Mets Merized Online » Matt Musico http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Mets Prospect Face-Off: Rafael Montero vs. Noah Syndergaard http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-prospect-face-off-rafael-montero-vs-noah-syndergaard.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-prospect-face-off-rafael-montero-vs-noah-syndergaard.html/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 12:56:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131448 syndergaard montero

This week’s face-off is a tough topic. The strength in the Mets’ farm system is in their starting pitching, and we decided to pose an interesting question this week:

Who do you think will have more success in the major leagues, Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard?

Two of the top pitchers in New York’s system, but Montero and Thor couldn’t be more different in terms of style. Let’s just go on and get to the debate!

Teddy Klein:

This is incredibly difficult due to the fact that Syndergaard and Montero are two exceptional pitchers who have both dominated at almost every level they’ve been in. When Satish and I went to the Futures game, I asked which team he was rooting for, he said he didn’t know. I told him that I was for the World team with Montero starting. Montero has been thought of as undersized as a pitcher, and doesn’t have a plus pitch, however his control is borderline pinpoint. His breaking pitches are all average and his fastball is above average. Syndergaard has a plus fastball and curve, but lacks a change-up as an evaluator has told me before. Change-up development is incredibly important to his success. What is to his credit is the control, which has been evident since he was drafted. Either way, Syndergaard has more upside over Montero, yet Montero has proven himself up to AAA, which Noah hasn’t. This is is such a toss up, but I’m going to go with the same choice I had at the Futures Game, the Bluer Chip in Rafael Montero. Change-up development is important with Syndergaard thus far, and while Montero’s isn’t plus, it’s serviceable, and better than Noah’s. Either way, they’re both important to the future rotation, especially with their plus control. Verdict: Montero

Satish Ram:

I like that my colleague Teddy chose Montero above — because just as his anecdote about the Futures Game hints at, I’m rolling with Noah Syndergaard. This is, by far, the most difficult choice I’ve had to make in this series. Often when discussing Wheeler coming up through the minors last year alongside Montero, I favored Montero in many situations simply because of his control. He has pinpoint control — and at times it was the best in our system. Syndergaard has the advantage in control over Wheeler, but his change-up is underdeveloped. His fastball and hammer, however, make him an incredible force on the mound that could easily turn into a combo that leads to 200 strikeouts yearly. Syndergaard’s also a physical specimen — an intimidating figure no doubt — which adds to his appeal. Don’t mistake my love for Syndergaard as putting Montero down, however, because I think Montero is highly underrated. That being said, it’s a little difficult to vote against a norse god, so I’ll go with Thor. Verdict: Syndergaard

John Bernhardt:

I had the chance to watch both these guys pitch this summer more than once.  What a treat.  Rafael Montero has the cool poise of a high stakes gambler on the mound.  His mechanics are as smooth as glass, sharp and crisp and repeated on every pitch.  Montero works quickly and effortlessly and has impeccable command.  Noah Syndergaard was electric on the hill at Binghamton.  He was a power pitcher who was hard to hit at what ever level the Mets put him this summer.  The first time Noah pitched at NYSEG Stadium his last pitch was pitch number 93, a 98 mph fastball chalking up his 9th strikeout of the day.  Syndergaard has a slider and curve and a change-up that’s a work in progress.  The last time I watched him, his first few changes had dropped velocity some 6 or 7 mph from the first time I saw him use that pitch, but he was unable to maintain that range throughout his outing.  Which guy will have more success in the major leagues – you have to be a seer to answer that one. Based on pure stuff, I’d vote for Syndergaard. Based on potential longevity, I’d go with Montero.  Verdict:  Syndergaard

Matt Musico:

This was a fun debate to roll out and see what everyone was thinking. At this point, I can’t fault anyone for choosing either one of these guys. A solid case could be made in favor of either. While it’s tough for me to go against Syndergaard and his pure ability, I want to make things interesting. So, I’ll be choosing Montero. His poise, maturity, and control of the strike zone have won me over. The adjustment he made after getting promoted to Las Vegas is what truly impressed me the most. Obviously, Noah hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself there, but time will tell. However, with the great expectations that are being bestowed upon Syndergaard, I think Montero will benefit from being underrated. Most are expecting him to be a back of the rotation starter at his peak, at best a number three. If he uses his superb control and ability to adjust in the right way, he can outperform what’s expected from him. For Syndergaard, it’s hard to outperform being an ace (but I think he will be one). Verdict: Montero

So, we’re deadlocked at two votes a piece and could use your help. Who do you think will experience more success in the majors, Montero or Syndergaard?

mmn grain

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Mets Minors Week in Review: Syndergaard Keeps Impressing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-minors-week-in-review-syndergaard-keeps-impressing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-minors-week-in-review-syndergaard-keeps-impressing.html/#comments Sun, 20 Oct 2013 04:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131452 noah syndergaard

It was a slow week in the world of the Mets minor league system. However, while the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox were busy punching their tickets to this year’s World Series, we were busy trying to provide some quality original content. You can see everything our staff worked on over the past seven days below.

Baseball America continued their top prospect countdowns by league, and Thor found himself at the top of another list. Noah Syndergaard was ranked the third-best prospect in the Eastern League. Only Xander Bogaerts and Miguel Sano were slotted in front of him, making Thor the top pitcher in the league. That was an honor also bestowed upon him in the Florida State League, where he spent the first half of 2013.

The next list BA revealed were their top-20 ballplayers in the Pacific Coast League. Wally Backman‘s club put together the second-best record in the league, and we saw three Mets prospects crack this listZack Wheeler came in at number four, Wilmer Flores came in at number 15, and Rafael Montero ranked 18th.

The Appalachian League also gained another team, as the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired the club in Bristol, Tennessee — previously owned by the White Sox.

New York also released three minor leaguers this week, including Alex Machillanda, Zach Dotson, and Richie Rodriguez.

MMN Original Content:

Prospect Face-Off: Rafael Montero vs. Noah Syndergaard

Talking Baseball with a New York Native: An Interview with Steven Matz

Mets Should Take Note of the St. Louis Cardinals and Their Organizational Philosphy

Is The Organization Down on Cesar Puello?

Darin Gorski’s Tale of Unheralded Success

Talking with Yeixon Ruiz About Hard to Reach the Ultimate Goal

Prospect Time Machine: Ike Davis

Mets Organizational Depth Chart: First Base

MMN Exclusive Interview with Mets Infield Prospect Matt Reynolds

Who Are The Top Five Relief Pitchers in the Mets Minor League System?

MMN Top 40 Prospects: No. 35 Hansel Robles

2014 MLB Draft Profile: Brady Aiken

MMN Top 40 Prospects: No. 34 Robert Gsellman

To get the most comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system, pay a visit to MetsMinors.net!

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Mets Prospect Face-Off: Amed Rosario vs. Gavin Cecchini http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-prospect-face-off-amed-rosario-vs-gavin-cecchini.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-prospect-face-off-amed-rosario-vs-gavin-cecchini.html/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 18:44:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131165 While the shortstop position at the big league level is a topic of discussion and uncertainty for 2014, the Mets have some young options in the lower level of the minors that might make for a bright future. One is former first rounder, Gavin Cecchini, who recently completed his 2013 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones. The other his Amed Rosario, who Baseball America named the top prospect in the Appalachian League this year. So, who is New York’s shortstop of the future? The MMN staff debates:

cecchini

Christina Montana:

While Gavin is further along and had a good year in Low-A this past year in Brooklyn, it’s hard not to compare Cecchini and Rosario’s time with Kingsport. Here are the lines, without names attached: .246/.311/.330 and .241/.279/.358. The first line is Cecchini’s 2012, and the second is Rosario’s 2013 line with Kingsport. They both had a fairly similar amount of time with the K-Mets, but Cecchini flat out got on base more, but came away with 12 XBH, while Rosario 15 XBH, 3 of them being homers, 4 being triples. Neither of them seem particularly stolen base savvy, but…it looks like Rosario’s got more pop in his bat, which can be exciting. 

Which one gets the edge? Cecchini is, most likely, getting promoted to the next level for 2014. Coming off a couple injuries over the last year or so, Cecchini hit .273/.319/.314 for Brooklyn. Rosario is exciting, seems to have more speed on the bases, or at least the ability to find gaps, but doesn’t get on base as much as Cecchini, apparently. Being 18 and 19 yrs old, Cecchini is slightly older and currently ahead of Rosario. But… Rosario might end up being the more exciting athlete.

