30. 3B Jhoan Urena
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 230 2016 Level: St. Lucie
B/T: S/R Age: 9/1/1994 (22) Age Dif: -1.7
Acquired: Signed as international free agent by Mets, Sept. 8, 2011
2016 Statistics: 105 G, 449 PA, 396 AB, 62 R, 114 H, 31 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 15 SB, 3 CS, .288/.367/.437
Previous Rank: 41
Profile: The 2016 season was an important one for Urena as he was able to play an entire season with St. Lucie after he suffered two broken hamate bones in 2015. Still, with him only hitting .225/.301/.350 in 383 at-bats, he did not show the Mets enough to give him a promotion to Double-A Binghamton. Another consideration for having him repeat St. Lucie was the presence of another third base prospect, Thompson, in Binghamton.
With last year being the year, Urena proved he could be healthy, this is the year he is proving he can hit. With him playing about half a season, he has already surpassed his career highs in doubles and extra-base hits. He is only two off of his career high in homers. He has stolen as many bases as he has in his prior three seasons combined. Overall, he is once again establishing himself as the hitter with an advanced approach at the plate with promising power.
The one downside of his season is he is still struggling as a third baseman. While fielding percentage may not be the best indicator of a player’s true talent level his .913 fielding percentage at third base is jarring. As a result, Urena has once again found himself getting more and more playing time away from third base. For the second straight year, he is getting exposure at first base, and for the first time in his professional career, the Mets are working him out in left field, which may ultimately prove to be his best position.
At this point, Urena has proved all he can prove in St. Lucie as a hitter. The best explanation at this point why he is not in Double-A is probably because the team is still looking for a position to stick his bat.
29. 3B David Thompson
Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 220 B/T: R/R Level: Binghamton
Age: 8/28/1993 (23) Age Dif: -1.2
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 Amateur Draft from University of Miami
2016 Statistics: 101 G, 403 PA, 361 AB, 46 R, 90 H, 23 2B, 9 HR, 51 RBI, 7 SB, 4 CS, .249/.315/.388
Previous Rank: 24
Profile: In his brief professional career, there have been issues raised about Thompson’s ability to stick at third base. The concerns were rooted in the belief that he had neither the arm strength nor the power to profile at the position. Surgery to repair a torn labrum and surgery to alleviate the effects of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in consecutive seasons have not done much to quite those critics.
After a slow start, Thompson showed the skills that could quiet some of those critics. During the Month of June, Thompson is hit .307/.386/.545 with nine doubles, four homers, and 14 RBI in 27 games. This is indicative of the better baseball he has been playing in Double-A after an adjustment period in April. In May and June, he hit .292/.374/.485 with 15 doubles, six homers, and 29 RBI. Additionally, in the field, Thompson has shown enough arm strength to allow him to stick at the position.
Even with that good stretch, there is once again some concern with Thompson. In the Month of July, he has regressed to his April form hitting just .232/.294/.354. Part of these struggles is a low .269 BABIP.
Ultimately, the Mets have a number of question marks at the third base position across the entire organization. Uneven play from Thompson does little to present a solution. However, he has flashed all the tools necessary to be a good third baseman. Once again, he needs to make the necessary adjustments. Once that happens, he should be back on track as the Mets best internal third baseman of the future.
28. RHP Gerson Bautista
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 170 lb Level: Carolina League (A)
B/T: R/R Age: 5/31/95 (22) Age Dif: -0.8
Acquired: One of three minor league relievers received in exchange for Addison Reed (7/31/17)
Previous Rank: N/A
2017 Stats: 3-2, 5.16 ERA, 27 G, 4 SV, 45.1 IP, 1.809 WHIP, 10.5 K/9
Profile: Bautista is a big arm that has yet to be harnessed. He’s got a live fastball that shows good movement and sits in the upper 90s. At times, he is able to throw his fastball 100 MPH.
