Mets Merized Online » Mets News & Notes Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:58:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Law: Mets Have 6 Prospects in Top 100 Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:56:25 +0000 michael-conforto-2

Here they are, what you’ve all been waiting for… ESPN’s Keith Law released his Top 100 Prospects for 2015 and the Mets had an impressive showing with six players making the cut.

Noah Syndergaard RHP (No. 17)

Syndergaard just keeps chugging along fairly quietly compared to most pitchers who throw 95-plus, getting results while refining his off-speed stuff gradually but consistently. He’s now to the point where he seems like the safest bet of any of the premium pitching prospects on this list. Syndergaard will hold mid-90s into the seventh inning, working with what seems like negative effort, and his changeup is plus at 78-79. His curveball, about a grade-35 pitch when he was first drafted by Toronto in 2010, has advanced to be at least solid-average, showing as a 55 in most outings, playing up in particular because he can throw the pitch for strikes.

His Triple-A stat line was hurt by his home park, a very good environment for hitters, and some generally bad luck, but to the extent that it forced him to continue to refine his command — which is already a strength — the experience won’t hurt him. The Norse God of Velocity is ready for the call to Queens, with the floor of an above-average starter who can carry 200-plus-inning workloads.

Michael Conforto OF (No. 41)

Conforto was the best pure college hitter in the 2014 draft class, with a tremendous combination of feel to hit, an advanced approach and above-average power, but he slipped to the 10th overall pick probably because he’s limited to playing left field, in which he had a rough reputation dating back to his freshman year. He has improved significantly on defense between his reads on balls and his throwing accuracy and now projects as an average or better defender there.

What he truly brings to the table, however, is his bat. He loads a little high and deep, but his hands are quick, so he can get the bat head into the zone quickly, and he rotates his hips well for power from right field out to center. He’s a patient hitter — he led Division I in OBP and walks in the spring and finished fifth in the New York-Penn League in OBP this summer — but he’s not passive. I see him as a fantastic two-hole hitter, posting high averages and OBPs with 20-homer power while adding value with his defense and smart baserunning.

Kevin Plawecki C (No. 45)

Ask anyone in a major league front office about the state of catching in MLB, and you’ll probably get a scatological term in response: There isn’t enough of it to go around, and if you aren’t lucky enough to have one of the dozen or so good ones, you’re constantly looking to upgrade. That means prospects such as Plawecki, a good receiver who can hit and is about ready for the majors, have very high value not just in terms of future production, but also in the trade market. Plawecki, the Mets’ second-round pick in 2012 out of Purdue, has great hands behind the plate and should be a strong framer pitchers want to throw to, with a good feel for the softer aspects of catching, such as game-calling. His arm is just average, and I think even with his work ethic, he’ll top out as a 30 percent caught-stealing guy.

At the plate, he might have the shortest swing of anyone in the top 100, very consistent and simple, with strong hands to let him run into a dozen or so homers a year with a slew of doubles. His ability to hit for average should separate him from other catchers — only five regular or semi-regular catchers hit .280 in 2014, and only 14 hit even .260 — with added value from his glove, all boosted by the fact that he could play every day for someone by the middle of 2015.

Dominic Smith 1B (No. 65)

Smith’s superficial stats don’t give Mets fans a lot of confidence in his future, but he actually had a very solid year considering his age, experience and home ballpark. Smith was just 19 years old in Class A Savannah, going to a full-season league less than a year out of high school, whereas other recent Mets first-rounders, such as Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini, spent a second summer in short-season ball first. Savannah is a terrible park for left-handed hitters, especially for pull power, so Smith worked on going the other way much of the season, with far more of his extra-base hits going to left than to right. He has grade-70 raw power, but we may not see much of it until he reaches Binghamton late in 2015, or more likely 2016. He’s an excellent defensive first baseman with a 70-grade arm, although defense at that position is secondary to offense. Don’t be alarmed if his home run total is still low in the Florida State League this year, but once he reaches Double-A, I expect Smith to hit double-digit homers and peak at 20-plus per year in the majors, with high batting averages and OBPs north of .350, making him an above-average or better regular at first.

Amed Rosario SS (No. 69)

Rosario was my sleeper prospect for the Mets last year, and the $1.75 million the Mets paid him in 2012 looks like it’s going to more than pay off. Rosario is a toolshed, with athleticism, strength, plus raw power and a laser arm. He’s a true shortstop with very good actions at the position, including soft hands and excellent reads on balls in front him on which he has to come in or in front of the bag. His bat is a blur through the zone, and he keeps his hands inside the ball exceptionally well. His approach is very mature for his age, atypical of an 18-year-old playing with much older competition; he’ll hit the other way and show power there as well, with more than half of his career home runs going out to right-center.

He has broad shoulders and might fill out some but doesn’t project to outgrow the position. He’ll need to be challenged by better pitching, especially pitchers who can locate their off-speed stuff, which he might not see until high Class A or Double-A. Savannah has a brutal park for power, so his superficial stats might not show much progress this year, but if he keeps his contact rate up and works on adjusting to changing speeds, he won’t be there for long.

Brandon Nimmo OF (No. 91)

He profiles as an everyday right fielder between his defense and potential for .380-.400 OBPs, but I’d like to see better results when he puts the ball in play against lefties.

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Not bad, not bad… I was hoping Matz would sneak in but I’m pretty thrilled.

I’ve got some great news for you, Keith Law was kind enough to agree to an interview with our own Tommy Rothman this morning. It’s very in depth and the two of them covered a lot of Mets topics. We’ll be posting it in the morning for you.

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BP Projects 82 Wins For Mets, Gee Takes Exception Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:00:48 +0000 dillon gee

Dillon Gee took exception to Baseball Prospectus projecting the Mets for 82 wins this season.

In response, he said via Twitter: “And NYC was expected to get hammered with an Armageddon blizzard. Sometimes people get it wrong!!!”

It’s interesting that he’s the one that speaks out considering he’ll be in another uniform by the end of February. But this was cool to see. :-)

January 28

Baseball Prospectus projects the Mets to finish 82-80 this year and fall short of the postseason.


