Mets Merized Online » Mathew Brownstein Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:12:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Exclusive Interview: 2016 First Rounder Justin Dunn Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:00:48 +0000 justin dunn 3

The New York Mets added yet another high upside pitcher to their system last year, drafting and signing Boston College right-hander Justin Dunn in the first round of the MLB Draft (19th overall).

The Freeport native grew up just thirty minutes from Shea Stadium and Citi Field, attending many games as a youth. Dunn, 21, has the chance to one day join LHP Steven Matz as being able to pitch in one’s back yard, so to speak, as Matz grew up about an hour from where he makes his living in Queens, born and raised in Stony Brook, New York.

Dunn is an intriguing prospect, having pitched both out of BC’s pen and in the starting rotation throughout his three seasons there, posting a combined record of 9-7, with a 3.67 ERA in 45 games, 15 of those starts. Dunn had his most successful season as a junior in 2016, where he posted a 2.06 ERA (4th in BC’s history for single-season records), and had career bests in WHIP (1.07), K/9 (9.87), IP (65.2), and games started (8).

Upon signing with the Mets on June 21, the team assigned the hard throwing righty to Brooklyn, where he appeared in 11 games, eight starts, posting a minuscule 1.50 ERA over 30 innings. Dunn held opponents to a .227 average, and struck out 10.5 batters per nine.

The hype is certainly warranted for Justin Dunn, MMO’s sixth best prospect for 2017, as he features a mid-nineties fastball that touches 97, a slider, curve and changeup. The Mets limited his innings in 2016, as he began tossing just two innings for the Cyclones before transitioning to the starting rotation, where he was capped at three innings of work.

Dunn also ranked twice in this offseason’s Top 100 prospect rankings with his highest being #84 by Keith Law.

I had the privilege of speaking to Justin earlier in the week, where we discussed the draft, playing close to home, and an awesome dunk tank story!

MMO - Hey Justin, thanks for taking some time to speak with me today. What was draft night like for you? Many Met fans have seen the video of you with your Boston College teammates celebrating at a sports bar when you heard the news, can you talk a bit about that night and the emotions you felt?

Justin - That night was awesome. We were down in Miami playing in a super regional for the first time in school history, so going down there for that weekend we knew it was draft day, we knew I had a chance to go in the first round. But we also knew we were doing something that had never been done in school history so there was a lot of different emotions going on. We had just finished up practice that night, and coach decided to have a team dinner.

We went over to Duffy’s Sports Bar in Miami; we sit down, long night, long stressful night. Kept waiting to hear my name called, pick after pick not hearing it and then to come down to 18 and 19 and see the Mets and the Yankees right there (Yankees had the 18th pick) that’s two New York teams, and then to see that the Mets were the team that drafted me was honestly a dream come true because being a pitcher you can’t beat this organization.

And growing up in Long Island, I’ve been to more Mets games than I can count, probably more than my own games. I was very familiar with the Mets and I love being home in New York, so that video was raw emotion of how excited I was to become a Met and start my career.

MMO - Did you have any inclination that the Mets had interest in you prior to the draft?

Justin - No that’s what made it even cooler, that video was raw. I didn’t get a phone call that was… I saw my name on the screen when all the Mets fans did and I jumped up in pure excitement. It’s a dream come true to have the potential to be playing thirty minutes from home to where my parents hop on the Cross Island and head straight into Queens.

MMO - The Dodgers drafted you in 2013 in the 37th round; did going through the draft process back then make it any easier for you last year?

Justin - Yeah for sure, I mean at that point in my career I was in a little bit different place. I was a buck fifty maybe, five-ten, and I wasn’t in a situation to where I was ready to go play with grown men that were 21-22 years-old like I am now.

Going into the draft I knew I needed to mature and I was most likely going to college unless someone came with an offer that I couldn’t refuse. So for that day it was just more of a learning (process), and getting used to the experience because I knew at some point in my college career I would go through it again. So for me, it was more learning what interest is and the process itself for draft day and how to handle the punches and things like that, and it was just an honor that the Dodgers even called my name because they didn’t have to.

MMO - Speaking of your time at college, can you talk a little bit about your experience attending Boston College, and how it prepared you for where you are now in your professional career?

Justin - If it wasn’t for BC I wouldn’t be where I am today. We had some great coaches come in: Coach Foster came in my sophomore year, and my freshman year I had Coach Friedholm as pitching coaches so I was fortunate enough to have two outstanding pitching coaches during my college career. And Coach Gambino, our head coach, he helped shape me into the man I am today, and put the morals and values that I have and the way I carry myself as a person, a lot of it is because of him and my parents.

On the field wise, my game kind of went to the next level when Coach Foster came in and broke down the mental side of the game for me. I’m a very mental player, I like to know my hitters well and have a good, lengthy scouting report going into the game, so that was something he taught me how to do; how to read a swing in the middle of an at-bat, how to sit down the night before and analyze a lineup and understand how to attack a lineup the first time through and be able to save a pitch for the second and third time through the order. It helped me go through all of my outings when I became a starter because I understood what he was doing, calling a game, and it made my job as well as his job a little bit easier.

MMO - I read a report on NY Daily News last year, where your dad recollects that you two went into an arcade and he couldn’t hit the dunk tank target. However, you hit the target three times in a row at a young age. Is that true?

Justin - (Laughs) One hundred percent true. We were at Dave & Buster’s and I think I was six years old. He (his dad) always likes to think that I throw the way I do because of him, so he was like ‘all right come here and watch this, I’m going to dunk this lady’. So I’m just sitting there at six years old watching him, and he goes 0-for-3. So I was like let me try, and he was like ‘no you’re not going to be able to do it’ and was like just let me try dad. And he paid the three dollars or whatever it was for three balls, and there was like a clown or somebody, or some dude sitting in the tank, and I think he called me ‘Little Bow Wow’ or something like that.

Just making fun of me, and the first ball I threw I squared it up, just knocked him straight down, and he got up and said ‘you can’t do it again’. Boom straight down (for the second time). Then he kind of got quiet, and there was a big crowd starting to circle because everybody was going nuts because I was this little kid dunking this clown that nobody else was able to dunk two times in a row and I did it again. So that was pretty funny, and then we ended up going to a carnival again a few years later and the same thing, and I dunked them like three-four times in a row.

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MMO - Was that your earliest baseball memory?

Justin - Honestly, my earliest memory was watching my dad play, he never played at a high level, but that was his passion. Going to watch his games, I think I was five or six, he would go play in a men’s league, and he’d bring me up and I’d be the bat boy for the team. But they would take me out there and let me catch groundballs, take some swings off the tee, stuff like that. And just seeing the fun he had, it was something we could share together, and I knew it was something I wanted to do from a very young age.

MMO - Growing up on Long Island, who were some of your favorite players to watch, and do you have any that you style your game after today?

Justin - I grew up a Yankee fan, so I grew up in the era of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, all those guys, Tino Martinez, so obviously being a New York Yankees fan you’ve got to have Jeter as their favorite player. And I loved David Wright too , I did love David Wright growing up, loved the way he carried himself. Mariano RiveraAndy Pettitte, just that whole New York core on both sides I loved all those guys.

And then now, I don’t really model myself after a single person to be honest, because at the level I’m at now I’m not a fan anymore. So I just like to watch good baseball, so I try to take bits and pieces from everybody because everyone at that level is where I want to be, so they all do something that I don’t know how to do yet. So I try to learn from them, and I just sit back and watch the game and look at things that I’m not doing that they’re doing that helps them get hitters out at that level, because it takes a lot of talent to do that against the best hitters in the world.

MMO - Growing up, did you pitch at an early age? What other positions did you play?

Justin - No, I was small like I said, so I didn’t always throw very hard. I mean I threw decent speed for how old I was, but it wasn’t enough for teams to be like you’re just a pitcher and going to come in and pitch for us. I was actually a middle infielder growing up. And our college coach kind of recruited me that way and said you’re going to be a middle infielder.

Coach Gambino (BC head coach) came to a game, and I’ll never forget it, they brought me into pitch, I forgot why, and he saw me warming up on the side and he’s like ‘drop your arm down a little bit, go at three-quarters, throw like your throwing from shortstop, don’t throw over the top’. And I went into that game and that was the first time I hit 90 at like 16-17 years-old and from then on he was like ‘all right I think he’s a pitcher’. But if you were to ask me when I was younger I thought I was going to be a shortstop. I always loved pitching, but I would’ve said I’m a better defensive player than I am pitcher.

MMO - Were you a decent hitter growing up?

Justin - No I was pretty bad. I’ll mess with people and tell them I was good, I mean I could get the job done, but definitely wasn’t the best though.

MMO - Once you were drafted and signed by the Mets, you started your career in Brooklyn. Tell me about that experience and what it was like pitching so close to home and in front of friends and family.

Justin - Yeah I mean you said it, being able to start my professional career 45 minutes from my house to where I had family and friends coming to see me play that haven’t seen my play since I was 12 years-old. To have close to 15-20 people at every game that I was pitching in was awesome. To come out and see familiar faces, to see my mom, see my dad, see my brother, and then to also have a great group of guys that we had in Brooklyn, it made my first year awesome. And I thought it was a great learning experience for me as a player, I learned a lot about pro ball, (I) have a lot more to learn, but I felt like it was a pretty good grasp for my first season and I was pretty happy with it.

MMO - Can you give me a quick scouting report on yourself for fans that might be new to you? What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

Justin - Me as a pitcher, I like to consider myself a pitcher with power stuff, where I’m not just going to throw 100 percent fastballs and try to throw it by you, I’m still a pitcher where I have three other pitches that I can come at you with. And I understand how to use all four of them.

But my weakness I would say is my changeup right now. It’s something that we started to develop in college and contributed a lot to my success at school. It was just another pitch for me to help get lefties and righties out, keep people off my fastball and make my fastball that much more effective. So the development of that, and tightening up my slider a little bit and understanding when to use it, when not to use it , when to make it tight when I want to spin it for a stike. Just things like that, the ins and outs of pitching that I didn’t really know before. But I would say I’m definitely a hard thrower who understands how to pitch.

MMO - You pitched out of the pen and started in college, do you have a preference when it comes to starting or relieving?

Justin - Yeah a lot of people ask me that, no I love to pitch. I just love being on the field and that was one of the things that held me back from loving pitching so much when I was younger because I couldn’t pitch everyday, but I could play infield everyday and I just loved being on the field. So for me it’s wherever you need me on the field and wherever I’m going to get a chance to play and do what I love, I’m fine with it.

In college, Coach said you should be a starter but we need you in the back end of the pen to close some games for us in the beginning of the season and I said that’s fine. Whatever’s going to help us win games is what I’m happy with because at the end of the day it’s all about winning, so I don’t have a preference at all, whatever the Mets see me as is what they see me as and I can’t control that and I just want to help (them) win, so whatever it takes to do that, I’ll do.

MMO - What’s the offseason been like for you? What’s a normal training day for you?

Justin - So I came down to Florida for this offseason, I’ve been working out at Cressey Performance in Jupiter. I’ve been working out with Eric (trainer) since I was a freshman in college, he was the start of me working out, and start putting some velocity on my fastball and my body thawing out a little bit. So I came down here with one of my teammates from college, Mike King, and we’ve been working out six days a week.

We throw in the mornings, throwing pens – I threw my sixth pen yesterday (Monday Feb 13), but it’s been going well. I’ve put on about ten-fifteen pounds this offseason, which is always nice, so I mean I’m happy with it and I’m excited to see how it translates into the spring.

MMO - Now every year there’s always the top prospects lists that come out from Keith Law, Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, etc. You’ve made a lot of these lists this year, which must be awesome to see considering you’ve only thrown 30 professional innings. Do you pay close attention to these lists, and what does it mean to you when you see your name listed among the game’s best prospects?

Justin - Yeah I mean it’s awesome, I try not to look into it honestly because there’s a lot of other things that go into the decision making in the front office that aren’t about those lists. So at the end of the day my focus is just going out there and performing and trying to put up some numbers because if you put up numbers then it’s hard to ignore you. The lists are great honors and I’m very appreciative to be on those lists with the great talents in minor league baseball and be mentioned with some of them. But I try not to let them get to my head too much and stay grounded and just keep working hard.

MMO - Thank you again Justin for taking some time to answer some questions, all Mets fans are excited to see your progression and we’ll be rooting for you.

Justin - No problem, thanks for reaching out.

Follow Justin Dunn on Twitter, @Dunn_Deal19

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MMO Exclusive Interview: First Base Prospect Peter Alonso Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:30:51 +0000 peter alonso

After selecting Justin Dunn and Anthony Kay in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft, the New York Mets continued the trend of drafting college players with their second round selection (64th overall) of first baseman, Peter Alonso out of the University of Florida.

The six-foot-three, right-handed, slugging first baseman is an intriguing force at the plate, combining raw power and a shortened swing to use the whole field to his advantage at the plate. Speaking with the 22-year-old Tampa native, I immediately got the impression of a player with a terrific work regimen, a simple approach at the plate, and a willingness to strive to be great.

Following the draft, the Mets assigned Alonso to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he began in grand fashion, carrying a seven-game hitting streak from July 9 to July 15. Unfortunately, Alonso would be relegated to the disabled list following the August 9th game against the Vermont Lake Monsters, where he suffered a broken right pinky finger while trying to avoid a tag at second base.

In all, Alonso played in 30 games with Brooklyn, slashing .321/.382/.587 (led the Cyclones in SLG), with five home runs (tied for the team lead with Brandon Brosher), 21 RBI, 11 walks, and 20 runs scored in 109 at-bats. Here at MMO/MMN, we rated Alonso as the 12th best prospect in the Mets’ organization, however, I have a feeling that after a full healthy season this year, Alonso will become more of a household name for fans, and an intriguing force at the plate to keep an eye on as he progresses throughout the system.

