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.
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.
Richard Brito, RHP
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball postponed the 2020-2021 international signing period. Instead of beginning on July 2nd, 2020, it was decided that the window to sign international rookies would begin in January 2021. In turn, Major League Baseball decided to extend the 2019-2020 signing period. With $40,000 from the money left in their pool, the Mets signed Richard Brito, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher from Caracas, Venezuela.
The 6’4”, 200-pound pitcher throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot, utilizing a big leg lift and a short arm action through the back. His delivery is somewhat high effort, but his electric arm is capable of throwing fastballs in the upper-90s, even hitting triple digits. He complements the pitch with a tight slider.
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. Young for his draft class, 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. His go-to secondary pitch is his changeup, which is one of the better ones in the system, sitting in the low-to-mid-80s with late, tumbling action. The pitch is a true weapon against left-handers, but is only mildly effective against right-handers, which is why developing his curveball further is important. The pitch, which sits in the high-70s-to-low-80s with slight 12-6 break, is generally considered a below-average offering.
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 an 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.
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.
Trey Cobb, RHP
After helping lead Broken Arrow High to playoff berths and Oklahoma state championships as a sophomore, junior, and senior, Trey Cobb was heavily scouted by numerous prestigious colleges- LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, Stanford, Alabama, Florida, Miami and Wichita State, among others. He ultimately settled on Oklahoma State University and posted a cumulative 3.03 ERA in 201.2 innings, allowing 187 hits, walking 78, and striking out 217. After moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation in his junior year in 2016, he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs but ended up not signing with them because his numbers were artificially depressed due to a broken elbow. After returning to the bullpen for his senior year, he was drafted by the Mets, signing with them. He made his professional debut that year, pitching for the Brooklyn Cyclones, and then pitched for the Columbia Fireflies and the St. Lucie Mets in 2018. The right-hander missed all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, did not pitch competitively in 2020 either.
Cobb throws from a low-three-quarters, almost sidearm, arm slot. He wraps his arm behind his back and hesitates slightly before delivering the ball, losing momentum and making him rely on his quick arm rather than his lower half to generate velocity. His command and the consistency of his stuff comes and goes from inning-to-inning and outing-to-outing as a result, and the stress on his arm may have had an impact on his 2017 elbow injury and 2019 torn UCL. Prior to Tommy John surgery, his fastball generally sat in the low-90s, topping out around 95 MPH with a preponderance of sink, resulting in strong ground ball rates. He complemented the sinking fastball with a slider that graded out as average-to-above-average thanks to its spin and depth and a changeup that he had a feel for.
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 19-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.
Tony Dibrell, RHP
After lettering four times while playing at Chattahoochee High, a high school in Johns Creek, Georgia, Tony Dibrell went on to play at Kennesaw State University, where he had a verbal commitment to attend. He wasn’t exactly impressive in his first two years there, posting a 5.06 and 4.64 ERA respectively as a swingman, but he did show promise, as evidenced by his 83 strikeouts in 70.1 combined innings. After his sophomore year, he participated in the Cape Cod League and really came into his own, posting a combined 1.66 ERA for the Bourne Braves and the Chatham Anglers, earning All-Star honors. He returned to Kennesaw State riding on that success and had the best season of his collegiate career. Taking the reigns as ace of the Owls pitching staff, Dibrell posted a 2.45 ERA in 95.2, the third-lowest ERA in a single season in Kennesaw State University history. He allowed 77 hits, walked 39, and struck out 103 batters. On draft day, the Mets selected him with their fourth-round pick, signing him for $380,000, $33,100 below the MLB-assigned slot value. He finished the 2017 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones and really began his professional career in earnest in 2018, when he was assigned to the Columbia Fireflies. Somewhat surprisingly, the right-hander spent the entire season there, not getting promoted midseason despite putting up excellent numbers. For the year, he posted a 3.50 ERA in 131.0 innings, allowing 112 hits, walking 54, and striking out 147- tied for the most in the South Atlantic League. He got that promotion to St. Lucie to start the 2019 season and was even better, posting a 2.39 ERA in 90.1 innings, allowing 73 hits, walking 36, and striking out 76. Unlike the 2018 season, he was promoted midseason, getting sent to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in mid-July, but things went disastrously wrong for him in the Eastern League. In 38.2 innings, he posted a 9.31 ERA, allowing 51 hits, walking 21, and striking out 37.
Dibrell throws from a high three-quarters arm slot. His delivery is a bit violent and he is not always consistent with his mechanics, leading to control issues. The ability to command his pitches has given Dibrell trouble throughout his collegiate and professional career, but when his mechanics are on, he is able to spot his pitches and harness the full extent of his stuff. His fastball generally sits in the low-to-mid-90s with sink, especially when thrown down in the zone. He complements his fastball with a slider, a changeup, and a curveball. His slider is generally considered his best secondary, an above-average pitch sitting in the low-80s with hard biting action, generally used to get swings-and-misses from right-handed batters down and away. His change-up is considered just as good as his slider, but he throws it much more sparingly. It also sits in the low-80s, showing good fade and tumble to the arm side, especially when thrown down. Rounding out his arsenal is his curveball, a pitch in the low-to-mid-70s with soft break used to keep hitters off-balance by changing their eye level.
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.
Matthew Dyer, C
After graduating from Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona in 2016, Matthew Dyer attended University of Oregon. He only spent a single season there, simply saying that the baseball program there “wasn’t my fit” and decided to transfer to Central Arizona College, a junior college in Coolidge, Arizona for his sophomore season. After breaking a bone in his left hand during fall practices and running into problems transferring some of his credits from Oregon, Dyer decided against staying at the institution, instead transferring to the University of Arizona in January. As per NCAA transfer rules, he was deemed ineligible to play for the Wildcats for the 2018 season, but immediately hit the ground running when he was finally able to suit up for them for the 2019 season, hitting .393/.480/.571 in 42 games, slugging 4 homers, stealing 5 bases in 8 attempts, walking 22 times, and striking out 28 times. He began the 2020 season slow, hitting .204/.333/.449 in 13 games with 3 home runs, 1 stolen base, 9 walks, and 11 strikeouts, and before he could get into a better groove, the NCAA ended the 2020 college baseball season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the plate, Dyer stands tall and open, holding his bat low and swinging with a toe tap mechanism. His swing has plane and length, showing enough power to profile well for most of the positions that he plays in a replacement or utility role- especially since adding about ten pounds of muscle since the 2019 season and playing the 2020 season closer to 200 pounds. He is athletic and deceptively speedy for someone his size and weight, often beating out all of his Wildcats teammates in sprints. He has experience playing catcher, first base, second base, third base, left field, and right field, and while he isn’t familiar with shortstop or center field, his coach at Arizona was open to trying him there at points throughout the 2020 season, believing Dyer to be athletic and gifted enough to handle both positions in limited quantities. While he can play almost anywhere on the diamond, he feels most at home behind the plate. His arm, which has been clocked as high as 90 MPH, is more than good enough, but some scouts and evaluators doubt his endurance and ability to play behind the dish for an entire season. Because he has spent so much time playing other positions throughout his collegiate career, his framing and receiving abilities lag behind where they would be if he caught full-time.