My opinion might change, but I’m going to have to go with Cecchini right now as he has significantly less errors under his belt. Cecchini has 13 errors over 2 years, Rosario had 14 just last year. Rosario’s going to need to improve defensively and continue to show his offensive potential in order to overtake Cecchini’s solid offense and solid defense. Verdict: Cecchini

John Bernhardt:

I’ve only watched Cecchini play one time for Brooklyn this summer and have never seen Rosario play the game.  Certainly, the Met organization feels highly about both potential shortstops.  Cecchini was a first round draft pick in the 2012 draft and Rosario signed with the biggest bonus the Mets have ever granted an International prospect. Obviously, the Mets are looking for a baseball insurance policy.  If one prospect fails, another is ready to take his place.  Competition can be a wonderful thing.  Everything I read about Rosario is positive — a long, lanky baseball frame that projects good power, good fielding instincts, universal approval for his baseball make-up.  On the other hand, Cecchini comes from great baseball stock, was schooled in one of the best high school programs in the country, was a star on the National 18U AAU baseball team, has unwavering dedication, etc.  For me it’s a coin flip.  Heads Rosario – tails Cecchini.  The coin bounced off the floor and came up tails.  Verdict: Cecchini

Germán Ahmed Rosario

David Conde:

Being named by Baseball America as the top prospect in the APL is a great accomplishment for Amed Rosario.  At 17-years-old and playing with Kingsport, Rosario batted .241 with eight doubles, four triples, and three home runs in 212 at bats.  I guess he was not intimidated at all in his first season playing pro baseball.  That sounds like a great attribute to have especially being so young. With Cecchini being two years older and having an extra year of pro baseball, I think it’s a touch choice.  In his first pro season in 2012, Cecchini somewhat mimicked Rosario by hitting a combined .240 with nine doubles, two triples, and one home run in 196 at bats between Kingsport and Brooklyn. Having a full season with Brooklyn, he batted .273 with eight doubles in 194 at bats. Both play the same position and both have shown that they can handle playing at this level. It’s a touch choice, but if I had to look at which I felt was better, I would have to go with Amed Rosario. Verdict: Rosario

Satish Ram:

Sorry Cecch, but you lose the upside battle here in a big way. Cecchini was always considered a safe pick — low risk, low reward. If all breaks right for him, he turns into an average MLB shortstop with below-average offensive talent — but if all breaks right for Rosario, he could be a perennial All-Star. Rosario plays solid defense — not as good as Cecchini, but scouts have raved about his instincts on the diamond and his reaction time to balls hit near him.

There are some who believe that Rosario could fix the holes in his swing and bulk enough to hit at a Troy Tulowitzki-esque level in the future. I do not know if I would go that far, but it is not hard to see a potential .280 hitter with 20 home runs and a handful of steals down the line with Rosario’s skillset. I’d sign up for that at shortstop anyday. Rosario’s the bigger gamble here, but I’ve got a good feeling about him. Verdict: Rosario

Teddy Klein:

Amed Rosario is the bigger catch here, who I have been prospect drunk about since Spring Training when I reported in about him. He is comparable to Troy Tulowitzki in potential bat. To make matters better about Rosario, Baseball America reported him the number one prospect in the Appy League, regardless of rather pedestrian numbers, calling him incredibly impressive. My coach in spring training said he reminded him of Juan Gonzalez, not a bad comparison to make in terms of production.  Gavin Cecchini will be okay and all, just average across the board, with rather unimpressive tools versus Rosario. Average speed, Plus bat, below-average power, average fielding and arm constitute Cecchini’s tools,  but Rosario has possible above-average tools across the board, with the potential to stay at short.  If he continues to impress and sooner or later delivers on his promise, could be a top-10 prospect in all of baseball, but that’s a big if. No 18-year-old is safe, though. But, whatever team Rosario’s on, I will look for his name, and likely only his name. Verdict: Rosario

Matt Musico:

I agree with what Satish just said above me — when it comes to developing a player, an organization is hoping for a potential All-Star. With the raw tools Rosario has flashed since he joined the Mets, he provides that kind of upside. Since Cecchini is slightly older and ahead of Rosario in the pipeline, I think he’ll get a chance to prove himself in the big leagues first. However, when it comes to who I think will eventually stick up there, right now it would be Amed. Verdict: Rosario

* * * * * * * * * *

Amed Rosario takes the victory in this week’s face-off, gaining four votes to Cecchini’s two. The debate isn’t over yet, though. Let us know in the comments section who you think will be the future shortstop of the New York Mets.

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Mets Minors Week in Review: Top Prospect Countdown Continues With Flexen, Mazzilli, and Diaz http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-minors-week-in-review-top-prospect-countdown-continues-with-flexen-mazzilli-and-diaz.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-minors-week-in-review-top-prospect-countdown-continues-with-flexen-mazzilli-and-diaz.html/#comments Mon, 14 Oct 2013 04:00:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131121 l.j. mazzilli

As the Cardinals, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Tigers dig deep into their respective match-ups to see who will represent each league in the 2013 World Series, the Mets are continuing to figure out their 2014 strategy. You’ll be able to see from some of our original content below that a couple of our writers feel the best ways for New York to get back to playing competitive baseball is by creating even more depth in the minors, and focus on starting pitching.

The Arizona Fall League is now underway, and Cory Vaughn kicked things off by participating in the hitting challengeSatish R. also provided an update as to how some of New York’s prospects are doing with the extended time on the playing field. Winter leagues are also set to start within the next week or so in some areas.

Not surprising, but Noah Syndergaard was ranked the top pitching prospect (sixth overall) in the Florida State League this past season by Baseball America.

Mets scouts were present for the workouts performed by Jose Abreu, and they were impressed by his display of power. But, that’s about it.

Also, Satish R. and Christina M. put on the first MMN prospect chat this past week on Friday night. You can check out all the questions and answers right here.

MMN Original Content:

Should the Mets Trade for David Price?

Stay the Course and Continue Building Depth in the Minors

Chatting with Cole Frenzel About His Career and Future in Baseball

Elite Pitching is the Foundation for the New Mets

MMN Top 40 Prospects: No. 38 Chris Flexen

Prospect Time Machine: David Wright

Should the Mets Seriously Target Masahiro Tanaka?

MMN Top 40 Prospects: No. 37 L.J. Mazzilli

Interview with Randy Fontanez — A Rising Star with a Quality Arm

Drawing Comparisons between Cesar Puello and Yasiel Puig

2014 MLB Draft Profile: Alex Jackson

Prospect Face-Off: Amed Rosario vs. Gavin Cecchini

MMN Top 40 Prospects: No. 36 Miller Diaz

Exclusive Interview with Pitching Prospect Beck Wheeler

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Mets Prospect Face-Off: Jack Leathersich vs. Jeff Walters http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-prospect-face-off-jack-leathersich-vs-jeff-walters.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-prospect-face-off-jack-leathersich-vs-jeff-walters.html/#comments Sun, 06 Oct 2013 21:45:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130810 Who do you think will make it to the big league bullpen first:

Jack Leathersich or Jeff Walters?

Here’s what some of our guys had to say:

John Bernhardt:

Jeff Walters had a breakout season for the B-Mets in Binghamton. Used exclusively in the closer’s role, Walters was lights out setting single season and career save marks for Binghamton. His 38 saves also led the Eastern League and was the second highest all-time saves total in the EL. It’s not just the numbers, but Walter’s stuff and his attitude on the mound that impressed. Walters has a fastball touching 96 miles per hour and a dirty breaking pitch. He’s also a bit older having finished a four year stay in college. You would think all that might add up to an accelerated path to the majors.

Leathersich, too, was brilliant during his summer time in Binghamton. 16.9 SO/9 innings, a 1.53 ERA and a reduction in his base-on-balls percentage earned him a call up to Las Vegas. That elevation was daunting for Leathersich. The young left-hander maintained a high strikeout rate (14.6/9), but he walked one batter per inning and his ERA ballooned to a ridiculous 7.76.

It is probably more than previous performance alone that will answer this question. The health of Bobby Parnell, the development of Vic Black, will LaTroy Hawkins be re-signed, what is the status of veteran lefties like Perpetual Pedro Feliciano, Tim Byrdak and the rehabbing Scott Rice? The resolution of those mysteries will probably make the difference.

