Earlier this offseason, we saw the Mets bring back 2010 fifth round draft pick Matt den Dekker on a minor league deal. The decision was partially driven by the team having insufficient outfield depth, especially at the upper levels of the minor leagues.
While the Mets do have a lack of outfield depth, the organization is quite deep at a number of other positions. In this week’s Roundtable, the MMN staff addresses the question about which position the Mets have the most minor league depth:
Michael Mayer – Right-Handed Relievers
Sandy Alderson scooped up seven right-handed relievers in trades last year with Gerson Bautista, Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan already on the Mets 40-man roster. Hard throwing Tyler Bashlor, 11th round pick from 2013, was also added to the 40 this offseason and he could be the best of the bunch. Drew Smith (Lucas Duda trade) is in big league camp as well getting a few appearances.
Even farther down we have Adonis Uceta who had a fantastic 2017 season (1.51 ERA/0.91 WHIP) after his move to the pen. Two other right-handed relievers that had great 2017 seasons were Matt Blackham (1.42 ERA/82 strikeouts in 56 innings) and Matt Pobereyko (53 strikeouts in 34 innings), both for the Columbia Fireflies.
Austin McGeorge, Steven Villines, Max Kuhns and Joseph Zanghi are a few other righties that posted strong performances out of the pen in 2017 and give the Mets a ton of depth in the right-handed reliever area.
Ernest Dove – Second Base
Right now,the position with the most depth is at second base. Over the years, Sandy Alderson has stated a preference to improve versatility within the system, and it’s been showing lately through the lower all the way to upper levels. We’ve seen athletes like Gavin Cecchini and recently Luis Guillorme move over from shortstop for various reasons including the rise of Amed Rosario. Behind Cecchini and Guillorme, the Mets have depth in Jeff McNeil, Michael Paez and Colby Woodmansee. In the lower levels, guys like the 21-year-old Hansel Moreno have also been spending time at second. And former top rated prospect Luis Carpio has now made the move to second as well.
The Mets also have Walter Rasquin (set Cyclones SB record with 32 last year), Gregory Guerrero (has struggled but big time bonus baby) and Luis Santana (.911 OPS in second pro season) as second base depth.
Mojo Hill – Right-Handed Relievers
The position with the most depth in the Mets system is their right-handed relievers. There are a ton of hard-throwing options who could be potential closers or set-up men such as Tyler Bashlor, Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista, and Drew Smith. Obviously, not all of them will pan out, but the fact that they have so many right-handed relievers striking out the world in the minors right now with their 95+ mph fastballs bodes well for the future. The depth and amount of them increases the chances that one will emerge from the crowd and possibly become a closer or set-up man.
Corne Hogeveen – Right-Handed Relievers
There are more known names like Jacob Rhame, Callahan, Bashlor, and Bautista already on the 40-man roster. Past them, there are many more right-handed relievers who could become future MLB caliber relievers, including Corey Taylor, Smith, Stephen Nogosek, Ryder Ryan, Matt Blackham, Max Kuhns, and Joseph Zanghi. All of these relievers have good stuff which could make them future Major League relievers.
Matt Mancuso – Shortstop
Shortstop is the strength of the Mets farm system. Despite the graduation of Amed Rosario, there are still many intriguing shortstops. Teenager Andres Gimenez leads the pack posting a .265/.346/.349 slash line at Columbia this year. As a result, he has already appeared on a couple of the top-100 prospect lists. Behind him, there’s a bit of a drop, but Hansel Moreno and Sebastian Espino both had good seasons and have room to grow.
Moreno had a breakout season in 2016 and continued his exceptional hitting into 2017. Espino was signed last year and although he hasn’t shown a well-developed hit tool yet, there’s still time for the 17-year-old to succeed.
Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio represent two other promising shortstops who joined the Mets organization this year. Vientos was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft and hit well with the Kingsport Mets and GCL Mets though he could eventually see a move to third base. Mauricio received a club record $2.1 million bonus, which is more than Rosario received, and he projects to have above-average power and solid defense. Overall, the Mets farm system is filled with toolsy shortstops, all of whom will hopefully contribute in the next decade.
Mets Daddy – Starting Pitchers
Over the last two drafts, the Mets used their first round picks to select Justin Dunn and David Peterson. While Dunn struggled in his first full years as a starter, he flashed the same stuff he had when people roundly applauded the Mets selecting him. With respect to Peterson, he made a huge leap in college, including a 20 strikeout game, leading to the Mets making him a first round draft pick.
Behind that, there are many talented pitchers who can become front line starters. Anthony Kay is completely recovered from his Tommy John surgery, and he was reportedly in the mid 90s with his fastball in the Instructional Leagues. Thomas Szapucki and Jordan Humphreys were absolutely brilliant prior to their own season ending Tommy John surgeries.
And note, this list does not include pitchers like Corey Oswalt, Marcos Molina, and Chris Flexen, who could take the leap next year. Overall, there is starting depth in the Mets minor league system, and it’s deeper than advertised.
Overall, after last summer’s trade deadline, it should come as no surprise our staff has mostly tabbed right-handed relief pitchers as the deepest part of this organization. Do you agree? We look forward to discussing this further in the comments section.