Major League Baseball's offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You're either selling wins or you're selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team's farm system.
Of course, that doesn't mean every team has an equally good farm system -- some, as you'll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define "prospects" as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that's likely why.
These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There's also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it's fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future..
With that in mind, let's get to it by dissecting the New York Mets.
1. Francisco Álvarez, C, No. 3 on top 20 (2023 seasonal age: 21)
Álvarez reached the majors late last season when the Mets were seeking another capable right-handed bat for their postseason run. He didn't fare well in five regular season games, but ultimately it doesn't matter. Álvarez has big-time raw power and he's improved his defense enough to bet on him sticking at catcher. Strikeouts are always going to be part of his game, and he's been pull-heavy in the minors, a combination that may limit his batting average upside. Even if it does, there's more than enough pop-and-walk potential here for him to become an offensive force.
2. Brett Baty, 3B (2023 seasonal age: 23)
Baty, the 12th pick in the 2019 draft, reached the majors for the first time last season, but his stay was short-lived. He appeared in just 11 games before undergoing thumb surgery that ended his campaign in late August. Baty's path back to the Mets big-league lineup is more complicated now that Carlos Correa is in tow, but he's a potential above-average hitter who lifted the ball and slugged more during his stay last season in Double-A. In other words, he should find a lineup welcoming to his talents, be it in New York or elsewhere.
3. Kevin Parada, C (2023 seasonal age: 19)
The Mets spent the first of their two first-round picks last summer on Parada, a power-hitting backstop from Georgia Tech. Parada homered 26 times with the Yellow Jackets, all while posting some impressive exit velocity numbers and walking nearly as often as he struck out. If that continues, there's a possibility that he grows into a middle-of-the-order hitter. Parada's defense is a work in progress, but he's made enough gains for scouts to feel he'll remain playable behind the dish. Expect his stock to shoot up if and/or when the automated ball-strike system makes its way to the major-league level.