MMO Prospect Spotlight: Kingsport’s Unstoppable Offense

Luis Santana, Shervyen Newton Photo by Tanner Cook of TimesNews

One of the most potent lineups of all of professional baseball resides in a Kingsport, Tennesse, which is home for the Mets Rookie League affiliate Kingsport Mets.

As a team, the Kingsport Mets are hitting .277/.371/.420 with an Appalachian League leading 225 runs and 200 RBI.

One of the reasons for this offensive onslaught is the sheer talent the Mets have stockpiled on this team.

Mets fans have quickly become familiar with the sixth overall pick from this year’s draft, Jarred Kelenic, but the depth and talent on this team goes far deeper than him.  In fact, there are quite a few interesting prospects on this team who are making quite an impact and developing as well as the Mets could have hoped.

Front and center is second base prospect Luis Santana, who coming into the season, Baseball America named as a sleeper prospect.  In dubbing Santana as such Ben Badler of Baseball America said:

Santana is a tenacious, fiery competitor with a small but strong, bulky build. Santana was one of the most difficult hitters to strike out in the DSL. Santana has a compact swing with great hand-eye coordination to barrel balls consistently. He’s an excellent fastball hitter who takes an aggressive swing but also shows good selectivity at the plate. While Santana isn’t tall, his strength enables him to put a strong charge into the ball, although he will probably always have a hit-over-power profile. Santana is an offensive-minded second baseman who could be an average fielder, with solid-average speed and an average arm. He’s not flashy in the field, but he committed just six errors in 65 games, which is an unusually low total for a DSL middle infielder.

Well, Santana has made Badler, and coincidentally MMO‘s Michael Mayer, look quite prescient as the second baseman is currently hitting .364/.469/.471 with seven doubles, two homers, 22 RBI, and two stolen bases.  With those numbers, Santana is in the Top 10 in hits (44), walks, batting average, and OBP.

As great as a season as Santana is having, he does not have the highest wRC+ on this team.  His 156 wRC+ is actually bested by Anthony Dirocie (210) and Hayden Senger (187). For both Dirocie and Senger, their play in Kingsport has led to a promotion to Brooklyn.  Just behind them is Raul Beracierta with his 154 wRC+.

Beracierta is impressing in Kingsport where he is hitting .326/.437/.523 with six doubles, a triple, three homers, and 16 RBI with seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Beracierta’s impressive performance is one of the reasons why he cracked MMN‘s top 50 for the first time. Of note, Beracierta not only is starting to translate his tools into big time production, but he is also showing an advanced approach at the plate.

In fact, Beracierta not only has an impressive 13.6 percent walk rate, but he has only struck out one more time than he is walked.  Overall, Beracierta is not getting himself out, waiting for his pitch, and he’s driving it somewhere.

As impressive as Bercierta’s plate discipline has been, his teammate, Shervyen Newton, has had an even more impressive eye at the plate sporting a 17.0 percent walk rate, which is a big reason why he is second in the Appalachian League in walks and OBP.  Overall, Newton is hitting .279/.395/.484 with 11 doubles, a triple, four homers, and 24 RBI  This type of play is why Newton cracked MLB Pipeline‘s Top 30 Mets prospects this season with the outlets saying of him:

An athletic, switch-hitting, 6-foot-4 shortstop, Newton has shown a very advanced approach at the plate for a prospect his age, drawing a ton of walks and keeping his strikeout rate relatively low. He has excellent bat speed and strength, and could be an above-average hitter in the future. Newton has hit from both sides of the plate, though his left-handed swing might be a touch better. He is starting to tap into his raw power, and given his size, it’s easy to dream on more as he matures. While he’s big for a shortstop with average speed, he has shown the hands, footwork and instincts — not to mention enough arm — to potentially stay at the position.

Newton has a while before he reaches his ceiling, and the Mets will have to continue to be patient, but his tools are exciting and it looks like he’s starting to tap into his considerable upside.

Looking at this entire roster, it is not just Newton who has been tapping into their considerable upside.  It’s nearly everyone on this roster. What makes this team and offense all the scarier is the fact it could get better. At the moment, last year’s second round draft pick Mark Vientos, who is still quite young for the league, is still scratching the surface of how good he can be. He’s also heating up hitting .261/.370/.565 with two homers over the past week.

On top of Vientos, Ronny Mauricio is pounding on the door by hitting .333/.346/.540 in the Gulf Coast League. With him continuing to hit like this, he is going to to merit a promotion much like how Kelenic was promoted to this level after just 12 games.

Overall, the Mets have a number of extremely talented prospects in Kingsport.  We should continue to develop and power the best offense in the Appalachian League.  We should also keep a close eye on them as they move through the Mets minor leagues as a group and dominate level after level much how they are now.

About John Sheridan 665 Articles
John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we're seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.