With Parnell, Black, and Hawkins all eighth and closer right- handed options and more questions centered around the left-handed status of the Met bullpen with Leathersich a possible lefty to lefty one batter option I’ll make a weak prediction Leathersich gets the first look. Verdict: Leathersich

Cole Benz:

I’m going with Jack Leathersich over Jeff Walters. The first thing I think of when looking at relievers is strikeouts. I want a guy to come in and be lights out. Leathersich had 42 more K’s than Walters did in 2013. Leathersich also has 76 more over the course of his career with one less season under his belt than Walters. I’m not too worried about Leathersich’s stats at Las Vegas. If you look at the last time he was promoted mid-season, 2012, his stats ballooned while adjusting to another level. Verdict: Leathersich

Joe D:

This one’s easy for me and even though I’m one of the biggest Jack Leathersich fans there is, I’d have to take Jeff Walters over him right now. Leathersich still needs to work on his command before he can become a force in a major league bullpen. Meanwhile, Walters has the three things you want from a shutdown reliever; velocity, control, and swagger. This kid has nerves of steel and proved his mettle in Binghamton this year, smashing their all-time saves record while leading the EL in that department. It’s tough for batters to get around on him because he has such a deceptive delivery and he comes right after you. It’s probably why he’s only allowed three home runs in the last two years. That’s a pretty remarkable feat. Verdict: Walters

Satish Ram:

This is definitely the most difficult one posed to date — so let me try to break it down. Walters has the better control and composure on the mound, while Leathersich has the better natural stuff and is left-handed. Both men have deceptive deliveries and solid mechanics, so I guess it boils down to a matter of preference. Walters might be the better pitcher right now, but Leathersich has the higher ceiling and boasts an outstanding career K/9 of 15.2. Even if he can’t cut down on the walks completely, he might be able to dominate hitters for years to come. Verdict: Leathersich

Matt Musico:

There is no doubt for me that Leathersich’s ability is greater out of these two. However, when I think of a successful reliever, I think of a couple things — one is to make hitters swing and miss, and the other is to throw the ball over the plate. It drives a manager nuts when they go to the bullpen in a tight spot, and they watch him walk the first batter they face. With the lack of control Leathersich had in Las Vegas and the wonderful year Walters put together, I think Walters has the upper hand with regard to their immediate big league future. Jack won’t be far behind Jeff, but he needs to walk less than one hitter per inning in Vegas before he gets the call. Verdict: Walters

With five writers weighing in, Jack Leathersich wins a tight battle in this week’s face-off, taking three out of the five possible votes. Who do you think will make it to the big league bullpen first? Sound off in the comment section below.

(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)

mmn grain

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Prospect Face-Off: Dustin Lawley vs. Cesar Puello http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/prospect-face-off-dustin-lawley-vs-cesar-puello.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/prospect-face-off-dustin-lawley-vs-cesar-puello.html/#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2013 13:45:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130383 Welcome to this week’s edition of Prospect Face-Off! Today, we pin two slugging outfield prospects against one another in Dustin Lawley and Cesar Puello. Their seasons took very different routes by the end of 2013. Lawley hit .260/.313/.512 with 25 home runs and 92 RBIs for St. Lucie, earning a late-season promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. Puello had a breakout season, hitting .326/.403/.547 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs in Binghamton, but served a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

Each of the seasons these prospects had were encouraging for the outfield depth in the minors, but who had a better year?

The MMN staff weighs in…

MiLB: April 29 - St. Lucie Mets at Tampa Yankees

Christina Montana:

The edge would’ve gone to Puello if he didn’t end up a part of the Biogenesis fiasco. I can’t give Puello the win on this because we saw the drop in Muno’s batting average after his suspension, may it be a mental or physical thing (that’s not to say he didn’t have a good year, though). The focus should be on Dustin Lawley. While he struck out more than anyone would like to admit (113 times to be exact) he made the jump from Adv A St. Lucie to AAA Las Vegas. In limited time in AAA: 6 for 21 for a .300 average, 1 home run, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, 3 runs scored. As for Adv. A? Dustin had 25 home runs, 92 RBIs, 33 doubles, 5 triples with a .260 average.  He also didn’t perform too badly in the playoffs for the 51s. I’m going to give the edge to Lawley, though there’s no doubt Puello had an incredible year in AA, and it’ll be great to see him hopefully join the Mets soon, it was impressive to see Lawley make a large jump and hold his own, even if only for 6 games (excluding playoffs). I’m 99% sure I’m in the minority on this, and I love Puello, he’s great, but the whole suspension thing is upsetting enough that Lawley gets the win. Winner: Lawley

John Bernhardt:

Drat!  Like a sports reporter with a Hall of Fame ballot, this week’s Face-Off query places us in the midst of ‘Steroid Stress.’  I watched Cesar Puello on multiple occasions in Binghamton this summer and it would be difficult to find another Met prospect who put together a season that compares with the B-Met right fielder.  Puello was a beast.  In several seasons watching baseball in Binghamton, I have never watched a prospect quite like Cesar.  Several quests I took to games, baseball guys who root for other major league franchises, raved after viewing Puello’s game.  He is a dynamic ‘can’t-take-your -eyes-off’ kind of player from the moment he steps into the on-deck circle.  Puello is a five tool guy.  He finished the season with the Eastern League’s top batting average at .326.  Puello’s slugging percentage was a whopping .547, also best in the EL, a full .43 ahead of his nearest competitor.  Although he only played in 91 games, Puello figured in the top ten in stolen bases with 24.  By the way, B-Met center fielder Darrell Ceciliani had the second most EL thefts with 31.  Puello blasted 16 home runs with 21 doubles.  And, the kid has a rocket propelled arm in the outfield.  Although Puello was part of the steroid implosion and one of baseball’s suspended users, I have hope he can put that behind him.  Puello sat at our table during the Welcome Back Dinner in the spring.  He’s engaging and witty.  Gordon Donovan, a Metsmerized photographer, reported to me Puello has an incredible work ethic and spends hours in the weight room preparing.  And on one rain soaked afternoon when all the players on both benches were long gone, for over 30 minutes I watched Puello chat with two kids in the B-Met dugout.

With all that said, Puello’s suspension left a huge hole in the B-Met lineup.  When the chips were down and his team needed him in the playoffs, Puello was no where to be found.  For that reason I’ll go with Dustin Lawley, a young Met prospect who had a pretty exceptional season of his own.  The Port St. Lucie Met slugger was selected as the Florida State League Player of the Year.  Lawley blasted a league leading 25 home runs and 33 doubles for St. Lucie helping him to a .512 slugging percentage.  Lawley’s 92 RBIs were second in the FSL.  As he climbs the minor league ladder, Dustin Lawley continues to make a case that he could become a long ball option in the major leagues. Winner: Lawley

Satish Ram:

I’ll say this much about Lawley — I wrote him off as more of an organizational guy for the most part throughout my time covering him and his power surge last year forced me to give him a second look. If someone asked me if I thought Dustin Lawley could actually hit 20 home runs consistently in the MLB now, I’d have to say yes. He does strike out a little too much for me and needs to show a little more plate discipline, but he can definitely be a useful player down the line.

But man, that Puello kid can go get it. This is a guy who finally found a way to turn potential into performance — and I’m under the impression that a lot of it was his own hard work since the BioGenesis clinic had closed down. There was never any detail put into what Puello took — so all we know, that suspension could go by the boards. While I’m saddened by the whole idea of the 50-game suspension to begin with, there was no doubting his impact on the Binghamton line-up through the regular season. A potential 20-20 player who is improving his walk rate is definitely somebody I want in my organization, so I’ll give the nod to him right now. Winner:  Puello

Teddy Klein:

I believe Puello had the more impressive season. Not only did he have one of the top-5 highest averages in Double-A, he also proved doubters wrong and hit for power. With 16 home runs this year, he’s proved that he can definitely be a 20-20 players with a cannon of an arm, and an improving approach at the dish. With Natera’s guidance it was all possible, and he could be a good shape of things to come in the future. Winner:  Puello

Matt Musico:

Despite the suspension he had to serve, I think Puello had the more impressive season. You can’t go wrong choosing either one of these players, though. Puello was always a part of the Biogenesis investigation, but the spotlight intensified on him once the season got going. Once the pressure was on, his season took off in May and June. He was able to perform under the stress and anxiety of knowing a possible suspension was on it’s way. Baseball is a mental game, and his ability to perform with that weighing on his mind was amazing to watch. I hope the above remarks from John B. on Puello are correct, as I’m rooting for him to get past this situation and have it just be a small blip after what hopefully is a long major league career. His power, speed, and defense are all things the Mets could use in right field in Flushing. Winner:  Puello

So, we almost ran down the middle here… this one was a close one that narrowly tipped in favor of Cesar Puello! Who do you think had a more impressive season: Lawley or Puello?

