Jose Acuña, RHP
Signed out of Venezuela during the 2019-2020 international free agent signing period, 17-year-old Jose Acuña shows the makings of being a starting pitcher. At 6’2”, 175-pounds, he has a solid pitching frame and is likely to add additional mass in the future, increasing his durability and fastball velocity. As the summer progressed, he added a few ticks to that fastball, signing on July 2nd with a fastball that topped out at 91 MPH and ending the summer with a fastball that topped out at 94 MPH. Complementing his fastball is a curveball and a changeup, both of which are developing but show potential. His curveball has sharp drop, while his changeup has solid tumble. Acuña has the ability to throw all three of his pitches for strikes and shows a baseball acumen advanced for a player his age.
Jostyn Almonte, OF
Signed out of the Dominican Republic during the 2019-2020 international free agent signing period for $80,000, Jostyn Almonte is raw as a ballplayer but has a handful of loud tools. At 5’11”, 195 pounds, Almonte is built like a linebacker. He is athletic and possesses above-average speed when he is able to get going. His speed gives him plenty of range, allowing him to play center field, but in the future, he is likely to slow down, making him more suited to right field thanks to his above-average arm. At the plate, he is equally raw, but shows a good mixture of raw power and speed, though his hit tool will need to be refined in order to take advantage of either during in-game situations.
Wilfred Astudillo, C
The younger brother of Minnesota Twins catcher Willians Astudillo, Wilfred has many of the same strengths and weaknesses as his brother. Signed on July 19, 2016 for $150,000, Astudillo was originally linked to the Boston Red Sox, but when the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball banned Boston from signing international free agents during the 2016-2017 signing period, the Mets were able to pounce. Astudillo made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .291/.351/.368 in 52 games. He began the season in the Dominican Republic, but came stateside midway through the year, getting assigned to the GCL Mets and hitting .260/.315/.340 over the course of 14 games through the end of the season. The 19-year-old was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in 2019 and appeared in 36 games, hitting .267/.323/.408.
A switch-hitter, Astudillo has a hit-over-power profile, making a lot of contact and spraying line drives around the field. Standing at the plate with his hands held extremely high and swinging with a slight leg kick, Astudillo has a compact swing. In 2018, he showed a better hit tool from the left-side, but in 2019, those platoon splits reversed themselves and he showed a better hit tool from the right-side. Consistently, he has shown more power as a right-handed hitter. He is an aggressive swinger, but generally does not strike out much. Behind the plate, he makes for a big target for his pitchers. He moves surprisingly well for a guy his size behind the dish, and like his brother, is an effective pitch framer.
Jace Beck, RHP
The son of Lynn Beck, a standout receiver at Oklahoma State, Jace Beck did not inherit his father’s football skills, but he did inherit his genetics and propensity for athletics. After first learning to pitch in the seventh grade, Jace continued playing through high school, excelling on the diamond instead of the gridiron. He was particularly impressive in his junior year, when he went 9-2 for the Tuttle Tigers, posting a 1.47 ERA in 70 innings with 20 walks and 90 strikeouts. In the middle of his senior year, he moved, and transferred schools, going from Tuttle High School to their rival, Blanchard High School. Though he wore a different uniform, going from the Tuttle Tigers to the Blanchard Lions, Beck continued to be dominant on the mound. The entire team was, in fact, going 39-0 for the year. Beck himself went a perfect 13-0, posting a 0.99 ERA in 70.2 innings, striking out 134. The Mets selected the right-hander in the 22nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft, the 658th player selected overall. He forwent his commitment to Cowley County Community College and signed with the Mets for a $125,000 bonus. The 19-year-old appeared in 6 games in 2019, posting a 3.38 ERA in 8.0 innings for the GCL Mets, allowing 7 hits, walking 1, and striking out 10.
At 6’9”, Jace Beck is extremely tall, even for a professional baseball player. Being tall is often a disadvantage for pitchers, in that they often have problems repeating their deliveries, but Beck did not have this problem as an amateur and did not show command problems in his limited professional innings. His fastball sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s, topping out 92 MPH. The pitch increased in velocity as Jace grew, so it is unlikely that he add more velocity based on his strength and size. There is a chance that he is able to add velocity as he refines and improves his mechanics, though. In addition to his fastball, Beck throws a low-70s curveball and a mid-to-high-70s changeup.
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, and 2019, splitting his season with the Rumble Ponies and Syracuse Mets.
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.
Cody Bohanek, INF
Primarily a football player who fooled around with baseball while a student at Marist High School in Chicago, Cody Bohanek planned on pursuing a career in football until the University of Illinois at Chicago offered him the opportunity to play baseball. He ended up playing baseball with the Flames for four years, as he went undrafted in his junior year, and hit a combined .290/.393/.382 in 194 games, hitting 9 home runs, stealing 33 bases in 43 attempts, and walking 83 times to 143 strikeouts. In 2017, he was selected by the Houston Astros in the 30th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Signing with the team, he was initially assigned to the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League, but was promoted to the Quad Cities River Bandits towards the end of the year. He spent the 2018 season playing throughout the Astros’ minor league system, logging time with the River Bandits, the Buies Creek Astros, and the Fresno Grizzlies and hitting a combined .214/.324/.293 in 120 games. At the beginning of January 2019, he was packaged along with J.D. Davis and traded to the Mets in exchange for Luis Santana, Ross Adolph, and Scott Manea. Assigned to the St. Lucie Mets, Bohanek hit .229/.348/.340 in 99 games before being promoted to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at the end of August. There, he hit .182/.217/.182 in 8 games to end the season.
Bohanek has a hit-over-power profile, buoyed by an excellent eye. He stands slightly open at the plate, holding his hands held high. Swinging with a slight leg kick, he has a level swing with slight loft, allowing him to make contact and scatter line drives around the field. Defensively, Bohanek’s carrying tool is his arm. With above-average arm strength, he can profile anywhere in the infield.
Nick Conti, 2B
The grandson of Guy Conti, Nick Grew up a Mets fan, and in June 2015, when he graduated from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, he was faced with what would seem like a tough choice: attend Eckerd College, a private liberal arts college in St. Petersburg, or signed with the team that he rooted for, as the Mets selected him in the 40th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. In the end, the four-year letter winner elected to go to college, turning the Mets down. An All-Conference player, team MVP, and Offensive Player of the Year, he could do better for himself going to school and rejoining the draft in the future. He spent four years at Eckerd, going undrafted in his junior year. For his career with the Tritons, Conti hit .291/.396/.418 in 182 games, hitting 13 home runs, stealing 16 bases in 20 attempts, and walking 88 times to 131 strikeouts.
In the 2019 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Conti yet again, this time in the 39th round. Offered a $1,000 bonus, Conti signed with the Mets and was assigned to the GCL Mets. The 22-year-old hit .238/.418/.333 in 27 games with the team before being promoted in mid-August to the Columbia Fireflies. He appeared in 15 games with them and hit .241/.344/.389.
Conti stands square at the plate, with his hands held high. He swings with a slight leg kick with a swing that isn’t quite rotational. He squares up well thanks to excellent hand-eye coordination and strong wrists and is able to spray the ball to all fields. At 5’9”, 160 pounds, he is unlikely to add much power to his frame, limiting his power potential to line drives rather than home runs. Defensively, he has smooth infield actions, including soft hands and a strong arm. His range is below average, limiting him to second base, but thanks to his strong arm- he has been clocked in the low-80s- he has the capability to play shortstop in limited bursts without being much of a defensive liability.
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 2018 season in Columbia and hit .217/.287/.389 in 84 games before being promoted to the St. Lucie Mets, appearing in 31 games and hitting .245/.313/.382 to close out the season. He began the 2019 season in St. Lucie and enjoyed a lot of success, hitting .285/.335/.435 in 53 games, and after being promoted to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies hit .251/.314/.377 in 77 games.
A left-handed hitter, Brodey has a balanced, clean swing that shows above-average bat speed at times. His “Stanford swing” 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 only just begun tapping into his 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
Born in New Hampshire, Garrison Bryant and his family moved to Florida so that he could better position himself to get a scholarship to play football in college. After being scouting and interviewed by a variety of schools, he eventually decided on the New Mexico Military Institute, where he would be all but guaranteed to play quarterback. He pitched at Clearwater High School as well, and Mets scouts happened to catch him pitching while scouting another player. They were so wowed that they contacted Bryant and informed him of their intention to draft him in the 2016 MLB Draft. The Mets selected him in the 36th round and offered him $100,000 to forgo his commitment to college and play baseball professionally. He accepted and the right-hander went from pursuing a football career to playing baseball professionally. Extremely young for his age, the 17-year-old was assigned to the GCL Mets, and for the first time, baseball was more than just a hobby. He spent the next two years with the Kingsport Mets, and while the numbers were not particularly great either year, he improved in virtually every pitching category in 2018 as compared to 2017. He made a single appearance for the Columbia Fireflies at the beginning of the 2019 season, but otherwise spent the entire season with the Brooklyn Cyclones as the ace of the pitching staff. In 75.1 innings, he posted a 2.39 ERA, allowing 49 hits, walking 14, and striking out 75.
Throwing from a three-quarters arm slot, Bryant is not an overpowering pitcher. His fastball sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s, generally 87-91 MPH, with a decent amount of arm-side run. His go-to secondary is a circle change that sits in the low-80s. The breaking ball he threw in high school, a loose thing halfway on the spectrum between curveball and slider has developed into more of a slurvy slider, sitting in the high-70s with loose spin. He hopes to tighten the pitch up and then work on refining his curveball, giving him two distinct breaking pitches to use during games. Bryant is able to locate all of his pitches, and is able to maintain both his fastball velocity and his command deep into games, averaging roughly 70 pitches and five innings over the course of the 2019 season with no visible ill effects.
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. He was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies in 2019 and spent the entire season there, posting a 3.62 ERA in 112.0 innings, allowing 100 hits, walking 31, and striking out 109.
The 6’1”, 160 lb. Butto throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, dropping and driving off 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.
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. The power disappeared in 2019, but, splitting his season with St. Lucie and Binghamton, he hit a combined .282/.361/.380 in 113 games.
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 for $100,000, 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. He remained in St. Lucie for the 2019 season, and pitching as a swingman, posted a 3.54 ERA in 81.1 innings, allowing 74 hits, walking 34, and striking out 74.
Cavallaro has a athletic 6’4”, 190-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.
Andrew Church, RHP
Andrew Church’s high school career was atypical, to put it lightly. He began his prep baseball career in 2010 at Bishop Gorman High School in Summerlin, Nevada. He transferred to Palo Verde High School for the 2011 season, where a family friend had been hired as pitching coach, but Nevada transfer rules ruled Church ineligible to play that season. By the time he was ready to pitch in 2012, that coach had moved on and the position filled by a coach that Church did not get along with. The young right-hander and the coach had a dispute that led to Church sitting out for the season. To rectify the situation, the 18-year-old Church got an apartment of his own in another school district and transferred to Basic High School. Transfer rules once again prevented him from pitching for most of the year, but his lack of a resume did not stop the Mets from selecting him in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft, having kept an eye on the young right-hander on travel team- where Jose Canseco was his shortstop- and in bullpen sessions in front of scouts. He signed for $850,000, roughly $300,000 less than the assigned slot value of $1,138,800.