This is actually a little bit more promising than FanGraphs who projected the Mets for 79 wins this season.

There’s no real science to these predictions and it’s all very subjective. However if the Mets don’t finish the season with a minimum of 85 wins, I would suspect that most fans will not be pleased.

Last year was supposed to be the season the Mets began their run of sustainable success and a potential winning season. But the Matt Harvey situation derailed that and all eyes shifted to 2015.

Because expectations are so high, I’m not sure if just finishing at or above .500 would be enough to make fans ecstatic after six consecutive losing seasons.

Then there are those who believe that the Mets did not do enough this offseason to convince fans of their commitment to winning.

Because we have such a promising rotation, I do believe the Mets will have an exciting season with some high points and low points. As usual the Mets are banking on lots of “if’s” to make it all happen. Honestly, I’d feel a lot better if Terry Collins had been replaced with someone else, preferably Wally Backman. We’ll see how it goes.


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NL East Offseason Winners and Losers Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:59:38 +0000 michael cuddyer cage

After one of the most active Winters ever, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports evaluates all the winners and losers so far. Here are the ones I cherry picked from the NL East including the Mets.


Marlins. They got off to a big start with the record $325-million deal for franchise player Giancarlo Stanton (with his out after $107 million and six years) and kept going, adding speedy Dee Gordon, versatile Martin Prado (a poor man’s Ben Zobrist), powerful Michael Morse, talented Mat Latos, ageless Ichiro and (most likely) dependable Dan Haren, who still prefers to pitch on the West Coast. On the cusp. (And if they pull a surprise and add Shields, even a real threat). Only disappointments: not locking up Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich.

Jury’s Out

Braves. There’s no question they stepped out of the stalking role in the NL East and look like an also-ran for 2015, and the $44 million on Markakis will only be well spent if he makes a speedy recovery. But Shelby Miller was a nice return for Jason Heyward and Fried-plus is fine work for Upton. I get it more than most, it seems.


Phillies. They were rejected by A.J. Burnett, who bolted Philly to return to the cross-state Pirates for much less money (about a third less, $8.5 million compared to $12.75 million), and are seemingly just getting started in their rebuilding task. GM Ruben Amaro suggested recently he expects to keep Cole Hamels, and let’s hope that changes, as Philly’s rebuild depends on the type of haul they can get for one of baseball’s best pitchers. They are also for the moment stuck with Jonathan Papelbon and Ryan Howard.

Mets. Michael Cuddyer was a nice add but the Mets continue to be ultra-conservative on the trading front, especially compared with some of the teams with new GMs. Wilmer Flores is going to be a nice utility player but it’s questionable whether he’s a starting shortstop. If the Mets are as good as they think they are, they should have found a way to trade for Ian Desmond, Tulowitzki or someone else of that ilk.

Would have liked to see what he thought about the Nationals, but they weren’t featured as a team. However Heyman lists Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond as winners.

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New Commish Dodges Question About Wilpons and Mets Payroll Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:58:29 +0000 rob manfred

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports conducted a comprehensive interview with new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred spanning a variety of topics and sensitive issues including a question about Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon.

Rosenthal: Another issue — and I know this one is sensitive. The Mets play in one of the biggest markets in the game. I know Commissioner Selig was close with (Mets owner) Fred Wilpon and that you just appointed Mr Wilpon head of your finance committee. Yet this team’s payroll is lower than some lower-revenue teams, certainly projects to be that way again in 2015. How do you justify to their fans the Mets’ inability or reluctance to spend more on players?

Manfred: I’m a huge fan of Sandy Alderson. I think Sandy Alderson is as good a general manager today as there is in the game. You could go back 20 years and argue that he’s one of the best. I think they have developed a strategy with respect to the Mets they’re going to try to grow from within so that they have a team that can be competitive and sustainable, and I have no doubt that as that process continues and it requires the owners of the Mets to invest additional dollars in payroll that they are going to be willing and able to do that.

That’s as close as dodging the question as one could get. Manfred completely steers the conversation to Sandy Alderson and offered nothing at all on the real problem which is ownership.

Manfred, who is looking more and more like a Selig puppet, failed to address the point of Rosenthal’s question which ponders why a team in MLB’s number one market is operating with a bottom five payroll.

Sadly there was no followup question.

Mets Cubs

I would have asked: Why have low revenue teams like Miami, San Diego, Kansas City and Houston spent most of the $28 million dollars they received from the new National TV contract that kicked in this year, while the Mets enter 2015 with basically the same payroll as last year?

That $28 million is found money that all teams will get annually each January, beginning this year, a virtual bonus that most teams have invested right into their roster this offseason while the Mets pocketed their portion.

One report speculates that the new average MLB payroll will near a record $130 million in 2015 due mostly to teams investing a great portion of their new National TV money. The Mets are at $92 million, a mere $3 million more than last Opening Day. If they trade Daniel Murphy at the deadline as most expect, payroll will actually be less than last year.

The sad reality is that Mets ownership and management prefers that the fans do all the new investing and that it is our responsibility to put up our own money before they spend a dollar more to improve the product on the field and support one of the best young core of players this team has had in a quarter century. What a crying shame.

Hopefully we can win in spite of the creeps that control this team. But it sucks that the Wilpons and all their shills run this team like a second-rate franchise instead of the first class operation it should be.

By the way, I’d suggest reading Rosenthal’s entire interview, he did a fantastic job overall and there is lot’s to digest.

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Mets Avoid Arbitration With Jenrry Mejia, Agree On $2.6 Million Contract Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:54:02 +0000 jenrry-mejia

The Mets and Jenrry Mejia have agreed to a one year deal for 2.595 million to avoid arbitration, according to Jon Heyman. Mejia had filed for $3.0 million while the Mets initially offered $2.1 million.

Mejia will likely start the season as the Mets closer no matter what Terry Collins keeps saying about it being a competition this Spring.

So we have only Lucas Duda left to sign as arbitration hearings begin next week. Someone asked me if I thought the delay could be the two sides working on an extension, but I’m sure that’s not the case given how broke the team still is. I still expect both sides to settle before their hearing.

