#MetsCrushMonday: Luis Guillorme

Guillorme has earned this spot with me before. While I don’t like to be redundant when it comes to these particular segments, it’s hard to ignore how awesome Luis Guillorme is. But let’s backtrack a bit and take a look at a small piece of what I wrote back in 2017.

Hilariously enough, a bunch of years later we’re here after Guillorme worked out a walk in an incredible 22-pitch at-bat against Cardinals right-hander Jordan Hicks.

Baseball Savant

Guillorme continues to be “The King of Spring”, however it isn’t just this year. Back in 2017, the sure-handed infielder showed off his reflexes when a bat went flying into the dugout and Guillorme swiftly snagged the bat without any facial expression… let’s take a look back.

The Venezuelan born Luis Guillorme has proven that he can carry it on over to the regular season, as well. Not just with the slick glove but he’s turning a corner offensively.

While his career slash line is at a respectable.259/.343/.341/.683, in 2020 Guillorme hit .333/.426/.439/.865 with 9 RBI’s and two stolen bases.

In 2017, I did compare the likes of Luis Guillorme to a Rougned Ordor. Guillorme will never hit 15+ HR’s a season, but is more of a well rounded hitter as he gets on-base at a much better rate.

Guillorme is in an interesting position as he’s set to back-up at shortstop, second, and third base. However, with J.D. Davis getting what seems like no love from management, Guillorme may takeover if Davis’ defense ends up being costly.

Photo from CBS Sports

#MetsCrushMonday: Sam McWilliams

The first thing that jumps out at you when you look at Sam McWilliams is that the right-hander is a big guy, standing tall at 6’7”. The Orlando, Florida native would make his way up to Nashville, Tennessee to play high-school baseball before being drafted by the Phillies in the 8th round of the 2014 draft.

While he’s already played for three organizations during his MiLB career, the Mets signed McWilliams to a Major League deal. This may have come as a surprise to some fans, however when you hear that the right-hander had offers from half of the league, not so much of a surprise.

The first thing that jumps out at you after you have a conversation with Sam McWilliams is “Damn, this dude is smart AF!” In a small interview I had with McWilliams on The Mets Junkies Podcast, he gets into how he improved with the Rays organization due to information and analytics.

McWilliams has started in 94 games throughout his MiLB career and in 2019 in 19 starts, the tall righty pitched to a 4.46 ERA as he owned a 2.83 ERA as a reliever that same campaign. Him being able to start games comes of great value to him and the Mets but I think his bread and butter might end up being him working from the bullpen.

He’ll likely start off in Syracuse as he has three of his options remaining, but I’d imagine that we’ll be seeing a lot of McWilliams in the Majors. He very well could be one of the unsung heroes of 2021, if all work outs accordingly.

Sean Connor Flannery:

In 2019, I had the great pleasure of working with the Montgomery Biscuits the AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays in a data collection role. During that season McWilliams was named to the Southern League All Star game.

McWilliams is nothing flashy but anytime you can poach an arm from the TBR system and player development is usually a good thing. He doesn’t have an “electric” fastball but uses his 6’7/6’8 height to get pretty good extension and it allows the FB to play up. The slider is his best pitch and he’s got a passable change and fringey curve.

I see him being like the 8th SP on the 40 behind guys like Szapucki/Oswalt/Kilome. While he doesn’t have the upside of the first and last guy on that list he’s got the command and full repertoire like Oswalt. He should be solid depth in Syracuse in ‘21.

Photo from ESPN.com

#MetsCrushMonday: J.T. Ginn

This right-hander is only 21 years old and is already ranked as the Mets 6th best prospect, the second best pitching prospect behind Matthew Allan. Ginn was drafted by the Mets in the second round of the MLB June Amateur Draft in 2020.

He was drafted by the Dodgers just two years prior, however the Dodgers refused to meet his asking price and now he’s in the Mets organization.

He was projected to be a first rounder of the 2020 draft, but after an elbow injury that required TJS, he was pushed back to the second round. Ginn could’ve chosen to re-enter the drafter however the Mets offered the righty a $2.9M signing bonus to seal the deal.

