Mets Merized Online » Catcher http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:52:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Sandy Alderson Reiterates Stance on Catcher http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/sandy-alderson-reiterates-stance-on-catcher.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/sandy-alderson-reiterates-stance-on-catcher.html/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:30:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227323 sandy alderson 2

Amidst the signing that kept Yoenis Cespedes in Queens for four more years and the trade that sent Logan Verrett to Baltimore, General Manager, Sandy Alderson reiterated the team’s stance on their catching circumstance.

The Mets GM advised that the team will not be pursuing an “external upgrade at catcher” as per Matt Ehalt of NJ.com.

With Rene Rivera reportedly being a non-tender candidate, that leaves the Metropolitans with just two viable options at backstop. Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki will yet again have every opportunity to prove they belong behind the dish for the New York Mets.

travis d'Arnaud

The Mets incumbent starting catcher, d’Arnaud has been unable to prove that he deserves to be starting due to a lack of production and a constant struggle with the injury bug. Travis is coming off of two injury plagued seasons that have shown a drop off in his offensive prowess while also struggling defensively behind the plate.

In 2016, d’Arnaud’s toughest season yet, he hit to a .247/.307/.323 batting line with just four homers and 15 RBI. Defensively, baserunners had begun to run at-will on d’Arnaud, further complicating his ability to be the team’s starting catcher.

kevin plawecki first hr

Plawecki, a once thought of top catching prospect that would ultimately battle d’Arnaud for the starting spot has yet to capitalize on any opportunity presented to him. He has shown an inabiliy to consistently hit at the Major League level thus far.

Since his debut in 2015, he has played in just 121 games and has a combined .211/.287/.285 batting line with just four homers and 32 RBI in 365 at-bats. A strong spring training could possibly tip the scales in his favor as the team may be willing to do something different entering the 2017 season.

All that said, with the team lacking an identity at the catching position and with some good chips to possibly trade in their glut of outfielders, it seems worth exploring any potential deal that may be out there. The Mets need a steady catcher behind the plate and neither d’Arnaud nor Plawecki have proven that they have the ability to be that stabilizing force just yet.

With the Winter Meetings getting ready to start this coming Sunday, December 4, it will be interesting to see if Alderson had something up his sleeve this whole time or if the team will truly go into spring training without any other backstops.

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Could Stephen Vogt Be the Catcher the Mets Need? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/could-stephen-vogt-be-the-catcher-the-mets-need.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/could-stephen-vogt-be-the-catcher-the-mets-need.html/#comments Sat, 26 Nov 2016 12:30:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227078 usa-today-8572226-0(Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports joined the the A’s Insider podcast to discuss the Oakland Athletics and what players they may look to possibly deal this offseason. One name came up that may be of interest to the New York Mets, in Stephen Vogt.

Yes, General Manager of the Metropolitans, Sandy Alderson has come out and said that the team intends to go into Spring Training with Travis d’Arnaud as his catcher. Although of course, this is baseball and if the right deal comes along, he is going to make it.

Vogt, 32, has become a pretty decent offensive player over the last couple of seasons. In 2016, he hit to a .251/.305/.406 batting line to go with 14 homers and 56 RBI in 137 games played while splitting time mainly between catcher and designated hitter.

Those numbers were a bit below his breakout 2015 campaign that saw him hit to a .261/.341/.443 batting line in which he also had 18 homers and 71 RBI.

Another interesting aspect to Vogt’s game is his ability to log some time at first base as well. He did not do so much in 2016, only getting to play one game at first, but he did do so 25 times in 2015. He even played both corner outfield positions in 2014, further showing his versatility.

Defensively, Vogt is not terrible but is not known as a high-class defender behind the plate. Baserunners do attempt to steal on him, this past season he allowed 51 stolen bases while throwing out 20. He is not though considered to be the liability that d’Arnaud has become.

Vogt is also a two-time All-Star now, appearing in the last two celebratory games for Major League Baseball. It is not exactly known what the A’s may be looking for in return at this time but it is certainly worth a check-in for Alderson at the upcoming GM Meetings in Washington D.C.

If he could indeed be had for the right price, Vogt could be a good addition to this Mets line-up. The trade whirlwinds are about to pick up as we head towards the General Manager meetings which begin December 5.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Jason Castro, C http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-jason-castro-c.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-jason-castro-c.html/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 17:00:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226855 jason-castro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contract:

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

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

Recommendation:

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

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

d’Arnaud: .245/.311/.393 .704 OPS

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

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

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Mets Minors: MMO All-Star Team Led by Rosario http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-minors-mmo-all-star-team-led-by-rosario.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-minors-mmo-all-star-team-led-by-rosario.html/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:00:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223586 amed-rosario-ed-delany

We will be releasing the players we’ve chosen as part of a group voting for the Mets roster of the best 25 minor leaguers this season. These players are chosen strictly on their numbers and not on their prospect rankings. It’s going to be a four part series with the bench, starting rotation, and bullpen still to come. Here is who we’ve chosen for the best player at each position for their 2016 performances:

CatcherTomas Nido (St. Lucie Mets) – The only full season catcher to hit at least .320 and throw out at least 40% of basestealers. Won the FSL batting title, was a mid-season all-star as well as a end-of-the season all-star. Here is a full write-up by Teddy Klein on the catchers breakout season.

First BaseDominic Smith (Binghamton Mets) – Hit .302/.367/.457 with a career high 14 home runs and 91 RBI. He struck out only 74 times compared to 50 walks. Smith was even better after the arrival of Amed Rosario, hitting .342/.413/.544 from June 23rd and on. Smith is our All-Star first baseman for the second year in a row.

Second BaseT.J. Rivera (Las Vegas 51s)- Started only 14 games at 2B this year but we had to find a spot for the Pacific Coast League’s batting title winner. In Vegas, he hit .353/.93/.516 with career highs in doubles (31), homers (11) and RBI (85) while also getting a cup of coffee at the big league level.

ShortstopAmed Rosario (St. Lucie, B-Mets)- A couple of ways we could have went with this selection (Andres Gimenez and Gavin Cecchini had great seasons) but tough to go against the top prospect in the organization that had a breakout season offensively. Between St. Lucie and Binghamton he hit .324/.374/.459 with 24 doubles, 12 triples and five home runs. We recently named Rosario as our Position Player of the Year.

Third BaseDavid Thompson (Columbia, St. Lucie) – The Mets 4th rounder from 2015 was one of the best players in the South Atlantic League before getting promoted to St. Lucie. He struggled to hit consistently there, but continued to be a run producer, finishing with 95 RBI (most in Mets minors) on the season. His 34 doubles were second among Mets minor leaguers and he finished with a .280/.333/.444 slash line overall. Another tough choice here with Phillip Evans having a breakout season on the way to winning the Eastern League batting title.

Nimmo Brandon

Outfield:  Brandon Nimmo (Las Vegas 51s) – He played all three outfield spots this year for the 51s on the way to a great bounce back season in which he hit .352/.423/.541 and got his first taste off major league action. His .423 on-base led the PCL while his 11 home runs and 25 doubles were both career highs.

Outfield: Desmond Lindsay (GCL, Brooklyn) – The 19-year old five tool player had a great season once he has was able to get on the field after an injury delay. He hit .297/.418/.450 with a 20 BB/26 K ratio in 32 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones. On August 2nd, he drove in seven runs and finished a triple short of the cycle in what is his best pro game to date.

Outfield: Travis Taijeron (Las Vegas 51s) – The 51s power hitting right fielder led the PCL with 42 doubles while tying for the Mets minor league lead with 19 homers. He hit .275/.372/.512 and finished fourth in the PCL with 88 runs batted in. Taijeron makes our end-of-year All-Star team for the second straight season.

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1986 Mets vs 2016 Mets: Was Strawberry Right? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/1986-mets-vs-2016-mets-was-strawberry-right.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/1986-mets-vs-2016-mets-was-strawberry-right.html/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:55:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215245 darryl strawberry

An MMO Fan Shot by Carl Aridas

In a recent interview, featured here on Metsmerized Online, Mets’ great Darryl Strawberry stated that the 2016 NY Mets couldn’t compare to the 1986 Mets team that won the World Series.  Given that the 1986 anniversary celebration just passed at Shea, errr Citi Field, I wondered whether Darryl was correct in his assertion that the current team “is not even close to what we [1986 Mets] were”.  This statistically-based analysis attempts to answer that question on a position by position basis.

Catcher:

In 1986, Gary “the Kid” Carter had a triple slash of .255/.337/.439 good for an OPS+ of 115 to go with 24 homers and 105 RBIs which was good for third in the 1986 NL MVP voting.  His total bWAR of 3.5 is certainly greater than anything d’Arnaud or Plawecki will be mustering this season.

Advantage – 1986

First Base:

1986 Gold glove award winner Keith Hernandez batted .310/.413/.446 for an OPS+ of 140.  His 13 HRs and 83 RBIs helped that team as did his 5.5 WAR.  The 2016 team, even with a healthy Lucas Duda could not match that total as Duda’s career high in WAR is 3.6 back in 2014.

Advantage – 1986

Second Base:

Surely the 1986 Mets, with Wally Backman, the greatest minor league manager in the history of Las Vegas will win this position battle against their 2016 counterparts?  In 1986 Wally Backman batted .320/.376/.385 for an OPS+ of 113 (13% better than league average) and a total WAR of 3.1. He had 1 homer and 27 RBIs in all of 1986.  However, this year’s team has Neil Walker who through June 17 had a .274/.345/.493 which is good for an OPS+ of 126.  He already has 14 homers and 28 RBIs, but his superior bat is offset by a glove already worth -.2 WAR.  Based on current statistics, Walker projects to provide a WAR of 3.1 in 2016.

Advantage – Even

Shortstop:

Asdrubal Cabrera, through June 17, has hit to the tune of 264/326/397 and an OPS+ of 97 (3% below league average).  He has a total WAR of .6 already on the season.  The 1986 team had Rafael Santana who “hit” .218/.285/.254 good for an OPS+ of 52.  He had .6 WAR the entire season of 1986.