January 16

The Mets have avoided arbitration with Daniel Murphy, agreeing to a one-year, $8 million deal with him on Friday night. Murphy had submitted an $8.6 million figure while the Mets countered with $7.4 million.

According to what a team source told Adam Rubin the Mets have no plans for a multi-year deal with Murphy and the All Star second baseman will head into free agency after the 2015 season.

The team has already reached deals with Dillon Gee for $5.3 million earlier in the day, and for $1.88 million with shortstop Ruben Tejada. They signed Bobby Parnell for $3.7 million last week.

That leaves just Lucas Duda and Jenrry Mejia to sign on the dotted line.

January 15

Today was the deadline for exchanging arbitration figures with any arbitration eligible players who remained unsigned.

The Mets avoided arbitration with two of their five eligible players when the agreed to one-year deals with Dillon Gee ($5.3M) and Ruben Tejada ($1.88M).

Here are the salary figures exchanged with the remaining unsigned players.

  • Lucas Duda filed for $4.7 million, Mets offered $3.75 million.
  • Jenrry Mejia filed for $3.0 million, Mets offered $2.1 million.
  • Daniel Murphy filed for $8.6 million, Mets offered $7.4 million.

Adam Rubin also added that a team source told him definitively that the Mets have no plans for a multi-year deal with Daniel Murphy and he will be a free agent after the 2015 season.


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How Do You Grade The Mets Offseason? Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:00:18 +0000 Sandy-Alderson-New-York-Mets1

Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated was none to thrilled with the Mets’ offseason giving them a big fat “D” for failing to seize an opportunity to make a bold move in the NL East at a time when the Braves and Phillies are going into rebuild mode.

“New York modestly upgraded its offense but burned a draft pick on an aged, oft-injured player to do so. While the team hasn’t squandered its pitching depth, it still has more than it can use — even accounting for the inevitable injuries — as well as a clear need at a key position. …The Marlins have seized the initiative and bulked up significantly, the Mets haven’t done the same — even while claiming that ticket sales are surging significantly. Yup, still business as usual in Queens.”

Jaffe’s main bone of contention is that when the offseason started he looked at the Mets as being only a few essential moves away from returning to contention and giving the Nationals a run for their money while making a true postseason run.

“Instead, what their fans have had to endure is another winter of head-scratching moves while the organization gives every sign that it is still mired in its post-Madoff financial morass.”

He really takes issue with Cuddyer who he says, at his age and injury history is more of a complimentary player.

“He turns 36 on March 27, has averaged just 93 games per year over the last three and cost New York what would have been the 15th pick of this year’s amateur draft. For a club that’s rebuilding (regardless of their stated intentions and self-perception), there was no reason for the Mets to give up that pick unless doing so brought a game-changing piece to the Big Apple, and Cuddyer isn’t that.”

He also took issue with Alderson’s lack of addressing shortstop after calling it a top priority for a second offseason in a row and says it’s further evidence of this team’s lack of will to change its circumstances.

“It’s not as though potential upgrades weren’t available,” he writes. “Instead the Mets have a pair cheap players whom they’ve jerked around the organization for years.”

“Few outside of New York believe that Flores is good enough to play shortstop regularly because of his limited range. That goes double on a team whose path to winning is through pitching and defense rather than a high-powered offense, and in an infield where second baseman Daniel Murphy is no great shakes with the glove, either.”

It wasn’t all bad, Jaffe lauds the Mets rotation and it’s because he believes it could be one of the best in baseball that he wishes the front office could have done more to support the young arms.

“That wealth of young pitching may be unequaled in the game today and it’s clearly the future on which the team’s competitive aspirations rest.”

Does he go overboard or is his criticism warranted?

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Law: Mets Have 4th Best Farm System Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:57:41 +0000 noah syndergaard

Keith Law of ESPN ranked the best and worst farm systems today. Law says the Cubs (No. 1) and Twins (No. 2) are among the most stacked farm systems, but the Mets were not far behind at No. 4.

“They’re deep in arms and bats, especially guys who might play in the middle of the diamond or pitch in the top three spots of a major league rotation. They’ve kept all their prospects while patiently building, but this is probably the year to swap some of their starting pitching prospect depth for a bat.”

The Braves (No. 6) and Nationals (No. 9) also ranked in the top ten.

Law points out that it’s time to use some of the depth to improve the team and bring the major league team back to relevancy. He lashed out at the Michael Cuddyer signing and ridiculed sacrificing this June’s first round pick.

Mets affiliates combined to have the best overall record of all 30 minor league systems in 2014, with Double-A Binghamton winning the Eastern League championship.


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Mets Still Not Close To Dealing Dillon Gee Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:35:25 +0000 dillon gee

A team source told Anthony DiComo of that the Mets are still not close on any deal to trade Dillon Gee or any of their other excess starters.

He says there’s still three weeks until camp and that these things can catch fire quickly.

January 26

Buster Olney of ESPN says the Padres and Marlins appear to be the best fits for free agent James Shields because they’re both ready to be playoff contenders, and he would be a difference-maker both in leadership and performance. The market for starting pitching appears to be at a standstill until Shields lands somewhere.

While the Mets continue to wait out the market for Dillon Gee, the Milwaukee Brewers may not be a trade partner for much longer. Speaking to fans at the Brewers Fanfest Sunday, team owner Mark Attanasio told fans to expect at least one more significant addition. GM Doug Melvin then told the crowd he’s focused on bolstering the bullpen more so than adding a starter. Reports say Jonathan Papelbon is still in play, and a reunion with Francisco Rodriguez, who saved 44 games for the Brewers last year, remains a strong possibility.

I wonder why the Houston Astros are never mentioned as a potential landing spot for Gee. They are still looking to add a starting pitcher reports Brian McTaggart of, and they almost landed free agent  Ryan Vogelsong before he opted to re-sign with the Giants according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.

At this point and with spring training only three weeks away, there’s a good chance Gee reports to camp and works out with the team while the Mets continue to wait for a deal to materialize.

