Mets Merized Online » Cesar Puello http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:00:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Mets Minors: Reynolds and Puello Play, TDA Closer To Returning http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/mets-minors-reynolds-and-puello-play-tda-closer-to-returning.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/mets-minors-reynolds-and-puello-play-tda-closer-to-returning.html/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:00:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188404 matt reynolds

 

Reno 3, Las Vegas (58-45) 0

The 51′s bats were extremely quiet collecting only five hits and going 0-9 with runners in scoring position stranding nine runners. Darrell Ceciliani went 2-4 while playing center field and batting second. Travis Taijeron went 1-2 with two walks and his 15th double of the season. Dilson Herrera and Johnny Monell each went 0-4 on the night.

Weird start for for Darin Gorski who went 6 innings giving up three runs on six walks and fives hits with four strikeouts. Cody Satterwhite pitched two perfect innings in relief with two strikeouts. Box Score

New Britain 4, Binghamton (55-46) 1

Travis d’Arnaud played 7 innings behind the plate going 1-3 and picked off another runner on the bases. Gavin Cecchini was 2-4, he now slashing an awesome .358/.433/.491 in the month of July. Brandon Nimmo went 0-3 with a walk while L.J. Mazzilli was 1-4 and knocked in the only B’Mets run.

Gabriel Ynoa had his 9th quality start in his last 10 games going 6 innings giving up three runs on eight hits and a walk while he struck out six batters. He fell to 7-7 on the season but has an impressive 1.14 WHIP and holding hitters to a .249 average. Beck Wheeler pitched a perfect 7th inning with one strikeout.

Josh Smoker pitched the final two innings and was impressive once again striking out four while hitting 96/97 MPH with his fastball. He did allow an earned run in the the 9th inning, he has given up just one earned in 9.1 innings in AA. Box score

St. Lucie (50-50) 2, Daytona 1 Walk-Off Win

Florida State League leading hitter Jeff McNeil ended the game with a single that scored Champ Stuart who reached on a single. Stuart and Colton Plaia each had three hits on the night while Dominic Smith was 1-4.

Robert Coles picked up the win pitching two scoreless innings in relief, he is now 3-2 with a 2.40 ERA for the season. Kevin McGowan made a nice start going 7 innings giving up one run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Box Score

Savannah (53-47) 9, Greensboro 0

Michael Katz hit a three-run homerun in the 9th inning to give him a long ball in three straight games. Jonathan Johnson was 1-5 with his third homerun of the season. Eudor Garcia was 2-5 with his 17th double of the season, he extended his hitting streak to nine games. Garcia is hitting .386 over his last ten which has boosted his slash line to .286/.319/.452 for the year.

Wuilmer Becerra was 2-5 with two runs scored, now hitting .293/.344/.450 as a 20-year old in a tough ballpark to be successful offensively. Patrick Biondi was 2-4 with his first homerun of the season.

Martires Arias pitched 6 scoreless innings allowing three hits and a walk with six strikeouts, he should move to the St. Lucie rotation permanently with Meiser and Whalen gone. Alberto Baldonado pitched the final three innings without giving up a run with four strikeouts to pick up his 3rd save and lower ERA to 1.77. Box Score

Greeneville 4, Kingsport (16-16) 1 F/7 Game One

Dash Winningham was the only Met with multiple hits going 2-4, Luis Ortega, Gregory Valencia, and Ivan Wilson all had one hit each. Wilson didn’t strikeout for the third consecutive game after striking out 30 times in his first 18 games of the season.

Harol Gonzalez took his 2nd loss pitching 6 innings allowing four runs (three earned) without a walk and eight strikeouts. Box Score

Kingsport (17-16) 2, Greeneville 1

Dale Burdick drove in both Met runs including the game-winner in the last inning on a single that scored Luis Ortega. Winningham was 1-3 while Patrick Mazeika was 1-3 with his league leading 13th double of the season. Wilson went 1-2 with a sac bunt that setup the game winner, extended his strikeout free streak to four games.

Merandy Gonzalez had a solid start going 5.2 innings giving up one run on five hits and three walks while striking out six. Witt Haggard, 10th round, picked up his 2nd pro win striking out all four batters he faced. Box Score

GCL Mets (16-14) 8, GCL Nationals 1

Desmond Lindsay playing in his 2nd pro game went 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored while playing the whole game in center field. Matt Reynolds made his first rehab appearance going 1-2 with a walk and run scored while playing shortstop for 5 innings. Cesar Puello got into his first game action since Spring going 0-3 while playing the last five innings in right field.

Ali Sanchez was 1-4 with two runs scored and his 12th RBI of the season, now hitting .349/.398/.384 for the year. Sanchez also threw out his 16th runner trying to steal compared to 10 that have been successful. Milton Ramos was 1-2 with a walk and HBP while playing the whole game at 2B.

Gabriel Llanes pitched four innings giving up only an unearned run on fours hits, he walked no one and struck out one while lowering his ERA to 2.03 for the year. Jake Simon, 11th round, pitched two scoreless innings to pick up his 2nd pro win. He now has 7 scoreless innings to start his career. Box Score

Players Of The Week

The Mets farm system had three guys given player of the week awards with starter Matthew Bowman for Las Vegas, starter Seth Lugo for Binghamton, and outfielder John Mora for the Savannah Sand Gnats.

 

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Can Puello Squeeze Out Campbell For Bench Spot http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/can-puello-squeeze-out-campbell-for-bench-spot.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/can-puello-squeeze-out-campbell-for-bench-spot.html/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2015 14:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176733 USATSI_8442268_154511658_lowres

Eric Campbell is a virtual lock to make team.

Dave in Spain asks…

”Also, what are the chances of Puello making it over Campbell? Or does he get optioned/sent down on the last day of ST, after most teams have set their rosters?”

Daniel McCarthy replies…

My understanding, as of this moment, is that outfield prospect Cesar Puello is out of options.  Therefore, if he does not break camp with the major league team, he will have to pass through waivers before being sent down to the minors- which ultimately I think will happen.

Puello is hitting .294 this spring with a .455 OBP, but it’s too small a sample size and lacking in power (.294 slugging from nothing but singles) to justify his presence over Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker.  Both of those guys are in another stratosphere defensively than Puello and they’ve shown vast improvements at the plate that started last season, well before this spring.

Also, beyond the outfield logistics, Eric Campbell is a very valuable player and should be a lock for one of the bench spots.  His ability to make contact and play both corner infield positions will become increasingly valuable as the season wears on and fatigue sets in on the starters, particularly David Wright as the everyday third baseman and Michael Cuddyer as the platoon bat at first against southpaws.

Last year, Campbell had 145 at bats while playing third base, first base, DH or pinch hitting- all roles that speak to his background.  During those at-bats, he owned a .290/.344/.393 slashline and most importantly, he generated runs (13 runs scored and 11 runs batted in) and kept the bases moving when he didn’t find a pitch to hit (12 walks).

Sometimes in baseball, a guy can land on the wrong team at the wrong time, or just not have what it takes to earn a cup of coffee.  I’ll give Puello the benefit of the doubt and say that he’ll have to get his morning brew somewhere other than Queens.

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The Cesar Puello Dilemma http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/the-cesar-puello-dilemma.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/the-cesar-puello-dilemma.html/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2015 22:00:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176254 cesar puello

Left-handed pitching out of the bullpen, the Wilmer Flores bid to man the shortstop position, the return of Matt Harvey and when will there be room to accommodate Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz; these are the story lines out of Port St. Lucie this spring. I’d like to add the Cesar Puello dilemma to that mix.

In a Met minor league system dominated by pitching talent, Cesar Puello is a rare toolsy position guy, a soon to be 24-year old outfielder who has realized notable highs and lows on his ascent through the Mets system. The fact that Puello is out of options means that if he fails to make the Met roster out of camp, Puello would need to clear waivers to remain a Met. That makes the question ‘What do we do with Cesar Puello?’ a compelling one.

Admittedly, when it comes to Cesar Puello my viewpoint is distorted. In 2013, Puello was a terror on the baseball diamond in Binghamton, one of the reasons that baseball became so much fun in upstate New York’s Triple Cities. Puello was dynamic; an engaging baseball personality, a big kid with a cannon like outfield arm who hit with power and could run. Watching Puello in Binghamton was an event. From the moment he strode out of the dugout you could count on the big guy adding excitement to a night of baseball.

