New York Mets Top 42 Prospects (2024)

New York Mets Top 42 Prospects (1)

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the New York Mets. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the fourth year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Mets Top Prospects

RkNameAgeHighest LevelPositionETAFV
1Christian Scott24.9MLBSP202450
2Drew Gilbert23.7AAACF202450
3Jett Williams20.6AACF202650
4Jeremy Rodriguez17.9RSS202850
5Ronny Mauricio23.1MLBSS202545+
6Luisangel Acuña22.2AAACF202445
7Blade Tidwell23.0AAASP202645
8Brandon Sproat23.7AASP202545
9Jesus Baez19.2A3B202745
10Ryan Clifford20.8AARF202640+
11Nolan McLean22.8AASIRP202540+
12Boston Baro19.8A3B202840+
13Marco Vargas19.0A2B202840+
14Yovanny Rodriguez17.5RC203040+
15Wellington Aracena19.4RSIRP202840+
16José Buttó26.2MLBSP202440
17Dom Hamel25.2AAAMIRP202540
18Jonah Tong21.0A+MIRP202740
19Josh Walker29.5MLBSIRP202440
20Christopher Suero20.3A+C202740
21Daiverson Gutierrez18.7RC202940
22Colin Houck19.6ASS202840
23Jacob Reimer20.3A+3B202840
24Trey McLoughlin25.0AASIRP202440
25Calvin Ziegler21.6A+SIRP202640
26Mike Vasil24.2AAASP202435+
27Tyler Stuart24.6AASP202535+
28Kade Morris21.9A+SP202635+
29Wilfredo Lara20.1A+3B202635+
30Alex Ramírez21.4AARF202535+
31A.J. Ewing19.8R2B202835+
32Edward Lantigua17.6RLF203035+
33Dedniel Núñez28.0MLBSIRP202435+
34Wilkin Ramos23.6AASIRP202535+
35Ronald Hernandez20.6AC202735+
36Brett Banks22.6A+SIRP202635+
37Joel Díaz20.2ASP202635+
38Luis Alvarez21.1RSIRP202835+
39Luis R. Rodriguez21.5ASP202735+
40Raimon Gomez22.7A+SIRP202635+
41Bryce Montes de Oca28.1MLBSIRP202535+
42Nate Lavender24.3AAASIRP202535+

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50 FV Prospects

1. Christian Scott, SP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Florida (NYM)

Age24.9Height6′ 4″Weight215Bat / ThrR / RFV50

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

60/6055/5545/5055/6050/5594-95 / 97

Another of the many recent pitching prospects who were squeezed out of the rotation at the University of Florida by the program’s terrific depth, Scott worked out of the Gators’ bullpen throughout his college career but has been stretched out as a starter in pro ball; he shifted to the rotation in 2022, then broke out in 2023 as he enjoyed a velo spike. Scott began the 2023 season on the IL with an oblique strain, but once he was healthy, he was on the expressway to Queens, climbing three levels across just 19 starts en route to a spot on the offseason Top 100. He debuted in the bigs not long before list publication.

Scott has a huge wingspan and gets way down the mound, traits that combine to give him huge extension and a shallow approach angle. His fastball really jumps on hitters, and he misses a ton of bats with it at the top of the zone even though it’s technically a sinker. He’s always had a pretty juicy slider, and he and the Mets have done well to demarcate his two breaking balls; Scott now has an upper-80s cutter and a slightly slower sweeper-style slider. Not only does he have two distinct breakers, but last year Scott seemed to have altered his changeup into a firmer split (its average velo increased by about five ticks, often 84-88 mph), giving him a very complete mix. Some of what Scott is doing mechanically is pretty violent (he has a nasty head whack), and you can see why he was ‘penned in the past, but he’s thrown a ton of strikes in pro ball (this is definitely a control over command guy) and has mostly proven he can sustain an impact fastball across a starter’s load of innings. From a craftsmanship standpoint, Scott is remarkably advanced for a guy who didn’t start in college. I had him projected for a 2025 debut during the offseason because of his 40-man timeline, but the Mets thought he was ready for prime time already. He projects as a mid-rotation starter.

2. Drew Gilbert, CF

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Tennessee (HOU)

Age23.7Height5′ 9″Weight195Bat / ThrL / LFV50

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Before the 2022 draft, Gilbert was written up here as a potential top-of-the-order catalyst who I thought was more likely to be a good fourth outfielder due to his modest power. So far in pro ball, Gilbert is performing more like a do-everything player with a balanced hit/power skill set and just enough center field defense to project there in the big leagues. He reached Double-A with Houston during the first half of 2023, then was traded to New York as part of the Justin Verlander deal and slashed a fantastic .325/.423/.561 during his post-trade time with Binghamton. He was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse at the start of the 2024 season but suffered a hamstring injury in early April. Anthony DiComo went into detail on the status Gilbert’s rehab for, indicating a late May or early June timetable.

Gilbert has gotten stronger since signing (he was already yoked) and takes a mighty rip for a 5-foot-9 guy. He is a very dangerous low-ball hitter, capable of tracking and adjusting to breaking balls mid-flight. When Gilbert collapses his back side and leans on one, he’ll show you emphatic pull-side lift, and he does most of his extra-base damage by yanking doubles down the right field line. While Gilbert shows some other hitterish characteristics with the occasional oppo liner, he is less of a bat control master than he is a twitchy, short-levered hitter who is tough to beat because of how concise his swing is. His barrel is in the zone for a long time and he tends to find a way to put the ball in play, using his strength to muscle balls past infielders. He made what is roughly an average rate of contact for a starting big league center fielder in 2023, but he also hit the ball harder than expected. It’d be surprising if Gilbert hit 25-plus annual bombs, as pitchers can stay away from him and limit his power, but he’s going to ambush 18 or so and hit a ton of doubles, which is great for a capable center fielder.

A plus runner, Gilbert can go get it in center field and has a great arm. His range is fine, but his hands and ball skills aren’t the best, and there are some scouts who think he’ll be plus in a corner rather than stick in center. Gilbert plays with an edge, the kind of guy you love to have on your team but hate to play against, with his on-field persona toeing the line between “fiery” and “excessively abrasive.” He’s a spicy heel with the ability to be a well-rounded regular and he’s on pace to debut ahead of his stock 40-man timeline.

