New York Mets: Full Non-Roster Invites Announced For Spring Training

New York Mets spring training finally begins on February 17th, and the team has announced their full group of players that will join them in Port St. Lucie. The non-roster invites feature an interesting group of veterans signed this offseason and prospects trying to make a name for themselves.

Starting Pitchers: Matt Allan, Jerad Eickhoff, Harol Gonzalez

The Mets opted for three non-roster starting pitcher invites, and all three are in different stages of their careers. Allan is the Mets top pitching prospect and is coming off an impressive 2020 summer camp. He threw just 6.1 professional innings after the 2019 MLB Draft and will get an opportunity to showcase his stuff in big league camp.

Eickhoff has a 5.07 ERA since 2017 after putting up a 3.44 ERA in his first two seasons. If the Mets need starting pitching help, he will be at the top of their list. Gonzalez is coming off a 3.01 ERA in 2019 between AA and AAA. He has been in the minors since the 2014 season.

Relief Pitchers: Jerry Blevins, Oscar De La Cruz, Ryley Gilliam, Trevor Hildenberger, Tylor Megill, Marcel Renteria, Jared Robinson, Arodys Vizcaino, Tom Windle

Blevins is a former Met who has a good opportunity to take Seth Lugo‘s spot in the bullpen if Justin Wilson does not return. De La Cruz spent his first seven professional seasons with the Cubs, has starting experience but found more success in the bullpen during 2019. Gilliam has a great mid-90s fastball and sharp curveball but struggles with walks (5.0 BB/9). He is ranked 21st in the Mets farm system.

During his 2017 rookie season, Hildenberger pitched 37 games with a 3.21 ERA. The next two years combined resulted in a 6.35 ERA; he does bring a unique look with his sidearm delivers. Megill is another reliever with starting experience in the minors; he had a 3.52 ERA in his first full pro season in 2019. Renteria’s highest level is one game in AA and has a 4.76 ERA over 62 minor league games.

Robinson spent six years with the Cleveland Indians and recorded his highest K/9 (12.5) during 2019. Vizcaino has a 3.01 career ERA, but his health is a major liability to any team willing to take a chance on him. Windle is a left-handed reliever with a 4.13 ERA in seven minor league seasons.

Catchers: Francisco Alvarez, Bruce Maxwell, Nick Meyer, David Rodriguez

Alvarez is just 19-years old but is already the second-best prospect the Mets have. It will be exciting to watch him get his first taste of a big-league spring training at such a young age. Maxwell has only a .347 slugging percentage in 127 career games, but his .524 slugging with 25 homers in Mexico intrigued the Mets to sign him last season.

Meyer is getting his opportunity after spending 2020 with an independent league. He has never played above high-A during his career. Rodriguez did not hit much during his seven minor league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays but had a terrific winter league season. In 44 games, he slashed .376/.473/.567 with five home runs and 28 runs batted in.

Infielders: Brett Baty, Brandon Drury, Jake Hager, Ronny Mauricio, Jose Peraza, Wilfredo Tovar, Mark Vientos

Baty is the third-ranked prospect with tremendous line to line power but needs to improve his defense at third base. Drury is a veteran utility man with a .248 career average over 456 career games. Hager is an infielder who has shown flashes of power with 23 homers during the 2018-19 seasons.

Mauricio is the top prospect in the Mets farm system and should have less pressure with Andres Gimenez on the Indians. Peraza is another utility infielder but only hit .225 in 34 games with the Boston Red Sox during 2020.

Tovar is a former Met with a solid glove but has never hit at the big league level. Vientos is a third baseman and the seventh-ranked prospect for the Mets. He has great power but needs to become a complete hitter before moving on to the next level.

Outfielders: Pete Crow-Armstrong, Johneshwy Fargas, Drew Ferguson, Mallex Smith, Tim Tebow

Crow-Armstrong is the most promising outfield Mets prospect since…Jarred Kelenic. This will be his first professional baseball experience and will be a tall task for a player coming straight out of high school. Fargas is full of speed and pure athletic ability but has never figured it out with the bat. During his minor league career, he has 235 stolen bases but slashes at .255/.331/.342.

Ferguson never hit much as a minor leaguer with the Houston Astros but made great strides in 2019. During 115 games in triple-A, he batted .281 with 65 walks, 11 homers, and 27 stolen bases. Smith is another speedster with two 40-steal seasons under his belt but does not hit for any power. Tebow is going to give it another try after hitting .163 during the 2019 triple-A season. This might be the last chance for his baseball career.

New York Mets: Four Players Ranked in MLB’s Top 100 Prospects

The New York Mets farm system has four players ranked in Major League Baseball’s Top 100 prospect list for the second consecutive year. As the front office looks to improve their farm system’s quality, these four players are certainly a terrific base for the rest of the upcoming talent.

