-to-ball skills. A below-average runner, Mauricio has smooth actions and good range at shortstop to go with a plus arm. He has solid body control and a strong internal clock, though some scouts project him to third base because of his size and lack of pure speed. Mauricio will make his pro debut in 2018, possibly at a U.S. affiliate.
Nido moved to the Orlando area from Puerto Rico while in high school, then signed for $250,000 as an eighth-round pick rather than attend Florida State. A slow climb up the ladder brought him to Double-A Binghamton in 2017, his sixth pro season, prior to a September callup to New York, where he started a pair of games. Nido offers above-average defensive ability at catcher but faces questions about his offensive potential. Despite winning a surprising batting title in the high Class A Florida State League in 2016, he's better known for his above-average raw power. He could tap that power more frequently with a more refined approach, but he focuses on making contact and tends to put the ball in play on the ground. Nido shines defensively with a plus arm that he used to throw out 45 percent of Eastern League basestealers to go with strong receiving and blocking skills. The Mets' internal metrics grade his pitch-framing favorably because he frequently steals strikes for his pitchers. With a fringe bat and strong defensive acumen, Nido could make for an ideal backup catcher.
The 12th overall pick in 2012, Cecchini shined in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2016, batting .325 with walks and gap power, but the hits did not fall at Las Vegas in 2017: He showed similar secondary skills but hit just .267. Undone by a poor first half, he watched fellow middle infielders T.J. Rivera and Matt Reynolds pass him on the organizational depth chart and gain a foothold in New York. Cecchini received a late-season callup for the second year in a row, but now looks more like a utility option rather than a potential regular. He shows strong bat-to-ball skills but below-average power and speed to go with choppy infield actions. A good batting eye and a knack for hard contact give Cecchini a chance for an average hit tool, but a level swing plane and groundball batted-ball profile nets him below-average power. Cecchini teamed with shortstop Amed Rosario at Las Vegas in 2017, playing mostly second base for the first time in his career. His average arm with questionable accuracy fits best at second, where he shows average range and converts routine plays. Cecchini probably faces more time at Triple-A because of the Mets' middle-infield depth.
Kay attended the same Long Island, N.Y., high school as Steven Matz, and joined the Mets as the 31st overall pick in the 2016 draft after three years at Connecticut. He had his bonus offer reduced to an under-slot $1.1 million after a physical turned up an elbow injury. Kay had Tommy John surgery in October of his draft year, and returned to action at 2017 instructional league, where he threw bullpen sessions. In college, he drew praise for one of the best changeups in his draft class. The pitch features late fading action and could develop into a plus offering once he recovers his feel post-surgery. He pitches in the low 90s and topped out near 95 mph while in college. A high-spin curveball rounds out his repertoire. Barring further setbacks, Kay should be ready to begin 2018 with a full-season club and log his first pro innings. A realistic ceiling for his workload should fall between 90 to 110 innings.
Under Southeast regional supervisor Steve Barningham, the Mets have hit the state of Florida hard in recent drafts, both at the top of the board--second-round position players Pete Alonso, Desmond Lindsay and Mark Vientos--and with later-round high school pitchers. The 18th-rounder Humphreys fits in the latter group, along with righthanders such as John Gant (2011), Rob Whalen (2012) and Christian James (2016). Humphreys began to emerge as a prospect in 2016, but didn't fully break through until 2017, when he went 10-1, 1.42 in 11 starts at low Class A Columbia to earn a mid-June promotion. He made just two starts at high Class A St. Lucie before going down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery in August. Humphreys has all the ingredients to be a No. 4 starter. He throws strikes to both sides of the plate with plus fastball control (career walk rate of 1.6 per nine innings), he changes eye levels with a high-spin, high-70s curveball and has begun to develop feel for a solid-average changeup. He sat in the high 80s in high school before his body matured, but now pitches at 90-92 mph and tops out at 94. His fastball misses bats up in the zone with riding life. Humphreys won't pitch in a game until 2019, but once healthy he could move quickly.
Intrigued by Oswalt's physical, 6-foot-5 frame and clean arm action in 2012, the Mets bought him out of a UC Santa Barbara commitment for $475,000. Because he converted to pitching as a high school senior, Oswalt (no relation to Roy) spent three seasons in short-season ball and another two at Class A. Oswalt advanced to Double-A Binghamton in 2017 and claimed Eastern League pitcher of the year honors after leading the circuit in ERA (2.28) and ranking fourth in strikeout rate (8.0 per nine innings). He ranges from 90-94 mph and throws downhill with excellent plane and sink on his fastball. He allowed just nine home runs in 24 starts in 2017 and has always shown above-average control. A pair of solid-average secondary pitches paved the way for his breakthrough. His mid-80s split-changeup helps him neutralize lefthanders, while his 12-to-6 curveball with low-80s velocity has developed into a weapon. Oswalt doesn't draw many plus grades, but he does enough things well to reach the majors in a No. 4 or 5 starter role, perhaps as early as 2018 after being added to the 40-man roster in November.
