Mets Merized Online » ETA http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:06:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 Breaking Down MLB’s Top Mets Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/breaking-down-mlbs-top-mets-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/breaking-down-mlbs-top-mets-prospects.html/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:02:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176709 michael conforto
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com provided an interesting analysis last night of the Mets’ minor league system. Mayo said that the Mets have a lot of talent up and down the minors, but he described it as more “top-heavy” with a total of 12 prospects with an ETA of 2015.

Here is his breakdown of the Mets’ highly ranked farm.

Biggest jump: Marcos Molina, RHP (2014: Unranked | 2015: 9)

Biggest fall: Domingo Tapia, RHP (2014: 15 | 2015: Unranked)

Breakdown by ETA
2015: 12
2016: 5
2017: 6
2018: 7

Best tools:

Hit: Michael Conforto (55)

Power: Conforto (60)

Run: Champ Stuart (80)

Arm: Amed Rosario (65)

Defense: Milton Ramos (65)

Fastball: Noah Syndergaard (70)

Curveball: Syndergaard (60)

Slider: Dario Alvarez  (60)

Changeup: Akeel Morris (60)

Control: Gabriel Ynoa (60)

How they were built
Draft: 20
International: 7
Trade: 2
Free agent: 1

Breakdown by position
C: 1
1B: 1
2B: 2
3B: 1
SS: 4
OF: 5
RHP: 12
LHP: 4

Thoughts: It’s not surprising to see Conforto given the top hit and power tool. He is the best pure hitter the Mets have in the minors, and he can move up the system very quickly. Conforto batted .331 with 3 home runs in 42 games for Brooklyn last season.

On the pitching side, Syndergaard is an obvious choice for the best fastball and curve. However, it’s nice to see under the radar pitchers like Morris, Alvarez and Ynoa get some recognition for their abilities.

While Tapia had the biggest fall last season, I wouldn’t be so quick to count him out just yet. Despite his disappointing performance, Tapia has an explosive mid-to-high 90′s fastball with excellent sink. Tapia can still put it all together someday, and he’s someone who might find success if he’s transitioned into a relief role.

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2015 MMO Top 25 Prospects: Numbers 11-15 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/2015-mmo-top-25-prospects-numbers-11-15.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/2015-mmo-top-25-prospects-numbers-11-15.html/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173192 milton ramos

No. 15 – Milton Ramos, SS

Age: 19
Height: 5’11
Weight: 158
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Last Year: Not Ranked

Synopsis: When the Mets drafted Milton Ramos in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft they knew they were getting a slick fielding shortstop whose glove alone could carry him to the majors. What they’re hoping is that he can develop into is something more.

Upon signing, Ramos was sent to the Mets Gulf Coast affiliate where he would play 51 games, splitting time between shortstop and second base. He slashed just .241/.299/.355 in 185 plate appearances and notched 14 extra-base hits without a home run.

Nobody doubts his glove which has the potential to be special, showing world class range and an above average arm. However some question if he’ll ever hit enough to reach the majors. His swing currently has far too many moving parts, but there’s ability there and he’s plenty athletic enough to make the adjustments necessary. If he can turn himself into just an average hitter– or even a notch below– he can be an everyday player who provides enough value with his glove to earn his keep.

Best Case: Everyday shortstop; lower half of the order hitter; gold glove caliber defense.

ETA: 2019

akeel morris

No. 14 – Akeel Morris, RP

Age: 22
Height: 6’1
Weight: 170
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Last Year: Not Ranked

Synopsis: After struggling with control and durability issues as a starter, the Mets shifted Akeel Morris to the pen in 2012 and the move immediately paid dividends, as the former 10th round pick has turned into one of the minors most dominant relievers.

Morris pitched all of 2014 for the Mets Single-A affiliate in Savannah, where he simply humiliated the league. In 57 innings the right-hander allowed just four earned runs, leading to an eye-popping 0.63 ERA. He fanned 89 hitters on the season and walked 22 to go along with his 16 saves for the Sand Gnats.

The Virgin Islands native isn’t the most dominating physical presence on the mound, but he lets his stuff do the talking. Morris attacks hitters with a fastball that sits 93-95 and has touched the upper 90′s. Once he’s set you up with the fastball he goes to his best offering, a low 80′s changeup that features great deception as a plus offering. The 22-year will mix in a slider to keep hitters honest, but it’s an average offering at best.

Best Case: Closer for the first-division team.

ETA: 2016

gabriel ynoa

No. 13 – Gabriel Ynoa, SP

Age: 21
Height: 6’2
Weight: 158
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Last Year: #17

Synopsis: Gabriel Ynoa is a pitcher who thrives off of his control, and has steadily climbed through the minors with success at each stop. He’s never going to be a guy the scouts drool over, but he’s a solid pitcher with a major league floor.

The 21-year old Ynoa started off 2014 by making 14 starts for the Mets High-A affiliate in the Florida State League. He was then promoted to Double-A Binghamton where he made another 11 starts. In total the righty tossed 148.1 innings to the tune of a 4.07 ERA. He struck out 106 batters and walked just 25 in that span.

As previously stated, Ynoa isn’t going to blow up any radar guns or flash stuff that’s going to make your hair stand up. However he’s improved at every stop despite consistently being young for each league. He throws a low-90′s fastball that has solid sinking action to it. He compliments the fastball with his best offering, a changeup with good fade and deception– flashing plus potential. His third offering is a slider which is solid-average with room for improvement. His delivery is sound, compact and should promote durability.

Best Case: Back-end starter; reliable innings eater.

ETA: 2016

Cecchini gavin

No. 12 – Gavin Cecchini, SS

Age: 21
Height: 6’1
Weight: 180
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Last Year: #11

Synopsis: Gavin Cecchini the younger brother of Red Sox top prospect Garin Cecchini, was a first round pick in 2012 who perhaps hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations set for a player drafted in the first 15 selections.

The younger Cecchini brother split 2014 between Low-A Savannah and High-A St. Lucie and even got a handful of AB’s in Double-A Binghamton. In all, he hit .247/.328/.378 with 27 doubles and eight home runs in 126 games. He also swiped 10 bases in 14 tries.

As a prospect there’s nothing flashy about Cecchini. You won’t find any 7′s on his scouting report. However he’s a solid player with great instinct for both his position and the game in general. He’s got a solid hit tool with a good approach at the plate and improving power that should eventually grade out above-average as a shortstop. Defensively he’s a sound shortstop who will make the routine plays and should stick at the position. As you can see, a lot of solid’s throughout his report, which is a perfect description for him.

Best Case: Everyday shortstop on a second-division team.

ETA: 2016

bryan green

No. 11 – Dominic Smith, 1B

Age: 19
Height: 6’0
Weight: 185
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Last Year: #4

Synopsis: Another high profile first-round pick for the Mets (11th overall in 2013) who hasn’t yet lived up to the billing. However Dominic Smith is still very, very young and has the ability to breakout.

Smith played all of 2014 in the Sally League for the Mets Low-A affiliate in Savannah. In 126 games he hit .271/.344/.338 with just one home run and 26 doubles. He drew 51 walks and struck out 77 times.

The big first basemen out of California failed to meet many peoples expectations in 2014– his first full season as a professional. His power numbers were almost non-existent, although Savannah is a nightmare for hitters. The sweet-swinging lefty often looked off balance and overmatched in his at bats. However there’s plenty of hope for Smith. Scouts anticipate that he should hit for high averages at a pro, but will likely be more of a gap hitter than one who mashes home runs. He has a good approach at the plate for someone his age, and should draw plenty of walks as a pro which will lead to high OBP’s. Defensively he grades out as plus, but his big body could inhibit his range as he grows.

Best Case: Starting first basemen; middle of the order hitter.

ETA: 2018

MMO Top 25 Prospects, 25-21

MMO Top 25 Prospects, 20-16

2015 MMO TOP 25 PROSPECTS

25. Cesar Puello, OF
24. Robert Whalen, RHP
23. Michael Fulmer, RHP
22. Matthew Bowman, RHP
21. Champ Stuart, OF
20. Jack Leathersich, LHP
19. Casey Meisner, RHP
18. Wuilmer Becerra, RF
17. Cory Mazzoni, RHP
16. Matt Reynolds, SS
15. Milton Ramos, SS
14. Akeel Morris, RHP
13. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP
12. Gavin Cecchini, SS
11. Dominic Smith, 1B
10.
9.
8.
7.
6.
5.
4.
3.
2.
1.

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MMO Fan Shot: A Case For Pursuing Pirates Prospect Josh Bell http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/mmo-fan-shot-a-case-to-trade-for-josh-bell.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/mmo-fan-shot-a-case-to-trade-for-josh-bell.html/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 18:02:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169531 Josh_Bell_qvrhw676_mdesbg6a

An MMO Fan Shot by Jason Bay

The case for Josh Bell as I see it is threefold.