3. Jett Williams, CF

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Rockwall-Heath HS (TX) (NYM)

Age20.6Height5′ 6″Weight178Bat / ThrR / RFV50

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Williams added significant strength between his junior and senior years of high school, which is how he elevated his stock into the first round of the 2022 draft. He then dominated A-ball in his first full pro season before looking overmatched during a late 2023 and early 2024 cup of coffee at Double-A Binghamton. He was shut down with wrist soreness in late April and hasn’t played since.’s Anthony DiComo had a status update on Williams a couple of weeks ago, indicating he may be good to go by the end of May. Williams posted walk rates near 20% at Low- and High-A; over 115 combined games, he hit 13 homers and stole 44 bases, forcing his way to the upper levels while still just 19 years old. A plus athlete and a 70 runner, he is a short-levered gap-to-gap hitter who has the catalytic qualities of a dangerous leadoff man.

It’s too soon to call him a do-everything, five-tool prospect, but Williams isn’t far off. He has a sizable hole in his swing at the top of the strike zone, which is atypical of a compact hitter like this. But his feel for the strike zone is excellent, his hitting hands are super explosive, and Jett can adjust to breaking balls by bending in his lower half in a way that is rare even for good hitters. I do think the belt-high hole in his swing is more likely to be exposed in a meaningful way now that he’s reached the upper minors, but the power and OBP combo here will still be enough for him to profile as an everyday player.

He also has more developing to do on defense. Williams is athletically capable of playing all three up-the-middle positions but he requires polish. In 2023, he played shortstop most of the time and got a start in center field about once a week. The reliability of his hands and arm strength are both on the fringe of what’s viable at short. Williams simply mishandles the baseball too much to be a good shortstop right now, and he doesn’t have a “from the hole” cannon. He is such a rangy, high-effort athlete that I consider him a “maybe” long-term defender there, and the makeup report on Williams indicates he’s going to work to improve in the areas he’s lacking, but young prospects whose defensive scouting reports read like his at the same age (the Roman Quinns and Billy Hamiltons of the world) tend to end up in center field. Even though Williams played once a week in center, whole games would pass without him seeing any action out there. His reads and routes aren’t yet comfortable, but his speed and ability to adjust when he has to flip his hips and change directions is incredible. While it might be more valuable for Williams to stay at short, I think his chances of becoming a special defender are greater if he and the Mets commit to center field. Early in 2024 they didn’t seem inclined to do that; he played just one game in center before he was shut down with the wrist issue. He projects as an impact up-the-middle player even though the specifics of the defense are still cloudy.

4. Jeremy Rodriguez, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (ARI)

Age17.9Height6′ 0″Weight170Bat / ThrL / RFV50

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Acquired from Arizona in the Tommy Pham trade, Rodriguez’s skill set compares favorably to the high school infielders who tend to go in the first round of the domestic draft. He’s a skilled, well-rounded player with an unusually high floor for a teenage prospect thanks to his defense and bat-to-ball ability, the latter of which is heightened by his excellent plate discipline. I wrote Rodriguez up as a more of a utility guy when he was an amateur because he lacks the big-frame body projection typical of a star player, but now that he’s accumulated a DSL season’s worth of data, both his plate skills and contact ability are profile-driving attributes. We’re talking 86% contact, 93% in-zone contact, and only 19% chase. DSL metrics like this are only so meaningful, but put on Rodriguez’s tape and he looks like a really good hitter (he’s been awesome in a small 2024 sample). He tracks pitches with bird-of-prey precision and makes flush, high-quality contact with a lovely and effortless left-handed swing.

Rodriguez is also a good shortstop defender. His exchange on slow rollers in on the grass is sometimes clunky, but otherwise he can make the requisite shortstop plays, his hands and range are plus, and I think something closer to prototypical arm strength will arrive with physical maturity. This is not a monster-ceiling’d DSL prospect — Rodriguez is more in the Brayan Rocchio-ish, high-probability bucket. Once again, using recent draft prospects as a way to triangulate more correct list placement for DSL guys would slot Rodriguez behind the Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlars of the world, and closer to the Colt Emerson/Jett Williams tier of player who often belong in the 10-15 range of a draft board.

45+ FV Prospects

5. Ronny Mauricio, SS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age23.1Height6′ 3″Weight225Bat / ThrS / RFV45+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Poor Ronny Mo tore his ACL while running the bases in a mid-December LIDOM game and will miss the entire 2024 season. With veterans Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil occupying the middle infield spots, Mauricio was likely going to battle Brett Baty and Mark Vientos for playing time at third base, which was his primary position with Licey before he was injured. The Mets began to play him all over the place in 2023 (including in left field) looking for pathways to playing time, as they were clogged at many positions and Mauricio was hitting well at Triple-A. He slashed .292/.346/.506 (a 108 wRC+, which gives you an idea of the run environment), and Mauricio had his third consecutive season with at least 20 homers, his second consecutive 20/20 campaign, and was fresh off winning the LIDOM MVP the winter before.

Mauricio is a huge-framed switch-hitting shortstop with power from both sides of the plate and a rocket arm, but his swing decisions are often so reckless that even though he’s met expectations since his high-profile signing, he’s still an extremely volatile prospect. Because he’s gotten stronger and added huge power while remaining just agile enough to play shortstop, his chase issues are palatable. Mauricio has historically had chase rates near 40% and has a career .311 OBP in the minors. His secondary pitch recognition isn’t good, and he’s very vulnerable to soft stuff in the bottom of the zone and below. There are some players who are as aggressive as Mauricio (or more so) who find a way to be impact big leaguers anyway, and almost all of them tend to make enough in-zone contact to buoy their overall offensive output. Ronny Mo is on the very edge of viability in this respect, with in-zone contact rates of 83-85% the last few seasons, which is right around what successful chase-prone, low-OBP hitters like Ozzie Albies and Jonathan Schoop have shown.

Hopefully a year of relative inactivity doesn’t impact Mauricio’s defensive ability so much that he can’t play shortstop anymore, as his capability there is an important aspect of his profile. A typical slash line for Mauricio projects like juiced ball-era Freddy Galvis: a low OBP with 25-30 homers and plus infield defense.

45 FV Prospects

6. Luisangel Acuña, CF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TEX)

Age22.2Height5′ 8″Weight181Bat / ThrR / RFV45

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

There was a point after he began 2023 shot out of a cannon at Double-A Frisco following an electric 2022 Fall League stint when Luisangel looked like a potential everyday shortstop. After slashing .315/.377/.453 as a Rough Rider, Acuña was part of the Max Scherzer deal, but his surface performance has tanked since he’s joined the Mets and he’s struggling at Triple-A Syracuse so far in 2024. Even when Acuña has hit well in the past, he has had issues with chase and plate coverage. Instead, it was his remarkable bat speed, which generates surprising power for a hitter his size, that made Acuña a potential impact shortstop who lived toward the back of the Top 100 list. The way his body rotates about his hips as he swings is beautiful, and he has a certain verve and power potential that few 5-foot-8 hitters possess, but Acuña has only performed for fits and starts of the last couple of seasons.

