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: Francisco Alvarez Ranked 4th Best Catching Prospect

Francisco Alvarez is the prized catching prospect for the New York Mets, and MLB has noticed the 19-year old. Alvarez is ranked fourth among the top 2021 catching prospects and the lone teenager in the top-10.

Alvarez is in elite company behind former number one-pick Adley Rutschman and two catchers with MLB experience, Joey Bart and Luis Campusano. Each catcher is at least three years older than Alvarez, which shows the high ceiling he possesses.

Offensive Star

Mike Rosenbaum put Alvarez and Rutschman’s hitting ability in the same class. Rutschman is projected to join the Baltimore Orioles during the upcoming season and become an All-Star for years to come. Putting each catcher at the same level with the bat is a great sign for a Mets prospect with only 42 professional games under his belt. Alvarez also impressed the Mets with his production at the alternate site during 2020.

His defense is what separates him from being at the top of the list. Alvarez still needs to improve his blocking and throw-downs, but combining his arm strength with more experience will make him a quality defender behind the plate. His presence behind the plate gives the Mets confidence he will become a leader with key intangibles like James McCann.

Mets fans will likely have to wait until 2023 to see Alvarez, but he will only be 22 at that point. With McCann handling business behind the plate for the next four years, the Mets are set up well in the catching department for years to come. We may even see a McCann-Alvarez partnership towards the end of McCann’s deal.

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.