Drafted by the Mets with the sixth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Jarred Kelenic became the first Wisconsinite to be selected in the top 10 picks of the draft when the Rob Manfred called his name. He signed with the team shortly thereafter, agreeing to a $4.5 million bonus, roughly $1 million below slot value. He began his professional career with the GCL Mets and absolutely demolished the league in the short time he was there, hitting .413/.451/.609 in 12 games with 1 home run, 4 stolen bases, and drawing 4 walks to 11 strikeouts. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets, where he finished out his summer and hit .253/.350/.431 in the 44 games, hitting 5 home runs, stealing 11 bases, and drawing 22 walks to 39 strikeouts.
At the plate, Kelenic has an open, spread stance using a low tension, level swing. When he is able to fully extend and whip the barrel head through the zone, the ball explodes off of his bat with plenty of spin and carry, making him a power threat when he really turns on a pitch. His swing can get long, but he has enough bat speed to cover the plate and handle above-average velocity. Kelenic generally is a pull hitter, but has the ability to go back up the middle or to right field thanks to his strong wrists and barrel awareness. Like most young players, Kelenic can get aggressive and still needs work on recognizing breaking pitches and differentiating balls he can make contact with from balls he can drive, but he is a diligent worker and most scouts and evaluators believe that he will improve in this area with more repetition.
In the outfield, Kelenic has above-average speed, gets good reads of the ball off the bat, and takes good routes to the ball. His arm is strong and accurate, with a quick release. While the 6’1”, 200-pound Kelenic is athletic and well-proportioned, there is still room for a bit more growth and physical maturation. Scouts and evaluators mixed on his ability to stay in center field in the future because just how much he adds to his frame might detract from his ability to roam center field. Those that are more pessimistic about his defense believe that his speed will back up as he ages and adds muscle mass, subtracting from his range, while those with more bullish outlooks say that his exceptional reads and strong instincts will counteract any loss of speed. If he is unable to play center, he has the ability to play right field thanks to his solid combination to hit for average and power.
He is a fiery competitor, and a hard worker. He lacks a bona fide plus carrying tool, but is roughly average or better at every aspect of the game, offensively and defensively. Given his age and where he is on the developmental ladder, it is hard to say what kind of player Kelenic might develop into. At this point, a center fielder that can hit .260 to .280 with 20 home run power and 20 stolen bases seems a reasonable optimistic outcome.
Having spent his first two seasons at Boston College reportedly touching as high as 99 MPH out of the bullpen, Justin Dunn shot up draft boards in his final collegiate season after being moved to Boston College’s starting rotation, and dominating for the Eagles on their run to the 2016 College World Series Super Regionals. Dunn ended his final collegiate season with a 2.06 ERA, and struck out 55 batters while only walking 15. His performance down the stretch for Boston College led the Mets to select the Freeport, Long Island native with the nineteenth overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft, and offer him a $2,378,800 signing bonus to join the organization.
After signing with the Mets, Dunn was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York Penn League, where he mostly pitched abbreviated outings of a few innings at a time in an effort to manage his workload. He ended up posting a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings pitched with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks while mostly facing hitters that were less advanced than the ones he routinely faced at Boston College. Following his relative success in Brooklyn, Dunn was aggressively assigned to the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League for the 2017 season. After being promoted to Port St. Lucie, Dunn struggled for the first time as a professional, posting a 5.00 ERA and 4.15 FIP in 95.1 innings pitch, and allowing 101 hits and 48 walks against 75 strikeouts. Dunn particularly struggled with his command, as demonstrated by his 4.53 walks per nine innings and 1.56 K/BB ratio.
