@ScottRES18CUE: Do the Mets just need a placeholder at third with Brett Baty coming? ETA 2023-2024?
Joe: It is an interesting question, as you see some people talking about the Yankees potentially sitting out the big-time shortstop market with prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza coming along in the near future at shortstop. I certainly never want to say you should avoid adding premium talent to your major league roster because of prospects coming down the pike, but in this case it might be warranted to look more short-term.
It is not only Baty as you also have Mark Vientos, who will be added to the 40-man roster this offseason and Ronny Mauricio, who is currently a shortstop but may project as a third baseman long-term. I have the expectation you will see Vientos and Baty in Triple-A and Mauricio in Double-A to start the 2022 season, so they are all getting closer to that call.
I think personally I would seek out a shorter term option, or perhaps someone with versatility like Kris Bryant who could play elsewhere because I am a believer in Baty and Vientos as real big league bats who could surely make their big league debuts in the 2022 season.
Jacob: Like Joe said, it’s not hard to imagine both Baty and Vientos making an appearance in the majors next season. But I just can’t get on board with sitting out on negotiations for a Bryant-type player because you hope that one of these prospects reaches their 90th-percentile outcome almost immediately. Not that the hype surrounding Baty or Vientos isn’t warranted, but Steve Cohen does not need to avoid spending money on great players because a couple others might be good one day.
Simply put, Bryant could be a major factor in deep playoff runs over the next few seasons. It’s hard to imagine Baty or Vientos having a game-changing impact over the same period.
@J_Hest23: Why is Jake Mangum not ranked higher?
Joe: I actually have ranked Mangum inside of my Top 20 in the system for the last year through a couple iterations of that list. He took some strides this year by increasing his extra base hit output while reducing his strikeout rate.
In 84 games, 75 of which were with Double-A Binghamton, Mangum had 35 extra base hits including nine home runs. For a period of time in August, it seemed as if Mangum was getting on and Baty was driving him in every day.
In August, he hit .432/.475/.659 with only 12 strikeouts which showed the bat-to-ball skills that made him the all time hits leader in SEC history.
He has the ability to play all three outfield spots, and he is one of those gamer types who fans often fall for. I think the reason you don’t see him higher on prospect lists is partially his age — he’ll be 26 in March — and there are some doubts that he profiles as an everyday regular.
With that said, I feel comfortable that he is a major leaguer who could provide mostly everything you are looking for from a fourth outfielder. To me, that is worthy of being a top 20 prospect in the system, and I do agree he is often overlooked.
Jacob: At this point, the only reason to still be skeptical about Mangum is that the profile he showed this past season is very new, but there’s reason to believe that the work he put in over the two offseasons since his debut in 2019 has made him a guy to watch going forward.
The good: his glove remains elite. I don’t want to toss that word around lightly, but it doesn’t take long to see why it’s warranted in this case. I’m also a fan of Mangum’s improved pull and ground ball numbers. He’s a more complete hitter now, able to do damage instead of only being able to lightly slap balls the other way.
The suspicious: Mangum’s numbers were heavily propped up by one great month and one insane month. Just something to watch and temper expectations in the future.
@metsfan0431: Is it time to rank Adam Oller in your Top 20 prospects? Does he have a future role with the big league team as a starter or reliever and when is he expected to make his big league debut?
Joe: Oller probably doesn’t crack my Top 20, but he is not incredibly far off. The former minor league Rule 5 selection made some big strides this year and won the Mets’ organizational pitcher of the year award. Between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse he went 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA and struck out 138 batters in 120 innings.
He will be Rule 5 draft eligible again this winter, and given the Mets’ need for starting pitching depth and his success at the Triple-A level, you have to imagine he has a good chance of being protected on the 40-man roster. The stuff isn’t blowing you away. He sports a three-pitch mix with the two best being his fastball that will touch 95 mph and a quality slider.
I think he may have a chance to make some spot-starts, but might be best suited as a multi-inning reliever who could potentially make his big league debut in 2022.
Jacob: First off — hats off to Adam Oller. Nothing in his story portended a breakout season like this, from getting released out of A-ball, being left unprotected in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and getting shelled in winter ball in Australia last year. Just given all of that, he’s the type of player you want in your organization, the one who’ll outwork everyone else to make himself better.
Oller is similar to the type of pitcher that the Mets have had the chance to develop into a good major leaguer in recent years and have failed. He has average stuff and has been able to get results out of it thus far.
Now, the organization needs to harness his pitches and make the necessary adjustments to unlock a solid major league arm. (By the way, Oller’s agent has pledged to wear full Jimmy Buffett attire at his debut. That’s reason enough to make the call).
@KZiefert27: Who is your favorite prospect outside of the Top 10 and why?
Joe: I am a pretty big fan of Carlos Cortes’ game. He is not a big guy, listed at only 5-foot-7, but Mets Vice President of Scouting, Tommy Tanous, told us back in June on Mets Prospective that he is a professional hitter, and that’s the best way to describe him. He has great barrel control and a feel for hitting to all fields. Cortes hit 14 home runs for Double-A Binghamton, and through the first week of Arizona Fall League action, he is hitting .385 with a 1.009 OPS.
Cortes previously played both second base and the corner outfield spots, and he is ambidextrous where he threw right handed in the infield and left handed in the outfield. In 2021, he played exclusively outfield, but I would be very interested to see if the Mets consider getting him more reps back in the infield to increase his versatility. Cortes’ best path to the major leagues is probably as a utility bat with pop off the bench, but he is a fun player to watch at the plate.
Jacob: Eric Orze is just really fun to watch. You know the story by now, but it’s not insignificant that he reached Triple-A (and was really good there) in his first professional season. Despite being four years younger than the average player in Syracuse’s league, Orze struck out 32 percent of the batters he faced. His 43.5 percent whiff rate was 56 percent better than the Triple-A average — no Mets minor leaguer had a better figure relative to his league this season (min. 175 pitches).
I think there’s potential here for three plus-pitches, just based on what he showed with Syracuse. Orze’s fastball isn’t outstanding right now, but his release height and angle suggest that he can make some tweaks to his spin efficiency and really unlock a dominant pitch up in the zone. He still sits in the low 90s more than you’d like from a relief arm, but the opportunity is there.
The secondary pitches are where it’s at, though. Orze’s splitter might be the best offspeed pitch in the organization (Jose Butto’s changeup and Brian Metoyer’s slurve can make their cases), and Triple-A hitters couldn’t do a single thing with it.
On 26 swings, Orze’s splitter induced 18 whiffs, good for a 69 percent whiff rate. That would have been the highest mark for an offspeed pitch in the majors this year (min. 25 swings). Orze’s slider is no slouch either, picking up a 48 percent whiff rate. I don’t think it’s crazy to think that we’ll see him in the majors before the second anniversary of his draft selection.
For a fifth-round (the last round in 2020) pick, it’s truly a remarkable rise.
Source: Yahoo Sports