Reese Kaplan recently commented on the plight of aging minor leaguers aspiring to become big leaguers - how tough it is for them to overcome the age stigma.
A full season pro ballplayer who at 20 or under is not old enough to buy a beer at a bar. There can't be too many.
(Of course, Ed Kranepool had a few pro at bats as a Mets' 17 year old, and hundreds of at bats in the majors before turning 20 - and then, there was19 year old sensation Dwight Gooden, as well as a pitcher with a brief major league career spanning, oh, 27 seasons who appeared as a 19 year old for the Mets in 2 games, named Nolan Ryan...one of those 2 games was the first of Ryan's 773 big league starts, by the way. Matt Harvey, by comparison, has thrown 554 - innings).
Let's also be inclusive (in these inclusive times we live in) and step it up a year for the 3 higher minor league teams, and look at the only 5 players that are 21 and under on those three teams as well.
IF ANDRES GIMINEZ (18 YEARS, 8 MONTHS) - the wunderkind actually got into several spring training games, and skipped right past short season ball into full season Columbia Fireflies baseball recently. Five games thru Friday, and he is at .350/.458/.550. Wow. My guess is we got a kid here who might - just might - make the majors before he turns 20 (he hits the big 2-0 after the 2018 season ends).
IF LUIS CARPIO (19 YEARS, 10 MONTHS) - for a guy who missed most of last year with an injury requiring surgery, the fact that he is in full season ball already is quite impressive. He is hitting .267 with just one error in 25 games in the field at SS and 2B.
C ALI SANCHEZ (20 YEARS, 4 MONTHS) - the man who seems to be able to gun 'em down like Jerry Grote has found hitting to be rather unfitting. We may need to wait until he is 21 to see if the hitting portion of his game surfaces. (Jerry, BTW got a September cup of coffee in the bigs just before he turned 21). A recent 4 game hit streak had him up to .176. He hardly strikes out, so his batted balls are starting to fall in.
OF DESMOND LINDSAY (20 YEARS, 4 MONTHS) - this first full season has been a struggle so far for Desmond (and it makes me nervous that his initials are DL, I don't know how the readers feel). He is hitting below .170, but with a disproportionate 32 Ks in 77 at bats. Athletic dude, and I believe the last 4 months of this season will show real progress.
P JAKE SIMON (20 YEARS, 5 MONTHS) - he is listed as active, but hadn't pitched an inning until he threw 3 innings in a 1-0 loss last night in a game Columbia got no hit in. (Just to be clear, Tim Tebow went hitless too).
OF JOSE MIGUEL MEDINA (20 YEARS, 7 MONTHS) - he has shown a solid stick since starting out in the DSL in 2014, and this year is hitting .258 in 66 at bats in Columbia.
P JORDAN HUMPHREYS (20 YEARS, 11 MONTHS) - best performer in the "under 21" category. What will he do when he's 21, for Pete's sake?
OF ARNALDO BERRIOS (21 YEARS, 4 MONTHS) - apparently due to a shortage of Mets minor league outfielders, and not wanting to screw around with OF assignments on the other 3 full season teams, Vegas recently added Berrios to its roster. His last pro action was 4 levels lower in Brooklyn in short season ball in 2016, where he hit a very weak .185 in 124 at bats, so he is not in AAA right now on merit, but due to need. Through May 4, he is 1 for 9 with 6 Ks with Vegas, showing he is in over his head.
The "ofSzapper" dazzled in short season ball last year, but the now 20 year, 11 month old lefty has not pitched this year yet due to a shoulder impingement. David Wright and Bill Clinton say they feel your pain, Mr. Szapucki. Kidding aside, we hope we see you soon firing BBs from the mound.