The Mets have already signed more than 35 international players this year, one of the bigger classes of any team so far. It’s a high volume of players with a group of high-end talent at the top, including a trio of position players and one of the best pitching prospects available this year.
Top Of The Class
The Mets signed three players for bonuses of at least $1 million this year. They spent $1.9 million to sign Daiverson Gutierrez, an offensive-minded catcher from Venezuela. Gutierrez has a strong build with an advanced hitting approach for 17. He has selective aggression at the plate, showing a good sense of the strike zone for his age while hunting pitches he can drive for damage. While his swing can get hitchy at times, the barrel comes through the hitting zone with good path and the hand-eye coordination that leads to a high contact rate. Gutierrez has a good mix of hitting ability and power, with the strength and bat speed that could allow him to develop into a 25-plus home run threat. The early returns from spring training were positive with Gutierrez offensively, though he will have to prove he can stick behind the plate. His blocking and receiving will need to improve, but scouts highest on him think he has the hands to catch. He does have plus raw arm strength and has worked to iron out an unconventional arm action to try to improve his throwing mechanics.
Venezuelan shortstop Cristopher Larez, signed for $1.4 million, brings a good mix of tools and skills for a 17-year-old. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Larez has a strong frame for a shortstop and is especially advanced at the plate. It’s a mature approach with a good sense of the strike zone and a knack for barreling balls at a high clip against live pitching. His strength helps him drive the ball for extra-base juice from right-center field over to his pull side. It’s mostly doubles power with occasional home runs that should turn into average power as he continues to get stronger and learns which pitches to turn on for pull-side damage. It’s an offensive skill set that should translate into early success in the Dominican Summer League, with a headsy, instinctive game that shows up at shortstop as well. He’s a high baseball IQ player with secure hands and makes the routine plays as a reliable defender at shortstop. Given his body type, there’s a chance he gets bigger and he ultimately outgrows shortstop to move to second or third base, but he has a chance to stick at short and should…