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Mets Minors Week in Review: Smith and Rosario Earn Top Prospect Honors http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-week-in-review-smith-and-rosario-earn-top-prospect-honors.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-week-in-review-smith-and-rosario-earn-top-prospect-honors.html/#comments Mon, 30 Sep 2013 12:12:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130385 german-ahmed-rosario-1

Well, with the Mets wrapping up their regular season schedule with a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday at Citi Field, it’s officially the off-season. In the last official week of the season, Wilfredo Tovar made his MLB debut, and immediately made an impact against the Phillies and Cliff Lee.

Meanwhile, Baseball America began rolling out their top prospect countdowns per league, and Dominic Smith was tabbed as the fourth-best prospect in the GCL. In addition, Jhoan Urena made his way onto BA’s top-ten sleeper list in the GCL. The two-week instructional league for selected prospects is in full swing, and you can catch the schedule and rosters right here.

In the Appalachian League prospect countdown, the K-Mets got a lot of love from Baseball America; Robert Whalen, Chris Flexen, and Amed Rosario all cracked the top 20, with Rosario being ranked number one.

At this point, Bobby Parnell is expected to be ready for 2014 spring training after recently having surgery. If he’s not, the PTBNL in the Marlon Byrd-John Buck trade with the Pirates, Vic Black, will be tabbed as the closer for the time being.

The Mets also awarded their organizational awards to minor leaguers this week. Kevin Plawecki and Allan Dykstra were named co-players of the year, while Gabriel Ynoa took home pitcher of the year.

While Jose Abreu was busy becoming an official MLB free agent, Terry Collins mentioned that pitchers Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard probably won’t be breaking spring training in the big leagues.

MMN Original Content:

Exclusive Interview with Dustin Lawley

Should Pedro Lopez Be Considered for MLB Managerial Openings in 2014?

Wilfredo Tovar Impresses in MLB Debut

Prospect Time Machine: Jason Tyner

Who Was Binghamton’s Most Valuable Pitcher in 2013?

Which B-Met Took the Biggest Step in Their Development This Year?

Exclusive: Talking with Aderlin Rodriguez About Life and his Future in Baseball

Who Was the Best Position Player for the B-Mets?

Let’s Talk About The Future

Prospect Face-Off: Dustin Lawley vs. Cesar Puello

Is Vic Black Our Future Closer?

Exclusive Interview with B-Mets Outfielder Travis Taijeron

Collins Should Play the Future Difference Makers

Q&A With Wally Murphy, Our Sand Gnats Beat Writer

Allan Dykstra: The Promotion Never Came

Prospect Review: Cesar Puello Shows His Potential in 2013

The Brooklyn Beat: End of the Year Q&A With Jim Mancari

The Mets Have Played .500 Baseball Since Wheeler’s MLB Debut

What Factors Engineered a Record-Breaking Season in Binghamton?

For the most comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system, give us a visit at Mets Minors!

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Mets Minors Week in Review: Centeno and Tovar Both Make MLB Debuts http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-week-in-review-centeno-and-tovar-both-make-mlb-debuts.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-week-in-review-centeno-and-tovar-both-make-mlb-debuts.html/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 21:47:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129838 wilfredo tovar

There may not be much action happening on the field for the Mets minor league system at this point in the year, but there was plenty going on at MMN this past week. Mike Kerwick at Baseball America handed out organizational awards to Mets minor leaguers, crowning Rafael Montero and Wilmer Flores as the pitcher and player of the year, respectively.

Timothy Gilbert gave us a quick recap of the Triple-A championship winning Omaha Storm Chasers, while also helping us look toward 2014 with the release of the B-Mets schedule. Later on Wednesday evening, Juan Centeno made his big league debut. Timothy took a quick look at Centeno before he helped engineer a huge ninth inning comeback at Citi Field.

Following Ruben Tejada‘s season-ending injury, the Mets decided to promote Wilfredo Tovar to take his place and form a platoon with Omar Quintanilla at the shortstop position. He joined New York at Citizens Bank Park on Friday, but didn’t make his debut until yesterday. He collected two hits and an RBI in New York’s win to secure the three-game sweep.

Zack Wheeler‘s 2013 season is over after experiencing some shoulder stiffness. The Mets really wanted the right-hander to finish the year so he knows what it feels like, but I think he’s gone long enough. This is just a precaution, and after everything that’s happened with Matt Harvey, they’re not taking any chances.

The Instructional League is set to get started tomorrow down in Port St. Lucie, and we have the full list of minor leaguers in attendance.

Jim Callis and Jonathon Mayo of MLB.com recently released their 2013 All-Prospect Team, and there were no Mets prospects on their list, but a couple came close.

MMN Original Content:

Jeff Walters Deserved the Call, Not Frank Francisco

MMN Exclusive: Talking with K-Mets Third Baseman Pedro Perez About Family, Culture, and Baseball

Where Does Eric Campbell Fit into the Mets’ Plans?

Draft Review ’13: Andrew Church

Prospect Face-Off: Jacob deGrom vs. Rafael Montero

Josh Satin Walks Softly, But Carries a Big Stick

Prospect Time Machine: Preston Wilson

Draft Review ’13: Ivan Wilson

Catching up with Chasen Bradford about the Season and the Future

T.J. Rivera Continues to Prove He Can Hit

Draft Review ’13: Dominic Smith

Travis d’Arnaud was at a Loss For Words After His First Career Walk-Off Hit

(Centeno photo courtesy of Gordon Donovan)

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Nimmo, Cecchini, Smith Among 49 Met Prospects Heading To PSL For Instructs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/nimmo-cecchini-smith-among-49-met-prospects-heading-to-psl-for-instructs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/nimmo-cecchini-smith-among-49-met-prospects-heading-to-psl-for-instructs.html/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2013 14:32:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129719 dominic smith

From September 24th to October 4th, the Mets will be running their instructional league down at the Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie. There are 49 players attending for the next two weeks, including first-round picks Dominic SmithBrandon Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini.

In his first full season of professional ball (extended spring training and Brooklyn), Cecchini had a decent year despite missing a significant chunk of time with an ankle injury. He endured a slow start at the plate before he went on the disabled list, but rattled off a 16-game-hitting streak shortly after his return to the lineup. For a short period of time, his batting average crept over the .300 mark, but he cooled off to finish 2013, ending up with a .273/.319/.314 triple slash, including no homers, eight doubles, and 14 RBIs.

Unlike Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo got off to a quick start for the Sand Gnats in Savannah, hitting .322 in April. Injuries also hampered a significant chunk of his season, playing just four games in the month of May. It took him a while to get back to his April production, and his next time he hit over .250 in a month was August, when he hit .324. For the season, Nimmo hit .273/.397/.359 with two home runs, 16 doubles, and 40 RBIs. He helped Savannah capture their first SAL Championship since 1996.

Dominic Smith had a very successful first season in professional baseball, and Satish R. outlined it nicely in an article he wrote yesterday here on MMN. Upon finishing his year in the GCL with a .287/.364/.407 line, he earned a late-season promotion to experience the Appy League playoffs with Kingsport. He finished the regular season hitting .667 with four doubles in six at-bats.

Courtesy of Adam Rubin, here is a list of players at the instructional league in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Pitchers
Gaby Almonte
Eucebio Arias
Martires Arias
Tyler Bashlor
Andrew Church
Chris Flexen
Dawrin Frias
Daniel Herrmann
Ricky Jacquez
Ricky Knapp
Kevin McGowan
Jose Medina
Casey Meisner
Craig Missigman
Marcos Molina
Yoryi Nuez
Darwin Ramos
Persio Reyes
Scarlyn Reyes
Ismael Tijerina
Rob Whalen
Ty Williams

Catchers
Adrian Abreu
Brandon Brosher
Jose Garcia
Colton Plaia
Dioni Rodriguez

Infielders
Gavin Cecchini
Phillip Evans
Luis Guillorme
Dilson Herrera
Branden Kaupe
L.J. Mazzilli
Jeff McNeil
Matt Oberste
Pedro Perez
Alfredo Reyes
Amed Rosario
Yeixon Ruiz
Dominic Smith
Jhoan Urena

Outfielders
Wuilmer Becerra
Michael Bernal
Jared King
Vicente Lupo
Brandon Nimmo
Hengelbert Rojas
Champ Stuart
Ivan Wilson

There is a ton of talent among this group of players with each one of them bringing something different to the table. Again, this list is for the Mets Instructional League in St. Lucie, which you can read more about right here, courtesy of Matt M. Games begin Tuesday and run through Oct 4. Here are a few notes on the roster.

