2) A cornerstone third baseman for the Mets
The Mets haven’t had a great third baseman since David Wright retired.
Fortunately, that’s about to change. Two of the Mets’ top six prospects are third basemen, and there’s another candidate to play the hot corner on top of that.
Brett Baty has drawn rave reviews since the Mets drafted him out of high school in 2019. Baty entered the draft as a 19-year-old high school senior, and his advanced age may have spooked other teams away from drafting him, so he fell to the Mets at #12 overall. MLB Pipeline rates him as a 55 hitter, 60 power and arm, and 50 field. Baty had a great season in 2021, putting up an .855 OPS with 12 homers and 22 doubles across A+ and AA, and he followed that with a good showing in the Arizona Fall League as well. He is the most likely third baseman of the future in my opinion, but he has spent time in left field as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if he starts the season in AAA and eventually makes his debut in ‘22.
Mark Vientos is the #6 prospect in the Mets’ system and the next candidate to be a cornerstone third baseman. Vientos was the Mets’ second-round pick in the 2017 draft at just 17 years old. Vientos has light-tower power, rated as a 60 on MLB Pipeline. His arm is also a 60. He hit 25 homers and 18 doubles this season, good for a stellar .581 slugging percentage and a .933 OPS. He spent most of the season in AA but got promoted to AAA for the last 11 games of the season. He should start there in 2022 and make his major league debut at some point.
The other candidate to potentially play third base is Ronny Mauricio. Since Francisco Lindor has shortstop locked up for the next decade, Mauricio doesn’t have a set position to play in the big leagues. Mauricio has a 50 hit tool, 60 power and arm, and 55 field. Personally, I think second base is a more likely home for him than third base, since some combination of Baty and Vientos will hold down third. Mauricio probably won’t come up until 2023, and I think there’s a good chance the Mets move on from Jeff McNeil before then.
There’s also the chance that one of these three gets used as trade bait. They have already drawn interest in trade talks, and there’s no reason to think that will stop. For them to be involved in a trade, the Mets would have to be getting someone pretty good in return.