In his chat on Wednesday, Keith Law of ESPN talked about the New York Mets farm system. After last season, the system didn’t look good due to injuries, graduations and poor performances. Most notably, injuries to Thomas Szapucki and Anthony Kay, plus a poor season from 2016 first round pick, Justin Dunn.
The Mets system added high-end talent through the draft and international free agency, combine that with previous high picks playing well and the Mets system is certainly on the upswing.
In the chat, a Mets fan (presumably) asked Law about Mark Vientos, Law provided a detailed answer for the fan: “Small sample so far but I’m thrilled to see him (Vientos) showing some power too. Solid defender at third trending up. Very promising. I’ve said before but I think some of the results bear it out – their drafts are not the problem, and recently they’ve been quite good. Dunn has broken out. Peterson had a little dead arm deal but has been very good most of the season. Vientos looks great. I’m way in on Kelenic. Alonso is something. And from the international side Ronny Mauricio is getting a lot of buzz as a potential star. I know #lolmets is a thing because of the ownership situation but the outlook from their farm system is not bleak.”
I agree with Law, the farm has been much better this year and it should get even better in 2019 when rankings are updated, guys from the lower levels move up, and another top 10 pick.
Mark Vientos was the Mets 2017 second round pick and he was one of the youngest players in the draft. He will only turn 19 this coming December and for reference, he is younger than Toy Story 2 and Star Wars, the Phantom Menace. Vientos is hitting .270/.345/.492 and he has really turned it on in his last 10 games. In his last 10 games, Vientos has five homers, six walks, only four strikeouts, and he’s hitting .342. The bat speed is great and the power is starting to show. His plate discipline at such a young age is promising and the Mets could be aggressive with him next season and start him in Columbia.
Justin Dunn‘s improvements have been well documented this year. His walks are down and his strikeouts are up, plus he has shown more confidence in his slider. David Peterson has struggled in St. Lucie but his ground ball rate is very high and his FIP (4.11) suggests that he will get better.
Kelenic is having a really weird season in Kingsport. He was basically using the GCL as a launching pad but he is hitting .147/.326/.309 in Kingsport. He’s not striking out a ton, he’s walking 18.6% of the time, and his BABIP is just .178. There’s a good chance that he will go on an offensive tear soon.
The Mets were aggressive by starting Mauricio in the GCL at just 17-years-old but he responded by hitting .333/.345/.529 in that league. The shortstop is 6’4″ and might still be growing. His footwork is good enough to play shortstop but maybe he’ll outgrow the position down the line. There’s quite a bit of time to determine that.
Other guys who are doing well are Shervyen Newton, Luis Santana, and Anthony Kay. Kay has a 2.83 ERA in 28.2 innings in St. Lucie. His command isn’t fully back from Tommy John Surgery but his velocity is so that is a very good sign.
Santana (second baseman) and Newton ( shortstop) are very different in size and game but both have been getting good reviews as the double play combo for Kingsport. Both are will play the rest of the season at just 19-years old.
Santana (5’8″) barely strikes out and has some great bat control. He is hitting .353/.456/.451 with two homers for Kingsport and is striking out just 8.5% of the time.
Newton meanwhile is strikes out a good amount but he also has raw power. He’s about 6’4″ and is hitting .284/.401/.478 with four homers in Kingsport, but he’s also strikes outs about 34% of the time.
Overall, the Mets system is definitely not the same group that started the season among baseball’s worst.