  • A large chunk of the Mets ’13 draft picks will attend this league, with 18 total players from the 2013 class taking part. The 1st – 8th round picks (Smith, Church, Wilson, Meisner, Mazzilli, King, Stuart, Oberste, Knapp) are all attending. Bashlor (11th) and Meisner are two pitchers that I am relatively high on for the future, and Ivan Wilson always gets a ton of love from me.
  • Taking a general look at the outfielders on the list, it is good to see Wuilmer Becerra and Vicente Lupo get some extra work after underwhelming seasons. Both men harbor a lot of potential — as does Brandon Nimmo, who is joining them there.
  • Somewhere, my colleague Teddy Klein is jumping because Amed Rosario, the potential shortstop of the Mets future, is attending as well. There’s a nice crop of names in the infield bunch that includes the newly-acquired Dilson Herrera and Gavin Cecchini.
  • I am loving a lot of the names on the list of pitchers — especially a pair of right-handers from Kingsport: Chris Flexen and Rob Whalen. Frias is a guy that impressed me in person when I saw him in Brooklyn, by the way.

For the most comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system, pay a visit to MetsMinors.net!

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Mets Second Base Prospect T.J. Rivera Is Doing It Quietly http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-second-base-prospect-t-j-rivera-is-doing-it-quietly.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-second-base-prospect-t-j-rivera-is-doing-it-quietly.html/#comments Tue, 17 Sep 2013 17:45:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129555 t.j. rivera

While the St. Lucie Mets were one of the few minor league affiliates in New York’s system to not qualify for the playoffs in 2013, they came pretty damn close. It took until the last week of the season for them to get eliminated from playoff contention. There were quite a few players to have big seasons at Tradition Field this summer, the most notable one being Dustin Lawley, the 2013 Florida State League Player of the Year. However, second baseman T.J. Rivera also had a solid season.

Yesterday, Mets Minors posted a nice statistic about Rivera’s 2013 season:

Talk about doing it quietly! He was dependable this past season, getting a lot of time in at second base in his second full season of professional baseball. He split 2012 right down the middle between Savannah and St. Lucie, playing 64 games for each affiliate. In 516 combined at-bats, he hit .320/.372/.444 with nine home runs 66 RBIs, 73 runs scored, and 29 doubles. While this season’s home run totals were down compared to last year, he still displayed his ability to put the bat on the ball, as well as getting on base.

He will most likely be heading to Double-A Binghamton to start 2014, and I will be interested to see how he adjusts to life in the Eastern League. A lot has been made about the second base position with the New York Mets — from the major league team, all the way down through the organization. There is a need for organizational depth there and at shortstop, two crucial positions up the middle of the diamond. The selection of L.J. Mazzilli in the 2013 MLB draft, followed by the acquisition of Dilson Herrera from the Pirates have helped do just that at second base.

However, both of those second baseman will probably start the season no higher than High-A in 2014. Players like Rivera and Daniel Muno provide the Mets with some organizational depth at second base in the upper minors, as they continue to figure out whether or not they should hold on to or try trading either Daniel Murphy or Wilmer Flores. It’s nice to have some reinforcements in the minors, just in case.

As I mentioned before, Rivera’s home run total was down this season from 2012, but that doesn’t concern me. He’s still hitting at a high clip, and put together his second-straight 20-double season. Home run power is nice, but if he’s hitting doubles and driving in runs, I’m cool with it. With a career minor league batting average of .304, he’s hardly a person that should be disregarded moving forward.

To get the most comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system, pay a visit to MetsMinors.net!

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Mets Minors: The Week in Review – Congrats To The Sand Gnats! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-the-week-in-review-congrats-to-the-sand-gnats.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-the-week-in-review-congrats-to-the-sand-gnats.html/#comments Mon, 16 Sep 2013 04:57:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129365 nimmo reynolds sand gnats

The best news to come out of this past week in the Mets minor league system was the Savannah Sand Gnats capturing their first SAL Championship since 1996. The only bad news about that? Mets Minors has officially closed the book on the 2013 season, looking ahead to 2014. Don’t worry though, we’ll be rolling out some solid and constant content to keep you occupied on MMN while the weather starts to get a little colder and snow starts to fall.

Here’s the news that came up this week from the Mets’ affiliates in the minors:

Las Vegas 51s

The 51s watched their first playoff run since 2002 end prematurely, but the season continued for Las Vegas shortstop, Ruben Tejada. Mike Baxter, Aaron Harang, and Juan Centeno were the first round of call-ups following the end of their seasons in the PCL last Monday. The club waited to re-call Tejada until last Tuesday to delay his free agency another year. He doesn’t look to be a big part of the future, but if a couple days can buy the organization another year of control…why not, right?

Rafael Montero was also named to Baseball America’s MiLB All-Star team.

Binghamton Mets

The B-Mets ran into the Trenton Thunder at the wrong time, as their divisional foe went undefeated in the postseason on their way to an Eastern League title. Closer Jeff Walters spent a small amount of time with Las Vegas to bolster their ‘pen for the rest of the playoffs. However, manager Pedro Lopez got his first call to the Show, joining the MLB staff for the remainder of the season. Wally Backman‘s invite never came.

St. Lucie Mets

St. Lucie already has Hansel Robles, Cam Maron, and Aderlin Rodriguez heading to the Arizona Fall League, but one more pitcher will be on his way. Reliever Cody Satterwhite will be joining them soon on the Scottsdale Scorpions. A former draft pick of the Detroit Tigers, Satterwhite spent time in Indy Ball this season before signing with the Mets.

Savannah Sand Gnats

Obviously, the biggest news coming out of Savannah was their championship victory against the Hagerstown Suns. After Jacob Lugo evened the series at one game a piece on the road, the Gnats leaned on two great pitching performances from Gabriel Ynoa (recap here) and Steven Matz (recap here) to close the deal.

MMN Original Content:

Exclusive Interview with B-Mets Second Baseman Daniel Muno

Remembering September 11th: 12 Years Later

Player of the Week: Mike Baxter

Zach Lutz Getting a Chance to Show He Belongs in the Big Leagues

Photo Gallery: Savannah’s SAL Championship Win

Mets Should Consider Using Darin Gorski in the Big League Down the Stretch

Pitcher of the Week: Steven Matz

Trenton Thunder Claim EL Title; B-Mets Ran into Them at the Wrong Time

Featured Post: Wilfredo Tovar Shouldn’t be Overlooked at the Shortstop Position

Prospect Time Machine: Jeromy Burnitz

Pedro Lopez Joins MLB Staff; Wally Backman’s Invite Lost in the Mail

Matz Has Earned His Rule V Protection With Flying Colors

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Familia to Continue Pitching in Winter Ball Down in the Dominican http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/familia-to-continue-pitching-in-winter-ball-down-in-the-dominican.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/familia-to-continue-pitching-in-winter-ball-down-in-the-dominican.html/#comments Sun, 15 Sep 2013 19:00:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129345 jeurys familiaIt’s been a long road back to the major leagues for Jeurys Familia this season. He last appeared with the Mets in the bigs on May 8th, then underwent surgery on June 5th to clean out a bone spur and loose bodies in his pitching elbow. While he was working to get himself back into shape, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported there was no expectation for Familia to make it back to the bullpen  this season. However, he continued to feel good through his rehab assignment, most recently helping the Savannah Sand Gnats capture their first SAL Title since 1996.

Yesterday, Familia’s rehab finally came to an end; the Mets activated him off the disabled list in time for their doubleheader against the Miami Marlins. Terry Collins planned on not using the right-hander out of the ‘pen last night, but it’s definitely great to see Familia get some time in the majors over these last two weeks before winter comes.

Rubin also reported Familia plans to play winter ball this off-season in the Dominican Republic for Indios del Cibao. This is a solid move; he knows he has a chance to be an important piece to a young and hard-throwing bullpen for the Mets in 2013. Between the majors and minors this season, Familia has only racked up 19.1 innings pitched.

That’s obviously the lowest workload of his professional career, but it’s the first time he hasn’t reached 100 innings of work since he threw 51.2 innings for the GCL Mets in 2008. He was also coming off a 2012 season where he put up a career-high in innings pitched between Triple-A and the majors (149.1 IP).

It would have been a huge bummer for him to work himself back into pitching shape all summer, only to get a few innings of work before the book closed on this season. Playing winter ball will allow him to continue strengthening his arm. Hopefully, he’ll hit the ground running in spring training next February.