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Featured Post: Do The Mets “Have The Horses” To Win? Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:46:05 +0000 It was the 7th game of the World Series, a heavyweight championship bout, and the Kentucky Derby all rolled into one. There was a definite buzz in the air during the summer of 1960 leading up to the presidential election. In one corner was Republican Richard Nixon. Fresh off 8 years as Vice President, Americans were already familiar with him. In the other corner was a young, vibrant John Kennedy, a man who at forty three would be the second youngest president in history.  Pundits predicted it would be a nail biter.

CL24354As Election Day neared, a photo of Nixon was circulated. Grinning slyly and appearing smarmy, the caption read “Would YOU buy a used car from this man?”

After more than 68,000,000 ballots were cast on November 8, 1960, Kennedy prevailed by a mere 112,827 votes, 49.7% to 49.6%. Did one simple picture posing one simple question make the difference? Americans didn’t trust Nixon to lead the nation. They didn’t want to buy a used car from him.

Fast-forward fifty five years.

The Mets were floundering. From 2001-2004, they played .455 ball and finished a collective 92 games back. Ownership, now flush with a shipload of cash from the USS Madoff and the promise of a new ballpark in 2009, urged their new GM to go on a spending spree and bring in some pizazz. And boy, did he ever. Over the next few years, they handed out millions like candy. Contracts offered to Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner, Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Shawn Green, Luis Castillo and Tom Glavine totaled more than half a billion dollars. The return on the investment? One post-season that ended shockingly in an upset to the Cardinals. That sure didn’t work out too well.

Enter Sandy Alderson whose job it was to right the ship. The new course was for the Mets to win the old-fashioned way. We’d rebuild the farm system. We’d go with youth. We’d win with a roster flush with homegrown players just like we always have. We’d shy away from splashy trades and long-term contracts. Weary fans applauded the new direction. Yes, yes, a homegrown championship, just like before.

Nothing could be further from the truth. No team in history, not even our beloved Mets, has ever won with only homegrown talent.

donn clendenon

1969 was actually shaping up to be a decent year. For the first time in our history, the Amazins actually had an outside shot to finish over .500. At the trading deadline we were 30-26 and nine games behind the powerhouse Chicago Cubs. And that’s when management acted. Four players were sent to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Donn Clendenon. Buddy Harrelson would later state this was the turning point of the season. It indicated to the guys in uniform that the guys in suits were willing to take the next step, that they believed. With this acquisition the Mets now possessed a legitimate power hitter in the middle of the lineup. Clendenon would go deep 12 times in 14 weeks. The Mets would go 70-36 after the trade.

When we think back to ‘69, we like to think we did it with just the kids. Homegrown talent like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones and Gary Gentry definitely did their part. But it was the players acquired that cinched the deal. Clendenon would become the first player in history to hit three home runs in a five-game World Series. His performance would earn him the World Series MVP. Tommie Agee, who arrived the previous year, led the team in home runs and RBIs and single-handedly – or perhaps single glovedly – won Game 3. Yes, the kids were an integral part. But would the Mets have won their first championship without key big additions like Agee and Clendenon?

Four years later, we were back in the Fall Classic. Many kids remained from that first championship club and now had the experience of post-season baseball. But it was players who’d been traded for that made the difference in 1973.

Felix Millan came from Atlanta that spring. In addition to solid defense, he led the team in hits (185) and batting average (290). Rusty Staub, obtained the previous season, was the team’s leader in RBIs, setting a new team record with 105. He also led the Mets in on-base percentage (.361) and doubles (36), while finishing second in base hits, batting average and slugging percentage.

On the pitching side we had the most intimidating trio of starters in the NL. But in 1973, homegrown Seaver, Koosman and Matlack were just a combined 6 games over .500. It was George Stone, acquired in the same trade that brought Millan over, that made the difference. Stone was 12-3, nine games over .500 for a team that was only three games over at 82-79. Without George Stone, the Mets don’t win. Without Stone, Millan and Staub, the Mets get no pennant.

keith hernandez gary carter

1986. Ah, yes. The kids. Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman, Kevin Mitchell, Lenny Dykstra all played in Tidewater. But Mets do not win by kids alone. It was Keith Hernandez, acquired three years prior, who led that championship club in hits, runs, doubles and OBP. Like Clendenon and Staub, it was a former Expo who cemented the deal. Gary Carter, aka KID, went deep 24 times and tied Rusty’s record with 105 RBIs.

Oh, and the young pitching we had. Doc Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez. But it was Bobby Ojeda, 18-5, 2.57 who the Mets traded for the previous winter that led the team in wins and ERA. His +13 was higher than Doc, Darling or El Sid.

The MVP of the 86 Series? Ray Knight, who like Clendenon, had been acquired through a trade.

In 2000, Mets fans adored homegrown stars like Edgardo Alfonzo, Timo Perez and Benny Agbayani. But let’s face it; it was primarily Mike Piazza along with Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile who guided us to the NL pennant. They combined for an astounding 84 HR’s and 276 RBIs. Without those three acquisitions, the Mets accomplish nothing in 2000.

In 2006, the Mets returned to the post-season for what we believed would be the first of many. We were on the cusp of recapturing the city from the Yankees thanks to a pair of exciting youngsters named David Wright and Jose Reyes. The Mets collected 97 victories and finished 12 games ahead of the second place Phillies. But it was a pair of Carlos’ who spearheaded the offensive assault all summer long. Carlos Beltran was an offensive juggernaut and led the team in runs score, home runs, slugging, OBP, and he tied Wright for first in RBIs. Carlos Delgado added not only a stellar glove at first, but slammed 38 homers while knocking in 114 RBIs. Without Beltran and Delgado, two key acquisitions, there’s no post-season in 2006.

In just over two months the 2015 Mets, a team largely comprised of homegrown talent and kids, will take the field against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. The goal is to return to the post-season for the first time in almost a decade and hopefully capture our first pennant since 2000 and maybe, just maybe, win a championship for the first time since Ronald Reagan was president. How confident are you?