Advantage – 2016

Third Base: 

Ray Knight manned the hot corner in 1986 and compiled a .298/.351/.424 during the season with 11 home runs and 76 RBI.  His OPS+ was 115 and he compiled a total of 2.3 WAR on the season.  Before his season-ending surgery, David Wright has an OPS of .788 good for an OPS of 114.  While David Wright’s formerly gold glove defense has deteriorated, his 953 fielding percentage is still basically the same as Knight’s 1986 fielding percentage of .948 as Knight had 16 errors that season.  Without the surgery, David Wright would have been the equal of Ray Knight.  However, the current Mets backups are not.

Advantage – 1986

Left Field:

The 1986 actually had two semi-regular left fielders as George Foster hit .227/.289/.429 through 72 games before being released by the team in August.  He was replaced by Kevin Mitchell who had 12 home runs and 43 RBIs to go with his batting line of .277/.344/.466. Through June 17, Michael Conforto had a .233/.301/.455 triple slash line good for an OPS+ of 103 and his .5 WAR to date already exceeds Foster’s 1986 total and by the end of the season should exceed the combined 1986 WAR total of Mitchell and Foster.

Advantage – 2016

Center Field:

Lenny Dykstra was the spark plug of the 1986 team and his .295/.377/.445 for an OPS+ of 129 certainly justifies that moniker.  His 31 steals led the team and his 76 runs scored were second on the team and he had 4.7 WAR.  Yoenis Cespedes is certainly a different kind of player than Lenny Dykstra, and the slugger leads the team with 16 homers and his .562 slugging percentage is among league leader.  His OPS+ so far this season is 145, and his combined OPS last season was 136.  Sorry Dykstra fans, the advantage goes to:

Advantage – 2016

Right Field:

In 1986 Darryl Strawberry led the team with 27 home runs, his 93 RBIs were second behind Gary Carter’s 105, and his batting line of 259/358/507 good for an OPS of 865 which led the team.  He also added 28 stolen bases.  With all due respect to the Mets current leadoff hitter, Curtis Granderson will likely be bested by Darryl Strawberry in batting average, on base percentage and slugging and Strawberry’s 28 steals in 1986 are more stolen bases than Granderson has ever had in a season in his career.

Advantage – 1986

The current Mets were hard pressed to match their 1986 counterparts, as the 1986 team led the National League in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, RBIs and runs scored.  The team’s OPS+ was 106, the only National League team to be above average in that statistic in 1986.

Bench:

Does the current projected production of the Mets bench of Lagares, Flores, Campbell, and De Aza match the actual output in 1986 of Mookie Wilson, Danny Heep, Howard Johnson and Tim Teufel?

In 1986, Mookie Wilson batted .289 and had 25 steals while accumulating 3.0 WAR; Danny Heep batted .282, had an OPS+ of 123 and added .7 WAR off the bench; Howard Johnson had 10 HRs and 39 RBIs for 1.4 WAR good for an OPS of 118 in 1986, the year before he led the National League in home runs with 39 in 1987; and Tim Teufel added 25 extra base hits while accumulating .5 WAR backing up second, first and third.

This year’s bench has Juan Lagares batting .289 through June 17 and .5 WAR but his OPS+ is just above league average at 106.  Meanwhile Flores is hitting .248 while Campbell and De Aza are all still below the Mendoza line, at .159 and .171 respectively.

Advantage – 1986

Starting Pitching:

The 1986 Mets led the National League in wins, gave up the fewest runs in the league (3.57 per game) allowed the fewest baserunners (walks + hits per inning pitched, “WHIP” of 1.222) and gave up the fewest home runs per game at .6.

For those who have forgotten, or are too young to remember, the 1986 starting five consisted of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda (who led the team with 18 wins) Sid Fernandez and Rick Aguilera.  Don’t overlook Aguilera who as the number five starter had the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio on the rotation.  Collectively, the starting five went 76-30 (a .717 winning percentage) with a 3.05 ERA and a WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched) of 1.17.  Man those guys could pitch.

The current starting five of the Mets certainly have the potential to match their 1986 counterparts, assuming Harvey rights himself and Matz and Syndergaard continue to develop.  So far this season (stats through June 17) the Mets starting five have a 27-20 record (a very good but inferior to their 1986 counterparts winning percentage of .622). Their ERA is 3.05 and their collective WHIP is 1.17.

With the same ERA so far, and the exact same WHIP, the 2016 starting rotation has the potential to match, and perhaps even exceed the 1986 team, at this point.

Advantage – 1986

Bullpen:

The top five members of the current Mets bullpen, led by closer Jeurys Familia has a 6-6 record through June 17, with a 3.02 ERA and 23 saves and a WHIP of 1.21.  The 23 saves projects to more than 58 saves, and as noted recently, Familia now owns the club record for consecutive saves.  The 1986 team had two closers, lefty Jessie Orosco who went 8 – 6 with 21 saves and righty Roger McDowell who had 14 wins and 22 saves.  The top 5 performers in the 1986 bullpen went a combined 30 – 21 with a 2.92 ERA, 45 saves and a WHIP of 1.29.  The current bull pen projects to have more saves and a lower WHIP than their 1986 counterparts, but the 1986 bullpen had a better won-loss record.  The ERAs are virtually the same, so my vote says –

Advantage – Even

Results At A Glance:

1986 vs 2016

It’s tough to match up with a team that holds the club’s single season records for wins, and won the World Series.  This year’s team is close though, and will hopefully add a third World Series trophy to the team’s trophy cabinet.

* * * * * * * *

This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Carl Aridas. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Jonathan Lucroy Should Be A Priority http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/jonathan-lucroy-should-be-a-priority.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/jonathan-lucroy-should-be-a-priority.html/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 17:20:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=212728 b99206715z.1_20140216213914_000_g0a4sbon.1-0

With the unfortunate developments on first baseman Lucas Duda not looking rosy for the New York Mets for the next several weeks, the talk has been on whom among the in-house options could fill in during his absence.

The usual suspects have been mentioned, Eric Campbell, Wilmer Flores upon his return from his own DL stint later this week, recent call-up Ty Kelly, and the potential for even Michael Conforto and or David Wright to get reps there as well.

It makes some sense to see how Wright would fare at first base, given his spinal stenosis and how long it takes him to prepare each game he plays. Maybe shifting to the opposite corner would help with his back, not having to make those long throws across the field. With Conforto, I’d rather the 23-year-old continue to focus his attention at the plate, and play in left-field, at least for the remainder of 2016.

With that being said, it looks like the Mets are in some agreement with me, as David Lennon of Newsday tweeted out a quote from assistant GM John Ricco before the Mets got underway in Washington to face the Nationals.

“We are not going to be able to replace Lucas Duda internally”. The Mets could look to trade for Lucas Duda’s replacement at first base, Ricco told reporters.

This could also mean that the Mets wont be able to duplicate what Duda offers the club, but I think the Mets realize that their in-house options aren’t so great. So where does this leave the team going forward?

One possible solution is Milwaukee Brewers’ catcher/first baseman Jonathan Lucroy, who’s in his final year of the 5-year $11 million contract he signed back in 2012. The good news is, he wouldn’t be a rental player, as he has a team option for 2017 at $5.25 million, a bargain for an All-Star caliber player still in his prime.

The Mets and Brewers talked last summer before the trade deadline about a blockbuster trade involving Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler for center-fielder Carlos Gomez, however the framework fell apart when the Mets didn’t like what they saw from Gomez’s medical reports. So needless to say, these two teams might need to let bygones be bygones, and work towards a new deal involving Lucroy.

USP MLB: MILWAUKEE BREWERS AT MIAMI MARLINS S BBN USA FL

Lucroy, 29, has been a solid catcher for the Brew Crew for the past several seasons. From 2011 to 2015, he’s put up a solid line of .286/.345/.443, which amounts to an OPS of .788. He’s amassed 68 home runs during that five-year period, with 311 runs batted in and averaging an OPS+ of 114 in that stretch.

And so far in 2016, Lucroy’s enjoyed a solid bounce back season after a down year in 2015. To date, Lucroy has put up a stat line of .287/.352/.473 for an OPS of .825. He’s hit 6 home runs, with 17 runs batted in, putting up an OPS+ of 120. As of Monday night, Lucroy ranked second among Major League catchers in OPS, slugging, home runs, and extra base hits.

His defensive abilities have also been highly praised throughout his 7-year career, notably for his pitch framing and his improving arm behind the dish. In 2012, he had a caught stealing rate of 21%, well below the league average of 27%. In 2013 he went up one percentage point to 22%, followed by 26%, 28% last season, and now is up to 36% this year.

Of course, Lucroy would be brought here to be the permanent stopgap at first base while Duda is recovering from his stress fracture in his lower back. Lucroy has seen a little time at first base during his Major League career, manning the position in 43 games in his career, posting a .988 fielding percentage.

Before the Brewers asked Lucroy to play first back in 2013 for a few games, he last played the position during a stint in a college summer league back in 2006. But he looks like he’s been able to handle first in the limited time he’s been there, and would be a better option than moving Neil Walker over, whose never played first before professionally, or sticking with Eric Campbell, who has done a good job defensively, but provides little at the plate.

Two questions arise if the Mets were to trade for Lucroy: 1. What would the Brewers want in return for him? 2. What would happen to Travis d’Arnaud?

In trying to answer the first question, teams this past off-season repeatedly asked the Brewers about Lucroy and his availability, but held off due to the “high cost” the Brewers were asking for in return. Teams that were reportedly interested in trading for Lucroy were the Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics, and Houston Astros.

Considering that the Brewers don’t have a viable option to replace Lucroy at catcher in the Majors, they do however have 28-year-old Manny Pina in Triple A Colorado, who currently has a .960 OPS. But he’s more of a journeyman minor leaguer, amassing over 750 minor league games since 2005. Could a swap with the Brewers include a Met catcher and young pitcher? Could the Mets swing a deal that would include d’Arnaud? This would also answer the second question on what would happen to the 27-year-old right-handed catcher upon his return from the disabled list.

