Mets of the Future: Jeremy Vasquez yet another 1B prospect to watch
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets minor leaguer Jeremy Vasquez is reaching base at an unstoppable rate. He’s the latest man looking to win the first base job at Citi Field in the next few years.
We all know the name Dominic Smith and more fans are beginning to grow familiar with Peter Alonso. The plethora of first base prospects in the New York Mets minor league system is still growing.
Last year, in the 28th round of the MLB Draft, the Mets selected a Florida kid named Jeremy Vasquez. Normally, 28th round draft picks take years to develop. Often times, they never get a fair shake as a professional.
With the way Vasquez has begun his career, the Mets must allow him to grow.
What has Vasquez done already?
Last year at Kingsport and Brooklyn, Vasquez slashed .266/.368/.430 with 8 home runs in 280 trips to the plate. These numbers are by no means worthy of anointing him the offensive savior.
However, it’s what Vasquez is doing this year with the Columbia Fireflies that should have Mets fans on notice.
Vasquez is an on-base machine. In his first 23 games of 2018, he’s slashing .325/.455/.545. With 20 walks already, pitchers are either afraid of him or Vasquez knows the strike zone better than most kids his age.
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The left-handed hitting first baseman is only 21-years-old and a clear sleeper pick from last year’s draft. The Mets nailed it, possibly creating a great problem in the future with lots of talent at a single position.
I’ve written many times how I’m not sold on Smith ever amounting to much. He doesn’t have the power I want from a first baseman. Though Vasquez doesn’t appear to be a guy who will necessarily compete for a home run title, he strikes me as a guy who can develop into a good middle of the order bat.
Most promising of all is Vasquez’s ability to draw walks. Any time a young kid has this type of patience, he’s worth the commitment. Good plate discipline is something many young hitters struggle with. Vasquez already seems to be ahead of many of them.
Vasquez still strikes out as much as you would expect from a first baseman with pop. He makes up for it with an abundance of bases on balls.
I do see Smith or Alonso starting for the Mets at first base next season or at least sharing time with Jay Bruce. Vasquez would still need to graduate from Single-A and prove he can handle Double-A and Triple-A pitchers before making the leap over those two.
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At best, we’re looking at Vasquez in a Mets uniform in late 2020. Although, if he continues to hit like this, the other teams may discover him and come calling at the trade deadline.