Tom's Top 25 Mets Prospects - # 6 thru # 10


Fifteen of my top 25 prospects have been laid out over the past 3 weeks, using irrefutable logic based on inscrutable analysis.  And some guesswork, naturally.  

Here are my prospects # 6 thru # 10.

(6) LHSP Tom Szapucki – Can the Mets ever have another Tom Terrific?  Maybe they will in Tom Szapucki.  

Of course, Szapucki has a long way to go, but after missing so much time in the prior two seasons due to Tommy (Not Terrific) John Surgery, Szapucki got eased up the innings ladder in 2019 (3 innings in April, 5 in May, 13 in June, 17 in July, and 24 in August) to finish the season with 61.2 IP, with the final 4 innings being in AA (4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 K).
Hopefully, the Szapper will be able to throw 140 innings in 2020 and finally be ready to vault to the Mets.  He was only 1-3 in 2019, but that was because he had almost no outings reaching the 5 innings required to qualify for the win.  But his ERA was 2.63, and he fanned 72 batters. 
If he stays healthy, the 23 year old former 5th round lefty fireballer ought to have a heck of a 2020 season and give David Peterson and Kevin Smith a real run for best lefty starter getting close to the majors in the Mets system.  

Hard to believe that for a guy whose career started in 2015, Szapucki has just 145 innings and a 6-8 record, but you gotta love the 188 career Ks (11.7 per 9).  I have Szapucki reaching Queens by late 2020 if he can hit the ground running in 2020, but more likely making the team out of spring training in 2021.


I did not include Jordan Humphreys in my top 25, as he had missed the better part of 2 1/2 seasons due to Tommy John surgery...Szapucki made it back quicker and there was therefore more to judge him on.  

But I wrote this prior to Jordan's appearances this fall in the Arizona Fall League, and his first half outings were excellent, resulting in him being added to the AFL All Star team, so he may well be more of a top 10-15 Mets prospect if the injury is now fully behind him.

I hope so, because he could then well become a future MLB rotation arm with the Mets or as trade bait for another team.   

(7) IF Mark Vientos – another guy who feels like he’s been around a long time, but is still just 19.  Three years in, and 222 games played, he played half those games (111) for Full A Columbia.
He hit reasonably well in a tough hitters’ league (.255/.300/.411), and on a soft hitting team, with 27 doubles, 12 homers, and 62 RBIs. Encouragingly, he got better later in the season, with his July and August (42 games) resulting in 34 RBIs and a .272 average. 
The former 2nd rounder Vientos will be trying to fend off this year’s first rounder Brett Baty for 3B in Queens in a few years.  Vientos, a month younger than Baty, clearly has a head start, as baty has only been in 51 games, and just 4 as high as Brooklyn.
Vientos is not a 5 tool player.  In 222 games, he has 2 steals and 1 triple, so speed is not a Vientos tool, for sure.  Defense, at this point, is not either, as he had 23 errors at 3B in 100 games in the field, and 36 in 154 games spanning 2018 and 2019.  He needs to cut that error rate by at least half going forward.  He also fanned once a game, not terrible, but something to focus on.
He could, on the positive side, project out as a 35 double, 30 homer 3rd baseman for the Mets about 3 or so years down the road.
The logical next step for a 20 year old Vientos in 2020 is to move up to the starting 3B slot for St Lucie.  A successful 2020 season would result in him splitting the season between St Lucie and Binghamton, with eyes on AAA and a possible major league promotion (if there is room) in the latter half of 2021.

(8) RHSP Kevin Smith – I like and respect really fast climbers, Smith is one of those. 
Drafted in the 7th round in 2018, the 22 year old lefty was a superb 4-1, 0.76 in 24 innings in his debut season with the Cyclones in 2018.  In 117 innings in 2019, he went 8-7, 3.15 in 23 starts.  Six of those starts, in his first full season, were in AA, where he was a fine 3-2, 3.45.  He excellently also fanned 130 in 117 innings while walking just 39. 
His stats were marred by a bad last outing on August 18, where the 6’5” southpaw threw 4 innings and allowed 8 hits and 6 runs, and went on the DL.  Hopefully, it is nothing serious and he’ll be ready to take on AAA in 2020 (perhaps after a hopefully short stint in AA to open the 2020 season) and head on up to the majors.
It is said that he sits low 90’s and maxes out at 94, and has an effective slider. We’ll see in 2020 whether he hits the AAA wall like so many prospects due, or whether he busts right thru it.  It seems that Smith is neck and neck with 2 other southpaws (Tom Szapucki and David Peterson) for who will make the big show first.  