Vegas and Triple-A proved to be an obstacle for Puello. Many Met fans attributed Puello’s woes to his involvement and suspension in the Biogenesis scandal reasoning his breakout Binghamton performance had to be attributed to his use of performance enhancing drugs. I never bought that rationale.

To my way of thinking, Puello’s issues for the 51’s had more to do with how he was used than what he at one time used. On Wally Backman’s roster, Puello was part of a platoon split sharing time with other 51 outfielders. That was not the case in Binghamton, where Pedro Lopez penciled his star outfielder’s name on his lineup card nearly every day.

Met fans forget that after a very tepid start it was early June before Puello heated up in the Eastern League, but when he did, he more than rewarded Lopez for his confidence and patience.

That was not the case in Las Vegas. Here’s Paul DePodesta, the Mets Vice President of Player Development chatting with Chris McShane of SB Nation about Puello.

“One of the things last year for Cesar, not only had he missed time, but he goes to Triple-A and starts facing some real experienced pitchers – especially experienced right-handed pitchers. And, that caused him an adjustment period.”

“He still hit left-handers extremely well, and in the second half, he started hitting right handers better and better. So to Cesar’s credit, he was making a lot of adjustment through the course of the season and was productive again in the second half – as an offensive player.”

DePodesta went on to say that Puello’s defensive play in the outfield has always been a resume booster, something regular Binghamton baseball fans would attest to wholeheartedly.

DePodesta makes three points that make me believe the Mets will be making a real mistake if they don’t at least give this kid a brief major league preview before losing him on waivers.

First, DePodesta makes the point that Puello unlike his time spent as a regular in Binghamton, was part of a split platoon in Vegas. Even so, DePodesta acknowledges that after a shaky Triple-A start, Puello made adjustments and had his offensive game back on track during the second half of the year last year.

DePodesta’s point is consistent with my observations of Puello’s performance in Double-A. Early in his season in Binghamton, Puello lacked plate discipline and struggled hitting off-speed pitches from right-handed pitchers. Watching him play on a regular basis it was obvious he was working diligently to correct those issues and the young outfielder made substantial progress over time.

Finally, DePodesta speaks of the fact, that even when he struggled last summer, Puello hit left-handed pitchers extremely well. That’s a fact that should not be overlooked. Every major league team could use a right-handed power bat off the bench, a guy noted for solid outfield play including a cannon like throwing arm and a guy who can steal bases. Take a look at Puello’s recent stat line against left-handed pitching.

Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLUG
AAA 109 24 34 8 2 4 17 10 27 .312 .409 .532
AA 76 19 32 6 1 8 25 7 18 .421 .483 .842
A (adv) 69 10 21 6 2 1 7 1 19 .304 .360 .493

The personnel decisions a major league franchise make are delicate matters. Decisions need to balance present needs with the long term health of the operation. I appreciate what a guy like Eric Campbell brings to the table for the Mets. His ability to play multiple spots on the baseball diamond, including the possibility of an emergency catching assignment provided pay value. Yet, in my opinion, Eric Campbell’s major league future is only in a utility role.

That may not be the case with Cesar Puello. In Puello the Mets have a diamond in the rough, a rare baseball commodity packaged as a combination of speed and power, the type of toolsy outfielder who just might someday become a major league baseball star.

Knowing Michael Cuddyer can play first base against left-handed pitching and with the Mets now working Ruben Tejada on the second base side of the infield, I’d prefer the Mets keep an eye on the future as we compete in the present. That means cutting Eric Campbell loose to give Cesar Puello a real major league audition before we lose him to another major league team. It a tough choice but a smart baseball move with little risk and big upside possibilities.

Thoughts From Joe D.

I was a little taken aback by some of the negative and vicious comments made against Puello a week ago by a few Mets fans. It’s sad to see how some have condemned, vilified, and basically kicked him to the curb at 23 because of the suspension.

I don’t see this same treatment for other Mets players who have been suspended, most recently Daniel Muno who is still very well received.

Let me remind you of a few things regarding Puello as it pertains to the Biogenesis suspension.

For one, he was tested every month during the 2013 season and never failed a drug test. In fact, he never failed a drug test in his life. Second, we have no idea what if any performance enhancing drug Puello took because that information was sealed. All we know was that it was an undisclosed banned substance. And finally, whatever the banned substance was, it was purchased in the Spring of 2012 and while Puello wanted to appeal, he didn’t for the good of the team.

“Out of respect for the Mets’ organization, my teammates, and my family, I have decided to accept this suspension and not exercise my rights under the Basic Agreement to appeal.”

I think in life we’ve all made mistakes when we were 19 and 20, I know I did. And that’s not to say Puello did anything wrong. The fact is nobody knows. All the minor leaguers had extreme pressure on them not to appeal. Or else.

So those of you who have been one of the select few who’ve been castigating the guy despite not having any facts, how would you like it if you were treated that way or perhaps your kid? The point is that Cesar Puello is one of our own. Part of our Mets family. Maybe he did something wrong, maybe he didn’t. But at 21 at the time, he at least deserves a second chance, even if you’re still unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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Winter Ball Update: Puello Breaks Out, Flores Unstoppable http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/winter-ball-update-puello-breaks-out-flores-unstoppable.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/winter-ball-update-puello-breaks-out-flores-unstoppable.html/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 01:23:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172150 cesar puello john munson

All statistics are for the week ending Friday.

Cesar Puello finally got some playing this week and he did not disappoint, in fact he broke out. He went 11-25 with 4 home runs, 8 RBI and also had 3 stolen bases. Puello has all the tools to be successful, he just needs consistent playing time.

Wilmer Flores isn’t letting all the Tulo talk affect him and continued his strong winter going 8-26 with a HR and 4 RBI. His overall winter line is now at .309/.356/.456.

*** This just in: Flores is already off to a big follow-up week, hitting two homers on Saturday and another one tonight. In the two games he had five hits, five runs, and six RBI. Hat tip to John Dreker.

 

Xorge Carrillo just will not stopping crushing the baseball, the supposedly defensive minded backstop went 7-16 with 3 doubles and 3 RBI. Boosting his winter league line to .283/.350/.522.

T.J. Rivera had another quiet week going 2-14 with only one RBI, however he is still hitting over .300 this winter.

Johnny Monell had a solid week going 4-11 with a double and 2 runs scored.

Jon Velasquez made two appearances, throwing 1.1 innings of scoreless ball and picking up a save.

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Baseball Prospectus Unveils Mets Top 10 Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/baseball-prospectus-unveils-mets-top-10-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/baseball-prospectus-unveils-mets-top-10-prospects.html/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 15:46:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169729 noah syndergaard

While former chief analyst Jason Parks now scouts future Cubs prospects for Theo Epstein & Co., Baseball Prospectus with their new minor league staff recently kicked off their off-season prospect coverage and is deep into the NL East. Today it was time for the Mets system with in-depth reports on what BP views as the “Top 10” in the system. As an add-on,  3 more prospects considered as “on the rise” but further away are mentioned just like 3 more “factors on the farm” that will likely have some sort of major league impact in 2015 but are ranked outside the Top 10. While BP does note that the Mets are seemingly being managed as a “small market” team in the large Metropolitan market of New York, they see a lot of promise & depth in the system plus among young major leaguers which are documented by a “Top 10 ages 25 and under” list near the end of the article.

“It’s a strong collection of both minor-league talent and young major leaguers that gives the Mets strong depth. The Mets may not have the best collection of prospects and young players in baseball, but you can make an argument for them having the most balanced farm system in the game.”

The Top Ten

  1. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
  2. Steven Matz, LHP
  3. Brandon Nimmo, OF
  4. Amed Rosario, SS
  5. Kevin Plawecki, C
  6. Dilson Herrera, 2B
  7. Marcos Molina, RHP
  8. Dominic Smith, 1B
  9. Michael Conforto, OF
  10. Jhoan Urena, 3B

In their extensive reports – only available to BP premium subscribers – on these 10, the BP staff notes strengths & weaknesses of the prospects, the current “upside” and a more conservative “realistic” outcome plus assesses the “risk factor” of reaching the ceilings while also grading out tools.   Syndergaard headlines the group as arguably the Top SP prospect in the upper minors heading into 2015 with raw stuff that matches that of Matt Harvey & Zack Wheeler and only some fine-tuning needed to reach his ceiling as a true frontline SP. Even in the more conservative “real case” scenario, he should become a quality # 2/3 SP in time which is quite a bullish outlook. As a positive,  the following 9 prospects all project as  1st division regulars in terms of “upside” – with only Kevin Plawecki receiving a “high 5 solid average regular” upside but with a low risk profile. That already sets the Mets´ system apart from other systems that have been written on thus far.

