New York Mets: Prospects Who Can Make an Impact

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Over the last few hours, the New York Mets added multiple veterans to their 60-man player pool for Spring Training 2.0. Throughout the field of players, the Mets have a small number of prospects who have a chance to make the major league roster. As the roster spots dwindle, it seems unlikely the Mets will use players within their organization to fill those spots.

Andres Gimenez is the first prospect that pops out of the Mets player pool. With the current set up of the Mets infield, he is a backup player. What he does bring is speed and an above-average glove, which is valuable for a weak defensive team. Gimenez also played exceptionally well in the Arizona Fall League, and he should make the 30-man roster. He will like to get cut when it drops to 28, but he seems to be a more reliable option than Eduardo Nunez or Jed Lowrie.

Extra Rotation Options

David Peterson is an intriguing option for the Mets because of their lack of starting pitching depth. As a left-handed pitcher, he could make the bullpen as a second left-handed reliever but projects better as a starter. If the Mets need rotation help for an extended period, it would be a better decision to turn to Peterson over Walker Lockett or Corey Oswalt. Lockett and Oswalt have career ERAs of 8.84 and 6.43, respectively. With the expectations that low, there no reason not to give Peterson the opportunity.

Kevin Smith and Franklyn Kilome are two other pitching prospects who could make an impact. While Kilome projects more as a reliever, Smith’s potential as another lefty is exciting. His 2.75 ERA through his minor league career is impressive and also serves as a better option than Oswalt and Lockett. Though only pitching less than 50 innings in double-A, he is a fringe candidate for the 30-man roster.

New York Mets First Round Picks in the Last Ten Drafts

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)ย 

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)ย 

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 Prospect Profile: David Peterson

New York Mets, David Peterson

The Mets are desperate for starting pitching depth, and it’ll be up to David Peterson to provide it.

David Peterson is one of the Mets’ top prospects. He ranks in the Mets’ top 10 on every major prospect site. Some of that has to do with his draft prestige. Peterson was the Mets’ first-round pick in 2017 out of Oregon University.

Peterson is now 24 years old, but will not turn 25 until September. He’s a big kid, standing at six feet six inches tall and weighing in at 240 pounds. He’s a lefty, which helps him get the most out of his limited velocity and breaking pitches.

Peterson’s fastball sits high-80s to low-90s but gets a ton of movement. Peterson relies heavily on his sinker that breaks down and in to lefties. It’s his go-to pitch and he gets great results out of it for the most part.

Peterson’s go-to out pitch is his slider, which tends to sweep rather than dip. Meaning that his slider is more horizontal than vertical. It makes for a good contrast to his sinker and tends to get batters off balance when it’s on. The issue is that when it’s off it can become very flat and very hit-able.

Peterson also throws a changeup and a curveball, but neither of those two pitches are very good. They’re both average or fringe-average pitches. Neither being relied on to get outs often. The changeup is the better of the two pitches as it should be. If Peterson is to succeed in the majors his changeup will be key. His changeup is going to be key to getting right-handers out since it’s a harder pitch to pickup then his fastball or slider is. That’s true for all lefties.

Where Peterson really shines is his control. He has above-average control of all of his pitches, though his fastball command, in particular, is special. He is able to command the pitch to all four quadrents while getting the sink he wants most of the time.

That control of his sinker is one of the reasons that Peterson is one of the most recognizable ground ball pitchers in the minor leagues. Peterson’s career ground ball rate is over 60% and that’s been his issue so far.

Peterson has never been a strikeout pitcher. Last season at AA Peterson struck out 9.47 batters per nine innings. That’s the highest it’s been since he pitched in A- Brooklyn.

That means for the most part the ball is getting put in play against Peterson. He’s very similar to Marcus Stroman in that way. The defense in the minor, especially the infield defense, is never good. the fields themselves are usually on turf or not kept up to MLB standards. That makes it hard for even good defenders to make plays in the minor leagues.

That’s why each of the last two years Peterson’s FIP has greatly outproduced his ERA. Last season Peterson had a 4.19 ERA, but his FIP was 3.19 and his XFIP was 2.91. That shows that Peterson was pitching well, but his defense was letting him down more times than not.

Normally that would be great for a minor league prospect. It would mean that when they get to the majors they’ll outperform their minor league numbers because of a better defense. However, that won’t be the case for Peterson.

The Mets had the second-worst defense in the majors last season. That would not fit well with Peterson’s pitching style. Yet, despite everything Mets’ GM Brodie Van Wagenen named Peterson among the pitchers he expects to contribute to the team in 2020.

Peterson will start the year in AAA, it’ll be his first season there. He’s certainly a prospect to watch, as he’s the only top pitching prospect in the Mets system close to pitching in the majors.