MMN Top Mets Prospects 11-9: Headlined by Slick Fielders

By Sam Lebowitz

January 22, 2018 8 Comments

Ernest Dove/MetsMinors

#11 SS Ronny Mauricio

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 166 Level: DNP

B/T: S/R Age: 4/4/01 (16)

Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent in 2017

2017 Stats: DNP

When the Mets signed Amed Rosario as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2012, he received a team record $1.75 million signing bonus. Exactly five years later, the 16-year-old Mauricio broke Rosario’s record with a hefty $2.1 million sum. Mauricio was considered to be a top-three international prospect before he signed with New York.

The young shortstop already measures in at 6’3” and 166 lbs., giving him a projectable frame and lots of time to grow into his body. The parallels with Rosario continue, as Amed had similar listings at the date of his signing. Hopefully, the similarities between the two are a sign of things to come for Mauricio, seeing as Rosario was considered by some to be baseball’s best prospect at the time of his call-up.

There isn’t much concrete information about Mauricio’s game as of yet. However, the consensus seems to be that Mauricio has a chance to be well above-average both in the field and at the plate. His smooth hands and strong arm make him perfect for shortstop at the moment, but if he continues to grow and fills out his frame well, he could see a look at third base a half-decade or so down the road. Scouts also like his swing from both sides of the plate and believe he has a chance to have an above-average hit tool and above-average power. Of course, this is all speculation based on how a 16-year-old will develop, but with the raw talent he possesses, the sky is the limit for Mauricio.

#10 2B Luis Guillorme

Ht: 5’9″ Wt: 199 Level: Binghamton Rumble Ponies

B/T: L/R Age: 9/27/94 (23) Age Dif: -2.2

Acquired: Selected in the 10th round of the 2013 draft from Coral Springs Charter HS (Coral Springs, FL)

2017 Stats: 128 G, 481 AB, 70 R, 136 H, 20 2B, 1 HR, 43 RBI, 4 SB, 55/72 K/BB, .283/.376/.331

I like to imagine a future where the Mets are capable of playing great defense all around the diamond. Defense hasn’t been a priority for Sandy Alderson over the past number of years, and the product on the field in 2018 may once again be sub-par with the glove. But, there is hope in that regard. Rosario manning shortstop should help, but adding Guillorme into the fold soon could make my dream closer to a reality.

That is because Guillorme is without a doubt the best defensive player in the entire Mets organization. In fact, he might be the best defensive second basemen in the entire minor leagues, just ask MLB Pipeline’s prospect guru Jim Callis. Guillorme was originally a slick-fielding shortstop, but the Mets moved the Venezuelan to the other side of second due to Rosario’s rise to prominence. The 2013 tenth-round pick fit right in at the keystone position, making highlight-reel plays after highlight-reel plays. His 50-grade speed contributes to his sizable range, but his quick hands and incredible defensive instincts really make him fun to watch.

Guillorme has also shown that he can be much more than a glove. His .283 batting average and .706 OPS don’t jump off the page, but if you look deeper you can see that he had a very good offensive season. Considering the fact that the 23-year-old plainly doesn’t hit for power at this stage in his career, with just two professional home runs, the things Guillorme can do at the dish become even more impressive. For one, he was fifth in the Eastern League with a .376 OBP thanks to 72 walks in 558 plate appearances. Guillorme also struck out less than he walked, as he punched out just 55 times. This amounted to the best K% in the Eastern League, meaning he was the hardest man to strikeout in Double-A.

Guillorme is on the Mets 40-man roster entering Spring Training, so it is conceivable that he’ll find his way to Citi Field at some point in 2018. His combination of plate discipline and contact skills make him a unique offensive player in today’s game of juiced baseballs and tape measure home runs, but his truly impressive defensive resume means he’ll have an impact at the major leagues one way or another. Besides, who isn’t salivating at the thought of these slick hands in tandem with Amed Rosario?

Logan Barer/MetsMinors

#9 C Tomas Nido

Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 210 Level: Binghamton Rumble Ponies/New York Mets

B/T: R/R Age: 4/12/94 (23) Age Dif (Double-A): -1.2

Acquired: Selected in the 8th round of the 2012 draft from Orangewood Christian HS (Maitland, FL)

2017 Stats (Double-A): 102 G, 367 AB, 41 R, 85 H, 19 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 63/30 K/BB, .232/.287/.354

Catchers are enigmatic creatures. In a way, they’re kind of like a fine wine, in the sense that it takes a while for them to develop into the best version of themselves. Evaluating players at the position requires taking into account so many intangibles that wouldn’t appear on any other scouting report. Catchers have to be able to manage a game well, they have to be trusted by their pitching staff, and especially nowadays, they have to be proficient pitch blockers and framers. Offensively, catchers tend to lag behind their peers. For instance, eight-time All-Star Yadier Molina didn’t even put up a .700-or-better OPS until his fourth major league season, and didn’t crack .800 until his eighth. Catchers are weird.

Tomas Nido is a catcher. And for Nido, his development has seen the same kind of rollercoaster ride as many of his peers. Nido was drafted as a defense-first catcher, and at first, he struggled with the bat as a teenager in Kingsport and Brooklyn. He displayed very little power, with just 15 extra base hits total in his first three seasons. But his bat, much like that wine, matured with age.

Nido’s breakout season came in 2016 with St. Lucie, where he proved he was more than capable on both sides of the ball. The right-handed hitter won the Florida State League batting title with an impressive .320 average and put up a solid .816 OPS to boot. Defensively, Nido caught 42% of would-be base stealers, a figure well above league average.

The question remained whether or not Nido would continue his steep upward trend in Double-A in 2017. While he wasn’t as offensively prolific as he was in 2016, the Puerto Rican-born Nido didn’t disappoint enough to lose any stock in the Mets’ system. His batting average dropped nearly 100 points to .232, although that could be due in part to bad luck, as his BABIP dropped from .344 to .255. Despite the batting average dip, Nido was able to keep up similar run production. He put up a career high in home runs and RBIs, with eight and 60, respectively. Known for the most part as a free swinger, Nido has managed to steadily increase his walk rate over the past few years. He bumped it up to 7.4% in 2017 from 5.1% a year prior.

Nido’s 60-grade defense continues to earn high praise as well; pitchers love throwing to him. He also put his 55-grade arm to good use, as he somehow managed to throw out an astounding 45% of base stealers in 2017. For perspective, the average mark in the majors in 2017 was 27%. Nido’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. He earned a spot in the Eastern League All-Star starting lineup. He also represented the Mets in both the MLB Futures Game and the Arizona Fall League in 2017. Nido also appeared in five games for the Mets in September, going 3-10 at the dish. The 23-year-old will likely start 2018 in Las Vegas.

Previous Rankings

50-41 Led by Jacob Rhame

40-36 Led by Wagner Lagrange

35-31 Led by Gregory Guerrero

30-26 Led by Juan Uriarte

25-21 Led by Adonis Uceta

20-18 Led by Jordan Humphreys

17-15 Led by Marcos Molina

14-12 Led by Corey Oswalt