MMN Top 5 First Base Prospects: Alonso Provides Powerful Hope

By Matt Mancuso

January 5, 2018 12 Comments

(Ed Delany/Mets Minors)

We have begun discussing our top prospects heading into the 2018 season and the first way we will bring them to you is by position. These rankings were voted on by all of the writers that make up MMN. We already covered our top five shortstops.

The first base position is one that is obviously looking pretty weak after the graduation of Dominic Smith and eventually the guy sitting at No. 1. However, The good news is that between those two guys the Mets very well could have a long-term answer at the position.

#1 Peter Alonso

Ht: 6’3″  Wt: 245 lbs.  Age: 12/7/94 (23)  B/T: R/R

2017 Level: St.Lucie Mets, Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Stats: 93 G, 353 AB, 52 R, 102 H, 27 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 63 RBI, 27 BB, .289/.359/.524

Alonso is without a doubt one of the Mets’ top position players in the system. The 23-year-old hit .289/.359/.524 while playing for both the Rumble Ponies and the St. Lucie Mets. His calling card is his booming power and he showed it off in 2017, smacking 16 homers and 39 extra-base hits, both which were among league leaders in the Florida State League. Alonso was rewarded for his big offensive season with a MiLB.com Organizational All-Star award at the end of the season.

Alonso did have stark splits in 2017, as he hit a passable .767 OPS against same-handed pitching while destroying lefties to a 1.132 OPS. He also struggled mightily defensively beyond the 16 errors total, with bad footwork and rough hands, which was the main reason for his attendance at this year’s instructional league. Nevertheless, Alonso demolished FSL pitching this season and looks to continue his success with the Rumble Ponies in 2018.

#2 Jhoan Urena

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 220 lbs.  Age: 9/1/94 (23)  B/T: S/R

2017 Level: St.Lucie Mets, Las Vegas 51s

Stats: 135 G, 502 AB, 77 R, 139 H, 34 2B, 3 3B, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 64 BB, .277/.358/.440

The 2012 signee had a breakout season, hitting .282/.364/.437 in 67 games for St. Lucie. He finished tops in Florida State League with his 129 hits, 34 doubles, 72 runs and 200 total bases. Although he also played other positions in 2017 (including his natural third base) he mostly started at first base. Urena’s breakout was supported by an increase in his line-drive percentage and his .370 wOBA.

The 23-year-old concluded his outstanding season at Las Vegas and is on the short-list of close MLB-ready third baseman the Mets have their farm system. Although he had never produced this well before, he looks to maintain that production into 2018.

 

#3 Matt Winaker

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 195 lbs.  Age: 11/29/95 (21)  B/T: L/L

2017 Level: Brooklyn Cyclones

Stats: 21 G, 71 AB, 10 R, 19 H, 1 2B, 3 RBI,  15 BB, .268/.402/.282

The 2017 draftee had an uneven start to his minor league career, hitting .268/.402/.282 in Brooklyn before succumbing to a right shoulder injury on July 19, ending his season. Winaker was drafted based on his excellent plate discipline, which he showcased during his time with the Cyclones. Although he didn’t hit for many extra bases, his knowledge of the strike zone led to a 17.2 BB% and he drew about as many walks as he did hits.

Although his on-base percentage is admirable for the lower minor leagues, he will need to improve his slugging percentage to have a major league future. The former high school quarterback has the speed to play both corner outfield spots and looked good defensively at first for the Cyclones.

(Jacob Resnick/Mets Minors)

 

#4 Jeremy Vasquez 

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 205 lbs.  Age: 7/17/96 (21)  B/T: L/L

2017 Level: Kingsport Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones

Stats: 67 G, 237 AB, 29 R, 63 H, 15 2B, 8 HR, 38 RBI,  37 BB, .266/.368/.430

Vasquez came off of an impressive season at Nova Southeastern University, where he hit .317/.453/.614 with 15 home runs. The 21-year-old was the Mets 28th round pick in 2017 and has already proven himself against the Appalachian League’s pitching. His .295/.394/.511 slash line was very notable for a 2017 draftee.

Vasquez’s specialty is his advanced knowledge of the strike zone, which he showed off in his stint in Kingsport. He impressed so much he was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones by the end of the season. While he got off to a hot start there, Vasquez struggled to a .107 average over his final 18 games.

His power has yet to fully develop, as shown by his dramatic reduction in his ISO with Brooklyn. His .403 wOBA may have fueled his impressive production at the plate, however, it can not be denied that 2017 was a quality year for Vasquez. He can also play a passable corner outfield which gives him some versatility.

#5 Dash Winningham

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 225 lbs.  Age: 11/11/95 (22)  B/T: L/L

2017 Level: Columbia Fireflies

Stats: 114 G, 426 AB, 42 R, 101 H, 15 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 70 RBI,  37 BB, .237/.304/.369

The owner of arguably the best name in the minor leagues, Winningham continued his struggles from 2016. His 21.9% strikeout percentage, 7.8% walk percentage and a team-leading 13 home runs certifies him as a true-three outcome players.