Can outfielder Curtis Granderson lead the team the way outfielder Rusty Staub did in 1973? Can one-time Red Sox Bartolo Colon replicate the performance of another one time Red Sox named Ojeda? Can catcher Travis d’Arnaud, imported from Canada, lead team the way another catcher from Canada once did?

fred wilpon

Will this team unseat the defending NL East Champions? Have they done enough to jump from a 79 win team to a 90 win team? Everyone from the players on down to the coaches, manager and front office say yes. But that’s expected, nobody goes into Spring Training and tells reporters they’re going to stink.

The Mets are selling. More importantly Mets owner Fred Wilpon is selling. And he’s hoping you’re buying. Last week he said the Mets now have “the horses to win,” but when pressed for details Wilpon refused to comment and would only defer to his GM.

The Mets have put together an exciting bunch, and as far as pitching goes they have what it would take to make a legitimate run. But pitching alone doesn’t win games, do the Mets have the offense and defense to compliment their rotation and bullpen?

During previous championship runs, Mets brass always acted when they knew they had the young core to challenge for a title. They went out and added all star caliber players who were in their prime to support the team and maximize their chances to win it all.

There’s no denying that the Mets are at this point right now. We all can see it in our up and coming stars like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. We can see it in a farm system loaded with blue-chip prospects that’s ranked among the best in baseball. We have David Wright and Curtis Granderson, and let’s face it, neither one is getting any younger. So if not now then when?

Do the Mets really have the horses as presently constructed to advance to the playoffs as Fred Wilpon says? Or was there more he could have done?

Wilpon says he has never once denied Sandy Alderson any player he wanted to acquire. Are you buying that?  I’m not sure I can. I’m not sure I’d buy a used car from this man, would you?


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Moncada Could Be Free To Sign With MLB Team Soon Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:36:26 +0000 yoan moncada

Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is close to being cleared to sign with an MLB team according to reports from Baseball America and Yahoo Sports. He continues to conduct private workouts for several interested teams.

The Dodgers and Yankees held a private workout for Moncada this past week and several industry sources say both of them are frontrunners to sign Moncada.

Baseball America said the 19-year-old switch-hitter would immediately become one of the game’s top prospects as soon as he signs with a team.

According to what team sources told reporter Anthony DiComo of, the Mets have done their due diligence on Moncada, but do not view him as a realistic option given their budget and financial constraints.

Top talent evaluator Ben Badler of Baseball America recently said that the Cuban infielder is a dynamic player with premium bat speed, an enticing combination of power and speed along with a strong track record of hitting.

He also added that while all 30 MLB teams would undoubtedly love to have Moncada, his high price tag ($30 million bonus plus $30 million tax) limits his signability to big market teams like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.

“That’s why you can comfortably count out teams such as the Indians, Twins, Royals, Pirates, Athletics and Mets when it comes to handicapping the Moncada sweepstakes.”

Moncada, who has abundant speed and power, has been compared favorably to Dodgers star Yasiel Puig.

While discussing international free agency at the Winter Meetings, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters that while the Mets had been mostly bystanders in foreign markets over the years, that was going to soon change.

“We haven’t been in that category,” he said. “I expect we will be in that category, soon.”

Many took that to believe that the Mets would be players for Korean shortstop Jeong-ho Kang and five-tool prospect Moncada.

Alderson also told reporters the Mets were considering a bid on Kang and that they were very interested, but a month later on the eve of the bidding deadline he announced the Mets were out.

A day later the Pittsburgh Pirates won the rights to Kang and ultimately signed the 27-year-old infielder to an $11 million, four-year contract on Friday.

Reports have suggested that Moncada will likely receive a signing bonus in excess of $30 million and in addition to that there will be a 100 percent penalty for any team who signs him.

Besides the Yankees, the San Francisco Giants also worked out Moncada last week. The Phillies. Dodgers, Rangers and Cubs are also very interested and held private workouts previously.

There have been no reports linking Moncada to the Mets.

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Mets Prospects Well Represented In MLB’s Top 20 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:21:58 +0000 noah_syndergaard

Four of the Top 20 National League prospects ranked in the 2015 Major League Baseball Yearbook are Mets. The Amazins are the only NL club with four prospects to make the Top 20 list.  Both the Cubs and the Diamondbacks had three selections each.  Boston and Minnesota matched the Mets with four prospects for each franchise named on the AL list.

Noah Syndergaard tops the group of young Mets coming in at number 10.  Here’s how the MLB Yearbook described the Met pitcher.

“A 6-foot-6, 240 pound power right-hander, Syndergaard’s unusually high release point and good feel for his change-up are enough to make him a solid No. 3 starter, even if he doesn’t find an effective breaking ball. The development of a third pitch will determine whether he becomes a star.”

Pitchers dominated the top ten NL prospects on the list. Syndergaard was rated as the fourth best NL prospect in the Yearbook behind Jon Gray of the Rockies, Archie Bradley of Arizona and Robert Stephenson of the Reds.

Kevin Plawecki was the only catcher included in the Top 20 listing.  Plawecki was rated #15 overall among the elite prospect group.  The crystal ball reading for the young Met catcher read like this.

“Plawecki is blocked by Travis d’Arnaud, and he’s not good enough defensively to force his way behind the plate. His bat is very good though; he shows great pitch recognition and has an advanced approach at the plate.  If he develops more power, he’ll become one of the better offensive backstops in the majors.”

dilson herrera homersFollowing right behind Plawecki at #16 in the rankings is Met second base prospect Dilson Herrera. Herrera and Jose Peraza of the Braves are the only ranked second baseman, although Peraza, ranked #8, also goes under the shortstop label. Take a look at what the MLB Yearbook said about Herrera.

“Considered a second-tier prospect, first in Pittsburgh’s system and now with the Mets, Herrera has kept hitting at every level.  He made it to the bigs as a 20-year old, and he shows advanced contact skills with a bit of pop.  He has a chance to be solid as a productive middle-infield bat.”

