As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look at the best highlights and plays from the New York Mets farm system in 2018.
It was a big year for Mets first base prospect Peter Alonso, and he decided to go out with a bang. His final home run (36th) of the 2018 regular season came on September 3 when he ended the season, Cashman Field and the Mets affiliation in Las Vegas, with a walk-off blast. (Editor’s Note: One of the only things I will miss about the 51s’ was the fantastic play-by-play from Russ Langer featured in this video).
When the 2018 season started, I would guess that only a small portion of fans that heavily follow the minor leagues knew the name, Jeff McNeil. The left-handed hitter started off his year with a home run in his first at-bat for Double-A Binghamton. The extra base hits just kept coming after that and on May 13, he hit a solo home in the eight inning against the Portland Sea Dogs to finish off the cycle.
With the culmination of that game, McNeil had 20 extra base hits in his first 101 at-bats of the season. The versatile athlete finally got his major league chance in July. He would end up hitting .329/.381/.471 and posting a 2.4 bWAR in 63 MLB games for the Mets in 2018.
One thing we know all Luis Guillorme, is the kid can play defense at shortstop. The 24-year-old did make his major league debut in 2018, though he would hit only .209/.284/.239 (7 walks/3 strikeouts) and not get a chance to play short.
The sure-handed middle infielder hit .304/.380/.417 with 15 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 30 walks compared to only 39 strikeouts in 69 Triple-A games in 2018 for the 51s.
Love, hate, or somewhat impressed by the the former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow likes to start off with a bang and he did that again in 2018 with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Tebow homered in his first Instructional League at-bat back in 2016, homered in his first regular season at-bat in 2017 for the Columbia Fireflies and homered in his first Double-A this year.
The 31-year-old Tebow hit .273/.339/.399 with 14 doubles, six home runs, 36 RBI and 103 strikeouts in 84 games for the Rumble Ponies in 2018. His season was cut short in July after needing surgery on fractured hamate bone in his right hand.
As a whole, the offense of the Kingsport Mets was one of the best highlights of the Mets minor league system in 2018. Breakout prospects Luis Santana (.917 OPS) and Shervyen Newton (.857 OPS) had big years, recently turned 19-year-old Mark Vientos showed off serious power (11 homers tied for 4th in APPL) and 17-year-old Ronny Mauricio played shortstop in their playoff push.
Did I mention that that none of the aforementioned guys are even 20 years old yet?
Baseball America recently updated their top 10 Mets prospects and four of them made stops in Kingsport in 2018. No. 3 on the list is Mauricio, Vientos is right behind him at No. 4, Newton is at No. 7 and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson comes in at No. 8. Matt Eddy of BA noted in the Top 10 chat that Santana fell just outside of the group.
Highlights of the Appalachian League are hard to come by, but here’s one that involves many of the top prospects that played in Kingsport this past season.
— Kane O'Neill (@WJHL_Kane) August 5, 2018
2018 in the Mets minor leagues will be remembered for the large part because of the massive home runs that Alonso hit. You saw the video of the walk-off above, he also hit a homer off a 103 MPH fastball in the AFL, had the hardest hit ball by a player in the Mets organization during the Statcast ERA, and hit an absolute moonshot at the MLB Futures Games.