Daison Acosta, RHP
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $70,000 during the 2016-2017 international free agent period, Daison Acosta is an athletic right-handed pitcher. After pitched limited innings in the Dominican Summer League in 2016, he made his stateside debut in 2017, posting a 3.27 ERA in 22.0 innings for the GCL Mets, scattering 18 hits, walking 7, and striking out 19. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in 2018 and posted a 4.46 ERA in 42.1 innings, allowing 38 hits, walking 18, and striking out 46.
At 6’2”, 160 pounds, the 20-year-old is tall, lanky, and projectable. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, using a simple, effortless delivery. His fastball currently sits 89-92 MPH, and with more physical growth, should hit the mid-90s with regularity. In addition to a fastball, he throws a curveball and changeup. The curveball, which sits 77-82 MPH, flashes above-average potential, with big 11-5 and 12-6 vertical drop. The changeup, which sits, 83-86 MPH, features some fade, especially when thrown down in the zone. He prefers to work down in the zone, especially with his curveball and changeup, and this has led to elevated pitch counts and walks, as his command is sometimes erratic and certainly not pinpoint even when it is on.
Matt Blackham, RHP
After two years pitching in the starting rotation for Johnson County Community College, Blackham transferred to Middle Tennessee State University in 2014, where he was used as a swingman, starting and relieving. The Mets drafted him despite his poor season there, selecting him in the 29th round. He finished out the 2014 season with the Kingsport Mets and had a solid season there strictly as a reliever, posting a 1.42 ERA with above-average peripherals. He had an equally solid season in 2015 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, but missed the entire 2016 season thanks to an elbow injury. He returned to the mound in 2017 and did not miss a beat. In 40 games with the Columbia Fireflies, he posted a 1.43 ERA, allowing 37 hits, walking 19 batters, and striking out a whopping 82 batters. He was just as good in 2018, splitting his season with the St. Lucie Mets and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, combining to post a 2.70 ERA in 50.0 innings, allowing 29 hits, walking 30, and striking out 65.
Though only 5’11”, 180 pounds, Blackham throws hard. His fastball sits in the low 90s and has armside run. He complements the pitch with a curveball with a lot of depth, a slider, and a changeup. His delivery is high effort, with a long arm action and a stiff landing on his front leg, both of which negatively impact his command.
Quinn Brodey, OF
After a strong Cape Cod League season in 2016 and an even better season at Stanford in 2017, the Mets selected outfielder Quinn Brodey with their third-round pick, making him the 97th overall player selected in the 2017 MLB Draft. He made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones and finished out the season hitting .253/.302/.355 in 54 games with Brooklyn and 9 games with the Columbia Fireflies. He began the year in Columbia and hit .217/.287/.389 in 84 games before being promoted to the St. Lucie Mets. He played in 31 games there, ending the season hitting .245/.313/.382 there and .224/.293/.387 between the two levels combined.
A left-handed hitter, Brodey has a balanced, clean swing that shows above-average bat speed at times. Utilizing the “Stanford swing”, his hit tool is currently more advanced than his ability to hit for power, as he has consistently demonstrated the ability to barrel the ball and put it in play, but has not shown consistent power. In the outfield, Brodey is an unspectacular but adequate fielder. He does not have much raw footspeed, but is quick to the ball thanks to good routes. Because he has a fringe-to-average arm, he often plays the field very conservatively, positioning himself deep and allowing balls to fall in front of him for singles instead of behind him for extra bases.
Garrison Bryant, RHP
A gifted athlete that stood out on the gridiron and the baseball diamond, Garrison Bryant was drafted out of Clearwater High School in Florida, selected by the Mets in the 36th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The 17-year-old pitched a handful of innings that year with the GCL Mets, but his career began in earnest in 2017. Assigned to the Kingsport Mets, Bryant posted an 8.76 ERA in 37.0 innings, allowing 52 hits, walking 18, and striking out 33. He remained in the Appalachian League for the 2018 season and improved in virtually every aspect of the game, posting a 5.24 ERA in 46.1 innings, allowing 52 hits, walking 19, and striking out 54.
Bryant throws from a high three-quarters slot, with a loose arm. His delivery is fluid, but he sometimes falls off to the side in his follow through, impacting his control. He hides the ball well, utilizing a high leg kick. His fastball sits 88-92 and features arm-side run. Though he used a curveball more as an amateur, he has switched over to using a low-80s slider more as a professional thanks to its harder movement. Rounding out his repertoire is a circle-change that has steadily been improving, giving him better success against left-handed batters.
Jose Butto, RHP
Born in Cumana, Venezuela, Jose Butto was signed by the Mets in June 2017, a 19-year-old signed just prior to the end of the 2016-2017 international free agent signing period and the beginning of the 2017-2018 period. He made his professional debut with the DSL Mets that year and posted a 1.44 ERA in 50.0 innings, allowing 48 hits, walking 9, and striking out 41. In 2018, he was assigned to the Kingsport Mets when their season began and pitched 32.2 innings there in six starts, posting a 1.93 ERA. At the end of July, he was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he remained for the rest of the season. In Coney Island, he posted a 6.11 ERA in 28.0 innings, allowing 31 hits, walking 11, and striking out 24.
The 6’1”, 160 lb. Butto throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, dropping and driving from the mound. His fastball comfortably lives in the low-90s, topping out as high as 94 MPH. He primarily complements the fastball with a curveball with slight 12-6 break that sits in the high-70s-to-low-to-mid-80s. In addition, he occasionally throws changeup that sits in the low-80s.
Yeizo Campos, RHP
Signed in 2016 as a 20-year-old after showing promise while playing for La Caribs de Anzoátegui of La Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional, right-hander Yeizo Campos put up good numbers in the Dominican Summer League. He made his stateside debut in 2017 and put up solid numbers in 65.2 innings combined between the GCL Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, and St. Lucie Mets, posting a 3.97 ERA with 58 hits, 17 walks, 63 strikeouts. He made a single emergency spot start for the Cyclones in 2018, but spent the majority of the season as a swingman with the Columbia Fireflies, where he posted a 3.88 ERA in 67.1 innings, allowing 65 hits, walking 18, and striking out 64.
Campos utilizes a high three-quarters arm slot, exploding to the plate with a simple delivery. His fastball sits 90-95 MPH, but on a per-game basis, the pitch shows a noticeable decline in velocity as his pitch count rises. Given that he is only 5’9” and weighs 170 lbs., stamina seems like an issue. He complements his fastball with a slider that sits 78-82 MPH and a changeup that sits 84-88 MPH. Occasionally, he mixes in a 12-6 curveball, but the pitch is not used enough to really be considered part of his repertoire, utilized more as a pitch to change the eye level of hitters and set up his next offering. He can generally command all three of his pitches and work effectively in all four quadrants of the plate, though he favored throwing his slider in the upper half of the zone.
Luis Carpio, 2B/SS
Signing for $300,000 during the 2013-2014 international free agent period, Luis Carpio exploded onto the scene in 2015 when he made his stateside debut as a 17-year-old and hit .304/.372/.359 with the Kingsport Mets. The young Venezuelan underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in March 2016 and missed the virtually the entire season. When he returned to the field, Carpio looked like a very diminished player. He spent the 2017 season with the Columbia Fireflies and hit .232/.308/.302 in 125 games. He was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets for the 2018 season and played all but one game there, hitting a disappointing .219/.289/.365. There was a silver lining in his 2018 performance, as he slugged 12 home runs, tied for sixth most in the Florida State League.
