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Top 25 Mets Prospects for 2018: 25-21

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We kick off a new year with a new list!

It’s that time again! Amazin’ Avenue will formally be unveiling our Top 25 Mets Prospects list for 2018. Each member of our prospect team has submitted their own list, based on his own ranking methodologies, which we aggregated into the official Amazin’ Avenue Top 25 Mets Prospect list. Without further ado:

25. David Thompson, 3B

Height: 6’0”, Weight: 210 lbs.

DOB: 8/29/93 (24)

Acquired: 4th round, 2015 Draft (University of Miami)

Bats/Throws: R/R

2017: Binghamton (Double-A): 133 G, 529 PA, .263/.325/.429, 29 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 8/14 SB, 40 BB, 92 K

David Thompson had a monster season in 2015, slugging 19 home runs and driving in 90 for the University of Miami Hurricanes, and the Mets saw enough in the college junior to draft him with their fourth pick in the 2015 Draft. He didn’t exactly impress that summer, when he began his professional career in Brooklyn, but showed flashes of his upside throughout 2016 and 2017, when he played with the Columbia Fireflies, St. Lucie Mets, and Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

On draft day, power was Thompson’s calling card, but in the years since, that outlook has changed, and it looks more and more like his ability to hit for average is his strongest tool. His swing is a bit long and he does not have plus bat speed, leading to questions as to how he will handle premium velocity, but he does have excellent barrel control and an improving eye, allowing him to draw a fair amount of walks while keeping his strikeout numbers down. Surgery to repair a torn labrum as a freshman left Thompson with below-average arm strength, but thanks to his other defensive attributes, he has more than held his own at the hot corner. Though a solidly built 6’, 210 lbs., Thompson is surprisingly agile, moves well, and has soft hands.

Lukas Vlahos says:

Thompson had a fine season in Double-A, posting a 105 wRC+ and 16 HR in 529 AB. His defense remains solid by minor league fielding metrics, and he continues to keep his strikeouts under control. If the power from his collegiate days ever returns, this is an interesting prospect. As is, he's just another 24-year old, former college star in Double-A.

Steve Sypa says:

The batting line was solid, his peripherals all improved, the power increased, the defense wasn’t terrible, and he even stole a few bases, making his a contributor all around. Thompson has been put into the role of run producer and slugger virtually at every stop of his minor league journey, simply because no one on the teams he was on was capable of doing so, but I really think he is more of a complementary player. When he finds himself on a team with more offense, I expect his numbers to pick up a bit.

24. Drew Smith, RHP

Height: 6’2”, Weight: 190 lbs.

DOB: 9/24/93 (24)

Acquired: Trade (Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Lucas Duda)

Bats/Throws: R/R

2017: Binghamton (Double-A): 11 G (0 GS), 15.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER (1.80 ERA), 5 BB, 17 K

Drafted by the Detroit Tigers out of Dallas Baptist University in the 3rd round of the 2015 Draft, Drew Smith only spent one full season with them, as he was sent to the Tampa Bay Rays in mid-April 2017 to complete the Mikie Mahtook trade that took place that prior winter. Tampa would prove to be a pitstop for the reliever, as he was traded to the Mets in exchange for Lucas Duda a few months later.

Thanks to an explosive delivery, Smith’s fastball reaches into the upper-90s with regularity. While it possesses plus velocity, the pitch has below-average movement, and thus far in his career, he has dominated due to pure velocity and inexperienced batters being unable to catch up with it. He mixes in a mid-70s curveball with solid depth that works better getting batters fishing out of the strike zone than in it. Thanks to the effort in his delivery, the right-hander exhibited below-average control in his entire collegiate and has in virtually his entire professional career.

Lukas Vlahos says:

Smith was one of the more interesting relievers the Mets got back at the trade deadline. He's shown high end velocity with his two-seam fastball (95-97 MPH), and faster two-seamers are becoming more popular across baseball. He pairs that with a decent curve, striking out plenty of batters and limiting walks well over his five different stops in 2017. It's a potential late-inning profile, one that should be tested a bit more in Double-A / Triple-A before breaking into the majors later in 2018.

Steve Sypa says:

Smith is one of relievers in the system with the same profile: a good fastball, a solid secondary pitch, and control that comes and goes. Given his Tyler Clippard-like delivery resulting in a release point that is all over the place, I don’t Smith will ever really be able to get over those problems with his control.

23. Stephen Villines, RHP

Height: 6’2”, Weight: 175 lbs.

DOB: 7/15/95 (22)

Acquired: 10th round, 2017 Draft (University of Kansas)

Bats/Throws: R/R

2017: Kingsport (Rookie): 8 G (0 GS), 8.1 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER (1.08 ERA), 0 BB, 11 K /Brooklyn (Short-A): 11 G (0 GS), 19.0 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 4 ER (1.89 ERA), 1 BB, 30 K

Drafted in the 10th round of the 2017 Draft, Stephen Villines had a great deal of success in his first professional season. Excellence on the mound was nothing new for the right-hander, who set the all-time saves record at the University of Kansas with 40 saves and was just one shy of the Big-12 conference record set by Huston Street.

The lanky right-hander throws from a low, almost sidearm arm slot. His fastball velocity is well below average for a right-hander, sitting in the mid-to-upper 80s, but it gets significant arm side run thanks to his arm slot. His slider, which sits in the low-to-mid-70s, has sharp bite, and his change-up fades down and in to right-handed hitters, which elicits plenty of swings and misses. Despite the unconventional mechanics, he repeats them well, and is able to command all three of his pitches, and throw any of them in any count with confidence.