Andrew Edwards, LHP
Over the course of four seasons, Andrew Edwards went a 28-3 during his time at Desert Christian High School, a private school in Tucson, Arizona, including going a perfect 11-0 in his senior season. He threw seven complete games that year, including a no-hitter, and posted a 0.58 ERA in 60.2 innings, striking out 123. After graduating, he enrolled at Central Arizona College, a junior college in Coolidge, Arizona. In his two years there, he pitched a total of 73.1 innings over 31 appearances as a starter and reliever, posting a 5.89 ERA, allowing 84 hits, walking 55, and striking out 85. In 2018, he transferred to New Mexico State University, but sat out most of the baseball season due to an injury. He got back on the field in 2019 and posted a 4.37 ERA in 22.2 innings over 24 relief appearances, allowing 24 hits, walking 14, and striking out 30. The Mets selected him in the 31st round of the 2019 MLB Draft and assigned him to Coney Island for the remainder of the season. He appeared in 16 games for the Cyclones, throwing 30.0 innings, and posted a 3.60 ERA, allowing 23 hits, walking 14, and striking out 35. Edwards was instrumental in the Cyclones’ 2019 New York-Penn League championship, pitching the final inning of Game Three of the championship series against the Lowell Spinners, striking out the side to clinch Brooklyn’s first solo championship since 1955. The left-hander throws from a low three-quarters, almost sidearm, arm slot, with a simple, mechanically sound delivery. His fastball sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s, topping out as high as 93 MPH. He complements it with a frisbee slider that sits in the mid-70s, and a changeup that sits in the high-70s. He tends to slow his arm down when throwing his secondary pitches, guiding them and telegraphing what is coming to batters.
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.
Drew Ferguson, OF
Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Drew Ferguson attended Knoxville Catholic High, earning all-district and all-region honors while setting multiple school records. He hit .392 with 7 home runs and 25 stolen bases in his senior year, and after graduating in 2011 went on to attend Belmont University, a private Christian university in Nashville. He saw very little playing time in his freshman year, appearing in just 20 games and going 0-13, but saw his playing time pick up in his sophomore year. Appearing in 57 games, 56 of which were starts, Ferguson hit .294/.447/.431 with 3 home runs and 17 stolen bases, firmly establishing himself as a starter for head coach Dave Jarvis’ Bruins. He broke out in his junior year, hitting .344/.456/.589 with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 54 games, but went undrafted in the 2014 MLB Draft. Returning to Belmont for his senior season, Ferguson was an absolute force in the Bruins’ lineup, hitting .395/.486/.682 in 58 games, slugging 11 home runs and stealing 26 bases. Having finished in the top 15 in the entire NCAA in 9 different offensive categories that season, the Houston Astros determined that the outfielder might be a senior signing worth pursuing and drafted Ferguson in the 19th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He signed for just $1,000 six days after being selected and split the remainder of the 2015 season between Short-A and Low-A, combining to hit .297/.363/.427 for the Tri-City ValleyCats and the Quad Cities River Bandits. He was assigned to the High-A Lancaster JetHawks for most of the 2016 season and continued to impress, hitting.313/.410/.531 in 90 games with 14 home runs and 25 stolen bases. He was just as impressive in 2017 with the Corpus Christi Hooks, hitting .292/.390/.426 with 8 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 84 games, and 2018 with the Fresno Grizzles, hitting .305/.436/.429 with 4 home runs and 6 stolen bases in 65 games, losing time after breaking his ulnar styloid getting hit by a pitch during a check swing. He was left off the 40-man roster that winter and was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the Rule 5 Draft but ended up being designated for assignment and returning to the Astros in one of the final cuts of Spring Training 2019. He would return to the Grizzlies for the 2019 season, where he hit .281/.395/.440 in 115 games, but the Majors remained just out of reach. The same situation unfolded in 2020, when he was added to the Astros 60-man player pool but did not play. In 2020 Rule 5 Draft, the Mets selected Ferguson in the minor league portion, assigning him to Syracuse.
At the plate, Drew Ferguson stands square, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat behind his head. Swinging with a slight leg kick, he has a smooth right-handed stroke designed to make hard contact. At 5’11”, 180-pounds, Ferguson is not exactly a slugger, but he shows average raw power in batting practice and has a strong enough hit tool to make most of that raw power manifest in-games. He is an extremely analytical player and understands that outs are the most precious commodity in baseball, so he plays to his strengths instead of trying to put up “baseball card stats,” getting on base via hits, walks, and hit-by-pitches. An average runner, he is only a so-so baserunner, but it helps him defensively. Able to play all three outfield positions, he is a fringy defender in center because of a lack of range and is better suited in the corners. His average arm is taxed in right field, making left field his best defensive fit to hide all of his weaknesses.
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.
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 21-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. Now 21, he has not pitched since, presumably thanks to injury.
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.
Cole Gordon, RHP
After graduating from Steinbrenner High School in Tampa, Florida in 2015, Cole Gordon enrolled at Mississippi State University but was forced to redshirt in his first year. When he finally got back on the field, he saw very limited action, a trend that continued into 2017 until injuries decimated the Mississippi State bullpen, and despite never having pitched in high school or college, Gordon was called on to pitch out of the bullpen. He ended up pitching 55.0 innings, posting a 5.69 ERA, allowing 47 hits, walking 30, and striking out 59. Cole’s transition would be permanent, and he remained in the bullpen for the remainder of his time at Mississippi State. Surprisingly, not only did he take to pitching fairly quickly, but he began excelling at it. All in all, he posted a 4.63 ERA In 159.1 innings with the team, allowing 132 hits, walking 86, and striking out 196. After being drafted, he spent the majority of the 2019 season with the Columbia Fireflies, posting a 2.76 ERA in 29.1 innings out of the bullpen.
