Position: 3B B/T: L/R Age: 12/31/94 (24)
Acquired: Traded from the Oakland Athletics for Jeurys Familia (July 21, 2018)
Previous Rank: N/A
2018 Stats (Stockton Ports (OAK A+)/Binghamton Rumble Ponies): 89 G, 362 PA, 298 AB, 40 R, 20 2B, 0 3B, 9 HR, 51 RBI, 2 SB/0 CS, .248/.375/.406, .316 BABIP
Before the acquisition of Will Toffey, the immediate depth at third base for the Mets’ farm was a questionable bunch. It appeared to be David Thompon (number 50 on our countdown), and a number of guys that other organizations had given up on prior. That, and Jeff McNeil, who the Mets front office had originally said could only play second base, despite playing plenty of games at third, but that’s a story for another time.
Immediately becoming one of the Mets top prospects at the hot corner post-trade, Toffey was also rated the Athletics 7th best prospect by Fangraphs, in their midseason update, just a couple of weeks before his acquisition.
Carrying a skill set that scouts saw as projectable, Toffey was taken in the 23rd round of the 2014 by the New York Yankees out of high school, but opted to take up his commitment to Vanderbilt. Following a less than stellar sophomore year at Vanderbilt, Toffey was once again taken in the draft, this time by the Baltimore Orioles in the 25th round; Toffey opted to not sign, and play out his Junior year at Vanderbilt.
This ended up being an excellent decision, as he broke out substantially in his Junior year (a .424 point increase in his OPS from Sophomore to Junior season), which ended up in him being taken in the 4th round of the 2017 draft by the Oakland Athletics.
Widely regarded as a solid defender at third base, his defensive value was always a primary feature that had teams interested in him, especially with his throwing arm, which is currently rated as a 70 on the prospect scale by Fangraphs. A fringe average runner, he’s relying on excellent instincts and already quick reactions to get to what he needs to get to.
Defense aside, it’s his eye at the plate that gave scouts the optimism that his bat could come around. In his last two college seasons, Toffey even walked more than he struck out holding k:bb ratios of 51:44 in 264 plate appearances in 2016, and 48:30 in 262 plate appearances in 2017.
Toffey’s patience at the plate has translated to his professional career, even carrying the beset strike-zone discipline tool in the A’s organization, according to Baseball America, after the 2017 season. Toffey has a career 15.8% walk rate throughout his minor league career
Making adjustments has been imperative to Toffey’s success. He’s always had a wide stance at the plate, but early on in his college career, he didn’t anchor his back leg much, and didn’t generate much power as a result. In his breakout Junior season, Toffey started to turn into his swing more, generating more torque, which lead to him tripling his homerun total from two seasons prior (4), in just one season (12).
(Video Courtesy of 20-80 Baseball)
Toffey has a fairly open stance, a toe tap that closes his stance, then brings that front leg forward in a quick path with his swing. When he’s off, his rhythm pulls away from turning into his swing, and it becomes mainly arms and shoulders. That causes him to then rolls his hands on inside pitches, producing weaker contact.
When his swing is on, Toffey drives the ball and turns some of that cage power into in-game power, while being able to use all fields. Nevetheless, he’ll have to keep this up on a consistent basis to convince scouts that he’ll have enough bat to translate to third base at the major league level.
Starting the 2018 campaign on a decent stretch hitting .281/.465/.344 over 44 PA with the A’s high-A affiliate before dislocating his shoulder. Toffey missed the 6 weeks before returning on the last day of May. His first 6 games back, Toffey hit .476/.577/.714 before his bat went silent for the rest of the month. Upon being moved to the Mets organization, he received a promotion to AA Binghamton, and he took off.
His extra base hit prowess improved with the Mets, and at a higher level, hitting a third more doubles than he he had all season with the A’s, and hitting just one home run less, in just 32 less plate appearances (averaged a home run every 33.50 PA). An ISO improved from .140 in high-A, to .179 in AA made him look a bit more like what scouts saw in him in that last season in Vanderbilt. What is most impressive about this is that he did all of this with a shoulder in need of surgery.
2019 will be the true barometer for where Toffey’s place in the Mets organization is. He is likely to at least repeat Binghamton for the start of the season. One thing to look out for is whether the power continues post-shoulder surgery. Given high OBP, he will just need that power to have a clearer path to the show.
On the defensive side, whether or not there is any discomfort going across the diamond, and whether or not it changes his arm slot and affects the excellent arm strength or accuracy. Shoulder injuries can get tricky quickly, and it’s certainly something that will be monitored with a diligent eye.
The addition this offseason of JD Davis makes his path to the majors a bit more complicated than it was prior, and he’ll have to impress to, not only hope to see the majors, but to also get playing time in an already crowded Syracuse infield, granted that he be promoted there at some point during the season. Until then, he and Andres Gimenez will be putting on a show on the left side of the infield for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies faithful.
50-46 Led by Michael Paez
45-41 Led by Ranfy Adon
40-36 Led by Anthony Dirocie
35-31 Led by Ryley Gilliam
30-26 Led by Chris Viall
25 Carlos Cortes
24 Ali Sanchez
23 Eric Hanhold
22 Luis Carpio
21 Freddy Valdez
20 Walker Lockett
19 Junior Santos
18 Gavin Cecchini
17 Jordan Humphreys
16 Christian James
15 Tony Dibrell