In order to protect them from being selected during December's Rule 5 draft, the Mets recently added prospects Andres Gimenez, Jordan Humphreys, Ali Sanchez and Thomas Szapucki to their 40-man roster. The Rule 5 Draft takes place every year on the final day of the Winter Meetings.
The above four prospects were eligible for selection based on age and number of years since being drafted. There is no guarantee any of the above four players will become big-league players, let alone become All-Stars. Of course, there's always a chance.
Here is how I see each player's potential level of and chance for success based on prospect lists and my talks with prospect reporters, scouts and people in player development.
Andres Gimenez (SS, 20 years old, ETA: 2020)
Will he get to the big leagues? They say, "100 percent, yes."
Will he eventually be an All Star? I say, "Possible," but only with more power.
Gimenez is a slap-hitting, quick, sure-handed fielder and worthy of being ranked by MLB.com as the organization's third-best prospect and 92nd overall in baseball. However, given his age, rate of development and the emergence of Amed Rosario, Gimenez is likely to spend most of 2020 continuing to play shortstop (and some second base) in Triple-A.
It's only a matter of time before he's on a big-league roster, though, possibly as soon as this season if there Mets need a fill-in for an injured player. Gimenez, who is almost always the youngest player in his league, hit .250 with a .309 OBP and .387 slugging percentage in 117 games this past summer in Double-A. He then won the Arizona Fall League (AFL) batting title, hitting .371 with a .413 OBP during 18 games.
"He has a very good approach at the plate that leads to consistent contact, and he's shown he's not afraid to draw a walk," MLB.com writes in their most recent rankings. "He may never win a home run derby, but in 2018 he showed more extra-base thump with a bit more to come. In another system, Gimenez would be the heir apparent at shortstop."
Thomas Szapucki (LHP, 22 years old, ETA: 2021)
Will he get to the big leagues? They say, if healthy, "90 percent"
Will he eventually be an All Star? I say, "Yes," I have a lot of hope for him.
Similar to Jordan Humphreys (more on him below), Szapucki missed most of 2018 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2019 under the watchful and careful eye of the entire organization, which kept close tabs on his innings, pitch counts and use of his repertoire.
"Whenever Szapucki has been on the mound, he's shown premium stuff from the left side," MLB.com wrote in their recent rankings. The above is very reminiscent of Steven Matz, who also as a tall, young lefty underwent TJ surgery in the minors, fell behind and needed a slow, methodical path to the big leagues.
Unlike Matz, though, the Mets pushed Szapucki through three levels this past season, during which he had a 2.63 ERA and struck out 72 batters in 61 innings across Low-A, High-A and Double A. During his final month, Szapucki's fastball was being clocked around 92 mph with the same sink it had prior to his elbow surgery and his all-important curve ball improved from where it started earlier in the year.
"They'll be tempted to limit his workload by making him a reliever, but they said the same thing about Matz, who has become a nice starting pitcher for them," a rival scout recently told me.
Jordan Humphreys (RHP, 23 years old, ETA: 2021)
Will he get to the big leagues? They say, if healthy, "75% percent"
Will he eventually be an All Star? I say, "Probably not."
Humphreys is currently ranked by MLB.com as the organization's 11th-best pitching prospect. He fell six spots after missing all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery and appeared in just two games this past season due to post-op complications and setbacks.
It may seem odd that the Mets protected a 23-year-old that has yet to pitch above Single A. However, even after surgery, he has shown command of his four-pitch arsenal, which includes a mid-to low-90s fastball. This level talent was on display in October when he had a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings during the AFL.
The people I've talked with feel Humphries is best served being a reliever, which is the role he succeeding in during the AFL. They cite his easy delivery, ability to get swings and misses in all four corners of the strike zone, the movement on his fastball and above average change up and curve ball as all being extra effective and deceiving in short stints.
"He got people's attention in 2017, so he'll be closely watched this coming season," the same rival scout told me. "If he shows he's healthy and pitching like he did, he'll get back on a fast track and again (be) projected as a mid-rotation guy. He has time."
Ali Sanchez (C, 22 years old, ETA: 2021)
Will he get to the big leagues? They say, "30 percent"
Will he eventually be an All Star? I say, 'No," back-ups don't make the ASG.
Sanchez, who one year ago was left unprotected and not selected during the Rule 5 Draft, is ranked by MLB.com as the organization's eighth-best position prospect.
However, after hitting a combined .261/ with a 326 OBP and .322 slugging this past season during stints in Double and Triple A, the Mets were smart to keep him away from other teams, especially given the poor state of catching in baseball these days.
Sanchez also hit .261 during the AFL. He's said to be a sure-handed, smart, accurate, quick moving and well-prepared catcher behind the plate. However, with almost zero power and a so-so batting average, he's heading down the path of being a valued big-league backup.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!