The New York Mets have had difficulty evaluating their prospects at the lower levels of the farm system. Players that were considered "non-descript" were dealt in trades that ended up having little success on the major league ballclub. While players just coming out of high school are tough to evaluate, other organizations found value in these prospects while the Mets did not. Under David Stearns' leadership, this trend figures to change given his track record of minor league success with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The most notable names to have been traded away before reaching their full potential are Jarred Kelenic and Pete Crow-Armstrong. Though these are the most recognizable, the list does go further. During the 2019-20 offseason, Brodie Van Wagenen traded rookie ball outfielder Kenedy Corona for Jake Marisnick. Cordero has become a power threat through his journey in the Astros farm system. In 2021, the Mets traded a 20-year-old Endy Rodriguez for Joey Lucchesi. Rodriguez is one of the top-catching prospects in all of baseball.
With this track record, the Mets must be more careful in their evaluation of rookie-ball players. Billy Eppler seemed to be bucking that trend, having acquired three prospects age 19 or younger at the trade deadline. While Eppler earned accolades for acquiring Ronald Hernandez and Marco Vargas in the David Robertson trade, there was another prospect that went completely under the radar.
Mets fans should be more excited about Infielder Jeremy Rodriguez.
When the Mets traded Tommy Pham to the Arizona Diamondbacks this past July, very few fans had ever heard the name Jeremy Rodriguez before. Signed for $1.25 million out of the Dominican Republic in January, Rodriguez is a 17-year-old middle-infielder that currently ranks 30th on MLB Pipeline's Mets top prospects. While still at a very young age, the Mets have struck gold for a backup outfielder in Pham.
Rodriguez spent all of last season in the Dominican Summer League where he was hitting a measly .246 with 2 home runs and 18 RBI. Upon his arrival, however, Rodriguez got red hot suiting up in the orange and blue. He hit .422 in 13 games with the rookie-ball Mets, including 11 walks and just 4 strikeouts. Rodriguez showcased his great stolen base ability, recording 19 of them between the two clubs.
Mets fans should get used to the name Rodriguez when evaluating the top prospects list. In a short sample size, the 17-year-old showed advanced plate discipline and an ability to make things happen on the base paths. His defense is a work in progress, having 14 errors in 42 games at shortstop, but seemed comfortable moving over to play second base. The Mets would be wise to keep Rodriguez until he reaches his full prospect potential. Keep in mind, that prospects are not necessarily about building the 2025 Mets roster- they are also assets that can be valued in the right deal.