It´s also apparent that BP is very much on board with the “upside” of lower level minor leaguers Amed Rosario, Marcos Molina, Dominic Smith, Michael Conforto and Jhoan Urena who are quite a bit away but do have several tools & factors working for them.

As for prospects on “the rise”, BP notes:

RHP Casey Meisner

OF Champ Stuart

RHP Gabriel Ynoa

These three are all candidates for the Top 10 list next year and received positive reports from the various BP staff members / scouts – Meisner mainly as a body projecting and growing in a positive direction, Stuart for his present-day tools and Ynoa for his pitchability profile.

As factors on the farm, BP expects 2015 contributions from:

RHP Rafael Montero

LHP Jack Leathersich

OF Cesar Puello

Montero just missed the top 10 but lacks true above average offerings to project as more than a back-end type SP for BP though he should be ready for that role right away. Leathersich could help in a setup role shortly while Puello´s loud tools are hampered by his poor approach and lingering Biogenesis doubts.

All in all, BP completes their outlook with their

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/89 or later)

  1. Zack Wheeler
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Jenrry Mejia
  4. Steven Matz
  5. Jeurys Familia
  6. Brandon Nimmo
  7. Wilmer Flores
  8. Amed Rosario
  9. Kevin Plawecki
  10. Dilson Herrera

Note that Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud all weren´t eligible and BP in general went with the major leaguer over the prospect when players were viewed on an equal level.

Overall, it appears the Mets may have one of the deepest if not the deepest collection of young talent in the majors and minors overall right now. Beyond the young pitchers, there may be no future stars in there. But even a lineup loaded of first division, average to above average regulars would be quite a feat after essentially being barren in that spot for over a decade beyond stars Wright and Reyes.  Now, if only ownership could provide the funds to help not only take this to a top level but also sustain it…

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Winter League Update: Robles and Lara Off To Solid Starts http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/winter-league-update-robles-and-lara-off-to-solid-starts.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/winter-league-update-robles-and-lara-off-to-solid-starts.html/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 05:48:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169263 Rainy Lara 2

Winter League Baseball started some time ago and I thought we’d check in on the several Mets scattered across each league:

Venezuelan League

Vicente Lupo - Has Not Played

Leon Canelon - 6 G, 2 AB, 2 R, .000/.000/.000

Jairo Perez - 20 G, .208/.269/.417, 3 2B, 4 HR

Wilfredo Tovar - 19 G, .295/.295/.372, 6 2B

Ryan Reid - 9 G, 4.82 ERA, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 9 K

Albert Cordero - Has Not Played

Miguel Socolovich - 6 G, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

Oswald Caraballo - .000/.000/.000, 5 G, 3 AB, 1R

Brandon Allen - .304/.448/.565, 19 G, 4 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR

Mexican League

Brian Burgamy - .236/.313/.361, 20 G, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR

Cory Vaughn - .246/.359/.462, 20 G, 1 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR. 4 SB

Xorge Carrillo - .255/.338/.527, 17 G, 6 2B, 3 HR

Dominican Winter League

Hansel Robles - 7 G, 6.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K

Gonzalez Germen - 3 G, 16.20 ERA, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB

Cesar Puello - .154/.231/.241, 7 G, 13 AB, 2 H, 1 2B

Rafael Montero - 1 G, 6.75 ERA,  2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 K

Rainy Lara - 4 G, 2.35 ERA, 7.2 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Darwin Frias - 3 G, 10.12 ERA, 2.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Puerto Rican Winter League

Jon Velasquez - 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 SV, 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K

Arnaldo Berrios - Reserve

Carlos Alvarado - 1 G, 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 K

Randy Fontanez - Reserve

Seth Lugo - Reserve

T.J. Rivera - 4 G, .167, 2 H, 12 AB

Joel Huertas - 54.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER

Each year, several players from the minors and majors play in the winter leagues for a few months in their home countries, and for their hometowns. The actual competition varies, because of varying levels of professional experience ranging from Rookie Ball to the Major Leagues.

To learn the history behind the Dominican, Mexican, and Venezuelan leagues, last year I wrote comprehensive articles in a series called “Lessons in Latin America“.

Mexican Baseball History

Venezuelan Baseball History

Dominican Republic Baseball History

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis is Making the Most of His Latest Opportunity http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/kirk-nieuwenhuis-is-making-the-most-of-his-latest-opportunity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/kirk-nieuwenhuis-is-making-the-most-of-his-latest-opportunity.html/#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 15:48:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160586 kirk nieuwenhuis

One player who is really surprising me with his recent play is Kirk Nieuwenhuis. As I wrote last year on Mets Minors – Kirk was the forgotten man in the depth chart, a player whose star had fallen to the point where he didn’t even get a September call-up when the rosters expanded.

But here he is, back with the team since his exile in Las Vegas ended in June, and playing like the player we thought we had early in 2012. Since his recall, he’s appeared in 16 games, hitting .370 (10-for-27) with five doubles, one home run and five RBI. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but he doesn’t look lost like he did when he was with the major league team in 2013 and hit just .189 while striking out 32 times in 95 at-bats. He’s making a strong case for staying on the MLB roster as the fourth outfielder who won’t hurt you in the field and provides some left-handed punch off the bench.

He’s looking like a player who is realizing that his major league opportunity may pass him by if he doesn’t act now. He’ll be turning 27 next month and he’s at that age where the younger guys will pass right over him and he’ll be just another one of those career minor leaguers. In the last month, he’s making the most of that opportunity, and his stellar defensive play on Friday night to save a run with a throw to home plate was all hustle.

Despite being on the 40 man roster, Kirk wasn’t in the Mets plans last September. He didn’t make the opening day roster either as the Mets opted for Andrew Brown. It wasn’t until Juan Lagares went on the DL in mid-April that Kirk would get another big-league opportunity, but he was back in Vegas as soon as Lagares returned. When Eric Young, Jr. went on the DL in May, Kirk was bypassed in favor of Matt den Dekker.

However den Dekker batted just .156 in 49 plate appearances, and with Chris Young also struggling mightily, the Mets needed to get someone – anyone – that could help offensively. So on June 19th, den Dekker was demoted and a hot-hitting Nieuwenhuis got the call in what may be his very last opportunity to impress the Mets.

Here’s something impressive – the Mets are 9-0 when Nieuwenhuis is in the starting lineup.

A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but for the time being, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is making a solid case to remain the fourth outfielder. One has to wonder – maybe he can become another key reserve outfielder like Danny Heep was, and man that fourth outfield spot for the Mets over the next several seasons. Time will tell.