He made his professional debut with the GSL Mets that year and posted a 5.91 ERA in 35.0 innings, allowing 49 hits, walking 8, and striking out 19. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in 2014 and posted a 4.61 ERA in 52.2 innings, allowing 73 hits, walking 14, and striking out 31. Over the next few years, Church would slowly climb the minor league ladder, occasionally showing glimpses of why the Mets drafted him in he second round of the 2013 MLB Draft and occasionally showing terrible, diminished stuff that allowed batters to tee off on him. Stalled out with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in 2018, he made a spot start with the Las Vegas 51s in front of his friends and family and then retired from baseball. He spent the next few months working as a car salesman, bartender, and youth coach, the latter of which reignited his passion for baseball. He got back into shape and eventually returned to baseball, pitching a few games for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and Syracuse Mets before having his season end prematurely due to injury.
Earlier in his career, Church had a fastball that sat in the low-90s and could touch as high as 95 MPH, but repeated injuries have sapped a lot of its former giddyap and now it sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s. He complements it with a low-80s slider and a mid-70s curveball, both of which are average offerings that he is able to command well. At times, his secondary pitches are more effective than his fastball, thanks to its lack of much velocity or movement, and the right-hander has been known to utilize more breaking balls than the heater.
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. In 2019, he pitched for the Brooklyn Cyclones and posted a 3.78 ERA in 66.2 innings, allowing 53 hits, walking 32, and striking out 42.
The tall and lean Cleveland throws from a three-quarter arm slot with a full arm circle and length in the back. His fastball generally sits in the mid-90s, topping out at 95, but it backs into the high-80s just as often due to poor mechanics. He complements his fastball with a slider and a changeup. The slider, which sits in the low-80s, has very little horizontal movement and only light vertical drop. The changeup, which sits in the high-70s-to-low-80s, has solid tumble, and Cleveland is able to maintain his arm speed. His poor mechanics have led to command problems, to the point that not only does he bounce his secondaries, but he bounces his fastball as well.
Robert Colina, RHP
Robert Colina was born in Punto Fijo, the largest city in the Venezuelan state of Falcón. Inspired by hometown heroes Freddy Galvis and Robinson Chirinos, he sought to become a professional ballplayer himself. While in school, his parents and coaches discovered that he had an incredible arm, and Colina he began training with a variety of people, eventually enrolling at Future Stars Baseball Academy in Barquisimito. He eventually signed with the Mets on July 2, 2017, agreeing to a $85,000 signing bonus.
The right-hander was assigned to the Dominican Summer League and posted a 2.94 ERA in 49.0 innings, allowing 42 hit, walking 12, and striking out 49. He began the 2019 season in the DSL but was promoted to the GCL Mets in late June after just four starts. Pitching as both a starter and reliever, Colina posted a 3.57 ERA in 40.1 innings, allowing 42 hits, walking 13, and striking out 35.
Though only 5’11”, his fastball can touch as high as 94 MPH. While his statue might be worrisome if he were older, Colina is still just 18-years-old, and still may be growing. In addition to a fastball, the right-hander throws a curveball and a changeup.
Joshua Cornielly, RHP
Signed on the first day of the 2018-2019 international free agent signing period out of Caracas, Venezuela out of the Elite Baseball Academy, Joshua Corneilly made his professional debut that summer, being assigned to the Dominican Summer League. The 17-year-old right-hander posted a 3.25 ERA in 27.2 innings, allowing 35 hits, walking 8, and striking out 27. He began the 2019 season with the DSL Mets, posting a 6.10 ERA in three starts, but was promoted to the GSL Mets and sent stateside in late June. Pitching as a swingman there, he posted a 4.54 ERA in 35.2 innings, allowing 43 hits, walking 8, and striking out 40.
The bespectacled right-hander has a frame suited for pitching, standing 6’2” and weighing 175-pounds. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, dropping down low with a long arm action in the back. In addition to his high-80s-to-low-90s fastball, Cornielly throws a changeup that is advanced for his age and a curveball and slider, though the two may simply be one semi-indistinguishable pitch rather than two distinct ones that bleed into each other.
Carlos Cortes, 2B
The diminutive Carlos Cortes had a long track record of hitting in high school, both on the showcase circuit and for Lake Howell High School in Winter Park, Florida. 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. He was promoted to St. Lucie in 2019 and hit .255/.336/.397 in 127 games, hitting 11 homers, stealing 6 bases in 11 attempts, and walking 52 times to 77 strikeouts.
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. Defensively, 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.
Robert Dominguez, RHP
Born on November 30, 2001, Robert Dominguez was eligible to sign as an international free agent over in 2018 but flew under the radar as his stuff generally did not draw much attention from scouts and evaluators. An additional year of growth and development added a few miles per hour to his fastball and got him noticed. Receiving unsatisfactory offers, the Venezuelan put off signing and spent the summer of 2019 in the Dominican Republic, working with new trainers and coaches to make mechanical changes to his delivery and improve his stuff. By the end of the summer, he had transformed his 93 MPH fastball into a pitch that flirted with triple digits. Impressed by the velocity, the Mets signed him shortly thereafter.
At 6’4”, 200 lbs., the Venezuelan right-hander has an ideal frame for pitching. Complementing his impressive fastball is a developing breaking ball and a developing changeup. The breaking ball, which does not have a true form yet and can still develop into either a curveball or slider, has late break and flashes the ability to be an average pitch. The changeup, as is the case with most young pitches, is very firm and rough and is still far from being able to be used an effective pitch during in-game situations.
Antoine Duplantis, OF
The son of two LSU stars, with a brother who competed there as well, it made sense that Antoine Duplantis attend the school when he graduated from Lafayette High School down in Lafayette, Louisiana. An All-State and All-District athlete who hit .453 with 6 home runs and 27 stolen bases, he was accepted to Louisiana State University. In his freshman year, he appeared in 66 games and hit .327/.404/.419, stealing 13 bases in 21 attempts. He was equally good in his sophomore year, hitting .316/.358/.400 in 71 games with 19 stolen bases in 23 attempts. He hit .328/.381/.443 in his junior year, stealing 19 bases in 27 attempts, and his performance got him drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 19th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, 583rd overall.
Instead of signing with the Indians, Duplantis elected to return to LSU for one final season, as they did not meet the criteria that the outfielder was looking for. In his final year there, he hit .324/.376/.505 in 66 games, breaking Eddy Furniss’ LSU record of 353 hits and setting a new high with 359. The Mets drafted him with their 12th round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and signed him for $85,000. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he played with his SEC friend and rival Jake Mangum and played a pivotal role on the eventual 2019 New York-Penn League champions, hitting .237/.286/.294 in 52 games.
Duplantis has a short, simple stroke. He uses a very small stride and has a quick, balanced swing through the zone that produces a slight bit of lift. He has quick hands and excellent bat control, allowing him to get to most pitches in the zone and just outside of it. The approach hamstrings him a bit, as he generally puts the ball in play regardless if he is able to drive the ball or not, but when he is, he shows decent power, putting a jolt in balls down the gaps. His bat control and pitch recognition has also resulted in his being a tough strikeout. Despite being from a family of runners, Antoine is not particularly fast for a baseball player. He has fringe-average-to-average speed, having progressively gotten a bit slower as he’s filled in over the course of his four years in school. He does have a quick first step out of the box, though, making him a solid runner on the base paths, and has solid baserunner instincts.
Defensively, Antoine has the ability to play anywhere in the outfield. His arm is strong enough to play right field, and he is able to cover enough ground to play center. He reads the ball well off the bat, has a quick first step and plenty of closing speed once he gets going.
Jefferson Escorcha, LHP
Jefferson Escorcha was signed out of Piritu, Venezuela on July 19, 2016. He made his professional debut in 2017, playing for the Mets’ Dominican Summer League squad and posting a 1.86 ERA in 21 appearances. The 18-year-old left-hander remained in the DSL in 2018 and posted a 1.57 ERA in 57.1 innings, allowing 33 hits, walking 12, and striking out 63. The 19-year-old made his stateside debut in 2019, pitching for the Kingsport Mets. Appearing in 15 games, he posted a 2.38 ERA in 41.2 innings, allowing 40 hits, walking 8, and striking out 33.
Escorcha is on the smaller side, standing only 5’11”. He throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot with a fluid delivery with a long arm action in the back. His fastball sits around 90 MPH, which is roughly average for a left-handed pitcher. He complements his fastball with a big 12-6 curveball that sits in the mid-to-high-70s and is his go-to strikeout pitch. He is able to command both pitches well.
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 $300,000. 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. The 19-year-old was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in 2019 and appeared in 52 games, hitting .251/.303/.332 with 12 walks and 61 strikeouts.
Espino currently projects as a defensive-oriented shortstop, showing soft hands, good actions, and plenty of range. With the bat, the Dominican youngster is nowhere near as advanced. He is currently a contact-oriented fastball hitter, spraying line drives around the field with the occasional double. There may be some additional power potential in his 6’2”, 175-pound frame, but were he to grow into more power, he needs to develop his eye better, as he struggles against breaking balls.
Branden Fryman, SS
Branden Fryman is the son of five-time All-Star Travis Fryman. Born and raised in Molino, Florida, he was a star at J.M. Tate High School in Cantonment, Florida, hitting .361/.436/.426 in his four-year career there. Primarily a shortstop, he had an advanced hit tool for someone his age, possessing quick hands and above-average bat speed. In addition, at 5’11”, 135-pounds, the undersized righty was guaranteed to grow, giving him a projectable frame that would add some power. His defensive skill at shortstop at the time was fringy, but evaluators believed that with some work and continued physical maturation, he would be able to stay on the left side of the infield. The Mets liked what they saw and selected him with their 37th Round in the 2016 MLB Draft, the 1120th player selected overall. Fryman did not sign with the Mets, and instead honored his commitment to Samford University. Over the course of his three years there, he hit .290/.351/.357 in 177 games, hitting 6 home runs, stealing 55 bases in 66 attempts, walking 66 times, and striking out 124 times. In the 2019 MLB Draft, the Mets once again selected Fryman, this time with their 21st round pick, and the infielder signed with the team. He was initially assigned to the GCL Mets, but was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones after just four games. He spent the rest of the summer with Brooklyn- though the extent of his time on the field was just 13 games- and hit .356/.396/.400 with them.
At the plate, Fryman never added much power. Standing open at the plate, he has slight leg kick and small stride, using a line-drive oriented approach. Relying on his above-average speed, his sprays balls around the field, taking extra bases when he can, stealing bases when he can, and generally being a pesky player to the opposition. Defensively, he has the tools to play shortstop but may be forced off the position as he ages. His arm is only average, but his speed, range, and quick transfer-and-release give him the crucial few seconds needed to neutralize that weakness.
Benito Garcia, RHP
Born in Santo Domingo, Benito Garcia became a professional player relatively late, signing with the Mets and getting assigned to the DSL Mets in June 2018. The 18-year-old appeared in 14 games, starting 10 of them, and posted a 3.93 ERA in 50.1 innings, allowing 51 hits, walking 11, and striking out 58. He began the 2019 season in the Dominican Summer League, but was promoted to Kingsport after making a pair of starts. The right-hander showed some growing pains there, posting a 6.45 ERA in 44.2 innings, allowing 53 hits, walking 19, and striking out 43.
