PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets don’t have many prospects who are major league-ready. Two who are knocking on the door are shortstop Andres Gimenez and lefthander David Peterson.
Neither is expected to be on the big-league roster when the Mets open the season on March 26 against the World Series champion Nationals at Citi Field. But it wouldn’t be a shock if one, or both, got a chance to make an impact on the 2020 Mets at some point.
Both have impressed rookie manager Luis Rojas in spring training.
Gimenez, the slick-fielding 21-year-old who is adding more oomph to his offensive game, was kept in Port St. Lucie on Sunday to start against Washington so the brass could continue to see him play. Incumbent shortstop Amed Rosario was sent down I-95 to start in a split-squad game against the Marlins in Jupiter.
As for Peterson, the former first-round pick earned praise from Rojas after an outing on Saturday against the Astros. Rojas, in discussing the Mets’ six veteran starting pitchers, said “we can call it seven . . . Peterson is one of the organization’s starters as well.”
Last season, Gimenez hit .250 with nine home runs, 37 RBIs and a .695 OPS for Double-A Binghamton. He also stole 28 bases. The Venezuelan is likely to begin his fifth minor-league season with Triple-A Syracuse.
Gimenez is batting .313 (5-for-16) with a double, a game-winning home run against the Cardinals on Friday and a small-sample-size .915 OPS. The lefthanded hitter reintroduced a leg kick into his swing last season and is getting results with it this spring, according to Rojas, who was his manager at Binghamton in 2018.
“We came to Port St. Lucie really early — I mean as a coaching staff,” Rojas said. “And we talked about all the players and we were watching some of the videos of the guys from last year during the season and Gimenez was one of the videos that popped up and I saw his leg kick in his approach. I thought, ‘That’s not the same kid that I saw in 2018 when I was managing Double-A.’
“Certainly, he’s worked a lot on his approach and I see a little bit more leverage on his swing. Also, he’s put [on] a little more muscle up there. Good job by our minor league and other coaches and development. They’ve done a good job with him.
“From the baseball aspect, as far as hitting and nutrition — putting on muscle — I think that’s what’s translating now into him impacting the ball on a more consistent basis. I’m seeing a lot of good things from him offensively this spring so far. Baseball IQ, his defense, that was always something that kept him high in the organization as far as being a prospect. Now that he’s put some of that strength on him, I think everything’s coming together.”
The 6-6, 240-pound Peterson, 24, the Mets’ first-round draft pick (20th overall) in 2017, went 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 2019 for Binghamton. He struck out 122 in 116 innings.
In two spring training outings, Peterson is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He struck out the side against the Astros in the first of his two innings on Saturday. Peterson also is expected to start at Syracuse to continue to hone his arsenal.
“His changeup is one of the things that we’re discussing — his feel for the changeup,” Rojas said. “We haven’t necessarily spoke about his velo. We like the angle of his fastball. We like how his fastball’s always played. It looks like it’s a tick up this spring, so that’s going to help even more for the secondary pitches to play. He’s working on his changeup, definitely.”
Peterson is the Mets’ No. 10 prospect, according to a list compiled in January by Baseball America. Gimenez is fifth.
The only other player in the top 10 who is in big-league spring training is lefthander Kevin Smith, who has compiled a 13.50 ERA in three outings as a non-roster invitee. Smith, 22, made six starts for Binghamton last season in his first stint above Class A, going 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA.
The entire Baseball America Mets top 10: shortstop Ronny Mauricio, catcher Francisco Alvarez, third baseman Brett Baty, righthander Matthew Allan, Gimenez, third baseman Mark Vientos, lefthander Thomas Szapucki, righthander Josh Wolf, Smith and Peterson.