I had the privilege to speak with Alonso earlier this week, and we talked about a wide range of topics, from his draft night experience with his family, to his time with Brooklyn last year, and even a good recommendation for a chicken joint in Brooklyn!

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MMO - What was the moment like when you heard your name selected by the New York Mets in the 2nd round of the 2016 Draft? Were you with family and friends when you heard the news?

Pete - Well I was with my parents, both my parents, my little brother Alex, and my girlfriend Hailey. And for draft night I was home, I just wanted to get away from the craziness… And we were practicing (Florida Gators) getting ready for Super Regional, I mean it was a pretty hectic week to say the least, but I just kind of wanted to get away and be with my immediate loved ones and it was definetly the most surreal experience and hearing my name called.

Like I, I just started to cry and I gave my girlfriend the biggest hug ever and gave both my mom and dad a hug. It was so anxiety filled that whole day, but then after my name was called it was just a huge sigh of relief and just a feeling, like my body was tingling, it was just an unbelievable experience to get drafted on the first day, and I’m extremely thankful I got drafted by such a great organization and I’m all in and I’m going to give the Mets everything I’ve got.

MMO - It must’ve been almost an out of body experience, to hear your name called on TV and be drafted by the Mets, something you’ve worked your whole life to reach.

Pete - Yeah it was definitely a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier. I’m just extremely happy and last year got to work real quick and this year I just look to continue off of it, and build off my last first season. So, I’m just really excited for this first full year in pro ball, my first spring training, and I’m just ready to get after it.

MMO - If you had to write a scouting report on yourself, especially for fans that may not know a lot about you, how would you describe your strengths and weaknesses?

Pete - Well, definitely my biggest strength is my bat, but also to go with that, one thing I take pride in is my aggressive approach at the plate. I have a real simple but aggressive approach: if I see a ball that is remotely in my zone, or if I see a pitch that I think I can drive, I’m going to swing at it, or I’m going to take a chance that I’m going to take a good hack at it. Also, at the same token, if you’re a good pitcher then I guess you can use a hitter’s aggressiveness against them, so that’s definitely one of the big things.

For me, once I get that pitch, one of the things I’ve been working on most is capitalizing on the pitches I can drive the most because if I miss that pitch, you may end up getting one pitch an at-bat, or even one pitch per game that you can really do damage with just depending on how good the pitcher is that day, but I mean if the pitcher can really execute then that definitely helps them out with my aggressive approach.

MMO - Growing up in Tampa, Florida who were some of your favorite players to watch, and any that you style your game after today? Do you have any good comparisons or heard of any given to you?

Pete - Well for me the ideal comp, I know it’s kind of embarrassing but I didn’t know who he was until I got to college, I was hitting in the cage one day and Coach O’ Sullivan called me Paul Konerko, and I looked him up on YouTube and saw how great of a player he was, and for me he’s just a big right-right first baseman that can drive the ball, extremely good with the glove, and that’s kind of my best player comp. Also a guy that I like watching now is Paul Goldschmidt and I try to emulate my game after him because he’s just an unbelievable defensive first baseman, he can change the game by either one swing or just an unbelievable defensive play and he just has such a great presence on the field. I love watching Goldy.

MMO - You and your Florida teammates had tremendous success in college, how did the time there help shape and prepare you for where you are now in your career?

Pete - Well college taught me how to put the work in in the right way and realize what I need to work on. As a freshmen coming in it’s like ‘oh you need to work on your hitting’  ’you need to work everything you can a little more specialized’. And I feel like going to college I was a good player throughout my life, and I was kind of more raw and toolsy but going to college definetly helped me refine some of the things in my game, like defense is one of the biggest things ever.

I’m sure you’ve heard reports or whatever, but in high school I had a bad rap for being bad defensively, but I completely changed that. Throughout my college career I was struggling a little bit freshmen year but after that I decided that you know what, I’m tired of it and I’m going to make a change, and I made an extremely, extremely huge conscious effort just to never be labeled as that guy again. And for me also, work on approach things like at the plate, analyze scouting reports better, just nitty gritty things just to help me be more refined and more mature as a player.

MMO - You played primarily third base in high school and then you transitioned to first base in college, is that right?

Pete - Yeah, I played third base in high school and I mean in college, my freshmen year I played a couple of games at third, and then eventually it just turned into we needed a first baseman, and I’m just a corner guy. I think I got a pretty good arm, I’ve got an arm that can be effective at third base and I know that, I know that I have a pretty good arm for a first baseman, and a lot of people told me that’s pretty rare to see. And for me, it’s just making that transition pretty easy, it’s just understanding the game from the first base position because it’s a totally different game.

The game changes for what position you play because it’s just how you perceive everything differently just from a position, because it’s a different game from the shortstop to third base, it’s a different game, it’s crazy. There’s just different little things you need to know and understand for each little description of the position. Understanding that and how it works, I mean it’s very similar to third but also you have to be better communicating with pitchers, second baseman, coverage, different double-play depths, talking to your shortstop, and talking to the catcher.

I feel like you’re a little bit more involved at first, and you’ve got to keep your head on a swivel a little bit more, but I find I adjusted fantastically and I’m just happy that I’ve accomplished so much defensively and I’m only going to get better, because that’s one of the things that I like to stress the most because one thing I learned at the University of Florida from Coach Brad Weitzel is offense can get you in the lineup, but defense keeps you in the lineup.

MMO - To follow up with that, given the situation the Mets are in with the health of David Wright at third, if the Mets asked you to go back to third and take reps at the hot corner, would you feel comfortable transitioning back?

Pete - Of course, I’d take reps wherever they want me, if they wanted me at catch, pitch, play shortstop, center field I don’t care I just want to play.

MMO - You got off to an extremely fast start in Brooklyn, carrying a 7-game hitting streak in your first seven games there. What’s the transition like from going to college to the minor leagues in such a quick fashion as you did? Not to mention coming off the injury you sustained on May 13 when you fractured your fifth metacarpal against Vanderbilt.

Pete - Well I think that being in Brooklyn was awesome because I really enjoyed that group of guys. And I played with or against some of the guys, I played against Blake Tiberi in the Cape (Cape Cod League), I played against Jay Jabs. Desmond Lindsay, he’s a local Florida guy from Bradenton which is 45 minutes down South. I played with Thomas Szapucki in travel ball in high school. I played against Michael Paez in the (College) World Series. And Colby Woodmansee, and Brandon Brosher, we played in high school and prospect showcases and stuff like that together, so it’s not like I didn’t know some of the guys, there were a bunch of familiar faces.

MMO - So having the familiar faces has to make the transition easier.

Pete - Yeah it was a nice easy transition and it was really cool getting to learn some Spanish and stuff like that from some of the Latin guys, I mean it’s interesting, you know? And it’s just a more diverse group of people that I feel like we had an awesome group of guys, and that’s what made it an easy transition. Sometimes it’s not about where you are, it’s who you’re with, and we had a great group of guys. So for me I loved it, I had  a great coaching staff, Tom Gamboa (former Cyclones MGR) was awesome, and Sean Ratliff (Hitting Coach) it was awesome working with him, and of course Edgardo Alfonzo (2017 Cyclones MGR), having him around, being a Mets’ great is just absolutely fantastic and being able to pick his brain, and being able to go to the field and go to work everyday was just awesome and just being around them.

MMO - And when you were playing with Brooklyn did you get the chance to explore NYC much? What are your initial thoughts on the city?

Pete - It’s definitely different but I loved it. On an off day, me and my girlfriend we went to the 9/11 Museum and it was fantastic, absolutely fantastic, that was definitely one of my favorite museums for sure. We also did the Circle Line tour, took the boat around the island of Manhattan which was pretty cool. We got to see different sights and stuff. We went to the Statue of Liberty, we went to Times Square and that was a madhouse (laughs). But my favorite part about New York City is the food, I am such a food guy it’s unbelievable.

MMO - What’s your go-to meal?

Pete - I don’t have one, everything is good.

MMO - No favorite pre-game meal then?

Pete - No, I just like anything that’s tasty, like for me if it’s chicken, steak, pork I don’t care, I am not picky whatsoever. If you make something that’s good I’ll eat it.

MMO - Well you’re in a great city for that man, you have such a diversity of cuisine and everything around, you’ll love it.

Pete - Yeah and it doesn’t matter where you go either, like every deli and every sandwich shop is just as good as the other, it’s fantastic, love it! But my favorite place is Pies and Thighs, it’s a little out of the way from the team hotel (in Brooklyn) kind of in that hipster area right by the bridge, it’s probably about five minutes away from DUMBO, but Pies and Thighs is amazing. It’s the best chicken biscuit you’ll ever have in your life, and I’m from the south so…”

MMO - Your numbers with RISP w/ Brooklyn were insane, you posted a 1.341 OPS w/ 16 RBI in those situations. How do you stay so locked in during those moments, and what’s your approach at the plate with runners on?

Pete - For me I just love getting guys in, I mean that’s what the Mets drafted me to do. For organizations that preach the long ball or whatever, I don’t really.. for me I think the whole point of having a four hole hitter, like you could hit zero home runs but if you have 100 plus RBIs then you’re a run producer, it doesn’t matter.

I’m sure that’s not going to happen, but for me it’s just, ‘I’ve got to get my guys in’. And that’s just what I take pride in and you have to make it personal with the pitcher because he’s got a job too, he’s getting paid to get outs and I’m trying to get paid to get guys in, so it’s just a battle of wills. It’s just mental toughness and I take pride in getting my guys in and coming up clutch in the moment, and that’s what every kid dreams of doing, I’m just lucky enough to get paid for doing that.

MMO - What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the upcoming season? For fans that are curious how players train, can you take me into a normal day or routine for yourself?

Pete - Well for me I wake up and drop my girlfriend off at work and then after that I go lift, throw, hit, and after that eat lunch. Then do some chores around the apartment and do whatever I need to do and pick my girlfriend up from work. And it’s kind of like an 8-5 job because I get my work done, get my lift in, hit for an hour, got to throw, and then some days it may not be hitting it may be taking 100 plus groundballs, doing some base running or conditioning, it just varies from day to day. But the main thing I’ve been working on is trying to transform my body, and I want to come back as big and strong and fast as I possibly can.

Just come back in the best possible shape I can, and I want to transform my body into I guess a big league body, and I just want to be able to make an immediate impact, like the first day of Spring Training I want people to think ‘wow, Pete worked out on the offseason and he’s ready to get after it.

That’s what I want people to think because for me I pride myself on working hard, and I just want people to understand how hard I work and just let them know that no matter what I’m always going to bust my butt and trying to make something happen.  And if it doesn’t that’s fine, at least I can go to bed at night knowing I put my all in it. And for me, I just work hard day in and day out whether it’s in conditioning, lifting, hitting, throwing, fielding; I just take pride in everything I do and how I play the game. I know I got a little bit left, but the itch is real right now and I can’t wait to get back out there.

MMO - Well I can speak for most Mets fans that we’re really excited for you and see how you do, we’re rooting for you and we’ll be watching, thanks again for taking the time to talk today Pete.

Pete - Thank you, I appreciate you reaching out and hopefully you’ll ask for another one down the road.

Follow Pete on Twitter: @PeterAlonso20

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2017 Mets Top 30 Prospects: #26-30 Led By Crismatt Thu, 02 Feb 2017 17:00:55 +0000 nabil crismatt

26. RHP Nabil Crismatt

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 200  Level: Brooklyn Cyclones (Short-A), Columbia Fireflies (Full-A), Binghamton Mets (Double A)

B/T: R/R  Age: 12/25/1994 (22) Age Dif: -3.5 (Double A)

Last year: #50

Acquired: Signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent on Aug. 3, 2011

2016 Statistics: 13 G, 65.2 IP, 1-4 W/L record, 2.47 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 74/7 SO/BB

Profile: The 22-year-old right-hander was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Colombia in 2011, and spent the first four years of his professional career playing with the rookie levels of the Mets’ minor league system (DSL Mets, GCL Mets, and Kingsport Mets). During that time, Crismatt was utilized mainly as a reliever, except for eight starts he made in 2015 with Kingsport. Crismatt posted a record of 6-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 62 innings in 2015, and ranked third in the Appalachian League in strikeouts (63) and in WHIP (1.03).

Crismatt opened the 2016 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones, appearing in eight games, three of them starts, and posted a 3.19 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP, along with 35 strikeouts to only four walks. Had he qualified, Crismatt would’ve been second in the New York-Penn League in WHIP.

He earned a promotion to Columbia on August 5, and pitched in four games with the Fireflies as a starter. He pitched at least 6.2 innings in each game, and had two double-digit strikeout performances (August 13 and 26). He held opponents to a .191 average, and continued to impress with his strong strikeout to walk numbers, averaging 10.05 K/9 and 0.63 BB/9, (a career best). He finished the year in Binghamton, making one start, allowing one run over six innings with seven strikeouts.

Mike M adds…

Crismatt is a personal favorite of mine because he attacks hitters and has a plus changeup that he will use in any count. Also has clean mechanics that are easily repeatable and has shown the ability to pitch effectively in any role. His 26.2 K-BB% was 20th among 1,877 minor league pitchers who threw at least 50 innings in 2016.

