In just two days, the New York Mets 2021 Spring Training camp will officially begin when pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie, Florida. Just five days after that, all position players will need to report as well. All told, there will be a total of 68 players in training camp this year, 28 of whom are non-roster invitees. Included among them are a group of young prospects who, while unlikely make the team, are looking for their first taste of high-level action.
— New York Mets (@Mets) February 13, 2021
Francisco Alvarez (Mets no. 2 Prospect, MLB no. 48 Prospect)
Despite being just 19-years-old and only appearing in one season of rookie ball, Alvarez looks to be the Mets catcher of the future. Signed as an international prospect in 2018, Alvarez has quickly turned heads with his combination of high-contact, high-power hitting and strong throwing behind the plate.
Across 42 games with the GCL Mets and Kingsport Mets in 2019, Alvarez had an impeccable slash line of .312/.407/.510. He also slugged 7 homeruns, 10 doubles and drove in 26 RBIs in that short span. Considered to be wise beyond his years, scouts have noted Alvarez’s uncanny grasp of the strike zone which makes such offensive numbers possible. Likewise, his high bat speed and all-fields approach to hitting further bolster is already impressive talent as a batter.
As a catcher, where Alvarez excels the most is in his throwing ability. With an arm that’s equal parts cannon and sniper, no base stealer is safe. As far as weaknesses go, he’s not quite there yet in terms of pitch framing and game calling. Luckily, both skills should come with time and experience.
Brett Baty (Mets no. 3 Prospect)
Just as Alvarez projects to be the Mets future catcher, Baty is already being touted as the team’s next great third basemen. Taken in the first round of the 2019 draft, he’s actually a little on the old side (21) for someone who’s yet to appear above Class-A Short Season. That said, the potential is clearly there. An athletic specimen who also excelled at football and basketball in high school, Baty’s ascension through the minors looks to be a quick one.
Easily his most tantalizing tool is his incredible power. Through his plus bat speed and raw strength, Baty is already reaching exit velocities of over 100 mph. He’s not a dead-pull hitter either, using his strength to frequently drive the ball to the opposite field. However, scouts are a bit iffy on his overall abilities at the plate. While a .368 on-base percentage and 35 walks in 188 plate appearances indicates a good eye and patience, his .234 average and 65 strikeouts give cause for cpncern. Still, when you crush seven homeruns and drive in 33 runs in just 51 games, it’s hard not to be optimistic.
As for his fielding, Baty is in the same boat as Alvarez. His throwing ability is excellent, topping over 90 mph on the radar gun. Throwing range clearly won’t be an issue, but his actual fielding range might be. While Baty’s lack of speed means he won’t quite be the next coming of David Wright, many scouts agree that with more experience he may still develop into a solid defender.
Matthew Allan (Mets no. 4 Prospect, MLB no. 75 Prospect)
The only pitcher on this list, the Mets have high hopes for Allan after taking him in the third round of the 2019 draft. With fluid mechanics and a high leg kick, Allan already looks like a major league pitcher in many regards. Though he’s only 19 and still developing his pitch arsenal, Allan has all the makings of an effective starter.
Allan comes equipped with a solid trio of pitches. First is a mid-90s fastball that has the potential to get even faster. Currently topping out at 97 mph, with some more development this pitch might gain an extra mile or two. Allan’s best pitch, however, remains his devastating, low-80s curveball. With a sharp 11-5 break, high spin rate (2500 rpm), and pinpoint accuracy, this pitch is Allan’s deadliest strikeout weapon. Rounding out his repertoire is a high-80s changeup that’s still being developed. Inconsistent is the best way to describe it, sometimes tumbling away from hitters and other times failing to generate any substantial movement.
Though he’s pitched just 10.1 innings across six appearances (five starts) in his brief career, he does own a 2.61 ERA and 14 strikeouts in that span. Overall, Allan is much farther ahead in his development than most high school prep picks. With any luck, he may join the ranks of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard as the next great Mets ace.
Pete Crow-Armstrong (Mets no. 5 Prospect)
The Mets’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft, Crow-Armstrong is the farthest away from making the majors. At just 18-years-old, the outfielder has yet to see any playtime at the pro level due to the elimination of the 2020 minor league season. Like many others, Crow-Armstrong’s only experience so far comes from limited action at an alternate training facility. While inviting him to major league camp may seem a bit premature, many teams are doing the same thing for their untested 2020 draft picks.
Profiling as a potentially elite center fielder, Crow-Armstrong showed off impressive acumen for the position in high school. With loads of speed and a powerful yet accurate arm, he can not only run down anything hit even remotely near him, but can throw out even the fastest baserunners. He also has great reaction times, consistently getting perfect jumps on fly balls.
While his strong outfield arm hasn’t quite translated to a lot of power at the plate, Crow-Armstrong more than makes up for it with his high rate of contact. In his junior and senior years in high school he hit a whopping .426 and .500, respectively. He also hit .364 in the 2019 U-18 Baseball World Cup and was named the tournament’s top center fielder.
In the end, while Crow-Armstrong will likely be sent to Minor League camp as soon as the Spring Training games get underway, this February will give fans their first real look at the budding star.
Featured Image Courtesy of Allen Greene/Allen Greene Photography
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