The 6’5” Gordon throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot with a simple delivery consisting of a slight hip turn and leg lift. His fastball sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s, with arm-side run and sink. In addition, he can also cut it. He complements his fastball with a nasty slider with tightly spun late bite. He can control both of his pitches, mixing them effectively and pounding the zone. Though relatively new to pitching, Gordon is machine-like on the mound, showing no emotion and going about his business machinelike, regardless of the situation he finds himself in.
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 17-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 where he hit .222/.323/.376 in 53 games.
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.
Dylan Hall, RHP
Born in Stafford, Virginia on September 7, 1997, Dylan Hall was an All-American who lettered in all four years he spent at Mountain View High School in his native Stafford. Over the course of his career with the Mountain View Wildcats, he posted a cumulative 1.75 ERA in 172.2 innings with 140 strikeouts. While not a high priority follow among MLB scouts and executives, he was a follow thanks to his big six-foot-plus frame and a fastball that touched the upper-80s. He ended up going undrafted in the 2016 MLB Draft and honored his commitment to Virginia Tech. He spent two years with the Hokies, splitting his time in their bullpen and in their rotation to mixed results, posting a cumulative 6.91 ERA in 69.0 innings, allowing 89 hits, walking 23, and striking out 57. In 2019, he transferred from Virginia Tech to the University of Central Oklahoma after his coaches informed him that they no longer had room for him on their roster and found NCAA Div II hitters much easier to deal with. Making 16 starts for the Bronchos, Hall posted a 3.22 ERA in 106.1 innings, allowing 84 hits, walking 26, and striking out a school-record 123. Despite the success, he went undrafted in the 2019 MLB Draft and returned to Central Oklahoma for his senior year. In 30.0 innings prior to the NCAA cancelling all athletic activities, the right-hander posted a 3.00 ERA, allowing 25 hits, walking 8, and striking out 45. He was heavily scouted by the Mets, but they did not formally draft him in the pandemic-shortened 2020 MLB Draft. The time and effort the team put into scouting him did pay off, as the right-hander valued the personalized attention that the organization had given him and signed with the Mets over the other teams that offered him contracts. While the $20,000 and money to finish his bachelor’s degree and pursue a master’s degree certainly enticed him, Hall was ultimately swayed by that attention and the success that the Mets have had in developing pitchers.
At 6’5”, 225-pounds, Hall has a sturdy, durable frame. Used mainly out of the bullpen while at Virginia Tech, Hall was a workhorse at Central Oklahoma and was given assurances by the Mets upon being drafted that they intend on keeping him as a starter for the foreseeable future. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot and features a fastball that can touch as high as 95 MPH, generally settling in the low-to-mid-90s.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Nate Jones, RHP
A three-time letterman at Loyola College Prep High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, Nate Jones initially intended on heading to Louisiana State University Shreveport when he graduated in 2015, but a last-minute offer from Northwestern State University that summer prompted him to turn in the purple and gold of the Tigers for the purple and white of the Demons. The right-hander spent four years there, majoring in Business Administration, and posted a cumulative 3.74 ERA in 308.0 innings, allowing 282 hits, walking 93, and striking out 223. After being drafted by the Mets, he was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he spent the rest of the summer. Making seven abbreviated starts in Coney Island, the Jones posted a 6.59 ERA in 13.2 innings, allowing 10 hits, walking 8, and striking out 14. He was on the mound in Brooklyn’s pivotal New York-Penn League Championship Series game three, in which the Cyclones won their first solo championship, allowing a run over three innings.
Jones throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, with a big leg kick that helps impart deception in his pitches. His fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out as high as 94 MPH. In addition, he throws a fringe-to-average curve that sits in the mid-70s and a fringe changeup that sits in the high-70s. A hard worker, Jones is considered mature, and is able to get past adversity quickly.
Erik Kaiser, RHP
The son of Jeff Kaiser, who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 6th round of the 1988 MLB Draft and spent a couple of years in their system, Erik Kaiser was born in St. Louis, Missouri on November 20, 1998. Given his father’s background, baseball was part of his early life and he took to it. He lettered three years at Waterloo High School, won numerous awards, and helped lead the Bulldogs to the finals in his senior year. A follow by scouts and executives thanks to a solid 6’5”, 200-pound frame and a fastball that touched 90 MPH, Kaiser had a commitment to Vanderbilt, where he intended to attend after graduating and was not drafted in the 2017 MLB Draft. His college career was, unfortunately, very uneventful. In his freshman year, he pitched a total of 2.0 innings; in his sophomore year, he pitched 3.0. Ironically, he pitched 5.0 innings and was poised to play a bigger role in Vanderbilt’s bullpen in 2020, but the NCAA cancelled all baseball activities in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2020, he began the process of transferring from Vanderbilt but the move ended up being moot as he signed with the Mets as an undrafted free agent instead.
Kaiser throws from a three-quarters arm slot, using a leg lift and slight coil at the balance point of his windup. His fastball sits in the high-80s, topping out as high as 93 MPH. The pitch has some arm-side run to it, but has a tendency to overthrow the pitch, affecting his command and control. His primary secondary pitch is a high-70s curveball, which flashes average but is generally a fringe-average pitch because of its floaty 11-5 break and his inability to command it with regularity. He also can throw a changeup, which features roughly 10 MPH of velocity break and is not telegraphed, but has rarely used the pitch in his limited innings on the mound.
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 was drafted by the Mets in the 33rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and after signing, was assigned to the Kingsport Mets, where he hit .254/.307/.405 in 44 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. After the 2020 minor league season was cancelled, Lindsay was not added to the Mets’ alternate site roster in Coney Island despite his former pedigree and the relative lack out outfield depth in the Mets minor league system.
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 degraded due to time spent off the field. Now 24, Lindsay has 242 total games under his belt over the course of 5 seasons, playing 75 or more games in a season just once.
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, generally settling in at 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.
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.