The lanky Garcia throws from a three-quarters arm slot, using a loose, easy delivery. At 6’, 165 pounds, Garcia may have a little bit of physical projection left in his body, but there is no guarantee. His fastball ranges from 88-93, generally sitting at the top of the band. He complements it with a 12-6 curveball and a changeup. The curveball is the better of the two pitches, sitting in the mid-to-high-70s, and has been highly effective against young hitters down in the zone and in the dirt. His changeup, which sits in the mid-80s, lags behind in its development. Garcia currently has an easier time commanding his fastball than his secondaries, but even with that, has trouble hitting the corners.
Joe Genord, 1B
After lettering for three years at Park Vista High School at Lake Worth, Florida, Joe Genord had to decide between attending college or becoming a professional, as the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 19th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, 582nd overall. He ultimately decided on going to school, electing to honor his commitment to the University of South Florida. In his four years with the Bulls, he hit .291/.382/.528 in 204 games, leading the team in batting average, doubles, home runs in both his junior and senior years. With their ninth-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Genord and the two sides agreed to a $10,000, well below the assigned slot value of $154,600. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones and hit .204/.273/.389 in 64 games. His nine home runs were the most any Cyclones player hit since Travis Taijeron hit 9 back in 2011.
As one would expect, power is his carrying tool. He has middle-of-the-order raw power capable of carrying for a team when he gets hot and goes on a tear. His hit tool is unfortunately below average, as he takes mighty hacks in virtually every at-bat with a long swing full of uppercut, leading to plenty of swings-and-misses. He does not have a particularly refined eye and has gotten by on pitchers nibbling and not wanting to directly challenge his power; more advanced pitchers may be more confident attacking him directly.
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
Stephen Gonsalves went to Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, where he played varsity baseball all four years he attended. Over the course of his career with the Dons, he posted a cumulative 1.65 ERA in 174 innings, allowing 111 hits, walking 66, and striking out 202. In his senior year, he posted a 2.19 ERA in 48 innings, allowing 34 hits, walking 21, and striking out 55, and was considered one of the top left-handed prep pitching prospects in the 2013 MLB Draft and even a potential first-round draft pick, but teams got cold feet when he was suspended after getting caught smoking marijuana with friends. The Twins eventually drafted him, selecting him with their fourth-round pick and signing him to an over slot deal in order to prevent him from going to the University of San Diego. He quickly made an impression on his new team, having strong seasons in 2013 and 2014 before really breaking out in 2015, posting a combined 2.01 ERA in 134.1 innings with the Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels and the High-A Fort Myers Miracle. He showed he was able to continue posting good numbers in the upper levels of the minors, posting excellent numbers with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts and the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. Minnesota promoted him to the majors in August 2018, but the 23-year-old struggled, posting a 6.57 ERA in 24.2 innings, allowing 28 hits, walking 22, and striking out 16. An elbow injury prevented him from making any progress in 2019, and after being designated for assignment at the end of the season, the Mets claimed him on waivers.
The 6’5” Gonsalves throws from a slingy high-three-quarters arm slot that gives his pitches a bit of natural life and deception. He uses a simple, fluid delivery that allows him to repeat his mechanics well, giving him excellent command of his pitches. His fastball sits in the low-90s with good life, touching as high as 93 MPH. He complements it with a changeup, curveball, and a slider, the former of which is the better of the two, grading out as above-average thanks to some gratuitous tumble. His curveball and slider both lag behind the change, with the curveball being better of the two. Both lack bite, with the curveball being a loopy pitch in the high-70s and the slider being a frisbee pitch in the low-80s.
Brailin Gonzalez, RHP
An older player signed roughly a month into the 2017-2018 international free agent signing period out of the Dominican Republic, Nagua native Brailin Gonzalez made his professional debut in 2018 in the Dominican Summer League. The southpaw appeared in 14 games- eleven of them starts- and posted a 3.71 ERA in 51.0 innings, allowing 50 hits, walking 23, and striking out 53. He was promoted to the Gulf Coast League for the 2019 season, and pitching primarily as a reliever, posted a 3.68 ERA in 22.0 innings, allowing 18 hits, walking 14, and striking out 24.
At 6’2”, 180-pounds, Gonzalez still may have some additional growth in his body. Adding that mass will be key to his future development, as the 20-year-old has a fastball that sits in the high-80s, just scraping 90 MPH. If he can add more velocity, his role may expand, but if he is not, he may be limited to just facing left-handers, as they hit just .150 against him thanks to his excellent slider, which currently grades out as above-average.
Saul Gonzalez, RHP
Born in Puerto Rico, Saul Gonzalez moved continental United States as a boy and attended Montverde Academy for his junior and senior years of high school. Originally a two-way player, Montverde Academy coaches quickly realized that his future was on the mound and focused all of his training on pitching. The results were tangible, as he went from an 88-90 MPH fastball as a junior to a mid-90s fastball as a senior. Armed with a more effective fastball, Gonzalez went 8-0 in his final year, posting a 1.50 ERA in 42.0 innings pitched, allowing 18 hits, walking 16, and striking out 83. The Mets selected him in the 23rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the 680th player selected overall. He forewent his commitment to Alabama State commitment and signed with the Mets for a $175,000 signing bonus, the second-most given to any player in that round that year. The 18-year-old appeared in 3 games that year, posting a 11.57 ERA in 2.1 innings for the GCL Mets, allowing 5 hits, walking 2, and striking out 1.
Gonzalez is a big kid, standing 6’7” and weighing 235-pounds. He uses a very simple delivery, using his long arm to sling the ball from a low-three-quarters arm slot, wrapping his arm behind his back and generating velocity through torque and arm strength. He gets a lot of extension thanks to his height, but doesn’t stride or push off the rubber much, costing himself additional velocity and putting more pressure on his arm to generate velocity. He throws across his body with something of a crossfire delivery.
His fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out as high as 94 MPH. The pitch is mostly straight, but has some sink. Based on his size, many scouts and evaluators believe that Gonzalez will eventually be able to hit the high-90s with the pitch, giving him a future 70-grade fastball. He complements the fastball with a slider that sits in the high-70s-to-low-80s. The pitch has soft, sweepy break like a slurve, and he usually slows his arm down when he throws it, tipping hitters. The pitch is still very new to his repertoire, as he generally got by throwing only fastballs for most of his high school career, so there is plenty of refining to do. He occasionally mixes in a crude changeup that is more a fastball that is slowed down a few miles per hour.
Victor Gonzalez, SS
Signed during the 2019-2020 international free agent period out of the Dominican Republic for $250,000, Victor Gonzalez has the physical profile of a prototypical shortstop. At 5’11”, 155 lbs., he has a slim, athletic build. He is a quick-twitch athlete who has the tools to excel at shortstop, having a quick first step, above-average range, and an above-average arm. Gonzalez’ defensive tools are currently much more well developed than his bat. Standing square at the plate, Gonzalez holds his hands high and swings with a big leg kick. His right-handed swing sprays line drives around the field, and without unforeseen physical development, that may be his power ceiling.
Jhoxan Gudiño, RHP
The first player from Guerrero Negro, Mexico to sign with a major league organization, Jhoxan Gudiño signed with the Mets in December 2019 on the strength of a fastball that currently touches as high as 92 MPH. The 16-year-old Gudiño, who worked out with Mexico City Red Devils, gained scouts’ attention after helping lead the 2019 Mulegé junior baseball team to the Mexican State Olympiad.
Gregory Guerrero, 2B
One of the top rookies available during the 2015-2016 international free agent period, Gregory Guerrero has been involved in baseball since birth. He grew up playing baseball with his brother, Jose, and cousins Josue, Gabby, and Vlad Jr. He received tutelage from uncles Vlad, Wilton, Julio, and Eleazar, all of whom were signed by professional teams and had varying degrees of success. When the Mets signed him in July 2015 for $1.5 million, it looked as if they would be adding a high ceiling prospect into their system, but injuries and other issues have severely diminished his star. In 2017, the 17-year-old hit .247/.324/.287 in 64 games with the Dominican Summer League squad. In 2018, promoted to the GCL Mets, Guerrero was limited to 38 games due to shoulder injuries and hit a paltry .217/.257/.252. He missed the entire 2018 season thanks to corrective shoulder surgery, and when he returned to the field in 2019, was assigned to the Kingsport Mets. In 53 games, the 20-year-old hit .222/.323/.376.
At the plate, Guerrero’s mechanics have held him back. His top and lower halves often come out of sync. He will sometimes swing using a leg kick and will sometimes swing using a toe tap. He often ends up on his front foot or stepping back in the bucket, resulting in off-balanced swings and weak contact. When he is able to square up on the ball, he shows a bit more power than you would think is in his 6’, 185-pound frame, but the hit tool has degenerated to the point that he likely will not be able to fully tap into the raw power- which has improved since signing and is a better tool than scouts and evaluators first believed. On the field, Gregory is athletic but is unlikely to be able to stay at shortstop. He has a solid glove and smooth actions, but a lack of quick-twitch explosiveness, agility, and range make him subpar at short and relegated to second.
Brendan Hardy, RHP
As the son of William Hardy, Brendan Hardy has baseball in his blood. His father was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 25th round of the 1979 draft and played in their system a few years. Brandan is a chip off the old block, hitting a career .297/.371/.369 during his four years at Harrison Central High School, but unlike his father, Brendan is most at home on the mound. The right-hander has a career 2.28 ERA in 70.2 innings for the Red Rebels, allowing 64 hits, walking 38, and striking out 80. He really came into his own in his senior year, posting a 1.51 ERA in 51.0 innings, allowing 46 hits, walking 25, and striking out 69. The Mets selected him with 31st round pick in the 2018 and were able to sign him, with the two sides agreeing to a $130,000, $5,000 of which counted against their total draft pool. He began his professional career with the GCL Mets, appearing in 9 games and posting a 3.31 ERA in 16.1 innings, allowing 11 hits, walking 14, and striking out 19. He was assigned to the Kingsport Mets for the 2019 season and posted a 6.83 ERA in 27.2 innings, allowing 19 hits, walking 25, and striking out 29.
Hardy has a lanky 6’4”, 190-pound build with long legs and long arms, suggesting additional growth in the future. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, using a delivery that is equal parts violent and funky, with a quick, loose arm. His fastball that sits in the upper-80s, topping out in the low-90s, and he complements it with a mid-to-high-70s curveball and changeup that sits in the high-70s-to-low-80s.
Zach Hammer, RHP
A standout at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville, North Carolina, Hammer earned All NWC honors for the Cougars in his senior season after posting a 2.75 ERA and striking out 67 batters over the course of the season. The Mets selected him in the 21st round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the 620th player selected overall. Hammer forwent his commitment to Catawba Valley Community College and signed with the Mets for $285,000, more than double any other player selected in that round that year received. Still 17-years-old, he was assigned to the GCL Mets and appeared in three games for them, posting a 19.29 ERA. He returned to the GCL Mets in 2019 and logged considerably more time on the mound, posting a 2.90 ERA in 31.0 innings, allowing 25 hits, walking 18, and striking out 27.