While fans have been split on d’Arnaud for years, loving the potential he offers with his bat, yet unable to play a full season due to injuries, it seems we might never see d’Arnaud live up to his full potential due to what seems to be a perennial injury or two. In d’Arnaud, the Brewers are buying high on a young, affordable, under contract player while they rebuild their club. His earliest arbitration year would be in 2017, and the earliest he could be a free agent would not be until 2020, so the Brewers would be gaining several years of control, compared to the year and a half left on Lucroy’s deal. And of course there would be additional pieces added to such a trade, but d’Arnaud would be a major centerpiece.

The Mets could keep playing Kevin Plawecki and Rene Rivera at catcher, while Lucroy plays first. Once Duda is cleared to play and ready to return, the Mets could slide Lucroy back at catcher, and keep Plawecki as his backup.

All of this is obviously just posture at this point, and the Brewers might be asking for a heck of a lot more than what the Mets are willing to give up in a trade. However, Sandy Alderson should make a note of dialing Brewers’ GM David Stearns, and initiating some dialogue that might prove to be an upgrade offensively, and health wise for the immediate future for the Mets.

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Mets Minors: Luis Guillorme Leads Our All Star Bench http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-minors-luis-guillorme-leads-our-all-star-bench.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-minors-luis-guillorme-leads-our-all-star-bench.html/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 20:33:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204704 maxresdefault

This is part three of our series recognizing the Mets minor leaguers that had the best statistical years during the 2015 season. These players were chosen on the numbers and not their prospect value. The eight position players chosen as the starters on this 25-man all-star team were Patrick MazeikaDominic SmithDilson HerreraGavin CecchiniEudor GarciaWuilmer BecerraKevin Kaczmarski, and Travis Taijeron.

Shortstop - Luis Guillorme (Savannah Sand Gnats) The 21-year old was named the South Atlantic League Most Valuable Player for the 2015 season after hitting .318/.391/.354 in 122 games for the Sand Gnats.  His batting average was second among Mets full season hitters and in the SAL. His .391 OBP was third among Mets minors and fourth in the league. The left-handed hitter also had 18 steals, 55 RBI, and 67 runs scored (6th in system) while striking out only 70 times compared to 54 walks. The Mets picked Guillorme in the 10th round of the 2013 draft as a player known for his strong defensive abilities. He was the Mets Sterling Award winner for Savannah.

Utility Infielder - T.J. Rivera (B’Mets & 51′s) He led all the Mets full season hitters with his .325 average (.341 with Binghamton), his .364 OBP was 8th, and his .449 slugging percentage was fourth. The right-handed hitting Rivera also had 27 doubles, seven homeruns, 48 RBI, and 63 runs scored. Rivera was a tough man to strike out during the 2015 season doing so only 47 times in 403 at bats. The Bronx native finished the season reaching base safely in 16 straight games.

Outfielder - Wagner Lagrange (DSL Mets) The 20-year old outfielder was the Mets Sterling Award winner for the Dominican Summer League I after hitting .347/.404/.417 in 59 games. He also hit 10 doubles, two triples, and a homerun in his professional debut. The right-handed hitter struck out only 28 times and walked 20 in 242 at bats. He finished the season on a 10-game hitting streak and reached base safely in his last 17 games.

First Base - Matt Oberste (St. Lucie Mets) The first baseman had a career year hitting .301 (6th among full season), got on at a .359 clip (9th), and slugged .430 (7th). The 24-year old knocked in a career high 64 which was 6th among all Mets minor leaguers and his six triples were tied for 4th in the whole system. The Mets 7th round pick in 2013 added six homeruns, 24 doubles, and scored 52 runs. He was also named a post-season all-star by the Florida State League.

Utility - Jeff McNeil (St. Lucie Mets) The left-handed hitting super utility guy played five different positions during the 2015 season with 58 games at second base, 34 at shortstop, 28 at third, two at first, and one in center field. He finished with a .312 batting average ranking him second in the Florida State League and his .373 OBP led the entire league. Overall for the season he hit .308/.369/.377 that includes a cameo with the Binghamton Mets (4 games) at the end of the year. the midseason and post-season all-star led the Mets farm system with 149 hits.

Catcher - Juan Uriarte (DSL Mets) The right handed hitter made his professional debut in 2015 as a 17-year old who hit .267/.374/.395 in 52 combined games between DSL Mets I and DSL Mets II. His 34 RBI were the fourth most among short season Mets hitters and his .770 OPS was second among catchers in the entire system. He batted .339/.487/.492 in 20 games for the Dominican Summer League Mets II.

Part One: Position Players Led By Cecchini, Smith

Part Two: Starting Pitchers Anchored By Robert Gsellman

For more Mets minor league coverage head over to MetsMinors.net where we covered the Mets signing minor league veteran Niuman Romero.

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Mets Minors: Herrera, Smith, Cecchini Lead Our All Star Lineup http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mets-minors-herrera-smith-cecchini-lead-our-all-star-lineup.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mets-minors-herrera-smith-cecchini-lead-our-all-star-lineup.html/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 20:12:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201012 Dominic_Smith_27nu1kzw_of4zataz

Here is our All Star Lineup featuring the top performers this season by position. These players are chosen strictly on their numbers and not on their prospect rankings. It’s the first of a four part series with the bench, starting rotation, and bullpen still to come.

Here is who we have chosen for the best player at each position in 2015:

CatcherPatrick Mazeika (Kingsport Mets) The Mets 2015 8th round pick tore up the Appalachian League hitting .354/.451/.540 while leading the league with 27 doubles in his first taste of pro ball. The 22-year old lefty hitter also played 11 games at first base this year and hails from Stetson University like Mets ace Jacob deGrom. He was the co-winner of the Mets Sterling Award for the Kingsport Mets and was a postseason all-star in the Appy.

First BaseDominic Smith (St. Lucie) The Florida State League Player of the Year led the league with 33 doubles and 79 RBI while slashing .305/.354/.417 in his breakout season. He was a FSL postseason All-Star and a the Mets Sterling Award winner for the St. Lucie Mets as well. According to a poll done by Baseball America he was also the best defensive first basemen in the league as voted by coaches and managers. He has continued his great year in the Arizona Fall League hitting .385/.519/.564 before his recent oblique injury.

Second Base - Dilson Herrera (Las Vegas) The Mets future cornerstone at second base crushed the ball at Triple-A this year batting .327/.382/.511 with 23 doubles, 11 homeruns and 50 RBI for Las Vegas. He did struggle a little slashing just .211/.311/.367 in only 90 at bats in the Majors this year for the Mets. However, his defense looked much better in his short stint in the big leagues.

ShortstopGavin Cecchini (Binghamton) It was a breakout offensive year for the former 2012 first round pick who hit .317/.377/.442 with 37 extra base hits while striking out only 55 times in 439 Double-A at-bats. He was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year and played in the All-Star game too. Recently played in four games for the Rafters in the AFL going 5 for 13 with four walks before being scratched from the roster with a shoulder injury.

Third Base - Eudor Garcia (Savannah) The Mets drafted the 21-year old left-handed hitting Garcia in the 4th round in 2014. He slashed .296/.340/.442 with 23 doubles, four triples, nine homeruns, and 59 RBI in 398 at bats. He only walked 23 times all year but 13 of them came against lefties in 130 plate appearances.

Outfield - Wuilmer Becerra (Savannah) After the 2015 season everyone should know that Becerra was part of the tremendous haul that Sandy Alderson got from the Blue Jays in return for R.A. Dickey. Becerra had a great offensive season hitting .290/.342/.423 with 27 doubles, three triples, nine homeruns, 16 stolen bases, and knocked in 63 runs. The 21-year old right fielder had a .444 SLG at home in Grayson Stadium which is known fir being a tough place for power hitters.

OutfieldKevin Kaczmarski (Kingsport) The Mets 2015 9th round pick led the Appalachian League with his .355 average, 91 hits, and was second with his 20 stolen bases. The 23-year old left-handed hitting outfielder hit .355/.415/.512 with 18 doubles, five triples, four homeruns, and 34 RBI. He played 50 games in left field, 11 in center field, and two in right field. He was a postseason all-star as well as sharing the Mets Sterling Award for Kingsport with Mazeika.

OutfieldTravis Taijeron (Las Vegas) The 26-year old outfielder hit a career high 25 homeruns, 71 RBI, and 65 walks. He hit .274/.393/.536 in 478 plate appearances while playing ten game in left field and 112 games in right field this year in Triple-A. He was a mid-season all-star in the Pacific Coast League for the third time in his career (NYPL in 2011, SAL in 2012).

For more Mets minor league coverage including Winter Ball stats head over to MetsMinors.net.

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MMO Fan Shot: What Should Mets Do This Offseason? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-fan-shot-what-should-mets-do-this-offseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-fan-shot-what-should-mets-do-this-offseason.html/#comments Sun, 22 Nov 2015 19:46:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=199096 nlcs citi field dugout

An MMO Fan Shot by Dave in Spain

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Mets and how they can improve for 2016. I don´t think they need to make a lot of changes, as the core of the team is pretty good. But here are my thoughts on what they should do.

Team Strengths

Starting PitchingMatt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz make a great first four, and Zack Wheeler will be coming back in June or July. They´ll need a stopgap, but more on that later.

Closer - Jeurys Familia.

Corner OutfieldMichael Conforto in LF and Curtis Granderson in RF

CatcherTravis d’Arnaud is solid as long as he stays healthy. Kevin Plawecki is a good backup.

First BaseLucas Duda is maddeningly streaky, but is patient, gets on base, and can hit with unusual power. Worth keeping, unless you could get Edwin Encarnación or Paul Goldschmidt, but that´s not happening. And Duda is under team control for two more seasons, which dovetails nicely with the arrival of Dominic Smith.

