Mets top 20 prospects for the 2021 season

Joe DeMayo
·14 min read
Mets top prospects TREATED ART
Mets top prospects TREATED ART

With no minor league season in 2020 due to COVID-19, doing a top prospect list is a little different than it has been for me in years past. 

Typically, I take into account not only the tools and the upside, but performance has to play into the equation. We have no “performance” to go off short of how a few prospects looked at the alternate training site in Brooklyn or in instructs down in Port St Lucie. 

The Mets' system right now is a bit top heavy, lacking premium depth, but is also very young. A lot of players on this list have not played above A ball yet. Some haven’t even played in the United States yet.

There are plenty of prospects to be excited about, but it is still a farm system that probably should rank in the 17-to-21 range in the game. As new owner Steve Cohen said, there will be a focus on improving the farm system, so I think when I write this list next year, it may be in better overall shape.

It is also worth noting there have been changes across the entire minor league baseball landscape, and all teams are expected to have only four affiliates each starting next season. The Mets' 2021 affiliates will be:

· Triple-A: Syracuse

· Double-A: Binghamton

· High-A: Brooklyn

· Low-A: St Lucie

Now, here are SNY’s Top 20 Mets prospects for the 2021 season...

1. C Francisco Alvarez

How Acquired: Signed as an international Free Agent in 2018

Alvarez is an 18-year-old catcher who received the opportunity to go to the Mets' alternate training site in Brooklyn this summer as well as the instructional league in Port St Lucie this fall. Alvarez has a compact, easy swing at the plate that produces natural power to center and the opposite way. People within the organization rave about his improvements behind the plate, including great pop time on throws to second base. If you told me that I had to pick one prospect in the system who is most likely to make an All-Star game, it is Alvarez.

MLB ETA: 2023

2. RHP Matt Allan

How Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round (No. 89 overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft

Some may be surprised to see Allan ranked here, but I am incredibly high on the right-hander. The 19-year-old impressed at the alternative site to the point that Mets manager Luis Rojas even mentioned him as someone they hoped could help the big league team. That was a bit of a stretch, but he is very advanced with an already big league body at 6’3” and 225 lbs. Right now, Allan has a three-pitch-mix with both his mid-90s fastball and elite spin rate curveball being plus offerings. His changeup has been a big focus where he’s made that into an average offering that flashes above-average. With some more development of his third pitch, Allan has all the makings of a No. 2 starter.

MLB ETA: 2023

3. SS Ronny Mauricio

How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent in 2017

Many have Mauricio as the No. 1 prospect in the system, but to me he was a prospect who was very much affected by the lost minor league season, as I thought he would have a chance to show up in High-A this year. He is a big-bodied shortstop who is likely to outgrow the position, but he still has soft hands and an above-average arm that profiles nicely at third base. At the plate, he is still a bit raw, but he has shown the ability to turn on the inside pitch and hit it with some power from the left side. At some point the tools have to lead to some results, as he has a career .681 OPS in the minors. I am still excited about his potential, but I am just more excited by Alvarez and Allan at this point.

MLB ETA: 2022

4. OF Pete Crow-Armstrong

How Acquired: Drafted in the first round (No. 19 overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft

Crow-Armstrong had the opportunity to go to instructs and did not look out of place. He balls gap-to-gap and even had a 107 mph exit velocity home run. Where his power ends up long-term will tell a lot of his upside. His hit and run tools show above-average, but his biggest strength is defensively, where he is truly plus in center field. Former director of player development Jared Banner told MLB.com in regards to Crow-Armstrong’s defense: “You could put him in center field in a big league game today and he’d be one of the best.”

MLB ETA: 2024

5. 3B Brett Baty

How Acquired: Drafted in the first round (No. 12 overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft

The first draft pick of former GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s regime in a sense personifies the build of a Mets prospect. He has plus raw power to all fields, he has plus knowledge of the strike zone, but there is some wonder about his overall hit tool and where he ends up on the diamond. Baty is currently a third baseman, but there is wonder in the scouting community if his future is at first base. He is a tireless worker, and he has made some strides at third, but the questions still remain. Baty was drafted as an older high school player and is already 21 years old. The loss of the 2020 minor league season impacted his development as well. I think the Mets ought to be aggressive and push him to High-A Brooklyn and have him skip Low-A to start 2021.

