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New York Mets prospects

New York Mets: 10 undervalued prospects to watch this season

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PHILADELPHIA - MAY 01: Batting helmets are seen during batting practice before the Philadelphia Phillies play the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - MAY 01: Batting helmets are seen during batting practice before the Philadelphia Phillies play the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Mets
Mets

Ali Sanchez C

Sanchez is an important asset to the Mets’ farm system for one reason: defense. He is one of the best defensive catchers in the Minor Leagues, leaving only his bat in question.

Quality catchers have become a scarce resource in the Majors, especially for the Mets in recent seasons. Sanchez may represent a refreshing presence on the squad in a couple of years due to his poise behind the plate. MLB.com grades Sanchez’s fielding ability as a 65 and throwing arm a 60 on the 20-80 scale.

His hitting leaves much to be desired. But, who’s to say he can’t develop into a Martin Maldonado type in the future? A catcher who doesn’t get on base much but provides such great defense he makes his team better.

The Mets will continue to be a team built around pitching by the time Sanchez is ready for the call. I’d feel a lot better with a defensive wizard behind the plate controlling the game and keeping the pitching staff comfortable compared to someone like Travis d’Arnaud who has weak footwork and still struggles to reach base on offense.

No one expects Sanchez’s bat to come around and reach a level close to his defensive abilities. But, even if he remains a light-hitting option, I am confident he will be guaranteed a spot as a backup catcher on the Mets or another organization because of his skills at a defense-first position.

Junior Santos RHP

Santos is a 6’8’’ right-handed pitcher with a plus fastball and he’s only 17 years old. Normally, these things would suggest that Santos is an unrefined work-in-progress. However, what separates him from the rest is that he has plus control.

Santos threw 50 innings in rookie ball and allowed just 6 walks (1.08 BB/9) last year. He was difficult to hit as well, allowing only 14 runs (2.52 ERA) and striking out 36 batters.

It’s rare for a young pitcher like Santos to exhibit such command on the mound, especially given his height which would normally hinder the mechanics of an inexperienced hurler. And, since his fastball already sits 91-95 mph, all he needs to do is be consistent with his secondary pitches (a slider and changeup) to succeed at a higher level.

I’m excited to see how Santos matures physically and mentally.  With the tools he already possesses, it would be interesting to see if his stuff gets even better. Pairing good pitches with above-average control and a release point from a 6’8’’ frame could make Santos very hard to hit in the future.

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