At 6’2”, 165-pounds, Hammer has plenty of projection left in his lean body and should add additional weight and muscle. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, he uses simple delivery, standing tall on the rubber and getting good extension off the rubber.
Hammer’s fastball currently is thrown in the high-80s-to-low-90s, sitting 89-92 MPH. The pitch has sinking movement thanks to his high arm slot. The youngster often has trouble commanding it, tending to miss up and arm side seemingly because he is inconsistent when he releases the ball and releases it too early. He complements the pitch with a power curve that is advanced for his age. The pitch sits in the mid-to-high-70s and has 11-5 drop. He occasionally throws a high-70s changeup, but rarely has needed to use the pitch as a high school pitcher and it lags far behind in its development as a result.
Josh Hejka, RHP
Josh Hejka attended Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Michigan. While there, he helped lead the team to a district championship in his sophomore year, the conference semifinals in his junior year, and the finals in his senior year, winning All-City, All-District, All-Region, All-Academic and All-State honors in the latter two. After graduating, he enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, studying computer science. In 2016, his first year as a Johns Hopkins Blue Jay, he appeared in a team-high 21 games, posting a 4.09 ERA in 22.0 innings, allowing 25 hits, walking 6, and striking out 22. He was even more successful in his sophomore year, posting a 2.04 ERA in 35.1 innings, allowing 30 hits, walking 8, and striking out 29. In 2018, he posted a 2.53 ERA in 32.0 innings, allowing 32 hits, walking 9, and striking out 27. He went undrafted in the 2018 MLB Draft and returned to Johns Hopkin in 2019 to finish up his degree. Setting the Johns Hopkins University record with 25 appearances, Hejka helped lead the Blue Jays to the Div III College World Series, posting a 2.91 ERA in 77.1 innings, allowing 75 hits, walking 8, and striking out 60. All in all, he posted a 2.81 ERA, the sixth lowest in program history. In addition, he set the school record with 15 saves.
He went undrafted for a second time, but was signed as a minor league free agent by the Mets in late June, making him the first Johns Hopkins player to sign with a major league team since Andrew Pevsner, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 16th round of the 2010 MLB Draft and spent two years in their system. Initially assigned to the Kingsport Mets, he spent about equal time with them and the Brooklyn Cyclones in two stints apiece, posting a 0.00 ERA in 8.1 innings in the Appalachian League and a 2.25 ERA in 12.0 innings in the New York-Penn League.
Hejka works fast and has experience pitching in high leverage situations. Because of how he was used at Johns Hopkins, he is durable and can pitch for multiple innings and in back-to-back nights. The right-hander is cognizant of his limits as a pitcher and has a high pitching IQ as a result. His lack of premium stuff has also prompted him to turn to analytics to improve the limited stuff that he does possess.
His fastball sits 84-86 MPH, topping out at 88 MPH. The features a lot of arm side movement, and because of its high spin rate, has late downward action. He is able to command it to both sides of the plate. He pairs his fastball with a slider and changeup, the latter of which is the better pitch. It sits 72-75 MPH and features a lot of frisbee-like movement thanks to his arm slot. His changeup lags behind his slide in its development because, being a reliever for most of his career, it was never necessary. It sits 75-78 MPH and features late fade. He is able to consistently hit his spots with both pitches.
Most notable about Hejka, and the primary reason for the success that he has had in his collegiate and professional career, are his pitching mechanics. He drops down as if he were a submarine pitcher, though his release point is much higher than submariners; from the angle his arm is to his body, he is throwing more sidearm than submarine. The unusual delivery and arm slot makes his pitchers harder for batters to pick up on and recognize.
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. He returned to the field roughly a month into the season, assigned to the Columbia Fireflies. He spent the majority of the season with them, throwing a handful of rehab innings with the Brooklyn Cyclones and getting a promotion to St. Lucie at the end of the season, posting a combined 3.53 ERA in 66.1 innings, allowing 56 hits, walking 29, and striking out 49.
Before his injury woes, Holderman had a big fastball, sitting in the low 90s and topping out as high as 97 MPH. Since then, his fastball has lost some of its edge, sitting in the low-90s and topping out at 94 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.
Jordan Humphreys, RHP
Jordan Humphreys had an impressive senior season while a student at Crystal River High School, in Crystal River, Florida. On the mound, he posted a 2.15 ERA in 78.0 innings, allowing 63 hits, walking 19, and striking out 99. At the plate, he hit .297/.408/.509 in 165 at-bats. The Mets liked what they saw and drafted the youngster in the 18th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. The two sides agreed on a $150,000 signing bonus, $50,000 over slot value, and the right-hander forewent his commitment to St. Johns River Community College to become a professional. Humphreys pitched a handful of innings that season, but his career began in earnest in 2016, with the Kingsport Mets. He had a great deal of success with the Kingsport Mets, posting a 3.76 ERA in 69.1 innings, allowing 65 hits, walking 15, and striking out 76. He made a pair of appearances with the Brooklyn Cyclones at the end of the season and then skipped over short-season ball, getting assigned to the Columbia Fireflies to begin the 2017 season.
In Columbia, Humphreys formed a fearsome 1-2 punch with Merandy Gonzalez, posting a 1.42 ERA in 69.2 innings. Gonzalez posted an equally impressive 1.55 ERA in 69.2 innings himself, making the duo the strongest 1 and 1A in the South Atlantic League for the time they were there. Humphreys was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets in late June but was shut down after just a pair of starts due to elbow soreness. Sure enough, the right-hander was suffering from a torn UCL and the prognosis went from missing a couple of starts to missing an entire season, as Humphreys needed Tommy John surgery. He was supposed to return in 2019, but had his return to the mound delayed due to complications in his recovery. He finally suited up in the GCL at the end of June, but was shut down after just an inning of work. He would make only one more appearance for the season, tossing an inning of work in mid-August. The Mets included him in their Arizona Fall League contingent in 2019, and Humphreys was able to get 11.2 more innings under his belt.
Before his injury, Humphreys’ fastball sat in the low-90s, topping out around 95 MPH. He showed good command of the pitch and was able to locate it in all four quadrants of the strike zone. His changeup was his best secondary pitch, sitting in the low-to-mid 80s. He maintained his arm speed and didn’t telegraph the pitch, giving it deception, but it didn’t get much fade. He also threw a curveball, which needed to be tightened up from the slurvy form most held.
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, posting a 2.25 ERA with 18 hits allowed, 7 walks, and 13 strikeouts. After impressing in spring training, the Mets challenged Hutchinson by assigning him to the Columbia Fireflies for the 2019 season. He spent most of the season pitching out of the bullpen or piggybacking fellow young gun Simeon Woods Richardson, but was transitioned into a purely starting position near the end of the year. As a whole, he posted a 3.73 ERA in 91.2 innings, allowing 91 hits, walking 29, and striking out 71.
Standing an imposing 6’6” and weighing 245 lbs., Hutchinson has a solid pitching frame, though it may become high maintenance years from now in the future. Throwing from a high-three-quarters arm slot, he has a fluid arm action and generates velocity from his above average arm speed. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s with slight arm-side run. While he has been known to ramp it up to as high as 95 MPH in short bursts in the past, the pitch has also backed up into the high-80s without much life over the course of the 2019 season. He complements it with a sharp low-to-mid 80s slider with late drop, a developing curveball in the high-70s-to-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.
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. He was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies for the 2019, and was exposed outside of the friendly confines of the New York-Penn League, posting a 5.07 ERA in 113.2 innings, allowing 132 hits, walking 46, and striking out 76.
James’ fastball sits 88-90, topping out at 91, and features slight arm-side movement. He complements his fastball with a full assortment of pitches, none of which are better than average pitches at best. 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.
Cole Kleszcz, OF
Cole Kleszcz graduated from Valencia High School in Santa Clarita, California, where he played on the varsity baseball team for two years. After graduating, he attended the College of the Canyons, a junior college in his native Valencia. He redshirted his first season but got back on the field in 2017 and made an impact in a big way, hitting .410/.495/.847 in 42, slugging a California Western State Conference leading 18 home runs. His performance attracted the attention of the Cleveland Indians, who drafted him with their very last pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. He did not sign with them and instead transferred to the University of California at Santa Barbara. He struggled there, hitting .000/.067/.000 in 14 at-bats. He transferred to Azusa Pacific University and had a lot more success in the Div II Pacific West Conference, hitting .374/.463/.863 with 27 home runs in 55 games.
Kleszcz has below-average tools across the board except for one category: power. He has above-average, borderline plus raw power, but because his hit tool is poor, it is unlikely that he will be able to tap into it. He hit well against lower tier pitching in college and in the Appy, but struggled against Div I pitching in the limited at-bats he’s had against them. In the field, he is a below-average left fielder, but is passable.
Desmond Lindsay, OF
When the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million contact in November 2014, they did so knowing they would be sacrificing their first-round draft pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. While they missed out on the cream of the crop, the organization made the most of their second-round draft pick, selecting Desmond Lindsay, a raw but toolsy outfielder from the Out-Of-Door Academy in Sarasota, Florida who likely would have been selected much earlier in the draft if his senior high school season hadn’t been plagued by a hamstring issue. Lindsay had a commitment to play at the University of North Carolina, but the Mets bought him out of it by offering him a signing bonus at the slot value of $1,142,700, above his cutoff of anything less than one million dollars.
He appeared in 35 games that summer, splitting his time with the GCL Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones, hitting .304/.400/.464 in 21 games for the former and .200/.308/.267 in 14 games for the latter. He began the 2016 season with Brooklyn, and while he was limited to only 32 games over the summer thanks to hamstring and leg issues, he did hit an impressive .297/.418/.450, ending the season near the top of the leader boards in multiple offensive categories. In 2017, he began the season with the Columbia Fireflies, hitting .220/.327/.388, but had his season end after 65 games due to numbness in his hand and fingers, necessitating ulnar nerve transposition surgery, a procedure done to unpinch the nerve. Lindsay was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets for the 2018 season and while he did play a career-high 84 games, he spent roughly a month on the disabled list thanks to a nagging back and arm injuries and hit a career-worst .218/.310/.320 when he was on the field. He returned to St. Lucie in 2019 and was limited to just 15 games thanks to a torn hamstring sustained in April.
Lindsay was an excellent athlete when he was drafted, and earlier in his career, but it is hard to say how exactly his body will hold up now thanks to the litany of health issues he has experienced over the years. The same can be said of his baseball skills; earlier in his career, skills such as eye-hand coordination and spin recognition may have degradated due to time spent off the field.
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 as a pitcher. He elected to go professional instead of honoring his commitment to University of South Florida, signing for $340,000, just under the slot value of $393,000. 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 Padres traded Lockett to the Cleveland Indians on November 20, 2018 for minor league pitcher Ignacio Feliz and a few weeks later, on January 6, 2019, the Indians traded him and Sam Haggerty to the Mets in exchange for Kevin Plawecki. He spent the majority of the season with the Syracuse Mets, where he posted a 3.66 ERA in 59.0 innings, but spent time with the major league club in June and posted an 8.34 ERA in 22.2 innings.
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.
