Top Prospects Series
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 third 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 I 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.
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Young High-Variance GuysAnthony Baptist, OFSimon Juan, OFNick Morabito, CFDaviel Hurtado, LHPYeral Martinez, 1BJunior Tilien, 2BAndriel Lantigua, C
Baptist signed for $1.1 million in January. He’s a twitchy, lefty-hitting outfielder with pretty good vertical plate coverage for someone with a longer swing. Juan signed for just shy of $2 million a few years ago as a big-framed power-hitting prospect and has struggled to make contact. Morabito got an over-slot $1 million as the 75th overall pick in 2022. He runs well and has barrel feel, but he’s a tight, relatively stiff-legged athlete who was old for the draft class and wasn’t someone I ranked last year. Hurtado signed for $650,000 in January and is a fairly athletic, medium-framed lefty with a short stride down the mound and a vertical arm stroke. He’ll show you 93-95 mph at absolute peak. Martinez is a very projectable lefty-hitting first baseman with a great glove and hitting hands that fire from a dead stop, making it tough for him to be on time. Tilien and Lantigua are softer-bodied potential up-the-middle guys with above-average bat speed.
One-Tool Bats on the FringeLorenzo Cedrola, OFD’Andre Smith, 2BJT Schwartz, 1BStanley Consuegra, RFWyatt Young, 2B
Cedrola is a righty-hitting outfielder who is tough to make swing and miss. If he could play a better center field, he’d already have been in the big leagues for a while. Smith was a favorite of mine in high school and at USC. He has enough of a hit/power combo to be a 40 if he can play a couple different positions. Schwartz can hit, but the first base-only profile is tough. Consuegra has tantalizing physical projection and power, and he’s really off to a hot start, but the length of his levers and swing indicate it isn’t sustainable. Young looked like he might have special feel to hit at this time last year, but he has since settled into more of an above-average hit tool area with 20 power.
A-Ball Arms, Potential 40sLayonel Ovalles, RHPDouglas Orellana, RHPJordany Ventura, RHPFelipe De La Cruz, LHP
Ovalles has a very deep and competent repertoire for a 19-year-old, with a low-90s fastball, several 40-to-50 grade breaking balls, and the occasional changeup. He is not as projectable as the typical prospect his age and is more of a long-term fifth starter prospect barring an unexpected uptick in stuff. Orellana, 21, will sit 94-95 mph for entire starts and has plus fastball and curveball spin, but all of his pitches are below average from a bat-missing standpoint, in part because his fastball has a downhill approach angle. Ventura, 22, pitched very little in 2022 because he was recovering from TJ and then was shut down again with a pectoral strain. He’s come out of the gate having lost three ticks of velo in 2023, sitting well below the 92-95 mph he was showing as a very young 40 FV prospect. Ventura’s breaking ball is still above-average, but he’s a projectionless 22-year-old with a 30-grade heater right now. Both Orellana and Ventura could still be long-term depth options with their current stuff, they’re just both very far away from the big leagues. De La Cruz, 21, is an athletic little lefty who’ll touch 96 several times throughout a start, but it lacks much movement and he’s been getting shelled.
Sneaky FastballsJosh Walker, LHPNolan Clenney, RHPNate Lavender, LHPEli Ankeney, LHP
This whole group has some combination of shallow fastball approach angle or vertical break that helps the pitch play up. Walker recently made his big league debut. He sits 92-94 mph with riding life and mixes in some low-80s, low-spin breaking balls. Clenney sits 93 with above-average movement and a 45-grade slider. Lavender, 23, was a Day Three pick from Illinois who has never struck out less than a batter per inning all the way up to Triple-A, but he only sits 90 and smells more like an emergency depth option than an actual prospect. Ankeney, who comes out of Grand Canyon University, is similar except several levels below.
This system is extremely top heavy, with a big late night snack-sized handful of Top 100 prospects stacked at the very top, followed by a thin layer of more volatile, high-variance players in the 40+ FV tier and at the very top of the 40s. The depth, quality, and proximity of the 45 FV and above guys, many of whom are starting to contribute at the big league level, makes this a top 10 farm system at the moment. However, as soon as they graduate (Francisco Álvarez and Brett Baty already did earlier this month), the rash of pitching injuries and lack of depth will cause it to fall precipitously down the MLB hierarchy, into the bottom third of systems. Of course, this says as much about the flaws in farm rankings as it does about the quality of this group — a good young player who loses rookie status is still a good young player who you get to employ for another half decade. The giant flotilla of talent that is currently arriving at the big league level gives the Mets some young cornerstones to mix in with their contending veteran group, and also the ability to trade for blockbuster help at the deadline. There is enough big league-ready talent here that they get to have it both ways if they want.
The Billy Eppler era in New York is still relatively new. He and his front office were so often buyers in Anaheim it was tough to gauge what the pro scouting department’s tendencies were because they weren’t often trading for prospects. They would target post-hype guys on the roster margins, claiming and signing notable players who had fallen out of favor in other places or come free for some reason, with Kevin Maitan being the most significant example. Eppler’s trade history suggests he knows how to trade prospects he won’t miss; it wasn’t until the desperate-feeling Dylan Bundy swap that Eppler clearly gave up too much to get a deal done.
The Angels struggled to break through under his guidance in large part because of the org’s inability to develop sufficient pitching depth from within. This Mets system doesn’t seem to have magic pitching dev pixie dust the way some other orgs do; it’s not like there are a bunch of college pitchers from the last two drafts who have shown drastic improvements to their stuff. But the Mets’ seemingly bottomless budget should at least enable them to do what is necessary to improve in this area, even though it will probably take a little while for the infrastructure and machinery that will help churn out pitchers to be put in place.