By Jerry Del Priore
The Columbia Fireflies, the New York Mets’ mid-level Single-A South Atlantic League (SAL) affiliate, will open the 2019 minor league season with five of the Mets’ top ten prospects on their roster.
The list includes talented infielders Ronny Mauricio (No. 3), Mark Vientos (No. 4) and Shervyen Newton (No. 7) and gifted pitchers Simeon Woods-Richardson (No. 8) and Thomas Szapucki (No. 10), according to Baseball America.
New York selected both Vientos (2017) and Woods-Richardson (2018) in the second round of their respective MLB drafts.
In 2018, Vientos smacked 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 60 games in rookie ball with the Kingsport Mets, while Woods-Richardson finished the 2018 season with a 1.56 ERA in seven appearances split between the Gulf Coast League Mets and Kingsport Mets.
Mauricio combined to bat .273 with three dingers and 35 RBI in 227 at-bats in 57 contests between the Gulf Coast and Kingsport.
Newton batted .270 with six long balls and 77 RBI in 566 plate appearances in 157 tilts in the Dominican Summer Leagues in 2018.
Szapucki missed the entire 2018 campaign due to arm woes, but sports a 5-5 record and a 2.27 ERA in three seasons in New York’s minor league system.
The Fireflies open the 2019 season on Thursday, April 4 against the Charleston RiverDogs (New York Yankees). The four-game series continues through April 7 before Columbia welcomes the Rome Braves (Atlanta Braves) to town for a three-game set from April 8-10.