Jake Mangum, CF
The SEC hit king, Jake Mangum comes from a long line of athletes. His grandfather, John Mangum, was a defensive tackle for the Boston Patriots from 1966-1967. His father, John Mangum Jr. was a defensive back for the Chicago Bears from 1990-1998. His uncle, Kris Mangum, was a tight end for the Carolina Panthers from 1997-2006. Jake did not pursue football after graduating from Jackson Preparatory School and instead played baseball at Mississippi State University, turning down prestigious schools such as Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama. Over the course of his four years there, Mangum hit a combined .356/.418/.456 in 259 games. He was drafted by the Mets in 2018 but turned them down, citing unfinished business at Mississippi State, such as winning a championship and breaking Eddy Furniss’ SEC NCAA career hits record. Before being drafted by the Mets a second consecutive year and ultimately signing with them, he succeeded in becoming the SEC all-time hits leader, ending his collegiate career with 378, but was unsuccessful in bringing a championship to Mississippi State. He did, however, bring a championship to Brooklyn, helping the Cyclones to a 43-32 record during the regular season and playing a pivotal role in their playoff run that would bring home the first championship trophy to Brooklyn since 1955 and make the Cyclones the final New York-Penn League champions with cancellation of the season and contraction of the league in 2020.
A switch hitter, Mangum stands extremely open and spread at the plate, holding his hands high. He uses a contact-oriented approach to slash the ball around the field. Despite his athletic frame and some additional muscle put on since turning pro, his in-game power is severely limited thanks to this dead-ball era approach. The outfielder makes up for it with his speed, which is his carrying tool, earning plus and even plus-plus grades by scouts and evaluators. He is still learning how to make it translate on the base paths, but the number of bases he has stolen and the times he has been caught have steadily improved over the years. He is aggressive at the plate, but like the stolen bases, has improved on working deeper counts and drawing walks. In the outfield, Mangum is an average-to-above-average defender in center. He possesses plenty of range in thanks to his excellent speed, and his routes have refined since his earlier college days. In addition, he possesses a strong arm as well, even pitching a few innings for Mississippi State in 2017.
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.
Brandon McIlwain, OF
Brandon McIlwain was a two-sport standout at Council Rock North High, a high school in Newtown, Pennsylvania. On the baseball diamond and on the gridiron, he blended a premium combination of speed and power, winning awards and getting named to honorary teams in both sports. In baseball, he excelled as a hitter and as a pitcher and in football, he was dominant as a quarterback and defensive back. McIlwain went undrafted in the 2015 MLB Draft and honored his commitment to the University of South Carolina, the same school his father attended. Unlike most dual sport high school athletes, he continued playing both, making the Gamecock’s baseball and football teams, though he focused more on the latter than the former. Appearing in multiple games for South Carolina as their quarterback in 2016, he only appeared in eight games with the baseball team, going 1-10. He announced his intention to transfer from the University of South Carolina to Cal State in 2017 and was granted redshirt status but was barred from participating in any games for the season due to NCAA rules. He returned to the gridiron in 2018 but did not play baseball, getting back to the diamond in 2019. He appeared in 20 games as Cal’s primary center fielder but broke his foot in late April, ending his season prematurely. Despite hitting .258/.309/.435, the Miami Marlins drafted McIlwain in the 26th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. He elected not to sign with them and instead returned to Cal State, where he would focus only on baseball. He appeared in 16 games before the NCAA shut down all athletic programs due to COVID-19, hitting .200/.333/.273. After going undrafted in the 2020 MLB Draft, the two-sport athlete signed with the Mets.
Given his background and the lack of playing time he has accumulated, McIlwain is a very raw baseball player despite being 22. Factoring in his time at South Carolina and Cal State combined, he has a total of 45 games under his belt. At the plate, McIlwain stands open, holding his hands low and swinging with a toe tap mechanism. His right-handed swing is slow and choppy, and coupled with a well-below-average eye and zone awareness, McIlwain is a below-average hitter. He shows some raw power in batting practice, driving the ball to his pull side, but is unlikely to ever tap into it due to his poor hit tool. McIlwain is a tremendous athlete, and that helps him in the outfield. He is a plus runner, which allows him to handle center field, and the potential exists for him to develop into an above-average center fielder as he learns to read the ball off of the bat better and refine his routes to the ball. His speed should benefit him on the basepaths, though he would need to develop a better understanding of pitchers and their movements in order to develop this skill. His arm is above-average and would fit defensively in either corner outfield position as well.
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.
Brian Metoyer, RHP
After graduating from Natchitoches Central High, a high school in Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 2015, Brian Metoyer attended Louisiana State University Eunice. After two years there, he transferred to Louisiana State University of Alexandria. Having shown improvements from his freshman to sophomore year, the right-hander regressed after being exposed to NAIA talent for the first time, as opposed to NJCAA talent that he was facing previously and Metoyer posted a 5.60 ERA in 27.1 innings out of the bullpen. The Mets selected him in the 40th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the very last player that they selected, and assigned him to the GCL and Kingsport Mets to finish out the league. He played with Brooklyn in 2019 and was very hot-and-cold, posting a 5.65 ERA in 28.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing 15 hits, walking 22, and striking out 40.
Throwing from a high-three-quarters arm slot, Metoyer’s fastball sits in the mid-to-low-90s and has periodically touched as high as 97 MPH. He supplements his fastball with a curveball that sits in the high-70s-to-low-80s and a changeup that sits in the mid-to-high-80s.
Nick Meyer, C
Nick Meyer was born with a condition called pre-axial polydactyly, meaning he was born with two thumbs on his left hand. He underwent surgery to remove the extra digit when he was two years old, and to this day he cannot bend his remaining thumb all the way, but this would not stop him from not only going on to play on the baseball-rich fields of Southern California. Instead, he would excel, standing out from his peers. After graduating from Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, Meyer would attend California Polytechnic State University, where he would make the varsity team as a freshman. In three years playing there, he hit a combined .300/.366/.377 while playing exemplary defense behind the plate. With their 6th round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Meyer, eventually signing him to a $350,000 signing bonus, almost $65,000 the Major League Baseball-assigned slot value. He played the rest of the summer in Coney Island with the Cyclones and hit .226/.275/.270 in 43 games. Injuries limited him to just 68 total games in 2019, most of them spent with the St. Lucie Mets. In those games, he hit .182/.250/.225. While the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 minor league season, Meyer was able to get some professional games under his belt, playing for the Tully Monsters in the City of Champions Cup, a four-team pop-up league in Illinois. In the 27 games he played with them, Meyer hit .247/.357/.360.
At the plate, Meyer stands compact, using a small leg kick as a timing mechanism. His bat path is level and designed for making contact. His game is built around putting the ball in play, as his in-game power is below-average. Thanks to his above-average awareness of the strike zone and contact-oriented swing, he is difficult to strike out. Behind the plate is where Meyer shines. He has a strong and accurate arm and is a solid receiver. He is a strong strategist, allowed to call pitches for himself during his college days, and pitchers enjoy pitching to him.