Question Marks

Second Base – The Mets are clearly planning on having Dilson Herrera man the keystone. As with any rookie, you never know, but based on his numbers in the minors and all the comments I´ve read about him, it’s worth giving him a shot. If he succeeds, he could match Daniel Murphy´s numbers, more or less, with better D. If he fails, slide Wilmer Flores over to 2B.

Shortstop – Wilmer Flores will never be Ozzie Smith or Rey Ordonez, but he´s improved in the field and gives you unusual power for a SS. He´s still very young (24), and works hard on improving. You’d like to see a higher OBP, but he can hold the fort until Gavin Cecchini or Amed Rosario challenge him. And if he has to move to 2B, Tejada can back him up.

Third Base – Which David Wright will show up in 2016? Will he play a full season? Will he still be able to hit for average? Has he lost his power? The team clearly needs a backup option just in case.

Center Field  - Ah, Juan Lagares. The million-dollar question… Will his arm be healed by the spring? Was 2014 an offseason outlier? This is a potential area for improvement – see below.

Bullpen – There are some promising arms, but we might need somebody from the outside. Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, Carlos Torres, and Sean Gilmartin (Will he stay as a reliever, or will they stretch him out in Vegas to be a starter?) have all been pretty reliable, and with another year under their belts they could be even better. Parnell, Carlyle, Blevins, and Clippard are gone, and I can´t see Mejia getting another chance.

denatd span

Offseason Plan

1. The Mets need a leadoff hitter. Grandy has done an admirable job there, but his power could be put to better use somewhere in the middle of the lineup. I would target one of either Dexter Fowler or Denard Span to play CF. Both are leadoff hitters. Fowler has more power, and is a switch hitter, while Span (if recovered from his hip surgery) is a lefty bat with a higher BA and OBP. Both can steal around 20-25 bases per year. Having either a LH or SW batter will balance the lineup. Both will be in demand, but will not command an Upton, Cespedes or Heyward sized contract.

2. I would trade Jon Niese for a solid utility/backup 3B, a strong setup reliever, and/or prospects. The acquiring team would get a solid lefty with one more guaranteed year at a reasonable price and two team option years.

3. I would re-sign Bartolo Colon. He could be a starter until Wheeler comes back, then transition to the pen. He’s older than the hills in baseball terms, but he can still pitch, and has been a great influence on all the Mets younger pitchers. If you don´t re-sign him, you still have Verrett, who has pitched pretty well this year as a starter, to be the stopgap starter for the first half.

4. I would get a solid utility player for 3B, either as a free agent or via a trade. While Juan Uribe is getting old, his overall numbers in 2015 were good, and he was great in the clubhouse.

Starting Lineup

I know that there are a lot of possible variations here, and it would change over the course of the year anyway, but this is a starting point.

  1. Dexter Fowler (S) or Denard Span (L) – CF
  2. David Wright (R) – 3B
  3. Curtis Granderson (L) – RF
  4. Travis d’Arnaud (R) – C
  5. Lucas Duda (L) – 1B
  6. Wilmer Flores (R) – SS
  7. Michael Conforto (L) – LF
  8. Dilson Herrera (R) – 2B

Bench

  1. Kevin Plawecki
  2. Ruben Tejada
  3. Juan Lagares
  4. Michael Cuddyer
  5. Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe

Starting Rotation

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Noah Syndergaard
  4. Steven Matz
  5. Bartolo Colon / Zack Wheeler

Bullpen

  1. Jeurys Familia
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Hansel Robles
  4. Erik Goeddel
  5. Logan Verrett or Carlos Torres
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Josh Smoker

Finances

This team would come in at around $105-108 million. Colon would probably get around what Niese would have been paid. Murphy, Parnell, Clippard will all be gone. There are some arbitration raises, but the Fowler/Span signing would probably be in the $12-15 million range for three years. Very do-able, and it leaves open the flexibility to sign one or more of our young pitchers to extensions when the time comes.

It´s time to get to work on 2016, and I don´t see the front office making sweeping changes to the team. But a few key additions, combined with good health (and a backup plan just in case), should put us right back the hunt next year. Let´s Go Mets!

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Dave in Spain. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily.

Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Positional OPS Rankings Reveal A Poorly Conceived Roster http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/positional-ops-rankings-reveal-a-poorly-conceived-roster.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/positional-ops-rankings-reveal-a-poorly-conceived-roster.html/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 17:00:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156418 david wright

With more than a quarter of the season now in the books, here is where the Mets rank in one of the metrics that the front office often cites as one of the measures of production they look at.

MLB On-Base Plus Slugging

Catcher:   .620 OPS – 25th

First Base:  .695 OPS – 24th

Second Base:   .759 OPS – 5th

Shortstop:   .551 OPS – 28th

Third Base:   .696 OPS – 17th

Left Field:   .609 OPS – 28th

Center Field:   .797 OPS – 6th

Right Field:   .697 OPS – 18th

Aside from second base and center field, manned mostly by Daniel Murphy and Juan Lagares, the numbers paint a very troubling picture and points out why the offense is among the worst in baseball.

Areas which were identified as problematic last season, such as first base, shortstop. left field and catcher, have actually all gotten worse rather than better this season.

What this shows is clear evidence of what amounts to a very poorly conceived roster and the reason why this team is failing to score runs on a consistent basis.

Discuss this amongst yourselves.

MMO

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Mets Spring Training Battles: The Infield http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-spring-training-battles-the-infield.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-spring-training-battles-the-infield.html/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 15:48:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=140528 ike davis david wright

Now that the Mets’ arbitration slate has been wiped clean and all seven players have agreed to deals that they will undoubtedly repay tenfold in Wins Above Replacement (one can always hope), the only thing left to do is wait for those pitchers and catchers to report already. Hurry up, guys…

I know the offseason is still not over, but it certainly feels that way doesn’t it?

I think we’re close enough to the end of this hot stove season that we can at least examine what will most likely be some of the more interesting Spring Training battles in camp. I want to go around the diamond and review the catchers and infielders first, tomorrow I will consider the outfield, and then pitchers on Saturday.

Catcher - Travis d’ArnaudAnthony ReckerTaylor Teagarden, Juan Centeno 

For most of this offseason, it appeared that the Mets were going with a tandem that included D’Arnaud as the starting backstop and Recker as his caddy. Juan Centeno was in the family photo too, but the buzz was that he’d likely serve as the first line of defense in Las Vegas should something go wrong in Flushing. But then the Mets decided to sign Teagarden to a minor league deal and bring him into the fold. You can never have enough catchers, especially if you can never have enough pitchers, right? (ducks) It looks to me like Recker now has some stiff competition for backup duties. May the best man win and all that jazz, but I’m pulling for Recker here, although neither one of them is going to bring home a Silver Slugger anytime soon.

First Base – Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin

So what went wrong? Back in September we learned that Duda wasn’t a core player, that the Mets were unhappy with Davis and some in the organization wanted him gone, and that Satin is well, uh, he’s just Satin. The only sure thing here is that Satin will likely get the lion’s share of playing time against lefthanded pitching – and that’s a good thing. As for the other two, it looks like they’ll be putting on their gloves (not those gloves) and duking it out in the ring, that small circle of dirt around the first base bag. Who would’ve believed that these two would both be in camp together come February? Ron Davis (Ike’s dad) certainly didn’t see it coming and he’s kind of ticked off about it. But he assures us that Ike’s attitude is just fine. Here’s the thing in my opinion… Who ever wins this battle of offensive futility doesn’t really matter because either way the Mets lose. We needed a legitimate masher at first base and the Mets had four months to try and find one.

Second Base – Daniel Murphy, Eric Young?

This isn’t really a battle at all, but there have been some cries to bring Eric Young into the picture at second base, with a possible move to first by Murphy. That may have been something to think about had the Mets traded Davis, but as it stands now, Murphy will stay put at second. Young will likely serve in a super utility role covering all three outfield positions and spelling Murphy at second occasionally.

Shortstop – Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla, Wilfredo Tovar

As of right now, Tejada has the hold on the job. The real battle here will be between Quintanilla and Tovar for the backup infielder role. Given his experience and Terry Collins‘ propensity of going with the veterans regardless of performance, Quintanilla is the solid play here. Tovar is the best defender of the three, but that alone won’t get him on the Opening Day roster. In the meantime, between now and Opening Day, many fans hold out hope that it’s Tejada who will be the backup and that someone better than him will start at short.

Third Base – The Captain

David Wright is like the Alpha Male on the plains of the Serengeti, and as long as he’s in his prime he will remain unchallenged. He is the Mets’ Lion King. Hail Satin will likely get some starts at third to keep Wright fresh, but this is the only position where the Mets are undoubtedly set and good to go.

On Deck: The Outfield

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Mariners Close To A Deal With Catcher John Buck http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mariners-close-to-a-deal-with-catcher-john-buck.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mariners-close-to-a-deal-with-catcher-john-buck.html/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:31:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139625 john-buck

The Seattle Mariners are close to a deal with free agent catcher John Buck according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. With highly regarded Mike Zunino as the primary catcher, Buck will likely be his back-up,

Buck, 33, batted a combined .219 with 15 homers and 62 RBI between the Mets and the Pirates last season. He had a .285 OBP and .362 slugging percentage.

There had been some interest in bringing him back to mentor Travis d’Arnaud, but the Mets never had any serious negotiations with him.

Sandy Alderson had wanted a veteran backup when the offseason kicked off, but has since backed off on it.

“First of all, we like Anthony Recker as a backup,” Alderson said. “So if we were to get a more veteran guy, it would be in part out of concern that somebody is going to have to play every day if d’Arnaud gets hurt. Part of it might be a desire to have a little bit of mentorship for both d’Arnaud and Recker.”

“The nice thing is we have a guy like [coach] Bob Geren on our staff, who had been very good at that himself. So the backup veteran backup catcher is not really a high priority for us. I mean, it’s nice to have. We’ve got some other need-to-have holes to fill.”