Given the subpar results during his first professional season, the Mets chose to send Dunn back to the Florida State League to start the 2018 season. Repeating the level seemed to be good for Dunn, as he saw his overall performance improve pretty much across the board in 2018. Dunn ended up posting a 2.36 ERA and 3.00 FIP in 45.2 innings pitched, while allowing 43 hits and 15 walks against 51 strikeouts before being promoted to Double-A for the rest of the 2018 season. Dunn’s improved performance followed him north to Binghamton after his promotion in mid-June, as he posted a 4.22 ERA with a 3.37 FIP in 89.2 innings pitch for the Rumble Ponies. Perhaps most encouragingly, Dunn continued to demonstrate improved control of the strike zone as well in the Eastern League. In 15 starts for the Rumble Ponies, Dunn struck out 105 batters, good for a 10.54 strikeouts per nine innings ratio, and only walked 38. Across both levels in 2018, Dunn pitched to a 3.59 ERA and 3.22 FIP, and allowed 128 hits and 58 walks, while striking out 156 hitters.
Dunn primarily attacks hitters with an above-average fastball that sits in the 93 to 95 MPH range and occasionally touches higher, and a slider that sits in the mid-80s and flashes above-average with sharp, two-plain action and plenty of vertical drop. He complements his fastball and slider with a mid-80s change-up that he uses primarily against left-handed hitters. While the change-up flashes average, and generally showed some signs of improvement in 2018, Dunn still lacks consistency with the pitch, and will need to further refine his command of it going forward. Dunn also occasionally mixes in a loopy curveball to change hitter’s eye level, although it is pretty clearly his fourth best pitch.
While Dunn has been a starter for the entirety of his professional career, many evaluators believe that he will ultimately end up in a bullpen role. Durability is one of the major concerns for the Long Island native, as he lacks the size of a prototypical starter. Standing just 6’ 1”, and weighing only 170 pounds, Dunn’s body is pretty much physically maxed out, and there are concerns that his slender frame will not be able to hold up under a starter’s workload. In the event that Dunn’s size and lack of command keeps him from starting, there’s a decent chance that he could perform very well as a mid-to-late inning reliever. Should the bullpen turn out to be Dunn’s future role, his excellent athleticism and premium arm speed should help his stuff play up in short bursts, as it did during his time at Boston College.
Gerson Bautista was signed by the Red Sox in April 2013, but missed the season due to a positive PED test and has been behind the developmental eight-ball ever since. Most recently, he began the 2017 season with the Salem Red Sox, Boston’s High-A affiliate, and struggled for most of the season. Upon being acquired by the Mets in exchange for Addison Reed, a light seemingly went on. It was like night and day for the Dominican reliever in the 14.1 innings he threw with St. Lucie. He shrunk his unsightly walk rate while striking out more and allowing fewer hits and ended up posting a 1.26 ERA for St. Lucie in 14.1 innings, as opposed to the 5.16 ERA in 45.1 innings with Salem. He was promoted to Binghamton to start the 2018 season but quickly found himself in the major league bullpen. He bounced between Double-A and the major leagues early in the season, posting a 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings with the Rumble Ponies and a 12.46 ERA in 4.1 innings with the Mets. In June, he was assigned to the Las Vegas 51s and remained there for the rest of the season. He appeared in 31 games for the 51s and posted a 5.22 ERA in 39.2 innings.
Bautista has a live arm, possessing a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s, occasionally touching 100 MPH. Speed is only one part of what makes a pitch dynamic, and the problem with Bautista’s fastball is that it lacks much movement, making it easier for batters to time and square up on. He complements the fastball with a fringy high-80s slider that flashes average or better and a fringy high-80s changeup that hasn’t flashed much better, meaning that Bautista is still primarily getting by with throwing, as opposed to pitching. If he is able to make his delivery less violent and work on the mechanics of his delivery- he opens early, jerks his head to the point that his hat has come off, and rarely finishes his follow through in the same position- it should help his control and improve him as a pitcher.
Bautista does not currently have a particularly high ceiling despite the velocity on his fastball. He generally has pitched in low-to-moderate leverage innings throughout his minor league career and cannot currently reliably be counted on for more.