Welcome back to the Baseball Prospectus Mets Prospect Watch! This weekly column will take a look at one pitcher and one hitter from each level of the Mets organization and offer thoughts on their performance thus far, as well as a brief scouting report with a future outlook.
Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A)
Hitter: Luis Guillorme
It seems like forever ago, but Guillorme was on the major league roster until June 25 before the Mets sent him back to Las Vegas. He struggled in his first taste of the big leagues (.457 OPS, 29 OPS+) but the inconsistent playing time surely didn’t help. Guillorme’s glove has been major league ready for a while now but the Mets’ newfound fascination — or maybe it never went away — with Jose Reyes relegated him to a marginal role.
Guillorme’s never going to be mistaken for an offensive powerhouse, but he rarely strikes out and draws a fair number of walks. He’s hitting over .300 for the season in Vegas and is a far better hitter than his .172 average in the majors shows. There’s a valuable utility player here, and Guillorme should be on the 2019 Opening Day roster.
Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A)
Hitter: Andres Gimenez
The Mets’ top prospect earned a well-deserved promotion to Double-A Binghamton after a very respectable showing in the Florida State League. Gimenez won’t turn 20 until September and it now seems likely that he’ll begin 2019 with Binghamton. That timeline lines him up for a potential call-up in September 2019, just three years after coming stateside. While the presence of Amed Rosario likely forces Gimenez over to second, he still figures to be a valuable major league contributor sooner rather than later.
Gimenez can hold his own with the bat but the bulk of his value and prospect pedigree derives from the fact that he can stick at short. That’s a problem considering that Rosario was an even higher regarded prospect who’s already in the big leagues. Now, it’s a good problem of course, and one the Mets don’t need to worry about for at least another season. A good showing from Gimenez in Binghamton to end the season could accelerate his timeline slightly, but 2020 seems like the year he gets the call.
Port St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A)
Pitcher: Stephen Villines
Villines took an interesting path to Kansas, but the Mets drafted him as a senior sign in the 10th round of the 2017 draft. The right-hander is a reliever only, but he put up good numbers in school and dominated on the Cape for two seasons.
Villines has plus control, especially for a reliever, but it’s his lack of stuff that dropped him to the 10th round. His fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 80s, far below average and especially so for a reliever. He also throws a slider in the low-to-mid 70s and a change that’s likely his best pitch.
While a college performer should dominate the lower levels of the minors, Villines put up video game numbers in Brooklyn and Columbia. He struck out 30 while walking just one in 19 innings for the Cyclones last season and continued that dominance for the Fireflies to begin this season. Villines was promoted to Port St. Lucie where he has continued to succeed, striking out 15 while walking four to go along with his 0.63 ERA in 14.1 innings.
While the stuff says Villines isn’t a major league caliber reliever, the early returns say otherwise. He could carve out a Brad Ziegler-type career, or he could never reach the majors. Only time will tell, but Villines needs to be challenged in Double-A before the end of the year.
Brooklyn Cyclones (Short-Season-A)
Hitter: Ross Adolph
While neither myself nor Jeffrey Paternostro were fans of the Mets’ draft strategy, especially on days two and three, they may actually have something in Adolph. Jeff saw Brooklyn recently and liked Adolph a lot more than he expected to.
Adolph doesn’t have a plus tool, but he’s a sum of the parts player who has a chance to be a fourth outfielder when it’s all said and done. That’s exactly what you’re looking for in the 12th round, and the Mets seem to have done really well here. Adolph’s off to a really nice start in Brooklyn (.288/.367/.490), where he’ll likely spend the remainder of the season. There’s an opportunity for Adolph to move quickly here, as the Mets lack outfield depth in the upper minors.
Kingsport Mets (Rookie League)
Hitter: Luis Santana
The 19-year-old Santana is stateside and off to a blazing start after playing two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. In 31 games for Kingsport, Santana is hitting .364/.469/.471 with two home runs and a 13:20 K to BB ratio. That’s…really good for a teenager playing and living in a new country for the first time.
Santana is small (5’ 8” 175) but has surprising strength for his size. He’s likely always going to be a hit over power player, but he’s got the ability to do damage every now and then. Santana fits best at second, where he’s a solid defender with sure hands. The Mets have done really well internationally and Santana is no exception. He’s far away, but he’s a guy to keep an eye on for the future.
Gulf Coast Mets (Rookie League)
Hitter: Ronny Mauricio
Speaking of doing well internationally, Mauricio signed for over $2 million in 2017 and skipped the DSL entirely, beginning his career in the GCL. He just turned 17 this season and is hitting .333/.346/.540 in his first taste of professional baseball. You couldn’t ask for a better start to a career.
Mauricio is listed at 6’ 3,” 166 punds but has reportedly grown at least an inch since he signed. He’s currently a shortstop but likely moves over to third as he ascends the minor league ladder. The bat is what you’re buying here though, and Mauricio looks like a Top 10 prospect in the system already.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports