New York Mets catcher Kevin Parada during a spring training...

New York Mets catcher Kevin Parada during a spring training workout, Monday Feb. 13, 2023 in Port St. Lucie, FL. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — For the first time since Pete Alonso’s rookie season four years ago, the Mets have a legitimate chance of adding a homegrown impact bat to their lineup this season. They just don’t know yet which one(s) it will be.

Their brink-of-the-majors prospect quartet of catcher Francisco Alvarez, third baseman Brett Baty, corner infielder Mark Vientos and shortstop Ronny Mauricio means major opportunities for potential in-house offensive improvement. You’ll be hearing a lot about some of them, maybe all of them, throughout the year.

So let’s focus on the next wave. Here are quick looks at another foursome, further away from the majors but maybe even better. All are likely to open the year in the lower minors.


1. Kevin Parada, C (High-A Brooklyn)

Alvarez has been considered the Mets’ catcher of the future for years, but the 21-year-old Parada has a chance to make that interesting. He was their top draft pick last summer — 11th overall — after emerging as a prolific hitter and one of the best amateur backstops in the country at Georgia Tech.

Thought to be a bat-first, glove-way-second catcher, Parada surprised club officials during his stay in major-league spring training with vast improvement in all areas of his defense, including throwing and framing.

“He looks like he is going to be a well-above-average major-league defensive catcher, which is not the report that we got coming into the draft,” said Kevin Howard, director of player development. “We just thought he was an offensive-first guy, and he’s looking like he really can be just as good on defense as he is on offense.”


2. Alex Ramirez, OF (Brooklyn)

So natural was Ramirez gliding across the grass during his several weeks working with the major-league staff in camp that Wayne Kirby, the Mets’ outfield coach, felt compelled to make the loftiest of comparisons: Ramirez’s fielding ability reminds him of Andruw Jones, a 10-time Gold Glover.

Kirby used words such as “graceful” and “all natural” in describing Ramirez, 20, who received a $2.05 million signing bonus in 2019.

“The defense that he plays in center is so natural, comes so easy to him and at such a young age — he’s got such great instincts out there,” Howard said. “He’s going to be an everyday centerfielder in the major leagues.”

Ramirez’s hitting isn’t as advanced. He batted .281 with a .782 OPS during a 2022 season split between Low-A St. Lucie and High-A Brooklyn. The Mets have high hopes for him once he smooths out his swing and grows into his stick-figure frame (6-3, 170 pounds officially).

As manager Buck Showalter put it, “He’s going to be a big man.”

Alex Ramirez is an outfield prospect in the Mets organization.

Alex Ramirez is an outfield prospect in the Mets organization. Credit: Brooklyn Cyclones/Matthew Kipp

3. Jett Williams. SS (Low-A St. Lucie)

Parada and Williams get mentioned together a lot because the Mets selected Williams at No. 14 overall last summer, three picks after Parada. Williams isn’t quite as developed because he is younger and turned pro after high school — and will play the entire season at 19 — but draws praise for his maturity and strength.

“He’s about as strong and explosive as it gets for a kid his age. He’s not scared of any kind of work,” Howard said, adding of Williams’ approach at the plate: “He’s sound in his mechanics and he’s really, really consistent with his approach. He doesn’t let anybody get him outside of his approach no matter how he’s pitched. He doesn’t panic when he’s behind in the count.”


4. Blade Tidwell, RHP (Brooklyn)

Probably the Mets’ best pitching prospect, with a front-of-the-rotation ceiling that the Mets haven’t seen any minor-leaguers fulfill in several years, Tidwell is positioned for a potentially quick climb through the minors.

“He’s going to be as fast as a riser gets as a starter in the minor leagues,” Howard said.

The key for Tidwell, who will turn 22 in June and was a second-round pick in the draft last year: Build on the fastball/slider combo that made him so attractive to the Mets coming out of the University of Tennessee.

His changeup “is actually looking really good,” according to Howard, and it helps that he can locate his pitches well and hold his mid-90s fastball velocity deep into games.

“He’s probably got as good a chance of being a [No.] 1 or a 2 [starter] as anybody in our system,” Howard said. “If he stays healthy, I think he’s going to be a high-end starter.”


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