(And as a side note, David Peterson got smoked last night in the Arizona Fall League, allowing 8 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs in less than 3 innings, which gives me continuing cause for concern with him as a future winning-capable Met.)

(9) RHRP Steve Nogosek – “Nogo” has had a brief, unsuccessful debut in the majors in 2019, but the righty reliever had a heck of a run in AAA this year, where excluding his last outing, he went 30 innings, allowing 11 hits and no earned runs.  

Even allowing 4 earned runs in his last outing (on a hit, 2 walks, and a hit batsman, where 3 of the runs were allowed in by the subsequent reliever), he ended his AA/AAA season an excellent 3-0, 1.07, 50 IP, 50 Ks, and 25 hits and 25 walks allowed.  Real progress, because in A/AA in 2018, in a similar number of innings, he had a far higher 4.99 ERA. 
The hard thrower needs to reduce walks, but otherwise, I see no reason he could not be in the Mets opening day (or early season) bullpen.
Nogosek, in case you don’t remember, was part of the Mets trade of Addison Reed in 2017 to the Red Sox.

(10) RHSP Tylor Megill – Megill is a dark horse flame thrower who had a fine first full season after his 2018 Brooklyn debut. The 24 year old 6’7” righty split his season between Full A and High A, with a single start in AA at season’s end in which he fanned 9 in 5 innings.  

He also fanned 8 in 5 shutout innings on August 10, and fanned 10 in 5.1 shutout innings on August 5.  In his last 7 outings, spanning 36 innings, he walked just 8 batters while fanning 47.
My guess is I now have your attention. You may not be familiar with this guy’s name, but maybe you should be – because maybe he keeps up this excellent pitching and ends up in the Mets rotation by early 2021, if not sooner.   
He sat in the mid 90s with his fastball in his last year in college, and I believe he has added to that velocity in the pros.   Good slider and curve, too.  Sounds like major league stuff to me, going through normal refinement.

Next week, on to my Top 1 thru 5 prospects.


Mack Ade said...


Good morning.

I truly belive that, if he can stay healthy, Szapucki will be a star in this game, as early as 2021. He has never had a bad pro season.

We can only light a candle for the return of Humphreys.

As for Megill... I hope you are right.

Eddie Corona said...

I love these lists...
but with so many prospects lost, These lists look sooo thin... we need some big time surprises from guys we didnt expect... Mcneil was never on a top 100 list as far as i ever read, Degrom either...

But I dont bank on that... If your cant make the top 100 I dont usually believe you are a star in the making...

Tom Brennan said...

Eddie, ask Mack - McNeil was on my top prospect lists!!

Of course, I will be honest - he turned out better than I ever thought. I remember writing that he seemed to have every tool but one - power - and could he figure out a way to add it. The answer? YES

Not everyone does. I wrote similar stuff about Kevin Kaczmarski - did not see him as being as good as Jeff when both were below AA, but he had a similar low power issue to jeff. But he didn't add power, and now he is retired.

I hope that the man with the similar name, Megill, will be the big surprise of 2020.

Mack Ade said...

I too always thought Kaz had what it would take to make a good spray hitting outfielder but they don't seem to be very popular anymore.

Eddie, we 'thinned out' because of two trades. The immediate dividend that we were supposed to get from those two trades looks like non-interest bearing checking accounts, but let's give that another look see next season.

You don't need to be 'un-thin' if you have a solid major league team.

Anonymous said...

The "tool" McNeil missed -- and I do believe it's a tool -- is health. In the minors, he was always hurt, so it became difficult to get a good read on him.

When you see the way he plays, well, I worry. A hard guy to pencil in for 150 games.


Mack Ade said...


My top 25 list follows Tom's.

Tom Brennan said...

Jimmy, I agree with you in part regarding McNeil.

I don't in the sense that his injuries in 2016 and 2017 were structural - hernia, hip - and seem to be resolved.

He did, after all, play 151 games in 2018.

This year, it was a hammy, a new injury type for him (don't recall that being an issue for him previously) and the one injury I do worry about, the HBP.

The human body, especially the hands and head, were not meant to be hit by hardballs at 100 MPH. He got hit 21 times in 133 games - that's dangerously frequent. I compare that to Lagares diving for balls - you can get away with it for a while, until you have a bad one. He has to adjust on the HBPs. I think he is a bulked up, thin bone guy. Thin hand bones need to stay away from inside pitches.

Tom Brennan said...

Jimmy, Nimmo, too, another pitch pinata who's missed time due to HBP.

HBP is not a good OBP strategy, except in particular game-on-the-line cases.

Mack's Mets © 2012