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Álvarez, Baty rake their way through upper levels

Mets' star prospects ride dominant seasons to Major League debuts
Francisco Álvarez led all Mets Minor Leaguers with 27 homers and tied for first with 70 walks. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)
November 4, 2022

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2022 Organization All-Stars series are the New York Mets.

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2022 Organization All-Stars series are the New York Mets.

2022 Organization Summary

Triple-A Syracuse: 64-85
Double-A Binghamton: 53-83
High-A Brooklyn: 70-62 (second-half division winner)
Single-A St. Lucie: 73-56 (Florida State League champion)
DSL Mets 1: 31-28
DSL Mets 2: 24-33
FCL Mets: 33-22 (division winner)
Overall record: 348-369 (.485 winning percentage, 21st among MLB organizations)

Mets Organization All-Stars

Catcher: Francisco Álvarez

MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect was the last in a trio of the elite Mets prospects to reach the Majors this season, where he showed a glimpse of his game-changing power and earned a spot on the post-season roster. His late-September call-up probably could've happened sooner if not for an ankle injury that later required surgery. Álvarez still led the farm system with 27 homers and tied for first with 70 walks while batting .260 with an .885 OPS.

“I think his biggest improvement was his ability to control the strike zone, recognize pitches, lay off pitches that aren't in his power zone and make the pitcher work,” said Kevin Howard, the Mets' director of player development.

The 20-year-old earned a promotion from Binghamton to Syracuse following his Futures Game appearance, but struggled early. He found his groove in his last 34 Triple-A games, however, batting .266 with an .889 OPS and eight homers over that span.

Howard also made note of Álvarez’s defensive strides, noting his receiving showed a lot of improvement along with his ability to work with pitchers and command a game.

First base: Mark Vientos

New York’s seventh-ranked prospect was the second player in that trio to hit the Majors, and though he had a difficult big-league debut, the 22-year-old was one of the best hitters in the International League for most of the year.

“He's a very disciplined hitter. He makes pitchers work to get him out, stays in the opposite field gap. He's got tremendous power that way,” Howard said. “It makes him tough to pitch to because he never tries to do too much. He never tries to be a hitter he's not.”

In his first full season at Triple-A, Vientos ranked in the top five in the organization in batting (.280), homers (24), RBIs (72), slugging (.519) and OPS (.877). Vientos also represented the Mets in the Futures Game, where he started at first base. This was the first season that the natural third baseman shared time at the opposite corner of the diamond.

Second base: Wyatt Young

The 2021 15th-rounder opened the year in Brooklyn but was elevated to Syracuse after just five games. He tore the cover off the ball during a 19-game stint in Triple-A, batting .352 with an .883 OPS and nearly as many walks as strikeouts, before being assigned to Binghamton, where he spent the remainder of the season. Young hit .257 with 20 doubles, four triples and six homers for the Rumble Ponies and finished in a tie with Álvarez for most walks in the organization. Defensively, Young continued to shift from shortstop to second base.

Third base: Brett Baty

While the lasting memory of Baty’s season will likely be homering for his first MLB hit, he also had the best statistical season of any Mets Minor Leaguer. Among hitters with at least 250 plate appearances, the 22-year-old led the organization in batting (.315), on-base percentage (.415), slugging (.533), OPS (.943) and runs (76).

“I think he exceeded expectations, and that says a lot,” Howard said. “Before the season, he had some holes in the strike zone, he had some weak spots, and I think he worked hard to cover those up.”

The No. 18 overall prospect was Eastern League Player of the Month in July and then played in just six games at Syracuse before being pulled up to the Majors in mid-August. He was getting regular at-bats for New York before a torn UCL in his right thumb ended his season in late August. Howard indicated that Baty should be ready by Spring Training.

Shortstop: Ronny Mauricio

The 21-year-old was one of only eight Minor Leaguers with at least 25 homers and 20 stolen bases this season. Mauricio led the organization with a personal-best 89 RBIs while also setting career highs with 26 long balls, 20 stolen bases, 71 runs, 132 hits, 26 doubles, a .472 slugging percentage and .768 OPS.

“The improvement in his power is the big thing that sticks out. He's maturing physically,” Howard said.

