Mets prospect levels: How Brandon Sproat, Ryan Clifford and Colin Houck are doing

Less than two months into the season, the New York Mets have already received help from a few young players — most notably starting pitcher Christian Scott — from a farm system that has seen some improvement of late. Who could be next? Below is a stock report for more than a dozen Mets prospects, using a tiered system of who’s moving up, who’s on the right track, and who’s falling behind.

Level 1: Going further

Brandon Sproat, RHP

Current assignment: Double-A Binghamton
Keith Law Rank: 13th in team Top 20

The Mets love what they have in Sproat, who ran against Binghamton a few days ago. With Brooklyn, walks were sometimes a problem for Sproat. But in his last few outings, evaluators said, he showed very good feel for all his pitches, demonstrating the ability to land every pitch and getting swings-and-misses on everything in his arsenal. The Mets drafted Sproat last year (for the second year in a row after failing to sign him in 2022), but as a 23-year-old he could continue to rise quickly.

Blade Tidwell, RHP

Current assignment: Double-A Binghamton
Keith Law Rank: 9th in team Top 20

Tidwell has added a cutter, which allows him to make more shots. For Tidwell, the field has helped solve a command problem; scouts have called his stuff elite for several years, but the inability to find the zone limited his potential. Maybe that’s changing because of the cutter, a pitch he picked up late last winter and seamlessly incorporated into his arsenal. The cutter has worked as a bridge between an impressive fastball and an improved slider.


Jonah Tong’s strikeouts are up and his walks are down. (Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Associated Press)

Jonah Tong, RHP

Current assignment: High-A Brooklyn
Keith Law Rank: Not ranked

In 27 2/3 innings at both levels of Class A, Tong has allowed just one earned run. Walks remain a concern, but he has improved his walk rate significantly from last year while continuing to rack up strikeouts.

Nolan McLean, RHP/DH

Current assignment: High-A Brooklyn
Keith Law Rank: Not ranked

A two-way player, McLean has turned heads this season with four home runs in 61 at-bats (.579 slugging percentage) and a 3.00 ERA in 24 innings (six starts). On the pitching side, a sweeper and an improved slider have helped McLean collect 27 strikeouts.

Jesus Baez, SS/2B

Current assignment: Low-A St. Lucie
Keith Law Rank: 17th in team Top 20

Baez’s traditional numbers have overtaken his underlying data, namely his hard-hit percentage. He is an exciting prospect because of how hard he hits the ball. He has an .800 OPS with St. Lucie after struggling in the complex league last year.

Nick Morabito, OF

Current assignment: High-A Brooklyn
Keith Law Rank: 12th in team Top 20

In 101 at-bats with St. Lucie, Morabito hit .397 and quickly earned a promotion to Brooklyn, where he continued to hit (6 for 18, .333 batting average).

Level 2: On the right track

Ryan Clifford, 1B

Current assignment: Double-A Binghamton
Keith Law Rank: 8th in team Top 20

The Mets promoted Clifford, who produced a .716 OPS with High-A Brooklyn, earlier this week. That number doesn’t jump off the page and is influenced by a 23.5 percent walk rate. He can be more aggressive on certain pitches. Scouts believe Clifford has more power, and the Brooklyn ballpark may have played a role in his low slugging percentage (.304). Counting last season with the Houston Astros organization, Clifford had amassed 698 plate appearances across both levels of Class A, so he was ready for a new challenge.

Alex Ramirez, OF

Current assignment: Double-A Binghamton
Keith Law Rank: 18th in team Top 20

After struggling with High-A Brooklyn last year (.627 OPS), Ramirez made some adjustments that seemed to click at the next level (.743 OPS). The Mets challenged him to perform better since he was already on the 40-man roster despite being only 21 years old. He made some better swing decisions with Brooklyn, but was careful not to do much damage. This season he has maintained the improvements from last year while trying to improve his swing. Mets officials are encouraged by his work ethic.

Jett Williams, SS/CF/2B

Current assignment: Double-A Binghamton
Keith Law ranks: 30th in the MLB Top 100, 1st in the team Top 20

Williams is out with a wrist injury but should be back in a few weeks. In 11 games, he has a .668 OPS.

Drew Gilbert, OF

Current assignment: Triple-A Syracuse
Keith Law ranks: 100th in the MLB Top 100, 4th in the team Top 20

Gilbert is out with a hamstring injury, but officials expect him back in June. In just seven games, he has a .681 OPS.

Luisangel Acuña, SS/CF/2B

Current assignment: Triple-A Syracuse
Keith Law ranks: 45th in the MLB Top 100, 2nd in the team Top 20

Acuña is here and not in the level below just because he is 22 years old and in his first season in Triple A. But he just doesn’t hit enough or get on base enough. He has a .629 OPS (.599 in May) with two home runs and 13 stolen bases. His defense at second base, shortstop and center field was strong, the evaluators said.

Level 3: Falling behind

Colin Houck, SS

Current assignment: Low-A St. Lucie
Keith Law ranks: 5th in team Top 20

Houck, the Mets’ first-round pick last year, has struggled to start 2024. Through 134 plate appearances with St. Lucie, Houck has just a .532 OPS. He slid to the Mets (32nd overall), and some scouts question his swing and offensive consistency.

Kevin Parada, C

Current assignment: Double-A Binghamton
Keith Law ranks: 7th in team Top 20

Maybe Parada is turning things around. Over his last five games, he went 7-for-23 (.304 batting average) with two home runs. For the season, however, his OPS sits at just .633 after struggling at the level last year and not scoring much in the Arizona Fall League (there are defensive questions behind the plate, too). At 22, Parada, who the Mets took 11th overall in 2022, still has plenty of time to improve his stock, and his latest stretch of games shows such ability.

Wilfredo Lara, UTIL

Current assignment: High-A Brooklyn
Keith Law ranks: 16th in team Top 20

Lara lost time at the beginning of the season due to a hamate fracture. In 89 plate appearances, he only has a batting average of .195 and an OPS of .537. He is known as a player who brings energy and can play in a handful of different positions.

Dom Hamel, RHP

Current assignment: Triple-A Syracuse
Keith Law ranks: 11th in team Top 20

Evaluators say Hamel has pitched better than his numbers suggest outside of his first outing and they like his new cutter. But the results weren’t good: 6.59 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in 28 2/3 innings.

Mike Vasil, RHP

Current assignment: Triple-A Syracuse
Keith Law ranks: 10th in team Top 20

Vasil needs to do a better job limiting hard contact and rounding up outings, the evaluators said. Through 24 2/3 innings, he has an ugly ERA of 9.12.

(Top photo by Brandon Sproat: Jim Rassol / USA Today)