Acuña’s hands on defense can be clumsy. He’s mostly played the middle infield, but prior to the trade, the Rangers also gave him some reps in center field and the Mets have continued to develop him there some of the time. He looks like a natural center field defender, with plus closing speed and ball skills. His ceiling as a defender there might be really high because he already looks so good despite having not played the position for very long. If he can be a plus center field defender and also play a mix of second and third base, we’re talking about a very versatile utility guy whose streaky offense would be more acceptable than if he were in an everyday role.

7. Blade Tidwell, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Tennessee (NYM)

Age23.0Height6′ 4″Weight207Bat / ThrR / RFV45

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/5550/5540/5055/6040/5094-97 / 98

Tidwell has added a harder, 86-89 mph gyro slider this year to go with a sweeper and changeup that already rounded out a starter’s mix of pitches. His fastball lives in the low-to-mid-90s and has enough life to play as a bat-misser when he locates it to the up and arm-side locations where it plays best. Tidwell’s changeup has promising movement and velocity separation from his fastball, but he still doesn’t command it consistently. If you recall, Tidwell was a draft-eligible sophom*ore who missed time in college due to a shoulder ailment. He has pitched less than most prospects his age and I’ve tended to project late growth for his changeup based on his lack of reps and delivery/athleticism. I’m still inclined to do that despite the stagnation there. Tidwell’s delivery is a bit violent, he had the shoulder issue, and until early 2024, he has had middling control. There’s a little more relief risk here than the typical no. 4/5 starter profile, so I’ve rounded down on Tidwell’s grade a bit to account for that. On talent, he’s tracking to be a starter of medium impact who competes for a rotation spot in 2026.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2023 from Florida (NYM)

Age23.7Height6′ 2″Weight175Bat / ThrR / RFV45

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

60/6550/6045/4550/5545/4540/4594-98 / 100

Sproat was the Mets’ 2022 third rounder, but he didn’t sign, instead going back for a fourth year at Florida, where he exceeded 100 innings during the regular season; he was shut down after the Mets drafted him again. A noisy, cross-bodied delivery has long driven big league relief projection for Sproat, and he’d probably move quickly if ‘penned proactively, but he also held premium velocity as a starter for his entire career at Florida and has a deep repertoire that has expanded since he joined the Mets.

Sproat tends to sit 94-98 mph, and his sinking, upper-80s changeup is easily plus. He has reshaped his breaking ball as a pro and is now throwing a sweeper-shaped slider in the 82-85 mph range. He’s not using it a ton as of yet, but it has the potential to be a separator for him. Slider consistency was Sproat’s biggest issue at Florida and it looks as though the Mets have helped him make an adjustment there. They’ve also altered his arm slot. Sproat was a cross-bodied, lower-slot guy in college, but he’s a little less cross-bodied now and is throwing from more of a three-quarters slot, giving his fastball rise/run shape rather than the sink/tail of his college days. He’s not yet comfortable locating his fastball to the parts of the zone where its new movement plays best, but this should theoretically help it miss more bats than his college version did. These attributes are still new enough that even though Sproat was already promoted to Double-A, I wouldn’t consider him on the fast track to the bigs until the dust settles on some of these tweaks. He’s given himself a better chance to start long-term and we could be talking about a Top 100 prospect next offseason if Sproat performs well at Binghamton for the rest of 2024.

9. Jesus Baez, 3B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age19.2Height5′ 9″Weight180Bat / ThrR / RFV45

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

A $275,000 signee from 2022, Baez is an exciting left-side-of-the-infield prospect with remarkable arm strength and bat speed for a hitter his size. He rotates with ferocity in the box and can hose you from deep in the hole at shortstop or third base. Currently at Low-A St. Lucie, Baez’s strikeout rates have trended in a better direction as he’s climbed from rookie ball thanks to the combination of his good-but-not-great barrel feel and his short levers, which enable him to have a fairly noisy and aggressive swing without it actually being too long. He has all-fields power that is currently of the doubles variety. Baez isn’t especially projectable, but his explosivity is exciting and he should have above-average raw power at peak. Whether he gets to all of it is going to be dictated by whether he can become more selective. Baez is incredibly chase prone, but he has been talented enough to perform on offense so far despite this. His toolset is similar to Miguel Andujar’s except with better third base defense — you can see how that’s exciting but also why it might cause you to be standoffish about forecasting Baez as a slam dunk everyday big leaguer even though his physical tools are indicative of that.

40+ FV Prospects

10. Ryan Clifford, RF

Drafted: 11th Round, 2022 from Pro5 Baseball Academy (NC) (HOU)

Age20.8Height6′ 3″Weight215Bat / ThrL / LFV40+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Clifford was ranked 57th on the 2022 draft board as an advanced, big-framed LF/1B prospect who looked very athletic in the batter’s box and not so much on defense. It took just over $1.25 million to keep him from heading to Vanderbilt, and after he struggled with whiffs in his post-draft summer, he lit Low-A on fire to start 2023 and was acquired from Houston as part of the Justin Verlander trade. Some of Clifford’s TrackMan data from the early portion of last season was so absurd that he merited consideration as a possible Top 100 prospect. His high-end exit velos were near the top of the scale and his contact rates were suddenly above-average. The sample wasn’t big enough to consider Clifford’s leap in bat-to-ball ability legitimate, and indeed after he was promoted out of Low-A, his strikeout rates spiked and have lived in a scary area ever since. Last list cycle, I cautioned readers against weighing his exit velo data too heavily, but even I didn’t foresee him striking out as much as he has so far in 2024, when his whiffs have far outpaced his balls in play.

The visual evaluation of Clifford as a hitter is one of passivity and a bottom-hand dominant swing that tends to be underneath fastballs in the upper half of the zone. Clifford shows the ability to move the barrel around the bottom two-thirds of the zone, and he cuts his stride with two strikes. He’s a good rotational athlete whose move forward is balanced but explosive. But Clifford is hitting just shy of .160 against fastballs as of list publication, and unless he makes some kind of adjustment he’s only ever going to be able to hit low-ball mistakes. Written up as a Lucas Duda type of platoon bat during his last scouting update, Clifford is not only trending down, he’s on increasingly thin ice, especially without a good defensive component to his profile.

