Welcome to the eighteenth installment of my series, 2021 Diamonds in the Rough as we meet and greet the New York Mets.
In this article, I will break down four prospects–two hitting and two pitching–from the New York Mets farm system. Shoutout to my Mets guru, former Mets Player Development Associate Harris Yudin (@hayudi18), for recommending some of these guys (and also for just being an overall excellent dude).
Last time out, I took a look at some of the Minnesota Twins prospects.
In deep dynasty leagues, the ability to spot high-upside lower-ranked prospects before they become household names in the fantasy baseball community can make a big difference to the long-term success of your team.
To qualify as a diamond in the rough for this series, a player must be currently ranked lower than No. 15 on their team’s latest MLB Pipeline Prospect Rankings.
Check out our 2021 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings to help you dominate your leagues.
2021 New York Mets Diamonds in the Rough
Adrian Hernandez, OF (#29)
Bats: R | Throws: R
Tools: 45 Hit | 50 Power | 55 Run | 55 Field | 55 Arm
Highest Level: High-A
Adrian Hernandez is the third #Mets top 30 prospect to hit his first Brooklyn Cyclones home run tonight.
It's been a rough start for the 20-year-old, but the Mets gave him $1.5 million in 2017 for power like this. pic.twitter.com/uKMf9q3S3y
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) June 2, 2021
The Mets signed Adrian Hernandez out of the Dominican Republic during the 2017 international signing period.
Hernandez had a solid showing in the 2018 Dominican Summer League (DSL), hitting .261 with an above average .351 OBP and five homers to go along with nine steals in 63 games. In addition, Hernandez posted a great .364 wOBA and an above average 116 wRC+.
Though Hernandez made his stateside debut in Rookie ball in 2019, his debut was cut short four games in after suffering a lower body injury. Through those four games, Hernandez picked up where he left off, hitting .286 with a great .375 OBP to go along with a homer and a steal. Despite the microscopic sample size, Hernandez hinted at increased power.
Interestingly, though Hernandez has some swing-and-miss issues and does not have a particularly impressive walk rate, he managed to keep his OBP 90 percentage points above his already solid average in each of his first two seasons.
However, Hernandez has not had the same success to start the 2021 season in High-A, where he is three years younger than his average competition. Through 16 games, Hernandez is hitting a weak .140 with an unsightly .169 OBP and .193 SLG. Further, Hernandez has seen his walk rate and strikeout rate devolve to untenable levels.
So what are we to make of all of this?
Well here it is — Hernandez is a power-speed darling. Other than prospects who walk more than they strikeout, prospects with power-speed upside (which ironically, seem diametrically opposed) are my kryptonite. According to Baseball America, “[b]elow-average pitch recognition and an uphill swing path could limit Hernandez’s ability to hit for a high average, but he works hard on all facets of his craft and has immense power-speed potential.”
During his brief minor league career, Hernandez has displayed his need for both power and speed. Over 83 professional games, Hernandez has seven homers and eleven steals. Hernandez pairs elite bat speed and impressive raw power, albeit with some significant swing-and-miss issues due to his uppercut swing.
In the field, Hernandez profiles as an above average outfielder. He possesses solid instincts and an above average arm to go with his plus speed. While Hernandez has seen the majority of his defensive reps in center and could very well stick there with his tools, per Baseball America, “[s]ome scouts believe that with continued physical maturation he’ll outgrow center and move to a corner.” Regardless of his spot, Hernandez’s defense should only help to accelerate his track to the majors.
At this point, Hernandez is more raw tools than production, but his pure upside makes him worth monitoring. He will need to overcome his lower body concerns and improve his hit tool, but Hernandez has significant upside due to his intriguing power-speed combination.
In the words of MLB Pipeline, “[t]he mix of power and speed give Hernandez too much of a tantalizing ceiling to be overlooked.”
Stanley Consuegra, OF (Unranked)
Bats: R | Throws: R
Tools: 45 Hit | 55 Power | 50 Run | 45 Field | 60 Arm
Highest Level: Rookie
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) July 2, 2017
The Mets signed Stanley Consuegra out of the Dominican Republic during the 2017 international signing period.
After only 13 games in the 2018 DSL, the Mets brought Consuegra stateside to make his Rookie ball. Across the two levels, Consuegra hit an underwhelming .212/.302/.349 with four homers and nine steals over 275 plate appearances. However, Consuegra also demonstrated advanced plate discipline, posting above-average strikeout (16.7 percent) and walk (9.5 percent) rates. It is also important to keep in mind that Consuegra was nearly three years younger than his average competition.