2017 Outlook -

The Mets have steadily increased his workload, as Crismatt pitched the highest number of innings this past year (65.2) of his five-year career. He’s shown that he has excellent control (9.7 K/9 to 2.0 BB/9 for his career), however, he’s not a hard thrower, routinely sitting in the 88-92 MPH range. If he can continue with his success limiting walks and adding a strong third pitch to go along with his fastball and changeup, then he could be an arm to keep an eye on during his progression through the system. He should open the year with Columbia, and could reach Binghamton before the 2017 season concludes.

27. SS Luis Guillorme

Ht: 5’9″  Wt: 190 Level: St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A)

B/T: L/R  Age: 9/27/1994 (22) Age Dif: -1.7

Last Year: #16

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 10th round of the 2013 Draft from Coral Springs (Fla.) Charter High School.

2016 Statistics: 123 G, 441 AB, 16 2B, 2 3B, HR, 46 RBI, 47 R, 43 BB, 63 SO, .263/.332/.315

Profile: Luis Guillorme’s claim to fame even before he was selected in the 10th round of the 2013 Draft by the New York Mets was his superb defense up the middle. Praised for his accurate arm, speed, and soft hands, Guillorme has excelled at shortstop during his four-year career thus far.

His breakout performance came in 2015, where he spent the entire season with the Savannah Sand Gnats as a 20-year-old, earning the South Atlantic League’s Most Valuable Player Award with a slash line of .318/.391/.354, with 67 runs scored, 55 RBI, and 18 stolen bases in 122 games. Guillorme was 4th in the SAL in OBP (.391), 2nd in average (.318), and 2nd in hits (142). His splits were also solid against both righties and lefties, as he posted an OPS of .743 against RHP, and .752 against LHP. His impressive numbers in ’15 may have partially been attributed to his rather high BABIP (.374), a career high for the Florida native.

The high BABIP in ’15 came back down in 2016 with the St. Lucie Mets, as Guillorme saw decreasing stats in all the main categories, slashing .263/.332/.315 in 123 games. Guillorme continued to post strong strikeout to walk numbers though, as he drew a walk 8.5% of the time, and struck out 12.5% (down from 13.4% in his MVP ’15 season). He did finish the season strong in Florida, in his final 14 games he posted a .306/.364/.347 line.

Guillorme split his time between shortstop and second in ’16 to accommodate Mets top prospect Amed Rosario, the first season he’s played anywhere besides short in his professional career.

2017 Outlook -

With fellow shortstop and top prospect Amed Rosario inching his way closer to the majors, Guillorme’s best chance at sticking with the Mets might be to move to second permanently moving forward or in a utility role. His defense is what scouts rave about, as he grades well above average and is routinely chosen as the Mets’ best fielding shortstop in the minor leagues.

As of now, he profiles more as a solid bench or role player, though, if he can continue to get on base at a solid clip (career .355 OBP), and fill out and add a bit more power to his game, he could be an enticing top of the order hitter. He should begin the year with Binghamton in 2017 as their starting shortstop.

corey taylor

28. RHP Corey Taylor

Ht: 5’11″  Wt: 245  Level: St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A)

B/T: R/R  Age: 1/8/1993 (24) Age Dif: -0.1

Last Year: N/A

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 7th round of 2015 Draft out of Texas Tech University

2016 Statistics: 45 G, 53 IP, 4-5 W/L record, 1.87 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 45/13 SO/BB

Profile: Corey Taylor got his career off and running in 2015 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, mere weeks after he was selected in the 7th round of the ’15 Draft out of Texas Tech (just the 5th player out of Texas Tech that the Mets have drafted in team history). Taylor tossed 18 innings in Brooklyn, posting a 1.50 ERA along with a 1.00 WHIP, and averaging 8.0 K/9.

Taylor’s journey wasn’t an easy one at times, he didn’t draw many college offers out of high school, instead attending Cisco Junior College for his freshman year. Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock saw Taylor while he was playing in a regional at Texas Tech’s campus. When Taylor went to play for Texas Tech in his sophomore year, he went 2-5 with a 7.18 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 52.2 innings pitched. Taylor transitioned more and more to the pen following his sophomore year, appearing in 40 games between his junior and senior seasons, while starting only 7 of them. In his final year in college, Taylor impressed, posting a 4-0 record with a sparkling 0.31 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over 57.1 innings.

Taylor followed up his strong ’15 season with Brooklyn by posting similar numbers just over more games in 2016 with the St. Lucie Mets as the team’s closer. In 45 games, Taylor posted a record of 4-5 with a 1.87 ERA (10th in the FSL), a 1.25 WHIP, and held opponents to a .252 batting average. Taylor saved 20 games out of 23 chances. Taylor was selected to the Arizona Fall League following the conclusion of the ’16 season, and in nine games Taylor posted a 1.93 ERA with 17 strikeouts and one walk in 14 innings pitched. He was also selected to the AFL All-Star Game.

Mike M adds…

Taylor really impress in the AFL flashing a plus sinker that topped out at 96 MPH and an improved that slider has become a swing and miss pitch for him. He will be in big league camp with the Mets and I wouldn’t be shocked for them to fast track him to the majors. Hitters have a tough time barreling up Taylor’s sinker, he’s allowed only two home runs in 71 innings.

2017 Outlook -

The sizable righties’ arsenal consists of a sinker, slider, and changeup, sitting in the low 90s with his fastball, and at times can reach back at 95 MPH. Since Taylor is an older prospect (just turned 24 in January), the Mets might be inclined to push him through the minors a bit more, pushing him and testing him at higher levels. Taylor should begin the season with Binghamton.

29. RHP Andrew Church

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 200  Level: Columbia Fireflies (Full-A), St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A), Las Vegas 51s (Triple A)

B/T: R/R  Age: 10/7/1994 (22) Age Dif: -2.1 (St. Lucie)

Last Year: #79

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 2nd of 2013 Draft from Basic High School in Henderson, Nevada.

2016 Statistics: 16 G, 95.2 IP, 7-4 W/L record, 2.92 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 78/25 SO/BB

Profile: For his first three professional seasons, Church had a hard time finding consistency while also battling injuries. The second round selection in the 2013 Draft had an especially tough time limiting hits (12.6, 12.5, and 10.7 in 2013, ’14, and ’15), coupled with low strikeout totals (5.3 his career high in 2014). Church told Michael Mayer in an exclusive interview on MMN, that he found it difficult to repeat his delivery and during every start “something didn’t feel right”. Church underwent hip surgery following the 2015 season, and it seemed to do wonders for the 22-year-old right-hander in 2016.

Church opened the year with Columbia, starting in two games and winning both, tossing 12.2 innings while allowing just two runs, one earned, along with 15 strikeouts. He was promoted in early June to St. Lucie, where Church made six starts, going 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 35 innings. His strikeouts were down and walks were up while with St. Lucie (22-14 SO/BB), and was subsequently demoted in July back to Columbia. In seven starts from July 16 to August 24, Church went 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA while limiting the opposition to a .582 OPS. His first start back with Columbia on July 16 was a masterful complete game, one-hit shutout against the Rome Braves, with just one walk and 10 strikeouts, a career high.

Church pitches to contact and features a fastball that sits in the low 90s, slider, curve, and changeup. He works quickly on the mound, and has the old school mentality of wanting to pitch a complete game each time out. He keeps his pitch count low, only hitting 100 pitches once in ’16 (and that wasn’t even during either of his two complete games).

2017 Outlook -

After reaching career highs in innings pitched, games started, SO/9, ERA, and WHIP, it appears Church has found a consistent rhythm and routine on the mound. While he won’t be a strikeout machine, if he can continue to work quick, keep his pitch count low, and get his changeup to be a more consistent pitch for him, he could be a quick riser in the Mets’ system. While he made it all the way up to Triple-A Las Vegas in ’16 for what was supposed to be a spot start (his plane ended up requiring maintenance, and instead arrived in the third inning) he should begin the season with Double-A Binghamton in 2017.

30. LHP David Roseboom

Ht: 6′ 2″  Wt: 225  Level: Binghamton Mets (Double-A)

B/T: L/L  Age: 5/17/1992 (24) Age Dif: -0.5

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 17th round of 2014 Draft from University of South Carolina Upstate (Spartanburg, SC)

2016 Statistics: 52 G, 57.2 IP, 1-1 W/L record, 1.87 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 54/18 SO/BB

Profile: A casual fan wouldn’t necessarily expect a 17th round draft pick to garner a ton of attention and be given high praise as a potential future cog in the bullpen. That’s exactly what left-hander David Roseboom has done in his short Mets’ career.

Taken in the 2014 Draft out of the University of South Caroline Upstate, Roseboom was mainly a starting pitcher in his four years in school (65 games, 56 of them starts), and had mixed results. A career 4.67 ERA along with 10.41 H/9 and only 5.88 K/9 left much to be desired, yet the Mets took a chance on the lefty, and wanted to see how he’d respond out of the pen instead. Roseboom started his professional career off strong with Kingsport after the draft, appearing in 16 games and pitching to a 1.59 ERA, picking up four saves, and averaging 11.9 K/9.

He began the ’15 season with Savannah, in which he posted superb numbers in ERA (1.15), WHIP (0.80), and K/9 (10.1). He earned a promotion to St. Lucie at the end of June, however, his early season success would not translate in Florida, as Roseboom’s ERA rose over three runs to 4.55, and his under 1.00 WHIP with Savannah jumped to 1.61. Roseboom attributes his struggles in the Florida State League to not being very aggressive, and trying to be too fine with his pitches at times.

Roseboom opened the ’16 season with Double-A Binghamton, and took pitching coach Glenn Abbott‘s advice of attacking the bottom part of the strike zone more.

“If I ever get hit, it’s because I’m up — not because I’m walking guys and falling behind,” Roseboom told ESPN

Roseboom assumed the closer role for Binghamton in July, once Akeel Morris was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Kelly Johnson and Beck Wheeler earned a promotion to Las Vegas. He saved 14 out of 15 games and posted a 1.87 ERA in 52 games on the year. From July 2 to the last regular season game on September 5, Roseboom tossed 29.1 innings, holding opponents to a .130/.193/.383 slash line, and a 0.92 ERA. Roseboom was selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 0.79 ERA over 11.1 innings of work, while holding left-handed hitters to a microscopic .083 batting average.

2017 Outlook-

Writer Logan Barer proposed on MMO last week that Roseboom might be a candidate to make the 25-man roster out of spring, especially considering the lack of bullpen moves the Mets haven’t made thus far. At the very least, the Mets and their staff will be able to get a good look at Roseboom and his repertoire of slider, sinker, and changeup up close. If Roseboom doesn’t make the opening day roster, I’d expect him to open the year with Las Vegas, and preparing for a potential call-up this season. Roseboom has the potential to be a solid back-end reliever, or could be a lefty specialist as MLB prospect guru Jonathan Mayo opined while watching him pitch in Arizona this past fall.


1. Amed Rosario, SS

2. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP

4. Thomas Szapucki, LHP

5. Desmond Lindsay, OF

6. Justin Dunn, RHP

7. Gavin Cecchini, INF

8. Brandon Nimmo, OF

9. Andres Gimenez, SS

10. Tomas Nido, C

11. Wuilmer Becerra, OF

12. Peter Alonso, 1B

13. Marcos Molina, RHP

14. Ali Sanchez, C

15. T.J. Rivera, INF

16. Luis Carpio, INF

17. Merandy Gonzalez, RHP

18. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

19. Gregory Guerrero, SS

20. Chris Flexen, RHP

21-25 Led by Josh Smoker

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2017 Mets Top 30 Prospects: #18 Gabriel Ynoa, RHP Thu, 26 Jan 2017 16:51:23 +0000 gabriel-ynoa

#18 RHP Gabriel Ynoa

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 205  Level: Triple-A Las Vegas 51s and New York Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 05/26/1993 (23)  Age Dif: -3.7 (w/ Triple-A Las Vegas)

Acquired: Signed by the New York Mets as a international free agent on Nov. 19, 2009.

Last Year: #14

2016 Statistics: 25 G, 154.1 IP, 12-5 W-L, 3.97 ERA, 1.361 WHIP, .285 BAA, 78/40 K/BB, 15 HR (Triple A)

10 G, 3 GS, 18.1 IP, 1-0 W/L, 6.38 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, .333 BAA, 17/7 K/BB, 0 HR (MLB)

If it feels like you’ve heard the name Gabriel Ynoa for years now, you’re not mistaken. Ynoa was signed by the New York Mets as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic in November 2009. He burst onto the scene in his first professional season in 2010 with the Dominican Summer League Mets 2, leading the team in wins (5), innings pitched (72.1), and posting a sparkling 1.99 ERA, all while doing so at close to two years younger than the competition (-1.9).

While not a strikeout pitcher, averaging only 4.4 K/9 in his first professional season, what Ynoa set a precedent with was his pinpoint control, as he allowed only 1.0 BB/9 in the 14 games he pitched in ’10. In fact, Ynoa has kept up with that trend; for his minor league career, which accounts for 136 games (128 of them starts), Ynoa owns a 1.5 BB/9.

Ynoa sits in the low 90s with his fastball, but can ramp it up to 96 mph. Ynoa’s arsenal consists of a four-seam fastball, hard sinker, curve, slider, and changeup. Despite Ynoa’s low strikeout total, he limits the damage done against opponents by his low HR/9 and BB/9 numbers in the minor leagues.

Splitting time with the Kingsport Mets and GCL Mets in ’11 to auspicious results (3.21 ERA with 0.6 BB/9 over 56 IP), Ynoa took it to another level in ’12 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he posted a 5-2 record with a 2.23 ERA and 0.926 WHIP (12th in the NYPL). Ynoa also posted his best K/9 of his minor league career with the Cyclones at 7.5, while only allowing 10 walks in 76.2 innings pitched. The ’12 season also saw Ynoa get ranked as the No. 20 prospect in the Mets organization by Baseball America. Ynoa would be featured in the top 16 by Baseball America from 2013-15, and for 2017′s Top 10 Mets prospects, would place 9th on the list.

