Mets Minors Roundtable: 2016 Review and Looking Forward

dominic smith swings

This is our third and final roundtable of the 2016 year in which we discuss the futures of Amed RosarioDominic SmithGavin CecchiniT.J. RiveraSeth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. As well as our thoughts on Tim Tebow, our biggest disappointments from this past season and who could replace Terry Collins long-term.

Who is a safer bet long-term, Amed Rosario or Dominic Smith?

Jacob –  At the moment, I feel Smith is the safer player. We’ve seen what his bat can do since he was drafted in 2013, whereas Rosario only broke out offensively in 2016. However, I do believe Rosario is the more successful major leaguer in the long run.

MetsDaddy – If this question was higher ceiling, Rosario is the clear-cut choice.  However, the question here is safer bet, and the answer to that question is Smith.  Both are plus defenders at their position, who had questions about their bat. It should be noted, both answered those questions affirmatively this year.  However, Smith did it while being the youngest player in the Eastern League.  Rosario got his start repeating the Florida State League before getting called-up and going on a hot streak in the Eastern League.  As Smith is progressing faster at higher levels, he is the safer bet.

Corne – Dom Smith. I think he’s already shown what kind of player he will be. Great glove, not a lot of strikeouts, solid average with around 15 home run power. He is not the better player but, he is the safer bet IMO.

John – Rosario – athleticism and defense plays with a MLB contributor floor.  Smith, being a 1B only option, will need to continue make the offensive progressions forward that he made this season.

Mike – Rosario, his defense at shortstop alone could make him a MLB player right now. Combine that with plus speed and you have a guy who brings value to the middle infield. That’s without the potential ceiling offensively which is higher than Smith’s.

2.  What’s the highest level Tebow reaches?

Jacob – Brooklyn

MetsDaddy – Presumably, the Mets will give him every chance to make it to the majors, which should mean he will at least make it to St. Lucie.  With his work ethic, and the raw power we have seen on display, I can conceivably see him playing in AA.  Given his age and the state of the Mets farm system, I can’t see him making it past that point.

Corne – Double-A

John  – A+, not sure where he starts next season but he will play in Florida at some point to cash in. Take away the name and he has an interesting profile but is to old to get the PA and make the adjustments needed to become a legit prospect.

Mike – St. Lucie. Having him play in Port St. Lucie would be a nice cash cow for the Mets but I think that’s as far as the media train allows his lack of talent to go.

Photo: Ed Delany
Photo: Ed Delany

3.  Biggest surprise of the 2016 MiLB season?

Jacob – Tomas Nido‘s breakout in 2016 wasn’t only a feel-good story for an organizational guy that’s been hanging around since 2012, it was satisfying to know that there is catching depth in the minors. The Mets may not be ready to admit that Travis d’Arnaud‘s leash is shrinking, but with Nido knocking on the door, it’s only a matter of time.

MetsDaddy – For me this has to be Wally Backman resigning as AAA manager.  While we knew he butted heads with the front office on player development issues, we also knew he had a good working relationship with Terry Collins and the full backing of ownership.  With him never getting a managerial interview, and his issues with the front office, it’s hard to imagine him getting a job anywhere next year.  Just a strange move.

Corne – P.J. Conlon, in his first season as a full time starter, I didn’t expect this kind of season at all.

John  – P.J. Conlon, if you remember he was the last man added to Columbia rotation.

Mike – Has to be the all-around improvement by catching prospect Tomas Nido. The success of start Andrew Church came out of nowhere as well.

Photo courtesy of Al Rabon/Midland Sports

4.  Biggest disappointment of the 2016 MiLB season?

Jacob – Many were high on Milton Ramos coming into this season, but he put together a brutal season as Columbia’s inaugural shortstop. It will be interesting to see how much longer the organization gives the former third round pick to showcase his tools.

MetsDaddy – Wuilmer Becerra.  I realize most of his issues were related to a shoulder injury, but this was a lost season for a player the Mets could have conceivably added to the 40 man roster last year to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft.  This should have been a huge year for him.  Instead, it was a lost year at best, and a step back at worst.

Corne – Milton Ramos, had high hopes after what he did in Kingsport in 2015. To go with his great defense I hoped for a good offensive season. Also the rumors about his bad attitude.

John – Wuilmer Becerra’s injury, Ivan Wilson‘s retirement, Jeff McNeil lost season, and how bad Binghamton’s lineup was.

Mike – A second straight lost year in St. Lucie for the talented Jhoan Urena. The Mets minor league organization as a whole for not turning Scarlyn Reyes and Rainy Lara into full time relievers.

paul sewald

5.  Three players not named Rosario you’d protect from the Rule 5 Draft?

Jacob – Paul SewaldKevin McGowan, and Marcos Molina.

MetsDaddy – Paul Sewald and Tomas Nido for sure. The last one is a coin flip between Chris Flexen and Tyler Bashlor. Ultimately, I chose Bashlor because his fastball and slider are better, and he struck out 11.8/9 this year as compared to Flexen’s 6.4.

Corne – Ricky Knapp, Tomas Nido, and Paul Sewald.

John – Tomas Nido, Marcos Molina, and Wuilmer Becerra.

Mike – Paul Sewald (should have been added to 40-man in September), Tomas Nido and Wuilmer Becerra.

6.  Better MLB future, Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo?

Jacob – Robert Gsellman has a good chance to be in the rotation in the future, while I envision Lugo as more of a bullpen arm.

