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Prospect Report: New York Mets 2024 Imminent Big Leaguers

Anne-Marie Caruso/NorthJersey.com/ USA TODAY NETWORK

Below is an evaluation of the prospects in the New York Mets farm system who readers should consider “imminent big leaguers,” players who might reasonably be expected to play in the majors at some point this year. This includes all prospects on the 40-man roster as well as those who have already established themselves in the upper levels of the minors but aren’t yet rostered. I tend to be more inclusive with pitchers and players at premium defensive positions since their timelines are usually the ones accelerated by injuries and scarcity. Any Top 100 prospects, regardless of their ETA, are also included on this list. Reports, tool grades, and scouting information for all of the prospects below can also be found on The Board.

You may be able to infer that is not a top-to-bottom evaluation of the Mets farm system. I like to include what’s happening in minor league and extended spring training in my reports as much as possible, since scouting high concentrations of players in Arizona and Florida allows me to incorporate real-time, first-person information into the org lists. In the Mets case, I’ll be heading to Florida in April for extended spring training to complete the entire list. Skimming the imminent big leaguers off the top of a farm system in the meantime allows time-sensitive information to make its way onto the site more quickly, better preparing readers for the upcoming season, helping fantasy players as they draft, and building site literature on relevant prospects to facilitate transaction analysis in the event that trades or injuries foist these players into major league roles. There will still be a full Mets prospect list that includes Ryan Clifford, Marco Vargas and all of the other prospects in the system who aren’t Top 100 guys and also appear to be at least another whole season away. As such, today’s list includes no ordinal rankings. Readers are instead encouraged to focus on the players’ Future Value (FV) grades.

For new readers, let’s revisit what FV means before I offer some specific thoughts on this org (seasoned vets of the site can skip the next couple paragraphs). Future Value (FV) is a subjective valuation metric derived from the traditional 20-80 scouting scale (where 50 is average and each integer of 10 away from 50 represents one standard deviation) that uses WAR production to set the scale. For instance, an average regular (meaning the 15th-best guy at a given position, give or take) generally produces about 2 WAR annually, so a 50 FV prospect projects as an everyday player who will generate about that much WAR during each of his pre-free agency big league seasons.

Why not just use projected WAR as the valuation metric then? For one, it creates a false sense of precision. This isn’t a model. While a lot of data goes into my decision-making process, a lot of subjectivity does too, in the form of my own visual evaluations, as well as other information related to the players’ careers and baseball backgrounds. A player can have a strong evaluation (emphasis on the “e”) but might be a great distance from the big leagues, or perhaps is injury prone, or a superlative athlete. Context like that might cause me to augment the player’s valuation (no “e”). Using something more subjective like Future Value allows me to dial up and down how I’m interpreting that context.

There are also many valuable part-time players who can only generate so much WAR due to their lack of playing time. As such, FV grades below 50 tend to describe a role more than they do a particular WAR output; you can glean the projected roles from the players’ reports. In short, anyone who is a 40+ FV player or above projects as an integral big league role player or better.

Now some Mets thoughts. The Mets have a new person at the helm of baseball operations, with former Brewers president of baseball ops David Stearns moving into New York’s POBO role after a disappointing 2023 season. He inherits a farm system that was substantially improved by the work of the previous regime and its pro scouting department, members of which are still around as Stearns assumes control. I’m sure that every Mets employee and fan would rather that the team have been good in 2023 and not been motivated to trade Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and others, but the trades were executed in a way that added a diverse mix of both near-term talent that should facilitate a quicker turnaround as well as some exciting lower-level hitters. The Mets have a healthy farm system even after graduating a few top 100 types last year, though nobody has Francisco Alvarez’s the level of ability quite yet and the current group is more about depth than high-end impact. It’s plausible the system could continue to improve even more via a Pete Alonso trade at some point in the next several months.

The big league roster probably does not have the starting pitching to compete with the mighty Braves and Phillies. Kodai Senga may be the only pitcher in the rotation who sticks around long enough to be on the next Mets playoff team. While a lot of the prospects on this list are pitchers who could feasibly come up at some point in 2024, the way Stearns tends to operate would point toward September call-ups that preserves option years and 2025 rookie eligibility for as many players as possible. After more of the veteran pitching has been traded ahead of the deadline, we might see Hamel, Vasil, and others.

Conversely, the big league lineup is stacked, and it will probably be difficult for the hitting prospects on this list to find playing time barring a rash of injuries to the entrenched starters. Instead, the key things to watch from this group are whether or not Luisangel Acuña or Alex Ramírez stabilizes, and how Jett Williams‘ defense develops. I have a 45 FV on Ryan Clifford, which is why he isn’t on here. The Lucas Duda comp I made at the trade deadline still holds. I understand his power-on-contact data is sexy, but I think advanced pitching is going to expose a hole in his swing that causes his strikeout rate to climb. I have him evaluated as a power-hitting platoon guy at the bottom of the defensive spectrum. That’s still a good player, just not a Top 100 type for me.

Lastly, I want to mention a few other relievers who have a fair shot to make it this year but who, usually because of really rocky command, I’m not as confident will debut. Eric Orze sits 95 mph, has a plus changeup, and struggles to throw strikes. Former Giants Rule 5 pick Dedniel Núñez has pumped upper-90s gas since he returned from Tommy John a couple of years ago, but he has zero idea where it’s going. Minor league free agent Cam Robinson has a north/south fastball/breaking ball attack that misses bats, but he’s walked six per nine the last couple of seasons. Data-driven evals like Stuff+ kind of like Hunter Parsons, especially his changeup. He’s the best strike-thrower of this group, but his stuff was a tad too light to stack him next to Lavender, Jarvis, and the other 35+ arms.

Mets Imminent Big Leaguers and Top 100 Prospects

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