MMO 2023 Top 30 Mets Prospects: 25-21 Led By William Lugo

This is the second edition of the 2023 MMO prospect countdown with the previous post featuring entirely right-handed pitchers.

25. Jacob Reimer, 3B

B/T: R/R     Age: 2/22/2004 (18)
Ht: 6’2″        Wt: 205 lb.
Acquired: 2022 Fourth Round Pick from Yucaipa HS (Yucaipa, CA)
2027    Previous Ranks: N/A
2022 Stats (FCL): .261/.414/.478, 3B, HR, 7 RBI

Reimer made a strong impression right out of the gate for the FCL Mets after signing. The third baseman, a draftee out of Yucaipa High School in Yucaipa, California, slashed .261/.414/.478 over a 23 at-bat sample size for the Mets and smashed his first professional homer.

Reimer has a stellar eye at the plate, uses the entire field, and has solid power at the dish. Offensively, the bat projects to be there. His strong eye allows him to be selective with the pitches he sees and optimize his potential to drive the baseball, and his strong frame helps him follow through on that potential.

There have been questions before about his ability to barrel up the baseball, but those were quieting down during his strong senior year in high school. He hit just under .400 and smacked eight homers in his final amateur season.

His 6’2, 205 lb. frame figures to make him a third baseman, where he has played most of his life, but he also has amateur experience at shortstop. All of the games he started in the field for the FCL Mets came at third base. I would be shocked to see him play anywhere else in his first full season.

His frame should also fill out more, considering he won’t turn 19 until late in February, which will allow for more power to develop. Reimer strikes me as more of a project prospect, but the make is definitely there and he possesses a great build for a third baseman with power.

Nick Morabito, Photo by Ed Delany of Mets Minors

24. Nick Morabito, OF

B/T: R/R     Age: 5/7/2003 (19)
Ht: 5’11”        Wt: 185 lb.
Acquired: 2022 Second Round Pick from Gonzaga College HS (Washington, DC)
2027    Previous Ranks: N/A
2022 Stats (FCL): .091/.167/.136, 2B, RBI, SB

Nick Morabito was the Mets’ 2nd round selection in the 2022 draft and their fourth player taken overall. Morabito made his pro-debut in the FCL last year, and only mustered a .303 OPS over 22 at-bats. Morabito was drafted out of high school in Virginia, and will make it to Opening Day at just 19 years old.

He projects as a corner outfielder, who also can play some infield up the middle. It would not be surprising to see the Mets deploy Morabito all over the field. Morabito won the Gatorade Player of the Year award for the state of Virginia in 2022, a season in which he hit .545 and stole 52 bases. His build at 5’11 but 185 lbs makes him a smaller, yet thicker and more compact player who will never have questions of athleticism or being in shape.

He projects to have a solid bat that produces some power, but not a ton. One evaluator I spoke to believes that Morabito likely ends up with gap-to-gap type of power, and not exactly the type that consistently puts the baseball over the wall. This can change, obviously, as he continues to age and fill out his frame, but the expectations for power as of right now aren’t too high.

Defensively, it feels too early to project where he ends up, but I expect the Mets to give him the majority of his work in the outfield in the 2023 season. Given that he started a handful of games in 2022 in center field, it feels natural for the organization to continue down the path of defensive growth up the middle for the 19-year-old.

Jawilme Ramirez, Photo by Ed Delany of Mets Minors

23. Jawilme Ramirez, RHP

B/T: R/R     Age: 11/28/2001 (21)
Ht: 6’2″        Wt: 170 lb.
Acquired: Signed as international free agent out of Dominican Republic 
 2027    Previous Ranks: N/A
2022 Stats (FCL/St. Lucie) 5-5, 2.14 ERA, 0.768 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 9.2 K/9

Jawile Ramirez is seeing a burst onto top prospects lists for the Mets organization due to a phenomenal 2022 campaign. Ramirez, who just turned 21, impressed to the tune of a 0.78 ERA over 46.1 MiLB innings last year. Ramirez has a good fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90’s, and a changeup/slider combination that helps puts hitters away to the tune of an 8.35 K/9. Ramirez, additionally, held walks to an extreme minimum, allowing just 1.94 walks over nine innings.

Ramirez’ success in 2022 came off the back of a strong 2021 campaign, where he posted a 2.14 ERA over 13 starts and one relief outing. He looks to take the next step forward in 2023 toward becoming a legitimate starting pitching prospect for the Mets, and putting together a third consecutive strong season.

The next development for him will be producing more strikeouts and just continuing his success. If Ramirez can build on his success from last season and continue on this path, he will skyrocket up lists and become a legitimate piece to the future of the Mets. His biggest goal for 2022 should be a complete full-season MiLB year. If he can do that and continue to have success, Jawilme Ramirez will become a very popular name amongst Mets’ prospect circles.

Bryce Montes de Oca, Photo by Rick Nelson

22. Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP

B/T: R/R     Age: 4/23/1996 (26)
Ht: 6’7″        Wt: 265 lb.
Acquired: 2018 Ninth Round Draft Pick from University of Missouri
2022    Previous Ranks: NR
2022 Stats (Binghamton/Syracuse): 3-3, 3.33 ERA, 11 SV, 1.422 WHIP, 6.7 BB/9, 14.0 K/9
2022 Stats (MLB): 0-0, 10.80 ERA, 2.700 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, 16.2 K/9

Montes de Oca is the only player in this group of prospects to reach the major leagues in 2022. The hard-throwing right-hander made his major league debut late in the season, appearing in three games and allowing four runs over 3 1/3 innings pitched. The 26-year-old figures to have a chance to break camp with the Mets based on their current roster construction, and might even be a favorite to do so as of right now.

Montes de Oca boasts a strong fastball-slider combination, while also mixing in a cutter as his third pitch. The slider figures to be his go-to put-away pitch at the MLB level, while he sets the tone with a fastball that can reach triple-digits.

The downfall for Montes de Oca, however, will be his ability, or inability, to throw strikes. He walked 40 batters over 54 2/3 professional innings last year, which gives anything but confidence. In order to find a way to stick around in the major leagues as an effective reliever, he will need to find a way to cut the walks drastically, possibly even in half.

William Lugo, Photo by Ed Delany of MMN

21. William Lugo, INF

B/T: R/R     Age: 1/2/2002 (21)
Ht: 6’3″        Wt: 230 lb.
Acquired: Signed as international free agent out of Dominican Republic (8/24/18)
2026    Previous Ranks: N/A
2022 Stats (St. Lucie/Brooklyn): .263/.347/.432, 25 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 63 RBI

Lugo began his 2022 campaign with tempered expectations after a few underwhelming seasons to begin his professional career. However, 2022 was the best year for his prospect stock to date. He had struggled in previous seasons, posting a .499 in his first season in the GCL, and a .700 in his second season.

Lugo began his 2022 season with the Low-A St. Lucie Mets, where he posted a .774 OPS over 84 games, and smacked 10 homers during that time. He spent most of his time at third base, but was able to play second base and shortstop at respectable levels, as well. After a promotion to High-A, Lugo slashed .267/.347/.448 with four homers in just over 100 at-bats.

Lugo projects as a third baseman long-term, mainly due to a strong arm and range concerns, but that projection does not hinder his profile much. As he currently stands, a strong hit tool will keep Lugo progressing well through the Mets’ system, but progression with the glove could turn Lugo into a more legitimate MLB-level prospect. Lugo figures to begin the season with High-A Brooklyn, and see time in Double-A Binghamton before the season is over if he can build off his 2022 season.

Previous Ranking: 30-26 led by Grant Hartwig

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