MetsDaddy – The smart money here says Gsellman as he’s younger and found an extra gear on his fastball when coming up to the Mets, but for my money it is still Lugo. First and foremost between the two, Lugo’s curveball is the best pitch by far.  Second, Lugo is a throwback pitcher who finds an extra gear on his fastball when he’s in trouble. Additionally, he is judicious using his curveball saving it for when he’s in real trouble. It’s part of the reason why he was so effective getting out of jams.

Corne – Gsellman, keeps the ball in the park better. But the numbers are the way they pitch is pretty similar.

John – Gsellman, just see him getting the ball every 5th day on a more regular basis.

Mike – Such a tough question because I really like both and believe they will have long-term ML roles. I’m going with Gsellman because of the development of his slider and the added velocity this year.

7.  Best MLB ready second baseman, Gavin Cecchini or T.J. Rivera?

Jacob – T.J. Rivera may not be as good as his small sample size in 2016 would suggest, but he has produced at the highest level, while Cecchini is still finding his footing.

MetsDaddy – Rivera finally got the shot he had earned and waited all his life to get, and he made the most of it hitting .359/.380/.563 in his 17 games as the Mets starting second baseman. He deserves a shot to be on the Opening Day roster next year. With that said, Cecchini is the better player. While both profile similarly in terms of power, Cecchini has more promise defensively, and he has the ability to draw walks. Cecchini is the better bet to be the second baseman in 2017.

Corne – Rivera at this point. I want to see how Cecchini handles second base first. If he handles it well than Cecchini is the better player.

John – Cecchini; I still have him as a second division starter, but a starter. Rivera is a nice bench piece, but a back end one.

Mike – Rivera is currently MLB ready at second base but Cecchini is the clear answer as the better long-term player there.

8.  Low Pick (15th round or later) most likely to reach the majors?

Jacob – I believe the Mets got a steal in 19th-rounder Gary Cornish from San Diego. He blew away the New York-Penn League with a 14.67 K/9 in 14 relief appearances with Brooklyn, although he is on track to be a full time starter in 2017. At 22, Cornish possesses the IQ to pitch with a mental edge, which should only benefit him.

MetsDaddy – Seeing how far he has progressed this past season, the clear answer here is David Roseboom. While the 17th rounder doesn’t have over-powering stuff, the left-hander was over-powering because he located well and pounded the strike zone.  It is a big reason for his success and why he is a platoon neutral pitcher. On July 2nd, Roseboom was named the B-Mets closer. From that point forward he had 14 saves with a 0.92 ERA, a 0.68 WHIP, and .110 batting average against.

Corne – David Roseboom, closer as a lefty in Double-A. Had a great season plus good success against lefties. Future lefty out of the pen. Tim Peterson is a close second for me.
John – Does Kay (2013, 29th round) count? I kid,  but I like Roseboom to be next. Evans could be there first if injuries play into it.
Mike – Joseph Zanghi who was actually the Reds 24th round in 2015 but signed a minor league deal with the Mets. Tough to ignore a guy who’s only been pitching for a short time and already has a 96/97 MPH fastball with a hard slider.
pedro lopez

9.  MiLB manager best suited to replace Collins long-term?

Jacob – Of the players that comprise the Mets current 40-man roster (including those on the 60-day disabled list), 27 have experience playing under Binghamton Mets manager Pedro Lopez. Comfort with a manager is crucial to players buying into the system, and the veteran skipper will not need help with that.

MetsDaddy – My choice is Jose Leger of the Columbia Fireflies. Leger is a rising managerial star in the minor leagues who was named the manager for Team World in the 2016 Future’s Game. Last season, as the Mets were making their run to the World Series, it was Leger who the Mets chose over everyone to sit on the bench along Terry Collins. Another factor to consider is that as this team gets presumably younger in the upcoming years, Leger was the players first full season manager.  He developed a relationship and a rapport with those players.

Corne – Pedro Lopez, give him a year in Triple-A and then a shot in the majors.

John – Lopez seems like easy choice; but Leger, Rivera, and Alfonzo (not really a manager yet; Brooklyn in 17 my guess) appear to be on track.

Mike – Lopez was spurned by the Mets last offseason for the bench coach position and I think will ultimately move on unfortunately. Jose Leger is a name that consistently comes up when you talk to people involved in the minors for Mets and other teams as well.

10.  MLB ready reliever not named Paul Sewald?

Jacob – Alberto Baldonado is one of my sleepers in the organization, due to his big frame and stellar strikeout numbers, which are aided by a solid breaking ball. It’s not easy to go from Brooklyn to Binghamton in two years, but Baldonado, a native of Panama, did so with promising returns. As a southpaw, he should shoot up the organizational depth chart.

MetsDaddy – Luis Mateo has some promise out of the bullpen.  While he isn’t the strikeout pitcher you would like, he does keep the ball on the ground and in the ballpark. It also helps he has shown the ability to go multiple innings. He could be a sleeper next year for 12th man in the bullpen at some point.

Corne – Logan Taylor.

John – David Roseboom, Kevin McGowan, and Alberto Baldonado appear to be on track.

Mike – I’m a huge fan of the fastball/curveball combination for Alberto Baldonado. I like the fastball and command that Kevin McGowan showed this year as well.

mmn logo footer

About Michael Mayer 661 Articles
Lifelong Mets fan born in 1987 meaning I still haven't witnessed a championship. Lived In Maine my whole life so I get my Mets fix from MLB.tv and MiLB.tv. Obsessed with the game of baseball and have been coaching in High School for 4 years. Some say I am too positive but I love my New York Mets. Follow me on twitter @themainemets