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Mid-Season Review: Las Vegas 51s http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mid-season-review-las-vegas-51s.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mid-season-review-las-vegas-51s.html/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:54:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159147 noah syndergaard

Record: 46-32

Top Performers / Top Prospects

  • Noah Syndergaard, RHP: Syndergaard has not seen his typical success in Las Vegas by any means. The 21 year-old has struggled, posting a 4.98 ERA in 65 innings this season. He has fallen victim to the tough pitching conditions of Las Vegas, and currently has a 5.36 ERA at home, where conditions are the worst.He has seen his walk and strikeout rates worsen this season. It’s also important to consider that Syndergaard is six years younger than league average, but he has nonetheless still struggled. This was not the season Mets fans were looking for from Syndergaard.
  • Rafael Montero: RHP: Montero has fared much better than Syndergaard, but his numbers have been clearly hurt by the PCL as well. He has a 3.75 ERA on the season in 50.1 innings. Those are just his Triple-A numbers of course. He also made a brief stop in New York, allowing 12 earned runs in 20 innings before being sent down. This is by no means the end of Montero, however. He will definitely be back again by season’s end.
  • Cesar Puello, OF: Puello has probably had the most confusing season of any player in the Met system. 23 years old, Puello is hitting .229/.332/.324 in 63 games with just 12 total extra base-hits. However, he has received only on-and-off playing time this season. This is strange considering Puello’s incredible season with Binghamton last year. Sure, he was suspended for taking performance-enhancing drugs, but he is also one of the most intriguing outfield prospects in the entire system, not the kind of player you bench
  • Allan Dykstra, 1B: Las Vegas is a strange mix of typical prospects and mid-to-late-20s on base machines. Dykstra certainly falls in the latter category. A former first-round pick of the Padres in 2008, Dykstra has taken a few years to come into his own and the Mets haven’t exactly rushed him up through the ranks. He is hitting .295/.436/.536 with ten homers, 18 doubles, and a triple in 67 games thus far. Part of his huge offensive numbers may be due to his age compared to the league and the hitter-friendly league and stadium, but Dykstra is nonetheless making a case for himself as a possible big league backup.
  • Logan Verrett, RHP: The 24 year-old Verrett has had a solid year considering the pitching conditions, and is one of the few real pitching prospects currently on the Las Vegas roster. The former third-round selection has a 4.38 ERA in a team-high 90.1 innings pitched. Although his strikeout numbers are way down, his walk rate has dropped from 1.9 last season to 1.4 this year.

Notes

  • Las Vegas leads the Pacific Coast League in runs, home runs, OPS, and walks. That’s not surprising considering the conditions the team plays in, however.
  • The Las Vegas pitching staff has actually fared decently in the conditions, allowing the fourth-fewest home runs per nine innings in the league and striking out the third-most batters.

Outlook / Promotions

  • Kevin Plawecki will soon be joining Las Vegas, which has already received Matt Reynolds from Binghamton. Within the next few months, including Syndergaard and Montero.

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Who’s Hot/Not Upper Minors: Plawecki Flexing Muscle, Peavey with the Sizzle http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/whos-hotnot-upper-minors-plawecki-flexing-muscle-peavey-with-the-sizzle.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/whos-hotnot-upper-minors-plawecki-flexing-muscle-peavey-with-the-sizzle.html/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 18:49:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155869 kevin-plawecki-2

Who’s Hot

Kevin Plawecki

Plawecki has had sort of a streaky season but he’s in a hot streak right now that’s lifted has batting average on the season to a healthy .307. He’s 13 for 39 (.333) in his last 10 games with five extra base hits, including his first home run of the season. He’s also scored five runs and drove in five during this timespan. Plawecki has never been a catching prospect that’s expected to hit for much power so all of his future value will have to be carried by his hit tool and his defense. It’s encouraging to see Plawecki’s average at .307 on the season but he’s drawn just four walks in 88 AB’s this season (.333 OBP). It’s worth noting, however, that he hasn’t been striking out much either.

Jayce Boyd

After an extremely cold start to the season, Boyd is picking up the pace in a hurry with a .393 batting average, five RBI and seven runs scored in his last 10 games. He’s also clubbed three doubles and his first two home runs of the season during this hot streak as well. Boyd’s season numbers still look relatively ugly (.232/.333/.374) but it’s good to see that they’re finally on the upswing.

Greg Peavey

Peavey was good enough in his last two starts to earn MMN’s Pitcher of the Week honors as he recorded his first complete game shutout of his professional career his last time out. In nine innings pitched, he allowed just two hits without walking a batter and striking out six. In the start before that, Peavey went six innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits and two walks. He struck out four in the process. Peavey earned the win in each of his last two starts as his ERA sits at a very nice 3.16 on the season with 25 K’s against 7 BB’s in 31.1 innings pitched.

Who’s Not

Hansel Robles

Robles has struggled mightily in his last two starts, which have inflated his season numbers to the point where one would have no idea he had a very solid start to the season. On May 6th, he suffered his first loss of the season, tossing 5.1 innings and allowing five earned runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four. During his start on May 13th, Robles suffered his second consecutive loss and was beat up for seven earned runs in just 2.2 innings pitched. He allowed six hits, including three home runs, while striking out five and walking one. Robles’ ERA ballooned to 5.40 on the season after these last two starts.

Cesar Puello

Puello has showed some life in his past two games but, despite that, he has not hit at all this season. In his last 10 games he is batting a paltry .212 with one extra base hit. He has drawn three walks in his last six games, which is somewhat encouraging considering he had just two up to that point. His current line is .248/.309/.297, which is even more cringe worthy when you consider that he’s playing in a notorious hitting environment. Puello’s struggles this season are definitely concerning as his breakout season last year has been tied to the Biogenesis scandal. In order to prove the naysayers wrong, Puello will have to get on track as soon as humanly possible, especially if he wants to be considered for a call-up this summer.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Kirk has severely struggled since being sent down to AAA Las Vegas earlier this month. He has just four hits in his last 31 at-bats and had back to back four strikeout games as well, including 11 in those same 31 at-bats. It looks as if Kirk has not taken the demotion well and it’s hard to believe he’s anything more than a AAAA player at this point.

MMO

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MMO Exclusive: Cesar Puello Ready To Put 2013 Behind Him http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-exclusive-puello-ready-to-put-2013-behind-him.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-exclusive-puello-ready-to-put-2013-behind-him.html/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 03:04:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=150102 Cesar Puello

Coming into the 2014 spring season, the Mets have had so many question marks regarding their roster especially which top prospects could actually break camp with the team and which would be on the verge of a debut.

Top outfield prospect, Cesar Puello is one player that is just a step away from impacting the Mets lineup, but his status was in jeopardy after he was linked to the Bio-genesis scandal that rocked all of baseball last summer. Puello was suspended for 50 games as a consequence.

I caught up with Puello while here at the Mets Spring Training complex for MMO.

He appeared genuinely remorseful when I brought up the Biogenesis scandal. This young man clearly understands all that transpired, but told MMO that he is ready to put last season behind him.

“Everything always happens for a good reason.” Puello said. “And because of what happened to me last season, I have matured more as a player and a person. I am now extremely focused and ready to start making some good decisions, because that is what is most important. I’m ready to move on and help the Mets organization.”

In 2013, while with Double-A Binghamton, Puello was i the midst of an MVP caliber season and batted .326/.403/.547, with 21 doubles,16 home runs, 73 RBI, 24 stolen bases in just 331 at-bats.

Now with the suspension behind him, Puello works toward showing everyone that the great numbers he showcased in 2013, were not a fluke and are something that he will continue to build on.

The Mets made their decision to cut him and send him back to minor league camp on Monday, but not before opening up some eyes by batting .364/.533/.545 in his small sampling. Mets VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta is impressed with Puello’s approach at the plate and believes he has all the tools to be a productive major leaguer for the Mets.

For now, the Mets are locked in with Curtis Granderson, Eric Young, Chris Young and Juan Lagares, so finding playing time for Puello, would have been extremely difficult. At least starting in Las Vegas (AAA) he will get the opportunity to work his way back into top form.

One thing that bodes well for Puello is that he is fully on board with the offensive philosophy of the organization. We talked a little bit about that and this kid gets it.

“If you focus on putting the bat right on the ball, the home runs will follow, but I have to first think about my on-base percentage, my average and then everything else will follow with good results,” says the outfielder.

Not only does Puello have a big power bat, but he also has speed, and that aspect is also a very important part of his game, “I play aggressively and intelligently, and that is another way to show what I can do on the field during the game,” he says.

After speaking with Puello and watching how he handles himself in the clubhouse, with his teammates, his coaches and also around the fans, it’s very apparent that the Mets have something very special in this young man. Everyone makes mistakes, but its what he has learned from his mistakes that will help him to continue to grow and develop into a bonafide major leaguer.

He is very thankful for a second opportunity and intends to make the best of it this time. “I thank God that everything is great now and I’m working hard everyday,” he said as our conversation came to a close. “I’m ready to showcase my abilities.”

He will get his chance to do just that. I believe in this kid. Don’t be surprised to see Puello’s name listed among the league leaders in batting, on-base and power in the PCL this Summer. My hunch is that he will force his way into the Mets lineup at some point this season.

This interview was initially conducted in Spanish and I translated into English for our readers to enjoy. 

