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New York Mets prospects

NY Mets: 5 things I want to see from the farm system in 2022

DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Brett Baty #25 of the National League Futures Team bats against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Brett Baty #25 of the National League Futures Team bats against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK – JULY 30: A general view of the field of play between the New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on July 30, 2009 in New York, New York. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

3) A true center fielder for the Mets

Brandon Nimmo is a great offensive player, but the Mets could benefit from a better defender in center field.

Last year, in a three-team trade with the Royals and Red Sox that sent Andrew Benintendi to KC, the Mets acquired left-handed-hitting Kahlil Lee. MLB Pipeline has him rated as a 50 power, 55 run and field, and 60 arm. If there’s one knock on Lee, it’s that he’s going to strike out (29.6 K% in AAA), but he balances that with a high walk rate (18.3% BB%).

Lee made his major league debut in 2021, playing 11 games and struggling to the tune of a .167 OPS with 13 strikeouts in 18 at-bats and just one hit. He was demoted to AAA and got raging hot. He finished the season with a .274/.451/.500/.951 slash line. He hit 14 homers, 20 doubles, and scored 67 runs. He walked 71 times, which is impressive.

Defensively, he can play anywhere in the outfield. He has the speed and range to stay in center or the arm strength to play in right. Let’s say that Conforto accepts the qualifying offer or signs an extension, we could see an outfield alignment with Nimmo in left, Lee in center, and Conforto in right.

With Lee’s athleticism, the Mets could have their first true center fielder since Juan Lagares. And I don’t mean the post-injury Lagares in 2016 and 2017, I mean the gold glove award winner in 2014.

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