Ynoa would get the chance to pitch a full-season in ’13 with the former Savannah Sand Gnats (now Columbia Fireflies), where he was the clear ace of the staff, posting a 15-4 record (best among the Sand Gnats and the South Atlantic League), 2.72 ERA, 1.025 WHIP, and 1.1 BB/9 (3rd best in the league). His best two months were in June and August, where Ynoa combined to go 6-0 with a 1.71 ERA in eight starts.

After his successful campaign in Savannah, which saw him take home the Sterling Pitcher of the Year award, Ynoa spent the ’14 season splitting time between the Advanced A St. Lucie Mets, and the Double A Binghamton Mets. He struggled in April while with St. Lucie, posting a 6.93 ERA in five starts with an uncharacteristic nine walks in 24.2 innings pitched. He improved in May to a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings of work. Ynoa was promoted to Binghamton in early July, but pitched to rather pedestrian results: 3-2 record with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP. Combined, Ynoa allowed 10.3 H/9 between St. Lucie and Binghamton, a career worst. His 1.311 WHIP was also a career worst for the right-hander.

The Mets had Ynoa repeat his season in Binghamton in ’15, before he was assigned to Triple A Las Vegas for the ’16 season. He survived the dry air of Vegas in 25 starts for the most part, posting a 12-5 record with a 3.97 ERA, however, his BB/9 increased to 2.3, a career worst. Ynoa continued to struggle against left-handed hitters though, where they teed off to an OPS of .873, compared to his .686 OPS against righties. The last time Ynoa held left handed hitters to an OPS under .600 was in ’13, and has only registered an OPS under .600 against LHH twice in his career.

The big club was in need of a fresh arm in August, after the Logan Verrett fifth starter experiment failed after he went seven starts between July 9 and August 12, allowing 29 earned runs and 18 walks. Ynoa made his major league debut on August 13 (the same day as his promotion) and was the winning pitcher of record as he pitched a clean 11th inning of a 3-2 extra-innings Mets win against the San Diego Padres. Ynoa would go on to make three spot starts for the Mets in September and October, posting a 3.18  ERA in 11.1 innings pitched, striking out 11 while walking four.

Mike M adds…

Ynoa averaged 94.3 MPH with his fastball in the big leagues and also threw his slider 28% of the time. With some more time with Dan Warthen to refine his slider and additional bullpen experience I believe he can be a viable option for the Mets as a reliever in 2017. The fastball played up in his relief appearances, and while they weren’t pretty (11.57 ERA), he had little to no experience as a reliever when the Mets (Terry Collins) thrust him into that role. Hopefully the Mets will use him in the pen this spring so he can become better adjusted to that role if that’s what he’s needed for.

The changeup is a pitch that has always been a positive for Ynoa, but he got away from using that during his big league stint and I believe that was part of his troubles during his first major league taste.

2017 Outlook:

Ynoa will likely be insurance for the Mets to begin the ’17 season. With the return of Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, and Matz, not to mention Syndergaard, Lugo, and Gsellman, the Mets have a plethora of starting rotation options, which means it’s likely we see Wheeler and/or Lugo end up in the bullpen to begin the year. With that said, Ynoa should be pitching every fifth day for Las Vegas, where he’ll get consistent starts. Having a surplus of back end starting pitching is always a good thing, and there’s some that view Ynoa more favorably out of the pen, especially with the uptick in K/9 while with the Mets at the end of the year (8.3 K/9, a career high).


1. Amed Rosario, SS 

2. Dominic Smith, 1B 

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP 

4. Thomas Szapucki, LHP

5. Desmond Lindsay, OF

6. Justin Dunn, RHP 

7. Gavin Cecchini, INF 

8. Brandon Nimmo, OF

9. Andres Gimenez, SS 

10. Tomas Nido, C 

11. Wuilmer Becerra, OF 

12. Peter Alonso, 1B

13. Marcos Molina, RHP

14. Ali Sanchez, C

15. T.J. Rivera, INF

16. Luis Carpio, INF

17. Merandy Gonzalez, RHP

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2017 Mets Top 30 Prospects: #16 Luis Carpio, INF Tue, 24 Jan 2017 12:00:16 +0000 luis carpio

#16 INF Luis Carpio

Ht: 6’0″  Wt: 165  B/T: R/R  Age: 7/11/1997 (19)  Age Dif: -1.5 w/ GCL, -3.1 w/ Brooklyn

2016 Level: Rookie GCL Mets, Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones

Acquired: Signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent on July 11, 2013

Last Year: #8

2016 Statistics: 20 G, 74 AB, 7 R, 15 H, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 9 BB, 21 K, .203/.314/.270

Don’t let the numbers fool you, Luis Carpio wasn’t even expected to play in 2016. Carpio underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his right shoulder last March, which Marc Carig of Newsday confirmed and stated he’d likely miss the entire 2016 season.

According to MMO/MMN’s Jacob Resnick, Carpio had reportedly complained about the injury playing last winter, which eventually led to the surgery. The healing process progressed faster than expected for the teenage prospect, as he made his return to the diamond on August 10 as the designated hitter for the GCL Mets, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk in his return. After eight games with the GCL Mets, Carpio was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he’d finish out the year going 6-for-43 with two doubles, eight walks, and four runs scored. He remained at DH in all 12 games with the Cyclones.

Rewind back to July 2013, when the New York Mets signed the then 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop for $300,000, listed as the No. 30 international prospect. Carpio was one of four substantial international signings the Mets made that summer, along with C Ali Sanchez, SS Yeffry de Aza, and RHP Luis Silva.

Scouts were intrigued with his athleticism, speed, work ethic, and smooth line-drive swing from the right side of the plate. Carpio made his professional debut in 2014 with the Dominican Summer League, where he was 2.3 years younger than most of the competition. In 60 games, Carpio slashed .234/.347/.301, drawing as many walks (33) as strikeouts, and stole 12 out of 16 bases.

Offensively in 2015, Carpio improved his entire slash line while playing 45 games with the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League, to the tune of a .304 batting average (11th best in league), .372 OBP (12th best), and .359 slugging. He registered a .345 wOBA along with a 109 wRC+, both improvements from his ’14 campaign of .334 wOBA and 98 wRC+. Although his BB% dropped 5% from 2014 (13.2% to 8.2%), he was aggressive at the plate and still registered a career high .372 OBP, in part due to a high BABIP (.364).

Nonetheless, Carpio demonstrated a ton of tools in 2015, and did so at almost four years younger than the average competition (-3.6 years). His reverse splits were also solid in ’15, posting a .733 OPS against right-handed pitching and a .723 OPS against lefties, a major improvement over his .685 OPS against righies and .510 OPS against lefties in ’14. Carpio was named the 7th best prospect in the Appalachian League by Baseball America following the conclusion of the 2015 season.

He split his time playing shortstop and second base in 2014 and ’15, showcasing his polished range and lateral movements, good initial first step, and handling the double-play ball well, including the feeds and turns. Most scouts grade Carpio’s arm at about average, however, after going through the right shoulder surgery last March, Carpio might be best suited at second, not only for the shorter distance on throws but also due to the Mets being loaded at the shortstop position in the minors including top prospect Amed Rosario.

Speaking of Rosario, comparing his time in Kingsport in ’13 as a 17-year-old to Carpio’s ’15 campaign at the same age, Carpio led Rosario in the following categories: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, runs, stolen bases, doubles, and walks. And Carpio posted these numbers in 13 less games than Rosario played in (58 to 45 games played).

2017 Outlook: 

Carpio should open the 2017 season with Class A Columbia Fireflies, where he’ll experience a full season of minor league ball. He’ll open the season as a 19-year-old, not turning 20 until July. The hope is to see Carpio continue to impress with his mature approach at the plate, while filling out his frame a bit more, with the hope of reaching double-digit power as Baseball Prospectus had projected when they named him the Mets No. 3 prospect prior to the 2016 season.

He could shift to second base full-time in ’17, which will place a greater emphasis on his offense to make up for the position change. If he can use his ’15 season with Kingsport as a springboard, Carpio should continue to progress and impress at his young age, while also playing with older competition.


1. Amed Rosario, SS

2. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP

4. Thomas Szapucki, LHP

5. Desmond Lindsay, OF

6. Justin Dunn, RHP

7. Gavin Cecchini, INF

8. Brandon Nimmo, OF

9. Andres Gimenez, SS

10. Tomas Nido, C

11. Wuilmer Becerra, OF

12. Peter Alonso, 1B

13. Marcos Molina, RHP

14. Ali Sanchez, C

15. T.J. Rivera, INF

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2017 Top 30 Mets Prospects: No. 8 Brandon Nimmo, OF Wed, 11 Jan 2017 16:00:51 +0000 brandon nimmo

#8 OF Brandon Nimmo

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 205 B/T: L/R Age: 03/27/1993 (23)

2016 Level: MLB New York Mets, Triple-A Las Vegas 51s

Acquired: Drafted in 1st round of 2011 draft (13th overall)

Last Year: #5

MLB Statistics: 32 G, 73 AB, 12 R, 20 H, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB/20 SO, .274/.338/.329

MiLB Statistics: 97 G, 392 AB, 72 R, 138 H, 25 2B, 8 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 46 BB/73 SO, 7 SB, 8 CS, .352/.423/.541

The 2016 season was a big year for the happy-go-lucky Brandon Nimmo, who put together a terrific season for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, where he finished second behind teammate T.J. Rivera for the PCL batting title, and also made his major league debut with the Mets on June 26 in Atlanta. His ear-to-ear smile and passionate play sparked a depleted Mets squad during the summer months of the season, offering his versatility in all three outfield spots while coming through with some clutch pinch-hitting opportunities late in the year.

Nimmo was the first draft choice selected by then first-year Mets’ General Manager, Sandy Alderson back in 2011. Nimmo was a rather unconventional pick, an 18-year-old out of Cheyenne, Wyo., who didn’t play high school baseball due to Wyoming being one of three states that doesn’t offer organized school baseball programs.

However, Nimmo possessed several traits that Alderson and the Mets front office were intrigued by; his patience at the plate, athletic build, and versatility to play all three outfield positions. While Nimmo’s high OBP translated immediately to the Mets system, he wasn’t generating much extra-base power, while striking out at a high propensity during his first few seasons in the minors.

Nimmo seemed to finally put it together in 2014, particularly with Single-A St. Lucie, where he posted a .322/.448/.458 slash line, with 73 hits in just 62 games. That level of production didn’t last upon his promotion to Double-A Binghamton though, as he saw a big drop off in OBP (.448 to .339), and saw his OPS drop 171 points to .735. His strong production in the first half of that year with St. Lucie saved Nimmo’s overall numbers, as he still maintained a respectful .820 OPS in 127 combined games.

Injuries derailed much of Nimmo’s 2015 season, as he only played in 104 games between Triple-A Las Vegas, Binghamton, and St. Lucie. He produced another pedestrian line that year minus another strong on-base showing of .362, leaving fans to wonder whether Nimmo would ever live up to the type of potential suited for a 13th overall pick in the draft.

A slow start to 2016 in the Pacific Coast League looked ominous for Nimmo, however, as the weather warmed up Nimmo’s bat came alive to the tune of a .986 OPS in May, 1.071 OPS in June, and a 1.125 OPS in August.

In 2016, Nimmo set career highs in batting average (.352), slugging (.541), home runs (11), RBI (61), hits (138), and doubles (25). Part of this is due to the rather favorable hitting conditions the PCL offers with the higher altitude and drier air, however, Nimmo impressed not just with his fancy stat line but with tremendous splits as well. Nimmo tore up lefty pitching in Vegas to the tune of a .358/.425/.567 line, with four home runs and 18 RBI in 120 at-bats.

2017 Outlook:

With an outfield consisting of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, and the Voldermort like “he who must not be named” Jay Bruce (for now), Nimmo looks like a candidate to begin the season in Triple A once again, where he can get regular at-bats. Nimmo is likely best suited for one of the corner outfield positions as he’s lost a step or two due to lower body injuries and filling out a bit since the draft.

Though he hasn’t turned into the potential five tool talent some scouts and talent evaluators predicted, his patience at the plate (including an impressive 4.36 pitches per plate appearance in the majors last season) quick wrists and bat speed, and strong OBP could translate into a solid fourth outfielder or platoon player for the Mets. However, if he can continue to show improvements in the power department, the patience the Mets have kept since drafting him might pay off into an everyday starting outfielder as soon as 2018.


1. Amed Rosario, SS

2. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP

4. Thomas Szapucki, LHP

5. Desmond Lindsay, OF

6. Justin Dunn, RHP

7. Gavin Cecchini, INF

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]]> 0 2017 Top 30 Prospects: No. 4 Thomas Szapucki, LHP Wed, 04 Jan 2017 15:30:39 +0000 Photo: Allen Greene, Kingsport Mets

Photo: Allen Greene, Kingsport Mets

#4 Thomas Szapucki

Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 205 Level: Rookie Kingsport Mets & Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones

B/T: R/L Age: 06/12/1996 (20) Age Dif: -1.4 (w/ Brooklyn)

Acquired: Drafted by the Mets in the 5th Round of the 2015 MLB Draft (149th overall pick)

Last Year: #24

2016 Statistics: 9 G, 52 IP, 4-3 W-L, 1.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .145 BAA, 86/20 K/BB, 2 HR

148 picks had gone by in the 2015 MLB Draft before a local kid from Toms River, New Jersey was selected by the New York Mets in the fifth round for $375,500 out of William T. Dwyer High School in Florida. Thomas Szapucki may not be a household name to all Met fans yet, but he sure will be.

