The Mets’ minor league system is generally regarded as one of the weaker systems in Major League Baseball- not the worst, firmly in the bottom half, perhaps even the bottom third. While a handful of blunders have contributed to that- signing Michael Cuddyer and losing their first-round selection in the 2015 draft, and a strategy of drafting low-upside college players in an effort to save money- the system has graduated an incredible number of players. Over just the last few years, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Tomas Nido, Corey Oswalt, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Ty Bashlor, Chris Flexen, and Drew Smith have all made their MLB debuts and lost their prospect eligibility. While there is certainly a broad range of ceilings in that group, there are very few teams that have the capability to graduate that much talent and still have players waiting in the wings to replenish what was lost. Combine that with the loss of Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, and Gerson Bautista in the trade with the Seattle Mariners to acquire Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano, and it is understandable while the system is as weak as it currently is.
The system is far from barren though. There is plenty of talent, but much of it is in places where you need to know where to look. In terms of distribution of prospects, the Mets only have a handful of top prospects in playing in the upper levels of the minor leagues; there is still far more intriguing talent in the lower levels, with many not having even gotten a taste of full-season ball yet. There is certainly more risk the further away a player is from the major leagues, but that does not necessarily mean that those players possess any less talent.
The 2018 season was a year of positive developments for the Mets’ farm system. Peter Alonso mashed his way up prospect rankings, and Andres Gimenez continued to impress at each aggressive promotion the team decided to throw at him. David Peterson and Anthony Kay put their injuries behind them and had successful, healthy seasons. Kingsport Mets fought their way into the Appalachian League playoffs on the backs of a small army of intriguing teenage position players, while the Brooklyn Cyclones came oh so close. For the first time in a season or two, it feels as if there is more talent returning from injury in the upcoming season than there is talent already scheduled to miss significant time to start the year.
At this point last year, the Mets’ farm system boasted a lot of potential, but saw very little actual manifestation of that potential. The 2018 season was a season of mostly positive developments in that regard, and similar progress in 2019 could propel the Mets’ farm system into one of the better ones in Major League Baseball this time next year.