At the plate, Carpio had a solid foundation buoyed by an advanced eye at the plate. His right-handed swing is short but explosive, and he has added more loft to it to make up for a lack of future physical strength. Carpio’s arm strength was only average before his labrum surgery, and since returning from it, it his arm has looked weaker, necessitating moving him from shortstop to second base. The other aspects of his defense play up at second- he shows good instincts and has soft hands- and he is a leader on the field.
Joe Cavallaro, RHP
A multisport athlete in high school, Joe Cavallaro focused completely on baseball after being recruited and committing to the University of South Florida. Splitting his time as a member of the Bull’s starting rotation and bullpen for three years, he posted a collective 3.63 ERA in 197.0 innings, allowing 157 hits, walking 93, and striking out 193. He was drafted by the Mets in the 24th round of the 2017 MLB Draft and signed with the organization, making his professional debut with the Kingsport Mets. He was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies to start the 2018 season and was very successful there, posting a 2.09 ERA in 77.1 innings, allowing 54 hits, walking 26, and striking out 83. After making a spot start with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, he spent the rest of the season with the St. Lucie Mets, where he posted a 4.84 ERA in 44.2 innings, allowing 48 hits, walking 18, and striking out 41.
Cavallaro has a thick 6’4”, 207-pound frame, with long limbs and a big lower half. He throws sidearm, with plenty of rotational torque in his whippy motion. His pitches are hard to pick up, thanks to his high leg kick and his arm slot. His fastball sits in 88-91 MPH, with good sink. The pitch isn’t overpowering, and he often loses confidence in it, but it plays up well when complemented with his slider. His slider sits in the low 80s with 10-4 shape. He occasionally gets too under the pitch, giving it more sweepy break than the sharp tilt, but the slider is Cavallaro’s go-to pitch in all occasions.
Gavin Cecchini, 2B/SS
Drafted 12th overall of the 2012 MLB Draft, Gavin Cecchini’s seven-year professional career has been full of peaks and valleys. After soldiering along in the system for a few years, he had a breakout year in 2015, hit .317/.377/.442 as a 21-year-old in Binghamton, narrowly missing the Eastern League Batting title but winning the Eastern League Rookie of the Year honors. He followed that up with a strong season with the Las Vegas 51s, and a cup of coffee in the MLB. After hitting .325/.390/.448 for the 51s in 2016, Cecchini followed that up by hitting .267/.329/.380 for them in 2017, though he did get into 32 games with the Mets. He missed a large part of the 2018 season after getting hit in the foot with a ball, and ended up hitting .294/.342/.468 in 30 games for the 51s.
Even on draft day, Cecchini was a player who didn’t have standout tools, and in the years since, that lack of one or two specific strengths has hurt Cecchini’s development. Over the years, his swing has changed, and his most recent mechanics emphasize contact over power, making Cecchini a one-dimensional contact-oriented hitter, possessing gap power but not much more. He shows excellent plate discipline, drawing a fair amount of walks and rarely striking out. Defensively, he has been stretched at shortstop for many years, and the Mets have only recently begun using him at second base, where his profile is better suited. He has soft hands, and in a vacuum has no problem with his glovework or footwork, but thanks to a below-average arm and sub-par range, he is forced to rush, resulting in his footwork, glove work, and throws suffering, leading to high error totals.
Matt Cleveland, RHP
Coached by Joe Serfass- who pitched in the Mets’ minor league system between 2004 and 2007- Matt Cleveland made a name for himself at Windsor High School. The right-hander was considered one of the top high school pitching prospects in all of New England, posting a 2.07 ERA in 30.1 innings in his senior season, striking out 41 and walking 23. He had a commitment to Florida Southwestern, a junior college in Fort Myers, Florida, but after being drafted by the Mets 12th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, he went professional, agreeing to a $400,000 contract bonus, $300,000 over slot value. Cleveland pitched a handful of innings late that summer, but began his professional career in earnest in 2017. Assigned to the GCL Mets, he posted a 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings, allowing 13 hits, walking 12, and striking out 17. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in 2018 and posted a 4.97 ERA in 41.2 innings there, allowing 41 hits, walking 40, and striking out 26.
The athletic, 6’5”, 200 lb. Cleveland was drafted on the power of his fastball. Throwing from a three-quarter arm slot with a full arm circle and length in the back, the right-hander can comfortably sit in the low-90s, occasionally touching 95 MPH. Inconsistent mechanics periodically cause his velocity to back up, and contribute to the control problems that have plagued him in his young career. Cleveland’s secondary pitches lag well behind his fastball in effectiveness, with his slider not having much break to it and his changeup not having much fade.
PJ Conlon, LHP
Drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, PJ Conlon became the first Irish-born player to play in the majors since Joe Cleary in 1945 when he made his MLB debut this past May. Prior to making his big league debut, he climbed up the minor league ladder, generally posting good numbers at each level. After making his major league debut, he was sent back down to the minors and claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. His time on the West Coast was brief, as the Mets reclaimed Conlon off of waivers a few days later.
At 5’11”, 190 pounds, PJ Conlon wouldn’t be the smallest pitcher to ever play professional baseball, but it certainly puts him at a disadvantage. His lack of standout tools is concerning, but his three-year track record of nothing but success speaks for itself. His fastball is fringe-average even for a lefty, sitting 87-90, topping out at 91 MPH. He throws a wide assortment of other pitches, including a two-seam fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup, with the latter grading average-to-above-average and the others fringe-to-average. His long, slingy delivery from a high-3/4 arm slot has helped give his pitches downward sink, giving Conlon a strong groundball rate. Aware of his limitations, Conlon does what he can to maximize his below-average stuff, making sure to throw strikes, pitching backwards, and studying hitters and trends.
Carlos Cortes, 2B/OF
The diminutive Carlos Cortes had a long track record of hitting in high school, both on the showcase circuit and for Lake Howell High. In his senior year, he hit an impressive .380/.533/.632, and having done their due diligence on the youngster, the Mets drafted him with their 20th round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft. Having already committed to South Carolina University, Cortes elected to attend college instead of turning pro. In the two years he spent with the Gamecocks, he posted a .274/.378/.528 batting line, playing all over the field. A draft-eligible sophomore, the Mets selected Cortes once again, this time in the 3rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft. This time around, he signed with the club, agreeing to a $1,000,038 signing bonus, slightly $300,000 over slot value. He made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones and posted a .264/.338/.382 batting line in 47 games, walking 17 times and striking out 34.
Cortes stands open at the plate and uses a swing with some uphill bat path, reducing his ability to make contact but increasing his power, particularly to his pull side. His swing is fluid and Cortes swings with intent. There is some swing and miss in it, particularly against breaking balls out of the strike zone, but he has no problem handling pitches in the zone. Balls already jumped off his bat thanks to his big load and coil, bat speed, and barrel accuracy, but the uphill plane in his swing that he added in college has really magnified his power. Defensivley, Cortes still does not have a true home, able to do a lot of things and play multiple positions but standing out in none. Naturally a left-hander, Cortes taught himself to throw with his right hand and is fully ambidextrous. When he is playing in the infield, he throws right-handed. When he plays the outfield, he throws left-handed. Because his arm strength is fringy from both sides and because he is a slightly below-average runner, he profiles best in the infield, at second base.
