Bigger make or break season: Kevin Parada vs. Alex Ramirez

Which prospect has more to lose in 2024?
Feb 23, 2023; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA;  New York Mets catcher Kevin Parada poses for a picture
Feb 23, 2023; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Kevin Parada poses for a picture / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the development of some of the New York Mets' top prospects, many eyes will be on two prospects entering crucial years for their development with both catcher Kevin Parada and outfielder Alex Ramirez. While both prospects have immense upside, there are some lingering concerns about the long-term vision for each player in regards to their potential fit with the big league club.

Both of these players have been ranked among the top ten in the Mets prospect rankings over the previous couple of seasons and going into the 2024 campaign. However, I believe each player needs to make a statement to avoid being left behind in the Mets prospect shuffle as we look ahead to the large youth movement occurring in their minor league system.

Why it's make or break for Kevin Parada

Upon the Mets selecting Parada with a first-round draft pick back in 2022, many believed Parada would be fast-tracked to Queens as the Mets' potential starting catcher of the future. However, with the emergence of Francisco Alvarez as well as him on the verge of becoming a superstar for the Mets, Parada's potential to step in as the Mets catcher of the future has taken a bit of a back seat.

For Parada, it's very well known that he isn't the strongest catcher defensively, especially with a below-average arm, but his bat has always been what is going to fast-track him to the big leagues. Parada had a decent season last year offensively across three levels (.248/.324/.428) but didn't exactly light the minors on fire as many fans expected. The power was there with 14 home runs, but Mets fans are going to have to see more with the bat in 2024 to justify his shortcomings defensively.

If Parada doesn't have a bigger year offensively, the Mets may be looking at Parada as a potential backup to their phenom in Francisco Alvarez or Parada could be used as trade bait down the line.

Why it's make or break for Alex Ramirez

Alex Ramirez was added to the Mets 40-man roster this winter to avoid losing him to the MLB Rule-5 Draft, which puts a little bit more pressure to perform in 2024. While Ramirez is still only 21 years old, his poor numbers offensively in A+ Brooklyn last season (.221/.310/.317) were a bit of a concern. In 2022, Ramirez broke out offensively and seemed like a sure bet to take a step forward in 2023 but unfortunately, that never came to fruition.

With the influx of young talent the Mets brought in at the trade deadline last summer, there is a good chance that Ramirez could get lost in the shuffle with another poor offensive season. With Drew Gilbert, as well as Ryan Clifford and Jett Williams who have the potential to see time in the outfield this season, there will be some pressure on Ramirez to perform to keep pace with the aforementioned three.

For Ramirez to not be considered a defensive first outfielder as well as maintain his pedigree as one of the Mets' top prospects, he will be expected to break out with his bat in a repeat year in A+ Brooklyn.

The tie-breaker

Regardless of how things may shake out, the amount of depth the Mets have in their minor league system is something we have not seen in quite some time. Ramirez could end up bouncing back this season and be on track to make his debut with the Mets within the next 2 seasons, and if Parada has a bigger offensive season than expected he could force his way to Queens sooner than later.

Each player could also have significant trade value should the Mets be in contention and be looking for another piece to get them over the hump this summer, such as a front-line starting pitcher or power bat. Either way, it appears with the amount of outfield depth the Mets have, as well as the 40-man roster spot that Ramirez is occupying it's more likely than not that Alex Ramirez is on the hot seat this season.