The 20-year-old left-hander entered the 2016 season with just 2.1 innings under his belt as a professional, appearing in three games for the GCL Mets in 2015. While his debut was underwhelming, tossing a third of an inning allowing four runs on four hits with no strikeouts, his next two appearances went much smoother, totaling two innings of one hit ball with three strikeouts.

The Mets sent their heralded young prospect to the fall instructional league to work on the mechanics in his delivery. Szapucki worked on raising his arm to a three-quarters position, which allowed for less stress on his shoulder and arm and improved the velocity on his fastball, which regularly sits in the mid 90s and can reach the upper 90s as well.

The instructional league seemed to do wonders for Szapucki, who entered 2016 with the Kingsport Mets. Luis Rivera, the Kingsport manager, noted how poised he was for his age, adding that Szapucki can have a very bright future because his repertoire plays well.

That bright future was on display for his 2016 debut on June 23 for Kingsport, where Szapucki tossed six-innings of two hit ball, while striking out 13 batters. He struck out the side twice on the night, however, Kingsport fell to Elizabethton 4-3. Sazpucki would go on to make four more starts for Kingsport, allowing no more than two-runs in a game (July 4), and had strikeout totals of six, eleven, eight, and nine.

On July 21, the Mets challenged Szapucki and promoted him to Short-A Brooklyn Cyclones, where he was nearly a year and a half younger than the rest of the competition. He made his Brooklyn debut three days later against the Staten Island Yankees, where Szapucki went 5.1 shutout innings on four hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts. His ensuing three starts all registered double-digit strikeouts, however, he would have trouble with command by walking 11 batters in his four Cyclone starts. His season would soon be cut short due to a lower back issue.

Overall, Szapucki’s 2016 season was about as dominant as a 20-year-old could have: a 4-3 record in 52 innings pitched, with a sparkling 1.38 ERA (which would’ve been the lowest ERA among all non-complex short season pitchers had he qualified), and a 0.88 WHIP.

In September, the Mets awarded their young lefty with the Sterling Award for Kingsport, the equal for the Most Valuable Player in each Mets affiliate. Szapucki was one of only two Met pitchers to be honored with a Sterling Award, along with Organizational Pitcher of the Year, P.J. Conlon.

The Mets have become a model in Major League Baseball on developing young, hard-throwing starting pitching. Szapucki is the latest prospect to emerge with a ton of intrigue and excitement, and will continue to work on limiting the walks and utilizing his changeup that he showed off in Brooklyn.

“I’m definitely very happy with how my changeup is progressing,” Szapucki told “Earlier in the year, I didn’t really have a changeup. I mostly just used it for effect and to change the batter’s bat speed. But now, I consider it to be an out pitch.”

Mike M adds - 

It was an unbelievable breakout season for the young lefty that had double digit strikeouts in five of his nine starts and held opponents to a measly .460 OPS.

Szapucki showed off a plus breaking ball in 2016, a sweeping curveball that was tough on lefties and righties alike. The combination of a plus fastball and curveball from the young lefty gives him top of the rotation potential.

2017 Outlook:

Much attention will be placed on Szapucki in 2017, but the future looks once again promising for yet another hard throwing pitcher out of the Mets farm system. He could start the season with the Columbia Fireflies, but it shouldn’t be long before getting promoted to the St. Lucie Mets.


1. Amed Rosario, SS

2. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP

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Featured Post: Ben Rowen Might Be Mets’ Diamond In The Rough Tue, 27 Dec 2016 19:15:03 +0000 ben-rowen

This past Thursday, the New York Mets announced a pair of minor league signings of right-handed pitchers Cory Burns and Ben Rowen. Rowen’s contract guarantees him an invite to major league spring training, a sign that the Mets might have legitimate interest in seeing what Rowen and his submarine style pitching can offer the club in 2017.

Rowen, 28, was a 22nd round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Rowen has bounced around the minor leagues with different affiliates, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Milwaukee Brewers, his most recent team.

Rowen has spent minimal time in the majors since 2010, getting his first call up with the Rangers in 2014 for eight games, and then this past year with the Brewers for four games. The results were mixed, as evidenced by his 6.94 ERA and 2.06 WHIP, however, it’s hard to gauge those numbers since it was only done with 11.2 innings pitched combined.

His tenure in the minor leagues is a much different story. For his minor league career, Rowen has posted a minuscule 1.85 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 384.2 innings, recording 43 saves in 53 opportunities. The six-foot-four right-hander has also posted strong splits throughout his MILB career, including this past season with Triple A Buffalo, where Rowen posted a 2.03 ERA and .220 average against left-handers, and a 2.65 ERA with a .269 average against right-handed hitters. In 2015 with Double A Bowie, Rowen once again posted solid splits, 2.16 ERA against lefties and 2.33 ERA against right-handers. In total for his 2015 season, Rowen held opposing right-handers to a .545 OPS, and lefties to a .493 OPS.

Though Rowen’s fastball tops out in the low 80′s, his calling card is his submarine style pitching, and his penchant for inducing ground balls due to his sink on both his fastball and slider. Rowen’s posted at least a 60% ground ball percentage in 11 of 17 different stops along his career, including all minor and major league levels, and winter ball. Rowen has also posted a FIP under 3.00 in 13 of the aforementioned 17 stops in his career.

Rowen has been mastering the submarine pitching style for years now. In a FanGraphs interview conducted in February 2014, Rowen talked about the progression:

“I’ve been throwing submarine for about eight years now. Before that, my high school coach told me to throw sidearm. I think it was a good progression to throw sidearm for four years and then move down. Mechanically, it was easier than going from overhand straight to submarine.”

Add three more seasons to that eight year total, and Rowen has been working at throwing submarine for 11 years now, something that should appeal to the Mets since it appears Rowen is comfortable with his mechanics. With experience on his side, Rowen just needs an opportunity with a big club to showcase what he can offer over a full 162-game season. And that’s where the Mets fit in to this narrative.

The Mets have been looking to bolster their bullpen for 2017, especially considering closer Jeurys Familia will likely be suspended for his role in a domestic violence arrest in late October. The Daily News’ Kristie Ackert reported Friday that industry sources believe Familia will be suspended for at least 30 games next season, the same number of games Aroldis Chapman was suspended for to start the 2016 year.

With Addison Reed likely sliding into the closer’s role to begin the year, the Mets need to fill the back end of the bullpen and also look to retain LHP Jerry Blevins, who held lefties to a .636 OPS in ’16, and has also pitched with solid splits throughout his career. The Mets have balked at the free agent market thus far, seeing the likes of Brad Ziegler, Fernando Rodney, Koji Uehara, Mike Dunn, Brett Cecil, and Joaquin Benoit sign with other clubs.

Though there are some strong free agent names still left on the board, the Mets are always looking for undervalued or minor league deals for relievers. The market has risen over the past few years, where clubs are placing a higher emphasis on having strong bullpens, following in the footsteps of teams like the Giants, Royals, Indians and Cubs.

While the minor league signings of Rowen and Burns CANNOT be the only bullpen moves Sandy Alderson and Co. makes, Rowen does offer a ton of intrigue and should be given a decent look this spring in Port St. Lucie. No, he’s not Brad Ziegler, an arm many fans were pining to get, however, Rowen offers similar traits (sidearm, ground ball rate) and should be given a chance to demonstrate to the Mets what he can do to help piece their pen together for 2017.

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Justin Ruggiano Signs Minor League Deal With Giants Sat, 24 Dec 2016 16:13:26 +0000 justin ruggiano

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the San Francisco Giants signed veterans Michael Morse and Justin Ruggiano to minor-league deals on Friday night. For Ruggiano, this will be the eighth organization he’s played for heading into his ninth professional season in 2017.

Ruggiano, 34, was drafted in the 25th round of the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and made his major league debut three years later in 2007 as a member of the formerly named Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The right-handed hitting outfielder has made a career for himself with his solid splits against left-handed pitching, where he owns a lifetime .275/.338/.527 slash line, with 27 of his career 51 homers coming off of southpaws.

His advanced statistics also speak volumes about how well he performs versus lefties, as he’s posted a career .371 wOBA along with an impressive 137 wRC+.

The New York Mets signed the right-handed hitting Ruggiano on July 30 after he was released from the Texas Rangers’ Triple A affiliate, the Round Rock Express earlier in the week. With the Mets placing center fielder Juan Lagares on the DL due to a torn ligament in his left thumb, which would cost him nearly two months of the season, Ruggiano was brought aboard for veteran outfield depth. He was immediately placed in the starting lineup for the Mets that night against the Colorado Rockies, where he went 1-for-3 while patrolling centerfield.

Ruggiano flexed his muscle in the August 18, 10-7 Mets loss at AT&T Park in San Francisco against one of the best lefties in the game, Madison Bumgarner. Ruggiano went 2-for-2 off of Bumgarner, including a fourth inning grand slam that gave the Mets an early 4-0 lead. Ruggiano added another single in the sixth off reliever Cory Gearrin to go a combined 3-for-5 on the night with four RBI and two runs scored.

Unfortunately for the Mets and Ruggiano, he was placed on the DL twice in August, the second time (left shoulder injury) closing the book on his 2016 season, as he was transferred to the 60-day DL on August 31. On November 4, the Mets out-righted Ruggiano off the 40-man roster, as he then cleared waivers and elected for free agency.

He would’ve been solid minor league depth for the Mets, and a potential weapon off the bench against left-handed pitching late in games. With a logjam in the outfield as it is, the Mets decided to not pursue Ruggiano this offseason.

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Reed Should Have Continued Success Closing Sat, 10 Dec 2016 13:30:35 +0000 addison-reed

While Sandy Alderson and the front office continue to scour the market for bullpen help via free agency and through trades, the Mets feel confident in their closer heading into 2017.

No, not Jeurys Familia, who will likely be suspended to begin the 2017 season due to his arrest for his role in a domestic violence dispute on Halloween in Fort Lee, NJ. Instead, the Mets intend to slide setup man Addison Reed into the closer’s role, one he’s familiar with from his time with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Reed, 28 on December 27, had a brilliant 2016 season as the Mets’ setup man, posting career highs in games pitched (80), ERA (1.97), IP (77.2), strikeouts (91), WHIP (0.94), and OPS against (.536). His 2.6 fWAR was tied for fifth among all relievers in ’16, with only names like Jansen, Miller, Betances, and Chapman ahead of him.

Before the trade that sent Reed to the Mets in late August of 2015 for minor league pitchers Matt Koch and Miller Diaz, Reed was the closer for both the White Sox and Diamondbacks, compiling 101 saves from 2012-14, posting a 4.22 ERA with 9.5 SO/9 during that period. While the 101 saves was good for ninth among relievers, his ERA was the 16th worst among qualifying arms. Although, his FIP was 3.58, indicating that he might’ve been subjected to some bad luck and/or poor fielding or defensive alignments.

So why did it take so long for Reed to blossom into the dominating force he’s been for the Mets? Taking a closer look at Reed’s velocity and pitch selection, per Brooks Baseball, Reed’s four-seam fastball velocity in 2011-12 was over 95 MPH. Over the next four seasons, Reed watched his velocity dip to 93.22 MPH this year, however, Reed’s whiff percentage has risen since 2015, registering 9.09 followed by a 10.75 this past season, the highest it’s been since 2014. Reed’s also seen his slugging percentage against shrink over the past three years, from .423 in 2014, to .421 in ’15, to a career low .319 in ’16.

Reed’s slider has also been a useful weapon for the right-hander, as he’s using it more as a put away pitch than he has in years past. In 2014, Reed went to the slider 236 times, then saw a huge hike in ’15 with 321 times, followed by 329 in ’16. In 2012 and ’13, Reed’s whiff percentage on his slider was at 12.88 and 18.81 respectively, in ’16, Reed had a 20.97 whiff percentage on the slider, another career best. His .185 batting average against on his slider was also a career best for Reed in ’16, resulting in a 60.78 ground ball percentage.


Another important aspect to Reed’s success with the Mets is the mechanical adjustments he’s made on his leg kick, or should I say, lack thereof. As early as mid 2015, Reed pitched with a pronounced leg kick, bringing his knee up to his belt before delivering to the plate. But while Reed was stationed in Triple A Reno in 2015, as the Diamondbacks demoted their closer due to inconsistencies in the majors and watched as his ERA ballooned to 7.20 by mid May, Reed and the Diamondbacks’ staff made a compromise.

“We kind of met in the middle,” Reed said. “Not the high leg kick, not the slide step but lifting it quick and just going. That kind of got me a little bit more going into my delivery and going as opposed to the slide step, you’re just falling forward. This kind of got me to gather everything on my back leg and then shoot toward home plate.” (Beyond the Boxscore)

The change in Reed’s mechanics allow him to gather momentum on his back leg and fire towards home plate. The change in mechanics have also given Reed better control, as he posted a 1.51 BB/9, the lowest it’s been since his brief cup of coffee with the White Sox in 2011. Reed posted his best first pitch strike percentage in ’16, at 70.1%, according to FanGraphs.

Mechanics, pitch selection, and change of scenery have all helped Reed regain his form and be a dominating reliever in baseball. Because of this, the Mets should enter 2017 with peace of mind in the ninth, as his turnaround over the last year and change signals that the Mets have rolled the dice and won in their low risk/high reward gamble with Reed. Terry Collins spoke to MLB Network this past Tuesday and offered similar sentiments when it comes to Reed in the ninth, saying he was confident Reed can handle the ninth and get the job done.