Ginn has a fastball that tops out at 97 MPH but will probably sit regularly at somewhere between 93 MPH and 95 MPH. His fastball will definitely be his go-to pitch to start out at-bats, but his nasty slider will be the go-to pitch towards the end of at-bats.

His third pitch is a change-up that has a decent drop to it. While all of his pitches have movement to them, he still manages to find the strike zone. In his final year in college, he walked 21 in 89.1 innings, while only giving up one home run.

He has an ETA of 2023 and that seems right if all goes accordingly. While he could easily be used as a trade chip, it would be wise to hold on to this young arm. Especially considering that he’s slated to make his Major League debut at 23 years old.

Photo from HailState.com

#MetsCrushMonday: Carlos Cortes

Drafted by the Mets on two separate occasions, Carlos Cortes was first selected by the Mets in the 20th round of 2016 June Amateur Draft, he was drafted out of Lake Howell High School in Winter Park, Florida.

He opted not to sign and gambled on himself by re-entering the Draft In 2018 and it paid off as the Mets once again selected him, this time out of The University of South Carolina in the 3rd round.

The left handed hitting batting second baseman/outfielder appeared in 47 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones right after being drafted that very summer. In his first season of professional ball, he accumulated 202 plate appearances and 178 at-bats during that stretch in which he hit .264/.338/.382/.720 in his first taste of the MiLB. He hit 5 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs while scoring 26 runs and driving in 24 RBI’s during his 2018 campaign with the NYPL (A-).

In 2019, the Orlando native had 526 plate appearances that translated into 458 at-bats with St Lucie. Cortes ended the year hitting .255/.336/.397/.733 with 26 doubles, three triples, and 11 home runs while while crossing the plate 64 times and drivin 68 runs.

Cortes is listed at 5’7″ but has above average raw power and his barrel control is amongst the head of the class. He has thick, sturdy legs and is a below average runner on the base paths. There’s questions surrounding his defense at second base and does have a history of playing outfield in his collegiate days but is expected to be a good enough fielder to move up the ranks.

Scouts expect that the 21 year old to be ready for the Majors in about 2 years, during the 2021 season. He could be a vital part to the infield, as long as he continues to hit and get on base… the power is on it’s way.

Updated on January 31st 2021: This is my third time updating you guys with Carlos Cortes and I couldn’t be happier to do it.

Cortes, now 23 years old, is currently ranked 17th amongst the Mets Top 30 prospects on MLB.com and has an ETA of 2021. While it’s hard to imagine Cortes making an impact on the Mets Major League roster in the upcoming season, anything is possible.

As of now, Cortes is playing baseball for Sydney in the AUBL, Australian Baseball League.

In seven games, Cortes is slashing an impressive .360/.393/.560/.953 with five doubles and seven RBI’s in his 25 at-bats. Sure, small sample size, we get it… but it’s super promising and just flat out fun to see.

So until we see Cortes mixing up with the rest of his comrades in Port St. Lucie, enjoy this video of the youngster just crushing one over the right field wall.

Will we see this in 2021? Or Cortes a great trade chip? Let us know what you think!

Photo from Times Union

#MetsCrushMonday: Thomas Szapucki

Another local pitcher, Thomas Szapucki was born in Toms River, New Jersey however would play high school baseball down in West Palm Beach, Florida. The left-hander would be drafted by the Mets in the 5th round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft while in William T. Dwyer High School.

He would end up pitching in three games at the rookie level of professional ball that same year. While it was only 2.1 innings, he would give up four earned runs on five hits, leaving him with a 15.43 ERA.

Also read: Mets acquire infielder

However his 2016 was phenomenal. Between Kingsport and Brooklyn, Szapucki appeared in nine games, all of which were starts, and posted a 1.38 ERA as well as a 4-3 record. He also struck out an incredible amount of batters, 86 in 52.0 innings to be exact.