Sebastian Espino, SS
Sebastian Espino received the largest bonus that the Mets handed out to an international rookie during the 2016-2017 international signing period, receiving a $300,000 signing bonus. The Mets put the 17-year-old shortstop on an advanced developmental path, promoting the 17-year-old stateside by the end of the 2017 season after a season in the Dominican Summer League. In 2018, he repeated his time with the GCL Mets and posted a .267/.329/.367 batting line in 46 games, walking 15 times and striking out 39.
Espino currently projects as a defensive-oriented shortstop, showing soft hands and good actions. Though very young, some evaluators believe he will be able to develop into a plus fielder at the position. With the bat, the Dominican youngster is nowhere near as advanced. Though there might be potential in his 6’2”, 175-pound frame, he is currently more of a contact hitter, spraying line drives around the field with the occasional double.
Ryley Gilliam, RHP
Ryley Gilliam lettered four times while playing baseball at Kennesaw Mountain High School, but went undrafted, partially due to his size and partially because of his commitment to Clemson University. He began his collegiate career splitting time in the Tigers’ starting rotation and bullpen as a freshman, but transitioned into the bullpen full time in his sophomore season and found his niche. By his junior year, the right-hander had a firm grasp of the Tigers’ closer position, and proved to be one of the best closers in all of college baseball. Through 38.0 innings, he posted a 1.41 ERA, allowing 22 hits, walking 22, and striking out 54, notching 11 saves in the process. The Mets selected him in the 5th round of the 2018 MLB Draft and the two sides ended up agreeing to a $550,000 signing bonus, $170,600 over the slot value. He made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones and posted a 2.08 ERA in 17.0 innings, allowing 11 hits, walking 13, and striking out 31.
At 5’10”, 170 lbs, there is some concern about Gilliam’s size and stature, but the right-hander has had no problem staying healthy or dominating his peers. His bread-and-butter is a plus fastball thanks to an electric-quick arm. The pitch sits in the low-to-mid 90s, topping out around 96 MPH, and has a hefty dose of plane and arm-side life when thrown out of the stretch. Gilliam complements it with an above-average curveball, sitting in the high-70s with 12-6 break. He has confidence in the pitch and regularly doubles or even triples down on the it when he sees the need to. A holdover from his days as a starter, he also has a semi-effective changeup and cutter in his repertoire, but does not throw either often, sticking with his extremely effective fastball/curveball combination.
Harol Gonzalez, RHP
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014, Harol Gonzalez was one of the most exciting storylines in the Mets minor league system in 2016. Having shown a bit of promise in the Appalachian League in 2015 thanks to his stuff and personality, the undersized right-hander began realizing some of that potential as the 2016 season progressed, and by the time the year was over, had one of the most statistically dominant seasons in Brooklyn Cyclone history. He ended the season with a 7-3 record, posting a league-leading 2.01 ERA in 85 innings, walking 18 and striking out a league-leading 88. His stuff looked sharper and his fastball faster when he was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies in 2017 but the numbers trended in the wrong direction, as he posted a 3.53 ERA in 137.2 innings, most of them in Columbia but a handful in St. Lucie. He began the 2018 season with St. Lucie and seemingly righted the ship, posting a 2.82 ERA in 73.1 innings there, allowing 62 hits, walking 19, and striking out 59. After being promoted to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies midseason, things fell apart, and the right-handed posted a 7.79 ERA in 52.0 innings in the Eastern League, allowing 79 hits, walking 17, and striking out 30.
Gonzalez’ fastball has fringe-average velocity, sitting in the low-90s, but it has life and the right-hander has excellent command of it, able to hit his spots in all four quadrants of the strike zone. He pairs it with a 11-5 curveball, slider, and changeup. Of the three, his changeup is his most effective pitch. Nothing in his pitching arsenal projects to be better than average, leaving Gonzalez with a wide array of weapons but no true out-pitches.
Colin Holderman, RHP
A standout baseball player and football player at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in Illinois, the 6’7”, 240-pound Colin Holderman went undrafted and attended Southern Illinois University in 2015, where he posted a 7.68 ERA in 38.2 innings for the Salukis. He transferred to Heartland Community College as a sophomore and had much more success against Division II competition, posting a 1.57 ERA in 74.1 innings, allowing 49 hits, walking 23, and striking out 92. In addition, he hit .489/.565/.843 in 178 at-bats, slugging 13 home runs and stealing 15 bases in 18 attempts. The Mets drafted Holderman in the 9th round of the 2016 Draft and signed him for $236,300, almost double the assigned slot value, as they had to buy him out of his commitment to Mississippi State University. He finished out the year with the Kingsport Mets, posting a 3.86 ERA in 18.2 innings and seemed ready to break out in Columbia in 2017 before missing most of the season due to a labrum injury. Before the 2018 season could begin, the injury bug struck Holderman once again. This time, he tore his UCL and needed Tommy John surgery, missing the entire 2018 season.
The big right-hander has a plus fastball, sitting in the low 90s and topping out as high as 97 MPH. Thanks to his height and the arm angle from which the pitch is thrown, Holderman gets good run and sink on it. He complements his fastball with a slider and a changeup. His slider, which sits in the upper 70s, flashes plus and was considered by some evaluators to have been the best off-speed pitch thrown by 2016 Mets draftees. He has a feel for his changeup, which also sits in the upper 70s, and the pitch flashes average. He often telegraphs it, throwing the pitch with a lower release point than his fastball or slider. Earlier in his career, his delivery was reminiscent of Bronson Arroyo, with a stiff leg kick getting almost parallel to the ground, but during Spring Training 2017, he worked with coaches to tweak it to be more subdued.
Bryce Hutchinson, RHP
In his final year of high school, Bryce Hutchinson transferred from Spruce Creek High School to DeLand High School, where his father was hired as baseball coach. Recovered from a broken hamate bone that limited him the year before, the right-hander helped lead the Bulldogs to the District 2-9A Championship, going 8-1 with a 1.08 ERA and 81 strikeouts. Drafted by the Mets in the 12th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Hutchinson waited until late June to decide whether or not he was going to sign with the Mets or attend Mississippi State University, a college he felt a connection to due to the presence of the newly-hired coach Gary Henderson. 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 due to his high school workload and a handful of injuries and set-backs that took their toll on his mind and body. The 2018 season was supposed to be his real foray the professional baseball world but the right-hander underwent arm surgery over the off-season. He was not expected to pitch at all, but Hutchinson worked and rehabbed his way back and was able to salvage the season, making his season debut in July and pitching 20.0 innings.
Standing an imposing 6’6” and weighing 245 lbs., Hutchinson’s fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s and currently 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, a developing curveball in the high-70s/low-80s, and a developing mid-80s changeup. Of his secondary pitches, the slider flashes being a better than average pitch, while his curveball and changeup are still developing and need to be refined further. He is generally able to repeat his mechanics and command his pitches well, but his velocity sometimes backs up as he loses his release point when his big body gets out of sync.