1) The longstanding belief that it is having many good players together for as much of their careers as possible, all at the same time that is the critical difference in how high a team can rise. (Think Rollins, Utley, Howard)

2) Combining Bell with Brandon Nimmo is a perfect fit as they compliment each other very well whether it be in the lineup together or splitting time in certain circumstances .

3) It’s an opportunity of being able to acquire Bell without having to move any of our young high end pitching, namely Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard and Matz. The immediate needs of the Pirates are such that we can add Bell without worrying about raising payroll or moving any of our prized arms.

Platoon splits for left-handed hitters in the minors do not always hold up when reaching the majors and in Nimmo’s case there is some cause for concern.

Nimmo vs. LHP

Career – .220/.331/.298, 24.2 K/9, 11.8 BB/9

2014 AA – .152/.278/.239, 22.0 K/9, 13.8 BB/9

2014 A+ – .333/.435/.417, 16.5 K/9, 12.9 BB/9

Let’s see how the switch-hitting Bell compares…

Bell vs. LHP

Career – .300/.343/.450, 11.2 K/9, 6.0 BB/9

2014 AA – .295/.354/.341, 8.3 K/9, 8.3 BB/9

2014 A+ – .320/.333/.495, 10.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9

What this tells me is that if Nimmo does not hit LHP in the majors, Bell’s presence allows us to get the production we need from one outfield spot the 30-40 times a year we face a left-handed starting pitcher.

When we face a righthander however, is where the benefit of adding Bell really kicks in because in this case we would have both in the lineup together (Approx.120-130 starts)

Bell vs. RHP

Career – .298/.363/.449, 17.5 K/9, 9.1 BB/9
2014 AA – .280/.333/.280, 14.8 K/9, 17.4 BB/9
2014 A+ – .341/.396/.504, 12.1 K/9, 8.6 BB/9

As you can see in limited play (94 AB) the power did not show up for Bell in AA but here is where Nimmo compliments Bell if his weaker side power doesn’t develop.

Nimmo vs. RHP

Career – .287/.409/.440, 23.3 K/9, 16.1 BB/9
2014 AA – .291/.379/.493, 17.6 K/9, 12.4 BB/9
2014 A+ – .316/.454/.477, 19.1 K/9, 20.1 BB/9

What you have in Bell and Nimmo are two players who together can be a real force in the lineup and who individually cover the others potential flaws. An outfield with Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto (plus a RH compliment to Conforto) would afford the opportunity to start three right-handed hitters or three left-handed hitters in the outfield anytime we wanted with the ability to double switch and strategize later in the game, utilizing all five outfielders in situations that accentuate their strengths and bypass their potential weaknesses.

Bell also has the arm for right field, something we do not currently have in-house unless Cesar Puello somehow comes through. And If we did execute a trade for Bell, Cesar could get his shot this year as a platoon right fielder while Bell continues to develop.

Having at the least Lagares, Bell, Nimmo and Granderson followed by Conforto does give us four outfielders which in case of injury to one wouldn’t hurt and would be a godsend in the event Conforto does not have the range to play the outfield.

The reason I think this is potentially doable is pure opportunity. Pittsburgh has Edinson Volquez and Francisco Liriano most likely departing the starting rotation as free agents and Russell Martin leaving a void behind the plate as well. They also have outfielders in abundance in Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Austin Meadows on the way.

Here’s one possible suggestion. We can offer Jon Niese, Dillon Gee (or Bartolo Colon), Kevin Plawecki and Wilmer Flores (or Daniel Murphy) in exchange for Josh Bell and RF Keon Broxton (ETA 2015),  C Reese McGuire (ETA 2017) and CF/LF Harold Ramirez (ETA 2017).

Flores or Murphy can takeover at 3B and allow Pedro Alvarez to move to 1B, and we can kick in some money to help cover part of Niese’s or Colon’s salary if necessary.

It does leave us a little bare behind the plate in case of injury, and of course means SS comes down to a competition between Tejada, Tovar and Reynolds while we await Cecchini or Rosario. But the deal would certainly accomplish the Pirates’ offseason goals and pretty much solidifies the Mets outfield for many years to come in the most impactful way possible.

It also gets us a top notch catching prospect who hits left-handed to boot, and more importantly, maintains all of our elite young pitching.

The OF in 2016 at some point would be:

LF Grandy, Nimmo
CF Lagares, Nimmo
RF Bell, Nimmo

What do you think?

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Jason Bay. 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.

mmo presented

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Prospect Pulse: Jayce Boyd Will Be In The Mix In 2015 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/prospect-pulse-jayce-boyd-will-be-in-the-mix-in-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/prospect-pulse-jayce-boyd-will-be-in-the-mix-in-2015.html/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 21:10:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113648 Jayce Boyd Photo by Petey Pete

Jayce Boyd, First Base

Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 185 lb.
Position: First Base
Age: 23 (Happy Birthday, Jayce!)
ETA: 2015
2013 MMO Top Prospect Rank: NR

Boyd was selected in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Florida State University. He played both third and first base while attending FSU, and put up very impressive college numbers. He ended his career at FSU with a .349 average, 20 home runs, and 160 RBI. He was a second team All-American in 2012, and after deciding to forego his senior season at FSU, he signed with a Mets and received a $150,000 signing bonus.

“I don’t see any problem with Jayce handling the minor leagues,” said the Mets area scout. “… I honestly see him in the big leagues in three, three and a half years.”

That quote should really be resonating with fans right now, as Boyd hammered the ball all season in 2013, and is showing no signs of struggling in the minor leagues up to this point. Not at Single-A, anyway. Boyd put up video game numbers in 2013 across Savannah and St. Lucie, but the true test comes in 2014 with Binghamton.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
2013 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-A+ 123 458 68 151 29 2 9 83 61 61 .330 .410 .461
2013 22 Savannah SALL A 65 249 40 90 16 1 5 46 35 32 .361 .441 .494
2013 22 St. Lucie FLOR A+ 58 209 28 61 13 1 4 37 26 29 .292 .372 .421
2 Seasons 177 659 86 199 38 3 14 102 86 91 .302 .383 .432
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/3/2014.

Boyd is a plus-defender at first base—he has soft hands, a strong arm, excellent footwork, and good range. Offensively, he makes good contact, and will profile as a guy that will hit a ton of doubles and always have a solid batting average. He is armed with a smooth, effortless swing and the barrel of the bat always seems to find the ball.

The biggest knock on Boyd seems to be his inability to produce the deep fly, and when you stand 6-feet 3-inches tall, the scouts have a certain expectation when it comes to homerun numbers. It doesn’t mean that the power isn’t there. Boyd has excellent power, but it is reserved for the gaps as of this point.

It will be interesting to see how the Mets handle Boyd going forward. Ike Davis was another guy that came out of college and had a similar offensive profile to Boyd. Davis was known for a high batting average, and not really for the long ball in college. The power was there, but he wasn’t a big homerun hitter. The homerun power didn’t start to manifest for Davis until Double-A.

While Davis is known more for his power, through their age 22 season in the minor leagues, Boyd and Davis were very close in OPS as shown in the chart below. It’s also interesting to see how the past two regimes handled their prospects differently—while the previous regime recognized Davis had an advanced college bat, he skipped over Savannah and was already completed with Double-A by the end of his second professional season—the current regime had Boyd stop off in Savannah, and end the season in St. Lucie (his domination of Savannah shows he should have been on a similar path as Davis, as it was an unneccessary stop).

Davis_Boyd

Boyd has the potential to be a twenty plus home run guy at the big league level. Hopefully the Mets will not look at his size and see that as a disappointment, and let Boyd continue making noise with his bat at the plate. Power is the last thing to develop, and with Boyd’s frame, there is potential.

Boyd is definitely a player that Mets fans will want to keep an eye on as he develops over the next couple of years. He could be at Citi Field by 2015, and should be climbing up everyone’s top prospect charts in the meantime.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

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Flashback: Prospect Pulse On Outfielder Juan Lagares http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/flashback-prospect-pulse-on-outfielder-juan-lagares.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/flashback-prospect-pulse-on-outfielder-juan-lagares.html/#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 19:30:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=106350 juan lagares

I thought it would be cool to look back at one of my very first Prospect Pulse pieces that I did here on MMO from about a year ago. It was on the Mets’ current centerfielder Juan Lagares.

I remember when I first wrote this, I didn’t think Lagares had a shot at getting to the big leagues until 2014 at the earliest. Matt den Dekker seemed to be all the talk headed into spring training for 2013, and I was definitely down with MDD at the time. Juan Lagares surprised many, and has become the perfect example of how you don’t always find guys that contribute to major league ball clubs ranked in the top five or ten prospects in an organization.