William Lugo, 3B
Having added $1 million in international bonus pool money when Jeurys Familia to the Athletics on July 21, 2018, the Mets were able to continue spending on highly touted international free agents after spending nearly 80% of their original budget on the first day of the 2018-2019 signing period. Using $475,000 of that million, the Mets were able to sign Dominican third baseman William Lugo in late August 2018. He skipped over the Dominican Summer League completely and made his professional debut stateside, getting assigned to the GCL Mets in 2019. The 17-year-old appeared in 43 games and hit .158/.280/.219 in 43 games, hitting one home run, stealing one base, walking 21 times and striking out 46 times.
The 6’3”, 215-pound Lugo is solidly built, thick and muscular from top to bottom. He stands tall at the plate with his hands held high, swinging with a big leg kick. He swings with confidence and authority, putting a jolt into the ball when he connects. He has present above-average power, and with additional muscle addition and some mechanical refinements, may show plus power in the future. While sometimes a bit aggressive at the plate, he has a fair eye and is able to recognize spin and lay off of pitches outside of the zone. Lugo is agile enough to play third base well, but may eventually be forced to first if his body continues growing and he loses mobility.
Nick MacDonald, RHP
The nephew of former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ray Nelson, Nick MacDonald played baseball at Charles Flannigan High School in Pembroke Pines, Florida, where he was named Pitcher of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and team MVP in 2016. After being recruited by multiple colleges, he settled on Florida International, where he posted a 4.29 ERA in 71.1 innings in his freshman year, allowing 67 hits, walking 30, and striking out 67. He was remarkably consistent in his sophomore and junior years, posting a 4.26 ERA in 67.2 innings in 2018 and a 4.59 ERA in 76.0 innings in 2019 with similar peripherals. All in all, he posted a cumulative 4.14 ERA in 214.1 innings over three years as a Golden Panther, allowing 230 hits, walking 76, and striking out 205.
The Mets selected him in the 23rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft, the 688th player selected overall and he signed for $125,000, the maximum allowable for a 10th+ round draftee without having to dip into a team’s bonus pool. He was assigned to Kingsport and spent the majority of the season there, posting a 3.20 ERA in 19.2 innings over 16 relief appearances. He allowed 18 hits, walked six, and struck out 28, saving three games in four opportunities. After the Kingsport season ended, he was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies, where he appeared in a game, and then sent to Brooklyn, where he appeared in a game.
MacDonald uses an over-the-head windup, throwing from a low-three-quarter, almost sidearm arm slot, slinging the ball with a whippy arm action. His fastball ranges from 89-93 MPH, sitting 91-92 MPH. Thanks to his arm slot and slingy arm action, the pitch gets a lot of arm-side movement on it. He is able to command the pitch and hit his spots. He complements his fastball with a curveball and changeup, both of which he has a good feel for and consistently mixes in. His curveball ranges from 78-82 MPH and generally sits 81-82 MPH. The pitch has 11-5 shape and is his primary weapon against left-handed hitters, generally backdooring it against them. His changeup, which ranges from 82-85 MPH but generally sits 84-85 MPH, is his primary weapon against right-handers, as it has good tumble and fade.
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. Given a $500,000 signing bonus, he made his professional debut in 2018 in the Dominican Summer League and posted a 6.18 ERA in 39.1 innings, allowing 35 hits, walking 31, and striking out 32. He returned to the DSL in 2019 and pitched better, posting a 3.07 ERA in 41.0 innings, allowing 31 hits, walking 23, and striking out 32.
His fastball sits in the high-80s to low-90s, topping out at 92 with heavy life. While he is already an athletic 6’3”, 180-pounds, 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.
Yeral Martinez, OF
Yeral Martinez signed for $335,000 out of the Dominican Republic at the start of the 2019-2020 international free agent signing period. The 17-year-old is already very well developed, standing 6’3” and weighing 220 lbs, and as a result, the amount of projection left in his body is likely limited. Martinez stands square at the plate holding his hands low. Using a toe tap, he has a big, long left-handed swing designed for power. He is athletic currently has enough speed and range to play center field, but in the future, he will likely lose some of that, making him a better fit in a corner spot.
Patrick Mazeika, C
After helping lead the Salisbury School Knights to the Western New England Prep Baseball League Championship in 2012, Patrick Mazeika went on to attend Stetson University. He had a phenomenal freshman season, hitting .382/.488/.495 in 57 games and leading not only the Hatters, but in some cases, the Atlantic Sun Conference in seven offensive categories. While he cooled down a bit in his sophomore and junior seasons, he still posted excellent numbers and hit a cumulative .348/.469/.484 in 174 collegiate games. With their 8th round draft pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Mazeika, and the two sides agreed to a $125,000 signing bonus, below the assigned slot value of $355,400.
Though an advanced college hitter, the Mets assigned him to Kingsport, where he hit .354/.451/.540 in 62 games. He was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies in their inaugural 2016 season, and though he was limited to just 70 games due to injuries, he hit .305/.414/.402. He was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets in 2017 and had yet another solid season, hitting .287/.389/.406, but after being promoted to Binghamton in 2018 finally ran into a wall for the first time in his career, hitting a paltry .231/.328/.363 in 87 games. Mazeika returned to Binghamton in 2019, his swing revamped and splitting time at first base and catcher almost 50-50, he hit an improved .245/.312/.426 in 116 games, slugging a career high 16 home runs.
Mazeika has increasingly added more loft to his once-level swing. He seemed uncomfortable at first, but has clearly adapted to it, nearly doubling his career highs in home runs between 2018 and 2019, from 9 to 16. This also led to a spike in his strike out rate, which also almost doubled, but Mazeika always had a good eye and continued drawing walks. While he has thrown out roughly one in every three runners that have attempted to steal on him over the course of his career, Mazeika has never excelled at other aspects at catching. He is not particularly mobile behind the plate and needs to continue working on his receiving and blocking. He played more first base in 2019 than he did in any other season, spending 53 of his 116 games there. At first, he exhibits similar problems as he does behind the dish, in that he is not particularly rangy there, though he is able to make all of the basic plays reliably.
Blaine McIntosh, OF
Blaine McIntosh’s father, Freddie, was a celebrated basketball athlete in the late-70s, playing for Jo Byrnes High School in Cedar Hills, Tennessee, and his son followed in his footsteps, though he made his mark on the baseball diamond rather than on the basketball court as one of the best players in the history of Sycamore High School in Sycamore, Tennessee. In addition to being one of the best players in team history, he became the first to verbally commit to an SEC school, receiving a scholarship to Vanderbilt University. The Mets drafted him in the 13th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, the 388th player selected overall. Surprisingly, he forewent his commitment to Vanderbilt and signed with the Mets for $125,000. He appeared in 24 games for the GCL Mets in 2019 and hit .228/.311/.228 with 11 walks and 22 strikeouts.
The left-hander has a smooth, level left-handed swing capable of spraying line drives across the field. He has recorded exit velocities as high as the mid-80s in tournaments, and that burgeoning power that will only grow as he fills in and matures. He can get aggressive at the plate at times, but he has plenty of time to work in his plate discipline. He is an average-to-above-average runner and should also be able to increase his speed even more as he fills in and matures, as he has an extremely athletic frame and is more likely to add quick twitch muscle rather than bulk and slow twitch muscle. In the outfield, McIntosh has a strong arm and fields his position well, showing good instincts, and having plenty of range, but still needs work on his routes and initial first step.
Tylor Megill, RHP
A graduate of Los Alamitos High School, Tylor Megill went undrafted as a high school senior and attended Loyola Marymount University in 2015. Playing with his older brother, Trevor, he posted a 3.95 ERA in 57.0 innings split between the starting rotation and bullpen, allowing 53 hits, walking 23, and striking out 41. When his brother was drafted by the San Diego Padres and left to become a professional, Tylor left Loyola University as well, transferring to Cypress Junior College. As a member of the Chargers for the 2016 season, he posted a 3.72 ERA in 101.2 innings, allowing 119 hits, walking 29, and striking out 87. Of his 17 appearances, 16 came as a starter. When the season ended, Megill left Cypress, transferring to the University of Arizona for the 2017 season. He started three early season games for the Wildcats, but performed terribly and was sent to the bullpen, where he finished out the season. All in all, he posted a 5.55 ERA in 35.2 innings, allowing 46 hits, walking 17, and striking out 36. Unhappy with his performance- and the fact that he went undrafted in the 2017 MLB Draft because of it- Megill dedicated his summer to improving himself and getting in the best shape of his life. When the 2018 season began, he was roughly 15-pounds lighter, and while the results were not necessarily night-and-day, the improvements were tangible. In 32.2 innings, he posted a 4.68 ERA, allowing 38 hits, walking 14, and striking out 38.
The Mets selected him in the 8th round of the 2018 MLB Draft and the right-hander signed, agreeing to a $50,000 signing bonus. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones to start his professional career and posted a 3.21 ERA over 28.0 innings, allowing 18 hits, walking 14, and striking out 36. After spending a little time in extended spring training, Megill began the 2019 season with the Columbia Fireflies. After about two months, he was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets, and after roughly a month there was promoted to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. All in all, he posted a 3.52 in 71.2 innings at all three levels combined, allowing 64 hits, walking 25, and striking out 92.
The 6’6”, 230-pound Megill has an ideal pitcher’s build. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot with a long, low effort, loose arm action. He throws with a bit of crossfire delivery, which can create a difficult angle for opposing hitters, but also negatively affects his command, frequently missing to the arm-side part of the plate when he releases the ball too early and missing to the glove-side part of the plate when he releases the ball too late.
His fastball sits in the low-90s, peaking at 96 MPH but generally sitting 92-96 MPH. Thanks to his long stride, long arm extension, and crossfire delivery, the pitch features has a high spin rate, giving it late life and heavy tailing action. He works better to the glove side but can throw strikes armside when necessary to the arm side, though his command there is not as precise. His go-to strikeout pitch is a mid-80s slider that, while inconsistent, flashes being an average-to-above-average pitch when it does not flatten out. He also throws a developing changeup that is still fairly firm and rudimentary, as he has only recently had to add it to his repertoire throwing multiple innings as a reliever and when starting.
Isnael Monegro, SS
Signed for $125,000 out of the Dominican Republic during the 2019-2020 international free agent period, 17-year-old shortstop Isnael Monegro is the is the cousin of San Diego Padres outfielder Manuel Margot. At 6 foot even, and 150-pounds, he has plenty of projection left in his body and how much muscle mass he adds over the next few years will have a major impact on how he develops as a player.
The right-handed Monegro stands square at the plate, holding his hands high. Swinging with a moderate leg kick, he has a quick, whippy stroke with a bit of natural loft. As he ages, the amount of muscle he is able to add to his frame will decide whether or not he develops into a gap hitter or a right-handed bat with moderate power. Defensively, he is a quick-twitch athlete that has tools well suited for shortstop. He has a quick reaction and first step, has solid range thanks to average speed, and possesses an arm that is above-average-to-plus.
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. In the two seasons that have passed since being drafted, de Oca has yet to suit up professionally.