Presented By Diehards

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Baseball Prospectus Releases A Surprising Mets Top Ten Prospect List http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/baseball-prospectus-releases-a-surprising-mets-top-ten-list.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/baseball-prospectus-releases-a-surprising-mets-top-ten-list.html/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 19:36:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=148397 Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus released their Top 10 Mets Prospects this morning, which included a couple of interesting surprises.

  1. RHP Noah Syndergaard
  2. Travis d’Arnaud
  3. 3B Wilmer Flores
  4. RHP Rafael Montero
  5. SS Amed Rosario
  6. 1B Dominic Smith
  7. OF Cesar Puello
  8. Kevin Plawecki
  9. CF Brandon Nimmo
  10. RHP Marcos Molina

Marcos Molina jumps right out as he’s one player I’ve yet to see on any Mets top prospect list, especially in the top ten. Here is what BP writes about him:

We might be a year premature by ranking a relative unknown like Molina this high in a very good system, but the scouting reports were excellent in his stateside debut, and a conversation with one front office source (outside the org) really sealed his placement on this list. When discussing Molina, it was mentioned that if the 18-year-old were available for inclusion in the rule 4 draft, the highly athletic 6-foot-3, 190 lb. righty would be considered a first-round talent.

Another nice surprise was seeing Cesar Puello on someone’s top ten other than MMO. BP said he has the potential to be a first division type player. I think that might be another way of saying an All Star and there’s nothing wrong with that.

As a parting thought they write:

This is a very good farm system that will take a hit with likely major-league promotions for their top four prospects, but the strong depth coming out of short-season ball could keep the Mets in the top-10 farm discussion for the foreseeable future.

Nice job as I particularly like prospect lists that think out of the box and dare to be a little different.

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Mets Matters: Are We Spending Again or Just Reallocating? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-musings-are-we-spending-again-or-just-reallocating.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-musings-are-we-spending-again-or-just-reallocating.html/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 13:36:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147684 It boggles my mind at the jubilation I continue to see in comment threads or on Twitter over this myth that the New York Mets are spending again. Strike up the band?

Sorry, I don’t think so. At least not yet.

Save your money and hold off on the party caps and noise makers because this ship of ours is far from the peacefulness of smooth sailing and still navigating through choppy waters.

While I’ve applauded the signings of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon, I also understand that they were merely replacements for the losses of Marlon Byrd and Matt Harvey.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Chris Young signing, as $7.25 million seems like a high price tag for a player who profiles as a part time player. Plus I’d bet anything Cesar Puello could bat batter than .200 and hit more than 12 home runs if he were given a full shot in right field. I would have preferred kicking in another $5 million and getting Stephen Drew instead and I wonder if that $7.25 million in flexibility we lost is why the Mets are hesitating? But I digress…

What does spending mean to you?

If you have a $90 million budget, and you get rid of two players who accounted for $30 million of that budget and replaced them with three players making the same $30 million instead, is that your textbook definition of spending?

Or did you simply reallocate your funds and hopefully did so in a more productive way?

Scrat ice age pixar nut

You see, I can’t seem to crack this nut.

I just can’t share in this growing excitement that the Mets are spending again when I look at the current payroll projection and it tells me our payroll will be less than the year before for the third consecutive Opening Day.

I can’t ignore that the Mets keep pushing their outstanding loans further back into a still cloudy Mets future because they apparently don’t have the money to make their debt payments.

I think it’s great that they did reallocate the Bay/Santana contracts, but could you have imagined the uproar if they didn’t? Especially when small market teams are spending that $25-30 million every team received form the new MLB National TV deals… Wonder where the Mets’ $25-30 million is going? Want to venture a guess?

I was directed to a comment Sandy Alderson made that said the Mets are one of the top five spenders in baseball again after this offseason.

Whoa… Wait, what…Really?

How does that explain a bottom fifteen projected MLB payroll and possibly even bottom ten?

I guess spending must have a new definition now. I always thought that when you spent ten bucks you had ten dollars less in your pocket. But maybe I’m just warped that way. 

Presented By Diehards

 

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2014 Mets Top Prospects: No. 7 Cesar Puello, OF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/2014-mets-top-prospects-no-7-cesar-puello-of.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/2014-mets-top-prospects-no-7-cesar-puello-of.html/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147210 Top 25 Prospects puello 7

7. Cesar Puello, OF

Height: 6’2”
Weight: 195 lbs.
Age: 22
Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Some early 2014 Mets top prospect lists do not have Cesar Puello listed in their top 10. While I guess one could make a valid argument that Puello is not a top 10 prospect in the Mets organization, I bet most of these sites excluded him because of the Biogenesis scandal which to me, is ridiculous. Although the scandal should not be overlooked, Puello was suspended because of an association with the Biogenesis clinic, not for testing positive for PED’s. While an association probably means he took them at one point, Puello has never tested positive for PED’s, including last season where he completely raked in AA Binghamton. That means, until he is proven guilty, his statistics have to be considered legitimate and be taken seriously.

In 331 AB’s before his suspension last season, Puello slashed at .326/.403/.547 with 16 HR’s, 73 RBI’s, and 24 SB’s. I don’t think there is any position player in the Mets organization maybe besides Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario, that have the five-tool potential that Puello has. He has plus bat speed and impressive raw power that shine a light on his potential to hit at least 20 homers a season in the bigs. At the moment, he is quite the free swinger, which could hurt his potential to hit for average but if he can refine his approach at the plate in the time before making his debut, it is plausible he could hit .280 or so as a major leaguer, albeit with an unimpressive OBP. He also has solid average speed which could translate into a good amount of stolen bases if he could reach base more often. His above average arm and fielding ability could potentially allow him to stick in center but if he adds any more bulk it would be wise to move him to right field, where he would fit quite nicely.

Outlook: All eyes are going to be on Puello this season, whether he starts the season in AA or AAA. Scouts and fans alike are very anxious to see if his 2013 was a fluke or if he is the real deal. I’m jumping on the bandwagon early as I think it is the latter. He still needs more time to develop before he makes his debut which is why I think, barring any large improvements, that a debut in 2014 would be a bit hasty. Unless Chris Young is an absolute fail and the Mets need to shake things up, they’re probably better off letting Puello play at least another full season of minor league baseball to get more seasoning. He definitely has tremendous upside, but if he continues to be so antsy at the plate, he might hit for some power but major league pitchers will completely eat him up and he’ll struggle to bat .250. If he can show the slightest bit of patience and ensure some good pitches to hit in an at-bat, he’ll package above average defense with at least above average power numbers, a decent batting average, and above average stolen base ability; a player with offensive talent that the Mets are desperate for at the moment.

MMO TOP 25 PROSPECTS

25. Wilfredo Tovar, SS

24. Juan Centeno, C

23. Cory Mazzoni, RHP

22. Jeff Walters, RHP

21. Jack Leathersich, LHP

20. Luis Mateo, RHP

19. Jayce Boyd, 1B

18. Domingo Tapia, RHP

17. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

16. Vic Black, RHP

15. Michael Fulmer, RHP

14. Jeurys Familia, RHP

13. Dilson Herrera, 2B

12. Jake deGrom, RHP

11. Gavin Cecchini, SS

10. Steven Matz, LHP

9. Brandon Nimmo, CF

8. Amed Rosario, SS

7. Cesar Puello, OF

6.

5.

4.

3.

2.

1.

Presented By Diehards

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Keith Law: Mets Top 10 Prospect Ranking http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/keith-law-mets-top-10-prospect-ranking.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/keith-law-mets-top-10-prospect-ranking.html/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 16:12:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=146829 syndergaard montero

Completing his 2014 Top Prospects features, Keith Law of ESPN released his Mets Top 10 Ranking as follows (Top 100 in parenthesis):

1. Noah Syndergaard, RHP (24)
2. Travis d’Arnaud, C (36)
3. Dominic Smith, 1B (37)
4. Rafael Montero, RHP (60)
5. Brandon Nimmo, OF (92)
6. Kevin Plawecki, C
7. Dilson Herrera, 2B
8. Wilmer Flores, IF
9. Cesar Puello, OF
10. Amed Rosario, SS

Farm system overview

This system has come a very long way in a short amount of time, thanks to solid drafts under scouting director Tommy Tanous and his predecessor Chad MacDonald, and to several very productive trades that brought in three of the Mets’ top seven prospects.

