Team: Columbia Fireflies
Born: 4/24/99 (20)
Weight: 180 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2015 (Curaçao)
2019 Season: 109 G, 382 G, .209/.283/.330, 80 H, 15 2B, 2, 3B, 9 HR, 37 BB, 139 K, 1/5 SB, .304 BABIP (Low-A)
Date(s) Seen: June 10 (1-3, RBI), June 11, (1-4, R, 2B), June 12 (0-3, BB, 2 K), June 13 (1-3, R, 2B, BB, 2 K, E), June 14 (0-2, K)
After handing out seven-figure deals to Andres Gimenez and Gregory Guerrero during the 2015-2015 International Free Agent signing period, the next largest bonus they gave out was $50,000, to Newton, a 16-year-old shortstop from Curaçao, by way of Tilburg, Netherlands. Newton wasn’t exactly impressive in his first year of organized ball, hitting .169/.347/.229 in 35 games in the DSL in 2016, but he looked much better in his second year there, where he hit .311/.433/.444 in 66 games. He made his stateside debut in 2018, getting promoted to the Kingsport Mets, and the young shortstop more than held his own, hitting .280/.408/.449 in 56 Appalachian League games. The Mets were aggressive with Newton and assigned him to the Columbia Fireflies. His debut was delayed a few weeks, as he began the season on the Injured List with a shoulder injury, but when he finally got back on the field, he struggled to hit. It may have been the shoulder injury, being overmatched by Low-A pitchers, learning new hitting mechanics, or a combination of all three, but Newton hit a paltry .209/.283/.330 in 109 games.
Newton is tall and leggy and his 6’4”, 180-pound frame is likely to add more mass. At the plate, he holds his hands high and swings with a slight leg kick. He has impressive bat speed, swinging with a bit of loft. It gets a bit long when he’s trying to hit for power, but the amount of raw power that he generates from the torque created by that long, violent swing is impressive- it is easily plus raw power. His hit tool lags a bit behind his power potential, as he often gets crossed up by spin and is unable to adjust and stay back. A switch hitter, Newton has had more success swinging from the right side, rather than the left.
Defensively, Newton has experience playing all over the infield. He is quick-twitch fast, reads the ball well off the bat, possesses above-average range, and has a plus arm, skills that translate well at second base, third base, and shortstop. He may eventually have to shift out of the infield and into the outfield if he loses some of his quick twitch muscle, but he is athletic and mobile enough to survive in the outfield as well.
Looking To 2020
Expectations were high for Newton based on his solid 2018 season, but he did not deliver in 2019. Newton was considerably rawer than some of his fellow Fireflies despite his age, and it showed. He will likely be promoted to St. Lucie for the 2020 season, but his progress should be followed very closely, and if he still struggles to begin the season, a demotion to Columbia might be in order, much like it was for Hansel Moreno this past season. He will need to be added to the Mets’ 40-man roster in order to be protected from being selected in the Rule V Draft this December.
8: Andres Regnault
9: Hansel Moreno
10: Wilmer Reyes
11: Luke Ritter