Francisco Alvarez (C, #46)

Francisco Alvarez is the highest-ranked Mets on the top-100 list. He is fourth in the catching class headlined by Adley Rutschman and Joey Bart. Alvarez’s meteoric rise is remarkable, considering he is still a teenager and only has 42 professional games under his belt. In those games, he slashed .312/.407/.510 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs. 2023 is his expected debut year and should garner the same hype Gary Sanchez did as a prospect.

Ronny Mauricio (SS, #67)

Ronny Mauricio is the second Mets teenager to make the Top 100. At 6’3″, he figures to be a power-hitting shortstop once he improves upon his 166-pound frame. A good comparison would be Francisco Lindor with slightly less fielding ability. Unless the Mets do not keep Lindor, it will be unlikely Mauricio plays shortstop during his projected 2022 arrival year.

Matthew Allan (RHP, #75)

Matthew Allan could have been the top high school arm in the 2019 draft, but his commitment to the University of Florida and high asking price scared teams away. Allan fell to the third round, the Mets drafted him and convinced him to sign with the team. Much like Alvarez, he impressed at the 2020 alternate site with his power pitching. Allan projects to join the Mets in 2023 and is a potential ace that replaces Jacob deGrom.

Brett Baty (3B, #96)

Brett Baty already has the potential power to all fields, but his high strikeout rate is what comes with it. During 2019, he batted .234/.368/.452 with 35 walks and 65 strikeouts. Baty seems like a “three true outcomes” type of player now, but more experience in the minors should make him a complete hitter. While still a below-average defender, Baty projects to make his debut during the 2022 season.

New York Mets First Round Picks in the Last Ten Drafts

New Yor k Mets, Dominic Smith

The slightly modified MLB Draft takes place today as teams search for their future stars. The New York Mets’ success on their first-round picks in the past was solid. Some contributed with the Mets, and others found success across the league.

2019: Brett Baty, Third Base (12th Overall, Lake Travis High School) 

The 20-year old first-round pick had his ups and downs during his first season in professional baseball. Through 56 games, mostly at rookie ball, he slashed .234/.368/.452 with seven home runs and 33 runs batted in. Baty’s struggles at the plate were primarily due to fatigue, but his power/walk potential is very high. He already ranks as the fourth-best prospect in the Mets system, according to MLB.com.

2018: Jarred Kelenic, Outfield (6th Overall, Waukesha West High School)

Kelenic was a rising prospect in the Mets system before they dealt him in the infamous Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade. During his first season with the Mets, he slashed.286/.371/.468 at only 18-years old. In 2019, he set the bar even higher, hitting .291/.364/.540 with 23 homers and 31 doubles between A, A+, and AA. Kelenic is the 11th overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, and each day the trade stings the Mets more.

2017: David Peterson, Pitcher (20th Overall, University of Oregon)

Peterson is currently the 10th ranked prospect in the Mets system. He was on track to pitch in Triple-A during the 2020 season. There were also talks of bringing him up to supplement the lack of rotation depth. With Binghamton last season, he had a 4.19 ERA in 24 starts with 122 strikeouts. At his highest potential, Peterson projects to pitch in the middle of the rotation.

2016: Justin Dunn, Pitcher (19th Overall, Boston College)

Dunn was also part of the Kelenic trade to the Seattle Mariners. After two good seasons in Double-A during 2018 and 2019, he earned an opportunity to pitch for the M’s. They used him as an opener during his four 2019 outings. After allowing two runs in his debut, his next three opens were all scoreless.

2016: Anthony Kay, Pitcher (31st Overall, University of Connecticut)

Kay underwent Tommy John Surgery before he ever threw a pitch for the Mets. He understandably did not pitch to his full potential during his first season in professional ball. Kay had a 4.26 ERA over 122.2 innings but averaged about one strikeout per inning. During a stellar 2019 season in Double-A, the Mets moved him to Triple-A, where he struggled. They traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman, and he made his MLB debut in 2019. Kay had a 5.79 ERA over three outings but should be an excellent addition to a young Blue Jays roster.

2015: No First Round Pick

2014: Michael Conforto, Outfielder (10th Overall, Oregon State University)

The Mets struck gold with Conforto. It only took 133 games for him to make it during the big leagues. He helped the Mets make it to the World Series in 2015 and became the fifth rookie to homer twice in a World Series game. After a rough 2016, which involved his demotion, he has produced in the last three seasons, including an All-Star selection. Conforto is hitting .257/.363/.492, averaging 29 homers, 81 RBIs and plays all three outfield positions.

2013: Dominic Smith, First Base (11th Overall, Serra High School)

Smith has overcome plenty to become a contributing member of the Mets. He was on track for stardom after hitting over .300 throughout the minors. Dealing with sleep apnea, injuries, and weight issues caused a stunt to his journey of becoming a solid big leaguer. In 2019, all three points were no longer problems, and it allowed him to have his best season so far. His playing time tougher to find due to Pete Alonso at first base, but Smith showed the versatility to play the outfield as well.