Top prospect Noah Syndergaard saw his breaking ball improve from below-average last year to solid-average or better by summer’s end; Travis d’Arnaud took time off from the disabled list to make his major league debut;Cesar Puello finally put some production behind his tools before serving a suspension for his involvement in Biogenesis.

The Mets’ next few prospects after this top 10 – Gavin Cecchini (No. 11), Gabriel Ynoa(No. 12), Jacob deGrom (No. 13), Michael Fulmer (No. 14) and Domingo Tapia (No. 15), to give you an idea — are all pretty tightly bunched together, with a lot of back-end starters and potential fringe-to-average regulars in the group.

2014 impact

Both Rafael Montero and Syndergaard will likely see significant time in the majors, with Montero getting the call first because he’s further along, and managing his service time is less important than managing Syndergaard’s. Wilmer Flores could stick as a backup at third, second and even left field or first base, if the Mets don’t mind him getting somewhat irregular at-bats. Puello is a dark horse to surface later in the year, especially if Curtis Granderson or Chris Young gets hurt (again).

The Fallen

Nobody really crashed and burned this year in the Mets’ system; the worst drop might be Cecchini, their first-rounder in 2012 and No. 5 prospect last year, now No. 11 and projected by many scouts as a fringe regular or utility guy because his bat looked light in Brooklyn last year.

Sleeper

I could pick any of a number of those control-fiend arms, but shortstop Amed Rosario is the most exciting prospect of the Mets’ second tier (after their top 10 guys). He is a tool shed at shortstop, with a 70-grade arm and 60 raw power that’s going to become more in time, and he’s already showing a good feel for the zone at his age, improving his recognition of breaking stuff last summer and also showing good power out to right-center.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Rosario signed for $1.75 million in 2012 and skipped the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League entirely, instead playing as the Appalachian League’s youngest position player. He’s a ways off, maybe more of a top-50 candidate for 2016, but is the system’s most exciting prospect to dream on.

Read the rest of the NL East Top 10 here. 

Presented By Diehards

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Is The Mets’ Farm System Too Pitcher-Heavy? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/is-the-mets-farm-system-too-pitcher-heavy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/is-the-mets-farm-system-too-pitcher-heavy.html/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 01:02:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=146621 syndergaard monteroIf there is one thing the Mets have going for them it is the very exciting crop of young pitchers in their farm system. The Mets have made some highlights this week after Keith Law, of ESPN, ranked the organization’s farm system as sixth-best in baseball.

It seems that the strategy to stockpile as many promising young pitchers as they possibly can is paying off, and now some of the offensive players are getting more recognition.

The question is whether or not it is a smart move to build your farm system around pitching, and there are a number of reasons why one would question it.

Nothing excites Mets fans more than thinking about Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia, and Zack Wheeler joining Matt Harvey in the rotation in the coming years. But the truth is, as Matt Harvey has shown this year, your ace can be lost for an entire season in the blink of an eye. In fact, a study conducted during 2010 found that pitchers are 34% more likely to hit the disabled list than a position player, and pitchers also spend more time on the disabled list (62.4% of the time versus 37.6% for position players).

The old adage states that good pitching beats good hitting, but there should be an asterisk next to that statement. There should be an asterisk next to that statement because I don’t care how good your pitchers are, you can’t win a game if your offense doesn’t produce runs. Now depending on who you speak to, there are many different schools of thought on how to generate runs. However, the best formula for scoring runs is having good offensive players in your lineup.

Hitters are more predictable over time. Hitters tend to produce pretty consistently until they start getting up into their early 30s. Pitchers, on the other hand, are a lot more difficult to predict. R.A. Dickey, although a knuckle baller, is a prime example of that unpredictability. That is because much of a pitcher’s success can be determined by many more outside factors than a hitter’s can—like the defense of their teammates.

Is it cost effective to develop as much young pitching as possible?

When looking at the average salaries of position players taken from the Associated Press in 2010 (shown below), you would think not. By not developing offensive players, you are forced to go shopping in the free agent market, and susceptible to some of the costs displayed in the graphic. From looking at this chart, I could sign two pitchers for the cost of signing one first baseman (on average)—so why wouldn’t I opt to develop my own offensive talent and instead add pitchers in free agency?

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 9.27.13 PM

There was an article on MMO awhile back regarding Theo Epstein and how he is always trying to get one step ahead and trying to stay ahead of the curve (no pun intended). I had the opportunity to cover the Chicago Cubs last year as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and the truth is, the Cubs farm system is the total opposite of the Mets.

Instead of being stocked with pitchers, they have some of the more exciting offensive players in the game today in their farm system—Kris Bryant, Dan Vogelbach, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Mike Olt and Albert Almora are a very solid foundation to build their future around…very solid. They have some nice pitching prospects, but they have an abundance of offense.

Which system is better?

Keith Law had the Cubs ranked No. 4 on his recent list of top farm systems. As Mets fans already know, he had the Mets ranked sixth, and that was much higher than what many people thought it would be—I haven’t heard many complaints about where the Cubs’ system is ranked.

Offense sells tickets. And while pitching may win you a World Series, offense will get your team to the playoffs. If you don’t get to the playoffs, you can’t win a World Series.

report-mets-prospect-cesar-puello-linked-to-biogenesis-f-mart-too

When taking everything into consideration, is it wise for a team build their system around pitching?

The Mets have some promising young offensive players, but even those prospects have some pretty big question marks hanging over their head—Wilmer Flores doesn’t have a steady position defensively and didn’t even crack Law’s top 100 list, Travis d’Arnaud hasn’t played a full season since Double-A, and now we’re hearing that Mets’ scouts don’t even consider Cesar Puello a prospect. The remainder of the Mets big-time offensive prospects (like Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith—both named to Law’s top 100) are still a couple of years from helping out the team at the big league level.

So what the Mets have is good pitching, and lots of it. We are left wondering what the Mets will do with all this pitching since there are only a limited number of pitchers you can carry on the major league roster, and how many insurance policies are you going to carry in case someone gets hurt? Will the Mets start flipping some of these pitchers while they are hot to reap some offensive rewards? All it takes is one injury to destroy the value of one of these young pitchers.

If the Mets were smart they would sell high, and bring in some offense now. The only Mets pitcher that should be untouchable in the farm system right now is Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard is one of the brightest Mets pitching prospects I have seen in awhile, and the Mets would be wise to keep young Thor and transform Citi Field to a virtual Aasgard in the near future.

If the Mets continue to build around pitching, and a few of those guys get hurt and wash out, they are left with nothing—no offense and no pitching. The odds of a pitcher getting injured is about 40% more likely to occur than a position player. Not only that, but a position player helps my organization every day, and pitchers can only impact about 30 games per year.

The Mets have their philosophy in place, and a bank account full of young pitchers which many believe leaves Sandy Alderson sitting on a stack of gold bars. But pitchers aren’t like gold bars, they are more like internet stocks—their value can come crashing down in one pitch, and the Mets pitching prospect bubble will burst leaving them with a whole bunch of nothing. It’s time to start unloading some of this volatile stock and get some long-term value in offense in return.

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Will 2014 Be Cory Vaughn’s Year? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/will-2014-be-cory-vaughns-year.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/will-2014-be-cory-vaughns-year.html/#comments Tue, 28 Jan 2014 14:18:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=146226 cory vaughn

Cory Vaughn: he possesses the deadly combination of speed, power, and a smile that can light up a room. He is always interacting and having fun with fans via outlets like Twitter. Vaughn, the Mets’ fourth round pick in the 2010 draft, seemed destined to be one of the future faces of the Mets.

Growing up as a young boy, I watched Cory’s father, Greg Vaughn, smashing homeruns in ESPN Sportscenter highlights every morning before school. The pedigree is there. Standing 6-foot-3 and 225-pounds, Vaughn is a physical specimen, and has a body frame that baseball scouts and executives drool over.

In 2010, his first taste of professional baseball, Vaughn slugged .557, got on base at nearly a 40% clip, and created 166 runs. After the 2010 season, expectations were high. Maybe a little too high. Vaughn has been suffering from the hangover of that 2010 season for the past three seasons. Mix in injuries, and Vaughn has become the perfect example of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind prospect.

