2020 Prospect Opportunities — Mets

Today, we continue along in the National League East division with the Mets. They are a tough team to expect any impact prospect performances from for two reasons. First, they just don’t have any real offensive prospects that have played at Triple-A, and I can’t imagine the team would be willing to jump a player up straight from Double-A. Actually, their entire farm system is just pretty bad, ranking near the bottom in all of baseball. Second, some of the hitters that would normally be at risk due to performance will simply not lose their job. Robinson Cano and his 1.3 projected WAR is one such example.

American League Prospect Opportunities

National League Prospect Opportunities
NL East NL Central NL West
Braves Brewers Diamondbacks
Marlins Cardinals Dodgers
Mets Cubs Giants
Nationals Pirates Padres
Phillies Reds Rockies

At Risk: J.D. Davis
Replacement: Jarrett Parker

All it took was an opportunity for J.D. Davis to shine. In his first full season, he earned every day playing time with the Mets and posted a superb .373 wOBA, with strong underlying skills all around. So why is he at risk? The projections don’t quite believe the strong offensive performance, forecasting a wOBA decline to around .330. But more importantly, he has been atrocious defensively in left field. That’s more likely to cost him his left field job, though perhaps he finds time at another position.

It’s odd to see Jarrett Parker get scooped up as a free agent by the Mets after another strong minor league campaign. Sure, he’s already 31 years old, but he’s only recorded 397 MLB plate appearances. He has struck out a lot, but it’s more due to plate patience than an inability to make contact given his perfectly respectable SwStk%. And check out those ridiculous walk rates! He walked 17% of the time last year at Triple-A with the Angels organization. Most intriguing though is his power. He posted a career high 31.2% HR/FB rate last season, fueling a .269 ISO. He’s exactly the type of player to speculate on in deeper leagues if he gets a shot at regular playing time.

At Risk: Michael Wacha
Replacement: David Peterson

It was supposed to be a battle between Michael Wacha and Steven Matz for the final spot in the Mets rotation. But with Noah Syndergaard out for the season, now both get slots. Unfortunately, Wacha’s already soft skills have been heading in the wrong direction, as his SIERA has risen each season since 2017 and topped 5.00 last year. It’s no coincidence that his fastball velocity also dropped to a career low last year as well.

David Peterson is the Mets’ 10th best prospect, even though he sits around 90 MPH with his fastball, topping out at just 93. The southpaw hasn’t pitched above Double-A, but it’s much easier for pitchers to make the jump from that level than hitters. Though his ERA settled above 4.00, he actually displayed pretty strong skills last year. His strikeout rate rebounded back into the mid-20% range, after dipping below 20% at High-A in 2018. It was backed by a surge and rebound in SwStk% to just below 14%. He continued showing solid control, as well. Lastly, his ground ball rate remains elite, though did decline from its lofty levels above 60% previously. He seemingly owns all three skills that we like seeing from a pitcher — strikeout ability, control, and ground ball tilt. Because he doesn’t throw hard, he might not get the hype, but from a skills perspective, he looks like he could be just like his rotation mate, Marcus Stroman.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

As a reasonably honest Mets fan, I can’t argue with the suggestion that the Mets system is devoid of upper tier prospects- though Andres Gimenez, a top 100 prospect who played all season at AA last year and then led the AZ Fall League in batting, probably deserved at least a mention. If either Cano or Amed Rosario were to suffer a serious injury, he might be in line for an opportunity. (Even though I know he doesn’t look to have significant fantasy value, beyond steals)
The assertion that the farm system is pretty bad is a bit questionable, though, I think- especially when you back that up by linking to the FG valuation system that assigns a dollar value based on tiers. I know there is a degree of science behind it, but there is, just as an example, a $55 million difference between a hitter given a 65 and a hitter given a 40. Looking back just a couple of years, Amed Rosario was given a 65 and Pete Alonso a 40. If the system’s valuation of one or two players can be so far off that changing it could adjust a team’s ranking by 10 places or more, then I don’t think you can fairly use it to label a team’s system as good or bad. Sure, you can look at a team like the Rays or Padres and say that, based on pure volume of highly-rated prospects, it’s a good farm system; but for most of the teams that are ranked anywhere from 10-25, the fact that prospect evaluations are so volatile, subjective, and error-prone makes using a matrix like this to rank systems kind of useless or anything besides making fan bases happy or angry.

4 years ago

I think everybody acknowledges the variability in prospect evaluations, but I think you’re exaggerating it a bit here. 40-grade prospects who hit 53 hrs are obviously the exception rather than the norm. The Pete Alonso who hit 53 Hr’s was not a 40 grade prospect anymore. He was given a 50 in 2019 and was ranked as the Mets #1 prospect before the season with the following grades:

Hit: 45/50
Raw: 80/80
Gpwr: 55/70
Run: 30/30
Field: 40/40
Throw: 50/50

The only one they really missed on was current game power. He performed closer to his peak projection than his present grade. That’s a not exactly a huge whiff.

In the end a 50 FV prospect performed at the 60 level for one season, mainly by reaching his projected potential earlier than expected. That’s a not exactly a huge whiff. Obviously Rosario has underperformed so far, but he earned out as 55 level player last year.

Yeah it’s not an exact science, but I don’t think anyone here pretends like it is.

I do agree that tightly bunched systems are essentially the same, I don’t think too many teams in or near the top #10 would want to switch systems with teams around ~#25.

That’s a difference of more than a Kelenic and a Dunn.

Think of it as odds or an index fund rather than exact predictions. Yes, there will hits and misses but teams with more 50’s and 60’s in their systems are going to have more hits overall than teams with less.

4 years ago

You say that people here don’t pretend this is an exact science- if they don’t, then why do they have the confidence to label a system “pretty bad” based on these numbers? The fact that a guy like Alonso can be labeled a 40, and then a 50, and then perform like a 60 as a rookie seems to prove the point. You say he wasn’t a 40-grade prospect anymore- but if they thought he was at a certain point, that feels like an example of how uncertain the evaluations are. Meanwhile, there are plenty of guys on the top 100 list who are given a valuation of $20+ million who will flame out or never make the majors. And total system rankings are padded in a lot of cases by teams with a huge volume of 40, 40+, 45, 45+ players, the vast majority of whom will not be impact players. I love reading evaluations, and I respect the work that goes into them, but using them to arbitrarily label a system as good or bad based on an aggregation of educated guesswork feels like a step too far.

4 years ago

Saying the system is ‘pretty bad’ is not a guarantee that the team will not produce any high-quality prospects, it’s just saying that it’s less likely to do so than the top-ranked systems. Given an example of one prospect who outperformed their grade proves nothing. No one is even trying to claim that doesn’t happen or won’t happen with current prospects in the Mets system now. Yes, the Mets probably have a few in their system right now……just like every team above them. There’s not any reason to expect the Mets to have more of those than the Rays is there?

Again, as I said before, we are basically compiling odds here. The odds of the Mets turning out several high caliber prospects from their current system is simply lower than most of the other teams in the league right now.