Andrew Mitchell, LHP
A graduate of Jesuit High School in New Orleans in 2013, where he played football in addition to baseball, Andrew Longstreet Mitchell posted a 1.34 ERA as a senior, striking out 51 batters in 36.2 innings. He initially enrolled at Louisiana State University but hurt himself and redshirted. In 2015, he transferred to Delgado Community College in New Orleans and posted a 5.13 ERA in 47.0 innings for the Dolphins, allowing 52 hits, walking 22, and striking out 56. In 2016, he transferred to Auburn, where he finished out his collegiate career. That year, as a redshirt sophomore, he posted a 5.40 ERA in 60.0 innings, allowing 70 hits, walking 31, and striking out 54. The next year, as a redshirt junior, he posted a 5.14 ERA in 35.0 innings, allowing 30 hits, walking 23, and striking out 27. In 2018, his redshirt senior season, the left-hander enjoyed the most success he had while wearing a collegiate uniform, posting a 4.01 ERA in 42.2 innings, allowing 36 hits, walking 18, and striking out 55. The Mets selected Mitchell in the 14th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, assigning him to the Kingsport Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones for the season. He played at Columbia and St. Lucie in 2019, combining to post a 2.19 ERA in 48.1 innings. In 2020, Mitchell played in the Liberation Professional Baseball League, a 2020 pop-up independent league in Indiana composed of four teams- the Baseball Resume Bandits, the Indiana Barn Owls, the Indy Windstorm, and the California Dogecoin. Pitching for the Bandits, Mitchell did not allow an earned run in 9.0 total innings, allowing 2 hits, walking 5, and striking out 25.
The left-hander throws from a three-quarters arm slot, dropping low when he pushes off of the mound. His fastball sits about 90 MPH and gets plenty of glove-side life. He can spot the ball well, generating velocity with a quick, clean arm. He complements it with a big 11-5 loopy curveball that sits in the mid-70s that features plenty of drop and a slider that he began throwing in 2020. Mitchell has a good sense of when to change speeds and has a high baseball IQ.
Gerson Molina, OF
Born in Ciego de Avila, Cuba on March 13, 1996, Gerson Molina is the son of Yorelvis Charles, a third baseman who was one of the premier talents in Cuba in the late-90s and 2000s. Molina played in Cuba’s Serie Nacional de Beisbol for four seasons, playing for his hometown from the 2013-2014 season until the 2016-2017 season. In those four years with the Tigres, he was primarily a backup player, appearing in 66 games total and hitting a cumulative .231/.333/.231 in 30 plate appearances. Interestingly, he played alongside his father, who had had Gerson while he was just 17 and was still going strong on the field in his mid-to-late-30s. The youngster left Cuba late in 2016, shortly after the 56th Serie Nacional began, in an effort to sign as pro because of the lack of playing time he was able to get. The move drew no repercussions from the Cuban government, as his father retired after the season and was named the manager of Ciego de Avila not long after. Molina relocated to the Dominican Republic and eventually signed with the Mets in late August 2018, agreeing to a $175,000 signing bonus. After a lengthy absence from the field, Molina made his Mets debut on May 6th, 2019, playing for the Columbia Fireflies. He had an exciting debut, going 2-4 with a double, but was unable to keep that kind of pace up for the entire year. The 23-year-old appeared in 93 games in total and hit .231/.312/.352 with 4 home runs, 5 stolen bases, 28 walks, and 106 strikeouts, spending the entire season in Columbia.
Molina stands square at the plate, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat behind his head. He swings with a toe tap mechanism using a swing with slight upward plane. He has shown an extreme weakness to spin, which in context of his lack of playing time relative to his age, makes sense. In the field, Molina has the ability to play multiple positions. While he mainly played center field in 2019, he spent limited amounts of time in either corner with the Fireflies and has experience playing third base as well from his time with Ciego de Avila. Molina is extremely athletic and should be able to stay in the outfield indefinitely, though the amount of value he has will be dependent on whether or not he plays in center, left, or right.
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.
Drake Nightengale, RHP
A Hattiesburg, Mississippi native, Thayer Drake Nightengale had an impressive career while playing at Sumrall High, a high school in Sumrall, Mississippi. Things came to a head in 2015, his senior year, when he posted a 0.20 ERA, was named the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A Player of the Year and threw a complete game in the state championship game to lead the Sumrall Bobcats to the 2015 state title. Unfortunately for Nightengale, not only did he go undrafted in the 2015 MLB Draft, but he received only a single collegiate offer to play baseball, from Pearl River Community College, a community college in Poplarville, Mississippi. Down on himself and his future in baseball, the right-hander eventually decided to attend the school. He spent two years there and posted a combined 4.63 ERA in 105.0 innings, allowing 115 hits, walking 47, and striking out 169. After he completed his sophomore year, NIghtengale transferred to the University of South Alabama. While the Sun Belt Conference is not the SEC or the Pac-12, the conference is generally considered in the top third in the NCAA and the right-hander was statistically dominant in his first year facing its hitters. In 71.2 innings thrown over 12 starts and 3 relief appearances, the right-hander posted a 3.52 ERA, allowing 48 hits, walking 38, and striking out 91. He held batters to a .196, lowest in the Sun Belt, and his ERA and strikeout total both ranked fourth. He went undrafted following his tremendous season, and demonstrating that the numbers were no fluke, the senior began the 2020 season strong and put up favorable numbers before the NCAA cancelled the remainder of the season, posting a 3.09 ERA in 23.1 innings, allowing 19 hits, walking 10, and striking out 39. The right-hander was being scouted by the Mets and was a contender to be drafted with one of their later picks in the 2020 MLB Draft, but in the end, the team went with University of New Orleans starter Eric Orze with their last selection. Not long afterwards, they approached him about signing as an undrafted free agent, a proposition that NIghtengale accepted thanks to the Mets’ offer to pay for future schooling and a chance to possibly share a clubhouse with an idol of his, Jacob deGrom.
NIghtengale, who stands an even six feet and weighs 195-pounds, throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot, using a high leg kick and a short arm action in the back. The lanky right-hander has a fastball that sits in the upper-80s-to-low-90s, but his best pitch is his slider, which sits in the mid-80s.