11. Nolan McLean, SIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2023 from Oklahoma State (NYM)

Age22.8Height6′ 3″Weight205Bat / ThrR / RFV40+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/6055/7030/5030/4593-97 / 98

McLean was a two-way college player and Baltimore’s unsigned third rounder from 2022; the Mets scooped him up for just shy of $750,000 in the 2023 third round. Though he has continued hitting early in 2024, McLean has only ever realistically been a big league prospect as a pitcher, and this year he’s taken a leap in that regard. McLean looks like a power reliever who might have three plus pitches at peak. You have to project on his secondary pitch consistency to get there, but he hasn’t focused solely on pitching yet, so you can. This is a very explosive low-to-the-ground athlete who creates big hip and shoulder separation during his delivery. It’s a delivery typical of a big league power reliever with a mid-90s fastball already in tow. McLean showed three different breaking balls in college and still has at least two (a slider and cutter), as well as a tertiary changeup. A scout source who caught McLean the week before publication thought he had a shot to develop three plus pitches. His secondary stuff is wildly inconsistent on tape, but it flashes plus, especially the slider. Don’t worry about McLean being a little older than most developmental prospects. Because he was just drafted, he has as much time as any other college prospect to improve under the Mets org umbrella and is on a post-2026 season 40-man timeline. McLean has three whole seasons to polish his control and refine a secondary pitch in order to profile as a middle reliever, which feels like his floor. All of the late bloomer and athletic traits indicate he has more ceiling than that.

12. Boston Baro, 3B

Drafted: 8th Round, 2023 from Capistrano Valley HS (CA) (NYM)

Age19.8Height6′ 2″Weight170Bat / ThrL / RFV40+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Baro was a standout at the 2023 MLB Draft Combine and ended up getting $700,00 rather than head to UCLA. He has rare physical projection for a medium-bonus high schooler, let alone one who hits left-handed. Baro is a heady and athletic third base defender with uncommon range and bend for such a tall guy. Especially if he ends up with a bit more arm strength as he fills out, he projects to be a special hot corner glove. On offense, Baro shows an ability to track pitches and use the whole field. His hands are sometimes a little late to fire, but as he gets stronger, he should be able to shorten up and accelerate them more readily. He has a very exciting skill foundation with lots and lots of physical projection remaining. He was given a somewhat aggressive assignment to Low-A St. Lucie and is off to a great start there. He looks like a potential everyday third baseman, though it will likely take a while.

13. Marco Vargas, 2B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Mexico (MIA)

Age19.0Height5′ 11″Weight170Bat / ThrL / RFV40+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

A converted catcher, Vargas has been one of the better pure hitters in rookie-level baseball the last couple of years amid a trade from Miami to New York for David Robertson. He hasn’t posted a K% above 16% at any level and has a career OBP well over .400 so far. Vargas tracks pitches well, his hands are quick and short to the ball, and his swing has natural lift but isn’t especially long because Vargas is so compact. There isn’t huge bat speed or physical projection here, so Vargas’ chances of becoming an impact player will need to come from him developing superlative bat-to-ball ability, but if his early-career performance is any indication, that outcome is in play for him. Vargas has played defense all over the infield, but his best fit is at second base. He profiles as a César Hernández type at the keystone.

14. Yovanny Rodriguez, C

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age17.5Height5′ 11″Weight180Bat / ThrR / RFV40+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Rodriguez, who signed for nearly $3 million in January, has a classic power-hitting catcher skill set in a scaled-down Gary Sánchez mold. Built to withstand the rigors of a full season of catching, the broad-shouldered Rodriguez has big pull power and arm strength. He has been participating in DSL activity, and along with bounce-back candidate Daiverson Gutierrez, will be part of the high-profile catching contingent down there.

15. Wellington Aracena, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age19.4Height6′ 3″Weight180Bat / ThrR / RFV40+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

50/6055/7020/4094-98 / 99

Aracena is a high-effort teenage righty who has had a huge velo boost entering 2024. In the early portion of the FCL season, he has been sitting 94-98 and touching 99 for as many as three innings at a time, which constitutes a five- or six-tick bump from 2023, when Aracena was spending his third year in the DSL. The movement of Aracena’s fastball is all over the place. It tends to have natural cut, but it also flashes big tail. His delivery and level of athleticism aren’t anywhere near this, but the same was true of complex-era Camilo Doval and Emmanuel Clase. Aracena and the Mets will need to polish and develop his fastball movement to lean into either the cut or tail, as the shape of the pitch as its currently constituted will cause it to play below its velocity. He appears poised to be developed as a starter, which makes sense given that you want him to work on these things. Still, based on his delivery and strike-throwing track record, Aracena is likely a reliever. Purely from a trade value standpoint, he probably belongs a bit lower on this list, as teenage pitchers carry risk and this one is still quite a way from the big leagues. But even if you consider him a likely reliever, as I do, he has the potential for a ghoulish cutter/slider combo (his slider touches 87 and has 2800 rpm or so on average) that plays in the late innings.

40 FV Prospects

16. José Buttó, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (NYM)

Age26.2Height6′ 1″Weight202Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

45/4550/5040/4060/6050/5092-95 / 97

Buttó was just a couple of roster days and innings away from losing rookie status entering 2024, and was written up as a fifth starter during the offseason here at FanGraphs. He was up and down several times in 2023, made seven solid big league starts, and looked like the fifth starter he’s been projected as for the last couple of list cycles. He has a fastball-heavy approach and inelegantly bullies hitters with 92-95 mph fastballs that serve to set up his excellent mid-80s changeup and curt, upper-80s slider, both of which miss bats at an above-average rate. Buttó was throwing more strikes in the low minors but adopted more of a power pitcher’s approach with his fastball a couple of season ago, and now tries to attack hitters at the top of the strike zone. He can beat hitters who struggle with that location, but his fastball doesn’t have quite enough carry to play as a bat-misser in the meatier parts of the strike zone. He might be better served throwing more secondary pitches. He’s a backend/spot starter who may trend toward a long relief role as he runs out of option years.

17. Dom Hamel, MIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Dallas Baptist (NYM)

Age25.2Height6′ 2″Weight206Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/5550/5055/5540/4040/4540/4092-95 / 96

Hamel is a five-pitch righty with an inefficient style of pitching that will probably relegate him to the bullpen on a competitive roster. Hamel’s bread and butter pitch is his mid-90s fastball, which has plus vertical riding life and misses bats at the letters. After that, Hamel mixes in three different breaking balls that are spread across a 17-mph gap. His slow, mid-70s curveball was once his best secondary pitch, but as he’s progressed in pro ball, a mid-80s sweeper and upper-80s cutter have surpassed it in usage. Hamel’s cutter is the newest of these and his inexperience with the pitch shows in his lack of feel. The near-perfect vertical shape of his curveball should give Hamel enough of a weapon against lefties for him to play a multi-inning role.