Standing 6’7” and weighing 265, Montes de Oca is an imposing sight on the mound when he is actually able to get on it. 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
Hansel Moreno signed with the Mets on July 2, 2014, for just $50,000. He spent three years in the Dominican Summer League, finally coming stateside in 2017. He spent the majority of the season with the GCL Mets that year, ended it with the Kingsport Mets, and hit a combined .295/.360/.432 in 57 games, hitting four homers and stealing fourteen bases in eighteen attempts. The Mets assigned him to the Columbia Fireflies in 2018, an aggressive assignment based on his level of experience, and the jump in the competition he was facing reflected in his numbers. In 89 games, he hit .248/.307/.398, hitting four homers and stealing twenty-one bases in thirty-two tries. His offensive contributions were just slightly above league average in the South Atlantic League, leading the Mets to promote him to the St. Lucie Mets to start the 2019 season. He performed poorly to start the year, hitting.124/.184/.135 in 27 games in April and early May. He was sent back down to Columbia and spent the rest of May and the entire month of June there, hitting .276/.344/.440 in 32 games. He earned a promotion back to St. Lucie and spent the rest of the season there, hitting .274/.335/.397 in 51 games.
A lot of the physical development that scouts thought were in store for Moreno haven’t really happened. He is still very lean and leggy, and has only really put on about ten pounds or so. He has matured a lot mentally, though, going as far as to see a sports psychologist a few years ago to help him out with anger issues.
Moreno stands square at the plate, with a wide base. He holds his hands high and swings with a slight toe tap and no real stride. His swing is long and loose, with a lot of uppercut from both sides of the plate. When he does connect, he does have a bit of pop, but he regularly swings over breaking balls, not displaying enough wrist strength and barrel control to adjust to them. While he’s speedy, Moreno really has never been a particularly good base stealer, with about a 65% success rate for his career. The speed has helped him as a hitter though, letting him leg out infield hits and putting pressure on the defense and forcing errors when they rush. It has been an asset as a defender as well. Originally a shortstop, has since been moved off of the position, as his speed is not so much quick-twitch muscle as it is long-distance afterburner. His combination of range and a strong arm makes him an intriguing center fielder. He is still learning routes and developing at the position but is able to make the routine plays, and then some thanks to his range.
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. He was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies in 2019 and posted a 2.28 ERA in 43.1 innings, allowing 36 hits, walking 25, and striking out 52.
The lanky Moreno is a tall-and-fall thrower, using a three-quarters arm slot. He has an extremely live arm, possessing a fastball sits 96-98 MPH and occasionally flirts with triple digits, though it dipped well below that at times in 2019 due to injury. 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.
Tanner Murphy, OF
Tanner Murphy was a four-year letterman at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns, Florida, playing football and baseball. He went undrafted out of high school and honored his commitment to the University of North Florida. In his first year there, Murphy hit .337/.378/.446, starting in 19 games and appearing in 34. He became a starter in his sophomore year and was able to replicate those numbers while getting into more games, hitting .326/.418/.534 in 56 starts, with 10 home runs and 15 stolen bases, leading the team in multiple offensive categories, and the entire NCAA Atlantic Sun Conference in slugging percentage. He was unable to keep up that level of production with the bat in his junior year, hitting .288/.368/.447 in 57 games. The Mets selected him using their 18th round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, signing him and assigning him to the Kingsport Mets. He spent his entire debut season there, hitting .201/.310/.351 in 40 games, hitting 5 home runs.
At 6’4”, 195-pounds, Murphy has a lean, athletic frame. He is fairly quiet at the plate, with a slight leg lift and not much of a stride. His swing is balanced, with level, line-drive power. He generally is able to make hard contact when he barrels the ball and uses the entire field. He has above-average, borderline plus speed and is a good runner as a result, stealing and taking extra bases. In the outfield, he moves well, putting that speed to good use. His arm is strong for centerfield, and his throws are accurate.
Scott Ota, OF
Playing for Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California, Scott Ota earned MVP honors in his senior year, hitting .489/.528/.680 in 28 games. After graduating, he attended the University of Illinois Chicago. In his first year there, he appeared in 21 games and hit .254/.313/.475. In 2017, his sophomore year, he appeared in all 56 games the Flames played and hit .281/.331/.424. In 2018, he hit a career-best .283/.351/.481 in 48 games, leading the team in hits and triples. After going undrafted in the 2018 MLB Draft, Ota returned to the University of Illinois Chicago for his senior year. The 22-year-old went off on the Horizon League, hitting .356 /.451/.761 with 19 home runs, becoming the first player in the league to hit that many home runs since 2000. He was selected by the Mets in the 2019 MLB Draft, using their 10th round pick. He signed for $1,000, well below the assigned 10 round slot value of $145,300. The Mets assigned him to the Kingsport Mets for the 2019 season and he hit .273/.355/.519 with 7 home runs, finding himself near the top of most offensive categories.
The left-hander Ota stands coiled at the plate with a slightly open stance, holding his hands high near his head. He has a compact swing, uncoiling and putting a jolt in the ball when he is able to barrel up on it. There is a bit of uppercut to his swing, and a hitch in his swing results in the plane of his bat still traveling downwards as it moves through the zone. He is able to muscle a lot of these kinds of hits for dying quails, but often rolls into groundballs because of this. Defensively, Ota is primarily a right-hander. His arm profiles well, capable of hitting the mid-to-high-80s. He has a sturdy, dependable glove, making very few errors over his four years at the University of Illinois Chicago and year at Kingsport.
Michel Otanez, RHP
The Mets signed Michel Otanez on for the relatively low sum of $35,000 on July 2, 2016, coincidentally a day after his birthday. As an 18-year-old, he was a bit older than other international free agent signings, but the Mets were intrigued his big 6’ 3” prototypical pitcher’s frame, and the big-time arm strength he showcased on the mound. The organization sent him to the Dominican Summer League to make his professional debut shortly after signing and the right-hander posted a 4.64 ERA in 21.1 innings, allowing 23 hits, walking 6, and striking out 21. Perhaps most importantly for a pitcher as raw as Otanez was at the time, his stuff looked particularly promising. His fastball reportedly sat in the mid-90s, and occasionally touched a little higher during his first summer in the organization. Otanez experienced the first major setback in his professional career after the end of the 2016 season, when he underwent Tommy John surgery, effectively ending his 2017 season before it started.
Otanez missed the 2017 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, returning to the mound in 2018 as a 20-year-old. The Mets assigned him to the GCL Mets, and he generally struggled in his return to action, posting a 7.64 ERA in 35.1 innings, allowing 42 hits, walking 24, and striking out 33. As is the case with most players returning from Tommy John surgery, it takes some time to work the rust out, and Otanez has been decidedly better in 2019. He began the season with the Kingsport Mets, and there, he enjoyed the first real run of sustained success in his short professional career. Making seven starts, he posted a 3.31 ERA in 32.2 innings, allowing 26 hits, walking 11, and striking out 44. He earned a promotion to the Brooklyn Cyclones in late July and was almost as efficient, posting a 2.97 ERA in 30.1 innings, allowing 26 hits, walking 17, and striking out 26.
Tommy John surgery did not sap Otanez’ fastball. Throwing from a high-three-quarters arm slot, the pitch sits 93-96, occasionally touching 97 and 98 MPH. In addition to velocity, his fastball has a little arm-side run to it, especially when working the pitch away to left-handed hitters. Perhaps a result of the velocity with which he throws it, Otanez’ command of the pitch is relatively scattershot, especially at the higher end of his velocity band.
He complements his big fastball with a pair secondary pitches that are still very much works in progress. Both are both relatively raw and have a long way to go if they are going to be effective against more advanced hitters as he works his way up the organizational ladder. The more effective of the two is a breaking ball that is either a very slurvy slider or a loose, 11-5 curveball that generally sits between 82 and 84 MPH. Otanez will need to focus on tightening up the break on the pitch going forward if it is going to be effective against more advanced hitters. His changeup is less advanced than the breaking ball, coming in firm and with just a little arm-side fade at around 88 MPH.
When looking at Otanez’ mechanics, it’s easy to see where the mid-to-upper-90s velocity, as well as the difficulty he has commanding it, comes from. Otanez uses a lower leg kick than most pitchers use, suggesting he primarily uses his upper body to generate velocity. He makes a concerted effort as he enters his minimal leg lift to turn his body as far back as he can before exploding forward, in an attempt to maximize his hip-shoulder separation by the time his front foot lands, and generate every bit of torque that he can as he fires towards the plate. This naturally creates a high degree of effort throughout his motion, and particularly creates a lot of violence in his arm action. His body snaps forward so quickly as he drives to the plate that his arm often struggles to stay on time with the rest of his body, which often leads to less than stellar command.
Franklin Parra, LHP
Born in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, Franklin Parra moved to the United States when he was in grade school. He did not get into baseball until he was a young teenager, when he was convinced by friends and family that he had the talent to get far. He played middle school baseball in Lindenhurst before moving to Copiague, where he has matured into the ace of the pitching staff at Copiague High School. Not being particularly fluent in English has made Parra’s high school life difficult, but those difficulties did not manifest on the field, where he blossomed into a leader and the ace of the staff. The Mets drafted him in the 11th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the 320th player selected overall. He had a commitment to San Jacinto Community College but forwent it after agreeing to a $150,000 signing bonus with the Mets. After graduating- and unveiling a Mets jersey underneath his graduation gown- he was assigned to the GCL Mets, where he posted a 0.90 ERA in 10.0 innings, allowing 5 hits, walking 11, and striking out 10. He returned to the Gulf Coast League in 2019 and spent the entire season there, posting a 2.57 ERA in 21.0 innings, allowing 10 hits, walking 16, and striking out 29.
Standing 6’1”, Parra has a slender build. He throws from a three-quarters arm angle, with smooth mechanics. Tucking his body in and utilizing a big leg kick, he hides the ball well before pushing off the mound. He creates good downhill angle when he pitches and is able to stay on top of the ball. His fastball sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s, generally ranging 88-93. He complements it with a slider, curveball, and changeup. Both the slider and curveball sit in the high-70s-to-low-80s, with the curveball generally sitting at the bottom of that range and the slider sitting at the top of that range. While they both show glimpses of being solid pitches, as they have a bit of late break to them, Parra is still working on developing them, as they often bleed into each other, and he still struggles to command them.
Jose Peroza, 3B
Signed out of Carlos Guillen’s academy in Venezuela on July 2, 2016, the Mets signed Jose Peroza for $280,000, impressed by the projection the 16-year-old showed. At 6’1”, 200 pounds, the youngster showed two above-average tools: raw power and arm strength. Given that much of his strength came simply from his upbringing on a farm rather than time in the weight room suggested to some evaluators that he could even increase his raw power with time in professional facilities. Peroza made his professional debut in 2017 in the Dominican Summer League, but appeared in a few games at the end of the year for the GCL Mets. He spent the entire 2018 season with them, hitting a paltry .184/.253/.241 in 24 games. He began the 2019 season in the GCL but was promoted to Brooklyn at the end of July after hitting .328/.389/.766 in 16 games. In 33 games in the dog days of summer for the eventual 2019 New York-Penn League champions, Peroza was not nearly as successful, hitting .225/.295/.369 in 33 games.
