Mets position player prospects to keep an eye on

Mets position player prospects to keep an eye on

A year ago, the Mets’ had a few top prospects at the top of the system and a few at the bottom. There wasn’t a whole lot in between. Now, the system is in much better shape with solid players at just about every level.

Of course, it took a disaster of a season to get here. The Mets used the trade Upnewsdaily to infuse the organization with talent and paid down the remaining contracts of departing players to garner better returns. For all of the faults of former general manager Billy Eppler, the job he did at the trade Upnewsdaily should be commended.

The Mets now have a much stronger system overall. They filled in the gaps, they added more pitching and they brought in players that are close to being big-league ready, which was necessary after graduating four top position-player prospects to the Major Leagues last year in infielder Mark Vientos, Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio and catcher Francisco Alvarez.

Alvarez has proven himself as the Mets’ catcher of the future and franchise cornerstone. Baty, Vientos and Mauricio still have a lot to prove, and though the Mets value them highly, it wouldn’t shock me if one of them was traded for pitching.

Yesterday, I highlighted the Mets organizational pitching prospects ahead of the winter meetings, a time when the offseason starts to speed up. Here’s a look at where the club stands in terms of position player prospects with teams set to descend on Nashville in just a few days.

THE FRANCHISE FUTURES: 2B/SS Luisangel Acuña, SS/OF Jett Williams, OF Drew Gilbert, C Kevin Parada

Trading ace Max Scherzer in July signaled a shift in the club’s timeline for contention. But the timeline might not be far off if Acuña, 21, proves to be as impactful as his brother, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.

The question is where he’s going to play in the future. He’s blocked at shortstop by Francisco Lindor and at second base by Jeff McNeil and Ronny Mauricio. McNeil will play some outfield in the coming years but the club seems hesitant to move him off second base completely, even with Mauricio emerging as a legitimate power bat. Acuña has the range to play in center field as well, but he’s blocked there by Brandon Nimmo.

Williams, 20, is blocked at shortstop too. However, the Mets are going to need two corner outfielders in the next few years so Williams may end up in left. Gilbert, who was acquired in the Justin Verlander trade, has played mostly center in the minor leagues but has played plenty of right field as well.

They can all hit. The Mets may end up with two power-hitting catchers in Alvarez and Parada, 22. Acuńa and Gilbert are extremely aggressive on the basepaths as well, with Acuña showing the potential to steal 30 bases a season.

All of them will likely play in Double-A and Triple-A next season. The Syracuse infield might get crowded, but that’s a good problem. The biggest question about these infielders is their size. The 23-year-old Gilbert is the tallest of the group at 5-9.

THE WILD CARDS: OF Alex Ramirez, RHP/DH Nolan McLean, C Hayden Senger

Ramirez, a top-30 prospect during the 2019 international signing period, wrapped up a disappointing season with High-A Brooklyn, hitting just .221 with a .627 OPS. But the Mets still chose to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft by placing him on the 40-man roster. He’ll be 21 in January so the club sees time for him to reach his potential.

Baseball America ranks McLean as the best all-around athlete in the Mets’ system, but the club will have to make a decision about whether or not he pitches or hits.

Senger is regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the system. Grant Hartwig’s former batterymate at Miami (Ohio), the 26-year-old was awarded an organizational Platinum Glove for his work behind the plate with Double-A Binghamton last season. But Senger has to show that he can hit. He hit just .188 last season.

THE LOW-LEVEL PROSPECTS: SS Colin Houck, INF Marco Vargas, C Ronald Hernandez

The first two prospects acquired at the Upnewsdaily were Vargas and Hernandez, who came from the Miami Marlins in the trade for David Robertson. At the time, it looked as though the Mets were going to rebuild. Two teenagers who hadn’t played above rookie ball might indicate that. Then they went out and got other players at other levels, but still, the ones they grabbed this summer at the Upnewsdaily and in the draft could eventually be the headliners.

Vargas is already a strong hitter for his age (18) and Hernandez is a strong receiver for his (20). Another Venezuelan catching prospect, Hernandez also communicates with pitchers in both Spanish and English, which is impressive for someone who only started playing in the United States in 2022.

Houck was the Mets’ first-round pick in the most recent draft. A two-sport athlete in Georgia, Houck had offers from Power 5 programs to play quarterback but ultimately chose baseball. He’s the Mets’ seventh-best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and like Vargas and Hernandez he’ll need seasoning, but the Mets view him as the shortstop of the future.

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