His 2017 season was excellent, as well. He started in six games and owned a 1-2 record alongside a 2.79 ERA. Unfortunately his K rate would take a dip as he would strike out 27 batters in 29 innings that season. The reason for the diminished strike out numbers are probably due to an elbow injury that required Tommy John Surgery that very summer.

Due to the TJS, Szapucki would also end up missing the entirety of the 2018 campaign. However, he would return in 2019, and seemed to return to form.

Also read: #MetsCrushMonday: David Peterson

In 21 games, 18 starts, Szapucki would pitch 61.2 innings while striking out 72. Throughout three different levels, the lefty owned a 1-3 record while posting a 2.63 ERA.

His fastball can hit up 95-96 MPH, however what’s most impressive is how he can sit at 92-93 MPH in the latter innings of his outings. His slider will prove to be a strong second pitch for the New Jersey native.

According to TrackMan data, Szapucki had the best spin rate on his breaking stuff at Perfect Game National. While he didn’t utilize his change-up much when pitching in H.S., he’s since shown that it could be an average off-speed pitch, at the very least.

Also read: Three Mets that could be dealt away

Szapucki will surely see the Major League level if his health permits him. The question that’s currently surrounding the lefty is if his role will be as a starter or as a relief pitcher.

The 6’2” left hander pitches from a low 3/4’s arm slot, so scouts are predicting that Szapucki will be a reliever. If that’s the case, he looks like he could be the “Andrew Miller” type of pitcher, and that should be exciting out of the back end of the bullpen.

Expect Szapucki to hit the Major League level as soon as this upcoming 2021 season. While it probably won’t be right out of the gates, after Spring Training is over, there’s bound to be injuries and his name will definitely come up as a legitimate option.

Also read: #MetsCrushMonday: Francisco Alvarez

Photo via Anthony DiComo

#MetsCrushMonday: Will Toffey

The Mets acquired third basemen Will Toffey & right handed reliever Bobby Wahl from the Oakland Athletics in the trade that brought the contending Oakland A’s the backend reliever, Jeurys Familia.

The Mets also received $1MM in international bonus & Oakland will take over the remainder on Familia’s salary.

However, the Mets may have received a Gem in this trade. Third baseman, William Toffey. Toffey will probably never hit for power but the kid knows how to get on base & getting on the paths usually generate to runs scored. The Orange & Blue know this problem all too well in the past couple of years.

In 2017, at the age of 22 years old in the New York Penn League, in 57 games & 209 AB’s, Toffey had 55 hits, 11 of which being doubles, 2 triples, & 1 homerun while driving in 11 RBI’s & scoring 38 runs. For his first year in the minors, Toffey batted .263/.377/.349/.726 which isn’t too shabby for his first taste pro-ball.

Entering the 2018 season, Toffey ranked as the A’s 25th prospect. He’s outperformed his ranking & reputation & is exceeding the hype with his numbers at the plate. He has had shoulder issues during the beginning of the season so he must prove to himself that he can stay healthy & eventually produce as a third baseman at a major league level.

After batting .219/.347/.349/.646 with 18 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 27 RBI’s in 91 games and 269 at-bats, Toffey enters the 2020 season as the Mets 24th ranked prospect.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has hit worldwide since then and Minor League baseball has taken the decision to call it a year and not even hit the diamond. Again while unfortunate, definitely understandable with a lot of fallout taking place between MLB and MiLB.

While Toffey has dropped in the ranks through no faults of his own, he still may find his way lost in the system and eventually released or make his way to the MLB roster with a spot on the bench. New ownership will soon takeover and with changes expected to made top to bottom, no one’s job could really be safe.

Photo credit to Vanderbilt Hustler

#MetsCrushMonday: David Peterson

The 6’6” left hander was first drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 28th round of the 2014 June Amateur Draft however opted not to sign. It turned out to be the right move as he eventually was drafted by the New York Mets as the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 June Amateur Draft.

Soon after, Peterson would make his professional debut within the Mets organization with the Brooklyn Cyclones. While he only pitched 3.2 innings with the Cyclones, he did just come off pitching in 15 games and 100.1 innings while posting a 2.45 ERA and going 11-4 for Oregon that same year.

