February 22nd, 2021
Mets position players have reported to camp in Port St. Lucie, FL, 5 days after pitchers and catchers arrived.
You better believe I'm down here covering it for you. I got thrown off the lot today trying to get an inside look, but rest assured I've got seven different kinds of smoke ready to throw at the Clover Park security team every day this week.
In lieu of pictures and stories from Day 1 of camp, I've decided to put together a little preview of who I'm going to be looking out for among the prospects/young guys.
For all Brodie did to screw up the Mets farm system, his best shot at redemption lies with sir Matthew Allan.
Background on Allan - He was a surefire first round talent coming out of high school but told every team that he was 100% committed to attending the University of Florida, so don't bother drafting me. Well Brodie and his gang took a chance and drafted Allan 89th overall in the 3rd round, a spot that is typically allotted roughly $667k in bonus money. With some fancy financial maneuvering, the Mets drafted a bunch of college seniors in rounds 4 through 12, with little intention of offering them their full bonus, and used the savings to offer Allan a $2.5 million signing bonus. Money talks! And Allan decided it was in his best interest to forego his college career and join the New York Metropolitans.
Matthew Allan Houston stands 6'3" 225 lbs with a 96-97 MPH fastball and a devasting 79-82 mph curveball. He'll turn 20 in April. I expect him to be a great minor league pitcher this year and next and make his major league debut as a 21 year old midway through the 2022 season.
Brett Baty, the next David Wright (even though Michael Conforto is the next David Wright). Baty is a 6'3" 210 lb third basemen from Lake Travis HS in Austin, TX. The Mets took Baty with their first round pick (12th overall) in 2019. He's 21 years old and is the hitter I'm most excited to see in spring training this year due to his size and potential to be a franchise cornerstone all-star third basemen for the next 15 years. Baty's progression this year (or lack thereof) should play a big part in the front office's decision to go after a big name third baseman like Kris Bryant or Matt Chapman via trade or free agency.
(what a finish. Is that Ken Griffey Jr. or PCA?)
Only 18 years old, Pete Crow-Armstrong (henceforth known as PCA (shoutout Pacific Coast Academy from Zoey 101) was the Mets first round draft pick (19th overall) in the 2020 draft. He comes straight out of high school, most recently playing for the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines in Los Angeles. When he makes his big league debut he'll join Max Fried, Jack Flaherty, Lucas Giolito, and Nik Turley as active MLB players who graduated from HWHS. Pete plays centerfield and bats and throws lefty. As a prospect it doesn't get much more exciting than his tools as a fielder, hitter, and base runner.
Ronny is a 6'3" shortstop from the Dominican Republic who came to the Mets. He's widely touted as the Mets' top prospect because of his offensive potential and overall athleticism. He'll be 20 in April but has been in the Mets system since he was 17. That experience playing professional baseball at such a young age could help get Ronny to the big show before his 21st birthday, which would be exciting. Ronny is a big reason that most Mets fans didn't mind giving up both Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez in a trade. Another big reason most Mets fans didn't mind giving up both Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez in a trade is because Francisco Lindor came in return. Either way, Ronny is at best the Mets' future at shortstop and plays next to Baty for years to come just like Reyes and Wright, at worst he is the Mets' best trading asset to bolster other areas of the major league roster at the deadline.
God Bless David Wright.
But seriously, the fifth player I'll have my eye on in camp is...
Ginn (6'2", 200lbs, hard throwing righty) was a high school standout from Mississippi, went to Mississippi State, and lit it up. He was on the fast track to becoming a top-10 draft pick before injuring his elbow his sophomore year requiring Tommy John surgery. Of course you never know how his arm will recover from the surgery but in this day and age I'm less and less worried about that.
Best of all, JT Ginn was drafted in the first round of the 2018 draft out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers (30th overall). He elected to go to college at Mississippi State instead, likely believing he could improve his resume to become a high-end first round pick. The Mets get him two years later in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft because of the TJ surgery. I anxiously await the day JT gets to shove it against the Dodgers in the playoffs while wearing the orange and blue.
Also I think TJ Gunn would be a badass nickname for a reliever.
Rounding out the top 10
Keep your eyes on...
Francisco Alvarez... 19... Catcher
Mark Vientos... 21... 3B
Adrian Hernandez... 20... Outfield
Desmond Lindsay... 23... Centerfield
Jordany Ventura... 20... RHP
In Sandy We Trust