Grading Billy Eppler and the New York Mets front office at midseason

Dec 20, 2022; NY, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander (left to right) poses for a photo with Mets general manager Billy Eppler and his agent Mark Pieper during his introductory press conference at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2022; NY, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander (left to right) poses for a photo with Mets general manager Billy Eppler and his agent Mark Pieper during his introductory press conference at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Francisco Alvarez.  Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Francisco Alvarez.  Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Farm system

In the high finance world of Mets baseball, farm system products tend to get crowded out by what are considered more proven commodities. In his first season as Mets general manager, Eppler only produced one player with a positive WAA, and that was Clay Holderman, who was promptly dispatched to the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen.

A half-dozen rookies have been given a shot so far in 2022, but none have graduated to significant roles. In fact, only two remain with the big league club today.

Those two are touted catching prospect Francisco Alvarez and infielder Brett Baty. Both have theoretical chances to become Eppler’s second (and third?) productive farm system product, but both have rough edges to be hewn.

Called up in early April, Alvarez (-0.1) shares the catching duties with veteran Omar Narvaez. He’s only hitting .217, but he’s a plus catcher defensively, although he hasn’t yet developed the ability to thwart base-stealers.

Since Eduardo Escobar bombed, Baty (-0.2) is getting regular time at third base, where his lack of experience has showed. At bat, he’s in the .240s, so there are growing pains there as well.

Three rookies — Josh Walker, Stephen Nogosek and Jose Butto — have been called up as needed to fill temporary gaps in the bullpen.