Adam Oller, RHP
Born in Conroe, Texas on October 17, 1994, Adam Oller got into baseball thanks to his older brother, Josh, who was into baseball himself. He attended Concordia Lutheran, a high school in Tomball, Texas, lettering four times and excelling as a two-way player, pitching and catching- though never at the same time. After graduating in 2013, he decided to attend Northwestern State University, where his brother also attended. In his three years at Northwestern, Oller emerged as one of the Demons’ best pitchers. In total, he posted a cumulative 2.06 ERA in 310.1 innings, allowing 248 hits, walking 75, and striking out 188. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 20 round of the 2016 MLB Draft and signed with them for $70,000. He spent the remainder of the 2016 season with the Bristol Pirates, their Rookie-level affiliate in the Appalachian League and was promoted to the West Virginia Black Bears in 2017, Pittsburgh’s Short-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League. Having pitched well in 2017, Oller hit a major roadblock in 2018. Having split the season with the Black Bears and the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates’ High-A affiliate in the Florida State League, he was given his release at the conclusion of the season, a season that saw him post a combined 6.29 ERA in 73.0 innings. After assessing where he was in his life and whether or not continuing to play baseball was a realistic choice or not, he was convinced by his friends and family to give it one more shot and signed with the Windy City Thunderbolts, a team in the Frontier League. He made 4 starts there, pitching 27.0 innings total, and was impressive, allowing two earned runs while giving up 15 hits, walking 2, and striking out 45. Professional scouts and evaluators took notice, and the San Francisco Giants ended up signing him, assigning him to the Augusta GreenJackets, their Low-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He finished out 2019 posting a 4.02 ERA in 87.1 innings there, allowing 94 hits, walking 26, and striking out 93. At the 2019 winter meetings, the Mets selected the right-hander in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.
Oller throws from a low-three-quarters arm slot with a long action through the back. His fastball sat in the low-90s prior to being released by the Pirates, but since then, he’s added a few miles per hour working with professional and hired coaches to optimize his mechanics, and now the pitch sits in the low-to-mid-90s, topping out as high as 96 MPH. He complements his fastball with a curveball, slider, and changeup. At Northwestern, his curveball was his go-to secondary pitch, but the Pirates wanted him to throw the slider more and as such, he has used his slider more over the course of most of his professional career.
Eric Orze, RHP
After graduating from Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream, Illinois, Eric Orze attended Northwest Florida State College, a community college in Niceville, Florida, for two seasons, and then transferred to the University of New Orleans in 2018. His time on the mound in his first year there was brief, as pain in his abdomen eventually made pitching, and even mundane tasks almost impossible; a visit to the doctor revealed that he had testicular cancer. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor and the initial prognosis was good, but he returned to the hospital a few days later as fluid had built up in his lungs, making it hard to breathe. The process to drain the fluid was a simple one, but while he was in their care, doctors made another grim discovery: a mole on his back, unrelated to his melanoma, was actually a cancerous tumor and he had melanoma. The surgery to remove the skin cancer was successful, and Orze was pronounced cancer-free once more, but the sickness and the surgeries had taken their toll on his body and the right-hander sat out the entire 2019 season recovering. He finally returned to the baseball diamond on opening night 2020, but fate once again kept him off the diamond, as the NCAA ended the 2020 early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All in all, the right-hander posted a 4.79 ERA in 123.1 innings, most of them as a starter, with Northwest Florida State College and a 4.97 ERA in 35.2 innings, most of them as a reliever, with the University of New Orleans.
Orze throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot, dropping his body as he drives off the mound, lowering his release point. His fastball generally sits in the low-to-mid-90s, and the pitch has heavy sink. Earlier in his career, it sat more in the high-80s-to-low-90s, but since returning to the mound after recovering from cancer, he was able to add additional velocity to the pitch through mechanical tweaks and added muscle growth. He complements the fastball with a splitter and a slider, both of which grade out as fringe-average pitches. The splitter is his go-to strikeout pitch, dropping inches off the table, coming in in the mid-80s. His slider sits in the mid-80s and features late slice. He also throws a high-80s cutter, which may or may not be a distinct pitch or simply sliders that reach the upper-80. As evidenced by his fight against cancer and his return to the mound, Orze has been lauded for his mental and physical toughness and his high degree of character and maturity.
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.
Marcel Renteria, RHP
Related to two former professionals- Dave Oropeza and Gil Heredia- Marcel Renteria did not garner much attention while playing at Nogales High School in Arizona and went undrafted in the 2013 MLB Draft, attending Pima Community College, a junior college in Pima County, Arizona, instead. After posting a combined 2.48 ERA in his two years there, Renteria transferred to New Mexico State University, where he pitched in 2016 as a junior and 2017 as a redshirt junior. The Mets selected Renteria in the 6th round of the 2017 MLB Draft and assigned him to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he was a very diminished pitcher thanks to lingering injury issues. He remained a diminished pitcher throughout 2018 as well, but the stuff looked much better in 2019, coinciding with a change in roles and a move to the bullpen.
Renteria throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot, whipping the ball at batters with his live arm. His delivery is fairly simple, with only a slight leg lift, but he puts a lot of effort on his arm to generate velocity. When fully healthy, his fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s, capable of touching as high as 99 MPH, but Renteria has spent much of his Mets career pitching compromised, either dealing with fatigue or injury. The pitch does not have much natural movement to it either, a problem that the right-hander and Mets coaches have slowly worked on. If he is able to improve the fastball, Renteria’s standing in the organization would gain massive helium, as his slider is one of the best currently in the system, if not the best, thanks to an extremely high RPM. He complements the fastball/slider combo with a curveball and a changeup, neither of which grade as average or better pitches currently.
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.
Yoel Romero, INF
Yoel Romero was signed out of Venezuela on July 2, 2014 for $300,000. After spending three years in the Dominican Summer League, he was brought stateside in 2018, spending the season with the Kingsport Mets and hitting a solid .265/.368/.373. He began the 2019 season with a handful of appearances with the Columbia Fireflies and St. Lucie Mets prior to the start of the Cyclones’ season, but spent the bulk of his year in Brooklyn, hitting .251/.326/.377 in 54 games. Romero was extremely versatile in 2019, playing various positions. With the bat, he is a gap hitter with limited power upside, an average-over-power hitter. Defensively, he profiles well at shortstop thanks to quick-twitch muscle affording him quick reaction times, but his arm and range are only considered average.
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.