“Ultimately if we have to go with Recker and d’Arnaud, we’re happy with that,” Alderson said. “It would be nice to have somebody else available to us, but it’s not a high priority.”

I’ll always remember Buck for that punch-pie to the face of Jordany Valdespin, nearly knocking the guy out. And also for that red-hot April that made him look like he had a great season for the Mets. He really didn’t. Buck posted an .844 OPS with 9 home runs and 25 RBIs that month, but pretty much sucked offensively the rest of the season. Farewell, Buck Shot…

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Jim Callis Very High On Travis d’Arnaud http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/jim-callis-very-high-on-travis-darnaud.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/jim-callis-very-high-on-travis-darnaud.html/#comments Sat, 11 Jan 2014 12:06:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139374 Travis d’Arnaud has long been regarded as baseball’s top catching prospect since first appearing on Baseball America’s Top 100 back in 2010. The Phillies’ 2007 first-round pick has already seen himself traded twice in a deal to acquire a reigning Cy Young Award winner and expectations for him have always been high.

d'arnaud

Now the property of the New York Mets, the young backstop struggled during his first cup of coffee in 2013, putting up a slash of .202/.286/.263 in 112 plate appearances with a 58 OPS+ and .254 wOBA. D’Arnaud had one home run and a total of just four extra-base hits in his first 99 at-bats.

While not the worst debut in major league history, it was enough to have some fans climbing outside their windows and onto their ledges. Get back inside.

BABIP shows that d’Arnaud was extremely unlucky on balls he put into play last season, and if you watched all the games, you would have seen a lot of crushed baseballs driven to the gap and right into a defender’s glove. Throw in two years of rust and then trying to live up to all the hype, and you can only conclude that this talented young hitter ran into a perfect storm. Expect the real Travis d’Arnaud to make his mark in 2014.

I was reading an article about d’Arnaud on Thursday and was pleased to find some glowing remarks from Jim Callis, formerly of Baseball America, who still believes that TDA is the best catching prospect in the majors, and better than Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres.

Callis says that d’Arnaud shows a good feel for hitting and that his compact swing and all-fields approach should translate to solid batting averages as a major leaguer. While, he believes that d’Arnaud could stand to draw a few more walks, he points out the progress he’s made with his plate discipline as he has risen through the Minors.

It’s the projection time of the year, and Callis says that d’Arnaud very well could produce a batting line of .275/.340/.500 year in and year out in the Major Leagues.

The only knock on d’Arnaud has been his inability to stay healthy. But many a Met fan may remember another top prospect we had who found it difficult to stay on the field in his formative years. Yes, I’m talking about Jose Reyes.

In the end, Callis concludes that with good health d’Arnaud will likely become become the best catcher the Mets have had since Mike Piazza.

Agree or disagree? Let’s hear your arguments…

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Fan Shot: My Mets 2013 Offseason Blueprint by Position http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mmo-fan-shot-my-mets-2013-offseason-blueprint-by-position.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mmo-fan-shot-my-mets-2013-offseason-blueprint-by-position.html/#comments Thu, 05 Dec 2013 14:36:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134518 terry collins sandy alderson

Fan Shot By David Eckert

Starting Pitcher

It has been relatively well documented that the Mets are expected to be players in the starting pitching market this year. Some think that they might be interested in a guy like Bronson Arroyo. I am completely against making a move for any starting pitcher that is going to command a multiyear deal and over $5 million.

As of right now, the locks in the Mets rotation are Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, and Zack Wheeler. That’s a top three that I will take any day of the week. Even with this solid trio, however, it is pretty clear that the Mets are not going to contend without their ace, Matt Harvey. If that is the case, why go out and sign someone to a long term contract instead of just finding a couple short-term guys to fill the gap until Harvey is back and some of the Mets young pitching sticks in the rotation?

Sometime this season, prospects like Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Jacob deGrom are likely to make their debut. When thinking of 2015, you’ve got to consider each of these three, plus Matt Harvey and Jenrry Mejia. If the Mets do decide to sign a long term starter in free agency, that makes nine (if not more) pitchers that are in position to compete for the rotation in 2015.

Relief Pitcher

Although this has been a position where the Mets have certainly had their issues in recent years, I am optimistic that the bulk of their bullpen this year can be filled with in-house options. A healthy Bobby Parnell closes, and players like Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, and Gonzalez Germen can handle the bulk of the late relief. In my opinion, the Mets should build their bullpen with what they have with maybe a couple of outside additions.

Catcher

The Mets have their starting catcher in Travis d’Arnaud. However, they are in need of a solid backup. This is especially important because of d’Arnaud’s tendency for injuries. This is a need that can be filled relatively easily via trade or the free agent market. 

First Base

Ike Davis not doing wellOh boy. I am probably in the minority here when I say this, but I believe that the Mets really need to hang onto Ike Davis. Despite his recent struggles, he has shown that he’s got all the potential in the world, and I think giving up on him is a big mistake.

Lucas Duda doesn’t have nearly the offensive talent that Ike possesses. If Ike is traded, I think Sandy Alderson really needs to try to get another first baseman in the trade market, because I simply don’t think that Duda is going to give us what we need. It is speculated that a guy like Billy Butler from KC is available, and I think he could be a good fit here.

Second Base

Despite his defensive deficiencies, I believe Daniel Murphy should be the second baseman for the New York Mets next season. Although he doesn’t walk much, which goes against the Mets offensive strategy, he is a very good doubles hitter, runs the bases well, and shows occasional pop. Trading him would just create another hole to be filled.

Shortstop

Shortstop is probably the biggest hole the Mets have. With Jhonny Peralta off the market, they probably need to look for a trade partner to fill this spot. It is hard to speculate where the trade will come from because of the lack of quality options on the market. I would almost rather the Mets leave the spot alone for now and not give out big money to a guy like Stephen Drew, who in my opinion is simply not worth it. Perhaps 23-year old Ruben Tejada will get back in shape and play like he has shown he can in the past.

Third Base

David Wright. Period.

Outfield

lagaresI definitely think that Juan Lagares should be the Mets starting center fielder on opening day, simply because of his defensive prowess. In fact, Juan could bat .230 and I would still love to have him playing on an everyday basis due to his spectacular glove. Also, although many Mets fans, myself included, are not thrilled about it, Chris Young appears to be the man to occupy one of the vacant corner outfield spots, and can hopefully supply some power to this lineup.

The other corner outfield spot is where I expect the Mets to make their biggest splash of the winter and do something big. Whether it be Curtis Granderson, Nelson Cruz, or maybe, though improbably, Shin Soo Choo. They can’t afford to not add anyone there if they want to improve the run production of the team. Eric Young Jr. should ideally end up as a fourth outfielder and a backup to Murphy at second.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, David Eckert. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 22,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Is Kevin Plawecki A Top Five Prospect For The New York Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/is-kevin-plawecki-a-top-five-prospect-for-the-new-york-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/is-kevin-plawecki-a-top-five-prospect-for-the-new-york-mets.html/#comments Sun, 03 Nov 2013 12:07:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132111 Baseball America (B.A.) released their latest issue which not only featured Noah Syndergaard on the cover, but also listed their new top ten prospect rankings for all the teams in the NL East. The Mets had a bunch of names we have all seen on these top prospect lists before–Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud , Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini.

The one choice that took many off guard may have been Kevin Plawecki being listed as the No. 5 prospect in the Mets’ organization. Plawecki has made one of the bigger jumps I have seen a prospect make in a while. Some experts didn’t even have him in the top 20 before the 2013 season; the rest had him somewhere between 15 and 20.

B.A. now ranks Kevin Plawecki higher than Wilmer Flores, who was once considered the best hitter in the Mets’ minor league system.

So where does Plawecki fit? I guess it depends on who you ask.

There is no doubt that Plawecki is a top ten prospect, aside from that, it doesn’t really matter where these guys rank. If you’re in the top 10 it means you should be on your way to Citi Field, if you are top five, it means you should have a starting job someday.

In B.A.’s best tools section, they had Plawecki ranked as their best hitter for average. And while Brandon Nimmo was awarded with best strike-zone discipline, Plawecki definitely exercises the best strike-zone judgment.

Kevin Plawecki struck out a mere 77 times in his professional career while Nimmo struck out 131 times alone in in 2013. While Nimmo had 71 walks (ridiculous), Plawecki had about 30 more hits than Nimmo. Plate discipline is about patience, but it also comes with a higher propensity of striking out, as Nimmo displayed. Plawecki also only struck out 29 times in three seasons at Purdue. That’s serious strike-zone judgment.

Plawecki surprising some people as the No. 5 prospect is more a result of the fact that he received little love for his efforts last year from Baseball America. It was like people would swipe his accomplishments under the rug because he was considered “old” for A-Ball. I don’t think he was named to the B.A. Prospect Hot Sheet at all in 2013, and their excuse during the Q&A session always referred to his age.

The Mets, on the other hand, realize what an outstanding ball player they have on their hand, as Plawecki was named Co-Player of the Year in the Mets organization.

The 2014 season is moving fast upon us. Pitchers & catchers will be reporting before we know it, and most have Plawecki penciled in with Binghamton. Plawecki will probably be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, and this is the season where Plawecki can afford to skip a level. He’s proven enough with his bat and his advanced strike-zone judgement to warrant the jump to Triple-A. Last season, I lobbied for a promotion to Binghamton after he lit up Savannah–A-Ball simply was not a challenge for him. The hitter’s environment in the PCL would be one that Plawecki could easily adjust to.

The Future Catcher of The New York Mets

If Travis d’Arnaud does turn out to be the catcher of the future for the Mets, there is always the opportunity that the Mets transition Plawecki to first base, or try to move him in a trade. Plawecki is just too good of a hitter to be a backup catcher. For the Mets, having two catchers listed in the top five prospects is not exactly something to be worried about–it’s pretty rare.