Christian James, RHP
Christian James was selected by the Mets in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft after years of dominant pitching on the Florida high school baseball scene. He looked good in his professional debut, posting a 0.52 ERA in 17.1 innings in 2016, allowing 11 hits, walking 5, and striking out 15, and was even better in 2017. While pitching with the Kingsport Mets, James was among the Appalachian League’s best pitches before late-season fatigue caught up with him. All in all, the 19-year-old posted a 4.18 ERA in 51.2 innings in 2017, allowing 54 hits, walking 16, and striking out 58. James made his 2018 debut making a spot start with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in late May and followed that up with a spot start with the St. Lucie Mets in early June before being assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones for the remainder of the year. The right-hander was statistically dominant there, posting a 2.01 ERA in 71.2 innings, allowing 61 hits, walking 20, and striking out 45.
James’ fastball sits 88-90, topping out at 91, and features slight arm-side movement. This is diminished from the fastball that topped out as high as 94 MPH when he was in high school. An explanation for the discrepancy may be some of the weight that James has put on since then, concentrated in his midsection and certainly bad weight. He complements his fastball with a full assortment of pitches. His slider sits 78-81 and is by far his best secondary pitch, thrown mostly to right-handers down and away to get them fishing. His curveball sits 80-82 and features lightly floating 12-6 break, appearing more of a get-me-over-pitch than anything else. His changeup sits 83-85 and features slight arm-side fade. The right-hander does not have overpowering stuff, and as a result, seems reluctant to go after and challenge hitters.
Mickey Jannis, RHP
Mickey Jannis began the 2015 with the Long Island Ducks, but when the season ended, he was a member of the Binghamton Mets rotation. In his first year back in professional baseball, the knuckleball pitcher was quite a hit, posting a solid 3.55 ERA in 58.1 innings split between the St. Lucie and Binghamton Mets. He struggled in 2016 with those same teams, but was successful once again in 2017, posting a 3.60 ERA in 122.1 innings with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. When the season ended, his success carried through into the Arizona Fall League, and Jannis was one of the best pitchers that fall, posting a 2.33 ERA in 27.0 innings. He returned to Binghamton for the 2018 season and spent most of the year there, save a pair of starts for the Las Vegas 51s. In his third full year with Binghamton, he posted a 3.60 ERA in 142.1 innings. Jannis’ bread and butter pitch is his knuckleball, which has a large velocity variance- as low as 70 MPH and as high as 80- and features mesmerizing movement as the knuckleball is wont to do. Unlike most knuckleball pitchers, Jannis actually has a halfway decent fastball, sitting in the high-80s, and uses it to uses to catch batters sitting on the slower knuckleball and sneak in strikes here and there.
Walker Lockett, RHP
A power-hitting first baseman who helped lead the Providence High School Stallions to a state championship, Walker Lockett was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He elected to go professional instead of honoring his commitment to University of South Florida, signing for $393,000, just under the slot value of $340,000. The 18-year-old made his professional debut that year, but spent the new few years injured and ineffective due to blister and shoulder issues. He finally was able to put injuries behind him in 2015, when he made 17 starts and pitched 87.0 innings for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Tri-City Dust Devils, and AZL Padres, posting a combined 4.14 ERA with 89 hits allowed, 20 walks, and 70 strikeouts. Playing catch up, he pitched for four different teams in 2016, suiting up for the TinCaps, the Lake Elsinore Storm, the San Antonio Missions, and El Paso Chihuahuas. He finally broke out that year, posting a combined 2.96 ERA in 164.0 innings, allowing 150 hits, walking 24, and striking out 123. He spent 2017 with El Paso, posting a 4.39 ERA in 55.1 innings, missing almost three months due to a lower back strain. He returned to El Paso in 2018, and made his major league debut in June, posting a 9.60 ERA in 15.0 innings, allowing 22 hits, walking 10, and striking out 12. He was demoted after a few starts, and ended up pitching 133.1 innings for the Chihuahuas, posting a 4.73 ERA while allowing 145 hits, walking 33, and striking out 118.
The 6’5”, 225 lb. Lockett throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, a simple, repeatable delivery. He is a dart thrower, utilizing his arm to generate velocity. His fastball sits in the low-90s and features sink and arm-side run thanks to his arm slot. He complements the pitch with a slider and changeup, the former of which the better of the two and his go-to strikeout pitch.
David Marcano, RHP
One of the youngest players in the 2017-2018 international free agent class, the Mets had to wait until late August to sign David Marcano, as he did not turn 16 until August 28th. Despite his age, the young right-hander had plenty of baseball experience prior to his signing with the Mets, as he pitched for his native Venezuela at various international competitions. He made his professional debut in 2018 in the Dominican Summer League and posted a 6.18 ERA in 39.1 innings.
His fastball sits in the high-80s to low-90s, topping out at 92 with heavy life. While he is already athletic, additional development coupled with the fact that he has a quick arm and gets good extension in his delivery suggests that there is room for the right-hander to add additional velocity. He complements it with a pair of secondary pitches, a curveball and a changeup. His curve, which features 12-6 break, is the more advanced of the two pitches, and could develop into an above-average pitch. His changeup still lags behind his curveball in its development, but Marcano has shown a feel for it.
Patrick Mazeika, C
An 8th round draft pick out of Stetson University in 2015, Patrick Mazeika has done nothing but hit over most of his professional debut. In his first year as a professional, he hit .354/.451/.540 in 62 games with the Kingsport Mets. In 2016, he hit .305/.414/.402 in 70 games with the Columbia Fireflies. In 2017, he spent the majority of his season playing with the St. Lucie Mets and hit .287/.389/.406 in 100 games there. Mazeika finally ran into a wall in 2018, hitting .231/.328/.363 in 87 games with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
The 25-year-old has a nice, smooth swing. Though it is a bit lacking in plane, he is able to put a jolt in the ball thanks to slightly above average bat speed and leveraging his lower half. In the past, that power was more line drive double power than anything else, but his power potential has grown over the last few seasons, setting new career highs in home runs over the last two years. Defensively, Mazeika is still a work in progress. He has shown quick exchanges and slightly above-average pop-up times, but his arm is below average. In addition, he does not move that well behind the plate and does not receive or block balls as well. If he is unable to improve enough to stay behind the plate, first base is likely the only other position he will be able to handle, but because of his lack of over-the-fence power up to this point, the left-hander may also be a tough fit there as well.
Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP
Bryce Montes de Oca underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2013, while a junior in high school, but he recovered from the surgery a year later, not only was he the valedictorian of the graduating class at Lawrence High School, but was also widely considered to be one of the best high school pitchers available in the 2014 MLB Draft. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB Draft, but did not sign with them and instead honored his commitment to the University of Missouri. His first two years there were marred by injury and ineffectiveness, appearing in only a handful of games. In 2017, his junior year, he was able to stay on the mound and made 15 appearances, starting 12 games for the Tigers. He posted a 4.43 ERA in 61.0 innings, allowing 43 hits, walking 42, and striking out 61. De Oca limited batters to a .205 batting average and surrendered just 15 extra-base hits for the year, the fewest among all Missouri starters. The Washington Nationals drafted him with their 15th round in the 2017 MLB Draft, but de Oca turned them down, returning to Mizzou for his senior year. He was lights out in the first half of the year, but had his role changed midyear and went on to throw just 11 more innings in the final two months of the season. All in all, he pitched 54.2 innings in total, posting a 3.13 ERA, allowing 32 hits, walking 33, and striking out 65. The Mets drafted him with their 9th round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and the big-right hander accepted their slot offer of $152,100. Though assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones, he did not pitch for them in 2018.