As Satish R. said yesterday, he could be a crucial part of the bullpen with Bobby Parnell (pending his health after surgery) and Vic Black. Three young, hard-throwing right-handed relievers are something the Mets haven’t had in the back of their big league bullpen in quite some time, and it will be exciting to see how these guys continue to develop.

To get the most comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system on the web, pay a visit to MetsMinors.net!

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St. Lucie Reliever Cory Satterwhite Added to Arizona Fall League Roster http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/st-lucie-reliever-cory-satterwhite-added-to-arizona-fall-league-roster.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/st-lucie-reliever-cory-satterwhite-added-to-arizona-fall-league-roster.html/#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 15:00:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129193 St. Lucie Mets reliever, Cody Satterwhite, will be extending his season according to the Arizona Fall League Twitter account:

The right-hander joins Chasen BradfordHansel RoblesCam MaronAderlin Rodriguez, and Cory Vaughn on the Scorpions. At the time of the initial announcement, the Mets said two additional pitchers would be added at a later date. Satterwhite is one of them, so we’re just waiting on the last hurler to be added to the roster before it’s complete for the Amazins.

Satterwhite, a 26-year-old from Jackson, Mississippi, was taken twice in the MLB draft before he signed. In 2005, the Cleveland Indians picked him in the 37th round out of Hillcrest Christian High School, but he opted to attend the University of Mississippi. That decision paid off; he was taken in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Detroit Tigers. His time in the Detroit organization was a rocky one, as he suffered multiple setbacks due to shoulder issues and a decrease in velocity. He didn’t play professional ball in 2012 following getting released by the Tigers in February of that year.

To start 2013, Satterwhite hooked on with Sioux City in Indy Ball, putting together a 2-1 record, 0.65 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched (19 appearances). He joined the Mets organization midway through the season, being assigned to High-A St. Lucie. He appeared in 16 more games for the Mets, going 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts in 22.2 innings pitched.

The 50.1 combined innings he’s thrown this season are the most in his professional career, and the most since he tossed 49.1 frames in 2009 with Double-A Erie in the Eastern League. I’ll be interested to see how he fares with some extra work before the winter officially hits and we’re forced to wait until spring for more baseball.

For the most comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system, be sure to visit MetsMinors.net!

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Montero Named to Baseball America’s MiLB All-Star Team! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/montero-named-to-baseball-americas-milb-all-star-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/montero-named-to-baseball-americas-milb-all-star-team.html/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 17:10:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129112 montero

Baseball America has been rolling out some of their minor league postseason awards with the end of the season in sight. Yesterday, they named Byron Buxton their MiLB Player of the Year, and they released their Minor League All-Star team this morning. BA handed out first and second team honors, with Rafael Montero being the lone Met prospect to be honored. The Triple-A pitcher grabbed the final starting pitcher’s slot on the first-team. Here’s what Matt Eddy had to say about the young right-hander:

Minuscule rates for walks (35 in 155 innings) and home runs (six in 27 starts) allowed Montero to survive a second half spent pitching in the hostile environs of Las Vegas, where he managed to go 3-2, 2.87 in nine home starts. Signed out of the Dominican Republic at age 20, Montero mastered all four levels of the full-season minors in two years and struck out more batters this season (150) than more-heralded Mets pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard this year or Zack Wheeler in 2012.

While Montero did strike out more hitters this season than Syndergaard (133 Ks), his fellow top pitching prospect only threw 117.2 innings between St. Lucie and Binghamton. That’s almost 40 innings less than what Rafael threw in 2013. So, it’s still something to note, but Thor would have easily surpassed Montero in the strikeout department if he wasn’t closely monitored for his innings limit throughout the month of August.

However, comparing Montero’s 2013 to Wheeler’s 2012 season is a little more apples-to-apples. Zack threw 149 innings between Binghamton and Buffalo last season, striking out 148 hitters, while walking 59. As you can see above, Montero struck out 150 and walked 35 in 155.1 innings pitched between Binghamton and Las Vegas.

That’s not to say that Montero is going to perform better than Wheeler in the big leagues, but it’s a testament to how polished and refined Montero is at this stage in his development. As Eddy noted, it’s only taking the Dominican hurler two full years to rise through four levels of the minor leagues — an incredibly impressive feat.

What the Mets decide to do with their big league rotation in 2014 will largely depend on Matt Harvey‘s visit with Dr. James Andrews on Monday, but Montero should be in the conversation, regardless of Harvey’s immediate fate.

He impressed in spring training last year, and adapted very well to the Pacific Coast League, continuing the solid season he was putting together in Binghamton. He was also the starter for the World Team in the Futures Game last July.

I’m excited for Montero to get his chance in the big leagues; his control and poise are two things every rotation needs to be fortified for any type of run at the playoffs.

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Mets GM Praises Allan Dykstra Who Becomes A Free Agent This Winter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-gm-praises-allan-dykstra-who-becomes-a-free-agent-this-winter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-gm-praises-allan-dykstra-who-becomes-a-free-agent-this-winter.html/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 13:40:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128972 allan_dykstra

After a season in which Allan Dykstra put together a .274/.436/.503 line with a career-high 21 home runs and 82 RBIs for the Binghamton Mets, the first baseman/designated hitter is eligible to be a minor league free agent this winter. In his third year of Eastern League action since the Mets acquired him from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Eddie Kunz, he earned League MVP honors. However, the former first rounder is now 26-years-old, and it sounds as if some are down on his potential to have any impact in the big leagues.

Except for Sandy Alderson.

Here’s what the Mets GM had to say about Dykstra, reported by Lynn Worthy of the Press & Sun-Bulletin:

He is a little bit older, but he’s a former first-round draft pick. In fact I was in San Diego when he was drafted. A couple of us — Paul DePodesta being the other — were involved in trading for him from San Diego (to bring him) here. He has had a great season, and he has approached the game, offensively, the way the organization hopes to approach the game at the major-league level. I’m hopeful that he can be rewarded for that.

With regard to any potential contributions from the tall left-handed hitter in the big leagues, Alderson still sounds optimistic:

I think that remains to be seen, but I think it’s entirely possible. This is his second year in this league, but only because we were full basically at Las Vegas at his position. So he’s done a great job this year. He’s been a key part of the team, and we still think he’s got a future. Absolutely.

Dykstra has been with the B-Mets for three seasons, but I’m assuming Alderson meant that the first baseman has played two full seasons with Binghamton; his 2012 season was cut short by injury (62 games played in AA). Or, maybe I’m just making an excuse for him.

While it’s possible Alderson was skirting the question and choosing to stay optimistic, what he said is not surprising. Dykstra has built a reputation for drawing a lot of walks and having an insane on-base percentage, which are two things we know the front office cares about.

The first base position at the big league level currently has a lot of uncertainty moving toward 2014; we all know the trials and tribulations between both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. It remains to be seen what New York’s plan is for the position heading into this winter; if they decide to stick with one of these two internal options, it would be nice to have a potential internal backup plan in case it all goes haywire.

I’m hoping (and anticipating) for Dykstra to remain in the Mets organization beyond this season, and to report to Triple-A Las Vegas at the start of 2014. He’ll essentially act as an insurance policy for the position in the big leagues should something go wrong in Flushing.

Thoughts from Joe D.

When we first acquired Dykstra for Eddie Kunz, I thought very little of the trade. Two first round busts being swapped, big deal. But thanks to the Mets, we are privileged to get access to these players and after watching them play, hearing them talk after a good or bad game, and even speaking to them one on one as I did with Allan last month, a certain bond develops.

I’ve been touting Dykstra all season long on MMO, I didn’t realize until Matt mentioned it that he becomes a minor league free agent now that the season has ended. I do hope we make every attempt to keep him. It has always been my contention that a platoon of Dykstra and Josh Satin at first base would be more productive than any of the seasons we ever got from Keith Hernandez offensively.

Here are some questions and answers from my interview with Allan:

I asked Dykstra, no relation to Lenny by the way, if he knew the Padres were going to select him in the first round in 2008.

“Actually, the Padres were one of the only teams that did not meet with me. Being a San Diego native and growing up in their backyard, they were the team I grew up rooting for. On the day of the draft when I received that call, I was so happy to be drafted by them and knowing I was playing for my hometown team. But obviously I learned quickly that baseball is a business and they traded me to the Mets.”

“That had to be a killer”, I said. “How did you find out… What was going through your head at the time?”