Plawecki_Darnaud

Plawecki is currently two years younger than d’Arnaud and their numbers play out similarly in the lower levels of minor league ball–it wasn’t until the jump to Double-A where d’Arnaud started to show the power. In fact, Plawecki hit for higher average, had fewer strikeouts, and just as good of power numbers through A-ball as d’Arnaud had.

I wonder if Travis d’Arnaud is starting to hear footsteps…the footsteps of a Boilermaker.

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The 2013 New York Mets All-Prospect Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/the-2013-new-york-mets-all-prospect-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/the-2013-new-york-mets-all-prospect-team.html/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 15:45:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131689 nimmo reynolds sand gnats

The 2013 season was one where we saw some New York Mets prospects rise to the occasion, and in some cases, turn our heads—and in other cases there were prospects that completely fell off the map. Predicting which prospects pan out is not an easy task, and there are times where we fall in love with prospects, then fall out of love with them, only to fall in love with them all over again as was the case with a number of prospects in 2013.

This is all about the prospects we fell in love with in 2013. This is about the prospects that made us smile a little bit about the future of our New York Mets, even when the present may be making us frown a little bit. So here it is, the 2013 New York Mets All-Prospect Team.

Catcher: Kevin Plawecki

2013 – 449 AB, 60 R, 137 H, 38 2B, 8 HR, 80 RBI, 42 BB, 53, .305/.390/.448 (A, A+)

Plawecki earned the nickname Dr. Doubles in 2013, and it seemed that any time you tuned into a Savannah or St. Lucie game, he was smacking a double in the gap. Every night this past summer, you would read on Twitter something to the effect of “Plawecki with another double.” His numbers in 2013 were incredibly impressive, as he has shown how an advanced college bat can make an impact in the minor leagues—at the lower levels anyway. He made an easy transition moving from short season A-Ball to advanced A-Ball, but the true test should be in Binghamton in 2014.

First Base: Jayce Boyd

2013 – 458 AB, 68 R, 151 H, 29 2B, 9 HR, 83 RBI, 61 BB, 61 K, .330/.410/.461 (A, A+)

Allan Dykstra had a breakout year, but Jayce Boyd did more in 2013 to build his stock than just about any other player in the Mets organization. His batting average with Savannah was ridiculous and after making the jump to St. Lucie, he just kept on hitting. Like Plawecki, Boyd is another advanced college bat. He ripped through lower level pitching like a kid ripping through a pinata at a birthday party. Also like Plawecki, his true test will come this season when he should start the season with Binghamton. Due to his size, there have been some knocks on Boyd regarding his homerun numbers, but his swing is extremely pretty for a right-hander, and as he learns to add loft and backspin to his batted balls, the home runs will come. The kid plays solid defense too.

Second Base: Wilmer Flores

2013 – 424 AB, 69 R, 136 H, 36 2B, 15 HR, 86 RBI, 25 BB, 63 K, .321/.357/.531 (AAA)

The first thing that you generally hear when most people are talking about Wilmer Flores is in regards to his inability to play any defensive positions effectively. The other thing you tend to see is shock on people’s faces when they see he is still on 21 years old. We tend to forget how young he is because we have been talking about him for so long. The bottom line is that the guy can hit. Most coaches will tell you that if you give them a guy that can hit, they will find a position for him—the Mets will find a position for him.

Shortstop: Wilfredo Tovar

2013 – 441 AB, 70 R, 116 H, 14 2B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 33 BB, 49 K, .263/.323/.340 (AA)

Shortstop is a position that will always be one where the glove is more important than the bat, and Wilfredo Tovar brings his glove with him to the ballpark everyday. He is the closest thing that the Mets have to an major league ready shortstop, as was evidenced when the team called Tovar up from Binghamton after Ruben Tejada suffered a fractured fibula. Tovar started the season very slow offensively, but the second half of the season he came on strong, posting a .299/.359/.421 line earning him a spot on the All-Prospect Team.

Third Base: Zach Lutz

2013 – 389 AB, 62 R, 117 H, 27 2B, 13 HR, 80 RBI, 54 BB, 102 K, .293/.377/.479 (AAA)

Zach Lutz performed about as well offensively as anyone in the Mets organization last year, posting a .293 average to go along with 13 homers and 80 RBI. Lutz is about as solid a hitter the Mets have in the organization—and unlike some other guys on this All-Prospect team, he has proven himself against upper level pitching. The problem is Lutz is getting older and David Wright isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If the Mets can’t use Lutz, it would be nice to see him get a chance with another team because he has excellent upside with regards to his bat.

Left Field: Dustin Lawley

2013 – 489 AB, 72 R, 128 H, 35 2B, 26 HR, 96 RBI, 36 BB, 113 K, .262/.314/.513 (A+, AAA)

Dustin Lawley led all Mets minor leaguers in home runs and RBI in 2013 (26/96). He spent the majority of the season with St. Lucie, but made a brief appearance with Las Vegas at the end of the year. Here is a kid that was signed out of college in 2011, and has made it to Triple A within two seasons. He has solid power and can be a guy that definitely finds himself in the Mets’ outfield mix sometime in 2014.

Center Field: Brandon Nimmo

2013 – 395 AB, 62 R, 108 H, 16 2B, 2 HR, 40 RBI, 71 BB, 131 K, .273/.397/.369 (A)

Brandon Nimmo had his shares of ups and downs in 2013. There were times where he was the hottest hitter in the organization—he started off the 2013 season like gangbusters. A wrist injury side tracked him, but he still was the top performing centerfielder in the Mets organization in 2013. He didn’t hit for a ton of power (only two home runs), but he did manage to get on base almost 40% of the time (.397 OBP).

Right Field: Cesar Puello

2013 – 331 AB, 63 R, 108 H, 21 2B, 16 HR, 73 RBI, 28 BB, 82 K, .326/.403/.547 (AA)

Cesar Puello had an outstanding 2013 season. Unfortunately, more will remember this past season for his 50 game suspension due to the suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs. We don’t know which drug he took, or if he took any drugs at all, so rather look at this season’s performance as a direct result of cheating, let’s look at it as what it was—the arrival of what many people consider a 20/20, five tool player. Puello should start the 2014 season in Las Vegas, and it will definitely be a very important season for the young slugger. By the way, Mets fans shouldn’t be too hard on the kid, after all, Marlon Byrd was suspended for PED use recently and that didn’t stop anyone from cheering for him last season.

Starting Pitcher: Rafael Montero

2013 – 12 W, 7 L, 2.78 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 155.1 IP, 136 H, 35 BB, 150 K (AA, AAA)

This was a pretty easy choice. There wasn’t a pitcher in the Mets system that you would rather have on the mound in 2013 than Rafael Montero. He used pinpoint control to dominate hitters at both Double and Triple A. He climbed through the Mets’ system in just three short seasons. When Montero walks a batter, it’s so rare that the pitching coach goes out to the mound to make sure he isn’t sick. He is a player we will definitely see at Citi Field in 2014, barring injury or trade.

Relief Pitcher: Jeff Walters

2013 – 38 SV, 2.09 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 56.9 IP, 46 H, 16 BB, 60 K (AA)

Jeff Walters was the man that Binghamton called on to shut the door on opposing teams at the end of close games, and he did not disappoint, closing the door 38 times last year. He has an excellent strikeout to walk ratio, and averaged over one strikeout per inning in 2013. For his efforts, he was selected as a 2013 Post-Season All-Star in the Eastern League, and the relief pitcher of choice for the 2013 All-Prospect Team.

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Mets Organizational Depth Chart: Catcher http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-organizational-depth-chart-catcher.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-organizational-depth-chart-catcher.html/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 23:57:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130471 Welcome to the first installment of our offseason Mets Organizational Depth Charts. Each week, we’ll take a look at the top players at each position in the Mets organization. We hope to provide our readers with some insight into what the Mets currently have at the major-league level, as well as some players they can expect to hear about from the minor-leagues in the coming years.

We’ll start things off with the backstops.

MLB

Travis d’Arnaud

From the time the Mets acquired d’Arnaud from Toronto in the R.A. Dickey trade, he was immediately considered the catcher of the future in Queens. Considered by some to be the best catching prospect in baseball, d’Arnaud opened the year in Las Vegas with the expectation that he’d be called up before the All-Star break. However,  just 12 games into the season, d’Arnaud broke a bone in his foot– adding yet another injury to a growing list. Travis would miss more than three months before his eventual return. In mid-August, he finally got the call to the majors. d’Arnaud would struggle with the big club, hitting just .202/.286/ .263 with a single homer in 112 plate appearances.

Surely, you would have loved to see Travis come right up and mash — but I wouldn’t consider this alarming. It’s rare to see a catcher come up and hit immediately due to the incredible amount of work that goes into being a big-league backstop. Learning new pitchers and studying batter and baserunner tendencies can leave little time to work on your offensive game. d’Arnaud will hit, and his great walk rates in the minors as well as his 10.7% walk rate in the majors tells you he has an idea at the dish. The future is still bright for d’Arnaud, who could be a .270/.350/.400 hitter with 20+ homeruns while providing solid defense behind the plate.

On the Farm

1. Kevin Plawecki

Plawecki started the 2013 season in Savannah where it didn’t take long to realize he was a class above the Sally league. In 65 games for the Sand Gnats, he hit .314/.390/.494 with 6 homers and  24 doubles, earning him a promotion to St. Lucie. Plawecki would pick up right where he left off with Savannah, hitting .294/.391/.392 with two homers and 14 doubles for the High-A Mets. At the plate, Plawecki is a solid hitter with a very good eye (8.1 BB% in ’13) to go along with plus contact skills (10.2 K%). He uses the entire field and shows some pop when pitchers challenge him inside. Behind the plate, he’s an average receiver with a fringy arm. He does, however, have the reputation as a catcher pitchers love to throw to, and someone who works hard to improve. With a dearth of high-end catching in baseball, Plawecki could be a solid-average starting catcher who will get on base and hit 10+ homers with a lot of doubles. However, unless the Mets trade d’Arnaud or decide his bat is too valuable to keep behind the plate, Plawecki won’t be putting up those numbers in a Mets uniform.