Peroza is extremely stocky, now weighing 215 lbs. He has a quiet set-up at the plate, with a wide base and his bat barred behind his head. He swings with a slight leg kick, with a swing that contains a bit of loft. The bat speed is average at best, but he is just a very strong human being and is capable of muscling pitches that he is able to his squarely, especially to his pull side. Defensively, Peroza has a strong arm and is currently capable of playing third base, but his body will likely be a high maintenance one as he ages, meaning that he may lose mobility and range around the hot corner, limiting him to first.
Federico Polanco, 2B
On the first day of the 2017-2018 international free agent signing period, not only did the Mets sign Ronny Mauricio, but they also agreed to a $325,000 contract with his cousin, Federico Polanco. He made his professional debut for the Dominican Summer League in 2018 and hit .201/.263/.249 with 11 stolen bases, 19 walks, and 53 strikeouts in 64 games. He returned to the DSL in 2019 and played the majority of his season for both DSL squads before being promoted and sent stateside to the Gulf Coast League. He hit a combined .331/.414/.472 with 7 stolen bases, 23 walks, and 23 strikeouts in 42 for the DSL teams and .176/.275/.206 with 3 stolen bases, 5 walks, and 8 strikeouts in 14 games with the GSL Mets.
Polanco has grown a bit since his initial signing, but he still is fairly undersized at 6’1”, 160-pounds and will likely continue growing. The left-hander stands slightly open at the plate, holding his hands high. Swinging with a slight leg kick, he displays good bat speed and generally makes good contact. He mostly shows double power right now, spraying line drives around the field, but as he continues putting on weight and muscle, some of those doubles should start turning into home runs. He has an approach at the plate well-beyond his years, showing the instincts of a veteran. While his bat is a bit advanced for his age, his defensive tools are not. With experience at second base, third base, and shortstop, Polanco profiles best at second.
Andres Regnault, C
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, 16-year-old Andres Regnault was not considered a highly regarded international prospect, and as such, he signed with the Mets a few weeks into the 2015-2016 international free agent signing period. He did not suit up professionally until 2016, when the Mets assigned him to their Dominican Summer League team. He appeared in 39 games and hit an underwhelming .132/.264/.160. The Mets had him stay in the Dominican Republic in 2017, and the 18-year-old hit an improved .270/.359/.383. Treating the young backstop very conservatively, the Mets kept Regnault in the Dominican Summer League for a third year in a row. Now 19-years-old, he hit .333/.420/.573, finishing seventh in the league in OPS. The Mets could not ignore his success and brought him stateside for the 2019 season. Along with Francisco Alvarez and Wilfred Astudillo, Andres Regnault has split catching duties for the Kingsport Mets at roughly a 33% timeshare and ended up hitting .292/.328/.489 in 44 games.
At the plate, Regnault stands slightly closed with his hands held high. Using a leg kick and a big hand load, Regnault is able to generate good bat speed and a decent amount of power. He has a fair eye and has been able to limit the strikeouts thus far in his career, but he does not walk at a particularly high rate. Defensively, Regnault was the least defensive oriented of Kingsport’s three catchers. At 6’0”, 250-pounds, Regnault is considerably bigger than the 5’11”, 220-pound Alvarez and the 5’11”, 210-pound Astudillo. As such, he does not move as well behind the plate as the other two. While he does not excel at this aspect of catching, he has a strong, accurate arm.
Wilmer Reyes, SS
Signed out of the Dominican Republic on the very last day of the 2015-2016 international free agent period for $280,000, Wilmer Reyes spent the first two years of his career in the Dominican Summer League and then got a brief cup of coffee with the GCL Mets at the end of the 2017 season. He spent most of the 2018 season there as well, though he got brief promotions to the St. Lucie Mets and the Kingsport Mets at the beginning and end of August, respectively. He was assigned to Brooklyn for the 2019 season and experienced a renaissance there, hitting a team-best .323/.350/.441. His batting average was tenth best in the league among qualified hitters, and when the list is shortened to hitters who played in 50 or more games, his batting average was fourth best in the league.
Reyes stands square at the plate, holding his hands low. His swing is very level, with some slight uppercut, a swing conducive for hitting for average rather than hitting for power. At 6’0”, 160-pounds, Reyes has a little bit of room for physical growth, but he is unlikely to put on much more muscle. As a result, he will always be a hit-over-power player.
Reyes played all over the field in 2019, logging the majority of his time at shortstop but spent time at first base, second base, and third base as well. While he spent the majority of the 2018 season in the outfield, the infield is his natural home. He is not traditionally quick or rangy, but he moves well laterally. He has a smooth glove and is able to transfer and throw the ball quickly, augmenting his average arm.
Luke Ritter, 2B
Luke Ritter was a multisport star at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri. He lettered three times in football and twice in baseball. After graduating, he honored his commitment to Wichita State, and in his freshman year hit .272/.372/.373 in 43 games. He experienced something of a sophomore slump in 2017, hitting .223/.348/.349 in 55 games. He regrouped that summer, playing for the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League and hitting .353/.443/.500 in 37 games. Returning to Wichita State for the 2018 season, Ritter took his gains with him. He appeared in 55 games and hit a career-best .341/.420/.484, hitting six home runs and stealing six bases. His performance led to the Minnesota Twins drafting him with their 37th round pick, the 1114th overall pick, but the utilityman elected to return to Wichita for his senior season instead of signing with them. He earned All-Conference honors in 2019, hitting .336/.458/.555 in all 59 games the Shockers played. His nine home runs and twelve stolen bases were career bests.
With their seventh-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Ritter. He agreed to a $10,000 bonus, saving the Mets roughly $205,000, as the slot value for the pick was $216,600. He made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones and was their iron man, leading the team with 68 games. He hit .245/.351/.371 in total, with his on-base percentage trailing Jose Mena by one-hundredth of a point for best among players who appeared in 30 or more games for Brooklyn.
At the plate, Ritter has a balanced stance, with a small stride. He is quick to the ball with a short swing, driving the ball around the field. He is a bit on the smaller size, but he has a bit of pop to his pull side, and that power could develop in theory if he adds on additional weight and strength. He has a good understanding of the strike zone, taking walks and not striking out much. For his entire career as both an amateur at Wichita and a professional in Brooklyn, Ritter has nearly a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While his speed as a whole is below-average, Ritter has good instincts on the base paths, allowing him to take extra bases on hits and to steal the occasional base. Over the course of his four years at Wichita State, he spent time at second base, third base, shortstop, and left field, but he profiles best at second base thanks to an average arm.
Endy Rodriguez, C
The Mets signed Endy Rodriguez on July 2, 2018 out of Santiago, Dominican Republic. The 18-year-old was assigned to the Dominican Summer League, where he combined to hit .261/.369/.400 in 35 games for both of the Mets squadrons. He began the 2019 season in the Dominican, but was promoted to the GCL Mets after appearing in 12 games and hitting .296/.457/.667 with four doubles and two homers. He appeared in 31 games with the GCL Mets, losing roughly a month of the season from the beginning July to the beginning of August thanks to a hamstring strain. All in all, the 19-year-old catcher hit .294/.411/.510, hitting .343/.455/.486 in 11 games before the injury and .250/.333/.425 in 11 games after it.
The switch-hitting Rodriguez stands open at the plate, barring his bat behind his head with his hands held high. He swings with a pronounced leg kick and has shown an advanced feel for making good contact. An athletic 6’, 170-pound frame, Rodriguez has logged playing time at first base and in the outfield in addition to behind the dish, but given his catching prowess, should develop behind the plate. He has been praised for his defensive abilities, showing a lot of mobility and excelling at receiving and throwing.
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. He remained there for the entire 2019 season, posting a 3.05 ERA in 44.1 innings, allowing 33 hits, walked 23, and striking out 40.
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.
Eduardo Salazar, OF
The Mets signed Venezuelan outfielder Eduardo Salazar on July 2, 2017, inking him to a $125,000 bonus. He played on both Mets Dominican Summer League teams, combining to hit .288/.358/.324 in 42 games with 17 walks and 37 strikeouts. The 18-year-old was sent stateside in 2019, appearing in 19 games for the GCL Mets before losing the rest of his season to injury. In 58 at-bats, the right-hander hit .241/.313/.310 with 3 walks and 14 strikeouts.
Salazar’s best tool is his hit tool, with a loose swing and an ability to make contact. His swing is still a bit rough, primarily using his upper half, but once he begins incorporating his lower half better, he should begin hitting the ball with more authority. At 6’3”, 180-pounds, Salazar is likely to add weight and muscle to his frame, increasing his strength and raw power as well. Defensively, the Mets have played him all over the field, but he is an outfielder by trade. While he has more professional experience in center than he does in either corner, he profiles best as a left fielder, as his arm is just average.
Eric Santana, CF
Signed for $350,000 out of the MC Academy in the Dominican Republic at the start of the 2019-2020 international free agent period, 17-year-old Eric Santana currently shows a solid blend of offensive and defensive tools. He stands extremely open at the plate, holding his hands high and swinging with a moderate leg kick. He has a smooth, level left-handed stroke that currently has gap power, and while he does project to add a bit of power as he is lean and athletic, he will always likely be a hit-over-power player. In the outfield, Santana is a center fielder by trade and should stick there for years to come, as he has shown strong defensive instincts. His speed is only average, while his arm is below-average, so if he fills in and loses speed and range, he may be relegated to left field only.
Warren Saunders, 3B
In 2013, the Mets signed the first Bahamian player in club history, Jervis “Champ” Stuart. On August 30, 2018, the organization signed the second Bahamian player in club history, Warren Saunders. Saunders was the 2017 Bahamas Baseball Federation Grand Bahama Port Authority Baseball Championship’s Most Valuable Player in the 16-18 division, helping lead his team to Nassau’s Junior Baseball League championship game. He made his professional debut in 2019, playing for the GCL Mets. He appeared in 33 games and hit .323/.397/.386 with one home run, three stolen bases, 10 walks, and 23 stolen bases.
While he is a bit old for the level as compared to his peers, born on December 15, 1998, Saunders is very raw. Despite the lack of experience, the right-hander is extremely athletic and at 6’3”, 190-pounds, has a frame suited for baseball. He stands tall and extremely open at the plate, holding his hands high. He swings with a very slight leg kick and a smooth swing with loft. He has average-to-above-average bat speed, leading to some power. Equally raw as a fielder, the Mets have used Saunders at virtually every infield position over the course of the 2019 season to see where he fits best at, with the majority of his time being played in the corners.
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, and played with the Kingsport Mets the year after, posting a 4.83 ERA in 63.1 innings, allowing 70 hits, walking 31, and striking out 66. He began the 2017 season with the Columbia Fireflies but was sent to the Brooklyn Cyclones when their season started in June, combing to post a 6.02 ERA in 55.1 innings, allowing 67 hits, walking 34, and striking out 39. He spent all of 2018 with the Fireflies and improved some, posting a 4.04 ERA in 42.1 innings, allowing 50 hits, walking 14, and striking out 34. The 22-year-old spent most of the 2019 season with Columbia once more, pitching token innings in St. Lucie and Binghamton, and posted a combined 4.24 ERA in 46.2 innings, allowing 42 hits, walking 26, and striking out 56.
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. 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.