The club’s No. 6 prospect spent the entire season with Binghamton before joining Licey in the Dominican Winter League, where he’s been one of the hottest hitters. Mauricio is batting .381 with a 1.068 OPS in his first 10 games of winter ball.

“I think that's a tribute to the work he does in the weight room, the work he does in the training room,” Howard said. “What he's doing in winter ball right now is absolutely amazing. And the way he started to control the strike zone in winter ball, it's really encouraging.”

Outfield: Alex Ramirez

The Mets haven’t rewarded many $2 million bonuses on the international market, but they took that chance on Ramirez in 2019, and the payoff has been almost immediate. The 19-year-old was the best hitter in the lineup of the organization’s two most successful full-season affiliates in 2022.

“I feel like the bigger the spotlight, the better the player. He really likes pressure. He likes expectations, and he likes being pushed,” Howard said. “I think the more we saw him challenged, the more you saw him turn into a superstar.”

The club’s No. 4 prospect stole 21 bases while bashing 11 homers and driving in 71 runs between St. Lucie and Brooklyn. His lowest graded tool was his bat-to-ball ability, but he led the system with 140 total hits, 92 singles, 30 doubles and seven triples. Defensively, he played the bulk of the year in center but had three outfield assists in 18 games in right.

Jake Mangum

The 26-year-old center fielder arguably has the best glove in the system, but his work at the plate at the Minors' highest level stood out in his second full season. Mangum opened with Binghamton, then went on the injured list with a stress reaction in his spine in June just 11 games after a promotion to Syracuse. He played eight rehab games in the FCL and Binghamton before returning to the International League on Aug. 31. Over his final 22 games, Mangum hit .333 with an .856 OPS, nine extra-base hits and 16 RBIs. Overall, he ranked second in the organization with a .306 average and fourth with a .363 on-base percentage.

Omar De Los Santos

The 23-year-old ran his way into the Mets’ record books with 70 stolen bases for St. Lucie. Since 1988, there have only been 62 Minor Leaguers to steal 70 bases in a season. The last Mets prospect to do it was Wayne Lydon, who swiped 75 bags in 2003 and 87 the year prior. De Los Santos finished in a tie for the third-most in the Minors this season and was one of only two Minor Leaguers with at least 15 homers and more than 50 stolen bases.

Right-handed starting pitcher: Dominic Hamel

Howard said Hamel was slowed a bit by an injury he suffered in Spring Training, but he was brilliant to close out the year. Over his final 15 starts, the club’s No. 12 prospect compiled a 2.45 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 77 innings while holding batters to a .169 average. He made five scoreless appearances after a mid-year promotion to the Cyclones, including his last two starts of the regular season.

“I think Dominic was even better than his numbers, and his numbers were pretty good,” Howard said. “About his last three fourths of the year, he dominated.”

Overall, Hamel led the organization with 145 strikeouts, 10.97 strikeouts per nine and a .194 opponent’s batting average, while his 3.25 ERA ranked third among all Mets pitchers to complete at least 80 innings.

Left-handed starting pitcher: Javier Atencio

The Mets traded a lot of their pitching depth in service to the big-league roster but managed to hold on to a few intriguing names. Atencio, a 20-year-old Venezuelan, was in the same signing class as Álvarez in 2018 and made his full-season debut this year. He was strong out of the gate, compiling 44 strikeouts and a 2.14 ERA over eight starts before a two-month stay on the IL. He returned to St. Lucie after three rehab starts in the FCL and made relief appearances in each of the club’s two wins in the championship series. Overall, Atencio completed just 43 ⅔ innings but allowed more than two runs in just one of his 13 outings.

Reliever: Grant Hartwig

The Mets had strong seasons from a number of relievers, but the 25-year-old found success at all four full-season levels. Hartwig went 6-2 with a 1.75 ERA over 39 outings, striking out 83 in 56 ⅔ innings while holding opposing batters to a .187 average.

“He absolutely dominated,” Howard said. “It's everything you want out of a pitcher. There's stuff and there's command. He's got a very mature ability to command his slider at any time in the count. … When you throw in the mid-90s, and you could throw that devastating slider at any time … it's very difficult for hitters to deal with.”

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound righty isn’t having the same type of success with Peoria in the Arizona Fall League after making 32 scoreless appearances in the regular season.

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for