ETA: 2015

2. Juan Centeno

Centeno started the season in Double-A Binghamton, but when d’Arnaud fell to injury, he was called up to Las Vegas after just six games. He didn’t disappoint, hitting .305/.346/.371 in 67 games for the 51s. He would get a late season call-up to the Mets, and would hit .300 in a handful of at-bats (3 for 10). If there’s one thing we know about Centeno — it’s that he can hit for average. Since 2010 he’s hit at least .285 in every season– hitting .300 in all but one (2012). He’s got solid contact skills, striking out at a low rate, but posts only pedestrian walk rates — possibly preferring to make contact in-lieu of taking borderline pitches. Centeno possesses almost no power, hitting just two homers in over 1,100 minor league plate appearances. He’ll hold his own behind the plate, showing solid-average skills both receiving and fielding his position. Centeno recently made headlines by throwing out Reds speedster Billy Hamiltonbut in all reality his arm is average at best. In the end, he could end up being a solid back-up catcher who could produce like a starter in small bursts.

ETA: 2014

3. Cam Maron

After posting slash lines of .290/.400/.400 or above in every season since being drafted, Maron stumbled against the stiffer competition in St. Lucie this season. In 84 games, Cam hit just .235/.327/.295, failing to hit a ball out of the ballpark. While that line is certainly alarming, I think it will prove to be more of an outlier than the norm for Maron. As he progresses through the minors, Cam figures to return closer to his usual .300 level using his contact-oriented approach. He’s got a short swing and stays inside the ball, allowing him to use the entire field. Maron’s approach seems to limit his power, instead focusing on making contact. He also shows an advanced eye at the plate, leading to great walk totals. Defensively, Maron is a solid receiver and blocks balls in the dirt well. He’s got a solid-average arm, but poor footwork has hampered his ability to throw runners out at a respectable rate — although he is improving. Maron is considered a hard worker who refuses to give up at-bats and always working on his craft, earning him Josh Thole comps. If everything clicks for Maron, he could be a backup catcher in the majors.

ETA: 2016

4. Tomas Nido

Nido struggled mightily in his second season as a pro, hitting just .185/.218/.261 in just 33 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the New York-Penn league. More surprisingly, Nido hit just one home run despite what some scouts call plus raw power. However all is not lost for Tomas, as he spent the entire year playing as a teenager (19) in a league that often gets filled with college-aged players after June’s MLB Draft. That, coupled with having to deal with the workload and physical rigors of being a catcher can take time to adjust to. Offensively the power is the tool to dream on, but whether that power will ever make it into games remains to be seen. Nido has a swing that involves far too many moving parts, including an exaggerated load where his hands drop nearly to his belt, and a leg-kick that often leaves him too off balance to make solid contact. There are also questions about his defense, where his arm is considered solid to above average, but his mechanics are a mess. Scouts don’t seem to believe he’ll stay behind the plate, lacking the athleticism to become an average backstop. The power is tantalizing, so perhaps some major tweaks to his swing mechanics will allow his bat to play anywhere on the diamond. Otherwise, Nido is nothing more than a dream with a high probability of a flame-out.

ETA: 2018 

5. Albert Cordero

Cordero isn’t going to make these lists because of his prowess with the bat. In 2013 he hit just .227/.294/.270 in 64 games across two levels– including beginning the season in Savannah for the third straight season. Putting up numbers like that as a 23-year old won’t open any eyes. Scouts projected him to have some pop, but his lack of solid contact in games hasn’t allowed it to show. He does, however, draw a favorable amount of walks while putting the ball in play at a high rate. Where Cordero earns his paycheck is defensively. He’s slick behind the plate, earning plus grades both receiving and blocking pitches in the dirt. His arm is only solid-average, but he makes up for it with excellent footwork and accuracy– leading to a 45% caught stealing rate for his career, and a 46% mark in 2013 (29 CS out of 63 attempts). However, I’m not sure that alone is enough to make Cordero even a backup in the majors. The bat has to improve for him to be more than an org player.

ETA:  N/A

Honorable Mention: Ali Sanchez.  

The Mets signed Sanchez as an international free agent this July out of Venezuela. Baseball America had Sanchez ranked 25th out of all international free agents prior to his signing. Scouts like his ability with the bat because he makes solid contacts to all fields despite lacking real power. Defensively, he has excellent footwork and good hands behind the dish. He’s also been described as an intelligent, high energy player.

Other names to watch: Francisco PenaJose GarciaBlake Forsythe.

(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)

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Giants vs Mets: Niese Takes Hill, Satin Batting Second, D’Arnaud Back At Catcher http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/giants-vs-mets-niese-takes-hill-satin-batting-second-darnaud-back-at-catcher.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/giants-vs-mets-niese-takes-hill-satin-batting-second-darnaud-back-at-catcher.html/#comments Thu, 19 Sep 2013 15:39:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129605 jon niese

Giants (70-82) at Mets (68-83)

LHP Madison Bumgarner (12-9, 2.83) vs. LHP Jon Niese (7-7, 3.88)

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Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Josh Satin – 1B
  3. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  4. Andrew Brown – RF
  5. Wilmer Flores – 3B
  6. Juan Lagares – CF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  8. Omar Quintanilla – SS
  9. Jonathon Niese – LHP

Since Niese made his return from a partially torn rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder, Niese has been very sharp. He is 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in seven starts and has struck out 44, while walking just 10.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud says he has been hit by more foul tips and backswings in recent weeks than he can recall, and attributed it to “randomness, part of catching.” But Mets manager Terry Collins thinks there may be more to it. He says d’Arnaud will likely receive a few more nicks than the average catcher because of the proximity of his crouch to home plate.

Terry Collins emphatically stated that Ruben Tejada is the Mets’ best internal option to be the 2014 Opening Day shortstop. But once the shortstop’s broken leg heals, Collins added, Tejada must demonstrate he wants the role. Tejada suffered a broken right fibula in the ninth inning on Wednesday. He is not expected to require surgery.

Eric Young Jr. has 23 steals in the second half, including 10 in his last 21 games, to lead the Majors since the break.

Terry Collins expects David Wright will play in his first major league game in seven weeks in Friday’s series opener in Philadelphia, assuming Wright makes it through Thursday’s workout without issue.

Game Preview

Well I wish I didn’t fall asleep early last night. The Mets scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth to come back and beat the Giants and this afternoon, the Mets look to take the series behind Jon Niese as he faces off against Madison Bumgarner. Jon Niese is making his 22nd start of the season. So far he has pitched 123.0 innings with a 7-7 record and a 3.88 ERA. September has not been a kind month to Jon has he has pitched 18.0 innings allowing 10 earned runs, 11 total. He missed the Giants earlier this season and the Giants have the following numbers against him:

Pence 3-24
Posey 4-8, 2 2B, HR
Blanco 1-6
Pill 0-6
Pagan 1-4, HR

The Mets bats will get a crack at Madison Bumgarner who is 12-9 over 30 starts pitching 194.0 innings with a 2.83 ERA. He has also pitched 18.0 innings over three starts in September, but with an ERA of 2.00 where he has allowed 2 ER twice and shutout his opponents once. He missed the Mets in July and the Mets have the following numbers against him:

Young 3-21
Tejada 1-6
Brown 1-3
Murphy 0-2
Turner 1-3

Lets Go Mets!

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A Look Forward to the 2014 Mets Infield http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/a-look-forward-to-the-2014-mets-infield.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/a-look-forward-to-the-2014-mets-infield.html/#comments Wed, 18 Sep 2013 16:03:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129540 “What Outfield?”

Much has been said regarding the future of the Mets’ outfield, with many suggesting a run at CarGo, Ellsbury, Choo, or Stanton. That certainly should be a focal point for this offseason; however, with the lack of production from the infield, even more questions have emerged. Let’s take a look at the situation at each infield spot.

First Base

ike davisEntering the 2013 season, Ike Davis was high on everybody’s list as a potential 40 homer threat. Well 9 home runs, a demotion, and an oblique injury later, now what do the Mets do? Lucas Duda has played decently since supplanting Davis as the everyday First Baseman, but is he an answer to the problem? Duda vs. Davis may be an interesting debate this offseason, especially because Davis will be earning around $4 – $6 million next season. Davis may be non-tendered of course, but Duda also has an option available for next season. So, there is a scenario where Lucas Duda is the starting 1B for the Las Vegas 51s, while Davis retains his job in New York.

Josh Satin has also earned a spot on the Mets bench and seems to be a good fit due to his versatility. He has below average speed and doesn’t hit for too much power, but he has a .329/.417/.493 slash line against southpaws. There is always the possibility of the Mets signing a free agent to fill the 1B need, but it is hard to envision the Mets going down this route. If the Mets are to spend money, look for them to spend it in the outfield or at SS.

Prognosis: I don’t know why and I hope it works out, but I honestly believe Ike Davis should be the First Baseman in 2014. He certainly has not earned it, but I am still inclined to give him one last shot. He has succeeded at this level and he has a much better glove than Duda at 1B. I of course would give him a short leash and stash Duda at 1B in AAA. A platoon with Satin/Flores would be advisable as well.

Second Base

Daniel Murphy is and will be the second baseman for the New York Mets for the foreseeable future. Murphy seems to have the support of the front office and his manager, so it will be hard to supplant him at 2B. He has played in 149 of the 150 games this season and has played at least average defense. You’d like to see Murphy take a few more pitches, but at the same time he is most effective when he attacks the ball. He’s hitting .283 with 11 home runs, while his 19 stolen bases and 70 RBIs are career highs.

Third Base

.309/.391/.512 with GG caliber defense.

