We at Rising Apple have made our Top 20 New York Mets prospects! Its time to see which future young players could help the Mets in the future. Lets take a look at #20 prospect P Junior Santos!
Name: Junior Santos Position: RHP Age: 20
Height/Weight: 6 ft 7, 244 Lbs Acquired: 2017 IFA Where he played in 2021: Low A St. Lucie
Signed out of the Dominican Republic as part of the New York Mets 2017 International free agency class for 275,000 dollars, Junior Santos stood out in more ways than one. First, his height as he stands at a whopping 6 ft 7. Second, his talent which he put out on display in the Dominican Summer League in 2018 and was quickly moved stateside at 17 years old. He was looking to take another step forward in 2019, but he struggled for the now-defunct Rookie Advanced Kingsport Mets (5.09 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 14 starts). He needed more time to develop and grow, but the 2020 season cancellation halted that until 2021. Santos spent this past year at Low A St. Lucie Mets for his age 19 season, where he put up mediocre numbers overall (4.59 ERA in 16 starts/21 games) but improved as the season wore on. He is slated to begin 2022 as a main member of the High A Brooklyn rotation.
Santos's main strength is his frame. Standing at 6 ft 7, he has the type of body that is meant for a starting pitcher and that scouts and executives dream about. He is pretty well filled out too and his body overall is very impressive, even at 20 years old. His main pitch is his fastball, which in 2021 he threw an average of around 95 mph, which occasionally rose to 96-97 mph. Due to his long levers, he generates a lot of perceived velocity and the ball looks faster to hitters than it would usually, a trait among taller pitchers. Santos may be able to sit 96-97 more often with continued mechanical refinement, but overall his fastball is pretty polished.
Santos has the tools to become successful, but he is still far away from being a serious big leaguer at the moment. His main issue his secondary pitches. While his fastball is solid, his slider and changeup and further behind, and neither of those two pitches are really special yet. His slider shows more potential as he gets a decent spin and late break on it, but it needs more work. His changeup is his weakest out of the three pitches and needs to be tinkered with. Another thing Santos has to work on is his control, as tall pitchers tend to lose consistency with their mechanics. If he can become better at controlling his pitches, his ceiling will stay as a starter. If not, he will most likely be moved to a bullpen role with the Mets.
Outlook for 2022 and beyond
Santos had a pretty average season in 2021, but I would bet for more improvement in 2022. He will most likely be starting in High A Brooklyn, where pitchers tend to thrive. His ceiling overall is still very strong, as his age of 20 bodes well for future development as time will be on his side. Santos is still a pitcher right now where the outcomes of his future could go anywhere, so a great 2022 season can do a lot to determine his future. If he can refine his mechanics and secondary pitches, and hopefully hit 96-97 mph more often, he can be a big-league starter by 2024 for the Mets. If not, he can be a high-velocity bullpen arm. This season will do a lot to inform us what he is.