Lukas Vlahos says:

Drafted to save money in the tenth round of last year's draft, Villines went out and showed he was well worth his 10K bonus over 27 innings. His side-arm, right handed delivery dominated in the low minors, as he racked up 41 strikeouts against only one walk. There's no high end velocity or flashy secondary stuff, but his brief 2017 performance suggests Villines at least has potential as a side-arming ROOGY who gets plenty of ground balls down the line.

Steve Sypa says:

I might’ve had preconceived notions because he wasn’t the favorite of my draft predecessor, Alex Nelson, but Villines not only put up great numbers, but he got scouts talking regarding how far his stuff has come along. It’s an atypical profile, but guys like Darren O’Day, Joe Smith, Pat Neshek, and Brad Ziegler- let alone retired players, like Kent Tekulve and Dan Quisenberry- show that it is possible to have MLB success with it.

22. Bryce Hutchinson, RHP

Height: 6’6”, Weight: 245

DOB: 10/21/98 (19)

Acquired: 12th round, 2017 Draft (DeLand High School, Florida)

Bats/Throws: R/R

2017: GCL Mets (Rookie): 5 G (2 GS), 7.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 4 ER (4.70 ERA), 6 BB, 6 K

Drafted by the Mets in the 12th round of the 2017 Draft, Bryce Hutchinson waited until late June to decide whether or not he was going to sign with the Mets or attend Mississippi State University, the college changed his commitment to after Kentucky coach Gary Henderson stepped down and was hired by OSU. He decided to forego college, signing with the Mets for a $360,000 bonus, making his professional debut in mid-August and throwing limited innings for the 2017 season.

Standing an imposing 6’6” and weighing 245 lbs., Hutchinson’s fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s and tops out at 95 MPH. In addition to its above-average velocity, the pitch also late running action. He complements it with a sharp low-to-mid 80s slider with late drop, and a developing spike curveball in the high-70s/low-80s, and a mid-80s changeup. Of his secondary pitches, the slider flashes being a better than average pitch, while his curveball and changeup need to be refined further. He is generally able to repeat his mechanics and command his pitches well, but his velocity sometimes backs up, and he loses his release point when his big body gets out of sync.

Though a secondary part of his game, Hutchinson is an impressive hitter for a pitcher. His wide, spread stance at the plate lets him tap into the power of his lower half, giving him above average raw power, though scouts doubt his ability to make contact with quality pitches.

Lukas Vlahos says:

Hutchinson was an exciting get for the Mets in the twelfth round. A 6'6" beast with a fastball that touches 95, Hutchinson got almost triple the value of his slot as a signing bonus. High school pitchers are literally the riskiest bets in baseball, but Hutchinson has the physical attributes and flashes of raw stuff that make him the most interesting low minors arm in the system to monitor in 2018.

Steve Sypa says:

With similar builds and plus fastballs, it’s hard not to feel shades of Noah Syndergaard from Hutchinson. Outside of Jake Eder, who the Mets had no chance of signing, he has the highest upside of all the prep arms the Mets drafted in 2017 and is the guy I was most excited to see they were able to sign. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, but Hutchinson could be the guy leading the next wave of highly talented Mets pitchers in a couple of years.

21. Jeff McNeil, INF

Height: 6’0”, Weight: 190 lbs.

DOB: 4/8/92 (25)

Acquired: 12th round, 2013 Draft (Cal State: Long Beach)

Bats/Throws: L/R

2017: St. Lucie (High-A): 30 G, 116 PA, .324/.388 /.476, 7 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 2/4 SB, 7 BB, 19 K / Las Vegas (Triple-A): 18 G, 78 PA, .254/.295/.366, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2/2 SB, 3 BB, 10 K

After missing out on virtually the entire the 2016 season due to a double sports hernia and hip labrum tear, Jeff McNeil got on the field a bit more in 2017, but once again missed a considerable amount of time to injury, this time an apparent groin injury sustained after hitting a home run. In the 30 games he played with the St. Lucie Mets, he looked great. In the 18 games he played with the Las Vegas 51s, he scuffled. Just as was the case last season, McNeil shows potential, but an inability to stay on the field has delayed our ability to gauge how much of that potential is being realized.

When he can stay on the field, the infielder offers a tantalizing profile. His swing is smooth and direct to the ball, resulting in line drives with a bit of pull-side power. The infielder retained the muscle and weight that he put on during the 2015 off-season and hit more home runs in 48 games than he had in entire seasons in the past, showing an improvement in his one area of major weakness. He doesn’t walk at a particularly high rate, but he has a keen awareness of the strike zone and is able to lay off of pitches outside of the zone and foul off tough pitches until he can get something to drive. Second base is where he profiles best at, but thanks to a solid-average arm and athleticism, he can also play third base and shortstop in short stints.

Greg Karam says:

As a longtime supporter of McNeil I was happy to see him get back on the field finally. It’s not clear how much his injury will impact his projection, which prior to the injury was developing into a useful bench player who can hit and play all over the infield. We’ll have to see if the injury takes its toll or if he ends up hitting his way into a September call up in 2018.

Lukas Vlahos says:

McNeil missed the majority of 2017 after missing almost all of 2016, as he recovered from surgeries to correct two sports hernias and a torn hip labrum. His initial return to High-A was impressive, though he followed that up with a less impressive showing at Triple-A. The former golfer still has some upside as a utility infielder thanks to his good bat-to-ball skills, and that's a role he could realize in the majors in 2018 given the Mets' lack of depth.

Steve Sypa says:

I was a fan of his earlier in his career, but got off the McNeil train in 2016, and his 2017 season did nothing to make me regret that. The Mets have a glut of middle infielders with similar profiles in the system, both older and younger, and McNeil has not done anything to separate himself from this pack of fungible assets.