Shortstop

Here’s where things get very interesting. Ruben Tejada is not loved by the organization, but still factors into the future. I like Tejada; however, I’m not sold on him being the everyday shortstop for the Mets. I believe he has the ability to both 2B and SS at this level in some capacity. He’s a contact hitter with no power, but will hit his fair amount of doubles. Has a solid arm and glove, but just has not put it together yet. These factors, in my mind, make him a solid backup.

alexei-ramirezThis is a position the Mets need to go out and do something. Here are some names that fit the bill: J.J. Hardy, Alexei Ramirez, Erick Aybar, and Starlin Castro.

Castro would cost a lot more in terms of prospects than any of them, but is by far the youngest. Hardy is entering the final year of his deal with the Orioles, so he is somebody that could be traded, especially with Manny Machado capable of shifting over to short. Alexei has good speed and is hitting .285 this season, but with a lot less power than his norm. He has two years left on his contract and about $17 million. He is a player that could be moved as the White Sox start rebuilding. Erick Aybar was infamously offered straight up for Jose Reyes by the Angles back in 2011. Aybar would be a solid pick up but comes with 3 years left on his deal at about $8 per year.

Prognosis: I would go after Alexei Ramirez. He’d cost less in terms of prospects than Castro, but would be a good 2 year fill for a position that definitely needs some change at the big league level.

Catcher

Barring another injury, Travis d’Arnaud will be the starting catcher. Anthony Recker has some pop and is well-liked by the pitching staff. These two are the front-runners to be the opening day catchers on the roster. A veteran could be signed as insurance for the oft-injured d’Arnaud.

bleed orange & blue  button

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MMO Exclusive: 2013 Mets Midseason Report Cards http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mmo-exclusive-2013-mets-midseason-report-cards.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mmo-exclusive-2013-mets-midseason-report-cards.html/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 17:25:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125303 report card

With the New York Mets (41-50) about to embark on the second half of the the 2013 season, I hit up two dozen of our MMO writers for their overall grades by position for our Mid-Season Report Cards.

For added measure we also included Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and Mr. Met who was the only one to score an A+. :-)

So without further ado, here’s our 2013 Mid-Season Mets Report Cards.

2013 report cards

Terry Collins  C-

TC has been dealt a limited hand but has done a solid enough job overall. His bullpen management remains terrible. His opinion changes rather quickly. Just because you´ve been names a starting player on Monday doesn´t mean you´ll still be one on Saturday. That said, the players seem to enjoy playing for him and usually play hard – even if it´s not always obvious due to their limitations. – Andre

Sandy Alderson  C-

If you accept that 2013 is and was always going to be a transitional / building year, hopefully the final one in terms of financial austerity and waiting out contracts, then Alderson has done a pretty good job overall over the past calendar year. Yes, the team remains a mediocre 75-win caliber team all things considered that´ll probably finish 4th yet again this season. However, if you deduct the Santana & Bay contracts from this year´s payroll, the Mets are 3rd to last in the majors overall with only the Astros & Marlins spending less on their product on the field. So, not contending should not come as a surprise when prospects get moved at a rather slow pace and no money is spent while the group of remaining players lacks high-end talent beyond David Wright, Matt Harvey and to a lesser degree Bobby Parnell. – Andre

If the goal that Sandy himself established in 2010 was to see a renaissance in 2014 that will usher in years and years of sustainable success then you have to give him a near failing grade. Nobody I speak to among scouts, baseball insiders and baseball journalists see 2014 as anything other than what we’ve seen in the last three seasons. Wheeler was never going to be a difference maker, and winning franchises need more than two core players to achieve sustainable success. In three seasons we have more holes than we did in 2010 and no immediate help on the way. He has yet to develop any of his own minor leaguers as the cream of the crop came from trading players that he inherited. Sure it takes time to develop a farm and more than three seasons, but I’m using his timetable not one that I conjured up. The heat is on Sandy. – Joe D.

First Base  D-

The Governor needs to step in and declare first base a disaster area. Ike Davis was once looked upon as a core player and the first baseman of the future. Not anymore. Sadly, there are few in-house options that can give the Mets the 30-homer bat they desperately need from this position. Josh Satin should be getting the majority of playing time, but he doesn’t have that kind of power, but can get on base and drive in runs with his line-drive stroke. – Joe D.

Second Base  B-

Daniel Murphy has improved his defense and while he´s been hot & cold on offense still is at least an average bat offensively at second base. He´s a solid average piece. With Wilmer Flores mashing at AAA, the Mets will face a big question here soon. Keep the solid average piece as he enters his later arbitration years ? Go with the higher upside bat with the defensive question marks? – Andre

The Wilmer Flores situation will come to a head very soon. – Joe D.

Shortstop  C-

Ruben Tejada has been the other big disappointment. He has gradually regressed from his nice 2011 / early 2012 form and was a well below average player over the past calendar year. He´s still young and thus some hope remains. Quintanilla is a limited talent but has made the best out of his opportunity playing steady defense and providing a decent enough bat that this spot isn´t a liability right now. – Andre

Shortstop? What shortstop?

Third Base  A

David Wright has hit at or slightly above his already lofty career norms in spite of no protection around him in the lineup and played Gold Glove caliber defense. It´s time to surround him with better talent. – Andre

The worst part of signing Wright to the ginormous contract, was not going the extra hard and surrounding him with the guns to battle the NL East. So he’ll unfairly get the the blame for results in the standings and this was exactly what I hoped wouldn’t happen – Joe D.

Catcher  C+

Mostly manned by John Buck and Anthony Recker, things looked promising through the first three weeks of the season, but quickly went into a deep decline after that. Mets catchers are now batting .213 with a .277 OBP and 103 strikeouts in 347 at-bats. Very Thole-esque wouldn’t you say? – Joe D.

Left Field  C-

It started out with Lucas Duda and now has Eric Young Jr. and in about two more weeks it will be a combination of the two. What’s a manager to do. The bottom line though is that left field has produced the second highest OPS for the Mets so far at pedestrian .783. Keep on drawing those walks Lucas. Despite missing nearly a month, Duda is still second on the team with 38 walks which accounts for a huge chunk of the OPS. I need to see more of EY until I’m convinced he’s not the player his first 950 MLB plate appearances say he was. – Joe D.

Lucas Duda has proven he is not the long term answer in LF. Certainly not defensively. Possibly not offensively either. Eric Young Jr. has played some here recently and looks like the spark plug the team had been missing. – Andre

Center Field  C-

Cowgill flopped. Valdespin didn´t do much either. Nieuwenhuis has been up & down. Lagares has shown great defense but also some rawness offensively. – Andre

I can’t believe Sandy Alderson has me missing Andres Torres. – Joe D.

Right Field  B+

Marlon Byrd has had quite the unexpected comeback season. He single-handedly made right field a strength for the team so far this season, which of course means it may be time to move him. Right? Isn’t how this works? – Joe D.

Starting Rotation  B+

Matt Harvey has been great. Jeremy Hefner has far exceeded expectations and has done well. Dillon Gee has been up & down – but pretty much as expected overall. Jon Niese is the third biggest disappointment of the year. Though injuries and bad luck & bad weather have played a key role. It´ll be a big key getting him back to 100% going forward. Marcum was rarely healthy and performed between mediocre and terrible. Zack Wheeler remains a work in progress though the upside is huge. Getting him to be more consistent is another key going forward. – Andre

Bullpen  C

Bobby Parnell has emerged as a lights out closer which is very nice. Most other relievers have been unspectacular though better off late. The injury to Jeurys Familia was a big blow structurally as he could have been that 2nd power arm a good team needs in the pen. Josh Edgin has been too inconsistent. – Andre

I knew this group was in trouble again when after three weeks they already shuffled ten different players off or into the pen. Wow… Bullpen Revamp 3.0 was looking like another failure. By the time May ended it was in familiar territory ranking last in the majors in ERA, BAA and WHIP. Collins burned out his two best middle relief arms resulting in Lyon getting cut and Rice going from great to scary. Edgin had a short hiatus in the minors after a demotion, but has looked better. But largely, the bullpen has been a one-man show. – Joe D.

Bench  C+

Considering all the fluctuations in the lineup, the bench pieces have done a solid enough job. Unfortunately, too many bench pieces have been pressed into starting roles they´re probably not suited to fill. Mike Baxter being one example. – Andre

Andre pretty much nailed it. With most of the solid bench options now pressed into starting duty, I’m fearful as to what we’ll get in the second half. – Joe D.

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From Left Field: Source With Knowledge Praises Travis d’Arnaud http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/from-left-field-source-with-knowledge-praises-travis-darnaud.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/from-left-field-source-with-knowledge-praises-travis-darnaud.html/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:24:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108074 Travis d'Arnaud Lakewood BlueClaws

I’m sure many of us are excited to see the Mets’ catcher of the future, Travis d’Arnaud, take the field this spring.

Sure, he likely won’t head north with the big club right away, but all reports indicate that he is the real deal.

I don’t know about you, but I am definitely seeking the reassurance that d’Arnaud has what it takes to be a Major League catcher. Luckily, I received that reassurance a few days ago.

I had a conversation with Anthony Iapoce, an Astoria native and the new special assistant to the general manager of the Chicago Cubs.

He spent the last few seasons as the roving minor league hitting coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays, and that’s where he was able to provide expert analysis on d’Arnaud.

“Travis is a gamer and a great teammate,” Iapoce said. “He can handle the bat and knows how to play the game.”

These are certainly encouraging words from someone that has seen him play. Many of the reports we’ve all read on d’Arnaud were from the Mets’ beat reporters, who likely will be seeing him play live for the first time this spring.

Iapoce went on to say that the young catcher is a leader and a rare talent as an offensive-minded catcher. He said the Mets are very lucky, and fans will be excited to see this kid develop.

One concern that Iapoce mentioned, however, is that d’Arnaud has spent time on the disabled list in each of the past few seasons, with his major injury – a torn posterior cruciate ligament last summer – shutting him down for several months.

If d’Arnaud can stay healthy, he’s going to be fun to watch and will hopefully contribute to some competitive Mets’ teams in the near future.

Certainly, Iapoce’s words have me really excited to see the 23-year-old stud in action.

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