2018 Mets Top 10 Prospects Chat
Matt Eddy: Welcome to another Top 10 Prospects chat. This time we focus on the Mets. The system has certainly seen better days and is in a transition year following the graduations of blue-chippers like Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Amed Rosario, Steven Matz and Michael Fulmer (albeit with the Tigers). Jonathan (Syracuse, NY): Were there any prospects on the bubble, that you guys gave some consideration to moving ahead of Guillorme?
Matt Eddy: Absolutely. I gave the nod to SS Luis Guillorme at No. 10 based on his proximity to the big leagues, the Mets' unsettled 2B situation in 2018 and 2019 and the fact that his defense is a separating tool. I didn't have the same level of confidence in the group that follows Guillorme, which includes C Tomas Nido, 2B Gavin Cecchini, LHP Anthony Kay, RHP Jordan Humphreys and July 2 SS Ronny Mauricio.
Frank (Indianapolis, IN): How many of the top 10 are expected to make the BA 100 list?
Matt Eddy: I would estimate that SS Andres Gimenez and LHP David Peterson have a chance to be included, but our internal grading system at this moment projects them outside the Top 100.
Grant (Queens, NY): Surprising not to see Nido anywhere on this list. Can you explain? Thanks
Matt Eddy: Double-A C Tomas Nido received a September callup and even started a game, but evaluators see him as having more of a backup profile based on questionable offensive impact potential. He's still a fine prospect who has a similar adjusted grade as every prospect ranked after No. 6 Mark Vientos. Nido shines defensively with plus arm strength, strong receiving skills and an above-average ability to steal strikes for his pitchers.
Paul (Tri State): Just so I'll know who won the trade, where would Merandy Gonzalez have placed on this list before getting dealt?
Matt Eddy: The Mets traded High-A RHP Merandy Gonzalez to the Marlins in the A.J. Ramos trade. He finished second in the minors with a 1.66 ERA and probably would have ranked about 9th or 10th on this list.
Mark (Dallas, TX): What can you tell us about Quinn Brodey and where he fits best in the outfield? Thanks Matt.
Matt Eddy: OF Quinn Brodey, the club's third-round pick from Stanford this year, finished the year in Low-A, where his power began to play. He hit well on the Cape when in college and improved each season in the Pac-12. Scouts say his upside is limited because he lacks a carrying tool and that he might ultimately be an outfield tweener -- not enough range for center, not enough power for a corner. I would expect to see marked improvement in 2018 because he's a smart LH college bat with present strength. That should carry him to Double-A with ease.
Ryan (NYC): Did G-Cecchini graduate from being a prospect or something? What 'cha got on him? Is 2B his only position as of now?
Matt Eddy: The hits fell for 2B Gavin Cecchini in 2016 at Triple-A Las Vegas, but they didn't fall in 2017. His secondary skills -- walks, power -- remained stable, but his batting average plummeted. He is the type of prospect who needs to perform, with no reservations, because he lacks plus power or speed. Scouts have said for years that Cecchini fits best at 2B because of arm strength and accuracy issues at SS. Of course, this only raises the bar for his bat. It's looking more like utility INF upside or possible second-division 2B starter.
Gil (Hartford, CT): Does a healthy Kay have a higher ceiling than Szapucki? Will he be in the 11-20?
Matt Eddy: Low-A LHP Thomas Szapucki has better stuff than LHP Anthony Kay across the board and has possibly the highest ceiling in the system. Durability, control/command and quality of changeup could be areas where Kay can exceed Szapucki, but neither has pitched all that much in the Mets system in the past two seasons. Yes, Kay ranks in the top 15.
Larry (New York): It seems as the mets draft philosophy switched from young upside high school players to safer college pitchers since Depodesta left, is that me looking too much into coincidence or should we expect that to continue.
Matt Eddy: The Mets have had three different scouting directors since Sandy Alderson took over the reigns after 2010. Initially the scouting dept focused on high school players with top picks, taking Brandon Nimmo and Michael Fulmer in 2011, Gavin Cecchini in 2012, Dominic Smith in 2013 and Desmond Lindsay in 2015. (They took others you've probably forgotten in those drafts, too.) The Mets made an exception in 2014, when an elite college bat (Conforto) fell to them. My impression is that in the past two drafts they have focused on college talent, such as David Peterson, Justin Dunn and Pete Alonso, because they want to line up the two waves of draft picks. The 2011-13 HS group is graduating to the majors, while the 2016-17 college group will join them in 2018-19.
Roger (Brooklyn): Jose Miguel Medina hit third for Brooklyn this year and seems to have some athleticism. But he's been on the slow climb through the system and his performance has been so-so. What are scouts and managers saying about Medina?