18. Jonah Tong, MIRP

Drafted: 7th Round, 2022 from Georgia Premier Academy (NYM)

Age21.0Height6′ 1″Weight180Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/6040/5045/4530/4030/4591-95 / 97

Tong presented an interesting pre-draft dichotomy. He was an old-for-the-class high schooler who was also very skinny and arguably more projectable than a lot of pitchers younger than him. His velocity also grew considerably in the year leading up to the draft, with Tong often working in the 91-95 mph range for the Langley Blaze (a select team of Canadian high schoolers who play all over the U.S. during the spring) and in the 2022 MLB Draft League. It took just a quarter of a million to keep him from a North Dakota State commitment.

After he barely pitched in 2023, Tong started 2024 with a dominant stretch and was quickly promoted to High-A. He’s throwing a bit harder this year, touching 96 and sitting 92-95 after he averaged 92 mph in 2023. Tong’s fastball has plus-plus vertical ride and pure north/south shape with the tiniest bit of cut. It’s an impact fastball that is going to miss bats at the top of the zone. The rest of Tong’s repertoire is still in flux. He used a slow curveball as his primary offspeed weapon until this year when he’s incorporated a slider, which is still very much a work in progress. It can be tough to turn over a changeup from Tong’s vertical arm slot, so it’s pretty important for that slider to progress. This is definitely an arrow-up prospect in the Mets system but you still have to project quite a bit to see the components of a big league starter here, and the frail-looking Tong needs to show he can sustain this level of velocity across a starter’s load of innings. At this juncture, his best role looks like more of a long reliever, as it would give Tong a better chance to sustain this arm strength and lean heavily on his lone impact pitch once through the order.

19. Josh Walker, SIRP

Drafted: 37th Round, 2017 from New Haven (NYM)

Age29.5Height6′ 6″Weight225Bat / ThrL / LFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/5560/6040/4050/5093-96 / 97

A late-round Division II success story, Walker rocketed through the minors in 2021, pitched at Triple-A during parts of the next few years and debuted in Flushing in 2023 before an oblique strain sent him to the 60-day IL. He’s been back and forth from Syracuse to Citi Field a few times in 2024. A lefty with a great frame, Walker has a stiff overhand delivery that generates depth on a good curveball despite it lacking much spin. It’s a nasty enough pitch to play as a backfoot weapon against righties, as well as in a left-on-left capacity. He’s also had a little velo uptick in the early going of 2024, and his ability to consistently locate his heater to the top of the zone has helped it garner a chase rate north of 40% this year. He looks like a stable middle reliever.

20. Christopher Suero, C

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age20.3Height5′ 11″Weight205Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

A speedy, undersized catcher, Suero hit well enough at Low-A St. Lucie early in 2024 to earn a quick promotion to Brooklyn. He has simple in-the-box footwork and a short, low-hand load, the combination of which allows Suero to be on time consistently. His swing is a little uphill and he can’t always get on top of high pitches, but the hit/power combo here is enough to project Suero as a well-rounded backup. Suero is a Bronx native who played at All Hallows High School and for travel ball teams in the U.S. before he relocated in the spring of 2019 to sign as an international amateur. He hasn’t been catching for very long and is athletic enough to perhaps transition back to one of his former defensive positions and have rare versatility.

21. Daiverson Gutierrez, C

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (NYM)

Age18.7Height5′ 11″Weight206Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Signed for just shy of $2 million in 2023 and viewed as perhaps the best defensive catching prospect in that international amateur class, Gutierrez had a rough 2023 in the DSL and is back there again to start 2024. He’s at his best when his approach is more conservative and geared for hard line drives, which is how it has looked during DSL tuneup activity. He’s still more likely to be a backup than a primary catcher, but things do look better than they did during Daiverson’s debut.

22. Colin Houck, SS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Parkview HS (GA) (NYM)

Age19.6Height6′ 2″Weight190Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Houck seemed like a high-upside developmental project as a high schooler, but he not only looks overmatched in pro ball, his twitch and overall athleticism have backed up. He’s been adept at getting on top of high pitches, but he’s struggling badly to pick up spin. I had him evaluated as a late first rounder prior to the draft and am surprised at how bad things look in the early going of 2024. Houck’s defense (he’s playing a mix of mostly shortstop and third base) has been fair. He makes some acrobatic plays but doesn’t have huge range or arm strength. I’ve kept him alive at shortstop here, which is largely why he’s on the list at all, but even though I tend to take a Bayesian approach to grading these guys where I weigh my prior evals into my current ones (especially when a guy is struggling like this), Houck looks so lost right now that I felt less inclined to do so here.

23. Jacob Reimer, 3B

Drafted: 4th Round, 2022 from Yucaipa HS (CA) (NYM)

Age20.3Height6′ 2″Weight205Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Reimer lacks a real standout tool, but he does a little bit of everything. He has the arm and actions for third base (though his instincts aren’t great), and he could grow into having something close to an average hit and power tool. Reimer’s swing is relatively conservative; he is often on time and looking to pull. He has the strength to do doubles damage with this simplistic approach, a style of swinging that’s a good fit for a hitter of middling athleticism. Reimer is a 40 athlete with a 55 frame/build, so whether you want to project on him growing into more than just doubles pop depends on what characteristics you want to hang your hat on. Here he’s projected as if he’ll grow into enough juice to be a 40-grade four-corners role player, but not enough to be a regular. He hit his way from Port St. Lucie to Brooklyn in 2023 but hasn’t laced ’em up yet in 2024 due to a hamstring strain, for which he’s on the 60-day IL as of list publication.

24. Trey McLoughlin, SIRP

Drafted: 16th Round, 2021 from Fairfield (NYM)

Age25.0Height6′ 2″Weight210Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

40/4050/5060/6050/5590-92 / 94

McLoughlin was part of the Fairfield squad that made beat Arizona State en route to a Regional finals loss to Texas in 2021. In part due to shoulder bursitis, McLoughlin didn’t pitch a ton during his third and fourth years at Fairfield. He’s been healthy and productive as a pro reliever, climbing all the way to Binghamton and the Arizona Fall League in 2023. He’s back at Binghamton to start 2024. McLoughlin has three big league-quality pitches. His fastball only sits 90-92, but it lives off of deception and McLoughlin’s ability to locate it up and to his arm side with consistency. He has a nasty splitter that looks like his fastball out of hand before dropping off the table, and McLoughlin commands his slider to his glove side and can land it in the top of the zone in sequence with his heater. All the pieces of McLoughlin’s repertoire fit together, his command makes each of his pitches sing, and he mixes them evenly enough to keep hitters guessing. He’s a high-probability low-leverage reliever.

