PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — By now, first baseman Pete Alonso largely has permeated the collective conscious of the fan base, and he indeed is the prospect with the best shot of making a significant impact on the 2019 Mets. No one else comes close by that measure.
There are, however, plenty of players worth monitoring. The Mets’ farm system is generally considered middling — Baseball America ranked it 19th — so here are a few standouts heading into the season.
Andres Gimenez, SS, 20: In big-league camp for the first time this spring, Gimenez is advanced for his age, not only reaching Double-A Binghamton at 19 last season but also holding his own with a .277/.344/.358 slash line in 37 games. He has a reputation as a sound, well-rounded middle infielder without any particular extraordinary skill — just really solid in every area, plus a high baseball IQ.
“He’s exceptional at many things, especially considering how young he is,” said Jared Banner, executive director of player development. “I wouldn’t put any ceiling on a player like that.”
Manager Mickey Callaway said he sees Gimenez as a strong defender with a knack for getting on base, a combo helpful to any team.
“There’s a little bit of nervous energy like there would be for any 20-year-old [around major-leaguers],” Callaway said. “But I like what he does in the dugout; he pays attention. I like what he does in the clubhouse; he talks to all the veteran guys and learns every day. He’s a great talent.”
Anthony Kay, LHP, 24: Following in the footsteps of Steven Matz, his fellow Ward Melville High alumnus, this 2016 draft pick finally got into pro games last season after a long recovery from Tommy John surgery. He finished his season with 10 starts in advanced Class A St. Lucie, posting a 3.88 ERA.
Kay throws a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, plus a changeup and curveball. In a system bereft of high-end upper-minors starting pitching talent, Kay is about as interesting an arm as the Mets have anywhere close to the majors (and Kay himself probably won’t be ready until toward the end of this season at the earliest).
He often gets lumped together with David Peterson, another first-round lefty, but multiple scouts last summer and this spring preferred Kay from an ability and ceiling perspective.
“I was impressed with the quality of stuff he was displaying in major-league camp,” Banner said. “He’s a good athlete. He has a strong arm. He can manipulate the baseball well. He went out and competed well in big-league camp, so we’re excited to get him out there and continue to see him flourish.”
Ronny Mauricio, SS, 17: Along with third baseman Mark Vientos and shortstop Shervyen Newton, Mauricio is among the Mets’ very talented, very young left-side-of-the-infield players.
Unable to buy a lotto ticket during camp — he turns 18 in April — Mauricio has as much potential as anybody in the Mets’ farm system. He follows Wilmer Flores, Amed Rosario and Gimenez as a recent fast-moving Mets shortstop prospect and this spring made a few cameos in Grapefruit League games — a teenager playing in major-league exhibitions.
The Mets thought enough of Mauricio in 2018 that his pro debut came in the United States, an unusual feat for a kid signed out of the Dominican Republic. He spent most of the year in the Gulf Coast League, where he had a .279/.307/.421 slash line.
Mauricio is super-lanky (listed at 6-3 and 166 pounds) and super-far from the majors (ETA, according to MLB Pipeline: 2022) but already shows impressive power and defensive ability.
“He’s a projectable young player,” Banner said. “He’s a solid defender, he can run, he can swing the bat on both sides of the plate and he can impact the baseball. It’s impressive.”