MLB ETA: 2023

6. RHP J.T. Ginn

How Acquired: Drafted in the second round (#52 overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft

The Mets finessed their draft pool allotment in 2019 to work out signing Allan in the third round, and in 2020 they did the same thing to work out signing Ginn (pictured above) in the second round. Ginn is one of the rare first round picks out of high school to go to college, and unfortunately this March he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. If Ginn had not been injured, he would not have made it to the Mets' first-round pick, let alone their second. There is opportunity for this to be a steal. Ginn has a bowling ball of a sinker that gets up to 97 mph and a plus slider. He needs work on the changeup, but Ginn could be a legit No. 2 or No. 3 starter. By all accounts, he is ahead of schedule in his rehab.

MLB ETA: 2023

7. 3B Mark Vientos

How Acquired: Drafted in the second round (No. 59 overall) of the 2017 MLB Draft

Vientos is a prospect who will make it to the big leagues if his power brings him there. The power tool is above average with the chance to be a 20+ home run threat. He shows the ability to consistently barrel the ball and produced some of the best exit velocities in the organization. The hit tool is below average, and I do not expect him to ever hit for a high average. Defensively, he should be an average regular at third base with limited range but a plus arm.

MLB ETA: 2022

8. RHP Josh Wolf

How Acquired: Drafted in the second round (No. 53 overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft

Wolf was the Mets' second-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, where he was compared to Lance McCullers Jr. of the Astros by MLB.com’s Jim Callis. Wolf still has room to fill out at 6’3” and 170 pounds, but he shows a plus fastball topping out at 97 mph. His curve is an above-average offering that flashes plus. He needs to throw it more and develop more consistency with it, but I expect it to be a quality offering as he moves up the chain. His changeup needs a lot of work, which isn’t uncommon for high school draft picks, but when he throws it right it gets some nice fade away from left-handed hitters. Wolf is a high-ceiling arm.

MLB ETA: 2024

9. OF Isaiah Greene

How Acquired: Drafted in the third round (No. 69 overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft

Greene, the Mets' 2020 third-round pick, was a pop-up prospect that the Mets had an eye on as he was spotted by their area scout Glenn Walker. Greene never played on an All American team, but he participated and performed at the Area Code games where he got the chance to be on the scout team against Team USA -- and really shined there. He has plus speed and profiles to be able to play center field. I don’t expect power to really be much of his game, but if he can hit for average and control the strike zone, he could end up as a valuable asset. The Mets believe they got a steal with Greene, thinking he should have been long gone by the 69th pick.

MLB ETA: 2024

10. RHP Robert Dominguez

How Acquired: Signed as an International free agent in 2019

Call this a bold ranking, but the excitement about Dominguez being described to me by people in the organization have me excited and willing to make the decision to put him top 10. The Mets believe they signed the best arm in the 2019 international free agent class with Dominguez. When the Mets signed him he was throwing in the low-90s, but Dominguez has a high work ethic and with some mechanical adjustments has started throwing in the mid-90s and touching 99 mph. Dominguez has a feel for a breaking ball. His changeup is basically non-existent at the moment, and that will determine long-term if he ends up a starter or a two pitch power reliever. I am optimistic that Dominguez could end up as a big league starter with big time power stuff.

MLB ETA: 2024

11. LHP Thomas Szapucki

How Acquired: Drafted in the fifth round (No. 149 overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft

Szapucki has been on the radar as a highly-touted Mets prospect seemingly forever with a fastball that hits 95 mph and a wipeout breaking ball, both with big time spin rates. He made six starts in the 2017 season before needing Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2018 season. In 2019, he came back and reached Double-A. I think Szapucki might be more of a back-end type starter than the No. 3 type that he had been previously touted as possibly reaching. There also is the option to scrap his below average changeup and make him a two-pitch power reliever where his stuff could possibly tick up even more. He is the highest-rated prospect in the system who I think can impact the 2021 Mets.

