Like any good Coney Island carnival ride, the Mets’ 2022 season made fans feel some delirious heights of human existence followed by the doubtful dry heaves of an autumn hangover. The future looks promising though, assuming the club can secure this window by re-signing Edwin Diaz and Jacob deGrom.
Format = Position Player | Age on 4/1/2023 | Highest Level Played | Expected Time of Arrival
1. C Francisco Alvarez | 21 | MLB | 2022
Though Alvarez was included on the playoff roster, Manager Buck Showalter went with Darin Ruf at DH for the most part, and Ruf happens to be under contract through 2023. Catchers James McCann and Thomas Nido are under contract through 2024. Alvarez battled injuries throughout 2022 and had ankle surgery this week. It’s possible or even probable that the plate-appearance seas will part once he’s back on the field and healthy, but the playing time outlook is a little tricky at the moment. I’m going this long way around to indicate that I think the concerns are real, but my primary read on Alvarez for a long, long time is that he’s an everyday major leaguer, and probably a middle-order bat for a contending team. Might be an opening to buy the slight dip in his perceived value coming off an injury riddled season. Scherzer and deGrom, if he comes back, will probably throw the guys they know, but Alvarez could be catching two or three times a week coming out of spring training and mixing in at DH as Buck sees fit. If I’m the Mets, for what it’s Wuertz, I’m working that rolodex all winter to move McCann and Ruf. Could clear about 15 million in a dream scenario where someone takes McCann off your McHands. Would also clear two crucial roster spots, or one if you had to take some money back in the form of a busted pitcher or something. They simply have to retain deGrom, is my thinking, and that might take 50 million dollars, so any effort to make that spend a little easier on old Penny Twitterbags and the ownership group could go a long way.
2. 3B Brett Baty | 23 | MLB | 2022
Baty slashed .312/.406/.544 with 19 home runs in 89 Double-A games then spent six more in Triple-A before debuting with the Mets. He didn’t light the world aflame during his two big league weeks, but he did contribute two home runs and strike out just eight times in 11 games. At 6’3” 210 lbs with a smooth strike, Baty doesn’t go looking for power but finds it all the same. He’s at his best when he’s going to all fields and fighting for every pitch, something he’s shown a knack for doing since his high school days when scouts considered him the best pure hitter in his draft class. It’s a scary profile for redraft leagues: a speed-free corner infielder with questionable playing time and limited experience against elite spin, but I’m interested anyway at the right price. And back to the trade block thoughts, I’d be seeking a taker for Eduardo Escobar. No offense to the player. It’s just gonna be tough to beat Atlanta or Philadelphia if you’re blocking your best prospects with ten-million-dollar Eduardo Escobars and James McCanns.
3. C Kevin Parada | 21 | A | 2024
Here’s what I wrote in Prospect News: Top 15 for 2023 FIrst-Year-Player Dynasty Drafts:
“Set the Georgia Tech record with 26 home runs this year and even kicked in 11 stolen bases. He’ll turn 21 next month and felt like a real win for the Mets at the 11 spot after the club botched its Kumar Rocker maneuver last season. Jury’s out on whether he can catch or not, and frankly I wouldn’t bother, at least not in an everyday capacity. I’d maybe have him catch once or twice a week then play outfield and first base in between in case his bat looks ready enough to let him race to the majors. In 60 games this season, Parada struck out 32 times and drew 30 walks.”
Parada did his thing for ten games in Low-A, posting a .464 On Base Percentage and adding one home run. He’ll likely open 2023 in High-A and has an outside chance to debut in the majors late next season.
4. OF Alex Ramirez | 20 | A+ | 2024
2022 was a roller-coaster season for 6’3” Ramirez, who started fast but found himself running up that hill for months after that. On May 17, he was slashing .363/.394/.563 through 31 Low-A games. From May 18 through season’s end, Ramirez slashed .251/.329/.388 in 90 games, 54 of those coming in High-A, where his 106 wRC+ and .427 slugging percentage look alright, considering the age-to-level math that leaves Ramirez much younger than most people he’s facing on a nightly basis. Given the organization’s tendency toward aggression, I’d expect Ramirez to open in Double-A and spend September or so in Triple-A.