Enjoy.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Player Name: Juan Lagares
Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6’1”  Weight: 175 lb.
Position: Outfield
Age: 23 (turns 24 in March)
MMO Top Prospect Ranking: 21
ETA: 2014

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking an in-depth look at the prospects that will be joining the Mets in spring training as members of the 40-man roster. We are starting it off with Juan Lagares.

Background:

Lagares is what most would consider an under-the-radar type of prospect. You won’t find him on any top prospect lists, but after a very solid 2011 season, Lagares put himself on the map in the Mets organization. He split time in 2011 between Binghamton and St. Lucie and put up some pretty impressive numbers. In 470 at bats, he compiled a .338 batting average, hit 9 home runs, added 71 RBI, swiped 15 bases and finished with a .383 OBP. Yeah, that will turn some heads. His 2012 season took a bit of a dip, but he still put up some solid numbers.

Most analysts project Lagares as a left fielder, although he could probably play any of the three outfield positions. He has a nice athletic build, but seeing as he is turning 24, he probably won’t fill out much more (current weight is 175 lb.). That will limit his power numbers, but he still probably has the potential to be a 10-15 home run type of guy. Most believe his power numbers will limit him to a fourth outfielder role some day.

Analysis:

I’ve come across some scouting reports on Lagares’ hitting mechanics that have said he is ultra-aggressive at the plate. This is a cause of concern considering he isn’t much of a power guy. Lagares is a guy that has the potential to steal 20-25 bases in a season, so his goal should be to get on base as much as possible and to be ultra-patient at the plate.

After viewing the video on Lagares batting practice session above, a couple of things jumped out at me. Lagares opens his hips up slightly early, which is a tell-tale sign of over-aggressiveness at the plate. When I slowed down the video, it was very evident (not so easy to pick up during live speed). He should work on keeping his hips closed and allow the pitch to get closer to him which will make him a better overall hitter. If I were I pitcher I would pepper him with off-speed stuff on the outside half of the plate because that is probably his “cold zone.” You can actually see on the fourth or fifth pitch in his BP session how off-balance he was on an outside pitch. That is a pitch he should be driving to right-centerfield. By keeping his hips closed longer, it will allow him to drive the outside pitch, instead of taking defensive swings and fighting them off.

It also seemed like the bat head dragged through the zone. Lagares should be throwing his hands through the zone straight to the ball. Imagine a lumberjack chopping at a tree, which we don’t see with Lagares’ swing. This may not necessarily be an issue, and could just be the fact that he was trying to generate more power to put on a little show during batting practice. But his swing didn’t look very crisp in this particular BP session.

SNY took a look at Lagares last September on their Mets Minor League Report. Here is what Lagares’ coaches said about him:

It was nice to hear Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez say that Lagares can go as far as he wants to go. He also added that he believed Lagares was the best defensive centerfielder in the league last season. Lopez also stated that 2011 was a “Cinderella Season” for Lagares, and he had to live up to very lofty expectations in 2012. He may have fallen a tad short of expectation in 2012, but Lagares has a bright future. If he continues to work hard, maybe he can surpass the expectations that he will just be a fourth outfielder someday. Pedro Lopez seems to think he can. Depending on how he performs this spring, expect Lagares to begin 2013 with Triple-A Las Vegas.

PROSPECT PULSE

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The Top Ten Prospects in the NL East http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-top-ten-prospects-in-the-nl-east.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-top-ten-prospects-in-the-nl-east.html/#comments Sat, 02 Nov 2013 17:44:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132088 Coming off the coattails of Baseball America breaking down the top ten prospects from every team in the NL East, we take a look at the top ten prospects from the NL East.

There were a couple of surprises when looking at Baseball America’s list of the top ten Mets’ prospects, most notably Kevin Plawecki jumping to No. 5, and players like Cesar Puello not cracking the top 10. You won’t find any major surprises on this list, as it’s pretty evenly distributed across the five NL East teams.

lucas giolito

1. Lucas Giolito, RHP Washington Nationals

The 6’6″ right-handed Lucas Giolito was touted as one of the top pitching prospects in the 2012 MLB draft. High school pitchers who can fire the ball at 100 mph tend to be highly rated guys. Many scouts had him tabbed as the greatest high school pitching prospect ever. He is also armed with a ridiculous 12-to-6 curveball to go along with the heat.

In his first professional outing back in 2012, he was removed after experiencing some discomfort in his throwing elbow. Giolito later had Tommy John Surgery to replace a damaged UCL. He came back in 2013 pumping in triple digit fastballs–in other words, he hasn’t skipped a beat.

Giolito has the potential to be an ace and has the potential to move quickly due to his advanced stuff. 2014 will be a test for the young fireballer as his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.

ETA 2015 

2. Maikel Franco, 3B Philadelphia Phillies

Maikel Franco has pretty much shot himself out of the cannon in the Phillies organization. He was signed as an international free-agent back in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic, and should be making his Triple-A debut and possibly be a mid-season call-up.

Franco’s swing generates a ton of power, featuring a big load and very quick hands through the zone, but he can be aggressive at times. He crushed 31 home runs between the FSL and EAS leagues in 2013. For being aggressive, he doesn’t strike out as much as you would think–only 12 percent of the time in 2013. He also hits for average.

His speed will limit him to a corner infield position, and he could be primed as the heir apparent at first base behind Ryan Howard.

ETA 2014

3. Noah Syndergaard, RHP New York Mets

Syndergaard, who will turn out to be the key acquisition from the R.A. Dickey trade, is a tall and imposing figure on the mound. Standing 6’6″, he looks as if he can dunk a basketball just as easily as he can whip a fastball by a batter.

His mechanics are effortless, and the ball explodes out of his hand with his high-90s fastball. His curveball is excellent, and while there have been some knocks on his changeup in the past, it looks like it is developing nicely. He keeps hitters off-balance, and when he needs to, can blow a 96 mph fastball by the hitter.

Syndergaard will start the season with Las Vegas (AAA) and be primed for an early July call-up.

ETA 2014

travis d'arnaud single

4. Travis d’Arnaud, Catcher New York Mets

Travis d’Arnaud will be inheriting the starting catcher job for the New York Mets in 2014. Is the ability to be an All-Star caliber catcher there? Yes. Are there still question marks with regards to d’Arnaud? Also, a yes.

The biggest question mark hanging over d’Arnaud’s head at this point is whether he can remain healthy enough to withstand the daily rigors of being an everyday catcher in the big leagues. The catching and hitting skills are there, but he has to be on the field or those skills don’t translate to anything.

Regardless, Mets fans should be excited to have a guy on the roster that can to potentially hit .300 and pop 20-30 home runs from behind the plate in the future.

ETA 2014

5. Jake Marisnick, OF Miami Marlins

I like Jake Marisnick a little bit more than Baseball America, who had him ranked No. 3 on their recent top ten prospect list for the Miami Marlins (behind Andrew Heaney and Colin Moran). Marisnick made his major league debut last season with the Marlins, and was completely over matched by the big league pitching–there is no nicer way to put it.

He strikes out quite a bit, but he can find success by staying off the front foot and trying to drive the ball to right-center. The Marlins rushed him a bit, and I would have liked to see him spend some more time in the minor leagues polishing up his hitting. The tools are all there, and he could have benefited from more minor league at bats.

The former third round draft pick is also an excellent defender who gets excellent reads and can cover a ton of green in the outfield. If he can polish up the hitting, he profiles as the best outfield prospect in the NL East (Brian Goodwin being a close second).

ETA 2014

Here is the rest of the top ten in less detail…

6. Andrew Heaney, LHP Miami Marlins

Heaney has a silky smooth delivery. His fastball can get into the mid-90s and his slider is filthy. He also features and above average changeup.

7. Lucas Sims, RHP Atlanta Braves

A converted shortstop, he works off his fastball which sits in the low-mid 90s and is working on a changeup to go along with his mid-70s slurve.

8. Christian Bethancourt, Catcher Atlanta Braves

Mets fans will get this reference–Christian Bethancourt is basically Juan Centeno with power (maybe not as good defensively as Centeno, but you get the point). Bethancourt is an excellent defensive catcher who may be the starter in Atlanta with Brian McCann headed for free agency.

9. Rafael Montero, RHP New York Mets

If David Wright is Captain America, and Noah Syndergaard is Thor, then Rafael Montero is Hawkeye. Montero’s poise and pinpoint control make him a virtual lock for the Mets’ rotation in 2014 (barring any off-season moves).

10. Brian Goodwin, OF Washington Nationals

Brian Goodwin is a legit five tool talent. His instincts may hold him back from cashing in on those five tools and being an All-Star someday, but he should pan out to be a solid major leaguer. He has excellent speed, but there are still questions on whether he can stick in centerfield and what type of hitter he will become.