Unfortunately, Consuegra missed the entire 2019 minor league season with a torn ACL. Then, as we all know, the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
At 6-foot-3 and 173 pounds, Consuegra has a very projectable frame. Further, Consuegra is a quick-twitch athlete with a propensity for barreling baseballs and generating high exit velocities. According to Baseball America, “Conseugra’s swing is geared toward hitting low-trajectory line drives, which are usually loud with good carry off his bat. Consuegra has shown good bat-to-ball skills but he can get a little rigid with his trigger, so he has worked on trying to loosen that up in an attempt to drive more balls in the air.”
With above-average raw power, Consuegra could see a significant uptick in power with added muscle and loft to his swing.
In the field, Consuegra is a converted shortstop and it shows in his outfield defense. He has solid range and an absolute missile of an arm in the outfield. In fact, Baseball America rated Consuegra as the best outfield arm in the Mets system in both 2019 and 2021. For those keeping count at home, Baseball America rated Hansel Moreno as the best outfield arm in the Mets system in 2020.
As evidence of his excellent arm, Consuegra compiled an absurd 11 outfield assists in only 62 games in 2018. That’s pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty…pretty good.
Though Consuegra has not played in the minors since 2018 and only has 64 total games under his belt, this is the kind of kid that shoot up rankings with more playing time. He hits the ball hard, he’s an above-average runner and he has an elite arm with solid defensive chops.
I think Consuegra will show a better hit tool with more experience. Further, look for Consuegra to display more in-game power as he fills out his projectable frame. Like Hernandez, Consuegra has the chance to be a bona fide producer in both power and speed categories.
Armed with all the tools to breakout in a major way once he hits the field, this should be Consuegra’s last year outside the Mets top 30 prospects.
Jose Butto, RHP (#15)
Bats: R | Throws: R
Tools: 55 FB | 45 CB | 60 CH | 50 CNTRL
Highest Level: High-A
Jose Butto had his best outing of the season today. The right-hander struck out seven over 5.0 shutout frames. pic.twitter.com/3C0wFGqYEZ
— Brooklyn Cyclones (@BKCyclones) June 13, 2021
The Mets signed Jose Butto out of Venezuela during the 2017 international signing period.
Butto turned heads during his professional debut in the 2017 Dominican Summer League (DSL). He compiled an impressive 1.44 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with a 41/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 50 innings. In 2018, Butto got off to an excellent start in Rookie ball. He posted a 1.93 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with a perfect 3-0 record and a solid 31/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 32.3 innings. After being promoted to Low-A, Butto struggled in six games, limping to a 6.11 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.
However, Butto bounced back at Class A in 2019. Despite a deceiving 4-10 record, Butto posted a solid 3.62 ERA and fabulous 1.17 WHIP over 112 innings (25 starts). Butto finished in the top 10 in the 2019 South Atlantic League in both ERA and WHIP. Further, only two other Mets full-season pitchers posted a WHIP lower than Butto in 2019. To corroborate his excellent WHIP, Butto posted above average and career best walk (6.6 percent) and strikeout rates (23.3 percent). In addition, he struck out roughly a batter per inning and posted an encouraging 13.2 percent swinging strike rate.
According to Baseball America, “Butto was one of the most impressive pitchers at the Mets’ instructional league in 2020, throwing strikes at a high rate, limiting hard contact and striking out a batter per inning.”
Though his first seven starts at High-A in 2021, Butto has posted an ugly 5.11 ERA. and a decent 1.24 WHIP However, a deeper look into the numbers reveal that Butto has actually had a pretty good start to the season. First, Butto has posted above average strikeout (23.2 percent) and walk (7.7 percent) rates. In addition, Butto is holding opposing hitters to a weak .239 average against.
Other than in three starts, Butto has been very strong in 2021. Butto has allowed no more than two runs or two walks in his other five starts. He also went at least five innings in four of those five starts. Further, Butto had his best start of the season on June 13. In that start, Butto tossed five shutout innings, allowing only three hits and two walks while racking up a season-high seven strikeouts.
