Gilbert fits in quickly with Mets after Verlander trade

August 10, 2023

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — There’s getting traded, and then there’s getting traded.

For New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series alum Drew Gilbert, it was definitely the latter, as he was the centerpiece in the return the New York Mets got in exchange for dealing Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros at the deadline.

“Obviously, it’s pretty crazy,” Gilbert said as part of a media availability with his new team, the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, at TD Bank Ballpark on Tuesday.

“You understand that there’s always that potential, it’s part of the business. But at the end of the day, the guy is a future Hall of Famer, so I’m just very grateful. It was pretty crazy, it’s been a pretty crazy last week, week and a half or so.”

How did the 22-year-old outfielder, taken with the No. 28 overall pick just last year by the Astros, find out he was traded? Well, to add onto the crazy…

“I found out on Twitter, to be honest with you,” he said. “That’s just how it is nowadays, people get that stuff pretty quickly, so there was nothing wrong with that…it was me and my roommate, Zach Dezenzo, we were sitting in our hotel room. The deadline is a few hours away, and it’s a possibility, so I wouldn’t say everyone is just sitting down and peacefully relaxing. At the end of the day, it happened, I’m grateful to be here.”

Mets GM Billy Eppler told reporters back when Gilbert was acquired that Gilbert “plays with his hair on fire,” which is something that Gilbert said on Tuesday that is a type of style that he’s had to manage even during his days as a standout at the University of Tennessee, but especially in pro ball, where an injury on an aggressive play in the outfield — one in which he dislocated his elbow crashing into the wall with Fayetteville in mid-August of last year — cut his first year well short.

“Last year, my (first) pro season was even shorter,” he said. “Obviously, I wasn’t able to have that short season experience, so I think this year has been, I don’t want to say a learning curve, but I’ve learned a lot, and that injury just kind of taught me how important it is to be out there every single day. 160 games, it’s a lot. Let’s say you miss two weeks, that’s what, 12 games? That’s a lot of games. Now, I try to take pride in being able to go out there every day and show up ready to go.”

That’s the plan moving forward for Gilbert, who is considered the No. 2 prospect in the Mets farm system in FSS Plus analyst Joe Doyle’s latest Mets rankings, and has already gotten off to a hot start in his new organization.

An alum of the first two National Tournaments as a member of the Minnesota Blizzard, as well as one of the standouts at International Week back in 2018, Gilbert is hitting .250 with Binghamton in his first five games with the team, producing five RBI along the way.

Playing alongside fellow big deadline acquisitions like Luisangel Acuna and Jeremiah Jackson with Binghamton, Gilbert believes he can be a part of that core group, alongside them, that can play a part in the Main Event hosts getting back to the World Series sooner rather than later.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Gilbert said, “Just to know my teammates are going to be some of the people I’m hopefully playing with when the Mets really start to turn it around.”

Mike Ashmore
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