With the 2020 MLB Draft set to begin next week, the New York Mets could target multiple talented outfielders.
While the New York Mets minor-league system features a handful of talented prospects, there aren’t many high-ceiling outfielders included within the pool of young players.
Heading into this year’s MLB Draft, the Mets only have two outfielders (Alexander Ramirez and Freddy Valdez) featured on their top-30 prospects list, according to MLB.com. Unfortunately, the team shipped off their best young cornerman to the Mariners after the 2018 campaign.
Nearly two years ago, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen traded away future superstar Jarred Kelenic in a seven-player deal that included Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Since then, New York has been struggling to find its next promising young outfielder.
Luckily for Van Wagenen, the 2020 first-year player draft features a ton of blue-chip prospects in those regards. Even though all five of the team’s selections are slotted during the middle of each round, the Mets shouldn’t be prevented from targeting a few high-ceiling outfielders next week.
Here are three outfield prospects the Mets could target during this year’s draft.
If the Mets are serious about improving their pool of outfielders this season, they’ll likely need to select one during the opening round of the 2020 draft.
Among others, Robert Hassell is easily one of the best high school players available in this year’s class. Despite his commitment to Vanderbilt, one of the top baseball programs in the country, he’s expected to forgo his college career if chosen in the first round.
While there are many talented hitters in the 2020 prep class, Hassell is considered by many scouts as the best pure hitting high school player. Furthermore, the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year was exceptional at the plate and on the basepaths last season.
During the 2019 campaign, the two-way player hit 14 home runs, 36 RBI’s, notched a .423 average, and stole 22 bases. In addition, the 18-year-old recorded four doubles, one home run, and a slashing line of .385/.467/.654/1.121 during the 2019 MLB Prospect Development Pipeline showcase.
Despite his stellar swing path and outstanding hand-eye coordination from the left side of the plate, the 6-foot-2 outfielder became susceptible to strikeouts at times last season. Even though his bat features a ton of power, the left-handed batter started focusing solely on hitting balls over the fence. This ultimately led to an unnecessary number of swings and misses.
Moving forward, Hassell is certainly capable of transferring his slugging metrics over to the next level. With that said, his ceiling at the plate will likely be determined by how often he chases pitches outside of the strike zone.
As for his defense, the lefty’s quickness will likely provide him with an opportunity to play in center field at the next level. On the mound, the youngster featured a low-90s fastball, a trait that will likely allow him to have a powerful outfield arm throughout his career.
While some scouts are concerned about Hassell’s tools in the field, his impressive skills at the plate will likely make up for any of his defensive flaws. If the explosive lefty can keep his strikeout totals to a minimum, his bat could quickly carry him through the minor leagues.
Here are some of Hassell’s highlights from the Perfect Game National Showcase in 2019:
After the Athletics selected him out of high school in the 39th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Hudson Haskin declined to sign with the team and headed to Tulane instead.
With so many talented outfielders expected to be selected ahead of Haskin in this year’s draft, the 21-year-old could definitely fall to the Mets in either the second or third round. Regardless of when he’s chosen, the New York native has been very effective at the plate and displayed his ability to barrel up pitches over his near-1.5 collegiate seasons.
During Haskin’s freshman campaign, he received 245 plate appearances and produced 19 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 52 RBI’s, a 10.6% walk rate, 11.8% strikeout rate along with a slashing line of .372/.459/.647/1.106.
Along with these stellar results, the right-handed batter carried his performance into this spring and was on pace to record more walks than strikeouts. In total, the power-hitting righty earned 84 plate appearances and created six doubles, one triple, one home run, 14 RBI’s, a 16.7% walk rate, 11.9% strikeout rate, and a slashing line of .333/.452/.500/.952.
In high school, Haskin was able to break George Springer’s stolen base record with 36, but hasn’t been as aggressive with the Green Wave — having recorded just five stolen bases. Nonetheless, the 6-foot-2 outfielder swiped 17 bases in 32 games during the 2019 summer league.
As a result of his explosive speed, the 2018 Perfect Game All-America Honorable Mention was able to track balls in center field with perfection over the last two seasons. While the right-hander can range from gap-to-gap very easily, he’ll need to improve his average arm strength at the next level.
If chosen by the Mets, there’s a very good chance Haskin could develop into their future starting center fielder. In addition, his power and speed could help him become a 20-20 player in the major leagues.
Here’s a clip of Haskin participating in drills during the shortened 2020 campaign:
While both Hassell and Haskin carry the potential to start in center field at the next level, Tyler Gentry will undoubtedly be limited to a corner outfield spot during his career. Despite his defensive woes, the 21-year-old destroyed baseballs with his powerful swing during his near-1.5 seasons at Alabama.
During his 2019 freshman campaign, Gentry received 238 plate appearances and produced 12 doubles, 13 home runs, 42 RBI’s along with a slashing line of .310/.378/.552/.931.
Despite these All-Star worthy results, the 6-foot-2 outfielder’s approach at the plate became overly aggressive. This led to a 21.4% strikeout rate along with an 8% walk rate. Luckily, the former Crimson Tide was on his way towards correcting these issues this spring, having created a 13.5% strikeout and walk rate.
Along with improving his discipline at the plate, Gentry was also on pace to outproduce his results from the 2019 campaign before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the remainder of the season.
During the shortened 2020 campaign, the right-handed batter hit six doubles, four home runs, 21 RBI’s, and a slashing line of .429/.554/.750/1.304 over his 74 plate appearances.
Even though Gentry’s tools at the plate could push him as high as the second or third round, his struggles in the outfield will likely cause him to slip down into the final two rounds of the draft. At that point, the Mets could target him with one of their final two selections.
As the offensive-first outfielder transitions to the next level, he’ll need to continue working on his discipline at the plate to prevent his slugging numbers from declining. If the Tennessee native improves his outfield footwork, his solid arm strength and respectable range could help him become an above-average defender at the next level.
Here are some of Gentry’s highlights from the 2019 summer league:
FOR FULL STORY ON STANDARD WEBSITE: Three potential outfield prospects the New York Mets could target during 2020 MLB Draft | Elite Sports NY