Bautista combines the fastball with a slider and a change. The slider sits in the upper 80s, but it is not a reliable pitch as of yet. Bautista is all over the pitch in terms of both location and effectiveness. Once he learns to repeat his delivery on the pitch, he could very well use it as an out pitch due to its movement when thrown properly. The change isn’t much of a pitch at this point, and it remains possible he scraps the pitch while focusing on his mechanics for his fastball and slider.
Like the aforementioned pitchers, Bautista has control issues as evidenced by his walking 5.6 per nine this year and 4.1 in his minor league career. Unolike the other two, Bautista has previously been suspended for PED use. He was suspended in 2013 after testing positive for Stanozolol.
After the trade, Bautista was assigned to St. Lucie, which would be a lateral move from the Carolina League. Bautista has yet to make an appearance for the Mets.
27. OF Wuilmer Becerra
Ht: 6’3” Wt: 225 Level: St. Lucie
B/T: R/R Age: 10/01/1994 (22) Age Dif: -0.8
Acquired: Part of seven player trade from the Toronto Blue Jays
2017 Stats: 99 G, 395PA, 356 AB, 35 R, 90 H, 13 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 12 SB, 2 CS .253/.320/.326
Previous Rank: 11
Profile: Heading into the 2016 season Becerra was getting hyped as the throw-in flyer prospect that was going to make the R.A. Dickey trade look like an even bigger coup for the Mets organization. He was a power hitting prospect that had a strong arm in right field. Those skills began to shine with Becerra in the Mets organization. That was until last year.
Becerra injured his shoulder during Spring Training, and he attempted to play through the injury. During the season, he failed to hit for power and his once strong throwing arm was gone. With cortisone shots not working, he had season-ending surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder in July. With the promise he had shown prior to the surgery, the Mets added him to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
Unfortunately, Becerra is not yet the player he was before the labrum surgery. For the first 27 games of the season and for 31 of his first 33 games of the season, the Mets used Becerra as a DH. Over that time period, Becerra’s play was not commensurate with a DH or a top prospect hitting just .264/.329/.388 wtih five doubles, a triple, three homers, and 18 RBI.
It is also notable when Becerra has returned to play in the outfield, he has played more left field than right field. Part of the reason for this is he has not seen his arm strength fully return. As a result, he no longer has the strong arm you would want to see from a right fielder. Now, he has played more right field lately, but that is probably more the result of Tim Tebow getting called up to St. Lucie than it is Becerra regaining some of his lost arm strength.
Right now, it is hard to make out what Becerra really is. Arguably, his offensive stats has regressed each and every month this season. He has not hit a home run in his last 247 plate appearances. Over that same stretch, he is striking out 25% of the time. Another troubling sign is that the stats he does have are fueled by a .351 BABIP.
However, it is still too soon to overreact to these issues. As we have seen with pitchers who have had similar surgeries to Becerra, they typically sit out a season because it typically takes them that long to get to full strength. While Becerra may have been cleared for baseball activities, it does not necessarily mean he was at complete strength to play at the level he had played prior to the surgery.
It is still possible Becerra possess power at the plate and a strong arm in right field to go with better than average speed. Likely, he just needs a full season under his belt to get back to that point.
26. SS Ronny Mauricio
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 165 lb.
B/T: S/R Age: 4/4/2001 (15)
Acquired: International Free Agent signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017 ($2.1 million bonus)
Previous Rank: NR
Profile: The Mets were such believers in Mauricio that they gave him a team record signing bonus. His $2.1 million signing bonus eclipsed the previous record holder, Amed Rosario, who received $1.75 million from the Mets. If Rosario’s status as the best prospect in baseball is any indicator, Mauricio is going to have big things ahead of him.
The developing player has a smooth glove, a strong arm, and he is a promising hitter from both sides of the plate. Overall, he has the tools to be an outstanding player, and he is quite possible in the organization best suited to letting him reach his full potential.
EDITOR’S NOTE: These rankings have been updated to reflect changes that have occurred in the Mets minor league system since the trade deadline.