The Red Sox drafted Callahan in the second round in 2012 out of high school. By 2015 they had made him a reliever, after he ran up a 6.96 ERA as a starter at low Class A the year before. He began to progress more rapidly beginning in 2016, and by the time the Mets acquired him in 2017, he had reached Triple-A. He joined New York along with fellow relievers Gerson Bautista and Stephen Nogosek in the trade that sent Addison Reed to Boston. Callahan experienced a velocity spike at midsummer 2017 by going from 92-95 mph to 94-97 with a high of 99 and riding life above the barrel. The quality of his slider improved dramatically in 2017, especially when paired with a higher-octane fastball. His high-80s slider grades as above-average and generates myriad swinging strikes. He also has a splitter that the Mets have encouraged him to throw more often. Callahan, who made his big league debut as a September callup, will play a vital role in boosting the velocity of the Mets' big league bullpen in 2018.
Mazeika embellished his reputation as a professional hitter at high Class A St. Lucie in 2017, all while catching a career-high 77 games--but he still has work to do to profile as a regular for scouts. He hit .348 in three years at Stetson and has hit .311 in three pro seasons, thanks to a feel for the barrel and excellent strike-zone judgment. Mazeika ranked third in the high Class A Florida State League with a .389 on-base percentage in 2017 and owns a career .411 mark, though with a focus on contact, his power production is limited mostly to line drives to the gaps. Mazeika shows aptitude for receiving the ball, but his ability to block pitches in the dirt is hampered by his slow-twitch actions, and his arm plays as below-average. A slow tempo with calling pitches turns off some scouts. Mazeika also plays first base, but his power doesn't fit the profile there, so his best path to a major league role is as a lefthanded-hitting catcher. A full season at Double-A Binghamton will be a good test for Mazeika in 2018.
Bashlor fights baseball's bias against short righthanders--he's closer to 5-foot-11 than his listed height--by throwing 100 mph and missing more bats than most. Working as a reliever, he struck out 15.2 batters per nine innings in 2017, which led all minor league pitchers with at least 40 innings. Bashlor, an infielder in high school who moved to the mound in his second year at South Georgia JC, signed in 2013 but didn't jump on the prospect map until 2016, after he missed two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery. His velocity spiked in the second half of 2017 at Double-A Binghamton, where he sat 94-98 mph with a riding, high-spin fastball. He throws a slurvy breaking ball with depth but not the velocity of a typical slider. Bashlor needs to improve his control--he walked 4.5 per nine in 2017--which will be a challenge because of his high-effort delivery. With a top-of-the-scale fastball and average breaking ball, however, Bashlor doesn't need to be too fine to find success in a big league bullpen.
Smith played at three levels and for three organizations in 2017 after being traded twice. The Tigers made the power reliever a third-round pick and the first of five Dallas Baptist pitchers drafted in 2015. He made 35 appearances at low Class A in 2016 as he worked around minor injuries to his shoulder, elbow and pectoral muscle. Detroit traded him to the Rays in April 2017 as the player to be named for outfielder Mikie Mahtook, and then Tampa Bay traded him to the Mets for first baseman Lucas Duda near the trade deadline. Like all the relievers the Mets traded for in 2017, Smith throws a big fastball with riding life. He pitches at 96 mph and ranges from 94-98, but he differs from the group with his breaking ball of choice. He throws a high-spin, top-to-bottom curveball at 78-82 mph that can be a plus weapon. The spin rate on the pitch was measured by TrackMan at about 2,800 revolutions per minute, which would rank in the 90th percentile of all major league pitchers who threw a curve at least 25 times in 2017. Smith stayed off the disabled list in 2017, improved his control and threw a career-high 60 innings. Smith finished 2017 at Double-A Binghamton in the Eastern League playoffs, and he will be a call away from New York at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2018.