5. SS Jett Williams | 19 | CPX | 2026
It wouldn’t be fair to compare Williams to Corbin Carroll, but here I go putting them in the same sentence anyway. At just 5’8” 175 lbs, Williams doesn’t have the power or (probably) the number-one-overall-prospect type topside of Carroll, but their games are similarly electric. I’m not especially moved by complex league stats, but Williams recorded as many stolen bases (6) as he did strikeouts in ten games at the level.
6. 3B Mark Vientos | 23 | MLB | 2022
If this guy’s family members read my stuff, it’s gotta be a hate-read situation by this point. Vientos has pretty much always produced, and I’ve pretty much always been low on him compared to what I see elsewhere, especially in dynasty leagues where I’ve seen him lynchpin a number of awkward-looking trades. It’s nothing against the player, really, just that he caught a lot of helium early and never leveled out, value-wise. Could still be a decent piece given his easy plus power, but he strikes out a lot and doesn’t offer any speed. Not much of a defender either. His path at present is as a short-side designated hitter, and that’s where Ruf and Alvarez play. If the Mets trade Escobar, Vientos could have some short-side third-base chances, but I’d expect Baty to win out over time as the everyday guy there. Maybe they send Vientos along with some monied pieces to grease the wheels? I dunno. Makes me think about 4A guys a little bit, or the mis-labeling of players as that. Vientos could carve out a role, and now would be the time to do it, but he’s not on a dumpy enough team to give him some runway. Might have to wait half a decade for his first real chance on a rebuilder elsewhere. By then he’ll be a 28-year-old lifer as an up-and-down piece. Will have to rake right away to have any chance.
7. SS Ronny Mauricio | 21 | AA | 2024
Mauricio’s is a case of tools being a little overgraded and overvalued anyway in comparison to hand-eye coordination. Come to think of it, I don’t think any of those glowing early reports ever mentioned hand-eye skills or plus defense. Some even suggested the opposite: that Mauricio was not a likely shortstop in the long term. Yet Mauricio got juiced in a lot of public-facing ranking sets and became a named guy before he’d ever really come close to proving it on the field. What’s that old saying about how long it takes the truth to catch up to that first lie? I can’t recall. Just know it never really does catch up. And that’s where we are with Ronny Mauricio, who many people see as an elite prospect because they’ve seen him inside the top 25 overall on some big sites, and rankers feed back into that loop by not wanting to color outside the lines. Do I sound salty today? I don’t mean to, I think. Just have fresh fingers after that little refresher. Those people might still be right, in the end, kind of, in the sense that Mauricio is still young for the level and has plenty of power to play against the best. I’m just taking the under. For now. Or still, I suppose I should say.
8. RHP Matt Allan | 21 | A | 2024
Waylaid by arm maladies, Matt Allan remains a gifted pitcher with high upside, but he’ll have to get busy to justify the organization’s $2.5 million investment in the 2019 fourth round pick. He hasn’t pitched since 2019 and will turn 22 in April, having thrown 10.1 innings since high school. You’d be better off ignoring every single pitching prospect than praying for guys with big pitch grades to travel all the way from high school to your fantasy pitching staffs.
9. LHP Keyshawn Askew | 22 | A+ | 2024
A low-three-quarters delivery with plus deception because it’s slightly . . . Askew, Keyshawn has a path to becoming a mid-rotation starter if he can locate and refine his change-up and perhaps find a cutter to pair with his sinker and slurve. For now, he looks like a solid middle piece for the modern game: a multi-inning lefty who can retire some righties when duty calls. He’s an in-between sort of piece for our game, but David Peterson was effective this year, and though Peterson might be a high-end outcome for Askew, these types of win-vultures are gaining value year-over-year.
10. RHP Blade Tidwell | 21 | A | 2025
Cool name. Big stuff. Snazzy piece of clay for a good development team. The Mets have a lot of similar-value guys who could have claimed this spot: Dominic Hamel, Mike Vasil, Jose Butto, but the 6’4” 207 lb Tidwell has the best stuff and highest topside of the group.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch @Razzball.