Of course, the off-season is far from over, as the team needs to add additional relievers along with looking to re-sign Jerry Blevins. Adding a trusted arm to take Reed’s spot setting up is still a priority for the club, and it will only strengthen the team as Familia comes back from his likely suspension, giving the Mets a potentially dynamic back end of the pen.

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Mets Front Office and Ownership Deserve Some Praise Sun, 04 Dec 2016 15:00:01 +0000 sandy-alderson

When the New York Mets entered the offseason after a disappointing Wild Card Game loss to the San Francisco Giants, fans and media alike pondered what type of moves and money the Mets’ front office would make and spend this winter. After all, the team has held a stigma of being “cheap” over the last several years, even though the claim is just not true. The Mets have seen some steady and significant payroll increases over the last three seasons since coming out of their rebuild.

While the Mets have spent the a few seasons ridding themselves of onerous contracts held over from the previous regime and develop talent from within, they started to form a chemistry and cohesion, resulting in back-to-back postseason trips in 2015-16, only the second time that’s occurred in franchise history (1999-00). With the team relying on an inexpensive group of young, top of the rotation starters, that gives them some wiggle room when it comes to doling out contracts in other areas of specific need.

And so far, GM Sandy Alderson and the front office have responded. Fans and beat reporters thought there was a chance that Neil Walker wouldn’t be tendered a qualifying offer, as the price tag of $17.2 million along with Walker’s season-ending back surgery gave some pause as to whether allocating that type of money would make the most financial sense. However, the Mets made the QO to Walker, who accepted minutes before the 5 PM deadline on November 14.

As fans remember, Walker had a career year of sorts in 2016, matching a career high in home runs (23), setting a career high in SLG (.476), OPS (.823), BB% (9.2), and fWAR (3.7). The switch-hitting second baseman also set a career high in his splits against left-handed pitchers in 2016, slashing .330/.391/.610 in 100 at-bats against southpaws, compared to his career line of .269/.327/.373.

rene rivera

The Mets were also unlikely to tender a contract to backup catcher Rene Rivera, according to multiple media reports. The thought process was the $2.2 million price tag Rivera was projected to earn was too pricey for a backup catcher, as the team still has underachieving Kevin Plawecki to back up Travis d’Arnaud at the league minimum.

However, the team came to a one-year $1.75 million deal with Rivera on Friday, keeping Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher in the fold for 2017. It appears the front office realized the impact he had on Syndergaard and controlling the running game, as he threw out 30% of would be base stealers last season.

Also keeping a veteran backstop on a team with youthful catchers is a smart choice, as Rivera can act as a second coach to Glenn Sherlock, who was hired as the new third base coach and catching instructor in November. That too, was a shrewd move, as the front office realized that former third base coach Tim Teufel made some questionable decisions with runners on the base paths, while also operating last season without a full time catching instructor on the roster. The hope is Sherlock can work with d’Arnaud and Plawecki, and get them back on track after rocky 2016 seasons for both catchers.

And of course, there’s the matter of Yoenis Cespedes. As soon as Cespedes inked his three-year, $75 million deal last winter with the opt-out after the first season, fans wondered what it would take to retain La Potencia, and if he would just sell himself to the highest bidder on the open market this offseason.

Varying reports about Cespedes’ intentions were spread across the internet: would the Nationals be interested again as they were last season? Could the Dodgers join the fray and add him to an already expensive roster? Would the crosstown rival Yankees swoop in, after shedding payroll with their trades of Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Ivan Nova, and Brian McCann?

cespedes press conference

Our editor in chief Joe D. offered his take throughout the month of November, calmly reminding fans that Cespedes’ first choice was always in Queens and that something was brewing between both sides. Sure enough, the Mets announced on Wednesday that they had come to an agreement with the 31-year-old Cuban slugger, agreeing to a four-year, $110 million deal with a full no-trade clause, making him the highest paid outfielder in the game.

The front office and ownership should be applauded for their hard work and dedication moving forward. They too realize the window for winning is now, with all their young arms controlled for the next few years before they have some serious decisions to make on extensions. Retaining the players that made them successful the past two seasons illustrates the level of seriousness they’re taking into each year, and not just standing pat and waiting for the scrapheap free agents to sift through in January and February.

A big part of ownership’s willingness to go out and spend money is the increased gate attendance the team has seen over the past three seasons. In 2014, the Mets totaled 2,148,808, good for 21st in baseball. The following season the Mets were sitting at 12th in attendance, with 2,569,753 fans going through the turnstiles. And in 2016, the Mets made it into the top 10, the first time since 2009, as they were 9th with 2,789,602 in attendance. Alderson did say at a season ticket holder’s event back in 2014 that ownership will spend more money if they’re supported at the gates by fans. So far it seems as if Alderson and ownership have kept their word.

Of course, there is more work to be done, as the team is in need of adding a left-handed reliever and a late inning arm to pair with Addison Reed, as it appears Jeurys Familia might face a suspension for his domestic violence arrest in October. The Mets also need to decide on moving one (or both) of Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, depending on who fetches them the greatest return. If the Mets continue working dutifully as they have when it comes to their own free agents, I have faith that Alderson and Co. have a game plan for who they will target at this week’s Winter Meetings in Maryland. Stay tuned…

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Koji Uehara, RP Sun, 27 Nov 2016 15:30:36 +0000 koji-uehara-jim-davis-globe-2013-09-03

Koji Uehara
Position: Reliever
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: April 3, 1975 (Age 41)

As the New York Mets continue to scour the market for late inning relievers, one potential target is a right-handed arm that has experience in both closing and setting-up, in 41-year-old Koji Uehara.

The eight-year veteran began his major league career with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, and was then involved in one of the Orioles’ best trades in franchise history, shipping Uehara to the Texas Rangers for RH Tommy Hunter and a young power first baseman, Chris Davis.

In the winter of 2012, Uehara signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox, where he’s remained ever since, going on to be named the 2013 ALCS MVP and eventual World Series Champions in his first season in Beantown. He even garnered some Cy Young votes that season, coming in seventh with a 5% share.

Uehara has been one of the most dominant relievers in the game, particularly between 2012-15. During that stretch, Uehara was sixth among relievers in fWAR (6.4), sixth in ERA (1.84), sixth in average against (.171), fifth in LOB% (86.2%), and led all relievers in WHIP (0.75) and BB/9 (1.21). Uehara has found great success relying mainly on three pitches, a four-seam fastball, cutter, and split-fingered fastball, according to Brooks Baseball.

For his career, Uehara has predominantly been a fly ball pitcher, averaging 52.3% in his eight-year career. His ground ball percentage peaked in 2013, where he registered a career high of 40.4%, only to see that number decrease down to 21.4% this past season.

His splits have been strong against both right and left-handed hitters, holding right-handed hitters to a .208/.237/.366 line, and lefties to an even better .183/.220/.335 stat line. In 2016, however, his splits were more pronounced, as he continued to dominate lefties (.478 OPS against), but right-handers teed off on Uehara, posting a .505 SLG and .812 OPS, both career worsts.

Despite his age (he turns 42 when the season opens in ’17), Uehara’s peripherals continue to impress. He posted a 10.49 SO/9 in 2015, the lowest it’s been since his rookie season in 2009, but bounced back in ’16 with a 12.06 SO/9, the highest it’s been since 2013. He also posted his seventh straight season of a sub 1.00 WHIP, posting a 0.96 WHIP in ’16.

Acting as the setup man for Craig Kimbrel, Uehara had 18 holds, and did step back into his old familiar role of closer when Kimbrel was placed on the DL due to a left knee medial meniscus tear in early July. Uehara stepped up in his absence, posting a 2.70 ERA in July in eight games, with a perfect four-out-of-four in saves, and holding opponents to a .231 average.

Injuries have taken a toll on Uehara since 2015, where he dealt with a strained left hamstring, a non-displaced distal radius fracture in his right wrist, and a right pectoral strain. In total, Uehara only appeared in 43 and 50 games respectively, being only a few years removed from appearing in 65, 73, and 64 in 2011, ’13, and ’14. His HR/9 numbers also shot up in ’16, jumping from 0.67 in ’15 to 1.53 in ’16. He also registered his highest BB/9 this year at 2.11, the first time in his career where he had back-to-back seasons of over 2.00 BB/9 (2.01 in 2015).

Uehara’s ERA was also a career high in ’16, posting a 3.45 ERA, the last time he posted an ERA above that was his rookie season in Baltimore (4.05 ERA).


Uehara won’t draw the same attention that the elite relievers on the market will, and may not even draw the same attention the second tier pitchers will (Boone Logan, Fernando Salas, etc.). There are plenty of teams looking for back end help in the bullpen, and Uehara fits that description with his experience closing and setting up. His age shouldn’t give teams pause, however, a few of his declining numbers might. Look for Uehara to get one or two-year offers, in the $3-6 million annual range. Expect the Mets, Twins, Padres, Cubs, Mariners, Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox to show interest.


Sandy Alderson should be looking into many free agent arms to help for 2017, especially since Jeurys Familia is likely to be suspended in the beginning of the season due to his legal battle with domestic violence. The Mets should be looking at relievers that have experience closing, like Uehara does, so that he can be used as an option for the ninth, but also is comfortable appearing in the seventh and eighth innings as well.

Uehara should not be considered a big free agent signing, but as a supplement to whoever else Alderson brings in for bullpen help, along with Addison Reed who will likely handle the closing duties until Famila returns from suspension.

While the days of appearing in 60 plus games are likely over for free agent reliever, he still has stuff left in the tank and could prove a very useful piece late in games, and also in postseason play, where he has multiple year experience and with great success, posting a 0.833 WHIP and 10.5 SO/9 in 19 games.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Carlos Gomez, OF Sat, 26 Nov 2016 17:00:56 +0000 carlos gomez

Carlos Gomez
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: December 4, 1985 (Turning Age 31)

Since the 2015 Trade Deadline, it seems the New York Mets have tried to make a reunion happen with Carlos Gomez, their former amateur free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2002. Gomez was on GM Sandy Alderson’s radar prior to the July 31 deadline, as the team was looking to add an impact bat for their postseason push. The proposed trade of Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores to the Milwaukee Brewers for Gomez fell through due to lingering concerns over Gomez’ hip, and of course, the rest is history, as the Mets circled back to the Detroit Tigers and pulled off a trade for Yoenis Cespedes, a trade that propelled the team all the way to the 2015 World Series.

There was talk of Gomez signing with the Mets this past season too, after he was designated for assignment by the Houston Astros in early August. The Mets ended up taking a pass on Gomez, relying on the injured Justin Ruggiano to return only to end up back on the disabled list due to a left shoulder injury at the end of August. The Texas Rangers signed Gomez to a minor league deal, with the Astros responsible for the bulk of his $9 million ’16 salary.

Gomez revived his season with the Rangers, after slashing .210/.272/.322 in 85 games with the Astros in ’16, with a 6.5% walk rate and career worst 31% strikeout percentage. He also posted negatives in DRS, UZR, and UZR/150 in 677 innings in the outfield with the Astros.

However, moving from Houston to Arlington reignited the spark plug outfielder, as he went on to play in 33 games for the AL West Champion Texas Rangers, posting a line of .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs, 18 RBI, a 139 wRC+, and a 1.2 fWAR. His defensive metrics also improved as he manned mainly left field (213 out of 275 total innings), posting a 1.3 UZR and 6.4 UZR/150. Combining his overall outfield metrics with Texas, Gomez posted a 3.7 UZR and 11.7 UZR/150, according to FanGraphs.

Gomez pointed to adjustments at the plate that aided in his turnaround with the Rangers, explaining in September that he was trying to keep the weight on his back leg, which allows him to stay back and recognize the pitch better, allowing him to drive the ball with more relative ease.

Between 2012-14, Gomez was one of the game’s premier outfielders, posting a 16.2 fWAR (4th among MLB outfielders), 111 stolen bases (2nd), 247 runs scored (12th), 18 triples (10th), and registering the 6th best UZR/150 (14.7) among all outfielders during that span. Gomez made both of his All Star appearances in 2013 and 2014, the two years he posted above an .800 OPS. Gomez also won his only Gold Glove Award in ’13, the same year he received a share of MVP votes, placing ninth in the NL.

High strikeouts and low walks have always been a bugaboo for Gomez, however, it was less noticeable when he was hitting 20 plus home runs and stealing over 30 bases in a season. Gomez posted the 9th highest strikeout percentage in baseball this past season (30%) among all players with at least 400 plate appearances. While he did lower his strikeout percentage once he signed with the Rangers, it was still down only a few percentage points, from 31 to 27.7%. Since 2015, Gomez has trended negatively in average, OBP, SLG, fWAR, wRC+, and runs scored.

Gomez has posted close to neutral splits for his career, posting a .722 OPS against RHP and .738 OPS against LHP. While Gomez struggled during his time in Houston, he did post solid numbers in RISP with both Houston and Texas, posting a .792 OPS with the Astros, and a 1.145 OPS with the Rangers.


If Gomez continued to struggle with the Rangers, he’d be lucky to land a one-year deal with incentives on the open market this winter. His strong final six weeks of the season helped Gomez potentially land a multi-year contract, with the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mets, Athletics, Giants, and Cardinals all possible fits for the soon to be 31-year-old. Of course, you can’t rule out the Rangers wanting to keep Gomez, as they’re set to lose both Gomez and Ian Desmond to free agency. I can envision Gomez receiving a two-three year deal, for roughly $10-12 million annually, similar to the deal Denard Span signed with the San Francisco Giants last year for three-years and $31 million.