Standing 6’7” and weighing 265, Montes de Oca is an imposing sight on the mound. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, dropping and driving off of the mound with some violence. His arm action is quick and whip-like, with a soft stab in the back of his arm circle. His mechanics are simple and should be repeatable, but like other tall pitchers, he sometimes has trouble doing so, contributing to control problems. He loads his shoulders a bit, forming an inverted W when he pushes off the rubber. His fastball sits in the sits in the low-to-mid-90s, touches the high-90s, and has hit triple-digits at times. His height and long stride gives his pitches late life and exceptionally heavy downward sink, making the pitch a true plus fastball. His durable frame allows him to maintain his velocity deep into starts. He complements the fastball with a slurvy slider, true wipeout pitch thanks to its power. The pitch sits in the mid-80s and flashes being an above-average-to-plus pitch, even if its shape more loose than tight, which is less than ideal. de Oca sometimes has trouble getting on top of the pitch, leading to hanging breaking balls. In addition, he has a feel for a changeup. It sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s and is considered by scouts and evaluators to be a below-average pitch.
Hansel Moreno, 2B/SS
The Mets signed Hansel Moreno for just $50,000 during the 2014-2015 international signing period. He spent the next few seasons in the Dominican Summer League, finally making his stateside debut in 2018 with the GCL Mets. He played 16 games with them, hitting .387/.443/.500, before being promoted to the Kingsport Mets. Moreno finished out the season with Kingsport, hitting .261/.328/.406 in 41 games. He was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies in 2018, and the 21-year-old hit .248/.307/.398 in 89 games.
The switch-hitting Moreno has a tall, thin frame, standing 6’4” and weighing only 180 lbs. He stands square at the plate and uses a toe tap timing mechanism. He has a long swing that has plenty of swing-and-miss in it, though he does have a bit of power when he is batting from the left side and pulls the ball. Defensively, Moreno is a bit more advanced. His arm and range are above-average, giving him the ability to play anywhere in the infield in addition to possible center or right field. For good and for bad, Moreno wears his heart on his sleeve and is always hustling and getting dirty on the field.
Jose Moreno, RHP
Twin brothers Angel and Jose Moreno would both go on to play baseball, with Angel singing with the Tampa Bay Rays as a 16-year-old in October 2012 and Jose signing with the Mets as a 17-year-old in July 2014. Jose spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons in the Dominican Summer League but missed the entire 2016 season due to injury. He returned to the field in 2017, pitching in a handful of games with the DSL Mets before making his stateside debut with the GCL Mets. He didn’t show much rust, as he posted a 2.49 ERA in 21.2 innings with the DSL team and a 3.12 ERA in 40.1 innings with the GCL team. Moreno was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in 2018 and was named their opening day starter. He would be primarily used in relief, and posted a 4.12 ERA in 19.2 innings, allowing 11 hits, walking 8, and striking out 26.
The lanky Moreno is a tall-and-fall thrower, using a three-quarters arm slot. He has an extremely live arm, possessing a fastball that ranges anywhere between 93-100 MPH, generally settling in around 96-98 MPH. Moreno’s frame is still very thin and there is room for him to fill in more, potentially adding even more velocity to the pitch. In addition to velocity, it also has some run thanks to his arm slot. He complements the pitch with a 78-83 MPH slider that features sharp drop.
Jaylin Palmer, 3B/SS
A recent growth spurt transformer Jaylen Palmer from a scrawny, 5’5”, 150-pound undersized middle infielder into a 6’3”, 195-pound athlete. As a junior, he hit .308/.439/.371 in 28 games for the Holy Cross Knights and hit .286/.511/.476 in 24 games this past season. The Mets drafted the native New Yorker in the 22nd round of the 2018 MLB Draft and the two sides agreed to a $200,000 signing bonus, $75,000 above the unrestricted $125,000 cap for rounds 11 and later that does not get factored into a team’s draft bonus pool. The 17-year-old was excellent in his professional debut, hitting .310/.394/.414 in 25 games with the GCL Mets, walking 8 times, striking out 27 times, and stealing 5 bases in 7 attempts.
Palmer is extremely athletic, and his 6’3”, 195-pound frame may still have room to grow. He uses a toe tap as a timing mechanism, and his swing is smooth and flows well. Thanks to above-average bat speed, the youngster has a surprising amount of power potential in it. He is able to stay back on pitches and swing at the last moment. With the glove, he is a strong defender. He has good range and possesses a strong, accurate arm. If his body continues growing and he loses some of his quick twitch muscle and agility, he may be forced to move into the outfield, but until then, he has all of the tools to handle shortstop or the hot corner. If moved to the outfield, Palmer has above-average speed, which should help him hunt down fly balls.
Cameron Planck, RHP
Using some of the money that was saved when Anthony Kay’s medical records revealed UCL damage, the Mets were able to sign Cameron Planck, their 11th round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft, out of his University of Louisville commitment. Planck, who was well on his way to being considered one of the most dominant high school pitchers in northeastern Kentucky history, had an extremely dominant senior season at Rowan County High School in Morehead, posting a 0.38 ERA in 74.1 innings, with 21 walks and 132 strikeouts. The Mets had tried to work out a pre-draft arrangement that would pay the 11th round pick as if he were a 3rd round pick ($563,100 to $813,500), but he rejected them. The Mets were dogged in their pursuit and Planck eventually agreed to sign with them after being offered $1,000,001. He did not appear in a professional game in 2016 due to concerns about his workload, and in the weeks before the 2017 Kingsport Mets season began, the right-hander underwent shoulder surgery to fix a torn interior capsule, eliminating him from the 2017 season as well. The right-hander worked his way back from that and finally made his professional debut on July 2nd. Facing three batters, he walked a batter, struck out a batter, and allowed a single before being removed from the game. He returned to the mound roughly a month later, on August 3, recording a flyball out before being removed from the game.
At 6’4”, 220 lbs., Planck does not have much physical projection left in his body, but he doesn’t need much, as he already has the physicality of a starter. When healthy, his fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out as high as 96 MPH. He complements it with a low-to-mid 80s slider that flashes average or better and a mis-80s changeup. Planck’s delivery has a lot of moving parts, as his arms and legs flail, which makes it makes it hard for the batter to pick up the ball, but it also makes it difficult for the right-hander to consistently repeat his release point, which has led to inconsistent command and fewer quality pitches.
