Week: 6 G, 26 AB, .391/.462/.826, 9 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 5 K, 2/2 SB (High-A)
2023 Season: 79 G, 261 AB, .249/.422/.410, 65 H, 12 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 69 BB, 76 K, 32/36 SB, .322 BABIP (Single-A)/18 G, 61 AB, .311/.462/.574, 19 H, 7 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 16 BB, 16 K, 7/8 SB, .381 BABIP (High-A)
Jett Williams’ small statue and doubters have given him a chip on his shoulder and fueled his hard-nosed style of play from little league on. He made the Rockwall-Heath High School varsity baseball team as a freshman and helped lead them to state playoffs in virtually every season that he played for the Hawks. In his junior and senior years, arguably the most important for a high school player, he hit .347 with 5 home runs and 15 stolen bases and .411 with 7 home runs and 24 stolen bases, respectively. The hard work he put in paid off, as he was considered one of the best talents available in the 2022 MLB Draft.
With their second first-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the 14th overall pick, the Mets selected Williams. He signed roughly a week later, forgoing his commitment to Mississippi State University, agreeing to a $3,900,000 bonus, a few hundred thousand dollars less than the MLB-assigned slot value of $4,241,600. The 18-year-old was assigned to the FCL Mets to begin his professional career and appeared in 10 games for them in the month of August, hitting .250/.366/.438 with 1 home run, 6 stolen bases in as many attempts, and drawing 4 walks to 6 strikeouts. He began the 2023 season with the St. Lucie Mets and hit .249/.422/.410 in 79 games with 6 home runs and 32 stolen bases. Promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones at the beginning of August, he is currently hitting .311/.462/.574 with them in 18 games, with 3 home runs and 7 stolen bases.
Williams has a quiet setup at the plate, swinging with his hands low and his bat perpendicular to the ground. He has plus bat speed, resulting in exit velocities that averaged 87.4 MPH in St. Lucie, with multiple 100+ MPH batted ball events, and a high-water mark of 106.3 MPH. He uses the entire field, pulling the ball at a 45.9% rate, going back up the middle at a 29.7% rate, and going to the opposite field at a 24.4% rate so far this season. His home run power generally is to his pull side- so far in limited innings in Brooklyn, he is pulling the ball more and is halfway to his home run total in St. Lucie in a quarter fewer games- while he sprays hits to other fields with authority, using his plus speed to help him stretch hits. Williams has an excellent eye at the plate and quick hands, allowing him to lay off bad pitches and put good wood on both premium velocity and advanced spin- in the Florida State League, he had a 8.8% chase rate and 86.5% zone-contact rate, respectively. He has yet to show much trouble recognizing and dealing with fastballs, breaking pitches, and off-speed pitches, with pitches high in the strike zone or above it being his weakest portion of the zone to cover.
Defensively, Williams makes use of his speed. He moves well on the infield dirt, showing plenty of lateral range. He has soft hands and a smooth glove with the instinctive actions to stick at shortstop, though his footwork still needs more development. In the outfield grass, he has plenty of range and afterburners to close in on balls, his ball tracking and routes still needing refinement from a lack of playing time in the outfield. A fringy arm affects his ability to play in the infield and in the outfield, but the rest of his toolsets in the infield and in the outfield in conjunction with his athleticism will make him at serviceable up-the-middle defender at a minimum, with the potential to be much better.
Felipe De La Cruz
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K (Single-A)
2023 Season: 21 G (19 GS), 90.1 IP, 92 H, 56 R, 47 ER (4.68 ERA), 41 BB, 114 K, .362 BABIP (Single-A)
Since the All-Star break, De La Cruz has a 4.57 ERA in 21.2 innings over 5 games. While the surface numbers are not great, there are some positives. His FIP over this period of time is a sterling 1.94, his ERA bloated in part due to a .429 BABIP; his Z-Contact and O-Contact rates for his sinker and his slider both are improved and more favorable.
Given that the Mets minor league system is fairly light when it comes to pitching, and is even more lacking when it comes to left-handed pitching, the case could be made that De La Cruz is currently the Mets’ best southpaw prospect.