MLB ETA: 2021

12. OF Alexander Ramirez

How Acquired: Signed as an International free agent in 2019

If you’d like to dream, Ramirez has the potential to be above-average or better in all five tools. He was signed for $2.05 million in 2019, which was the Mets' biggest bonus of the year and is a very projectable 6’3” and 175 pounds with room to fill out. Offensively he already shows an advanced knowledge of the strike zone and shows the ability to spray line drives gap-to-gap. As he fills out, the thought is that he will tap into above-average power. Defensively, he projects to be able to handle center field, but also could shift to a corner as he has a solid arm.

MLB ETA: 2024

13. RHP Franklyn Kilome

How Acquired: Via trade from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018 for Asdrubal Cabrera

You have seen Kilome pitch a little bit for the Mets, but he hasn’t yet used up his prospect status. I believe at this point that Kilome still has the possibility of being a No. 5 starter, but I think his best role might be as a multi-inning reliever where he can go full out with his stuff for two-to-three innings at a time.

MLB ETA: Already made it!

14. RHP Junior Santos

How Acquired: Signed as an International free agent in 2018

Santos is listed at 6’8” and 220 pounds. He still needs work repeating his delivery but has a fastball that hits 95 mph and is transitioning from a slider to a curve ball, where he shows an ability to spin the ball. His changeup needs a ton of work, but Santos is known as a hard worker, so he will maximize what he can become. I project Santos as a potential future reliever who hopefully can use his height to his advantage like Dellin Betances has done throughout his career.

MLB ETA: 2024

15. OF Freddy Valdez

How Acquired: Signed as an International free agent in 2018

Valdez has your very prototypical right fielder skill set. He projects to have above-average power, an above-average arm, average range, and a below-average run tool. He is not afraid to turn on a ball and pull it with velocity. In 2019 he was named the Mets' Dominican Summer League player of the year. When he was signed for $1.45 million in 2018, he was compared to a young Jermaine Dye by some scouts.

MLB ETA: 2024

16. RHP Michel Otañez

How Acquired: Signed as an International free agent in 2016

Otañez was signed in 2016, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 and really wasn’t right until 2019, where he split time between Kingsport and Brooklyn and posted a 3.14 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 63 innings. I don’t envision Otañez having much of a chance to be a starter down the road. He is too inconsistent with his command. But he has real power stuff with a fastball that will hit 98 mph with natural tail on it. His slider flashes plus, but he needs to be more consistent with his arm angle on it and stay on top of the ball. If he can develop some more consistency, he has a chance to be a very exciting two-pitch bullpen arm.

MLB ETA: 2023

17. RHP Dedniel Nunez

How Acquired: Signed as an International free agent in 2016

Nunez is likely ticketed for Double-A Binghamton to start the 2021 season and from there you never know if he could end up impacting the 2021 big league roster depending on how the depth shakes out in the starting rotation this offseason. Nunez looks the part of a No. 5 starter/swing man with a fastball that’ll touch 94 mph, an average curve, and slightly below-average changeup. Upside may not be high here, but I think he has a solid shot to be a big leaguer.

MLB ETA: 2022

18. INF Shervyen Newton

How Acquired: Signed as an International free agent in 2015

Newton was once a top 10 prospect in this system who had a very tough year in Low-A Columbia in 2019. He needed to improve on and off the field, and Banner told MLB.com that Newton was one of the best stories at instructs. Newton still is a 6’5” toolsy infielder who has played some second base, third base and shortstop with some gap power. 2021 will be a huge year for Newton. I think he can jump back up the list, or potentially fall off of it entirely.

MLB ETA: 2023

19. OF Jake Mangum

How Acquired: Drafted in the fourth round (No. 118 overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft

I believe Mangum is an under-appreciated prospect in this system. The all-time SEC hits leader at Mississippi State was drafted by the Mets in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft. He has filled out and hit for some power at the instructional league. He can play center field and runs the bases well. I look at Mangum as a guy who profiles as a fourth outfielder with upside to be a bit more. He is a big-time gamer, leave it all on the field type.

MLB ETA: 2022

20. SS Jaylen Palmer

How Acquired: Drafted in the 22nd round (No. 650 overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft

Palmer is a prospect who is elevating in the eyes of the organization. The Flushing native has flashed above-average raw power and played all over the diamond at instructs. How his overall offensive game develops will determine his potential big league future. I think the Mets have an eye on developing him as a utility player.

MLB ETA: 2023