Cespedes remains priority number one for the Mets, however, Gomez offers some intriguing athleticism and speed for a Mets team that has been void of that for some time. While he’s hit leadoff for the bulk of his career, his lifetime OBP of .315 leaves a lot to be desired, although in 17 games batting first for the Rangers he did post a .386 OBP. At this point for the Mets, if Cespedes can’t be retained, the Mets should set their sights on someone that could hit leadoff and get on base at a higher clip than Gomez does, Dexter Fowler is a prime example.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Jason Castro, C Mon, 21 Nov 2016 17:00:05 +0000 jason-castro

Jason Castro
Position: Catcher
Bats: Left – Throws: Right
Born: June 18, 1987 (Age 29)

If this were the 2013 offseason, Jason Castro would be lining up the offers in free agency, after the then 26-year-old made his first All Star team and posted a line of .276/.350/.485, with 18 home runs (6th among catchers), 56 RBI, a 129 wRC+, and a 4.4 fWAR (4th among catcher’s with at least 400 plate appearances).

Unfortunately for Castro, the ensuing seasons haven’t lived up to the promise that he displayed in ’13. He has seen his K% increase, his average plummet from .276 in his All-Star campaign to .210 in 2016, and his OPS drop from .835 in 2013, to .684 last year.

The former first round draft pick in 2008 (10th overall) hits the open market in a year when multiple teams are looking to upgrade behind the plate, and despite some declining numbers the last several seasons, teams will still be intrigued by Castro’s power potential, strong pitch framing stats, and age.

Since 2013, the left-handed slugging catcher has hit 54 home runs (tied for 9th among major league catchers), scored 185 runs (9th), and compiled an 8.5 fWAR (tied for 7th). One of Castro’s biggest weaknesses is facing lefty pitching, as he’s posted a .536 OPS lifetime against southpaws, and had a .478 OPS in 2016. Castro has only posted one season of a .620 OPS or greater against left-handed pitching (2013), so at this juncture teams might be looking to utilize Castro against right-handers only.

Defensively, Castro has received high marks in terms of pitch framing, listed as the fifth best framing catcher in all of baseball last year, according to StatCorner. Castro was credited with an additional 96 strike calls in 2016, which resulted in an extra 0.92 calls per game. His throwing game has been under league average for his career, registering a 26% caught stealing percentage, when the league average has been 28%.

Castro’s best season of throwing out potential base stealers was in 2015, where he had a 36% caught stealing rate (6th in MLB). The 2015 season was also considered his best for defensive runs saved (DRS), where he posted 4 DRS. The years prior and in ’16, Castro was negative in that category (-2 DRS in ’16).


MLB Trade Rumors has Castro pegged for two-years and $15 million. That seems like a fair estimate, though I could see teams offering a three-year deal for around $24 million, since there are a number of potential landing spots for the 29-year-old, in what’s been described as a “thin” catching market.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday that the Rays have offered Castro a contract, and “are right in the thick of things and being considered by Jason” according to the report. While an earlier report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that Castro is weighing offers from three AL clubs, though it’s unclear whether the Rays are one of the three. Potential interested suitors include the aforementioned Rays, Twins, Braves, White Sox, Orioles, and Astros.


The Mets should pass on Castro. When comparing Castro’s numbers from 2013-16, and Travis d’Arnaud‘s stats from the same period, they have near identical slash lines:

Castro: .232/.308/.401 .709 OPS

d’Arnaud: .245/.311/.393 .704 OPS

The main difference between the two is health, as Castro has played in 463 games during that four-year stretch, compared to d’Arnaud’s 281 games. With that said, the Mets should afford d’Arnaud one more chance to secure the full-time catching spot, as he was battling a right rotator cuff strain last year, and many think he was playing hurt even when he returned from the disabled list. That would make sense, since his power was seemingly nonexistent and he had a 22% caught stealing rate, a year removed from throwing out a career high 33% of would be base stealers.

With d’Arnaud entering arbitration for the first time, and two years younger than Castro, it makes sense for the Mets to utilize d’Arnaud instead of signing Castro to a multi-year contract, and hope that with health d’Arnaud will rebound and produce like most Mets fans had hoped he would upon the Toronto Blue Jays mega trade in the winter of 2012.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Joe Smith, RP Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:00:34 +0000 joe smith

Joe Smith
Position: Relief Pitcher
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: March 22, 1984 (Age 32)

A familiar face emerges on the free agent market this winter for Mets fans, as reliever Joe Smith looks for a new home after his three-year, $15.75 million contract with the Los Angeles Angles comes to an end. He finished the 2016 season with the World Champion Chicago Cubs, as he was traded right before the August 1 deadline. Smith was not carried on any of the Cubs’ postseason rosters however.

The sidearm throwing Smith was originally drafted by the Mets in 2006 in the 3rd round (94th overall pick), and made his Major League debut in 2007 with the Amazins’. He appeared in 54 games, posting a 3-2 record in 44.1 innings with a 3.45 ERA and 9.1 SO/9.

Smith followed up that solid rookie campaign with an impressive 2008 season, where he was tied for third in the majors in games (82), a 62.6% ground ball rate (8th), and posted a 6-3 record with a 3.55 ERA.

After the ’08 season, Smith was shipped off as part of the 12-player, three-team trade with the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians that brought J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed, and Sean Green to the Mets.

Since 2009, Smith has been one of the most reliable relievers in the game, appearing in 503 games (7th among Major League relievers), with a 2.80 ERA, 146 holds (5th), 1.151 WHIP, and 203 runners stranded (6th).

Smith’s best overall season came in 2014 as a member of the Angels, where he posted a career best 1.81 ERA, tied his career high in wins with seven, pitched a career high 74.2 innings, had a career high 68 strikeouts, and posted his best WHIP at 0.804 (6th in the majors).

For his career, Smith has fared much better against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .215/.286/.305 slash line, compared to lefties who have slashed .244/.337/.369.

Smith is at his best when he induces ground balls, currently at a 56.2% rate for his career. When batters hit ground balls off of Smith, the results are rarely in their favor, as he has held them to a .210/.210/.220 slash line in 920 at-bats.

When Smith was initially traded to the Cubs this August, he got off to a rocky start, appearing in six games and allowing three runs on six hits and four walks in 3.2 innings pitched, resulting in a lopsided 7.36 ERA.

The Cubs placed Smith on the 15-day disabled list on August 17 due to a left hamstring strain, the same issue he was battling with the Angels in June before they placed him on the 15-day disabled list as well.

Once Smith was activated in September, he made a complete 180 turnaround and posted a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched, striking out 12 while holding opponents to a .156 batting average against.


Smith should have a bunch of suitors this winter, including the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners, and Cardinals. Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports predicts Smith would sign a two-year, $8 million deal, which would be a steal for a guy that routinely appeared in 70 plus games between 2011-15.

His price tag took a hit due to his two hamstring injuries last season, and could be viewed as a great low/risk high reward option for a team searching for bullpen help. Plus the fact that Smith is a sidearm reliever, which Joe Maddon referred to as “funk in the bullpen” upon his arrival from Los Angeles, adds intrigue to teams looking to give right-handed hitters a tougher time at the plate.

I could envision a two or three year deal for Smith, with an average annual salary around $5-6 million.


The Mets should be looking into the Joe Smith market, along with a bevy of other relievers on the free agent and trade markets. Smith’s ties to the organization should make it a smoother transition if he were to return to the team that drafted him.

The Mets could use his services, especially with the prospect of Jeurys Familia facing a considerable suspension to start the 2017 season due to the simple assault charges stemming from his arrest.

Smith also comes with a lowered price tag compared to his counterparts available in free agency, such as Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen, and Aroldis Chapman. Smith would definitely be a welcomed addition the Mets’ pen, but they might be better suited trying to find a replacement for the left hander Jerry Blevins, if not resigning him.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Rajai Davis, OF Sat, 19 Nov 2016 15:30:06 +0000 rajai davis

Rajai Davis
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: October 19, 1980 (Age 36)

Rajai Davis hits free agency this winter after he and his Cleveland Indians’ teammates made a run to Game 7 of the World Series, in which the Indians lost to the Chicago Cubs to end their 108-year World Series drought. Davis did his best to keep the Indians’ hopes alive, as he tied the game up in the bottom of the eighth against flame throwing lefty Aroldis Chapman, with a two-run homer into left. He then came to bat in the bottom of the tenth, with one on and two out, as the Indians were down 8-6. Davis singled back up the middle on the second pitch thrown by Cubs RHP Carl Edwards, making it a one-run game at 8-7.

Davis didn’t back down in these pressure situations, instead, coming through in the clutch twice in late innings of what turned out to be a thrilling Game 7 for the ages. Davis enters free agency with that lasting memory, hoping to cash in after he signed a one-year deal with the Tribe in December 2015, for $5.25 million. The Indians were in need of outfield depth, as they lost their star left fielder Michael Brantley to offseason arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. Brantley ultimately came back too soon from the surgery, and only played in 11 games before being shut down for the remainder of the ’16 season. The Indians also lost Abraham Almonte for 80 games and Marlon Byrd for 162 for their respective PED suspensions, so Davis found himself playing in far more games than likely expected upon signing.

On the year, Davis slashed .249/.306/.388 with a career high 12 home runs, 48 RBI, and a league leading 43 stolen bases out of 49 attempts. He played in 134 games, 107 of them starts, and mainly batted leadoff, sixth, or seventh in Terry Francona‘s lineup. Davis found his best results when leading off though, posting a line of .253/.312/.434, with 11 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Although his OBP was rather low for a leadoff hitter, he had superior numbers when facing a pitcher’s first pitch, slashing .361/.349/.508 with two homers and 11 RBI in 61 at-bats. He also enjoyed success when runners were in scoring position, slashing .283/.360/.475 with three homers and 36 RBI in 99 at-bats.

On the defensive side, Davis is capable of manning all three outfield spots, as he did in ’16. The bulk of his playing time was spent in left and center field, where he posted a -3 defensive runs saved (DRS) and -5 DRS respectively. He ultimately posted league average or just below league average numbers in both outfield spots in 2016, with an overall range factor per nine innings of 2.22 when the league average was 2.15, and a range factor per game of 1.91, when the league average was 2.12.

What many teams will be intrigued by with Davis is his speed, where he’s posted seven seasons of at least 30 stolen bases, eclipsing the 40 mark five times including last season. Another area that hasn’t always been discussed is taking extra bases, which calculates the times a runner advances more than one base on a single or more than two bases on a double. The Indians finished second in all of baseball last year in extra bases taken (XBT%), at a 45% clip. The Mets were tied for last with the Detroit Tigers at 34%. Davis alone had a 58% XBT in 2016, and to put that in context, none of the Mets starting position players had a higher XBT than 48% (Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto).


I could see Davis signing a one or two year deal this winter, similar to his two-year, $10 million contract he signed with the Tigers in December 2013. The Indians’ front office has expressed interest in re-signing Davis as depth, however, the Tribe has options with Tyler Naquin, Brandon Guyer, Lonnie Chisenhall, and a healthy Brantley to start the 2017 season. The Indians, Athletics, Giants, Mets, and Angels could all show interest.


I really like Davis for his speed and being proactive on the bases, something the Mets could use as they were ranked 28th overall in ’16 in team stolen bases with 42. The team’s outfield is still a bit unclear, as fans await word of whether the team will re-sign Cespedes. With Granderson, Bruce, Conforto, and Lagares also in the mix, the Mets might not have room to carry another outfielder. Lagares could be viewed as a less speedy Davis, with good splits against lefties, better defense in center, and nine years younger.

However, Davis’ speed element is very intriguing, so if the Mets in fact re-sign Cespedes and can trade Bruce, they could circle back and check in with Davis’ camp if he’s still available. I’d expect Davis and his agents are looking for more guaranteed playing time though, something the Mets won’t be able to offer with a crowded outfield.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Dexter Fowler, CF Fri, 18 Nov 2016 16:00:12 +0000 dexter fowler

Dexter Fowler
Position: Center field
Bats: Both – Throws: Right
Born: March 22, 1986 (Age 30)

Dexter Fowler surprised his Chicago Cubs teammates last spring training, showing up to the Mesa, Arizona training facility in street clothes after agreeing to a one-year $8 million deal to stay in Chicago. It was reported through multiple outlets that Fowler had a three-year $33 million offer from the Baltimore Orioles on the table, however, Fowler’s agent Casey Close scorned the Orioles for irresponsibly spreading rumors about the signing of Fowler before anything was completed, further adding that Fowler never reached an agreement with the Orioles to begin with. Fowler himself said he just wanted to stay in Chicago, where he felt “respected” and “comfortable” there.

Whatever the reason, Fowler had one of his finest seasons of his nine-year career, slashing .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, and 85 runs scored in 125 games played. Fowler set career highs in OBP, BB% (14.3), wRC+ (129), and fWAR (4.7). In terms of National League outfielders, Fowler ranked second on FanGraphs in fWAR behind only teammate Kris Bryant (ranked as both third baseman and outfielder).

Fowler also posted positive numbers in center field this season, the first time he’s done so over a full season, according to FanGraphs. Fowler posted a 1.0 UZR/150 while manning center, with one defensive run saved, and also posted a 2.7 defensive rating on FanGraphs as well, which was a career high.

What Fowler also offers is a premium leadoff hitter, one who will get on-base at a high clip (career .366 OBP), has some speed (has double digit stolen bases the past eight seasons), and has good splits against both righties and lefties. In 2016, the switch-hitter had an OPS of .827 against right-handers, and a .876 OPS against southpaws. Even for his career he’s posted solid splits, with a .770 OPS against righties and .835 against left-handers.