Also read: #MetsCrushMonday: Francisco Alvarez

In 2018, Peterson pitched 128 innings between St. Lucie and Columbia. The lefty went 7-10 and put up a 3.16 ERA in his first full season at the professional levels. While Peterson took a bit of a step back once he was promoted to Binghamton, he was consistent enough to be considered for the rotation during the 2020 campaign.

Now while it’s probable that Peterson would not have started the year off with the big club, an injury to Noah Syndergaard and the opt-out of Marcus Stroman guaranteed him a regular spot in the rotation.

The Denver, Colorado native made his big league debut on July 28th, 2020 against the Boston Red Sox, the team Peterson was originally drafted by. The lefty tossed 5.2 innings in which he gave up two earned runs on seven hit picking up his first Major League win.

After the game, manager Luis Rojas told reporters “That’s his first outing, he handled himself like it was one of many outings he’s had at the Major League level.” He also added “His poise, once again, is something that stands out… His matureness, how he’s able to handle the scenario, that’s a great thing.”

The left hander has been hitting 91-94 MPH with his fastball/sinker this season and while he doesn’t strike out many in the batters box, he does induce many ground balls. Now it seems as if scouts aren’t too high on his secondary pitches like his change-up, slider, or curve-ball, except for those at MLB and Baseball America.

With a ton of uncertainty surrounding Steven Matz, Peterson would be a strong candidate for the back end of the rotation in the upcoming 2021 season, even if new owner Steve Cohen helps invest in a big free agent pitcher like Trevor Bauer.

Image from Yahoo!

#MetsCrushMonday: Drew Smith

In a trade that sent former homegrown fan favorite slugger Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Mets would receive a 23-year old right handed reliever with a high ceiling in Drew Smith. While his 2020 statistics may not justify the attention that I’m giving, the now 27-year old may be looking at a make or break 2021 season.

The former third round pick by the Detroit Tigers would have a pretty decent 2018 campaign with the Mets in his first crack at the Major League level. He pitched to a 3.54 ERA throughout 28 innings but only struck out 18 while opponents hit .309 off the righty.

However early in 2019 during Spring Training, his career would end up being put on hold as the Fort Worth, Texas native would require Tommy John Surgery causing him to miss the entire season.

Smith owns a plus fastball that can hit 97 MPH on the radar gun, alongside a curveball, change-up, and even a brand new cutter in which he learned by watching Clayton Kershaw has been added to his repertoire.

“He’s got a good repertoire, adding that cutter,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “It can make the fastball play a little more.”

Unfortunately, Smith hasn’t had much opportunity this season and has only appeared in eight games. Throughout those seven innings, Smith posted a 6.43 ERA as well as an improved 1.14 WHIP and averaged a strikeout per inning.

Now while it’s no where near safe to assume that the 2021 bullpen will be looking the same, if it were, Smith would have decent shot at making the roster. At only 27 years old, Smith still has a lot to offer the Mets ‘pen and has more to offer for more than just one season. But Smith seems to understand that this process will be one step at a time, one day at a time.

“I’m just doing everything I can, doing the best I can trying to show them that I’m healthy and ready to go,” Smith said. “Whenever I get my chance — whether it be Opening Day, whether it be a week after — I’ll be ready to go. And I’m excited to be back out there.”

If he does figure it out and start putting it together, he will be a cheap bullpen piece. Smith will enter his first year of Free Agency in 2025 and will be eligible for arbitration in 2022.

Quotes sourced from MLB.com

Also read: Three Mets that could be dealt away & What to do with Matz?

#MetsCrushMonday: Ronny Mauricio

Now ranked as the number one prospect in the organization, Ronny Mauricio signed with the New York Mets in July, 2017 as an international free agent with a hefty check for $2.1M at the young age of 16 years old. The now 18 year old switch hitting shortstop will not have it easy, and I mean this in regards to his journey to the big leagues with the two shortstops that stand in front of him in the depth chart. However, even with Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez positioned in the way, Mauricio may be the better player of the tremendously talented trio.