Vaughn is healthy again, and got a chance to hone his skills in the Arizona Fall League at the end of 2013. Vaughn played against some of the game’s top talent. The good news is, Vaughn held his own, but he also understands that he has to keep getting better and become a more consistent offensive player. If anyone understands what it takes to be a big league ball player, it’s the son of a major leaguer. In this quote from MLB.com, Vaughn puts things in perspective:

“This is the toughest sport to play in the world. There is so much failure. As much as I want to go out and square balls up every single at-bat, it’s not going to happen. I’m going to strike out, I’m going to chase bad pitches. I’m going to pop balls up. But the more I can try to be consistent and stay solid with my approach, the better chance I will have for success, and that’s really what I’ve been trying to do out here.”

The biggest knock on Vaughn seems to be his strikeout rate. Rightly so, as he has climbed through the organization, his strikeout rate has also climbed—all the way up to 26.8% in 2013 (against Double-A pitching). Vaughn also tries to quite those that say he strikes out too much:

“I know a lot of people panic and trip off and say I strike out too much, but it is just the nature of the beast. I am not a slap hitter who is going to go out there and put the ball on the ground and just try to go from base to base. I’m trying to hit some stuff in the gaps, because when I go up there, I like to think to myself that I am always dangerous. After one swing, we could have one run on the board. I try to base my game off that.”

I love that Vaughn knows what his strengths are and builds his game around that. But Vaughn also has to understand that he has to change his hitting approach based on the count in the batter’s box. If a hitter has two strikes on him, he has to tighten up that swing and become more of a slap-hitter. That’s not saying that he can’t smack a ball in the gap with that approach, but it would naturally boost his batting average while cutting down the strike outs. It would give him that consistency that he is looking for, and make him a more complete hitter.

Everyone knows Vaughn has game-changing power. He can alter the game with one swing. The Mets know this. He has nothing more to prove on that front. Now the Mets are looking for him to do the other things to show he is a major league hitter. Other things, like knowing when to slap the ball to right field, and when to drive it into the left-centerfield gap.

Vaughn has to do what he can with what the pitcher gives him and then capitalize on the mistakes the pitchers’ make. As he moves up, pitchers make less and less mistakes. They know he has power, so they will pitch him more carefully. He has to adjust his approach, start taking what the pitcher gives him and go with the pitches. That means slapping that ball out the outside half to right field, and hammering the mistakes over the wall (something Vaughn does very well).

Vaughn has more in his toolbox than power. He can do as much damage using his speed on the base paths as he can by hitting a homerun when nobody is on base.

When the baseball gods create players, they create guys like Cory Vaughn. He has all the intangibles to be a successful major league player. He has the kind of magnetic personality that attract the fans and get them rooting for him.

On a side note, I generally don’t visit many other sites or publications regarding MLB prospects and prospect analysis. There are two reasons for this: 1) I like to see video and watch the players to make my own assessment without being clouded by what some other guy wrote that has little-to-no idea what he’s looking at. 2) There is so much negativity on some sites regarding these prospects that it’s sickening.

These guys write things about prospects and have little to no respect for the grind, and it shows. They have no idea what it’s like. These young men, these young ball players, demand and deserve our respect. Regardless of what they may think and write, these prospects are still in the top five percent of baseball players in the world. So when I read other analysts, and I use that term very loosely, spewing negative things about guys like Cory Vaughn, it makes me laugh. Their ideas about prospect development are rooted from the career mode of MLB The Show.

Regardless, 2014 is an important year for Vaughn. With prospects like Cesar Puello and Dustin Lawley making waves lately, Vaughn almost finds himself in the position of an being underdog in the Mets’ organization. Who doesn’t love an underdog?

If you’re on Twitter, and not following Vaughn yet, give him a follow @sugarfreeCV.

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Mets Minors: HoJo Loves deGrom, Weighing In On Vaughn, Havens Retires http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-minors-hojo-loves-degrom-weighing-in-on-vaughn-havens-retires.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-minors-hojo-loves-degrom-weighing-in-on-vaughn-havens-retires.html/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 15:19:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=140509 Jacob DeGrom

Oh No, Ho Jo…

New Seattle Mariners hitting coach Howard Johnson watched Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero from the opposing dugout while coaching in Triple-A last season, but it was Mets prospect Jacob deGrom who impressed him the most at Triple-A Las Vegas last season, according to what he told Adam Rubin.

“I saw deGrom. I like him a lot,” HoJo said. “As a matter of fact, at David Wright‘s wedding, I mentioned deGrom to the front office. He pitched one game against us, and he pitched very well. And the things I saw, I liked. He was the guy that I remember, for sure. And we saw them all — Wheeler, Jack Leathersich and some of the other guys.”

DeGrom was added to the 40 Man Roster by the Mets and will be in big league camp vying for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Reese’s Pieces?

Remember Mets second baseman of the future Reese Havens? Well Adam Rubin reports that the former 2008 first-round pick has decided to hang them up after a professional career that was fraught with one injury after another. Havens played six minor league seasons in all, and finishes with a career .252/.355/.423 batting line in 345 games played. What a shame for a kid who was oozing with so much talent and promise, but couldn’t find a way to stay on the field. Fare well, Reese… We hardly knew ye…

Vaughn For The Road…

Our Minor League Analyst Teddy Klein weighs in on Cory Vaughn who he says needs to stay on the field and get hings going.

“Because of his injury, I could see Cory repeating at Double-A, but just for a moment. At 24, Vaughn is on the cusp of losing prospect status, turning 25 in May. He will join his other outfield counterparts such as Darrell Ceciliani and possibly Alonzo Harris in Triple-A this year afterwards, and likely have a shot at making the bench if Chris Young or Cesar Puello falter. Long Shot, I know.”

Three more weeks until pitchers and catchers report…

mmn grain

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Minors Notes: Mets High On Flores and Lawley, Herrera May Play SS, Smith May Skip Brooklyn http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/minors-notes-mets-high-on-flores-and-lawley-herrera-may-play-ss-smith-may-skip-brooklyn.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/minors-notes-mets-high-on-flores-and-lawley-herrera-may-play-ss-smith-may-skip-brooklyn.html/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 14:25:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=140044 Nimmo and Cecchini

Here are some takeaways from Thursday’s Q&A with the Mets minor league officials (@MetsFarmReport) on Twitter.

  • When asked who their top power hitter in the system was, Mets officials didn’t hesitate to mention Dustin Lawley. I asked a followup question and wondered if Lawley would stick at Triple-A after the Mets jumped him all the way from Advanced-A St. Lucie last season to help the Las Vegas 51s during their postseason. They said he would stay at Vegas and play both outfield and third base. As I’ve been saying since last September, while everyone is fixated on Cesar Puello, Lawley is the one to watch and the prospect who could come up and help the Mets in 2014.
  • The Mets are so high on last year’s first-round pick, 1B Dominic Smith, that they are considering having him skip Low-A Brooklyn and begin the new season at Class-A Savannah. That was something they never even considered with Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini. It’s a sign of how far more advanced they believe Smith is,
  • Speaking of Brandon Nimmo, the Mets attribute his poor showing offensively to injuries. As most of you know, the Wyoming native was hampered all season by a wrist injury. The Mets expect him to bounce back this season and are also counting on a power growth. He will have a lot of eyes on him in 2014.
  • If you’re wondering what led the Mets to promoting Frank Viola to Pitching Coach at Triple-A last week, the Mets are very high on his ability to work with our young pitchers. With some of the organization’s top prospects now heading to Las Vegas, the Mets wanted Viola to be there to oversee their development and get them ready for a big league callup.
  • The Mets are still very high on Cesar Puello who they said is a Top 10 prospect regardless of what’s being published. When asked who’s stock soared the highest after Winter Ball, they boasted that it was Wilmer Flores who sported a .403/.447/.545 batting line in Venezuela. Then they added, “reports (on Flores) were promising.”

Quick Hits

Second base prospect Dilson Herrera, may get time playing time at shortstop this year at Class-A Savannah.

If you were wondering if Kevin Plawecki would start the season at Double-A Binghamton, the Mets confirmed it. They said they are very high on him.

News Flash… The Mets consider righthander Jenrry Mejia a starting pitcher and not a reliever. Thankfully…

Gavin Cecchini will hit his fair share of home runs, but they see him as more of a well rounded player and complete hitter.

