The New York Mets have put a premium on acquiring and developing young talent since the trading deadline of 2023. Their farm system is on the rise. Even with decisions that have weakened their system immensely such as trading Pete Crow-Armstrong, Jarred Kelenic, and Endy Rodriguez, or failing to sign Kumar Rocker, the Mets minor league system has seen a huge turnaround in 2023.
As fans, we know the names of our coveted top prospects. Luisangel Acuna and Jett Williams are versatile infielders and outfielders with plus speed and enhanced line drive ability. Drew Gilbert is a "max effort" center fielder, drawing comparisons to Lenny Dykstra. Ryan Clifford profiles to be the next Lucas Duda with an opportunity to be the team’s answer at designated hitter. With performance, however, scouting reports change, forcing the top 30 prospect rankings to change as well. Knowing who our best prospects are, which ones will see their stock rise heading into the 2024 season, and which ones will fall?
1. Tyler Stuart will move up
While the 2021 draft did not feature a headliner for the Mets after failing to sign Rocker to a $4 million signing bonus, there were some hidden gems in the later rounds. Tyler Stuart was a relief pitcher at the University of Mississippi and pitched well during the Cape Cod League in 2021, earning him a 6th round selection by the Mets. To save most of their draft pool money to sign Rocker, the Mets signed Stuart for below slot value at $220,000.
Due to undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2021, Stuart did not officially debut for the Mets until late 2022 where he pitched just 2.2 innings at Single-A St. Lucie. After a nondescript first 2 seasons in the organization, Stuart completely broke all expectations in 2023. He threw 110.2 innings in 21 starts between A-Advanced Brooklyn and AA Binghamton including a 2.20 ERA and 112 strikeouts. He earned the EAS pitcher of the week award on August 27th after throwing 6 shutout innings in Binghamton's pursuit of an EAS title.
At 24 years old, Stuart figures to work into the Mets' plans by the end of 2024. Having made 11 starts for Binghamton last season and having success, Stuart could find himself pitching for AAA Syracuse early next season. He is currently ranked as the Mets' 17th-best prospect on the MLB pipeline, which seems light given his great 2023 season. Stuart’s only drawback is his two-pitch arsenal that only includes a low-90's fastball and low-80's slider. Even if Stuart profiles best as a long-reliver, the Mets have a clear need for younger bullpen help.