2012: Gavin Cecchini, Shortstop (12th Overall, Barbe High School)

2012 was the only year where the Mets missed on a quality big league prospect. They had two first-round picks, and Cecchini was the first one. Known for his bat more than glove, it took a couple of years for him to figure things out at the plate. Two straight seasons above .300 in the minors earned him a 2016 promotion. Cecchini went 2-for-6 with a double and waited some time to return in 2017. He struggled with the bat, only hitting .208 but off Clayton Kershaw for the only one of his career. Cecchini remained stranded in the minors for the last two seasons and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks before spring training. Unfortunately, he was released in May as teams across baseball were cutting players to save money.

2012: Kevin Plawecki, Catcher (35th Overall, Purdue University)

The combination of Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud was supposed to carry the Mets catching corps through the next decade. Neither of them hit successfully at the big league level. Plawecki only hit .218 with a .330 slugging percentage with the Mets. He was also known for his abundance of groundouts to the left side of the infield. The Mets traded him before 2019 for Sam Haggerty and Walker Lockett.

2011: Brandon Nimmo, Outfielder (13th Overall, Cheyenne East High School)

The Mets took a risk on the Wyoming native, but it has paid off so far. The Plawecki/d’Arnaud combination is what Nimmo/Conforto became. Nimmo’s grit and grind make him a fan favorite with the Mets. He broke out during 2018 when he received everyday action for the first time. Nimmo’s propensity for getting on base led to his career .254/.387/.440 and is a very underrated player.

2011: Michael Fulmer, Pitcher (44th Overall, Deer Creek High School)

Fulmer was another pitcher who never saw time with the Mets. They dealt him in the Yoenis Cespedes trade during the 2015 playoff run. Fulmer ended up winning the rookie of the year award and becoming an All-Star during his first two seasons with the Detroit Tigers. His disappointing 2020 ended early when he learned that he needed season-ending Tommy John Surgery.

2010: Matt Harvey, Pitcher (7th Overall, University of North Carolina) 

The Matt Harvey story is one that draws the same intrigue as the one of Dwight Gooden. A fantastic young arm, destined to be the next Tom Seaver but ran into an obstacle they could not overcome. Harvey had the excellent rookie campaign, then the 2013 All-Star Game start with a 2.27 ERA, which succame to the dreaded Tommy John Surgery. An excellent 2015 season led to a rough 2016, which led to Thoracic-Outlet Surgery. Harvey never returned anywhere near his Cy Young quality form and has a 5.89 ERA over the last three seasons.

New York Mets Have Four Prospects in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100

Though not the showing the New York Mets had hoped for, they did have four names among the top 100 prospects in baseball. All four were position players, and none of them were in the top 50, which shows the much-needed work in their farm system. Ronny Mauricio, Francisco Alvarez, Andres Gimenez, and Brett Baty are the four highly touted prospects who made the list.

Ronny Mauricio

Mauricio is a young shortstop who still has not left his teenage years yet. He has the highest ceiling of any prospect in the Mets system and is also a switch hitter. His bat still needs work, only hitting .268/.307/.357 with four home runs in A ball. Mauricio will get better as he continues to mature and grow into his 6’3″ frame. Mets fans should not expect to see him in the big leagues for at least two seasons.

Francisco Alvarez

Alvarez gives hope to an organization that can only claim Todd Hundley as the last homegrown catching prospect to pan out in the big leagues. He is another very young prospect who just turned 18 in November. Alvarez hit .312/.407/.512 with seven home runs at two different levels of rookie ball. He is still more of a hitter, but his solid arm behind the dish gives hope that he can become an all-around catcher as he continues to grow in the minors.

Andres Gimenez

It was a surprise to see Gimenez fall so low on the list. His bat did take a step back in 2019 only hitting .250/.309/.387 in double-A. Gimenez Arizona Fall League numbers showed he had something to prove at .371/.413/.586 with 15 RBIs over 18 games. He is an excellent defender at shortstop, but his bat will either propel him to success like Amed Rosario or flounder like Ruben Tejada. Much like Rosario, he does not walk often, which will force him to hit .275 with some power to have a successful career. 2020 will be a big year to show if Gimenez is ready to take the next step up to Triple-A.

Brett Baty

Baty’s first season of professional ball resulted in him hitting .234/.368/.452 with a very high strikeout rate. He barely makes the list because the expectations were higher, but his power potential keeps him on the list. His defense is still in question, but a full 2020 will give a better evaluation of his future at third base. Baty’s separates himself from other Mets prospects because of his good walk rate and 30+ home run potential.