Joander Suarez, RHP
Suarez was born in Marigüitar, a small town about 20 miles west of the Venezuelan coastal city of Cumana. His cousin, José Guevara, a pitcher in the Minnesota Twins system, he began pitching semi-professionally for a local team at the age of 14, and then began working out at former pitcher Nestor Delgado’s Cuyaco Sport baseball academy. He developed relatively quickly under Delgado’s tutelage, and in May 2018, the Mets inked him to a deal. He played for their Dominican Summer League teams that year, posting a combined 4.35 ERA in 20.2 innings split between their two teams. The Mets brought him stateside in 2019, assigning him to the GCL Mets, and the 19-year-old posted a 1.79 ERA in 40.1 innings, allowing 27 hits, walking 16, and striking out 47.
The right-hander’s fastball currently sits in the high-80-to-low-90s, and his 6’3”, 180-pound frame suggests he might add some additional velocity. He supplements the fastball with a curveball and changeup. Suarez is able to command his pitches and fill the strike zone with strikes.
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. He skipped over Brooklyn and was assigned to Columbia for the 2019, and the results were disappointing. In 119.0 innings, he posted a 5.14 ERA, allowing 136 hits, walking 24, and striking out 99. Converted to relief near the end of the season, he was considerably better in his new role, posting a 2.78 ERA in the bullpen as opposed to a 6.16 ERA as a starter.
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.
Kennie Taylor, OF
The son of a pair of track and field athletes, Kennie Taylor has followed in his parents’ footsteps, excelling athletically. A follow of interest at the time from Jesuit High School in Tampa, he had a verbal commitment to attend Duke University, and went undrafted a result. Taylor had trouble acclimating himself to collegiate baseball, hitting .167/.286/.250 in just 12 at-bats in his freshman year. He made up for his lack of performance in his freshman year with an excellent showing as a sophomore, hitting .314/.383/.496 in 45 games. Returning to Duke for his junior year in 2018, Taylor started 61 games in centerfield and hit .283/.347/.461. He went undrafted and returned to Duke in 2019 to finish up his college career. Named the captain of the Blue Devils, Tayor hit .333/.400/.535 in 53 games through NCAA Regionals. He led the team in hits, doubles, home runs, and stolen bases, and was one of two players to reach base in every single game. With their 14th round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Taylor, signing him and assigning him to the Kingsport Mets. After hitting .281/.318/.388 in 29 games there, he was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones. Appearing in 22 games in August, he finished the 2019 season hitting .195/.244/.364.
At the plate, Taylor holds his hands low. He has a short stroke, mainly utilizing his upper body strength. His bat speed and the uppercut in his swing give him some sneaky pop, but Taylor is a hit over power profile. Most of his home run power comes from pulling pitches thrown inside with his quick hands, but he is otherwise primarily a gap hitter. There is more swing and miss than you would like to see from a player like him in Taylor. Speed is his carrying tool, regularly posting average-to-above-average numbers out of the box. Defensively, he has a below-average arm, which limits his upside as an outfielder. Thanks to his speed, he is a capable center fielder, but if he begins losing speed, he will be limited to left. He reads the ball well off of the bat and has plenty of range to cover ground. He also has experience playing second base, where he has showed range, quick reactions, and solid footwork around the bag.
Junior Tilien, SS
Signed during the 2019-2020 international free agent signing period, 17-year-old Junior Tilien impressed when working out in the Dominican Prospect League in front of scouts and eventually signed for $185,000, a bit less than scouts and evaluators first believed he would. He continued impressing after signing, showing a better hit tool than first believed.
Tilien stands square at the plate, holding his hands high, swinging with a slight leg kick. His bat speed is only average, but the right-hander has excellent wrist strength and hand-eye coordination, allowing him to make contact and put the ball in play even when taking bad swings or finding himself fooled and off-balance. He shows doubles power right now, but he is tall and lanky, suggesting future growth and projectable power.
Signed as a shortstop, the Mets seem to be higher on his defense and ability to play the position than other scouts and evaluators- both amateur and professional. Internal Mets sources suggest he will be able to stay at the position thanks to his average range and above-average arm, but others believe that he will be forced to move to another third base or even the outfield as his body matures and he loses explosive, quick-twitch muscle speed.
Will Toffey, 3B
The younger brother of Tampa Bay Lightning draftee and hockey minor leaguer John Toffey, Will Toffey also excelled in hockey, playing the sport at the all-boys, college prep Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut, but his true passion was baseball. When he graduated in 2014, he had a life-defining choice to make: would he sign with the New York Yankees, who drafted him in the 23rd round of the MLB Draft, would he accept a scholarship to Vanderbilt University to play baseball, or would he accept one of the other scholarship offers he received to play hockey? In the end, Toffey selected baseball, and he chose Vanderbilt. In his freshman year, Toffey was one of the best freshman players in the entire NCAA, hitting .294/.380/.420 in 71 games for coach Tim Corbin’s Commodores. A foot injury plagued him throughout 2016, and while he played in all 62 games, he hit a paltry .227/.387/.266. Despite the poor performance, the Baltimore Oroles drafted Toffey, selecting him in the 25th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He gambled on himself and did not sign with the O’s. When he returned to Vanderbilt for his junior year, as he hit .354/.475/.602 in 56 game, shattering virtually every career high he had already set. The Oakland Athletics selected in the 4th round of the 2017 MLB Draft and Toffey signed with them for the sot value of $482,600.
Toffey made his professional debut with the Vermont Lake Monsters a few weeks later and hit .263/.377/.349 in 57 games. He skipped over Low-A completely and was assigned to the Stockton Ports to begin the 2018 season. His 48 games there were plagued with injury, as he dislocated his shoulder sliding into home plate and then returned and dealt with a sore quad, and he hit only .244/.357/.384. In late July, he was traded to the Mets along with reliever Bobby Wahl in exchange for Mets closer Jeurys Familia. Toffey was assigned to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and hit .254/.394/.433 in 41 games to close out the season. The 24-year-old returned to Binghamton in 2019 and hit .219/.347/.349 in his first full year in the organization.
At the plate, Will Toffey has a quiet set-up with a level swing path. He has a quick bat, and, coupled with his exceptional eye, can wait a long time before committing to a swing, resulting in Toffey being more comfortable being an opposite-field hitter. While this approach has all but eliminated the platoon splits that he exhibits, it saps a great deal of his in-game power. Toffey has moderate raw power, but his strategy at the plate limits his home run power, making him a spray hitter that scatters line drives, some of which are able to go for extra bases. Defensively, Toffey’s best asset is his strong arm. He is not particularly quick-twitch athletic, but he should be able to stick at third base, providing solid-if-unspectacular defense. Should he be moved from the position, he is athletic enough to handle second base, and possibly left field, as well as first.
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. When he returned to the field in 2019, he returned to Binghamton and looked excellent, posting a 1.44 ERA in 56.1 innings before getting promoted to Syracuse and appearing in a pair of games in September.
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, but only came to the place exactly once, fouling a ball off of his left knee/shin and missing the rest of the season. When he got back on the field in 2019, he promoted to the Columbia Fireflies, and perhaps the assignment was too much for the 21-year-old, as he hit .200/.238/.297 in 50 games for them.
Uriarte stands open at the plate, using a leg kick. He has a quick, compact, level swing that lacks much plane, making him more of a gap-to-gap hitter at the present, but he projects to add a little more power as he matures. He sometimes gets aggressive, taking pull-heavy hacks, but he generally uses the entire field. Behind the plate, Uriarte is considered a plus defender, with a strong arm that can hit 85 MPH, solid footwork, and advanced blocking skills.
Jordany Ventura, RHP
Jordany Ventura was signed out of the Dominican Republic on July 25, 2018. The 17-year-old was assigned to the DSL Mets that year and threw very few innings, appearing in just three games. He began the 2019 season on the DSL squad, but for a second season, his time there was extremely limited, as he made just four starts before being promoted to the GSL Mets. He spent the majority of the summer with them and posted a 4.36 ERA in 33.0 innings, allowing 27 hits, walking 8, and striking out 34. At the end of August, he was promoted to the Kingsport Mets in order to fortify their rotation and appeared in two games with them, giving up one earned run in 8 innings while allowing 3 hits, walking 6, and striking out 9.
Ventura is a lanky 6’, 160-pounds and as suggested by his broad shoulders, he may still be growing. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot with a simple, repeatable motion, the right-hander has average-to-above-average command. His fastball currently sits in the low-90s with a bit of cutting action. In addition, he throws an upper-70s curveball and a developing changeup. The curve is the more advanced of the two, with 11-5 shape and sharp bite. While the changeup lags behind, it already has potential as a usable pitch as it occasionally shows good tumble.
Fernando Villalobos, C
In July 2017, the Cubs signed Mexican right-hander Florencio Serrano for $1.2 million. Shady accounting practices between Major League Baseball clubs, Mexico’s Mexican League of Baseball clubs, and the Mexican players involved was exposed shortly after, setting in motion a chain of events that would eventually see that contract nullified by the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and a freeze put on MLB ballclubs signing any players involved with LMB ballclubs. Caught in the limbo as the two sides negotiated to resume normal relations was Fernando Villalobos, a catcher who played with the Mexico City Red Devils and was expected to sign with the Brewers. Because he was unable to sign with them before the freeze was put in place, he was available to sign when it was lifted in March 2019. With their 2018-2019 international free agent bonus pool augmented by the $500,000 obtained from the Baltimore Orioles when Keon Broxton was traded there in May 2019, the Mets were able to sign Villalobos before the 2018-2019 signing window closed for $450,000. The 17-year-old was assigned to the Dominican Summer League for the 2019 season and, playing for both Mets DSL squads, hit .195/.382/.232 in 30 combined games, stealing 5 bases, walking 22 times, and striking out 33 times.
Villalobos stands tall at the plate, slightly open and holding his hands high. Using a slight leg kick, his simple, smooth left-handed swing lets him get the barrel into the zone quickly. He uses the entire field and his game is currently centered around spraying line drives. He is fairly athletic and mobile for a catcher, running the basepaths well- though his fringe-average speed will likely decrease in the future.
Behind the plate, Villalobos still has a lot of work to go, though this is nothing unusual for a young catcher. He is mobile behind the dish but needs to work on his receiving techniques and framing. Despite being a former pitcher and third baseman before being transitioned to catching, his arm is only average. His arm is augmented by his pop time, as he regularly posts 2.0-2.1, slightly above average.
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. He took a step back in 2019, perhaps due to injury, and posted a 3.80 ERA in 90.0 innings, allowing 106 hits, walking 41, and striking out 54.
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. He began the 2019 in St. Lucie and was phenomenal, posting a 2.01 ERA in 44.2 innings, but struggled a bit when he was promoted to Binghamton, where he posted a 4.96 ERA in 69.0 innings. Still, at both levels combined, he had a solid year, posting a 3.80 ERA in 113.2 innings, allowing 98 hits, walking 32, and striking out 96.
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.
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, primarily playing first base for coach Marquess. 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 thanks to some swing changes that added additional loft to his swing, was one of their most consistent outfielder, hitting .254/.370/.433 in 121 games with a career-high 13 home runs. He was unable to keep the momentum going in 2019, and ended up hitting a paltry .195/.299/.291 in 86 games for the St. Lucie Mets.
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.