While most major league teams were busy on Tuesday, adding and dropping players from their 40-man rosters ahead of the deadline to file reserve lists with the Commissioner’s office, the Mets were noticeably quiet (save for the release of Jenrry Mejia).
The silence can mostly be attributed to the fact that while other teams were concerned with protecting their top prospects from the Rule 5 Draft, Brodie Van Wagenen and company did not view any of their eligible minor leaguers as worthy of a roster spot.
Looking into the future, however, reveals that the Mets will have important Rule 5 decisions on the horizon. As soon as 2019, in fact.
Something would have to go catastrophically wrong for Peter Alonso to not be selected to the 40-man roster at some point next season, but if he, for example, suffers a significant injury before a promotion and remains in the minor leagues, he would need to be protected ahead of the deadline.
Alonso’s draft classmate, Justin Dunn, will similarly be facing his first year of Rule 5 eligibility. Depending on whether he opens the 2019 season in Syracuse or Binghamton, Dunn could also have a solid shot of seeing the major leagues after the all-star break. There’s virtually no chance of the Mets leaving their first-round draft pick from only three years prior unprotected.
In addition to Dunn, 20-year-old Andres Gimenez will be a surefire add. Signed in 2015, Gimenez has exceeded expectations, outperforming his peers that, on average, have been no less than three years older. The only player to receive a higher bonus from the Mets in Gimenez’s signing class was Gregory Guerrero, who will similarly be eligible but has yet to prove his worth in games.
The Mets will also undoubtedly take a look at Shervyen Newton, whose athleticism and breakout performance with Kingsport this past season make him a possible selection (see Allen Cordoba). Newton’s impending eligibility will likely push the organization to test him at Columbia in 2019.
We can move on to the more interesting decisions now with a pair of unspectacular first-round picks, high upside pitchers coming off elbow surgery, and relief arms from the 2017 deadline trades.
First, Anthony Kay and Desmond Lindsay will force the Mets to make an interesting choice, particularly if they take a step forward in 2019. Kay quelled any doubt of his durability with a full season after nearly two years on the shelf, but it would have to be determined that he could legitimately serve a role on a selecting team.
Lindsay, meanwhile, is coming off of two immensely disappointing seasons and, barring a standout 2019, would likely be safe from selection if left unprotected.
It’s impossible to predict what the Mets are going to get from Thomas Szapucki and Jordan Humphreys next year, but the 2017 Tommy John patients could thrust themselves back into the conversation with healthy bounce-back seasons. Regardless, teams will certainly be aware of their track records, which are simultaneously impressive and brief.
And then there are the interesting cases of Stephen Nogosek and Ryder Ryan, who each present their own arguments for and against protection. The Mets liked them enough to ask for them in trades for major league veterans, so adding them is not out of the question.
Obviously, it’s going to take another full season of games and development to accurately determine who’s worthy of protection over a year from now, but it’s already looking like the organization will have a lot more on their plate.
Past years suggest that the Mets will have plenty of filler at the end of their roster to make room for Rule 5 adds at the end of the season, but in reality, it should be Van Wagenen’s goal to end next season with a group of 40 that he feels comfortable with.