Sometimes Major League Baseball teams can find diamonds in the rough by making minor trades. The New York Mets hope they have a diamond on their hands in outfielder Carlos Rincon, who they acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Billy McKinney after they designated the latter for assignment this summer. Rincon, 23, finished this year out with AA Binghamton and is the focus of this week’s edition of Minor League Mondays.
The Dodgers gave Rincon a $350,000 signing bonus when they signed him as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. Rincon displayed plenty of pop in the lower levels of the Dodgers’ minor league system but hadn’t put together good batting averages to go with it. That looked to be changing this season, when Rincon was hitting .263 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI’s in 63 games for AA Tulsa, but the Dodgers deemed him as expendable to acquire McKinney as a reserve outfielder for their big league roster.
The Mets acquired Rincon and assigned him to AA Binghamton, where he continued to perform in a similar fashion as he did with Tulsa. Rincon hit .268 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI’s in 38 games for the Rumble Ponies, adding eight doubles and a triple for good measure. Strikeouts will be an issue for Rincon, who whiffed on 29.9 percent of his at-bats across both affiliates this season, but his power potential is definitely legitimate.
A traditional left-fielder, Rincon has plus power and a strong arm to generate outfield assists but his average hit tool does put a cap on his upside. Rincon was Rule V eligible a year ago but wasn’t selected but it remains to be seen if his solid power season in the minor leagues changes that calculus this offseason. It is unlikely that the Mets will have the 40-man room to protect Rincon, the organization’s 24th ranked prospect according to MLB.com, with higher priority prospects and external additions likely to take spots that open.
Assuming Rincon gets through the Rule V draft again, the Mets will likely invite him to spring training to compete for a reserve outfield role. The likeliest path forward for Rincon is starting 2022 with AAA Syracuse, where he can continue to work on his hit tool to try and make himself an option for a call-up if the Mets suffer an outfield injury. Either way, Rincon is a player to watch for the Mets that could help out as soon as next season as a power option off the bench.