Completing the Met prospect foursome and coming in at #18 is Brandon Nimmo. Outfielders figure heavily in the Top 20 NL prospect list with five outfielders finishing in front of Nimmo; Yasmany Tomas of the Diamondbacks, Jorge Soler of the Cubs, Joc Pederson of the Dodgers, Josh Bell of the Pirates and Jesse Winker of the Reds.  Even so, the MLB Yearbook is high on Nimmo as the following description attests.

“Because he works a lot of walks, Nimmo is more of an OBP guy than a batting-average hitter.  He has started to show some pop the past two seasons, and should top out as a 20-homer threat.  Citi Field caps his power upside, but he’s an on-base machine with pop.”

MLB peeks an additional year into the future and projects a Top Ten for the 2016 season. The Mets Dominic Smith is the lone Met and lone first baseman to make the ranking.

“Smith’s power numbers disappeared at Low-A Savannah, but that’s nothing new for left-handed power hitters in one of the nation’s most pitcher friendly parks.  Smith still has 25 homer upside, and he also has the advanced approach that should allow him to hit for a high batting average.”

The MLB Prospects rankings are another indicator of the giant strides the Mets have made in retooling their scouting and minor league development programs.  Again and again, the young Met players in our minor league system are projected for bright futures in the major leagues.

The prospect parade provides the Mets a foundation to build sustained baseball success into the future.  For that to occur the Mets will need to strategically access the free agent and trade market to add complimentary pieces for these future stars.


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Mets Matters: Playoffs or Bust, A National Uprising Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:47:27 +0000 Anthony - Recker

Mets pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie in 23 days. Here’s a selection of recent quotes, notes, and blurbs from around the Mets blogosphere.

Playoffs or Bust

The New York Mets will make the playoffs. Queue up the celebratory Bartolo Colon GIFs! Actually call this more of a “somebody has to do it” type of situation since the National League appears fairly wide open beyond the top 2-3 favorites. Last season the Mets won 79 games — (easy math) two away from .500. The Pirates and Giants won the two Wild Card spots at 88 wins.

In 2015 the Mets get back Matt Harvey to team with Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom in the rotation. Add “professional hitter” Michael Cuddyer to the lineup and the Mets aren’t exactly the train wreck people on social media love to make easy laughs about. Atlanta and Philadelphia are in the midst of tearing down their rosters, giving New York a little hope in the division. For whatever its worth, the Mets were two games better than the Marlins in 2014, another team that should also vie for a place in the Wild Card play-in game. - The Big Lead

National Deficit 

The Mets went 4-15 against the Nationals last season and 75-68 against everyone else. Was it dumb luck? Or was it a legitimate matchup problem that the Mets are going to need to iron out before they face the Nats on Opening Day?

General manager Sandy Alderson seemed to hint at the latter theory when addressing the situation last September, noting that the Nationals “have a quality player at virtually every position,” with an “excellent rotation” and a “great bullpen.” Now the Nats possess Scherzer as well, dampening any advantage that the Mets might have had with pitching matchups. Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom may be a standout top three, but so is Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.

Because baseball is baseball, the Mets will probably do better than 4-15 against the Nationals this year. But most pundits expect Washington to blowtorch the rest of the National League East, and for good reason. Consider the numbers behind the Mets’ struggles against the Nats:

• David Wright has struck out in 30 percent of his plate appearances against Strasburg and Zimmermann. That’s 63 percent higher than his career whiff rate.

• Last season, Lucas Duda hit zero of his career-high 30 homers against Washington. He holds a career .250 on-base percentage at Nationals Park.

• Over the past three seasons, four of Bobby Parnell‘s 10 blown saves have come against the Nationals. (That’s 40 percent of his blown saves in 11 percent of his total games.)

• Over the past three seasons, the Mets are a combined 15-41 (.268) against Washington.

If we know anything about baseball, it’s that past performance cannot reliably predict future success. But if the Mets want to make the playoffs for the first time in nine years, they’ll need to figure out some way to win in Washington. - Anthony DiComo,

Bring In The Lefty

Veteran lefty reliever Dana Eveland reportedly has signed with the Boston Red Sox, leaving the competition for a second left-hander to complement Josh Edgin in the Mets bullpen relatively thin.

The competitors for that role should include Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, re-signed Scott Rice, plus farmhands Darin GorskiDario Alvarez and Jack Leathersich. Alternatively, Sandy Alderson has indicated the Mets may just go with six righties plus Edgin in the bullpen.

In the latter scenario, Edgin would be in line for extreme usage. And that doesn’t bode well for his health, given that predecessors in that rolePedro Feliciano, Tim Byrdak and Rice all required shoulder surgery after being heavily used because of a lack of a capable complement.

Of course, the Mets conceivably could acquire a left-handed reliever in a deal involving Dillon Gee, who figures to be traded this month. – Adam Rubin, ESPN

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Mets Billboard Design Unveiled Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:29:37 +0000 mets billboard final

Mets fan Gary Palumbo unveiled the final design for the billboards that will go up by Citi Field in Queens and Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

The goal was to raise awareness that the Mets are now ready to contend and become relevant again after fans were asked to be patient for six long and frustrating years. The owners promised to support the team once it rebuilt a new young core of exciting players and got their financial problems sorted out. However Mets owners have not kept their end of the bargain. Instead they’ve kept payroll flat and in the bottom 20 percent of baseball while projecting a 19 percent spike in ticket sales.

To help drive the effort was launched in conjunction with the release of the design today. You can check out the site to learn more or you can follow them on Twitter at @MetsBillboard.


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Dilson Herrera Named MLB’s 4th Best Second Base Prospect Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:36:43 +0000 dilson-herrera-in-the-cage

This morning, continued its rankings of the league’s top prospects by position. Today they analyzed the best second base prospects, and ranked Dilson Herrera fourth overall.

“Originally signed by the Pirates out of Colombia in 2010, Herrera was sent to the Mets in the August 2013 deal that netted Pittsburgh Marlon Byrd and John Buck. In his first full season with the Mets, Herrera led the system in hits, finished third in batting average and went from A ball to the big leagues at age 20.”