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Mets Organizational Depth Chart: Dominic Smith Headlines A Solid Group At 1B http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-organizational-depth-chart-dominic-smith-headlines-a-solid-group-at-1b.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mets-organizational-depth-chart-dominic-smith-headlines-a-solid-group-at-1b.html/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 18:53:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131308 dominic smith

Welcome to the second installment of our offseason Mets Organizational Depth Chart. Each week, we’ll take a look at the top players at each position in the Mets organization. We hope to provide fans with some insight as to what the Mets currently have at the major-league level on a position by position basis. We’ll also introduce some players you can expect to hear about from the Mets minor-leagues in the coming years.

The second part of this series will take us to first base.

MLB

Lucas Duda/Josh Satin/Ike Davis

Normally, I’d write up each player on their own — but it almost feels like we need to combine their respective talents to get a solid major league player. Duda is the most patient of the group — while Satin makes the most contact and Ike is probably the best fielder/has the most raw power. At different times, each of them has demonstrated the ability to play at a high level — but sustaining it for a long period of time is the problem. Davis frustrates me the most — you don’t hit 32 home runs by accident. I always thought he would be the star out of the group, but he failed to find himself last year. With the Mets unlikely to give Jose Abreu a serious offer, these are the names you’ll have to look forward to — and the few guys that are close in the minor league group.

On the Farm

1. Dominic Smith

Who else but Dominic Smith? Our first-round pick in 2013, Dominic Smith has the potential to turn into quite the young hitter down the line. He’s certainly not a liability on defense, considering he was once a corner outfielder, so he’ll turn into an asset at 1B defensively with a strong arm. He possesses a mature approach at the plate and could find himself moving through the system quickly, as he already made his way to Kingsport.

He started this year off slow in the GCL as he was adjusting to facing more left-handed pitching — and pitchers that used more breaking balls. However, he turned it on as the year went along, dominating August with a .372/.443/.526 slash and a 23.9% LD Rate and 12.5% Strikeout Rate (29-for-78). If I had to project him down the line, I often say he’ll turn into Todd Helton without the benefit of Coors Field — so perhaps a .280 hitter with 25-30 home runs. He could turn out to be the best first baseman the Mets have drafted in a while.

ETA: 2017

2. Allan Dykstra

Dykstra will likely play this year out in Las Vegas with the potential for a call-up looming through most of said year. The Mets are not strong at first base — and some are itching to see what Dykstra can do at the MLB level. Acquired in a trade for Eddie Kunz, he turned it on this year with a .274/.436/.503 slash — meaning he got on base almost 44% of the time. He cranked 21 long balls in just 489 plate appearances as well, and walked 102 times, which is pretty damn impressive. Dykstra likely won’t hit for a high average at the MLB level — because he strikes out too much —  but could maybe crack about 10-15 home runs with a high OBP — which would seemingly fit the organizational philosophy.

ETA: 2014 (Sept.)

3. Jayce Boyd

Boyd owned Savannah last year — in fact, at the time of his promotion to St. Lucie, he was slashing .361/.441/.494. He finished the season batting .330/.410/.461 across both levels with nine home runs in 529 plate appearances. Dykstra’s got more pop in his bat than Boyd, but Boyd makes more contact and strikes out considerably less — which explains why he has some appeal. A polished hitter through and through, Boyd could find himself moving through the system quickly and on an MLB bench. He’s got a sweet swing and when you make contact as often as he does, they’ll find a job for you somewhere.

ETA: 2015

4. Matthew Oberste

Oberste was a guy that I liked coming out of the 2013 draft — I thought he could be a sleeper pick out of that group. He still has the tools to be a solid player someday — and oddly enough, he compares well to Jayce Boyd. Boyd is the better fielder of the two, but Oberste also makes solid contact without much in the home run column. There’s a really small chance he could start hitting for some power, but it’s hard to say. I think he’s got a good swing speed-wise, but mechanically his stride is long and will leave him prone to striking out a lot. He struggled to make contact this year with just a .208 average, three home runs, and 56 strikeouts in 273 plate appearances. I’m never one to give up on a player after their first year in the pros — especially short-season — so let’s see what happens.

ETA: 2018 

5. Eric Campbell

Campbell will probably see some time with the MLB team as a bench player this season. A right-handed semi-utility bat, Campbell can play both corner infield and outfield positions in a pinch, although he seems most comfortable at first base. After injuries and some struggles in the Minors, Campbell will find himself at age-27 at the start of next season without much behind his name. He’s a good potential bench player, since he has pop in his bat (25 doubles in both ’12 and ’13) and a career average of .279. At his age, Campbell’s no longer a prospect, but with the Mets status at first base, anything is possible.

ETA:  2014

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MMO Top 40 Prospects: No. 39 Patrick Biondi, OF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mmo-top-40-prospects-no-39-patrick-biondi-of.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mmo-top-40-prospects-no-39-patrick-biondi-of.html/#comments Sun, 06 Oct 2013 13:13:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130770 2014 Top 40 Prospects

39. Patrick Biondi, OF

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 160 LBs

DOB: 1/9/1991 (22 years old)

Bats/Throws: Left/Right

Hit: 40/50 Power: 20/25 Arm: 55/55 Field: 60/60 Speed: 55/65

patrick-biondi-598x398

A 2013 draft pick for the Mets, Biondi was a senior sign grabbed in the 9th round. He’s a bit on the smaller side, standing at 5’9”, but his body type is that of your prototypical speedster.

It’s very likely that Biondi will barely hit for any power down the line, with just five home runs in 822 at-bats in Michigan. His speed is his claim to fame, however, as he has 103 stolen bases in 130 chances over that span — and he backs it up with above-average defense. Biondi’s got a solid arm, takes good paths to balls, and accelerates well when tracking down balls — so he’s definitely got that part of his game down. He’s also got a career .304 college average to his name, highlighted by his league-leading .388 in 2012.

Biondi, unsurprisingly, was sent to Brooklyn where he posted a .249/.348/.301 slash line in 193 at-bats with no home runs, six doubles, two triples, and 17 stolen bases.

Outlook: Biondi’s speed really excites me — and he plays solid enough defense that I think he’ll end up as a solid 4th OF type player no matter what happens. He’s certainly talented enough to play center field defensively, by the way. His ability to hit for contact will determine whether he can find himself in a starting gig or not someday. He owns a solid walk rate and demonstrates good plate discipline. However, he’ll be 23 at the start of next season and getting his first-taste of full season ball, so time isn’t exactly on his side here. If I had to give you an MLB comparison, my first thought is Endy Chavez — so there’s value here yet.

ETA: Late 2016

MMN Top 40 Prospects

40. Jhoan Urena

39. Patrick Biondi

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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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MMO Top 40 Prospects: No. 40 Jhoan Urena, 3B http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mmo-top-40-prospects-no-40-jhoan-urena-3b.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/mmo-top-40-prospects-no-40-jhoan-urena-3b.html/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 15:55:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130592 2014 Top 40 Prospects

Our team at MetsMinors.net and MMO have been very busy over the last few weeks as we prepared to begin rolling out our 2014 Top 40 Prospects for the New York Mets.

This past season was one of many surprises that saw fortunes of many Mets prospects rise and fall. It was a great year for the organization as several prospects made their Major League debuts and appear to be here to stay – none more prominent of course than our No. 1 Prospect in 2013, Zack Wheeler. Other highly ranked prospects to debut included Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud, both of whom will likely grab starting jobs next season at their respective positions.

We have plenty of new faces on this year’s list, and as usual, we will try to pack in as much insight and analysis as we can as we go deeper into the list, including much of our own first hand observations and what we’ve learned from the Mets minor league development team along the way.  So without further ado, lets get right to it…

jhoan urena

40. Jhoan Urena, 3B

Height: 6’1

Weight: 200 LBs

DOB: 9/1/1994 (19 years old)

Bats/Throws: Switch/Right

Hit: 40/45 Power: 35/50 Arm: 55/60 Field: 45/45 Speed: 45/45

Jhoan Urena was recently named to Baseball America’s GCL Sleeper List — and for good reason. He was signed in 2011 for $425,000 as an International Free Agent out of the Dominican Republic. Urena is a big guy for a third baseman, but many scouts compliment him on his mobility. He also covers himself a little with an above-average arm and demonstrates good hands, so he might actually stick at third base down the line. His range is around average, but still pretty impressive for a guy his size.

That’s quite an important thing to note, considering he packs some extra power in his swing because of his body type. He’s a switch hitter — which is always good to see — but seems to be more proficient as a left-handed hitter. Urena slashed .299/.351/.376 in 157 at-bats for the GCL Mets in 2013 with six doubles, three triples, no home runs, and four stolen bases. I know it’s weird to see me give a potential average power rating for a guy that hit zero home runs, but word is he was purposely looking to make more line drive contact. It makes sense, since he bumped his average up about 20 points from the DSL.