Matt Eddy: RF Jose Miguel Medina is a player who could assert himself in 2018, or he could just as likely fade away. He shows raw power in BP but hit only one HR this year, but as you note he has plus athleticism and speed. His success hinges on his ability to access his power in games. He will be 21 next season.
G4 (Milwaukee): The "improved eyesight" line has been leaned on often over the years, but I can't recall many instances where new glasses turned around a player's fortunes. What's your feeling of Lindsay's potential hit tool?
Matt Eddy: Ha ha. I believe the post-hoc eyesight explanation has been trotted out for Eric Hosmer (good outcome) and Drew Jackson (bad) in the past. I like that OF Desmond Lindsay works deep counts and isn't afraid to hit with two strikes. It's a positive foundation for a young hitter, and it's also something Brandon Nimmo showed at the same age. I think being able to judge a ball from a strike, when combined with the strength to drive hittable pitches, are building blocks for young hitters. Of course, Lindsay has shown this only sporadically as a pro because of injuries. I graded Lindsay's hit tool at 55.
Mark (Boston): What are the chances that if Peter Alonso continues to mash he pushes Domonic Smith to the outfield?
Matt Eddy: The Mets face a potential logjam at first base if both Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso develop into major league-caliber hitters. Getting both into the lineup is probably going to be impossible (without the DH). I doubt either player has the foot speed to handle the outfield, especially in Citi Field. Alonso played 3B in high school, but those days are long past. Smith allegedly wanted to catch when he was younger, but being a LH thrower put the kibosh on that.
Mr. Baseball (Albuquerque): A pretty depressing list here. Not even one player obtained when the Mets cleaned house late in 2017. What happened to P.J. Conlon and Corey Oswalt? Not as good as the halt and the lame on this Top Ten?
Matt Eddy: The Mets traded five veterans this summer (excluding the A.J. Ramos trade) and imported seven minor league relievers. Jamie Callahan and Jacob Rhame made their MLB debuts and showed power stuff. Drew Smith and Gerson Bautista are the best of the rest and could be MLB ready by the end of 2018. The Mets made a concerted effort to enhance their velocity in the big league bullpen -- only the Twins had a lower average RP velocity this season. The club prioritized relievers with plus velocity and riding life up in the zone as well as an above-average breaking pitch. They felt like their stable of power arms had been depleted in recent years by prospect graduations and trades of pitchers such as Michael Fulmer, Luis Cessa and Akeel Morris.
Sidd Finch (Tibet): How, in god's name, did Marcos Molina come in at 7 and Corey Oswalt go unranked?
Matt Eddy: Double-A RHP Corey Oswalt won Eastern League pitcher of the year honors, but scouts universally saw RHP Marcos Molina as having slightly firmer stuff. The difference between them might not be extreme. Molina could be a No. 4 profile and Oswalt a No. 5.
Steven (New Jersey): Can you see the Mets farm system taking a huge leap next year with the high projectability of their top 10? Could Alonso and Lindsay crack midseason top 100 lists next year?
Matt Eddy: If everything breaks right, the Mets system could regress toward the center of the pack. For one thing, they hold the No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft. Furthermore, pitchers like Justin Dunn and David Peterson were consensus first-round college arms, and they could blossom in 2018 after fitful starts to their pro careers. Desmond Lindsay could stay healthy and produce. Also, the organization's international department continues to stock the lower levels with projectable, up-the-middle prospects, and one or more could mature sooner than expected and break out in 2018. I wouldn't say this outcome is likely, but it's possible.
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): How weak would you consider the Mets system right now? It is interesting, when you compare them, say relative to a strong one like the Braves, where C. Pache, the Braves # 10 prospect was rated (# 5) ahead of A. Gimenez the Mets # 1 prospect (# 7) in the SAL top 20 rankings. Thanks for the chat !
Matt Eddy: The Mets have a bottom-third system right now, and they possibly could rank in the 26-30 group based on lack of a blue-chip talent. They aren't particularly deep either once you get past No. 15.
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): What can you tell me about Jordan Humphreys? He had a great season for Columbia in the SAL, although he didn't pitch as well in the few innings after promotion to the FSL. Is he considered a legit prospect? How close to top 10 was he? Thanks for the chat!
Matt Eddy: RHP Jordan Humphreys would have ranked in the top 10 had he stayed healthy, but he had Tommy John surgery in August. He is next in the line of physical Florida prep pitchers for whom velocity gains are expected, and he is on a similar development track (now delayed) as pitchers like the since-traded John Gant or Rob Whalen. Humphreys had reached 94 mph this year while sitting in the low 90s, and his high-spin curveball is a notable second pitch.
Darren (Fairfield): The Met system is a disgrace based on BA's own league top 20's. What are the top 3 reasons system is so bad? If MLB declares some Braves prospects free agents, what are the chance the Mets get aggressive and sign a few?
