Before parting, Billy Eppler helped give the New York Mets a completely reloaded farm system. They're staring at a chance to have a top ten consensus minor league system in 2024. It's not all Eppler who built this but the arrow pointed up more than it has for a very long time after this year's trade deadline moves.
There is a ton to like about the farm system right now and yet not a single one of those players deserve to join Elliot Ness as an untouchable. Why should the Mets remain more open than they have in the past when it comes to their current crop of top prospects?
The Mets have some spare part in their minor league system
We're learning the harsh reality with young players. Many don't make it in the big leagues. Many who do will take a while. Francisco Alvarez has long been thought of as an untouchable Mets prospect who has now graduated into becoming an untouchable major league player. His rookie season in 2023 was imperfect and yet they’d be insane to move on from him so suddenly.
Brett Baty, on the other hand, feels a little less definite as a solution for the Mets at third base or anywhere else. He struggled mightily. There wasn’t the same kind of growth we saw out of Alvarez.
The reminder of how tough it is to make it in this league and contribute quickly makes each of the Mets minor leaguers expendable in the right deal. The lack of chains on them does go deeper. It's a mix of ability and the positions they play.
What made Alvarez so special was that he's a catcher with incredible offensive abilities. The ceiling for him is immense. Getting any sort of elite-level offense from the catcher position gives the Mets something most teams can only dream of obtaining.
None of the other minor leaguers are in the same position Alvarez was heading into this season. The positions they play and how many there are competing alongside each other give the Mets multiple options. Having the ability to choose between different players opens up more conversations when it comes to trades.
Where those spare prospect parts come from
The replenished crop of outfielders is headlined by Drew Gilbert with Jett Williams joining him after a position change from shortstop. Luisangel Acuna is a middle infielder already blocked at one position due to the presence of Francisco Lindor. At second base, there’s already competition with veteran Jeff McNeil and fellow youngster Ronnie Mauricio.
None of the pitchers are worthy of getting the untouchable sticker slapped on them. Mike Vasil is the closest to the majors. Blade Tidwell is arguably the one held in the highest regards. Then there are breakout candidates like Christian Scott and Tyler Stuart who may just as easily be "sell high" pieces as they are ones to hold on to tightly. As promising as each is, none are in that upper echelon of prospect.
It's a much different feel with the Mets farm system right now in the best way possible. A year ago, it was easy to declare certain prospects as untouchables. The reason was because the difference between their number five prospect and ten was so immense. Not anymore.
We should assume the Mets have some big swing in them eventually involving a large haul of minor leaguers. Who will it be for and which prospects will it involve?
Mets fans were forced into becoming a bit more devoted to the farm system this year because of the misery the major league team provided. Don’t get married to anyone just yet. The new front office regime alone makes these assets more available. It’s a good thing. No prospect should be forced to stay in the system and on track to make the majors for the simple fact the alternatives don’t exist.