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Top 25 Mets Prospects for 2024: Drew Gilbert (2)

Next on our list is an outfielder.

Amazin Avenue Prospect List

Name: Drew Gilbert

Position: OF

Born: 9/27/2000

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 195 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/L

Acquired: Trade (August 1, 2023: Traded by the Houston Astros with Ryan Clifford to the New York Mets for Justin Verlander)

2023 Stats: 21 G, 86 AB, .361/.421/.686, 31 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 6 BB, 21 K, 4/4 SB, .424 BABIP (High-A)/95 G, 418 AB, .272/.370/.440, 18 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 52 BB, 76 K, 8/13 SB, .313 BABIP (Double-A)

Drew Gilbert is the son of Andy Gilbert, who played soccer at Bethel University, and Cindy, who was a gymnast at Ball State. He inherited his parents’ athletic genes and became a standout two-way player at Stillwater High School in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota. In 2019, he won the Gatorade Player of the Year (Minnesota) Award, posting a 0.14 ERA with 97 strikeouts while hitting .417. Considered one of the better high school players in Minnesota, the Minnesota Twins selected their hometown player in the 35th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, the 1049th player selected overall, but the selection was more ceremonial than serious, an acknowledgement of Gilbert’s achievements, as he and his best friend and teammate Will Frisch had strong commitments to Oregon State. While Frisch did, Gilbert did not actually end up attending college there. Following a coaching change, which included coach Nate Yeskie going to University of Arizona, Gilbert reclassified and committed to the University of Tennessee.

The 2020 season, Gilbert’s freshman year, was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 19-year-old certainly made an impression in the limited time on the field he had. Appearing in 15 games and making 10 starts in the outfield for coach Tony Vitello’s Vols, Gilbert hit .350/.490/.500 with 3 doubles, 1 home run, 2 stolen bases, and 7 walks to 6 strikeouts. Additionally, he pitched 4 games, posting a 5.63 ERA in 8.0 innings, allowing 9 hits, walking 2, and striking out 9. In 2021, his sophomore year, Gilbert was the only Volunteer to appear in all 68 games, making 67 starts. The 20-year-old hit .274/.341/.437 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases, and 15 walks to 40, finishing the year ranked third in hits with 74. Additionally, he once again got into a handful of games as a pitcher. Appearing in 7 games, he posted a perfect 0.00 ERA in 8.1 innings, allowing 3 hits, walking 5, and striking out 8. Along with current and future teammate Blade Tidwell, he was invited to play with the USA Baseball National Collegiate Team that summer.

The 2022 season was Gilbert’s junior year, and he stepped up big time. Appearing in 58 games, he was one of multiple players to have an OPS over 1.000 for a powerful Volunteers team that went 57-9 and went all the way to the NCAA Super Regionals, losing to Notre Dame. Gilbert hit .362/.455/.673 with 21 doubles, 4 triples, 11 home runs, 4 stolen bases, and 33 walks to 32 strikeouts. His performance was particularly clutch late in the year, and he was named SEC Tournament MVP.

Having gone on a run of success at the major league level in the mid-to-late-2010s that resulted in later draft selections and having forfeited their first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 due to the 2017/2018 sign stealing controversy, Kris Gross and the Houston Astros scouting department sorely needed who they identified as the best talent available to them, and they selected Drew Gilbert. The 28th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the two sides agreed to a $2,497,500 signing bonus, slightly under the MLB-assigned slot value for the 28th overall pick of $2,621,700. The outfielder made his professional debut with the FCL Astros, homering in his first at-bat. He was shortly promoted to the Single-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers and played there for a handful of games before having his season end prematurely in mid-August after dislocating his right elbow colliding into the center field wall during a play.

Considered one of Houston’s best prospects despite the limited playing time and injury, Gilbert began the 2023 season with the High-A Ashville Tourists. He spent exactly a month there before the organization promoted him, hitting .361/.421/.686 in 21 games with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 6 home runs, 4 stolen bases, and 6 walks to 21 strikeouts. At the beginning of May, he was assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he got into 60 games for the Hooks. He initially handled the promotion with aplomb, hitting over .300 with a 15-game on-base streak and multiple multi-hit games, his production plummeted by the beginning of June. Nagging left elbow discomfort that limited him at times to playing DH was denied by the organization as the reason for his struggles, but whatever the case, Gilbert hit .241/.342/.371 in 60 games with the Hooks, a far cry from what he demonstrated he was able to do when healthy and locked in.

On August 1, the Mets traded Justin Verlander to the Astros and received Gilbert and former Tourists teammate Ryan Clifford in return. The outfielder was assigned to Double-A Binghamton, where he played from the beginning of August until the end of the 2023 season. The move seemed to revitalize Gilbert, and he became the heart and soul of the team, much like he had been with the Vols. In 35 games, he hit .325/.423/.561 with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 2 stolen bases, and 19 walks to 30 strikeouts. Binghamton went 17-9 in August and 10-4 in September to end the Eastern League second half with a 39-27 record and clinch a playoff berth. In the Eastern League Division Series, he went 2-8 with a walk and three strikeouts, and in the Eastern League Championship Series, he went 3-9 with a clutch three-run home run and a strikeout. All in all, Gilbert appeared in 116 games between the Tourists, Hooks, and Rumble Ponies and hit a cumulative .289/.381/.487 with 26 doubles, 3 triples, 18 home runs, 12 stolen bases in 17 attempts, and 58 walks to 97 strikeouts.

The left-handed Gilbert stands wide and open at the plate, holding his hands high and angling his bat high at 11:00. He does not have much of a load or weight transfer, closing up instead and using a toe tap timing mechanism. While he may be “just” 5’9” tall, his bat packs a punch thanks to a quick bat and excellent hand-eye coordination that allows him to really barrel the ball, with multiple recorded exit velocities measuring over 110 MPH during his time with the Vols and as a professional with the Mets and Astros. He does most of his damage to his pull side, jumping on fastballs early in the count when possible but able to work an at-bat and grind down a pitcher when necessary. Gilbert sometimes can get swing-happy and aggressive, unnecessarily expanding the zone trying to make contact and lift balls, but he has a strong sense of the strike zone and a good overall approach when not intentionally trying to do too much. An average-to-above-average speed, he has strong enough base running instincts to stretch singles into doubles, take extra bases, and steal a fair share of bases.

In the outfield, Gilbert uses his speed to cover plenty of ground in center field. He has an arm that has touched as high as 95 MPH during his periodic pitching performances with Tennessee. He runs and throws well enough to play an average centerfield in the long term future but can also handle right field as well. A gamer and competitor, Gilbert gives every play 100%, which has come back to hurt him in terms of injuries, but allows him to eke out the most of his defensive abilities and certainly endears himself to fans.