Standing tall at 6’3″, you would expect Ronny Mauricio to have a lot of moving parts in his swing, however, this isn’t the case. The Dominican native has a very smooth stroke and an extremely good eye at the dish while he continues to give opposing pitchers a tough time, as he always seems to put together a quality at-bat.

He currently has more pop while batting against right handed pitching but as he continues to age, mature, and add muscle, I expect that his righty/lefty approach will develop into a more similar technique. Scouts suggest that Mauricio should hit for average as well for power due to his electric bat speed.

Defensively, Mauricio has very soft hands to go along with a cannon for an arm however he needs some work on his footwork, besides that, he’s above average across the board. He might quite possibly be better suited for 3rd base as time goes on but should also rank as an above average shortstop.

While catching Francisco Lindor and Manny Machado comparisons by scouts and my peer bloggers, Mauricio still has some ways to go till he’s Major League ready. However, expect to hear Mauricio’s name a lot. Whether it be by Minor League experts, the SNY booth, bloggers, and radio personalities, his name is going to come up often in the next two years.

The San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic native finished the 2019 campaign with a slash line of .268/.307/.357/.665 while hitting 20 doubles, five triples, four home runs. Mauricio also crossed the plate and scored 62 runs as well as driving in 37 RBI’s while swiping six bags.

While these numbers aren’t overwhelming at the very least, the infielder still earned his way into All-Star Game in the South Atlantic League as well as ranks as the top 80th prospect throughout all of Major League Baseball. He’s expected to make his Major League debut at some point during the 2022 campaign.

If Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets plan to make a big splash on the Trade Market, every General Manager and front office will want and ask for Mauricio as a return piece, understandably so.

Also read: #MetsCrushMonday: Andres Gimenez

#MetsCrushMonday: Ronny Mauricio

Now ranked as the number one prospect in the organization, Ronny Mauricio signed with the New York Mets in July, 2017 as an international free agent with a hefty check for $2.1M at the young age of 16 years old. The now 18 year old switch hitting shortstop will not have it easy, and I mean this in regards to his journey to the big leagues with the two shortstops that stand in front of him in the depth chart. However, even with Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez positioned in the way, Mauricio may be the better player of the tremendously talented trio.

Standing tall at 6’3″, you would expect Ronny Mauricio to have a lot of moving parts in his swing, however, this isn’t the case. The Dominican native has a very smooth stroke and an extremely good eye at the dish while he continues to give opposing pitchers a tough time, as he always seems to put together a quality at-bat.

He currently has more pop while batting against right handed pitching but as he continues to age, mature, and add muscle, I expect that his righty/lefty approach will develop into a more similar technique. Scouts suggest that Mauricio should hit for average as well for power due to his electric bat speed.

Defensively, Mauricio has very soft hands to go along with a cannon for an arm however he needs some work on his footwork, besides that, he’s above average across the board. He might quite possibly be better suited for 3rd base as time goes on but should also rank as an above average shortstop.

While catching Francisco Lindor and Manny Machado comparisons by scouts and my peer bloggers, Mauricio still has some ways to go till he’s Major League ready. However, expect to hear Mauricio’s name a lot. Whether it be by Minor League experts, the SNY booth, bloggers, and radio personalities, his name is going to come up often in the next two years.

The San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic native finished the 2019 campaign with a slash line of .268/.307/.357/.665 while hitting 20 doubles, five triples, four home runs. Mauricio also crossed the plate and scored 62 runs as well as driving in 37 RBI’s while swiping six bags.

While these numbers aren’t overwhelming at the very least, the infielder still earned his way into All-Star Game in the South Atlantic League as well as ranks as the top 80th prospect throughout all of Major League Baseball. He’s expected to make his Major League debut at some point during the 2022 campaign.

If Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets plan to make a big splash on the Trade Market, every General Manager and front office will want and ask for Mauricio as a return piece, understandably so.

Also read: #MetsCrushMonday: Andres Gimenez