Ali Sanchez, C
One of the top talents available worldwide during the 2013-2014 international signing period, the Mets signed Venezuelan catcher Ali Sanchez for $690,000 in the hopes that he would be able to develop into the next great Venezuelan catcher. The early returns were extremely promising, as Sanchez was, at times, dominant in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League, but the backstop seemed to hit something of a wall when he was promoted to Short-A and began facing more polished pitchers. He would slowly move up the minor league ladder over the next few years posting generally subpar numbers. In August 2020, he made his Major League debut, appearing in 5 games total and going 1-9 with a walk and three strikeouts.
Standing open at the plate, Sanchez has a quiet set-up, using small leg kick as a timing mechanism. Though he shows some raw power in batting practice, his smooth, contact-oriented swing has never shown much power, and scouts and evaluators are unsure if it ever will. He uses the entire field, at times going to the opposite field almost as much as he pulls the ball. He does not walk much, but he does not strike out at an excessive rate either. While there are questions about his offense, nobody doubts Sanchez’ defensive ability behind the dish. His arm is only average, but he excels at all of the other facets of catching. He is athletic and moves well behind the plate, has a quick transfer, regularly posts good pop times, and has an accurate arm. Sanchez is an excellent framer, with TrackMan data in past seasons suggesting that his framing ability is able to save multiple runs over the course of a season. In addition, he possesses catchers’ intangibles, calling a good game and getting positive reviews by his coaches and pitchers.
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.
Reyson Santos, RHP
Born on Jan 22, 1999 in Bani, a city in the Dominican Republic, Reyson Santos signed with the Mets at the end of the 2017-2018 international signing period. The 19-year-old pitcher was assigned to the Dominican Summer League to finish out the 2018 season and then was brought stateside in 2019, pitching first with the Kingsport Mets and then getting a brief promotion with the Brooklyn Cyclones at the end of the season. During his time in the Appalachian League, Santos served as the team closer and posted a 2.45 ERA in 22.0 innings out of the bullpen, allowing 17 hits, walking 8, and striking out 28. With the Cyclones, he went unscored upon in two appearances, allowing a hit, walking a batter, and striking out five; in addition, he notched the save in Game Two of the New York-Penn League Championship series, recording a crucial out.
The 6’2”, 190-pound right-hander throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot. His delivery is somewhat explosive, coiling slightly at his balance point, utilizing a long arm action through the backside, and falling through at the end of his delivery. At this point in his career, he has relied mainly on fastballs, as his secondary pitches are almost non-existent. His fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out at 93 MPH, with slight arm-side movement.
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.
Hayden Senger, C
A standout on the baseball diamond and the football gridiron, Hayden Senger lettered four times in baseball and three times in football while attending Lakota East High, a high school in suburbs outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. He honored his commitment to Miami University and made the Redhawks’ baseball team as their starting catcher in his freshman year. He hit .269/.336/.431 as a freshman in 2016, suffered a sophomore slump and hit .172/.281/.242 in 2017, and recovered in 2018, hitting a career-best .344/.429/.511 in 48 games. He was drafted by the Mets in the 24th round of the 2018 MLB Draft and finished out the year splitting time with the Kingsport Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2019, he was assigned to the Columbia Fireflies and was a league-average offensive contributor, hitting .230/.324/.345 with four home runs.
At the plate, Senger uses a fluid, level, line drive swing, wrapping the bat behind his head and swinging after a toe tap. Despite his solid 6’1”, 210-pound frame, his swing is not suited for power and he is unlikely to hit for much. He has good bat-to-ball skills and puts the ball in play, rarely striking out while drawing a fair amount of walks. Where Senger really shines is behind the plate. He generally posts above-average pop times just slightly over two seconds. Combined with his above-average arm, he controls the running game well. In addition, he is a strong receiver, blocking balls in the dirt and framing pitches well.
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.
Joe Suozzi, OF, Boston College
Born in Glen Cove, where his father was elected mayor, Joe Suozzi attended Chaminade High School in Mineola, a private Catholic high school that his father also attended. He started his prep career bright, being named Chaminade’s Most Valuable Player in his freshman year, but injuries in his sophomore and junior years reduced him to an afterthought. Cut from the team, he fought his way back into relevancy in his senior year, and while he did not necessarily stand out necessarily, he was named the Most Improved Player. After graduating in 2016, he attended Boston College, where he was interested in trying out for their baseball team. Despite Boston College being his father’s alma mater and being from a well-connected family, Suozzi was not gifted a spot on the Eagles. After his tryout, Boston College coach Mike Gambino informed the youngster that there were was no room on the Boston College baseball team. Understandably disappointed but unperturbed, Suozzi spent the year getting in better shape and improving his baseball skills. His gambit worked, as he made the team in his sophomore year. While he made the team, he did not have a particularly important role on it, appearing in 25 games and hitting .250/.316/.368. He worked hard to improve and expand his role on the team and was rewarded by Coach Gambino by having his playing time virtually double in his junior year. Appearing in 48 games, Suozzi hit .282/.363/.423. While scouts had begun to take notice, he went undrafted in the 2019 MLB Draft, prompting him to return to Boston College for his senior year. Named team captain in 2020, he hit .414/.471/.638 in 15 games before the NCAA shut down all sporting activities due to COVID-19. With the 2020 MLB Draft severely shortened, he went undrafted in the draft but was signed by the Mets shortly thereafter- the same team that he grew up rooting for. For what it’s worth, the Wilpon family donated to Tom Suozzi’s 2016 campaign for the United States House of Representatives and Saul Katz lives in a 12-acre mansion in Glen Cove, where Ralph Suozzi, Joe’s first cousin once removed, is mayor.
At the plate, Suozzi stands tall and slightly open, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat slightly behind his head, swinging with a slight leg kick. His swing is long and stiff, a product of below-average bat speed, but the athletic, 6’2”, 200-pound outfielder shows solidly average raw power during batting practice and has the ability to run into pitches in-games. He does not have a quick first step out of the box, and is a fringe-average runner out of the gate, but once he picks up steam, he is a solidly average runner, taking extra bases when the situation presents itself. In the field, Suozzi can play all three outfield positions but is a below-average defender in left, right, and center. With more reps, he may improve, but he is unlikely to ever stand out. Suozzi true strength are the bonds he has forged with his coaches and teammates thanks to his strong work ethic and drive to succeed. The outfielder is well-respected by his peers and is considered a leader both on the field and in the locker room.