Marcel Renteria, RHP
Though he is not part of a storied baseball family, Marcel Renteria is related to not one, but two former players: Dave Oropeza, who played in the Montreal Expos system but never made it past Low-A ball, and Gil Heredia, who had a ten-year career between 1991 and 2001 with the San Francisco Giants, Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. A First-Team All-Conference pitcher out of Nogales High School in Arizona, Renteria did not garner much interest from major league clubs during his senior year and went undrafted in the 2013 MLB Draft. He attended Pima Community College, a junior college in Pima County, Arizona, and in his first year there posted a 2.00 ERA in 72.0 innings, allowing 57 hits, walking 37, and striking out 75. In his second year there, he pitched only 26.1 innings, posting a 3.76 ERA, allowing 23 hits, walking 17, and striking out 18. The right-hander transferred to New Mexico State University in 2016 and posted a 4.74 ERA in 79.2 innings in his first year there, allowing 84 hits, walking 44, and striking out 79. In 2017, he posted almost identical numbers. He posted a 4.78 ERA in 79.0 innings, allowing 81 hits, walking 30, and striking out 86. The Mets selected Renteria in the 6th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, assigning him to the Brooklyn Cyclones. He posted a 9.53 ERA in 11.1 innings there, allowing 15 hits, walking 7, and striking out 17. Though he was never put on the disabled list, he was clearly compromised, as his fastball velocity was down. He began the 2018 season with the Columbia Fireflies and came out of the box struggling once more. He was put on the disabled list twice early in the season, suffering from arm discomfort. He was eased back into the swing of things after being reactivated in mid-July hit and hit his stride late in the season. All in all, he posted a 4.23 ERA in 76.2 innings, allowing 77 hits, walking 23, and striking out 72.
Marcel Renteria was drafted on the power of his arm. When fully healthy, his fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s, capable of touching as high as 99 MPH. Renteria has spent much of his Mets career pitching compromised, either dealing with fatigue or injury. Throughout much of 2017 and 2018, his fastball velocity was down significantly, getting as low as the mid-to-high-80s. When I saw him, he was fresh off of the disabled list and was sitting 91-95 MPH. While the pitch has velocity, it lacks much movement. He complements his fastball with a slider-cutter hybrid that sits 86-89 MPH.
Zach Rheams, 1B/OF/DH
A graduate of Brazoswood High School in Texas, Zach Rheams initially attended Cisco College in Cisco, Texas. In his first year there, the power hitting first baseman hit .385 and slugged seven home runs, helping lead Cisco College to the NJCAA College World Series and earning a spot on the First Team All-Conference for the Region V Athletic Conference. He was even better in 2016, hitting an impressive .481/.570/.846 with 17 home runs, earning another First Team All-Conference as well as being named NJCAA All-American. He transferred to Texas Tech for his junior year and struggled, hitting .133/.322/.289 in 20 games and possibly costing himself getting drafted in the 2017 MLB Draft. He rebounded quite nicely in 2018, hitting .341/.461/.713 with 17 home runs, helping lead Texas Tech into the College World Series, where the Red Raiders beat the Florida Gators 6-3 in the first round but lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks 7-4 in the second. After being drafted by the Mets, Rheams was assigned to the Kingsport Mets. He was quickly reassigned and promoted to the Columbia Fireflies, where he remained for the rest of the 2018 season and hit .226/.313/.432.
Power is Rheams’ primary calling card. His swing has plenty of loft and he is capable of hitting towering moonshots when he connects squarely. Like most left-handed power hitters, his power zone is down and in, but Rheams has considerable power going to the opposite field as well. His bat speed is only average, and he generates most of his power through his own strength and by waiting on his pitch; Rheams is a studious hitter and comes to the plate knowing what pitchers throw and waiting on certain pitches. Defensively, Rheams has long been a man without a position. While at Cisco College, he primarily played first base and DHed. At Texas Tech, he primarily DHed, but added middle infield to his repertoire. After being drafted, the Mets used him mainly in the outfield, splitting his time almost equally in left and right. Given his big 6’, 230 lb. frame and relative lack of experience, Rheams did not stand out in the outfield, but he did not embarrass himself either.
Ryder Ryan, RHP
Ryder Ryan’s father, Sean, was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 38th round of the 1990 MLB Draft. He progressed as high as Triple-A before hanging his cleats up. After retiring from organized baseball, among other things, he began to coach travel teams. In 2012, Kevin Wilson, the athletic director of North Mecklenburg High School reached out to him to fill their empty coaching position. Sean agreed, and in doing so, became the coach of his two sons, Ryder and River. Under his father’s tutelage, Ryder hit .597 and posted a 0.28 ERA as a junior and hit .536 and posted a 0.57 ERA as a senior. Although he was projected to be selected early in the 2014 MLB Draft, he was not selected until the 40th round due to his commitment to the University of North Carolina. He did not sign with the Cleveland Indians and instead enrolled at UNC. He did not play much, and when he was on the field, spent the majority of his time at third base. He received just 14 at-bats in 2015 and 26 in 2015, and pitched just a single inning over both years. The Cleveland Indians drafted him once again, selecting him in the 30th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, and this time, he chose to sign with them rather than return to the Tar Heels. The 21-year-old made his professional debut that summer, pitching for the AZL Indians, and had a solid debut. He began the 2017 season with the Lake County Captains and spent the majority of the season there, posting a 4.79 ERA in 41.1 innings, allowing 44 hits, walking 17, and striking out 49. On August 9, he was traded to the Mets in exchange for outfielder Jay Bruce. He was assigned to the Columbia Fireflies and posted a 2.08 ERA in 13.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 5, and striking out 13. He began the 2018 season with the St. Lucie Mets and posted a 1.77 ERA in 20.1 innings, allowing 14 hits, walking 5, and striking out 23. He was promoted to the Binghamton Mets at the end of May and spent the rest of the 2018 season there, posting a 4.13 ERA in 32.2 innings, allowing 27 hits, walking 10, and striking out 36.
Ryan throws from a three-quarters arm slot. His mechanics in high school, despite his father’s tutelage, were very crude, leading to a release point that bounced around and terrible control. The Indians smoothed his mechanics a bit, and the Mets streamlined things a bit more, leading to better control. It can still be problematic at times, but it has improved vastly over the years. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, topping out at 97 MPH. The pitch does not have much movement, but he is able to command it well enough to consistently elevate the pitch and change hitters’ eye levels. He complements his fastball with a mid-80s slider that flashes average-to-above-average and occasionally throws a changeup. The change is thrown sparingly, making Ryan primarily a fastball/slider pitcher.
Junior Santos, RHP
The Mets signed Junior Rafael Santos for $275,000 in 2017 out of the Dominican Republic. He made his professional debut in 2018, pitching 45.0 innings for the DSL Mets. The Mets were uncharacteristically aggressive with the 6’8”, 220 lb. 17-year-old, promoting him to the GCL Mets at the end of the year. All in all, the right-hander posted a 2.52 ERA in 50.0 innings, allowing 39 hits, walking 6, and striking out 39.
Santos’ fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out at 94 MPH. He gets excellent extension off the mound due to his height, and the pitch appears faster to hitters. Santos was 6’6” when the Mets signed him and in the year since, the right-hander added roughly two inches, meaning that the young pitcher may still be growing, and as such, may add more weight and mass, increasing his fastball velocity. Santos complements his fastball with a slider and a changeup, both of which are extremely advanced pitches for a player his age. The slider sits in the low-80s and features late bite, flashing being an above-average pitch. His changeup features extreme fade and tumble, and the right-hander is able to throw it without slowing down his arm action. Santos is extremely athletic and is able to repeat his mechanics, an aspect of pitching that many taller pitches have trouble with.