“Herrera has always shown a knack for hitting, with a balanced swing and an ability to make consistent hard contact to all fields. He has excellent bat speed and doesn’t strike out a ton, with more power than you’d expect given his small frame. Herrera is a solid runner who can steal a base as well. Herrera has played both shortstop and second in the past, but his defensive tools, from his arm to his actions, will work much better on the right side of the infield.”

“Herrera arrived in New York well ahead of schedule a year ago. Now he’ll have to wait to see when he can get another opportunity at Citi Field.”

Herrera batted .323 last season with 13 home runs and 23 steals during 128 games in Triple-A and Double-A. After his promotion to the majors, he batted .220 with 3 home runs in 59 at-bats with the Mets.


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Wilmer Flores Talks SS; Has Been Working Hard All Offseason Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:25 +0000 Wilmer - Flores

Marc Carig (Newsday) put together a nice article with some input from both Wilmer Flores and David Wright on the state of the Mets shortstop situation.  The topic obviously centered around what Flores has done to improve and whether the offseason banter has affected his outlook and determination.

“You hear people talking all the time.  Is this guy going to be a shortstop?  Can he play shortstop?  Can he not?” Flores said.

“I’m not going to say I don’t hear things. But I try not to because I know what I can do, man. Honestly, I know what I can do.”

“Not everyone can play shortstop in the big leagues. I think I did a pretty good job at short. I was impressed with what I did. I just want to do it again.”

It’s the first time Flores has contributed his thoughts on the matter after spending almost every day this offseason either playing winter league baseball in his native Venezuela or training in Port St. Lucie with little downtime at all.

Wright offered a realistic, yet genuine endorsement of his teammate.

“He hasn’t played there,” Wright said. “He was playing third, he was playing some second, then all of a sudden they wanted to throw him at shortstop at the big-league level. Obviously, there’s an adjustment period.”

“I would wager that he’s going to have a better year offensively than I would say the majority of shortstops in baseball. I’m not saying he’s going to be Omar Vizquel at shortstop.”

Here’s my thoughts. If Wilmer were to be graded on effort, focus and desire just from this offseason alone, he’d get straight A’s.

He’ll execute the routine putouts, turn the everyday double play and probably have a few web gems to go with the occasional blunder.  Some days will be bad, some will be good, but most of the time he’ll get the job done with the glove.

What’s odd is that unlike many, I see good reason to believe he’d be passable with his glove, at least as a short term solution.  Ironically, for all the talk of his offense, there seems to be little discussion around his splits.

Over his final 24 games last season, Flores finished strong, producing a .287/.320/.500 slashline.  However, of those games, 13 were played at SS (.255 hitter), 10 were played at second base (.368 hitter) and 1 was split between SS/2B (.200).

The story remains consistent across the entire season too.  His .251/.286/.378 stat line disguises how dismal he was offensively at SS (.239/.273/.324)versus 2B (.297/.328/.563).  Obviously, it’s a small sample size, but curious all the same.

In the end, it depends on the plan the Mets have for Flores both now and in the future.  If the goal is to milk this experiment for dollar value at the expense of his development and the integrity of the infield defense, it could foreshadow more of the same ‘upgrade’ chatter next offseason.

If the goal is to get above average production from him until the trade deadline on the heels of a Daniel Murphy deal, Flores will likely move to 2B, where he has thrived and this will likely be a savvy display of patience on the part of the Mets.

The point is, Wilmer Flores flashed some serious promise last year playing at second, which is where his career was headed since as early as 2011. He’s put a lot of work into this offseason and deserves to see it pay off.

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MLB Commissioner Defends Naming Fred Wilpon Finance Committee Chairman Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:22:12 +0000 saul katz and fred wilpon

I wanted to update this post with some quotes via the New York Times from incoming MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Responding to criticism over naming Fred Wilpon chairman of the MLB Finance committee, Manfred said:

“I understand the whole Madoff thing, but before and since, Fred Wilpon was an extraordinarily successful businessman.”

Manfred said the committee Wilpon will chair deals with two issues, executive compensation and a central office budget. “Obviously, to be a successful businessman, you have to know how to budget.”

“If you really understand which committees do what, I don’t see it as an issue,” Manfred said.

“He understands how the budget process in baseball has worked, and he’s more than qualified to fill that role.”

January 19

If any of you were hanging onto a slim hope that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would somehow be the antithesis to Bud Selig who turned a blind eye as Mets owner Fred Wilpon skirted the rules and nearly bankrupted a big market franchise, think again.

Bill Madden of the Daily News reports there was a lot more happening at last week’s owners meeting in Arizona than just a farewell party for Bud Selig.

New head honcho Rob Manfred announced a complete overhaul of major league baseball’s hierarchy and among the new restructuring he named Mets owner Fred Wilpon the new chairman and head of the MLB Finance Committee.

In what was his first major decision as the 10th commissioner of baseball, Manfred showed that the commissioner’s office will continue to have the same close and binding relationship with Fred and Jeff Wilpon – just as it had for nearly a quarter of a century under Bud Selig.

Wilpon, who allegedly lost about $700 million in the largest Ponzi scheme in American History – the second time he was embroiled in a massive Ponzi scheme – was nearly forced to sell the team three years ago and is still on uncertain financial footing.

Fox guarding the henhouse copy

What makes Manfred’s decision so bizarre is that Fred Wilpon admits to not being the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to financing, and in fact, Wilpon’s entire defense case in the trial brought on by trustee Irving Picard was based on his ignorance of how the convicted Bernie Madoff oversaw his investments as well as his role in team finances. His entire defense was based on ignorance of his own team’s finances.

Wilpon used Madoff to run the team’s finances and turned a blind eye as he negotiated deferred money into players’ contracts and then used that money to invest in high-yield fraudulent investments to make money for themselves before paying players.

The trustee, Irving Picard, also alleged at the time that the Wilpons had enriched themselves over many years of profitable investing – even outpacing the S&P 500 by 6-8% – while ignoring repeated warnings that Madoff was fudging the numbers, was fabricating false quarterly and annual statements that showed huge fictitious gains and balances, and even internal complaints from their own employees that he was committing fraud.