Urena finished the year on a strong note, going 11-for-33 (.333) with three doubles over his last ten games.

Outlook:

It’ll be really interesting to see what the Mets do with Urena. The simple decision would be to let him play in short-season Kingsport and start him at third base. However, depending on what players the Mets draft and subsequently send to Brooklyn for 2014, he also could find himself repeating at GCL again. I’d like to see him try to get that immense power he’s shown during batting practice into some real game situations, but Brooklyn might not be the best place for that…so we’ll see. In any case, it’ll be some time before we start thinking about Urena at the MLB level.

ETA: 2018

Thoughts from Joe D.

I obviously haven’t seen Urena myself, but in speaking with two people who have watched the GCL extensively, what impresses everyone most is above average bat speed and how quickly his hands move through the zone. He has a fluid swing that is not as long as most power hitters, and he generates most of his power from his lower torso and his powerful arms.

MMN Top 40 Prospects

40. Jhoan Urena

(Photo Credit: B. Green)

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Having Cash vs Spending Cash: There Is A Difference You Know… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/having-cash-vs-spending-cash-there-is-a-difference-you-know.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/having-cash-vs-spending-cash-there-is-a-difference-you-know.html/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:22:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125313 dorothy_oh_my

The top of the food chain on the New York Mets have been out in full force the past 4-5 days with one clear and concise message, “We have plenty of money to spend, and we’re gonna spend it… maybe.”

In a series of four separate broadcast interviews and two print interviews, Fred and Jeff Wilpon have been telling the world: Financial problems? What financial problems?

Both Mets owners have been making the rounds on WFAN, ESPN, and FOX and yesterday Fred spoke to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, and added even more clarification to what the immediate future may hold for the Mets.

“I think Sterling’s position is excellent. The Mets’ business is excellent.”

“We haven’t turned Sandy Alderson down on anything.”

In regards to whether the team will return to a $140 million payroll, Wilpon told Sandomir, “I asked Sandy about that. He said he couldn’t invest that much money.”

Alderson has been saying as much since last December and in fact his first words as Mets GM, even before he realized what he was walking into, was that he saw no reason why the Mets couldn’t win with a payroll of around $100 million. His first thoughts about his new team was that a $140 million payroll was too much even in a market as large as New York City.

I’ve oftentimes wrote here that spending large is not in this man’s DNA and if you expect that to change then you really haven’t figured out what Alderson is about yet. He is not about paying market value or above on any player – free agent or otherwise. Put away those thoughts of Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Perish the thoughts of Carlos Gonzalez or Giancarlo Stanton, it’s not happening.

As I’ve ascertained on many occasions, business is booming at Sterling Equities and the rising values far eclipse any debt that tiny division called the New York Mets may have. To put it more succinctly, the Wilpons are going nowhere.

“We don’t need to sell,” Wilpon said, adding that the Mets had not refinanced their bank debt of $300 million to $400 million, due next year. “We have thousands of apartments; they’re full up and we have opportunities to refinance or sell,” he said.

Jeff Wilpon, only days prior, said that Sandy has always had full autonomy to spend and as to why he hasn’t, one should ask him. “It’s his team, his plan, and his decision.”

When he was asked about this in March, Alderson replied, “I have plenty of money to spend, but that doesn’t mean I have to. If you are unhappy with current payroll levels, don’t blame Mr. Wilpon, blame me.”

Now, nearly four months later, Alderson spoke with David Lennon of Newsday yesterday and said, “the payroll will be substantially higher than $55 million, and could approach $100 million in 2014.”

“There’s a substantial capacity there and hopefully we can use it,” the GM said.

Certainly not a sign that that payroll is to go up anytime soon, even in a year that was supposed to be the metamorphosis for the franchise.

“Was 2014 always a target year? Yeah. It should be an important year for us.”

He also took blame for his run of sizable contracts that have largely been busts. “Something that has disappointed me is the inability to get any real performance out of some of the bigger investments that have been made.”

As I always say, Sandy is a nice guy, but if you think he’s going to dole out money like Frank Cashen did for Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez and Bobby Ojeda, or like Steve Phillips did for Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile and Robin Ventura, or like Omar Minaya did for Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez, you’ve got the wrong man.

To bring any marquee free agents to this team will require some serious overpaying – something that won’t happen with Sandy at the helm.

To acquire and major talent via trade will require some heated heated bidding wars that will drive the price up – again, something I don’t see happening.

When confronted with either of those situations this offseason, like a frightened turtle, the Mets retreated into their protective shell. That – in an offseason where there was about $20 million available dollars that went unspent…

There’s something to be said about having ample cash on hand and not spending it, as compared to having no cash at all.  The latter hasn’t really been a valid excuse for almost a year now. The cash is there, however the willingness to spend it has yet to peak its head outside of that protective tortoise shell.

The Mets will have $45 million to spend this offseason and that’s just to keep payroll at current levels and includes no budgetary increase. I doubt very much that it will be enough to dole out raises that are due and still have enough for a signature piece. Expect more Cowgill, Brown and Byrd type acquisitions.

turtle

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Prospect Pulse: Exclusive First Look At Outfield Prospect Vicente Lupo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/prospect-pulse-exclusive-first-look-at-outfield-prospect-vicente-lupo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/prospect-pulse-exclusive-first-look-at-outfield-prospect-vicente-lupo.html/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2013 12:00:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111845 VICENTE LUPO

Vicente Lupo, OF

Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6’ Weight: 180 lb.
Position: Outfield
Age: 19
ETA: 2016
MMO Top Prospect Rank: #15

Background:

Here is a brief profile on Vicente Lupo from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

Signed as an international free agent in July of 2010, Lupo quickly showed a penchant for extra-base power at a young age. While his 2011 season was marred after a dangerous bout with malignant hypothermia that ruined his DSL season, the strongly built slugger came back with a vengeance the following season.

2012 saw Lupo explode in the Domincan Summer League, where he posted a .343/.508/.600 batting line while drawing as many walks as strikeouts –  something seldom seen in power hitters.

Of his 70 overall hits, 31 were for extra-bases. While not possessing top-flight athleticism, he has the bat you look for in a corner outfielder. According to what Mets executives said in response to some questions from Joe D., Vicente will be playing stateside in 2013, so look for him at Kingsport or possibly even Brooklyn this summer.

Everyone is super excited about Lupo. His .500 OBP in 2012 was completely ridiculous, and he had 1.108 OPS to go with that. If he continues to put up numbers like that, maybe he will live up to some early comparisons to Miguel Cabrera. Not much has been reported on Lupo thus far, but what little info is out there has many Mets fans excited. I am proud to say that thanks to fellow minor league analyst Teddy Klein, MMO is the first to have some video footage of Lupo, which you can see below.

Analysis:

We’ve all read the reports – great bat with plus-plus power, raw strength, solid frame and a good eye at the plate. At this point, it’s almost like Lupo is somewhat mythological, since not many fans have gotten a chance to see him play. This video was the first chance many of us got to see of Lupo, since he has spent the majority of his playing time in the DSL.

Vicente Lupo is a player who will need his bat to carry him through the system. He’s not considered speedy and doesn’t have a very strong arm which limits him defensively. He will most likely be relegated to a corner outfield position, probably left field.

Baseball Reference has Lupo listed as six feet, but after seeing him stand in the batter’s box he is probably closer to 5’10″ or 5’11″ tall. He does have a solid build, and seeing as he’s only 19 years of age, he’ll probably put on even more muscle as he matures.

Regarding his swing, he starts with his hands high and then quickly gets them into a good hitting position. Hitters have to be careful with starting their hands up high, because it could take them longer to get them into the hitting zone, leaving them susceptible to better fastballs. But Lupo does a great job of getting his hands down into the zone, and keeping his hands high is a good way to make sure he stays on top of the ball.

Unfortunately, the swing in the video attached is not his greatest effort. He looks like he was confused by an off-speed pitch, and is very off-balance. You can even see in the first pitch that he takes, he is out on the front foot a little. Keep in mind that it is only one swing, and he is 19 years old, so as he matures, he will learn to adjust to the off-speed stuff. He has probably made a living at this point of his career by eating a steady diet of fastballs for breakfast, so as he progresses through the system he will have to work on his pitch recognition and driving the off-speed pitch the other way.