Jake Simon, LHP
The Ball High School Tornadoes were knocked out of the Texas state baseball championship in early May, but Jake Simon was a big reason why they were able to get as far as they did. The Mets selected the southpaw in the 11th round of the 2015 MLB Draft and were able to buy Simon out of his college commitment to Rice, giving him a $400,000 signing bonus, well above the above the unrestricted $125,000 cap for rounds 11 and later that does not get factored into a team’s draft bonus pool. He made his professional debut with the GCL Mets that year, played with the Kingsport Mets the year after, and alternated time in Brooklyn and Columbia in 2017 before pitching the entire 2018 season with the Fireflies.
The 6’2”, 190 lb. lefty has a bit of effort in his arm, but the rest of his delivery is smooth, though inconsistencies in his upper half have led to control issues as a professional. His fastball sits at roughly 90 MPH, topping out at 92 MPH. There is still room for Simon to grow and add velocity, but even if he doesn’t, his fastball velocity is roughly average for a left-hander. He complements the pitch with a full assortment of secondary offerings, including a newly developed sinker, changeup, and curveball. He will primarily throw sinkers, mix in a few change-ups, bust hitters inside with fastballs, and use a curveball as a strikeout pitch.
Willy Taveras, RHP
The Mets signed Willy Taveras to a contract at the end of the 2015-2016 free agent signing period out of the Dominican Republic. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2016 and 2017 to good results before making his stateside debut in 2018 with the GCL Mets. In four starts there, he posted a 1.23 ERA, allowing 15 hits, walking 8, and striking out 25. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in mid-July and posted a 2.93 ERA in 43.0 innings there, allowing 37 hits, walking 6, and striking out 32.
Taveras throws across his body from a three-quarters arm slot. There is some effort in his delivery, with upper body torque that occasionally flies open. Though 5’11”, 160 lbs., he has a slight frame and there is little projection left in his body. His fastball sits in the low-90s, with slight armside run. He can command the pitch, busting hitters inside and throwing it away and changing eye levels. He trusts the pitch enough to challenge hitters, though in the future it may not be a good enough pitch to get swings-and-misses on a consistent basis. He complements the pitch with a breaking ball that morphs between a curveball and a slider. When he is throwing it more as a curveball, the pitch sits in the high-70s and features 11-5 shape. When he is throwing it more as a slider, the pitch sits in the low-to-mid-80s. Taveras can command the pitch, spotting it against batters of both handedness.
David Thompson, 3B
Attending Westminster Christian High School in Miami,Florida, David Thompson was considered an untouchable prep blue chipper, excelling on the baseball diamond and the grid iron. The Yankees tried to entice him to forgo his commitment to the University of Miami, selecting him in the 38th round of the 2012 MLB Draft but the youngster did not bite. David Thompson’s career at the University of Miami started bright, as he hit an impressive .286/.368/.462 with six home runs in 52 games as a freshman in 2013, but his sophomore season was marred by thoracic outlet syndrome, which limited his time on the field and sapped his power. He followed his disappointing .278/.368/.352 season with a monstrous junior season, hitting .328/.434/.640 in 67 games, slugging an NCAA-high 19 home runs. The Mets selected Thompson in the 4th round 2015 MLB Draft and signed him, agreeing to a $425,000 signing bonus. 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 the cusp of getting a possible shot in the majors, the 24-year-old missed time with a hairline fracture in his left hand in early May. He began rehabbing with the Brooklyn Cyclones in mid-June, but underwent elbow surgery not long after, ending his season completely.
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.
Tim Tebow, OF
LOL but not really?
Adonis Uceta, RHP
Signed by the Mets as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Adonis Uceta was little more than organizational depth for most of his professional career. An underdeveloped two-pitch starter who posted forgettable numbers, the right-hander was moved to the bullpen in 2017 and saw his career take off. Pitching mostly for the Columbia Fireflies but getting in a few games with the St. Lucie Mets and ending his season with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Uceta posted a sub-2.00 ERA in almost 60 innings, allowing only 34 hits and striking out more than a batter an inning. The 24-year-old began the 2018 season with the Rumble Ponies and posted a 4.26 ERA in 25.1 innings before having his season effectively end in early June due to injury.
Uceta has a live arm, with a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high-90s. As a starter, his fastball sat in the low-to-mid 90s, but his transition to the bullpen has allowed him to really air the pitch out, though his mechanics are not exactly max effort. He complements the fastball with an above-average changeup that sits in the low-to-mid 80s, one of the best in the minor league system. He rounds out his repertoire with a slider, but despite throwing from a low 3/4 arm slot generally conducive to sliders, Uceta’s is a below-average pitch.
Juan Uriarte, C
The Mets discovered Juan Uriarte while the teen was working out with the Mexico City Red Devils and signed the youngster just days after the 2014-2015 IFA signing period began. He made his professional debut a year later and hit .267/.374/.395 in 52 games split between the Mets two Dominican Summer League teams. That winter, he played winter ball with his hometown Caneros de Los Mochis, and when the 2016 season began, made his stateside debut, hitting .236/.304/.301 in 37 games with the GCL Mets. The following season, he had a breakout campaign with the Kingsport Mets, hitting .305/.372/.455 in 52 games. He was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones for the 2018 season and was the Cyclones’ starting catcher when the team took the field against the Staten Island Yankees at Richmond County Bank Ballpark to open the season. In the bottom of the third, he came to the plate for his first at-bat of the year and fouled a Matt Sauer offering off his left knee/thigh/shin and fell to the ground writhing in pain. He needed to be assisted off the field, barely able to walk, and missed the rest of the 2018 season. Adding insult to injury, his replacement, Carlos Sanchez, struck out and that strikeout was credited to Uriarte.
Uriarte stands open at the plate, using a leg kick. He has a quick, compact swing. It is a level swing that lacks much plane, making him more of a gap-to-gap hitter at the present, but he projects to add power as he matures. He sometimes gets aggressive, taking pull-heavy hacks, but he generally uses the entire field. He quieted some of the swing-and-miss in his swing, dropping his strikeout rate by almost 50% as compared to 2016 while slightly increasing his walk rate. The 2018 season would have been a test for the young backstop, as he would be facing polished college pitches with more refined stuff for the first time. Behind the plate, Uriarte is considered a plus defender, with a strong arm that can hit 85 MPH, solid footwork, and advanced blocking skills. He is a below-average runner, regularly posting 7.10 on the 60-yard dash.
Matt Winaker, OF
The son of a Stanford alum, so it only made sense that Matt Winaker also attend the school after graduating from high school. He spent three seasons as a Cardinal and hit a cumulative .278/.393/.422 while primarily playing first base. He was selected by the Mets in the 5th round of the 2017 MLB Draft and was signed for $280,000, slightly under the slot value of $307,800. He began his professional career in Coney Island and hit .268/.402/.282 in 21 games for the Cyclones, all at first base. He was assigned to the Columbia Fireflies for the 2018 season and was their most consistent outfielder, hitting .254/.370/.433 in 121 games.
Winaker has a smooth, level “Stanford swing”, though as the 2018 season progressed, his launch angle increased as he added more loft to it, increasing his power output. Though he played first base for the majority of his collegiate career, as well as in his 21 games with the Cyclones, Winaker is athletic and profiles much better in the outfield. He has enough speed to give him roughly average range, though his route taking skills could stand to improve.