25. Calvin Ziegler, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from TNXL Academy (FL) (NYM)

Age21.6Height6′ 0″Weight205Bat / ThrR / RFV40

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/6050/6055/5530/4095-97 / 98

A Canadian high schooler from the Toronto area, Ziegler was in a bind ahead of the 2021 draft because travel restrictions were going to make it hard for him to be seen by scouts. He transferred to TNXL Academy, an athletics “school” in Florida, for his pre-draft spring. The Mets made him their second round pick and signed him for just over $900,000. Ziegler has shown big stuff when he’s been healthy, but his pro career has been marred by injury. A 2022 IL stint due to biceps tendinitis, surgery to remove bone spurs ahead of the 2023 season, and then an early 2024 Tommy John force a relief projection here, no matter how good Ziegler’s stuff is. Ziegler was throwing harder and had reshaped his repertoire when he was healthy this season. Built like David Bednar, Ziegler was sitting 96 pre-injury and bending in two different breaking balls rather than his splitter from the past. His delivery is violent and effortful, and Ziegler hasn’t been able to stay healthy as a starter. He’s a priority eval for opposing teams when he’s back later in 2025 because it’s Ziegler’s 40-man roster platform year; he’ll be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after that season and could conceivably stick on a roster if healthy.

35+ FV Prospects

26. Mike Vasil, SP

Drafted: 8th Round, 2021 from Virginia (NYM)

Age24.2Height6′ 5″Weight225Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

40/4050/5040/4545/5050/5091-93 / 95

Vasil looked like a late first/comp round prospect in high school, then had an untimely injury as a senior and only pitched a little bit before the draft, sitting his usual 92-95 mph. He ended up at Virginia, where he regressed, and he was sitting 91 throughout his draft year. Like a lot of pitchers who leave Virginia, Vasil had a rebound in pro ball and was back to sitting 92-95 for the last couple of seasons. His velocity has been trending down a bit so far in 2024, and Vasil has been knocked around at Syracuse. His skinny walk rate with Binghamton the first half of last year looks like the anomaly among elevated rates at other affiliates as he’s backed up in that regard, too. None of his pitches is generating a miss rate above 20% as of list publication. Vasil still has pretty good feel for location and four distinct pitches. At peak it looked like he’d compete for a rotation spot on a good team, but right now he looks more like a spot starter.

27. Tyler Stuart, SP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Southern Mississippi (NYM)

Age24.6Height6′ 9″Weight250Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/5545/5540/5030/4592-95 / 97

Stuart is a strike-throwing behemoth who has kept his walk rates down in the 2.5 per 9 IP range since entering pro ball. He’s now accumulated 14 efficient Double-A starts and is marching toward a post-2025 40-man add. Stuart’s stuff isn’t dominant and he probably needs to find a better changeup or split to avoid an eventual bulk relief role, but his durability and command give him a really high floor. He is mostly going to live in the low 90s with both a two- and four-seamer while commanding an average slider to his glove side. His ability to vary his fastball shape helps keep him off the barrel and is a big reason why he’s run groundball rates around 50%. He’s a low-variance sixth starter type.

28. Kade Morris, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2023 from Nevada (NYM)

Age21.9Height6′ 3″Weight190Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

45/5045/5050/5045/5030/5092-94 / 96

A rather projectable righty who was barely 21 years old on draft day, Morris’ four pitch mix gives him a long-term shot to start despite the way his performance trended in college, ending with a 5.42 ERA in his draft year. Morris will bump 96 from a low-ish slot, and he can still manipulate the shape of two average breaking balls (his curveball has plus spin) and create tailing action on his changeup. It’s an east/west operation with a little less release consistency than is ideal for a starter prospect. Morris had a hot start at Low-A (as a third round college arm should) and was quickly promoted to Brooklyn early in 2024.

29. Wilfredo Lara, 3B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age20.1Height5′ 10″Weight180Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Lara had something of a breakout 2023 when he hit 14 homers with St. Lucie. He’s struggling pretty badly out of the gate with Brooklyn in 2024, but he’s only 20, he’s looked better to the eye then he has performed on paper, and the last couple of weeks it looks like he’s starting to adjust to the pitching quality at his new level. Lara’s carrying attribute is his defensive versatility. He can play basically any position, though as of publication, the Mets haven’t given him 2024 run in center field like they did last year. Lara also has uncommonly strong hands for a hitter his age and can create modest but meaningful power in a short mechanical distance. He has a chance to be a power-over-hit utility guy.

30. Alex Ramírez, RF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age21.4Height6′ 3″Weight175Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Ramírez hit .240/.316/.354 in 174 High-A games across 2022 and 2023, but was still promoted to Binghamton to start 2024. He’s off to a better start there, but his issues (a noisy swing that takes a long time to wind up and produce his otherwise impressive bat speed) remain, and he’s struggling to elevate and pull fastballs. He’s still just the age of a college draft prospect and Ramírez has some physical abilities that merit keeping him alive as a prospect for a while longer, but the time when we could expect that he’d be a meaningful part of the Mets’ future has passed. He needs to develop as a center field defender to give himself the best chance of playing a major league role.

31. A.J. Ewing, 2B

Drafted: 4th Round, 2023 from Springboro HS (OH) (NYM)

Age19.8Height6′ 0″Weight160Bat / ThrL / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

I had Ewing evaluated as a $700k-ish draft prospect last year and he got just shy of that from the Mets rather than go to Alabama. Ewing is a medium-framed hitter with above-average bat speed and modest physical projection. I had him projected to second base when he was an amateur, but he’s also playing a lot of center field so far in pro ball. Though he has a hitterish look, Ewing’s amateur ball-in-play-to-whiff ratio was pretty mediocre and he might end up with a power-driven profile. He could be a part-time up-the-middle hitter.

32. Edward Lantigua, LF

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age17.6Height6′ 3″Weight170Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Lantigua is a slower-twitch corner outfield prospect with substantial frame-based power projection. The Mets signed him for just shy of $1 million in January 2024 and he’s been participating in preseason DSL activity, where he looks as advertised. Lantigua is an open-striding hitter with natural feel for pull-side loft, but he can get extended and cover the outer half. He needs to get stronger, but he has a pretty interesting offensive foundation and is a good developmental outfield prospect.