Butto is best known for his excellent changeup. In fact, Baseball America rated Butto as the pitcher with the best changeup in the Mets system in both 2020 and 2021. Butto uses a circle change grip and mirrors the arm speed and tunneling of his fastball. Further, Butto’s changeup often has over 10 mph of separation from his fastball, which sits around 93 mph (and has touched 96 mph). His fastball possesses plus spin and riding action Per MLB Pipeline, “Butto also sports a two-seamer that the organization has worked with him on, making sure it provides different movement from his four-seam.”
To complement his fastball-changeup combination, Butto displayed significant improvements with his curveball during 2020 instructs. According to Baseball America, “[t]he Mets challenged [Butto] to up his curve usage from 10 percent to 20 percent and spin the pitch straight up and down to complement his riding fastball. He developed enough trust to use it as more than a show-me pitch.” With an improved curveball, Butto sports an intriguing three-pitch mix, which helps his case to stay in the rotation.
To this point in career, Butto has flown a bit under the radar. He has a top-tier changeup with excellent control and above-average strikeout stuff. Further responding to the Mets’ challenge and developing a third pitch was a huge step in untapping Butto’s potential. Per MLB Pipeline, “[t]he promising velocity and near-elite changeup have given Butto a much brighter future than the one predicted for him when he first signed.”
At already 23 years old in a system lacking upper minors pitching depth, I could see the Mets accelerating Butto’s path to the majors. Butto projects as more of a mid-to-back end rotation option. However, I believe that Butto possesses the tools to make some noise in 2021 and could prove to be a solid rotation option for the Mets in the near future.
Richard Brito, RHP (Unranked)
Bats: R | Throws: R
Tools: 60 FB | 50 SL | 45 CB | 40 CH | 50 CNTRL
Highest Level: N/A
Source: Mets gave Richard Brito a $40K signing bonus. @BenBadler reported earlier today that the Mets signed the right-hander.
The 21-year-old Venezuelan has hit 100 MPH with his fastball as you can see in the video. pic.twitter.com/BcIUIqvMBM
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) July 3, 2020
Now we go from changeup to fastball. From Butto to Brito. From high floor to high ceiling.
The Mets signed Richard Brito out of Venezuela during the 2019 international signing period. However, Brito was unable to obtain a visa in 2020 and did not play in the DSL due to injury.
Though Brito was relatively old for an international signee at 21, his electric fastball has already reached 100 mph. In addition, he has a big, mature frame conducive to maintaining his elite velocity. According to Ben Badler at Baseball America, “[a]t 6-foot-4, 198 pounds, Brito complements his riding fastball with a tight-spinning slider.”
With respect to his mechanics, in the words of Steve Sypa at Amazin Avenue, Brito “throws from a high-three quarters arm slot, utilizing a big leg lift and a short arm action through the back.” If there has been one thing that I have learned from analyzing pitching prospects over the last seventeen articles, your boy loves some short arm action.
Brito often draws comparisons to fellow Venezuelan native, flamethrower and MLB Pipeline’s No. 13 ranked Mets prospect, Robert Dominguez. Though Dominguez is nearly three years younger than Brito, he stands at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds with an electric fastball and an above-average breaking ball. Ironically, per MLB Pipeline, Dominguez’s breaking ball was “previously classified as a curveball but now looking more like a slider.” Dominguez has been a big riser in prospect rankings, so the Brito comps should not be ignored.
While the electric fastball and tight slide piece headline Brito’s arsenal, reports indicate that Brito’s trainer, Norberto Rivas, also has him working out a variety of pitches, including a sinker, cutter, splitter, curveball and changeup.
It will be interesting to see which additional pitches will stick. Brito would benefit from developing an off-speed pitch, as both his fastball and slider sit in the upper-90s mph. Additional offerings would also help minimize Brito’s bullpen risk, as his current repertoire is reminiscent of that of a closer. However, Brito is a relatively late bloomer and I think he will be able to develop at least a third pitch to help him stick in the Mets future rotation plans.
There will not be much clear about Brito until he makes his professional debut. However, early footage and reports make one thing clear. Brito is a prospect with a ceiling to dream on and he deserves your attention. His current arsenal is electric and I like that he is working with Rivas on a variety of pitches.
Brito is a name to keep a close eye on because he has the stuff to explode once debuts. Are we talking about a future top 100 prospect? Only time will tell, but its absolutely not beyond the realms of possibility.
Consider jumping on the wagon early here. Brito’s breakout is coming.
To uncover more high-upside lower-ranked prospects, you can access all of the articles for other teams in my 2021 Diamonds in the Rough series here.
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