With runners in scoring position, Fowler posted a .253/.395/.418 line with 33 RBI in 91 at-bats in ’16. And how about this for setting the table; in the first inning of games, Fowler hit .382/.479/.706 with seven home runs in 102 at-bats.


Fowler did reject the Cubs’ qualifying offer of $17.2 million, so any team that signs him will have to forfeit a draft pick for the soon to be 31-year-old. However, with several teams in the mix to add outfielders this winter, Fowler should be in the mix for at least a three year deal, possibly four. I envision Fowler receiving a four-year, $60 million contract, similar to the one Curtis Granderson signed with the Mets in 2013, with interest from the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Phillies, Rangers, and Mariners.


Fowler should be viewed as a plan “B” for the Mets, especially if the team is unable to retain Cespedes in the offseason. Fowler offers the Mets a true leadoff hitter with double digit power, speed, average center field defense, and the ability to get on base at a high clip. He presents an intriguing candidate to replace some of the production Cespedes offers, and it would be in the Mets’ best interest to keep tabs on him throughout the winter.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Brandon Moss, 1B/OF Thu, 17 Nov 2016 12:00:42 +0000 brandon moss

Brandon Moss
Position: First Base / Outfield
Bats: Left – Throws: Right 
Born: September 16, 1983 (Age 33)

Brandon Moss enters the offseason in enviable fashion; with no qualifying offer attached to the 33-year-old and coming off a season where he posted his second highest home run total (28) of his career, highest OPS (.784) since 2013 with Oakland, and offers versatility in the field, as he plays both first base and the corner outfield spots.

Moss spent the entire 2016 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, putting up a slash line of .225/.300/.484 with the aforementioned 28 homers, and 67 RBI in 128 games played. Moss had a solid year in the power department, posting a slugging percentage of .484, the highest it’s been since 2013, while posting a .259 ISO, 14th best among players with at least 400 at-bats in 2016.

Just as Jay Bruce intrigued the Mets with his superior numbers with RISP, Moss too had an excellent year in that department, slashing .258/.383/.573 with seven home runs and 42 RBI. And in high leverage situations, according to Baseball-Reference, Moss has an .826 OPS in 64 at-bats in 2016, indicating that he excelled in high pressure situations.

At the conclusion of August, Moss had a stat line of .261/.333/.562, good for an .895 OPS. However, a prolonged slump in September/October but a damper on that gaudy stat line, as Moss went 9-for-91 to close out the 2016 season.

Moss does come with some warts though. As a lefty hitter, Moss had his issues against southpaws in ’16, putting up an OPS of .664 and hitting only three of his 28 homers against left-handed pitching. He hit much better against lefties in 2014-15 however, posting a .792 OPS in ’14 and .721 in ’15, both better marks than he put up against righties in both those years.

His defense is also a bit suspect, as he posted a -10.1 UZR/150 at first base this past season according to Fangraphs, and a -3 in defensive runs saved. He fared much better in the outfield, where he posted a combined 14.1 UZR/150 between left and right field in 507.1 innings, with three defensive runs saved.


Moss earned $8.25 million this past year, after the Cardinals tendered him a contract last winter. He’ll be looking for at least a two-year deal, and could find multiple suitors for his skill set, including the Nationals, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Angels. Best guess, Moss secures a two-year $16-18 million contract in the offseason and continues to play both in the outfield and at first. Similar contracts include Mike Morse in the 2014 offseason signing a two-year $16 million deal with the Miami Marlins, and Michael Cuddyer signing his two-year $21 million deal with the Mets prior to the 2015 season, before retiring at the conclusion of the year.


The Mets should pass on Moss. The team already has many left-handed hitting options in the positions Moss plays, particularly in the outfield with Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, and Bruce already in place, and then Lucas Duda manning first. A few other areas of worry about Moss include his declining OBP since 2012, his rising K% since 2014, and his diminishing BB% the last three seasons. The team should allocate its finances towards bringing in several bullpen arms, bringing in a right-handed bench player who kills lefties (Justin Ruggiano comes to mind), and of course, re-signing Yoenis Cespedes.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Noah Syndergaard, RHP Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:00:25 +0000 noah syndergaard 2


Player Data: Age: 24, B/T: Left/Right, Free Agency: 2022

2016 Primary Stats: 14-9, 2.60 ERA, 30 GS, 183.2 IP, 218 K, 43 BB, 1.15 WHIP

2016 Review:

It seemed only fitting that Noah Syndergaard would get the Mets their first win of the 2016 season against the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. Syndergaard, 24, pitched and won Game 3 of the 2015 World Series, the only game the Mets won in the Fall Classic, so watching Thor mow down Royal hitter after Royal hitter, tossing six shutout innings of three hit ball, striking out nine, just seemed apropos.

Thor was outstanding in April and May, posting a 5-2 record with a 1.84 ERA and .545 OPS against. He added to his superhero legacy during a May 11 start in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, where he hit not one, but two home runs (the second putting the Mets ahead for good), all while pitching eight innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts for his third win of the season. It was the second time in Mets history where a pitcher hit two home runs, the last coming in 1983 by RHP Walt Terrell against the Chicago Cubs.

Despite a few shaky starts in June, Thor rebounded post All-Star break on, posting the 4th best ERA in the National League at 2.65. Thor also posted the third highest fWAR for starting pitchers in the second half at 2.4, and in total, posted the highest fWAR of any starting pitcher this season at 6.5. That’s the highest fWAR by a Mets starting pitcher since Matt Harvey posted the exact same 6.5 fWAR in his 2013 All-Star season.

Comparing his 2015 season to ’16, Thor made a ton of improvements in a myriad of categories, including innings pitched (150 regular season innings to 183.2), K/9 (9.96 to 10.68), HR/9 (1.14 to 0.54), ERA (3.24 to 2.60), and swinging strike percentage (12.2 to 14.2%). Syndergaard also made his first All-Star team this year, however, he didn’t appear in the Midsummer Classic due to a fatigued arm, while also dealing with a bone spur in his right elbow.

Syndergaard eluded the disabled list this past season, and embraced the ace title that came with not having Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler for parts of and in Wheeler’s case, all of 2016. The responsibility that comes with being the number one starter on a staff means pitching in the biggest of games, on the biggest of stages, all while embracing the moment. Dating back to Game 3 of the 2015 World Series in his rookie season, fans knew what kind of competitor Thor was. So it was no surprise that when the Mets were hosting the NL Wild Card Game against the San Francisco Giants on October 5, Thor was tasked with matching up with Giants’ ace, Madison Bumgarner.

The pitching duel we had all hoped for came to fruition that night, as both starters were on their respective games, and the cool autumn night had the feel of a classic World Series game. Syndergaard was masterful, mixing in his high-90s four-seam fastball, with his devastating slider and sinker, keeping the Giants’ batters off balance the entire night. Syndergaard logged seven innings of work, allowing no runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out ten (tied for second most in a Wild Card game start).

Grade: A

2017 Outlook:

There’s no mistaking it, Thor is the ace of the Mets’ staff, and has lived up to all the hype, and then some! Syndergaard made the leap from 169 combined major league innings (including postseason) in 2015, to 190.2 innings in 2016 (including the Wild Card game), so barring any injuries, Syndergaard should be ready for 200 plus innings for 2017 and beyond.

Of course, the Mets will monitor Syndergaard in ’17 to ensure optimal health, and have options with the pitching depth from Gsellman, Lugo, and Colon (if he re-signs), to preserve Thor if he appears to need rest. Syndergaard’s a bulldog though, and I expect more of the same out of the rocket right arm that Thor has awed fans with since his debut in May 2015. Expect more All-Star appearances, and his name in the running for multiple Cy Young Awards for years to come.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Seth Lugo, RHP Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:00:25 +0000 seth lugo 2

Seth Lugo, RHP

Player Data: Age: 27 on 11/17, B/T: Right/Right, Free Agency: 2022

2016 Primary Stats: 5-2, 2.67 ERA, 17 G, 8 GS, 64 IP, 45 K, .1.09 WHIP

2016 Review:

At first glance, Seth Lugo‘s Triple A numbers in 2016 didn’t scream “promotion” to the majors. In 21 games, 14 of those starts in Las Vegas, Lugo posted a win-loss record of 3-4, with a 6.50 ERA and .329 batting average against. Of course, the Pacific Coast League is a tough environment to judge both offensive and pitching production, due to the high elevations and fighting the dry air. Rewind just one season to 2015, when Lugo opened the year with the formerly known Binghamton Mets, and posted a 6-5 record with a more respectable 3.80 ERA, with a .254 average against in 19 starts in the Eastern League. 

Lugo’s promotion at the end of June was due in large part to adding a fresh arm to the pen, as LHP Sean Gilmartin was demoted after posting a lopsided 15.75 ERA in the month of June. The promotion of Lugo was also because off the unknown conditions surrounding Steven Matz and his bone spur in his left elbow. Matz made his start against the Cubs, and Lugo would make his major league debut out of the pen on July 1, relieving Hansel Robles and tossing two shutout innings with two strikeouts.

He’d make eight more appearances out of the pen before transitioning to the rotation on August 19 against the San Francisco Giants on the road. Lugo pitched well into the seventh, allowing only one run on six hits before he departed with runners on first and second and two out. Jerry Blevins entered the game and promptly gave up back-to-back singles, giving the Giants a 3-1 lead and charging three runs to the 26-year-old right-hander.

Lugo recorded his first major league win six days later, tossing five innings of two-hit ball, allowing no runs, and striking out five against the St. Louis Cardinals. Including the win against the Cards, Lugo would end up winning his next four starts in a row, and finished the season with a 5-2 record, a 2.67 ERA, and a 1.09 WHIP (9th best among rookies). A September 28 start he made against Philadelphia proved crucial, as the 5.1 IP of two-run ball and the win kept the Mets a game and a half in front of the San Francisco Giants for the top Wild Card spot, and two and a half games in front of the fading Cardinals.

Lugo and Gsellman both provided the Mets with solid starting pitching down the stretch, as their vaunted starting staff had been besieged by injuries throughout the entire season. It’s amazing to consider that Gsellman (13th round) and Lugo (34th round) were able to be key contributors for the Mets staff, considering that both were never viewed as much more than depth.

Grade: B+

2017 Outlook:

Depending on the health of the returning injured starters, Lugo offers depth for the starting rotation, or could be utilized out of the bullpen, where he posted a 2.65 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 17 innings this year with the big club. Lugo was used out of the pen in June for Las Vegas, where the coaching staff felt he was more consistent and comfortable with his fastball command and higher velocity. Depth is the key word when it comes to Lugo, as he offers value in both starting and relieving moving forward for the Mets.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Jay Bruce, OF Sun, 13 Nov 2016 14:00:58 +0000 jay-bruce


Player Data: Age: 29, B/T: Left/Left, Free Agency: 2018

2016 Primary Stats: (As a Met) .219/.294/.391, 8 home runs, 19 RBI, 43 strikeouts, 17 walks, 14 runs scored, 50 games

2016 Review: 

The Mets were hoping that Jay Bruce was the answer to their lineup as protection for Yoenis Cespedes, and also act as an insurance policy in case Cespedes departs in the offseason. The Mets dealt second base prospect Dilson Herrera and left-hander Max Wotell to the Cincinnati Reds for Bruce in July, who upon his arrival to Queens was leading the National League in RBIs with 80.

The Mets were interested in acquiring Bruce before the 2015 trade deadline, holding discussions with the Reds about RHP Zack Wheeler, before talks simmered. That cleared a hurdle for the Mets to eventually circle back and inquire with the Detroit Tigers about the availability of “La Potencia”. The rest is history.

The stats Bruce posted with Cincinnati in the first half of the regular season would seem a distant memory to Met fans, as he posted a slash line of .183/.262/.290, with two homers, six RBI, and 27 strikeouts in 26 games in August. The boos that rang down on Bruce at Citi Field (not to mistake for the “Bruuuccee” chants) were loud and grating, as fans and media alike could sense that Bruce was pressing in his new environment, and not at the right time for a team that had aspirations of the postseason. Not to mention a big reason the Mets were intrigued by Bruce was due to his monstrous numbers with men in scoring position, where he posted a ridiculous 1.125 OPS in 89 at-bats with the Reds in ’16, compared to .712 OPS in 38 at-bats with the Mets, salvaged by a strong final week in September.

As noted above, Bruce saved his Mets season in September, finishing the year with an eight-game hitting streak and slashing .263/.333/.513, with six home runs, 13 RBI, and eight runs scored in 24 games in September and October. Bruce left his mark during the September 30 game against the Phillies, where the lefty slugger went 3-for-4 with three RBI, including tying the game at one in the fourth with an RBI single, and giving the Mets a two-run lead in the seventh with his 33rd home run (one shy of his career high in 2012) of the season. That win ensured the Mets a tie-breaker game at the very least, and put them within one win or one Cardinals loss of clinching their second postseason berth, which they clinched the following day by beating the Phillies 5-3.

Grade: D+

2017 Outlook: 

The Mets picked up Bruce’s 2017 option at $13 million, a no-brainer for the team. Worst case scenario, Bruce is starting in right for the Mets next season, where the club will hope that his final month of play will translate into a better performance in ’17. All along, Bruce was viewed by the Mets brass as a cheaper power alternative to Cespedes should he land a bigger payday from another team in the offseason, and while he doesn’t have the same reverence that Cespedes has on this team, he does offer 25 plus homer power and 85 plus RBIs each year, and is still in the prime of his career. The Mets could also look to move Bruce in the winter, as teams will be on the lookout for talent that is somewhat void besides a handful of sluggers on the open market this offseason.

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