Sammy Tavarez, RHP
Originally signed by the Yankees in January 2018, right-handed pitcher Sammy Tavarez spent two years in the organization but never actually appeared in a professional game for them. After having his contract voided, the Dominican pitcher signed with the Mets on July 2, 2020, what should have been the beginning of the 2020-2021 international signing period had it not been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 6’6”, 190-pound right-hander throws from a three-quarters arm slot, using a leg lift and a long arm action through the back. His slingy mechanics can produce a fastball that sits in the upper-90s, even occasionally hitting triple digits. The 22-year-old Dominican can also throw a sinker that sits in the low-to-mid-90s. In addition to his fastball, Tavarez’s arsenal includes a low-to-mid-80s slider, a high-70s curveball, and a high-80s changeup.
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.
Tim Tebow, OF
In September 2016, the Mets came to terms with one of the most talked about free agents in the baseball world. A highly decorated athlete from his college days, the Mets signed Tim Tebow to a minor league contract with a $100,000 signing bonus. The move was generally panned, as scouts and executives had mixed reviews of the former Heisman Trophy’s prospects as a baseball prospect and saw the move for marketing and PR than anything else. The Mets assigned Tebow to their Arizona Fall League, the Scottsdale Scorpions, and the converted outfielder performed exactly as you would have imagined, hitting .194/.296/.242 in 19 games. He began the 2017 season with the Columbia Fireflies and hit .220/.311/.336 in 64 games before getting promoted to St. Lucie for the remainder of the season, where he hit .231/.307/.356 in 62 games, giving him a .226/.309/.347 batting line for the season, with 8 homers, 2 stolen bases in 4 attempts, 43 walks and 126 strike outs. Not exactly on a normal developmental schedule, the Tebow was promoted despite his performance, assigned to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies for the 2018 season. To his credit, he did not embarrass himself in the 84 games he played that year, hitting .273/.336/.399 with 6 home runs before having his season end prematurely after breaking his right hamate bone on late July. He was sent to Syracuse for the 2019 season and once again had his season end early, this time due to a deep cut on his left pinky that was taking longer than anticipated to heal properly. Unlike his 2018 campaign, the 31-year-old did not look good in his first taste of Triple-A baseball, hitting a paltry .163/.240/.255 with four home runs in 77 games. Despite the anemic numbers, Tebow was invited to spring training in 2020- he also ended up being one of the first players cut. He was slated to rejoin Syracuse for the 2020 season, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the season was cancelled.
Tebow stands square at the plate, holding his hands high. His hit tool is considered well-below average, which is understandable for an individual who spent the better part of the last decade focusing on football rather than baseball. The swing is long and slow, which leads to problems catching up with fastballs and adjusting to spin. He is tremendously strong and possesses above-average raw power with the ability to run into the occasional fastball or hanging breaking ball during in-game situations, but because his hit tool is highly suspect, his ability to leverage that power in games is limited. His pitch recognition and zone awareness are also below average, which is understandable given the lack of innings he has under his belt.
In the outfield, Tebow is limited to left field, and his performance there has been well below average. Because of his limited reps there in organized games, he is extremely raw in the field. He is generally slow to react to balls and still struggles with finding the most efficient routes. As a football player, Tebow’s major weakness was his throwing ability and that continues to be a liability as a baseball player as well, possessing a weak and inaccurate arm.
While one can say many things about the quarterback-turned-outfielder, nobody can question his work ethic and character. Outside of contractual obligations with ESPN and the SEC Network, Tebow does not let his celebrity status go to his head. He is nothing but a positive influence on his teammates who puts in the same work that they do and goes through the same minor league trials and tribulations as they do.
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.
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.
Jeremy Vasquez, 1B
Jeremy Vasquez had a very productive career at Martin County High, a high school in Stuart, Florida. Though he was considered one of the top prep first basemen in the state of Florida- he hit .524 with four home runs in his senior year- he had a strong commitment to the University of Florida and went undrafted in the 2014 MLB Draft. His first two years with the Gators were uneventful, as his playing time was limited- the incumbent first baseman, Pete Alonso, was not yielding any time when he was healthy and able to get on the field- so he transferred to Nova Southeastern University in his junior year, a private college in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He hit a career best .317/.453/.614 with 15 home runs at the Division II school and was drafted by the Mets at the end of the year, selected in the 28th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Since becoming a professional, Vasquez has generally posted strong batting averages and on-base percentages, but has struggled to hit for power, maintaining a cumulative .274/.364/.401 batting line.
Standing square at the plate, Vasquez holds his hands high and swings with a slight leg kick. His smooth left-handed stroke has shown a consistent ability to put the ball in play. His strong, quick wrists guide the barrel to the ball from a deep load with an easy flow. He is able to square up on just about everything, having no issues with elite velocity or breaking balls. Vasquez has worked to adjust his swing and mechanics to generate more power, but the changes that he has made since becoming a professional have not had much of an impact; in 329 games over the course of his three seasons, Vasquez has a cumulative .401 slugging percentage and 23 total home runs. Defensively, he has smooth actions around the first base bag with soft hands. Unlike most other first basemen, Vasquez has enough athleticism to pass in the outfield, but his best use there would be in emergency situations only, as he is a below-average runner and has below-average range.
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.
Anthony Walters, INF
Anthony Walters began his high school career at Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California and spent two years there before transferring to Tustin High School in Tustin, California spending his final two high school seasons there. He lettered all four years of his high school career, hitting a cumulative .303/.377/.389, but went undrafted after graduating high school and went on to attend Cal State Berkley. Playing as a part-time utility player who saw action all over the field, Walters was lackluster with the bat, hitting .191/.295/.221. He transferred to Mount San Antonio College in 2018, a community college in Walnut, California, and fared much better against California Community College Athletic Association competition, hitting .374/.451/.718 in 45 games. He missed the entire 2019 season after tearing his ACL and transferred to San Diego State University as a redshirt junior. In 2020, he appeared in 16 games for the Aztecs before COVID-19 prompted the NCAA to prematurely end the baseball season, hitting .271/.333/.356, with 1 home run, and 1 stolen base in as many attempts.
Walters stands square at the plate, holding his hands low. He swings with a big leg kick, with an extremely upper-cutty swing. When he makes solid contact, he has fringe average power, but due to his fringy hit tool, he is unable to maximize the power potential that he has. Defensively, Walters profiles as a utility infielder, able to play second base, third base, and shortstop. He has good hands, and is a better fit at second base than he is at third or short. He also has the ability to play left field as well, but his lack of range or an arm would make him a below-average defender in the outfield.
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.