In addition to the millions lost in the Madoff affair, the Wilpons are currently buried waist deep in nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in debt between the team and the SNY Network which broadcasts the team’s games. A huge portion of that debt – a reported $600 million – is actually due in June of this year.

The MLB Players Association has recently opened an investigation looking into financial inconsistencies regarding offseason workouts being held at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie. A team consultant is leasing space and then charging players who participate in a voluntary training regimen fees ranging between $1,000-$4,400 dollars.

It’s mystifying and completely logic-defying that Manfred would tap Wilpon for such an important chairmanship – one that on the surface would require someone who was supremely qualified in the areas of corporate finance and investing.

It just goes to show that the old adage is true — It’s not what you know, but who you know. Sadly, in his first official act as commissioner, Manfred looks to continue years of Selig cronyism under the guise of the best interest of the game.

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Sandy Alderson Pokes Fun At Mets Shortstop Situation Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:21:24 +0000 sandy alderson

Last night, at the Baseball Writers of America Awards dinner in New York, general manager Sandy Alderson introduced Cal Ripken Jr. to the podium.

“It’s a big night for me and for Mets fans, who have been waiting all winter for me to introduce a shortstop.”

It’s been a while since Alderson has made one of his self deprecating jokes.

Mike Puma of the NY Post writes that the Mets are set to head to Port St. Lucie with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada at the position.

He adds that the Mets have been disinterested in taking on Troy Tulowitzki’s contract in a trade from Colorado and unwilling to part ways with Noah Syndergaard for Washington’s Ian Desmond.


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Wright Believes In His Team, Supports GM’s Decision Not To Trade Young Arm Sat, 24 Jan 2015 12:25:16 +0000 david-wright

Speaking to Newsday reporter Marc Carig at his fundraiser to benefit a children’s hospital in his hometown Friday night, Mets third baseman David Wright said he supports Sandy Alderson’s decision not to trade a young arm like Steven Matz, Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard to bring in a player that can fill or upgrade a vital position.

“My focus is short term,” he said. “But I understand the long-term view of this also. We spent some pretty miserable years getting to this point. The last thing you want to do is you spend all this time getting to this point, then all of a sudden you start trading it away to go all-in on one year.”

The team captain is confident in the current team and last week said he expects this group to be playing October baseball.

“Are there some places where we probably tried to upgrade that we couldn’t? I’m sure there is. But I believe in the group that we have. I believe in our guys that we do have continuing to get better.”

“Is Sandy still trying to upgrade the roster? I’m sure,” Wright said. “But I thought going into the season that we weren’t too far off. And we’ve definitely filled a big hole for us signing Michael Cuddyer.”


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Market For Gee Continues To Shrink As Spring Training Nears Sat, 24 Jan 2015 12:03:02 +0000 dillon gee

The Mets have been looking to move starter Dillon Gee since the winter meetings in December, but a trade has yet to materialize. Last week Joel Sherman of the NY Post reported that the Mets will likely need top free agent pitcher James Shields to sign first before they can make a deal.

However, an MLB executive recently told Jayson Stark of ESPN that teams are currently “in bottom feeding mode” since the market for Shields has come to a halt. This could mean that the Mets will start receiving more interest in Gee as well as Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese.

The Milwaukee Brewers have emerged as a potential match for the Mets after trading veteran starter Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers. Brewers GM Doug Melvin told MLB Network Radio yesterday that the team could acquire a starting pitcher to replace Gallardo, however they are not interested in a top level starter such as Shields. He also added that they could sign a top reliever instead and reports now have them going hard after Jonathan Papelbon.

On Friday, the Giants agreed to a one year deal with free-agent starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who decided to pass on the Houston Astros and stay put in San Francisco. That means one less suitor for Gee.

Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters that his team is out on James Shields which could make them a possible trade partner for the Mets. However, Stewart is also on record as saying he has no interest in Gee, Niese or Colon, and prefers young high upside pitchers with 3-5 years of control or more.

While the Mariners continue to scour the market for a veteran starting pitcher to add some depth to their rotation, they’re only interested in someone who will accept an assignment to the minor leagues if he doesn’t win a job in Spring Training. The team are no longer looking to move Brad Miller or Chris Taylor and some believe they were never serious in moving one of their young infield prospects anyway. They too are a dried up opportunity for a Gee deal.

With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than three weeks, it could be that Gee reports to Spring Training as Sandy Alderson continues to search for an ideal opportunity to strike a deal.

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Dominic Smith Named MLB’s 4th Best First Base Prospect Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:08:12 +0000 dominic smith

Jonathan Mayo of released his list of the top ten first base prospects in baseball today, and Dominic Smith came in at #4 on the list, with Josh Bell of the Pirates topping off the rankings at #1.

“Smith was thought to be the best pure high school hitter in the Draft class of 2013, and he was the third prep bat taken that June when the Mets selected him with the 11th pick overall. While he swung the bat well for part of the 2014 season, he tired by the end of his first full year of pro ball as one of the youngest regulars in the South Atlantic League.”

“Smith is still plenty young enough to rebound and produce as expected. The left-handed hitter has the chance to hit for both average and power. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and an advanced approach at the plate. He still drew a fair amount of walks and didn’t strike out much in 2014. Smith didn’t exhibit much in the way of extra-base pop, though some of that can be attributed to hitting in a very pitching-friendly ballpark. He’s limited to first base but has excellent hands and range and should be an above-average defender at the position.”

The 19 year old spent the entirety of last season with the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats and hit at a .271/.344/.338 clip. But the alarming statistic that stands out is that Smith only knocked one ball out of the park in 461 at-bats.

I fully expect Smith to work out his kinks and have an even better 2015 season, after experiencing what pro-ball is like last year in a tough hitter environment.

So far Mayo has ranked the top left-handed and right-handed pitching prospects, catching prospects, and first base prospects today, and the Mets have had a representative in each group.

RHP Noah Syndergaard No. 2, LHP Steven Matz No. 8, C Kevin Plawecki No. 6, 1B Dominic Smith No. 4.

That’s pretty incredible if you ask me.


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