“It was unexpected. We were breaking spring training camp in 2011 on a Sunday, and at about 9:30 in the morning, the Farm Director told me, ‘We traded you. Best of luck. We thought it was a batter fit for the players involved. Tomorrow you’ll be with the Mets”’

“That was it. I was shocked and didn’t know what was happening. I din’t know how to go about it, there’s no instruction guide or handbook for when something like this happens to you. You get plane ticket for a flight in the morning and it’s goodbye and good luck.”

“I don’t mean to laugh,” I told him. “But damn… That sounds so freaking cold.”

He laughed along with me and recalled how little time he had to get to know his new teammates because it was toward the end of spring training for the Mets, and basically he got the tour of the complex and it took a few days to get his bearings straight and learn the lay of the land. “But believe me, it’s a big shock to get traded.”

“There’s a feeling of rejection, but you have to tell yourself that it’s a fresh start and make the best of the situation.”

JD – I know you’ve been blocked at first base at Triple-A, but are you ready for a new challenge?

AD – Definitely. You always want to move up and last year was a disappointment with me getting hurt. I was hoping to start there (Triple-A) this year, but I realize that’s not my decision to make. It’s like you said, there’s just so many players in the organization that all play the same position. That said, it’s something that I can’t let it bother me and I still have a job to do. I love this game, and whether it’s at Las Vegas or Binghamton, I’m still playing baseball and I’m grateful always for that.

JD – Is there a former player you’ve looked up to or even modeled your game after?

AD – When I was younger I was a big Tony Gwynn fan, but as I got older I became a big fan of Chipper Jones. Yes, I know most Met fans probably don’t want to know that, but I initially was a third baseman and a shortstop when I started playing ball and to me Chipper was the best in the game. I also loved Cal Ripken too. Those three players represented the kind of baseball player I wanted to be and were big inspirations. As far as modeling my game, it was Chipper even down to his toe-tap at the plate.

JD – You probably envisioned yourself being in the majors by now?

AD – I envisioned myself there a long time ago, but no seriously, I realize that during my first two pro seasons I didn’t meet a lot of those expectations baseball people had for me. Then I got sidetracked by injuries on top of that, but last year I really started to put up the kind of numbers I knew I was capable of. I continued to work hard and I am proud of the season I’m having now.

JD – Who is the biggest influence for you right now?

AD – Right now and for the last three seasons it’s definitely my hitting coach Luis Natera. He discussed my ups and downs with me when we first met and he really helped me understand things in a way that connected and clicked for me. He’s been a huge influence in my baseball career. I talk to him everyday and not even about baseball stuff, but my personal life too. He’s really been there for me through good times and bad. He’s not only a great coach, but he’s a great person and a great friend.

JD – Do players and coaches normally form this kind of bond at the minor league levels?

AD – I don’t really know, other than my own experience. It’s my third year with Luis Natera and when I first arrived I knew nobody and was looking to make a fresh start and he introduced himself to me and has helped and guided me ever since. He listened to me. When I was down he genuinely listened and cared and said he was going to do whatever he could to help me improve my game and my focus. And that’s exactly what he did.

(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)

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Mets Minors Boom or Bust: RHP Gabriel Ynoa http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-boom-or-bust-rhp-gabe-ynoa.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-minors-boom-or-bust-rhp-gabe-ynoa.html/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 13:00:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128815 Gabe Ynoa

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mets Minors Boom or Bust. Today, we’ll be focusing the spotlight on Savannah Sand Gnats starting pitcher, Gabriel Ynoa. The 20-year-old Dominican led the South Atlantic League in wins, and finished the regular season with a 15-4 record, 2.72 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 106 strikeouts in 135.2 innings pitched. He earned the honor of being the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year, and was instrumental in Savannah’s Game 1 win over Augusta, helping the Sand Gnats move on to the Championship Series, starting tomorrow night. Now, let’s get on to the debate:

John Bernhardt:

There is not much to dislike about the season Gabriel Ynoa has logged in Savannah. The 20-year old right-hander has shown the poise and pitch command of a much older pitcher. Ynoa leads all Met pitchers at any level in wins with 15 and has walked only 1.1 batters per nine innings in over 135 innings of work. That’s uncanny. A 2.72 ERA and 7 strikeouts per 9 innings round out an incredible season of Ynoa on the hill. This one’s a no brainer. Verdict: Boom.

Connor O’Brien:

Ynoa doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, but his pinpoint control more than makes up for it. This year in Savannah, he has walked just 1.1 batters per nine innings while striking out seven. With a low-90s fastball that could add a few ticks on the gun as he gets older, and a good changeup, Ynoa could start moving up the levels quicker next year. This season, he has a 2.72 ERA in 135.2 innings pitched. The home park he plays in may have to do in part with some of those numbers, but his 3.11 ERA on the road is still impressive, especially considering he’s a little younger than his competition. The 2009 signee has a very good chance to end up in an MLB rotation some day as a fourth or fifth starter. Verdict: Boom.

David Conde:

Just looking at Gabriel’s stats and not having the privilege of seeing him pitch, he definitely has potential to be a big time pitcher. From being signed so young with the Mets at 17, I like the progression he has made so far in the minors. He pitched well in Rookie ball but then turned it up a notch at Brooklyn last season. This season with the Sand Gnats, Gabriel has really put himself on the map with a 15-4 record and leading his team into the playoffs; I feel his stock has risen tremendously. I see great things in his immediate future and I look forward to seeing if he will be rewarded a promotion to St. Lucie next season. The Mets have done well in their farm system with the young arms they have, and I see Gabriel as another player the Mets will be anxious to have on their roster sooner than later. Anything is possible, but I like the steps he has taken in a short period of time. At 20, his future is bright.  Verdict: Boom.

Matt Musico:

I agree with everything these gentlemen before me have said. I’m not going to talk about the numbers again, because by now, you’ve seen them. Once Rainy Lara got promoted to St. Lucie, it was Ynoa’s rotation to lead, and man did he do a great job of it. His low walk numbers and moderate strikeout rates remind me of another one of his fellow Dominicans that has made his way through the Mets minors system: Rafael Montero. Now in Triple-A, it seems as though scouts and talent evaluators are projecting his ceiling as a number three starter, likely as a four or five. I see the same thing for Ynoa at this point. He’ll gain a little more speed on his fastball as he matures, but it’s going to be his control that will get him to the majors. Every team could use a starter at the end of their rotation with a good feel of the strike zone; he would round out a rotation, and would give the bullpen a rest (averaged 6+ IP per start in 2013). As long as he keeps his control, he’ll find a way to the majors. If what he’s done since signing with the Mets is any indication, that will continue happening. Verdict: Boom.

Satish Ram:

It’s only natural to develop attachments to players that might not be the best around — but there’s something about them that you just appreciate. In a similar vein, I often find myself attached to prospects who might not be the best in the world, but there’s a lot to like about them for one reason or another. Well, it’s a known fact that Gabriel Ynoa is my guy because I think he’s got the complete package as a pitcher. He’s got great stuff, good control, good poise, a pitcher’s frame…yeah, there are reasons he isn’t touted as the next Wheeler, but he did a lot to convince people that he’ll be a useful part of any rotation down the line. He won 15 games during the regular season, tops in the Mets organization, while snagging an award for most outstanding SAL Pitcher. His home/road splits are important, considering Historic Grayson is an offensive dead zone, but his road era is only 3.15 — still solid. The best part about this is that he is merely 20 years old. I see bright things for his future. Verdict: Boom.

What do you think the future holds for Gabriel Ynoa? Let us know in the comments section, and remember to follow us at MetsMinors.net for the more comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system.

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Mets Promote Reliever Sean Henn From Triple-A http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-promote-reliever-sean-henn-from-triple-a.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-promote-reliever-sean-henn-from-triple-a.html/#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 04:40:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128681 sean henn

The New York Mets announced they have selected the contract of LHP Sean Henn from Triple-A Las Vegas. Henn was 3-5 with a 2.81 ERA (18 ER/57.2 IP) in 52 games with the 51s

Henn, 32, was selected in the 26th round by the New York Yankees in the 2000 MLB draft.

He’s played in the major leagues in parts of five seasons with four different teams (Yankees, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, and Baltimore Orioles). The last time he saw time in the bigs came in 2009 with the Orioles; he put together a 9.00 ERA and 3.33 WHIP in six appearances (3 IP) for the O’s.

In 60 career MLB appearances, Henn is 2-9 with a 7.56 ERA, 2.01 WHIP, 64 walks, and 62 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched.