In 2013, we will see how Lupo progresses during his first season playing stateside. Look for him to start with one of the short-season leagues (Kingsport or Brooklyn) and stay in extended spring training until then. He’s definitely a player you’ll want to keep an eye on in the coming seasons and could easily become a top ten prospect for the Mets if he continues on this torrid pace.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: Analyzing Mets Catching Prospect Kevin Plawecki http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-catching-prospect-kevin-plawecki.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-catching-prospect-kevin-plawecki.html/#comments Mon, 11 Mar 2013 15:48:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110592 kevin_plawecki

Kevin Plawecki, C

Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 205 lb.
Position: Catcher
Age: 22
ETA: 2015
MMO Top Prospect Rank: #19

Background:

Here is a brief player profile from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

The 35th pick in the 2012 draft, Kevin Plawecki, was selected with one of the comp picks we received for losing Jose Reyes. The main criticism about the pick was not so much a knock on Plawecki, but rather that the Mets made a big reach taking him with the 35th pick when he could have been around in the third. One of the things that scouts keyed in on was that he had a long swing and it cut some of his power away, but he made strides to fix that in his first pro season since coming out of Purdue. Down in Brooklyn, Plawecki put up a .250 average with a 1:1 BB/K rate (25:24). The NYPL is a pitching dominant league, so try not to get too down on the .250 average, especially when he accompanied it with seven homers and eight doubles in just 216 at-bats.

Plawecki is not a defensive wizard, as he gets by with a below average arm, but he is an intelligent baseball player. Intelligence at the catcher position is key, and he was known for calling his own games when he played at Purdue. Also, considering the fact that he was drafted as a junior in college, it puts him on somewhat of a fast track to the major leagues. His 2013 season will be key in determining what kind of player he will really turn out to be, as he makes the same jump as Hansel Robles to Savannah and potentially St. Lucie.

The biggest issue I have come across in scouting reports was the fact that almost everyone is in consensus that Plawecki should have been a third or fourth round pick. However, that is simply semantics. If you think a guy can help your organization, then why run the risk of someone else taking him?

At the time of the pick, the Mets had little catcher depth in their system, and Plawecki is the type of guy that will be able to move through the system very quickly, and hopefully help the Mets in the near future. While we can label a player a reach because we think that he should have been selected later, there is really no telling what the other teams will do, so when you have a chance to take your guy, you take him. The San Francisco Giants did something very similar in 2011 when they drafted shortstop Joe Panik. When evaluating draft picks it’s not always a matter of who has the better ability, but who has the ability to help the big league club as fast as possible. Plawecki is that type of a guy.

Analysis:

Plawecki is a guy that makes excellent contact. Through his college career, he had a very low strike out rate, and as stated earlier, had a 1:1 K/BB ratio at Brooklyn last season. I have read a couple of scouting reports that have noted his swing was a little long, but his swing is actually very compact, and he gets his hands through the hitting zone very quickly when he keeps them close to his body. If his hands get away from him, he could have trouble with pitchers with better fastballs. He starts with his hands high, has a nice load, and then gets his hands in a nice hitting position. I noticed that on a couple of the pitches he took, he didn’t keep his weight back, and transferred his weight early to the front leg. This can make him susceptible to off-speed pitches as he progresses to the higher levels of the organization.

He has a very level swing, which will lead to a ton of line drives, but it does not generate a ton of backspin on the ball when contact is made, which is why he won’t be a big home run threat. However, he does have solid to gap-to-gap power. Think of Daniel Murphy, but with a little more pop. I would project him to hit 10-15 home runs at the big league level at this point.

Everyone has been completely enthralled with the addition to Travis d’Arnaud, but Plawecki is a guy that fans should keep an eye on over the next couple of years. With questions of d’Arnaud’s durability arising, Plawecki is definitely a guy that could find himself behind the plate at Citi Field within the next couple of years.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: 2013 Mets Centerfield Candidate Matt den Dekker http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-2013-mets-outfield-candidate-matt-den-dekker.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-2013-mets-outfield-candidate-matt-den-dekker.html/#comments Sat, 23 Feb 2013 18:00:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108834 matt den dekker 2

Matt den Dekker, CF

Bats: L Throws: L
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 205 lb.
Position: Centerfield
Age: 25 (26 in August)
ETA: 2013
MMO Top Prospect Rank: #12

Background:

Here is a brief player profile from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

Matt den Dekker has only been in the Mets farm system for three years, but his name has been relevant since the Mets tabbed him as a legitimate centerfield prospect. Den Dekker torched Binghamton upon his arrival in 2012, but struggled after his promotion to Buffalo and saw his strikeout rate increase to nearly 30%. He has a great feel for centerfield and could get by on his spectacular defense alone as a major leaguer. But his ability to hit advanced pitching will ultimately determine how quickly he makes his way onto the Mets.

Den Dekker is likely the closest outfield prospect the Mets have to being MLB ready. The one downside is that he’s another left-handed hitter which means he would have to outperform the glut of other Mets left-handed hitters to earn a promotion.

He is considered a superior defender to incumbent Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but with his inability to consistently make contact and a poor split-performance, den Dekker is likely to begin the season in Las Vegas and won’t make a trip up to Flushing until he can improve some elements to his offensive game. If he can square up and make more consistent contact, while reducing his strikeouts, Den Dekker could make an appearance later this season and end up playing a significant role this year and next. It’s a big “if” but it’s certainly not out of the question.

When looking at den Dekker’s stats, it’s easy to see his numbers took a dive after he made the jump to a higher level. This happened in both 2011 and 2012. What’s promising is how he adjusted at those levels when he started with those teams the following season. He was absolutely destroying Double-A pitching in 2012 after struggling during his first stint there in 2011. In 58 games with Binghamton last year, he hit to the tune of a .340 AVG/.397 OBP/ 8 HR/ 29 RBI/ 10 SB. You can see why he got promoted to Triple-A Buffalo after a sizzling start like that.

Up at Buffalo, he struggled. But as I stated earlier, that seems to be the trend with den Dekker (when he initially makes a jump, he struggles). It will be interesting to see what he does in Las Vegas this year, because if he follows the trend, he should put up some really solid numbers at the Triple-A level now that he got a half season under his belt. If he succeeds in Vegas, he will surely be a candidate to join the Mets sometime in June or July.

Analysis:

Based on the video, den Dekker does have a slight mechanical issue with his swing. It is easily fixable using muscle memory drills. However, he does have a very smooth swing and the potential is there to be a 20/20 type of player at the major league level.

I’m not sure den Dekker will ever be a .300 hitter unless he works out the mechanical deficiency that was described in the video. His front foot opens up during his swing, which causes his hips to open early. This could make him susceptible to off-speed pitches and pitches on the outside part of the plate. Keeping his front foot and hips closed longer should also improve his strikeout rate (since it will help him with the off-speed/outside pitches). If he is going to be a .300 hitter, he is going to have to working on keeping those hips closed and use all parts of the field when hitting.

Here is what a scout had to say about den Dekker via ESPN New York:

He’s a good defender. He throws good enough. He’s got some power — not great power, but he’s got some power. He’s making adjustments. I’ve been there [to watch Binghamton] three times. Every time he’s gotten better with the bat. He’s not flailing. He’s not trying to pull the ball. He’s making adjustments. It looks natural. He will cut down on his strikeouts with this new approach. He’s more patient. He’s going to be OK. I was prepared to not like this kid. He’s really won me over. It’s going to be a very spirited competition for center field between him and Nieuwenhuis, who are both better than Torres.

Those are pretty powerful words from that scout who said that both Nieuwenhuis and den Dekker were better than Andres Torres already, and this quote is from last June. Matt den Dekker should start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas, and you should definitely keep an eye on him in 2013. Depending on how he performs in Las Vegas, he could be in the outfield mix at Citi Field very soon.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: Stock Is Rising For RHP Rafael Montero http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-stock-up-for-rhp-rafael-montero.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-stock-up-for-rhp-rafael-montero.html/#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2013 00:52:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108673 rafael montero

RAFAEL MONTERO, RHP

Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6′  
Weight: 170 lb.
Position: Pitcher
Age: 22
ETA: 2015
2013 MMO Top Prospect Ranking: #9

Background:

Here is a brief player profile from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

If you go by the numbers, Sterling Award winner Rafael Montero is a guy that you should be taking note of. He entered the Mets system in 2011, and has already seen work at six different levels, culminating in his work in St.Lucie last year. Montero was stopped short last year because he hit his innings limit, but impressed basically everybody with a 2.36 ERA in 122.0 innings over two levels, while posting a 0.943 WHIP.

He has continued to keep his walks down, as he’s done during every stop of his MiLB career so far, posting a 1.6 BB/9 rate compared to a 8.1 K/9. To put it plainly, he walked only 19 while striking out 110, and it’s mainly because of the strength of his secondary offerings. In addition, he only allowed six home runs all season, so there are more than just a few reasons to be excited about him.

Montero has an interesting skill set which is accompanied by a frame that most scouts agree needs to be bulked up a little before guaranteeing any success. His fastball is not dominant by any means, but it is possible to work with it at the MLB level. Although it sits in the 90-92 MPH range, it has great late movement and Montero commands it impressively. I have seen him work a curve and a change into his pitching arsenal at times, but I have to say he also throws a good hard slider that’s not far from being a plus-offering. Montero has three solid pitches to work with – the fastball, slider, and change up. He varies the speed on his change well and the bottom drops out more often than not.