33. Dedniel Núñez, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age28.0Height6′ 2″Weight180Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/6055/6045/4540/4040/4094-97 / 98

Núñez was the Giants’ 2020 Rule 5 pick, but he never threw a pitch for them due to Tommy John surgery and was returned to the Mets during the 2021-22 offseason. They moved him to the bullpen, where Núñez began throwing extremely hard coming off of surgery, sitting 94-97 and kissing 98-99 across the last couple of seasons. Núñez’s stuff is buck nasty, but he has such poor feel for location that it took him until 2024 to debut. It has sometimes been tough to get a real grip on what’s happening with Núñez’s repertoire, which has changed many times since he popped onto the prospect radar. He has settled into a two-pitch mix (mostly) that’s spearheaded by a mid-90s fastball with some natural cut and a plus-flashing mid-80s slider. Núñez is off to a hot start to 2024, but his command has never allowed for more than up/down projection here.

34. Wilkin Ramos, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (OAK)

Age23.6Height6′ 5″Weight165Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

50/5555/6030/3592-94 / 96

Once a deep sleeper in the A’s and Pirates systems, the ultra-lanky Ramos has made a dramatic change to his delivery and is now a funkadelic, low-slot reliever. He sits in the low-to-mid-90s and creates huge tailing action on his fastball because of his slot, while his sweeping slider flashes huge two-plane movement. Ramos still isn’t totally comfortable with this delivery and, because of his length, his misses are huge when his delivery is out of sync. But he’s getting a ridiculous number of groundballs and limiting opponents’ quality of contact, and he’s kept alive here as an up/down “look” reliever of note.

35. Ronald Hernandez, C

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (MIA)

Age20.6Height5′ 11″Weight175Bat / ThrS / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow

Acquired from Miami as part of the return for David Robertson at the 2023 trade deadline, Hernandez is a slightly undersized switch-hitting catcher with a well-rounded skill set and no plus tool. His bat-to-ball skills, which are quite good for such a young switch-hitter, and plate discipline are what carry all the weight of his offensive profile, as Hernandez isn’t especially projectable or athletic and likely won’t grow into huge power. On defense, Hernandez is fine behind the plate as a receiver and thrower, though a scout source with St. Lucie coverage thought he had regressed. He’s a developmental backup prospect.

36. Brett Banks, SIRP

Drafted: 11th Round, 2023 from UNC Wilmington (NYM)

Age22.6Height6′ 3″Weight205Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/6040/5530/4094-96 / 99

Banks was a redshirt junior draftee who was at Wake Tech and Catawba before UNC Wilmington. His velo peaked during the 2023 college postseason, when Banks was 96-99 mph at Regionals. So far in 2024, he’s been more in the 94-96 mph range with a little bit of natural cut. He’s a strapping 6-foot-3 righty with a shot to be a pretty standard middle reliever if the Mets can improve one of his secondary pitches.

37. Joel Díaz, SP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age20.2Height6′ 1″Weight208Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

40/4555/6030/5025/5593-95 / 96

Díaz dominated the DSL in 2021, sitting mostly 91-92 mph with a promising curveball. In 2022, he was essentially skipped over the FCL and sent right to Low-A, where the 18-year-old Díaz was suddenly sitting 93-95. He had a mixed season from a surface performance standpoint but was still a well-built teenager with two promising pitches. He needed Tommy John in March of 2023 and has now made a couple of rehab starts in 2024. Díaz’s velocity is back. He’s been in the 93-95 range once again in two- and three-inning outings, and he’s now throwing a harder breaking ball, a gyro-style slider in the 83-85 mph range. He’s healthy and back on the radar as a fairly young (likely) relief prospect, though it appears he’ll continue to be developed as a starter.

38. Luis Alvarez, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (NYM)

Age21.1Height6′ 5″Weight185Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

55/6050/5520/4094-96 / 98

Alvarez has spent two seasons in the DSL sandwiched around a year lost to injury. He’s showing a big increase in velocity during 2024 preseason DSL activity, sitting 94-96 and touching 98 across a couple of innings at a time. Alvarez’s delivery is a dead ringer for Paul Skenes‘ except without any of the feel for location. He’s a strapping 6-foot-5 lad with big arm speed and some ability to spin a breaking ball, but without any location consistency. He’s a frame projection and arm strength dev project to monitor at the bottom of New York’s system.

39. Luis R. Rodriguez, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (NYM)

Age21.5Height6′ 3″Weight190Bat / ThrL / LFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

50/6055/6030/4530/5092-95 / 97

Rodriguez’s 2021 was about as exciting as a 12-inning pro debut can be. Quickly elevated to Low-A at age 18, Rodriguez was touching 97 mph from the left side, and his fastball’s riding action, as well as the vertical snap he was getting on his curveball, made him a prototypical power pitcher prospect. The 2022 season was going to be about Rodriguez holding the velocity across a larger innings count. Instead, he had Tommy John and missed the entire season. Rodriguez returned in the middle of the summer of 2023 and was back in the 93-96 mph range with his fastball, but he blew out again and is on the 2024 full-season injured list recovering from another elbow surgery. We have to wait for Rodriguez to be healthy again before we can chart his prospect course with any kind of accuracy. He’s a name to keep alive in this area of the list if only so we remember that this guy exists and needs to be checked on when he next pitches.

40. Raimon Gomez, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (NYM)

Age22.7Height6′ 2″Weight230Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

60/6050/5540/5030/4094-96 / 99

After he pitched well in relief in 2022, the Mets moved the hard-throwing Gomez into the rotation at High-A Brooklyn to begin the 2023 season. He made three short starts there before he needed Tommy John and he has yet to pitch at an affiliate in 2024. When healthy, Gomez sits 94-96 mph and peaks at 99 out of the bullpen while bending in a slider in the 84-88 mph range that was above average due more to its velocity than its raw movement. Some of the few changeups he throws have encouraging vertical drop, enough that Gomez looks like a potential three-pitch prospect who had a shot to start on paper. But his feel for throwing strikes, especially quality fastball strikes, is not anywhere close to where it would need to be for Gomez to start. He could be a really nasty reliever, a role that was made more likely by his injury.