The announcement of this promotion was surprising to me, and Adam Rubin tried to provide some opinion as to why Henn got the call today:

The left-handed reliever has spent all of the 2013 season with Triple-A Las Vegas after spending 2012 with the Seattle Mariners organization in Triple-A Tacoma. He’s performed pretty well in the PCL despite allowing a lot of base runners (1.60 WHIP).

Congratulations to Sean on his promotion, it must feel good after almost four years since getting his last call.

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Winning in the Minors is Important to Mets Front Office http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/winning-in-the-minors-is-important-to-mets-front-office.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/winning-in-the-minors-is-important-to-mets-front-office.html/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 13:33:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128650 sandyLynn Worthy of the Press & Sun-Bulletin was in Trenton last night for Game 1 of the Eastern League Divisional Series between the Binghamton Mets and Trenton Thunder. The Thunder were down to their last out in the bottom of the 10th, but rallied to take the series opener from their division rivals. Among the crowd was Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, who claimed he was coming to watch the B-Mets and top prospect Noah Syndergaard “as a fan”. Worthy reports in his B-Mets notebook that Alderson did make his way down to Binghamton’s locker room, but only wanted to share his congratulations on the historic season they’ve had.

Alderson watched Thor rebound nicely from his worst start of 2013 back on August 26th; the right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts in six innings of work before giving way to the bullpen.

What I found interesting in Worthy’s report was what the Mets GM said about the importance of winning in the minor leagues:

We want create a winning atmosphere at the minor-league level that will permeate the major league level at some point. We’ve got a lot of young players at the major league level this year who have come through the system, not all of them with the kind of championship success that we’ve seen this year from a lot of our minor league teams, but we think that’s an important part of it.

The other thing is we’re part of the community in each of these locations, and we want to put a good product on the field.

I’m glad to hear that; I’m one of the people that think winning and developing players go hand-in-hand. It’s not the most important aspect of a player’s development, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. While there is a large difference between the atmosphere of a minor league playoff game compared to a major league playoff game, it helps having some kind of playoff experience to draw upon as a professional baseball player when they reach the next level. Being there before in the minors can allow a young rookie or second-year big leaguer calm down a bit when they enter October baseball for the first time in the bigs.

I also found the last sentence Alderson interesting, and I look at the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate out in Las Vegas as a prime example. The biggest reason for the existence of the minors is to develop players, but host cities like to have successful teams to watch on a yearly basis. From what I remember, that was one of the reasons why Buffalo and the Mets couldn’t agree on a new agreement following the 2012 season; they wanted to field a winner. New York has seen their Triple-A team bounce all over the country within the last few years, but winning like they have in 2013 always helps the relationship between the two parties.

The bottom line is that Alderson and the rest of the front office see value in the Mets’ affiliates having success and reaching the playoffs this season. Let’s hope the remaining affiliates in the middle of a playoff series will gain some wisdom and experience they can use at Citi Field sometime in the near future.

To get the most comprehensive coverage on the Mets minor league system, check us out at MetsMinors.net!

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Playoff Baseball On The Horizon For Mets Minors http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/playoff-baseball-on-the-horizon-for-mets-minors.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/playoff-baseball-on-the-horizon-for-mets-minors.html/#comments Tue, 03 Sep 2013 21:38:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128570 Tonight is a big night for the 51s, the B-Mets, and the Savannah Sand Gnats!

Wally Backman and the Las Vegas 51s finished the season with an 81-62 record, good for second-best in all of the Pacific Coast League. The 51s are heading to the postseason for the first time since 2002, and considering the type of roster changes Backman had to deal with this season, it’s amazing he’s been able to keep his team focused and successful. They’ll first be facing off against the Salt Lake Bees to see who moves on to the next round. Matt Fox gets the festivities started in Utah tonight for Vegas.

In the Eastern League, Pedro Lopez and his Binghamton Mets finished the season with an 86-55 record, by far the best in the league, and the best in B-Mets history. To get their playoffs off on the right foot, they will be sending Noah Syndergaard to the mound to face the Trenton Thunder. He hasn’t pitched since allowed nine earned runs and nine hits against Bowie on August 26th, but I have a feeling he will be ready to rock once the first pitch is thrown tonight in Trenton.

The Savannah Sand Gnats struggled to a 34-35 second half record, but are also prepping for the postseason since they captured the first half championship. They put together a 43-26 record prior to the SAL All-Star break, and are 77-61 overall in 2013. They’ll be facing the Augusta Green Jackets, the SAL Southern Division second half champs, on the road in Augusta. The Gnats will also have their ace on the mound for Game 1, running out Gabriel Ynoa to the mound, the SAL pitcher of the year.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited for the rest of our minor league affiliates to get their respective postseasons underway. With the big league team heading toward their fifth-straight losing season and not being in any type of playoff race since 2008, I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to get some extra baseball after the regular season is done. The four minor league squads making the playoffs doesn’t mean the Mets will be doing the same in Flushing any time soon, but it’s gratifying to follow these teams so closely all season and watch them get rewarded for their solid play with a chance at a championship.

I think there is a legitimate chance we see more than one minor league team come away with a championship trophy. Who do you think comes away victorious over the next couple weeks (if any)?

Thoughts From Satish R.

Well, unfortunately, we saw Kingsport get eliminated in heart-breaking fashion last night, and you can read about that here. So those of you that follow me on Mets Minors know that I have a man-crush on Gabriel Ynoa and I think he’s one of the gems of our farm system. I think he’ll be quite the successful pitcher some day, so I’m glad to see him taking the mound for Savannah tonight.

The B-Mets probably have the best shot of winning a championship, as they have the most balanced team attack going into the EL playoffs. Syndergaard may be limited, but remember that before his last start, he was on a shutout streak. He should get the B-Mets started off on the right foot tonight.

Lastly, I wouldn’t underestimate the 51s at all. Wally Backman has done wonders with what he has had to work with, and a championship should skyrocket him to the Mets ’14 coaching staff. This should be the beginning of a fun couple weeks for us…

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Roster News: Plawecki And Reynolds Promoted For Playoff Experience, Lutz To Majors http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/roster-news-plawecki-and-reynolds-promoted-for-playoff-experience-lutz-to-majors.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/roster-news-plawecki-and-reynolds-promoted-for-playoff-experience-lutz-to-majors.html/#comments Sun, 01 Sep 2013 14:53:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128393 vic black trade

The Mets have made a few roster moves today (and yesterday, for that matter). Here’s a summary of everything I can see that’s going on:

  • Matt Reynolds and Kevin Plawecki may be done in St. Lucie with the FSL season, but they will get a taste of the Eastern League playoffs with the Binghamton Mets. In 430 at-bats with St. Lucie this season, Reynolds hit .226/.302/.335 with five homers and 46 RBIs. Plawecki split time with St. Lucie and Savannah. He’s stepped to the plate 447 times, and has put together a a combined .304/.390/.447 line with eight homers and 79 RBIs.
  • New York is still hoping they’ll see Jeurys Familia back in the bullpen before 2013 comes to a close. He took a step closer to doing that today in PSL. He threw an inning for St. Lucie in their season-ending 16-0 blowout victory. He allowed no runs on one hit, one walk, and one strikeout in his appearance. He’s been sidelined for most of the season, last appearing in a big league game on May 8th against the Chicago White Sox.
  • Sandy Alderson said the bulk of the September call-ups will be coming once the affiliates are done with their respective postseasons, but there are three new Mets heading to DC to join the team. Victor Black, the PTBNL from the Marlon Byrd and John Buck deal, is joining the bullpen. In 46.2 innings pitched in Triple-A this season, Black owns a 2.51 ERA, .169 opponent batting average, and has allowed 21 walks while striking out 62 batters.
  • An injury last night to Ike Davis has ended his season, so the Mets will be calling up Zach Lutz to provide depth. In 399 at-bats for Las Vegas, he hit .293/.377/.479 with 13 home runs and 80 RBIs. He’ll be a bench player, as it’s Lucas Duda‘s turn to audition full-time at first base.
  • Reliever Tim Byrdak will also be heading back to the big leagues, completing his comeback from surgery last year. He didn’t allow a run in 11 appearances for the 51s (8 IP), walking five and striking out 10.
  • To supplement some of the subtractions made to the Vegas roster right before the playoffs start, the Mets have optioned Robert Carson back to Triple-A, while also signing ex-Yankee Cory Wade to a minor league deal, and assigning him Las Vegas.

Alright, that’s all I got right now. If there is anything else that happens, I’ll be sure to update the post.

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