The Mets called the following players sleepers: Champ Stuart, Robert Coles, Ricky Jacquez, Robert Whalen, Chris Flexen, Tyler Bashlor and Jhoan Urena. I’m very high on Whalen, Flexen, Urena and Coles.

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Featured Post: I’d Rather Have Syndergaard http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/featured-post-id-rather-have-syndergaard.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/featured-post-id-rather-have-syndergaard.html/#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2014 15:26:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139006 pineda

Speculation is the fuel that stokes the Hot Stove fires. As the fires of speculation simmer in Met land, sometimes during the off-season it’s easy for Met fans to forget there’s another major league baseball team sharing NYC with pinstriped baseball fans surmising what baseball in 2014 will look like in the Bronx.

Recently, those predictions have seen the name of Yankee prospect Michael Pineda reemerge on the pages of the NYC dailies or on baseball blogs. With the Yankees shedding big bucks to bring in position playing upgrades that include Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, attention has turned to Yankee pitching. That’s when Pineda’s name resurfaced.

In a conversation with the Star Ledger, Yankee minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson indicated Pineda should be ready to make a case for a spot in the Yankees 2014 starting rotation. Paterson feels Pineda has completed his recovery from the torn labrum he suffered in 2012 and the former American League all-star can pitch again in the majors. “I was very happy with everything he did, so I certainly see him being able to do that,” Paterson told the Star Ledger.

After returning to the mound last summer, Pineda threw 10 games in the minors posting a 3.32 earned run average while striking out a batter in each of the 40.2 innings he threw. That output caught the attention of Yankee GM Brian Cashman who says Pineda will be given the opportunity to compete for a rotation spot in the spring.

All that Michael Pineda speculation leaves me smiling. You see, on a sunny day on the first day of July last summer, I sat behind home plate to watch Pineda pitch. The recovering Yankee was pitching for Trenton’s Double-A Thunder. The game was Pineda’s second starting assignment for the Thunder with optimism running high for Yankee fans after the big righthander threw six shutout innings in his first start for Trenton.

On the mound for the Binghamton Mets was none other than Noah Syndergaard making this pitching showdown between the top starting prospects of each of New York’s major league franchises a must see Sunday afternoon baseball treat.

Things got off to a shaky start for B-Met fans when Trenton left fielder Ramon Flores lifted a Syndergaard fastball over the left field wall for a lead-off homerun. But, the unflappable Syndergaard settled in nicely to turn in a dazzling effort on the hill.

The B-Mets more than made up the difference of the Flores shot in their half of the first. With one man out and a runner on base, Cesar Puello stepped to the plate waving his bat in the air. Puello muscled a long homerun to put Binghamton on top, 2-1.

But, it was the pitcher’s I had really come to see. Both young hurlers make imposing figures on the pitching mound. Pineda is a giant standing 6’7” tall and weighing a beefy 260 pounds. And, Syndergaard is no slouch giving up only one inch and 20 pounds to the Yankee prospect. Sitting directly behind home plate I got the full effect of what it feels like to have these baseball giants falling forward off the mound and firing bullets.

Pineda, with a fastball a few ticks lower on the radar than the mid to high range 90’s he fired before his injury, struggled with command. The Trenton behemoth was all over the lot. He simply couldn’t find the strike zone. A frustrated Pineda lasted only three innings, surrendering a second gopher ball to B-Met Richard Lucas and surrendering 4 hits and 4 earned runs.

But, it was Pineda’s lack of control that had to be disheartening to Yankee fans. The big righty walked four batters and hit one. Pineda faced 17 hitters in his 3 innings of work throwing 67 pitches with more balls (35) than strikes (32).

In contrast, after the Flores lead-off homer, Syndergaard shined. Thor was overpowering over five innings chalking up nine strikeouts, a season high at that point of Thor’s 2013 campaign.

Syndergaard walked only 2 of the 22 batters he faced and allowed four hits, two of the infield variety. In fact, back-to-back infield singles, compounded by a Syndergaard throwing error left Trenton runners on second and third with no one out in the visitor’s third. Thor worked out of the jam without surrendering a run.

The future Met fireballer threw 93 pitches, his final pitch a 98 m.p.h. fastball for his ninth K. Syndergaard threw 67 strikes with only 26 offerings out of the zone.

Syndergaard left the game with a 4-1 lead, but Trenton rallied to tie the game with three runs in the top of the sixth off the B-Met bullpen. Binghamton would eventually secure a 5-4 victory.

I treated my brother, a huge Yankee fan to the game, and he came away shaking his head in awe at Syndergaard. The previous season, we saw a Zack Wheeler start against Trenton on me, a game where Wheeler, like Syndergaard, yielded a first inning long ball, and was then, pretty much, not hittable. Needless to say, my Yankee loving brother thinks the Mets have the making of a pretty decent rotation in the years to come. On that point, two baseball loving brothers can agree.

(Photo MiLB)

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FanGraphs: 2014 Mets ZiPS Projections http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/fangraphs-2014-mets-zips-projections.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/fangraphs-2014-mets-zips-projections.html/#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:36:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139346 FanGraphs just posted their 2014 ZiPS projections for the Mets. Here are this year’s results for Mets hitters:

zips 2

zips 1

For pitcher projections visit FanGraphs here.

Takeaways:

  • It looks like they have Chris Young producing at about the same level as Curtis Granderson who came in much lower than what I would have expected.
  • David Wright seems poised for another solid season at third base. I think their projection is a bit too conservative actually.
  • Both Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud show some improvement over 2013, but not nearly what most Mets fans including myself are hoping for.
  • Also slight upticks for Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada.
  • Interestingly enough, Cesar Puello projected nicely and his power is well reflected. However, whether he sees that kind of playing time is very debatable.
  • Not bad for ZiPS which are always among the most conservative of computer projections. However, the Mets fan in me always wants more padding on our players… Gimme 2-3 90 RBI guys! :-)

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Prospect Spotlight: Cesar Puello, RF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/prospect-spotlight-cesar-puello-rf.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/prospect-spotlight-cesar-puello-rf.html/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139147 Cesar Puello, RF

Bats/Throws: R/R
DOB: April 1, 1991
Acquired: Dominican Republic, 2007
2013: Binghamton (AA) 377 PA, .326/.403/.547, 21 2B, 16 HR, 73 RBI, 24 SB

Recently, there has been some speculation about whether Cesar Puello is a top ten prospect for the Mets. Major sites like Baseball America and Fangraphs have excluded him from their annual team top ten lists. This is likely the result of Puello’s connection to the Biogenesis scandal, and his suspension at the end of last season.  Even though he used performance enhancing drugs, I believe he is still a top ten prospect in our system.

With his excellent combination of speed and power, Puello is one of the most talented prospects on the Mets. At 6’2” 195 pounds, he is a strong right-handed slugger with plus power potential. Last season Puello smashed 16 home runs with a .547 slugging percentage for AA Binghamton. He is also an excellent base runner, and has averaged 26 steals a season over the past four years.

Furthermore, the 22-year old is a strong defender in right field with good range and a strong arm.  He is a five tool player, and has a tremendous upside. Considering the lack of Mets position players in the minors, it’s hard to believe that there are so many position players better than him that would preclude him from a top ten ranking.

While Puello’s association with Biogenesis is concerning, it should not affect his value drastically. I keep hearing fans say to wait and see how he performs off of the PEDs, but there is no evidence of him taking them in 2013 when he was tested monthly. Puello was named in the scandal prior to the season, and the Biogenesis clinic closed in 2012.  If skeptics want to see how he plays off performance enhancers, then all they have to do is look at his 2013 season. It should also be noted that Puello has never failed a drug test once in his entire career.

Mets fans in general have been forgiving of other players with past steroid/PED suspensions, so it is only fair to do the same for Puello. Marlon Byrd was suspended for PED’s, yet most fans did not seem to care last year. The same seems true with the Mets latest significant acquisition, Bartolo Colon. Not only was Colon  suspended for steroids in 2012, but he was also connected in the same scandal that Puello was.  If fans are counting on Colon to be a solid starter this season, then it is hypocritical to use Puello’s suspension against him.

Puello is an excellent prospect, who made one big mistake. It’s understandable to be outraged by this mistake, but it should not unfairly deflate his value. He is an extremely talented outfielder, and he could be an impact player for this team in the very near future.

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