Montero pitched well enough in 2012 to get an invite to spring training, and thus far in camp, he has been nothing short of spectacular. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has reported in a recent tweet that Montero is ”thrilling Mets people” in camp, and “unreal’ is the word being used in camp when describing this exciting prospect.

Michael Baron of Metsblog was also recently blown away by Montero and noted that the young right-hander had “electrifying stuff.” Here is more of what he had to say about Montero, after watching a recent bullpen session down in Florida:

He worked counts and the pitch situations that come with that, such as coming back with fastballs down 2-0, and using his breaking pitch on the corners when ahead in the count. He didn’t seem to fall behind too much…Montero’s stuff looks electrifying, but he’s still quite raw, which is to be expected at this stage of his development. He throws very hard, and his breaking pitch has very heavy movement down through the strike zone. He is very lanky, kind of like Pedro Martinez when he was younger.

Baron’s report is just as promising as Heyman’s, however I found it to be a tad contradicting. Baron states that Montero worked counts, didn’t fall behind much, and used his breaking pitch on the corners when ahead in the count which hardly sounds like Montero is ”raw.”

I think what Baron was trying to convey was that Montero is inexperienced, since he has only pitched in the lower levels of the system. Someone who is raw generally oozes talent, but hasn’t figured out how to apply that talent in game situations — it seems that from Baron’s description that Montero is still figuring out how to pitch. Being a raw talent and an inexperienced player are two different things.

Analysis:

Based on the video, Montero does have a couple of minor mechanical issues he has to work on, but he does have electric stuff and tons of potential. His fastball tops out at 93mph, and he has a nice, biting slider to go along with his fastball.

He also throws a slower slurve, which is a bendy combination of slider and curveball, but he uses it very rarely. Montero has a lot of promise, but I would like to see him focusing on developing his changeup, and get rid of that slurve he throws. Most early scouting reports had Montero labeled as a bullpen arm, but with continued progress, he could be a very formidable middle of the rotation starter.

Montero still relies on his fastball, so the Mets will start working with Montero to incorporate his secondary pitches more and more as he progresses. In the lower levels of the system, it is easy for pitchers to get by with fastball, fastball, but as he rises through the system, he will need a variety of well developed pitches to get the more advanced hitters out.

Montero should start the season with Double-A Binghamton, and you should definitely keep an eye on him in 2013. Montero is a name that Met fans should get used to hearing.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: Analyzing Up and Coming Prospect T.J. Rivera http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-up-and-coming-prospect-t-j-rivera.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-up-and-coming-prospect-t-j-rivera.html/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:00:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=108037 T.J. Rivera batted .320/.372/.444 for Savannah and St. Lucie in 2012.

Second baseman T.J. Rivera batted .320/.372/.444 last season for Savannah and St. Lucie.

Thomas Javier (T.J.) Rivera, 2B

Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6′ 1″  Weight: 190 lb.
Position: Second Base
Age: 24
ETA: 2015

Background:

T.J. Rivera is a fellow New Yorker, born and raised in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. He was signed as a free-agent out of Troy University back in 2011. Not much is generally expected out of guys that aren’t drafted, but Rivera seems like his is on a mission to change that. In his first two professional seasons, he has already gone through four levels in the organization (Rookie, Low-A, A, and High-A). He’s compiled a .316 AVG to go along with 10 HR and 85 RBI over those two years. His 2012 numbers, from the time he spent with the Savannah Sand Gnats, are the most impressive. During that time he played in 64 games, compiling a .333 AVG/.396 OBP/8 HR and 37 RBI. Those numbers are probably what led fellow Sand Gnat, Jack Leathersich, to point out that Rivera was the teammate that impressed him most in his recent exclusive interview with Metsmerized Online. Here is an excerpt from that interview where Leathersich says Rivera is a player Mets fans should be very excited to see:

Oh yeah, definitely T.J. Rivera – he’s the one. He’s the real deal. I’ve never been around a kid who prepares as well as he does. He just really loves the game and it seems like every time I see him he’s out on the field working on something. Rivera plays hard and is completely balls to the wall – he’ll do anything to make sure we win. He’s a great teammate and obviously a great player and everybody should be real excited about him. If he continues the great things he did last season, and I’m pretty sure that he will, he’ll be a lot of fun to watch.

Analysis:

Rivera is definitely an under-the-radar type of prospect. He’s not considered a top prospect, and doesn’t have any tools that will jump off the page at you. However, he is making it happen. He has been successful across four different levels, so this is starting to seem like a situation where Rivera could turn out to be the real deal and not just a flash in the pan. There isn’t much footage on Rivera out there, but here is a brief analysis of Rivera’s swing:

Rivera has a sweet swing and it’s going to be really interesting to see what he can do at the Double-A level this season. Making the jump to Binghamtom will probably be the biggest challenge that Rivera has come across in his professional career thus far, as they say the jump from Single-A ball to Double-A is really where you start to weed out the prospects. Double-A is where the cream starts rising to the top. Rivera has a big challenge ahead in 2013, but after reading what teammate Jack Leathersich said about him, we have to assume it’s a challenge he is ready for.

Mets fans have a reason to be excited, and should definitely keep an eye on T.J. Rivera up at Binghamton this season. If his approach is to continue taking it one level at a time, he stays focused and keeps performing the way he has the past two years, the Mets will have a solid player on their hands within the next couple of years.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

You can follow Mitch Petanick on Twitter for more Mets Minor League coverage.

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Prospect Pulse: Analyzing Mets Pitching Prospect Hansel Robles http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-pitching-prospect-hansel-robles.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-mets-pitching-prospect-hansel-robles.html/#comments Mon, 11 Feb 2013 19:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107563 hansel robles

Hansel Robles, RHP

Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 5’11″  Weight: 185 lb.
Position: Pitcher
Age: 22
MMO Top Prospect Ranking: 20 
ETA: 2014

Background:

Here is an excerpt from the recent MMO Top 25 Prospect list, where Robles was ranked No. 20:

Signed as an international free agent in August of 2008, Robles did everything in his power last season to dispel the idea that he projects to be a reliever. Arguably, Robles had the best season of any arm in the Mets system with an ERA of 1.11 over 72.2 innings, which led the New York Penn League. If you include his final start in the post season, he finished the year with 45 straight shutout innings, a WHIP of .784 (47 H/10 BB) and 0 home runs allowed. His 66 strikeouts were nothing to sneeze at, resulting in an 8.2 K/9 compared to an exceptional 1.2 BB/9 ratio. He can throw a fastball, slider, change-up, and an occasional curve ball.

Analysis:

Hansel Robles set the NY-Penn League on fire last year. He dominated hitters with a low-90s fastball, an average slider, and a below average change-up. Many project Robles to be a bullpen guy at the big league level, but he was used as a starter for the Brooklyn Cyclones last season. He was nothing short of spectacular, and blew everyone away with some impressive numbers. However, after breaking down his pitching mechanics, you will see that there is some cause for concern with regards to Robles ever being a pitcher that can withstand the rigors of being in a starting rotation. Check out the video below, where I break down his mechanics, and you will see what I mean.

As you see in the video, his mechanics lead me to believe that he will ultimately be utilized in the bullpen if, and when, he makes it to the big league level. The kid has a ton of potential, and if he can straighten out his mechanics, he will continue to dominate hitters as he moves up through the system. Right now, the velocity on his fastball varies from 90-95mph. The major reason for the huge discrepancy in speed is because of his mechanics. There also has to be concern that the strain he puts on his arm could potentially lead to future arm injuries, so it will be prudent to try and work out the kinks before that happens.

As I pointed out in the video, he uses his arm and upper body to generate his velocity. By using his lower half more, and driving towards the plate, he could generate more consistent velocity and save his arm a lot of stress. His incomplete follow through is also generating additional strain on his arm.

Aside from the mechanical deficiencies, Robles future seems bright. If you throw 94mph, you always have a bright future. He generates great velocity, and after improvements in his mechanics, he will not only improve the consistency of that velocity, but also have better command of his secondary pitches. With an arm as live as his, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if he ended up in the bullpen, which is where I think he will eventually end up and flourish.

For more Mets minor league and prospect coverage, you can follow me on Twitter @FirstPitchMitch.

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Prospect Pulse: Analyzing Second Base Prospect Reese Havens http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-second-base-prospect-reese-havens.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/prospect-pulse-analyzing-second-base-prospect-reese-havens.html/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 12:27:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=107283 Reese Havens 3

Player Name: Reese Havens 

Bats: L  Throws: R

Height: 6’1″  Weight: 195 lb.