After four seasons in Rookie ball, Uceta began 2017 at low Class A Columbia and ended at Double-A Binghamton after making a role change and experiencing a velocity spike. A middling starter prior to 2017, Uceta moved to the bullpen and recorded a 1.51 ERA in 41 appearances while striking out 67 in 59.2 innings. He pitched at 92-94 mph at Columbia, but sat 96-99 by the end of the season. He pitches from a three-quarters arm slot and his ball features plus running action to his arm side. Uceta throws a sinking changeup with fade in the mid-80s that can be an above-average weapon. His workable slurvy breaking ball gives him a pitch to throw to his glove side, forcing batters to focus on both sides of the plate. With a large frame, high-effort delivery and spotty rotation record, Uceta is now a full-time reliever. Some in the Mets organization liken him to big league reliever Hansel Robles.
The Nationals drafted Brodey as a lefthanded pitcher out of high school in the 37th round in 2014, but he opted to attend Stanford, where he played both ways as a freshman, both in Pacific-12 Conference play and in the summer-ball New England Collegiate League. Brodey focused on playing outfield beginning in 2016, and led the Cardinal in home runs as a sophomore and junior. The Mets made him a third-round pick in 2017 and signed him for a slightly below-slot $500,000. Brodey didn't produce at short-season Brooklyn, a notoriously difficult park for lefthanded hitters, but began to unlock his solid-average raw power in a short trial at low Class A Columbia. He is an athletic lefthanded hitter with present strength and a chance for five average tools. The Mets value his performance in the Cape Cod League in 2016, when he finished fourth in batting average (.326) and slugging (.486). Brodey shows the ingredients to hit for average, but he may struggle to drive inside pitches because he bars his arm when he loads his swing. If Brodey fails to develop a plus tool, as some scouts project, he could be an outfield tweener who doesn't defend well enough for center or produce enough power for a corner. He will advance to high Class A St. Lucie in 2018.
Though Rhame worked as a starter in junior college when the Dodgers drafted him in 2013, he had only one reliable pitch--a fastball--so Los Angeles developed him exclusively as a reliever. He first reached Triple-A in 2016 and remained there through most of 2017. The Dodgers traded him to the Mets for outfielder Curtis Granderson in late August, and he made his big league debut as a September callup. Rhame pitches at 95 mph and tops out at 97 with late-riding life and high spin on a fastball that he uses to generate swings and misses at the top of the zone. The Mets saw improvement in the quality of his changeup in 2017. The pitch shows good fade to his arm side and good separation from his fastball--about 12 mph on average. He throws a mid-80s slider for early-count strikes, but it hasn't shown the necessary bite to be a true out pitch. The Mets acquired Rhame to address their velocity-deficient bullpen, and pumping mid-90s fastballs is exactly what he'll be given a chance to do in 2018.
Conlon's ability to keep runs off the scoreboard despite not having big-time stuff continued in 2017. At Double-A Binghamton he ranked sixth in the Eastern League in ERA (3.38) and even tossed a trio of seven-inning shutouts. He previously logged 17 relief innings without allowing an earned run at short-season Brooklyn in 2015, his pro debut, then led all minor league starters with a 1.65 ERA at two Class A stops in 2016. Conlon depends on command of a fringe-average fastball, plus changeup and plus control. He sits in the high 80s, scraping 90 mph, and relies on sinking his fastball and commanding it inside against righthanders. He sells an excellent changeup with arm speed and a deceptive delivery that prevents batters from easily picking up the ball out of his hand. Conlon will bounce his fringe curveball in the dirt as a chase pitch, but relies on his changeup when going offspeed. The Mets moved him to the bullpen in August, and they intend to keep him there after he allowed a .192 average and struck out 9.8 per nine innings in six relief appearances. Conlon could see big league action in 2018, and has a ceiling similar to that of fellow lefty changeup artist Wade LeBlanc.
Bautista signed with the Red Sox for $250,000 in 2013, just shy of his 18th birthday. He sat out that season, however, after being suspended 50 games for testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Tall, gangly and quick-armed, Bautista worked as a starter in the complex Rookie leagues before shifting to the bullpen in 2016. He reached high Class A in 2017, when Boston shipped him and fellow relievers Jamie Callahan and Stephen Nogosek to the Mets for Addison Reed near the trade deadline. Bautista owned the best fastball in the Red Sox system and came as advertised. He topped out at 101 mph and rarely threw a pitch slower than 95, as he struck out 11 batters per nine innings in 2017. He leans on his fastball, but he'll need to throw more strikes from a high-effort delivery that sees him open early, using a long arm action and dramatic recoil. His mid-80s slider could be a usable second pitch with continued improvement. He also throws a low-90s split-changeup that Mets closer Jeurys Familia complimented when he saw Bautista at high Class A St. Lucie while on a rehab assignment. Bautista joined the 40-man roster in November and appears destined for Double-A Binghamton in 2018.