Freddy Valdez, OF
Considered one of the top international rookies available during the 2018-2019 international free agent signing period, the Mets signed Valdez for $1.45 million. The 6’3”, 210 lb. right-hander is very aggressive at the plate, taking violent hacks with a long swing that often cost him his balance. Suffice to say, his is a power-over-hit profile.
While his strong arm would fit well in the outfield, Valdez is a below-average runner whose mobility in the outfield has led evaluators to question whether or not he will be able to play there in the long-term. If he is forced to move into the infield, he will undoubtedly be limited to first base, where he has shown some skill at scooping ground balls.
Jaison Vilera, RHP
Jaison Vilera was signed in November 2015 after the Mets saw what they liked while he was playing professionally in Venezuela. He spent the 2016 season in the Dominican Summer League and made his stateside debut in 2017. The 20-year-old had an impressive season for the GCL Mets, posting a 1.88 ERA in 62.1 innings, allowing 43 hits, walking 17, and striking out 56. He was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones for the 2018 season and dazzled, posting a 1.83 ERA in 73.2 innings, allowing 50 hits, walking 22, and striking out 78.
Vilera throws from a three-quarter arm slot with a simple, effortless delivery. His fastball has below-average velocity, sitting roughly 90 MPH, but it generates a ton of sink. He pairs it with an above-average changeup and a curveball.
Chris Viall, RHP
Chris Viall attended Soquel High School in Soquel, California and over the course of his time playing varsity baseball there, posted a 1.79 ERA in 152.1 innings pitched, allowing 88 hits, walking 65, and striking out 200. The San Francisco Giants drafted him in the 39th round of the 2013 MLB Draft but he elected to honor his commitment to Stanford rather than sign with them. In his three years as a Cardinal, the big right-hander went back-and-forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen, primarily being used as a middle reliever with spot starts sprinkled in here and there. In his three years at Stanford, Viall posted a 4.80 ERA in 98.0 innings, allowing 96 hits, walking 72, and striking out 68. The Mets selected him in the 6th round of the 2016 MLB Draft and the right-hander signed with the team for the slot value of $250,500. He was assigned to the Kingsport Mets and posted a 6.75 ERA in his first professional season, allowing 18 hits, walking 17, and striking out 27. The right-hander underwent offseason elbow ulnar disposition surgery and had a delayed start to the 2017 season. When he finally suited up, he wore a Cyclones jersey and posted a 3.42 ERA in 26.0 innings, allowing 17 hits, walking 14, and striking out 31. The 22-year-old was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies for the 2018 season and had an up-and-down season thanks to various injuries that plagued him throughout the year, including a strained shoulder that intermittently made his shoulder numb and ulnar pain flare-ups. All in all, Viall posted a 4.75 ERA in 66.1 innings, having his season end prematurely in early August due to snapping tricep syndrome. He allowed 61 hits, walked 41, and struck out 94, giving him a 12.8 K/9 rate, the highest among all Mets minor league starters with at least 50 innings pitched.
Standing an imposing 6’9” and weighing 230 pounds, Chris Viall is an intimidating pitcher. He throws from a 3/4 arm slot. Like many tall pitchers, Viall has had problems with the consistency of his mechanics. He utilizes a high leg kick, but his leg lift is sometimes high and sometimes half-hearted, leading to weight and momentum imbalances almost immediately in his delivery. His is inconsistent in where he plants his landing leg, sometimes planting it down and facing his catcher and sometimes planting it down pointing towards the on-deck circle. These minor things throw off his weight and balance distribution, giving him trouble repeating his release point, causing his control to suffers and his velocity to periodically diminish. His fastball is his bread-and-butter, a pitch with movement that ranges 92-98, sitting 94-97 MPH. The pitch has, at times, topped out in triple-digits, though as a starter, Viall obviously has to pace himself. Thanks to his height and the length of his arms, Viall’s fastball has angle and appears even faster to hitters, as he gets good arm extension and the ball has less distance to travel. He complements the pitch with an 81-86 MPH power curve and a circle change with decent fade and tailing motion. His curve is his best and primary secondary pitch; while he has a good feel for the change, he does not feature it much during in-game action.
Kyle Wilson, RHP
A graduate of Raymore-Peculiar High School in Missouri, Kyle Wilson was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 19th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. The right-hander did not sign with them, instead honoring his commitment to Crowder College, a junior college in southwestern Missouri. Wilson red-shirted his first year at Crowder, and posted a 9.72 ERA in his first year playing. In his sophomore year, technically his third year at college, Wilson posted a 2.27 ERA in 15 appearances, striking out 58. He pitched 39.2 innings in total, starting six games and appearing out of the bullpen in nine. He was drafted by the Mets in the 35th round of the 2017 MLB Draft and signed with the team, making his professional debut with the GCL Mets. He posted a 1.50 ERA in 18.0 innings there, allowing 13 hits, walking 7, and striking out 19. He was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones for the 2018 season and posted a 3.86 ERA in 53.2 innings there, allowing 49 hits, walking 14, and striking out 59.
Wilson throws from a high three-quarters arm slot. His fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out at 93 MPH. The pitch has some natural life to it, and Wilson can cut it as well. He supplements his fastball with an assortment of secondary pitches, all of which project to be fringe-average to average. His best breaking pitch is a high-70s 12-6 curveball, though it is sometimes inconsistent and gets slurvy as he does not always get on top of the ball. His slider, which sits in the low-80s, is more of a cutter with depth to it. His changeup, which also sits in the low-80s, does not have much fade but can be consistently thrown for strikes. Both his slider and changeup are in need of further refinement.
Tommy Wilson, RHP
The son of Thomas F. Wilson- the actor who played Biff Tannen- Tommy Wilson grew up in California, attending and graduating Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. After graduating from high school, he attended St. Mary’s College of California. He did not play baseball there, but when he transferred to Pierce College in 2017, he began playing ball again. In 85.0 innings that year, he posted a 2.11 ERA, allowing 61 hits, walking 23, and striking out 104. In 2018, he transferred to Cal State Fullerton and had an immediate impact, posting a 2.61 ERA in 89.2 innings, allowing 81 hits, walking 22, and striking out 81. He helped Titans into the Super Regionals, beating Baylor Bears and Stanford Cardinals before losing Washington Huskies in the final round of the bracket. The Mets selected Wilson in the 2018 MLB Draft with their 19th round pick, the 560th player selected overall. Pitching as a reliever- often a long reliever- Wilson had a successful professional debut, posting a 1.23 ERA in 22.0 innings, allowing 13 hits, walking 7, and striking out 27.
Standing 6’4” and weighing 220-pounds, Wilson has a good pitcher’s frame. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, he has a bit of funkiness in his delivery. During his hand-glove separation, he keeps his glove in front of his knee lift and hides the ball behind it. He also has shown the ability to change up the timing and pace of his delivery, adding hesitation and pauses, while maintaining his command. His fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out at 93 MPH. The pitch doesn’t have too much movement, but Wilson has excellent command of the pitch. He complements the pitch with a slider and a changeup. The slider is an effective pitch, sitting in the low-80s and missing plenty of bats with tight spin. The changeup is also effective, with fading life.