Position: Second Base 

Age: 26 

MMO Top Prospect Ranking: NR

ETA: 2013

Background:

There’s not much that I can tell you about Reese Havens that you probably don’t already know. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of the University of South Carolina. Many experts thought he would go on to have the best career of any Mets player drafted in 2008. We are still waiting for him to live up to those expectations.

Everyone knows Havens’ story: tons of talent, can’t stay healthy. Even in a NY Times interview last March, Havens’ father was shocked that the injury bug has bitten Reese during his professional career, because he had never been affected by injuries in the previous years. Brent Havens, Reese’s father, said this about his son’s injuries:

It has been extremely uncanny, the injuries he’s had, because he was never hurt as a youngster. His high school and college careers were basically injury-free. And if he did have an injury, he always healed quickly.

Even Havens’ father can’t seem to figure out what is going on with the string of injuries Havens has suffered the past few years. Hopefully that is all put behind him now, and he can get his career back on track.

Analysis:

There are some Mets fans out there that seem about ready to give up on Reese Havens. I’ve seen some people go as far as saying that he isn’t a prospect anymore. My response is: thank goodness these people don’t work in the Mets organization. I would really hate to see the Mets give up on this kid and then have him turn out to be a superstar with some other team. When the Mets added him to the 40-man roster this winter to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, it showed the baseball world that the Mets still believed in his talent.

And what’s not to believe in? So what the guy had a couple of nagging injuries. That doesn’t mean he can’t play. Look at this quote from Terry Collins, regarding Havens, from that same NY Times article noted earlier:

“He’s one of those guys where you just know the ceiling. If we can get him in the lineup, he’s going to play in the big leagues.”

Terry Collins doesn’t seem worried that Havens won’t be a big leaguer, so why should the fan base?

Havens is a gamer. He oozes baseball talent. He has a solid glove, hits for average and has a ton of power for a second baseman. He also gets on base, and has great patience. He has all the attributes you want in a player. In 2012, Reese may have still been recovering from a back ailment. He may have only hit .215 last season, but his OBP was .340 because he had 58 walks. That’s promising.

What is also promising is his 2011 season where he displayed mastery at the Double-A level hitting for a .289 average, and a .372 OBP across 58 games. Don’t look into 2012 too much, because when it comes to back injuries, it tends to take a season to really feel comfortable again swinging the bat.

This is where I’m going to start making bold statements. But don’t worry, I stand by all of them and believe them to be true. If Terry Collins announced tomorrow that there would be an open competition for the Mets starting second base job this spring, there is no doubt in my mind that Havens would beat out Daniel Murphy on his sheer talent alone. The Mets are dying to get an excuse to get this guy to the big leagues. There’s been a lot of talk of Wilmer Flores converting to second base of late, but it’s surely a backup plan for if Havens never nips this injury bug. Havens is the real deal. He just has to get on the field and prove it.

Age is just a number. Don’t look at his age as being a negative. The guy can play ball, and it shouldn’t matter how old he is if he can help the Mets win. Havens is the future second baseman of the Mets. Murphy is just a stop-gap, and the minute Havens is ready (which won’t be long), he will be showing everyone why he was a first-round selection in 2008. You might want to pre-order to Reese Havens jerseys now, because it’s going to be a hot seller in the very near future.

Havens will get his career back on track in 2013, because guys with his kind of baseball ability just don’t go away. He is my sleeper prospect for 2013. He has top ten prospect ability, and will start the season with Triple-A, but don’t be surprised if he gets called up as early as May (if he performs up to his potential in spring training). He may not have many minor league at-bats under his belt, but mark my words, he’s ready…if he can stay on the field.

For more Mets minor league and prospect coverage, you can follow me on Twitter @FirstPitchMitch.

PROSPECT PULSE

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Jenrry Mejia Tops BP’s Top 11 Mets Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/jenrry-mejia-tops-bps-top-11-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/jenrry-mejia-tops-bps-top-11-prospects.html/#comments Thu, 23 Dec 2010 19:46:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=40690 Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus selected his Mets Top 11 Prospects and leading the pack is Jenrry Mejia.

Here is what he had to say about his top three selections.

1. Jenrry Mejia, RHP

Year in Review: A power right-hander, Mejia surprised many by making the big-league bullpen out of spring training, but returned to the minors to be developed as a starter in the second half following a bout of shoulder soreness.

The Good: Mejia has pure power stuff. He generates both strikeouts and plenty of ground balls with a heavy 94-97 mph fastball that features natural sinking action. He’ll flash a plus power curveball, but his changeup is his best secondary offering, with plenty of deception and late fade. His wide shoulders and thick lower half give scouts fewer concerns then they have for most shorter-than-average pitchers.

The Bad: There are some concerns about Mejia’s ability to handle a full-season workload, as he’s missed considerable time each of the last two years and has yet to cross the triple-digit hump as far as innings. He can fall in love with his fastball and needs to work more on pitch sequencing as opposed to just blowing every hitter away. His velocity comes with some effort, and he can overthrow and lose his command.

Perfect World Projection: Mejia has the stuff to pitch toward the front of a rotation, and that’s where the Mets will try to develop him from here on out.

Path to the Big Leagues: The most important thing for Mejia is innings, and he’ll get those as the ace of the Triple-A Buffalo rotation, with the Mets hoping he can return for a September call up in preparation for a 2012 rotation spot.

ETA: Late 2011.

2. Matt Harvey, RHP

Year in Review: Seen as a potential elite pick three years ago, Harvey saved his draft status with a strong junior year of college.

The Good: Harvey has a nearly perfect pitcher’s frame and the stuff to go with it. His low-to-mid-90s fastball is a dominant offering, and he was clocked as high as 98 mph last spring. He gets good spin on a power breaking ball that gives him a second plus offering when he’s on. He’s unflappable on the mound and earns praise for his aggressive pitching style.

The Bad: Harvey struggled with his mechanics in college, and his multi-part delivery leads to inconsistent release points, which leads to corresponding control issues. His changeup is a below-average pitch that will need coaching and consistent work. He has no history of arm issues, but shouldered a heavy workload last spring.

Perfect World Projection: Harvey has star potential, but with his inconsistent track record, it comes with a healthy dose of risk.

Path to the Big Leagues: Harvey is advanced enough to begin his pro career at High-A St. Lucie, and he’s talented enough to be at Double-A by season’s end.

ETA: 2013.

3. Wilmer Flores, SS

Year in Review: The best pure hitter in the system proved himself at both A-levels as a teenager.

The Good: Flores can hit, period. With plenty of bat speed, strong wrists, and outstanding hand-eye coordination, he consistently puts the fat part of the bat on the ball and uses all fields. He projects for average-to-plus power down the road, and showed some signs in 2010 of learning how to recognize pitches he can drive. He has very good defensive fundamentals and an above-average arm.

The Bad: It’s impossible to find any talent evaluator who believes Flores can remain up the middle. He’s already a below-average runner, and his lower half continues to thicken. He has the tools to play third base, but will need to fill out his power projection to be an above-average player there. His hitting ability gets the better of him at times, as he can become an inpatient hacker at times.

Perfect World Projection: He’s going to hit, but where he ends up defensively will ultimately define his value.

Path to the Big Leagues: Still just 19, there’s no need to rush Flores. He’ll return to High-A in 2011, but could move up once the weather warms if he’s still hitting.

ETA: 2013.

4. Cesar Puello, OF

5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

6. Reese Havens, 2B

7. Fernando Martinez, OF

8. Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B

9. Cory Vaughn, OF

10. Lucas Duda, 1B/OF

11. Darrell Ceciliani, OF

In his summary, Goldstein writes,

Neither great, nor awful, the Mets’ organization is a middle-of-the-road one that provides more long-term bets than immediate assistance to the big-league squad.

To read a full analysis on each player, plus who rounds out the Mets Top 20 go read the rest of Kevin Goldstein’s article at Baseball Prospectus.

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2009 Baseball America Top 100 – Four Mets Make It http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/02/2009-baseball-america-top-100.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/02/2009-baseball-america-top-100.html/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2009 22:02:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/wordpress/?p=2455 Baseball America released it’s 2009 Top 100 Prospects list only moments ago.

Four Mets made the list and here is where they placed…

30 FERNANDO MARTINEZ OF, METS
0: Players in Double-A younger than Martinez last season.
Opening Day Age: 20 ETA: 2010

47 WILMER FLORES SS, METS
0: Players younger than Flores (who turned 17 on Aug. 6) in full-season ball last season.
Opening Day Age: 17 ETA: 2012

77 JONATHON NIESE LHP, METS
178: Innings pitched last season, including 14 in three big league starts.
Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2009

94 BRAD HOLT RHP, METS
1.87: ERA at short-season Brooklyn, one of four categories in which he led the New York-Penn League.
Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2010

Nice to see Holt and Flores crack the list. Here is the Top 20…

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