Carpio first drew attention in 2015, when he hit .304 as a 17-year-old middle infielder in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. He tore the labrum in his right shoulder the following spring, and never played the field in 2016, though he did see limited action as a DH. The rust showed at low Class A Columbia in 2017, when Carpio hit just .232 with three home runs and spent most of the season at second base rather than shortstop, partially in deference to system No. 1 prospect Andres Gimenez. His shoulder injury and long layoff affected his swing, but not his hitting approach--he continued to draw walks at a high rate and show bat-to-ball skills. He never has displayed much power and probably won't grade as even below-average until his body matures and adds strength. An average runner, Carpio shows solid-average range and arm strength at shortstop but is error-prone. His actions appear more confident at second base. Adding third base down the line is a distinct possibility if the Mets choose to groom him as a utility infielder. Carpio sat out instructional league so that he could rest and work out as he prepares for the 2018 season.
Sanchez has hit just .223 outside of the complex Rookie leagues, but his defensive tools are so tantalizing--and catchers tend to develop later than other position players--that he remains a prospect of interest. At low Class A Columbia in 2017, Sanchez led all South Atlantic League catchers who caught at least 50 games by throwing out 48 percent of basestealers. He ranked second in the SAL in fewest steal attempts per game and fourth in fewest passed balls per game. TrackMan data estimates that Sanchez saved more than 20 runs with his ability to frame pitches as strikes; only Greenville's Roldani Baldwin saved more runs in the SAL. Sanchez has solid-average arm strength, a lightning-fast release and strong accuracy. Even at age 20, he shows advanced feel for calling a game. Sanchez shows some raw power in batting practice, but sticks to a contact-oriented, middle-of-the-field hitting approach in games. Even scouts who like him aren't convinced that he'll hit, and he lost hitting reps in 2017 when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand and missed August. With even fringe-average hitting ability, Sanchez could be a big league backup catcher, but he's not there yet.
Hernandez ranked as the No. 16 prospect in the 2017 international class before signing with the Mets for $1.5 million. Sporting a strong, compact build, he's more physically mature than the typical Mets international target. Hernandez had never lifted weights prior to signing, so his power to his pull side and the middle of the field speaks to his present strength and bat speed. He shows the plus speed necessary to steal bases and man center field, but he needs to refine his instincts. Some scouts believe that with continued physical maturation he'll outgrow center and move to a corner, where an average arm could land him in left field. Below-average pitch recognition and an uphill swing path could limit Hernandez's ability to hit for a high average, but he works hard on all facets of his craft and has immense power-speed potential. Regarded as a hard-nosed player, Hernandez will begin working to improve his defensive instincts, bat path and pitch recognition as he makes his pro debut in 2018.
Injuries sidetracked Thompson in college--he had two shoulder surgeries and another for thoracic outlet syndrome--but he has remained healthy as a pro. He advanced to Double-A Binghamton in 2017, where he hit a career-high 16 home runs and ranked fourth in the Eastern League with 29 doubles. After scuffling out of the gate by hitting .193 through May 15, Thompson hit .286/.350/.479 with 14 home runs in his final 102 games. He drives the ball for power to all fields, and his flyball-oriented swing and high exit velocities should translate to more home run power as he maximizes his launch angle. Thompson is a poor runner, but shows solid-average range and hands at third base. After multiple labrum injuries, his arm might be short for every-day play at third. The Mets laud Thompson for his leadership ability, while his above-average power plays versus both righthanders and lefthanders. He will take the next step to Triple-A Las Vegas in 2018.
After the 10th round of the draft, the Mets often look to the state of Florida for physical high school starting pitchers with a little room to fill out and potentially gain velocity. A 14th-round pick in 2016, James is the next in a line that includes John Gant, Rob Whalen and Jordan Humphreys. Like the other Florida prep pitchers, James spent his second pro season, 2017, at Rookie-level Kingsport missing plenty of bats. In fact, he led all Appalachian League pitchers with at least 50 innings by striking out 10.1 batters per nine innings. James pitches at 89-91 mph and tops out at 93 with plus sinking action, and could add a few ticks of velocity as he matures. He already throws a strong curveball in the 78-84 mph range that could develop into an out pitch. He has begun to show feel for a mid-80s changeup that shows occasional average fading action. James mixes pitches well and exudes mound presence, which are key components in his favor toward earning a full-season assignment to low Class A Columbia in 2018. He could develop into a No. 3 or 4 starter.
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