Matt Eddy: 1. Graduating prospects such as Rosario, Conforto, Syndergaard, Matz and Fulmer, who all have separating ability based on their tools (health permitting). 2. Trading away prospects to reinforce the 2015 and 2016 big league clubs impacted system depth and might have forced promotions for some players before they were ready. 3. Lower draft position in 2016 and 2017 based on big league success -- not to mention punting a 2015 first-round pick to sign Michael Cuddyer.
Gator (Gainesville): How long before Alonso forces the Mets hand? Is he trade bait, or will he be given an opportunity to win the 1B job at some point?
Matt Eddy: Given Alonso's defensive limitations -- 19 E in 83 G at 1B this year -- I would be intrigued by the prospect of shopping him to an AL club, where he could DH. His trade value could be at peak value, or might reach peak value during the 2018 season. He hasn't satisfactorily answered concerns about his readiness to play 1B in the majors or his impact potential vs. RHP. So far as a pro he has a .201 ISO with 5 BB% and 19 SO% against same-siders compared with .327, 11 and 15 vs. LHP. The versus-left sample is clearly too small to draw conclusions, but other young RH-hitting 1B types, e.g. Rhys Hoskins, Ryon Healy, Trey Mancini, didn't show such a dramatic platoon split in the minors.
Scott (Arlington, TX): Is it time to give up on Wuilmer Becerra? Was once a strong prospect. Couldn't break the top 10 of a weak farm system.
Matt Eddy: The Mets face a 40-man decision on High-A RF Wuilmer Becerra this offseason. He has shown the potential for average to above-average tools across the board in the past, but evaluators are losing interest. Plus, the Mets need to clear 40-man space to add Rule 5 eligibles like SS Luis Guillorme, RHPs Corey Oswalt and Harol Gonzalez and relievers Ty Bashlor, Gerson Bautista and Adonis Uceta.
Neal (Las Vegas): Seems like Andres Gimenez's offensive ceiling is pretty average. Are we talking a .280-10/10 guy?
Matt Eddy: Yes, Andres Gimenez appears to have a rather modest offensive ceiling at the moment. I couldn't find an evaluator to go out on a limb for his bat. However, he could develop into a different hitter, esp. in terms of power, after his body matures. He's so young that we don't know exactly what shape his career will take. But as a young up-the-middle player with some batting and fielding aptitude, he has many avenues to a big league role.
Chris (Massachusetts): what’s your take on the Mets international signings last summer ??
Matt Eddy: Both SS Ronny Mauricio (No. 3) and OF Adrian Hernandez (16) ranked among Ben Badler's top 30 prospects. Both rank in the Mets top 30 (barring offseason trades for prospects, of course).
mjk (wyckoff, nj): hi...other than Fulmer and maybe Cessa, not sure there is a lot to regret in the recent trades. Given that and this somewhat bleak Top 10, is it fair to say Mets had more of a streak of good luck/breaks as compared to really good scouting and development? Thanks
Matt Eddy: Don't forget the really good trades executed by Alderson. Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler. R.A. Dickey for Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud.
J.P. (Springfield, IL): Was Gimenez the clear top guy for you, or was Peterson your "1B"?
Matt Eddy: I toyed with ranking both No. 1 and alternated a few times. Posing the question to industry sources, they sided with Gimenez. Who knows how that would have changed had Peterson remained healthy, pitched well at Brooklyn and ranked in the New York-Penn League top 10? That might have swayed opinion.
Pete (Bronx): What does a productive 2018 season look like for Anthony Kay?
Matt Eddy: Pitching 90-110 innings would be the only benchmark that would matter to me.
John (Colorado): In the BA500 Tony Dibrell was picked out as someone who is projectable even as a college arm, and it was also stated that he was worked pretty hard at Kennesaw State. Once drafted the Mets used him in a relief role. Was that because of his usage in college or do the Mets see that as his role going forward. Does he have the stuff to start?
Matt Eddy: Look for RHP Tony Dibrell to work in a rotation next year, probably at Low-A Columbia. He pitched at 93 mph with plus sinking life as a starter and has reached 95.
AJ (Orange County): Your prediction of biggest breakout prospect in 2018 from the mets system?
Matt Eddy: I'll take RHP Christian James, the 14th-rounder in 2016 out of high school in the Tampa area. He pitches at 89-91 mph with sink now and if he adds a few ticks of velocity, he could be the Jordan Hupmhreys-type breakout of 2018. He already shows an out pitch breaking ball and led all Appalachian League pitchers (min. 50 IP) with 10.1 SO/9 this year. Of course, the Mets could very well hold him back at Brooklyn next season, which could mute his breakout. The organization has had a fair amount of success taking things slow early in the careers of high school pitchers.
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Matt Eddy: Thanks for the great questions. I had fun answering Mets questions for the eighth year in a row now.