41. Bryce Montes de Oca, SIRP

Drafted: 9th Round, 2018 from Missouri (NYM)

Age28.1Height6′ 7″Weight265Bat / ThrR / RFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

70/7060/6045/4530/3096-99 / 102

Montes de Oca was slated to undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow last March, recover for about four months, and maybe be back in action by the end of the season. Instead doctors discovered his UCL to be “insufficient” during the surgery, so (unpleasant surprise) Montes de Oca also needed a Tommy John. He was among pro baseball’s hardest throwers in 2022, with the emphasis on “thrower” in this case, because he also has one of its most violent deliveries and he’s walked at least 15% of opposing hitters since entering pro ball. His arm swing is very late relative to foot strike and can be hard for him to time. The good news is that Montes de Oca’s stuff is good enough to do damage even when he’s not locating. He sits in the upper 90s, and his fastball has big tailing movement and pairs nicely with the glove-side length of his slider, which is how he most often finishes hitters. As ugly as his delivery is, it helps make hitters uncomfortable, and BMdO was missing a ton of upper-level bats in 2022. He has a shot to be on the up/down bullpen shuttle back and forth from Syracuse if he returns with his pre-surgery stuff this year. He is still on the 60-day IL as of list publication.

42. Nate Lavender, SIRP

Drafted: 14th Round, 2021 from Illinois (NYM)

Age24.3Height6′ 2″Weight215Bat / ThrL / LFV35+

Tool Grades (Present/Future)

60/6040/4045/5040/4090-92 / 95

Lavender struck out 86 hitters in 54.1 IP last year and has a career K/9 of 13.7 even though his fastball, which he throws 65% of the time, sits just 91 mph. That’s because Lavender has one of the more deceptive deliveries in the minors. He almost looks like someone who learned to throw with their left arm later in life. There are some Hideki Okajima elements to his delivery, including Lavender’s head whack, which prevents him from seeing his target at release. He gets way down the mound, his arm action is super whippy, and the line on his fastball is incredibly difficult for hitters to get on top of. The rest of his repertoire isn’t great, but on the back of his fastball alone Lavender smells like an up/down reliever. He had the internal brace style of Tommy John early in 2024 and will be on the shelf for a year.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Arm Strength in St. Lucie
Juan Arnaud, RHP
Wilson Lopez, RHP
Ernesto Mercedes, RHP

There are quite a few hard-throwing young pitchers at the very bottom of New York’s system, but their lack of command was a barrier to them making the main section of the list. Arnaud, 20, sits 94-97 with below-average extension but the best movement of this group. Lopez is a 21-year-old Colombian righty who has touched 100, but it lacks movement. Mercedes is a 20-year-old righty who has K’d nearly two batters per inning in a piggyback role at St. Lucie. He’s been up to 98 but has trouble timing his delivery.

2023 Day Two College Arms
Ryan Ammons, LHP
Jack Wenninger, RHP
Wyatt Hudepohl, RHP
Zach Thornton, LHP
Austin Troesser, RHP

Ammons was Boston’s 2023 10th round pick out of Clemson before he was traded to the Mets for Rule 5 pick Justin Slaten. He’s a drop-and-drive style lefty with a 90 mph upshot fastball. Wenninger is a changeup artist who sits 92-93; he was the Mets’ sixth rounder last year out of Illinois. Hudepohl, their fourth rounder from UNC Charlotte, has a due north arm slot and a hard 87 mph slider. Thornton, their fifth rounder from Grand Canyon, is a tall, skinny lefty with a smooth delivery who could conceivably throw harder on a pro strength program. Fourth round comp pick Troesser is a soft-tosser whose fastball has big vertical movement.

Rookie-Level Hitters
Branny De Oleo, SS
Justin Ramirez, OF
Vladi Gomez, UTIL
Yensi Rivas, UTIL

De Oleo, currently in the FCL, is a projectable shortstop with bat-to-ball feel. His free-swinging approach might prevent his bat-to-ball skills from really playing, which is why he’s not yet on the main section of the list. Ramirez struck out a lot in the 2023 DSL and is back there again, but he’s a well-built outfielder with plus bat speed and probably the most explosive swing from the DSL group. Gomez (entering his second pro season) and Rivas (his first) are ultra-twitchy medium-framed hitters whose swings have natural loft.

One-Trick Ponies
Paul Gervase, RHP
Felipe De La Cruz, LHP
Eric Orze, RHP

Gervase is a 6-foot-10 righty with a low slot. He’s a nightmare in on the hands of righties and could be a unique release reliever. De La Cruz, currently assigned to Brooklyn, will touch 98 and sit 94-96 as a starter. He’s an athletic little lefty who needs a good second pitch. Orze, at Syracuse, has a plus-plus changeup and struggles to throw strikes.

Good Org Bats
JT Schwartz, 1B
Nick Morabito, OF
Jake Zitella, 1B
Rhylan Thomas, OF
Matt Rudick, OF

Schwartz lacks typical power for a first baseman but is otherwise a good, selective hitter with a career .270 average through Double-A. Morabito was a $1 million bonus high school signee in the 2022 second round. He’s a speedy outfielder with an oppo-geared swing that I am (and have been) skeptical will play against upper-level pitching. Zitella can really swing it, but he’s a righty-hitting first baseman. The Chicago high schooler was still a good draft find for $200,000. Thomas and Rudick are undersized upper-level outfielders without corner outfield pop.

Perozo, Parada (Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off)
Kevin Parada, C
Vincent Perozo, C

Parada was once a top draft prospect who has regressed as a hitter and stagnated as a defender in pro ball. When he was drafted, it was thought that he’d hit enough to be a decent big leaguer even if he had to move out from behind the plate, but that isn’t happening. Perozo is a low-ball power-hitting catcher who hasn’t been able to hit his way out of Low-A in three seasons there.

System Overview

This is an average system in most respects. Its overall depth, as well as the number of Top 100 guys and impact prospects (40+ FV or better), hovers around average, trending down from last year because of the bumper crop of rookies who graduated out of the system in 2023. Arrows are up for pitchers across the system, including guys who haven’t been with the org for very long. The arrival of Eric Jagers, who was hired as the director of pitching development at the end of 2022 and was promoted to vice president of pitching this year, coincides with the beginning of these changes. It will be interesting to watch the Honorable Mention pitchers who are currently in St. Lucie as a litmus test for what attributes the new dev techniques are more apt to improve. Will the hard-throwing hurlers improve their craftsmanship, or can the pitchability college guys start throwing harder?

This system is pretty likely to get better around the trade deadline, as the big league team is currently seven games under .500 and has several expiring contracts, too many to list here. You can see the impact that Mets pro scouting made with last season’s trades, as five of the 40+ FV or better prospects in the system were acquired during that span, including Drew Gilbert and Jeremy Rodriguez. The Rodriguez acquisition (from Arizona for Tommy Pham) is especially interesting because it indicates the Mets are willing to make a DSL prospect the centerpiece of a deal, which isn’t typically the case across baseball.

New York Mets Top 42 Prospects (2024)
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