When it comes to prospects, I talk to a lot of people in and around baseball. I listen to people within the Mets organization. I read every list published online, and I talk to a variety of minor-league reporters, experts and scouts. As a result, I end every season with a notebook full of names that are most mentioned when talking about the team's farm system.
Interestingly, unlike previous seasons, the combination of question marks and potential seemed to result in me being asked about the same three to four names.
Based on those questions and what wound up in my notebook, here is my list of comments about the three most asked about prospects in the Mets' farm system...
Andres Gimenez, SS/2B, 20 years old
He is far from a slam dunk, but continues to be universally praised for his glove, arm, quick feet and his ability to make contact and put the ball in play.
NL Talent evaluator: "He's a small guy, but he's still just 20. I expect he'll continue being profiled as a defense-first, gap-to-gap, hit-and-run guy, but -- as he adds some strength and better judgement in the strike zone -- I do think we'll see him develop more power."
Veteran, NL scout: "I don't think he'll have any trouble finding 20 doubles and 20 stolen bases in his first season or two with the Mets. He could use another year of development, though, and they should get him more work at second base."
Where experts think he'll be in 2020: Like Pete Alonso his season before becoming Rookie of the Year, most people think Gimenez will likely begin 2020 in Double-A. And also like Alonso, he'll soon after make the jump to Triple-A and quickly find fans putting pressure on the Mets to get him to the big leagues. Lastly, also like Alonso, I suspect the Mets will keep him down a full season and get him his big promotion in 2021.
Consensus Expectations: Above average, throwback middle infielder with 2-3 WAR potential.
Thomas Szapucki, LHP, 23 years old
Typical Feedback: Steven Matz. Seriously, Matz. Because when Szapucki is mentioned, Matz is mentioned.
In every conversation, I'm repeatedly reminded by people how Matz and Szapucki are both lefties, they both have mid- to upper-90s fastballs, both have strong breaking pitches and both had shoulder issues and Tommy John surgery in the minors. This constant comparison is not fair to either pitcher, but even they have to admit the similarities are rather fascinating.
Szapucki has only ever been a starting pitcher and continued in this role during 2019.
However, almost everyone I talk to thinks he should be a reliever because of his deceptive delivery and arm angle and how he so easily changes speeds with his fastball, which is made more effective with his terrific breaking ball.
NL scout: "When I watched him in Brooklyn, he looked like a premium pitcher that should have already been with the Mets by now. He was above average in every category, but he needed to work on his command and how he angles toward the plate, which I assume he would have improved by now had he not suffered so many setbacks."
Where experts think he'll be in 2020: He'll continue establishing himself in Double-A, but a promotion to Triple-A will follow if he can remain healthy and consistent in his performance. He'll be in the big leagues pitching in 2021, either in a rotation or bullpen.
Consensus Expectations: He looked to be a potential mid-rotation, 3-4 WAR starting pitcher before his Tommy John surgery. 2020 will determine if he gets back to that level expectation -- assuming he doesn't first get moved to the bullpen.
Brett Baty, 3B, 20 years old
Typical Feedback: Because he's already a rather advanced hitter, people never miss the chance to point out that his last name is Baty. It's an easy joke, I suppose, though also fitting for his skills.
He's a popular topic because, while the Mets drafted him 12th overall, there were a lot of teams that didn't even have him as a possible first-round pick. Nevertheless, even by those that didn't have him up in the ranks, he's consistently described as having raw power, an advanced approach at the plate and already hitting the ball with authority.
NL scout: "He's a good athlete, better than a typical third baseman, so I expect his lateral movement will improve as he gets more experience. He has a strong arm, but needs to be more accurate with his throws. He's 19, has very good strike zone recognition and projects to be an above-average hitter with plus power."
AL executive: "He's their second chance at Jarred Kelenic," who had a similar profile when traded one year ago by Brodie Van Wagenen traded to the Mariners in the deal for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano.
Where experts think he'll be in 2020: He'll start in Single-A, but on the fast track with potential to get to the big leagues before 2023.
Consensus Expectations: Above-average fielder racking up a ton of doubles and at least 20-25 home runs each season.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is a senior writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime.