Mets Merized Online » Jenrry Mejia Tue, 28 Feb 2017 02:13:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A History of Mets No. 1 Overall Prospects Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:00:16 +0000 amed-rosario

Amed Rosario is the Mets’ best prospect, according to Baseball America. He even graced the magazine’s cover recently, so there is little doubt that he will be the most watched minor leaguer in Port St. Lucie this spring. Well, aside from Tim Tebow.

But if history is any indicator, that might not be a good thing for Rosario or the Mets. Baseball America has long kept a list of the top prospects of each organization. Only four of these players became All-Stars with the Mets. Since there’s nothing going on with the team right now besides bloggers speculating about Jay Bruce, let’s take a look at the last quarter-century of Baseball America’s top Mets prospects, and see how they panned out.

2016- Steven Matz-  The book is still out on Matz, but a 3.16 ERA in 28 career starts is pretty encouraging.

2014-15- Noah SyndergaardThe crown jewel of the R.A. Dickey trade has quickly become the biggest star of the Mets’ young guns in the rotation. And that’s only partially due to his spot-on Twitter game.

2012-13- Zack WheelerIt’s crazy to think that just three years ago at this time, Wheeler was considered to be the best of the Mets’ pitching prospects. He showed potential when he pitched, averaging 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 2014. It’s too bad he hasn’t pitched since due to an extended recovery from Tommy John surgery.

2010-11- Jenrry MejiaThe Mets called up Mejia at just 20 years old in 2010, and after a couple of starts it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t ready. Injuries, poor play and– ultimately– several PED suspensions kept him away from the field. He ended up making history, but not the kind you want to make: He became the first-ever player to get banned by MLB for life due to PEDs, after failing his third positive test last year.

2008-09- Fernando Martinez- Remember when it was the biggest deal that the Mets got Johan Santana without having to trade Fernando Martinez?

Martinez was hyped up for years, but he never panned out in the majors. He played in just 47 games with the Mets from 2009-11, batting .183/.250/.290 with a 46 OPS+. In hindsight, they probably should have traded him

2007- Mike Pelfrey“Big Pelf” was drafted ninth overall in 2005, and was thrust right into the major leagues the next season. He was wildly inconsistent with the Mets; check out his stat lines from 2007-2011:

2007: 3-8, 5.57 ERA

2008: 13-11, 3.72 ERA

2009: 10-12, 5.03 ERA

2010: 15-9, 3.66 ERA

2011: 7-13, 4.74 ERA

His career with the Mets ended in 2012 after a season-ending elbow injury suffered in his third start of the season.

2005-06- Lastings MilledgeAnother high draft pick, Milledge was drafted 12th overall out of high school in 2003. He reached as high as No. 9 overall on Baseball America’s top prospects list, and was immediately billed as a five-tool prospect.

But Milledge’s potential never really translated in the major leagues; he played 56 games for the Mets in 2006 and 59 in 2007 before being traded to the Nats for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. He was out of the majors for good by 2011.

2004- Scott Kazmir- Kazmir has won 108 games and made three All-Star appearances over his 12 years in the big leagues. But he never pitched for the Mets, obviously, thanks to one of the worst trades in team history in which the team traded him for journeyman pitcher Victor Zambrano in 2004.

2003- Jose Reyes- This one worked out, to say the least.

2002- Aaron HeilmanHeilman is obviously remembered for his worst moments– most notably letting up Yadier Molina‘s home run in the 2006 NLCS and countless blown holds and saves in big games during the following years. But he actually had some decent seasons as a reliever with the Mets: He posted a 3.27 ERA and 130 ERA+ from 2005-2007. Too bad nobody’s going to remember that.

1999-2001- Alex Escobar- Escobar is another guy who Mets fans were told minor league legends of for years. He’s the only player to take the No. 1 title three times, but Escobar’s MLB career was pretty forgettable– he played just 18 games for the Mets, all in 2001.

1998- Grant RobertsRoberts is best remembered being caught in a scandal when pictures of him smoking pot surfaced in 2002. His career went up in smoke soon after that; the Mets released him in 2004, leaving him with a 4.25 ERA in 76 career outings.

1997- Jay Payton- Payton’s rookie year with the Mets in 2000 helped catapult them to the World Series, as he batted .291/.331/.447 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs. He went on to have a sold decade-plus long career in the majors.

1996- Paul WilsonWilson was drafted No. 1 overall in 1994 and was the poster-child for the “Generation K” trio of Mets prospects, along with Bill Pulsipher and Jason Isringhausen. None of the three accomplished much with the Mets, and only Isringhausen accomplished much at all during his MLB career. Wilson went 5-12 with a 5.38 ERA for the Mets in 1996, which was the only season he spent in the majors with them. He was eventually traded, along with Jason Tyner, to the Rays in the 2000 trade that bought Bubba Trammell and Rick White to the Mets.

1994-1995- Bill Pulsipher- Much like Wilson, Pulsipher entered the majors with much hype but left with little fanfare. He made just 46 big-league starts from 1995-2005.

1993- Bobby Jones- Jones was a staple on Mets teams of the 90s, and was one of the few players from the early-90s doldrums to play for the 1999 and 2000 playoff teams. He went 74-56 with the Mets from 1993-2000, and was named an All-Star in 1997.

1992- Todd HundleyHundley is often forgotten because of the guy who became the team’s starting catcher after him. But he put together some very solid seasons for the Mets, namely when he set a single-season club record with 41 home runs in 1996.

So if you’re keeping count at home, just one player on this list turned out to be a long-term star for the Mets: Jose Reyes, although Syndergaard, Matz, and even Wheeler could join him in that category someday. Ten of the 17 players on here did go on to have at least a somewhat productive big-league career: Hundley, Jones, Payton, Heilman (though I cringe putting him in this category), Reyes, Kazmir Pelfrey, Wheeler, Matz and Syndergaard.

Moral of this list: Amed Rosario, no matter what the experts are saying about him, is far from a sure thing.

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Winter Ball Update: Phillip Evans Continuing Great Season Sat, 12 Nov 2016 12:07:11 +0000 i

New York Mets action in the winter leagues has heated up some since our last update including infield prospect Phillip Evans. The 24-year old is playing for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican League and his offense has rolled over from his great regular season in which he won the Eastern League batting title.

Here are the numbers for Mets players in winter leagues:

Puerto Rican League

Criollos de Caguas

Phillip Evans UT – 7 games, 28 at-bats, .357/.455/.536, run, three doubles, triple, six RBI, five walks/three strikeouts

Gigantes de Carolina

Chase Bradford RHP – 4 games, three saves, 6.0 innings, 1.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, one walk/seven strikeouts

Nabil Crismatt RHP – 3 games (two starts), 12.1 innings, 2.92 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, four walks/ten strikeouts

Mexican League

Aguilas de Mexicali 

Xorge Carrillo C – 25 games, 75 at-bats, .224/.322/.329, six runs, five doubles, HR, nine RBI, seven walks/15 strikeouts

Naranjeros de Hermosillo

Paul Sewald RHP – 12 games, 13.0 innings, eight saves, 1.38 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, zero walks/eight strikeouts

Caneros de los Mochis

Juan Uriarte C – 2 games, 1 for 2 with a strikeout

Dominican League

Leones del Escogido

Luis Mateo RHP – 1 game, 0.2 innings, 13.50 ERA, 4.50 WHIP

Tigres del Licey

Jenrry Mejia RHP – 2 games, 1.1 innings, 20.25 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, three walks/one strikeout

Venezuelan Leauge

Bravos de Margarita

Adrian Almeida LHP – 5 games, 1.1 innings, 47.25 ERA, 5.25 WHIP, five walks/four strikeouts

Navegantes del Magallanes

Darwin Ramos RHP – 8 games, 6.0 innings, 10.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, three walks/six strikeouts

Sewald, 26, is pitching in the Mexican League to showcase his skills to not only the Mets but other teams as well given that he’s Rule 5 eligible. Sewald needs to be added to the 40-man roster by November 18 to protect him from the draft as does Evans.

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Winter Ball Update: Lagares Expected to Play Soon Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:00:56 +0000 JUAN LAGARES 690

All four of the the major winter leagues are now in action. Unfortunately there is minimal Mets action up to this point but that will change shortly with Juan Lagares expected to begin playing on November 15th. Lagares will be playing for the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican League as he has five times in his career.

Here are how players that are affiliated with the Mets have fared so far:

Mexican League

Aguilas de Mexicali

Xorge Carrillo C – 18 games, 54 at-bats, .204/.306/.278, four runs, four doubles, three RBI, six walks, ten strikeouts

Naranjeros de Hermosillo

Paul Sewald RHP – Eight games, 9.0 innings, 0-1, five saves, 1.00 ERA, six hits, seven strikeouts, zero walks

Tomateros de Culiacan

Jose Carlos Medina LHP – Five games, 7.0 innings, 2.57 ERA, five hits, seven stikeouts, five walks

Puerto Rican League

Criollos de Caguas

Phillip Evans INF – Three games, 11 at-bats, .273/.385/.364, run, two doubles, two RBI, two walks, three strikeouts

Gigantes de Carolina

Chase Bradford RHP – One game, 1.0 inning, 9.00 ERA, two hits, two strikeouts, zero walks

Nabil Crismatt RHP – One game, 2.2 innings, 7.71 ERA, three hits, three strikeouts, two walks

Venezuelan League 

Navegantes del Magallanes

Darwin Ramos RHP – Seven games, 5.0 innings, 1-0, 12.60 ERA, seven hits, six strikeouts, three walks

Bravos de Margarita

Adrian Almeida LHP – Four games, 1.0 inning, 36.00 ERA, two hits, two walks, three strikeouts

Dominican League

Leones del Escogido

Luis Mateo RHP – One game, 0.2 inning, 13.50 ERA, three hits, zero walks, zero strikeouts

Tigres del Licey

Jenrry Mejia RHP – Two games, 1.1 innings, 1-1, 20.25 ERA, one hit, three walks, one strikeout (Yes, he’s still technically Mets property)

With little Mets action to this point I’ve found it interesting to see all the former Mets top prospects playing in the winter leagues. Anderson Hernandez, Mike Jacobs, Lastings Milledge, and Fernando Martinez have all seen time in the various leagues. Heck, even former Met Raul Valdes threw five scoreless innings on Tuesday night.

Things could get more interesting as a source told me that Jose Reyes is in talks to play for the Aguilas Cibaenas possibly in December. He would join Lagares on the Cibaenas who is training with the team already and supposed to make his debut in two weeks. Mets outfield prospect John Mora has been on the active roster for the Cibaenas in four games (weekly rosters in DWL) but has yet to play in a game.

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Jenrry Mejia and His Lawyer Set to File Lawsuits Against MLB Thu, 14 Jul 2016 20:45:54 +0000 Jenrry-Mejia

Vincent White, the lawyer of ex-Met Jenrry Mejia is preparing to sue Major League Baseball for alleged “corrupt mob-like activity.”

White issued a statement on Monday regarding his suit, which he claims will shed light on the illicit activities of the commissioner’s office, including “the breaking of state and federal laws, invasion of privacy, computer hacking, extortion threats, and obstruction of justice.”

In April of 2015, Mejia tested positive for Stanolozol, just one week after he went on the disabled list for elbow inflammation. The former Mets closer served an 80-game suspension before returning to the team in July. However, he then tested positive for the same drug (Stanolozol) in addition to Boldenone two weeks after his return to game action.

In the midst of the 162 game suspension given for his second offense, Mejia tested positive again for Boldenone in the 2015 offseason. Following his third positive test, the commissioner’s office handed down a lifetime ban, making him just the second player in Major League history to receive the game’s most severe punishment.

It is important to note that White’s legal action is not directly on behalf of Mejia, but rather a crusade against Major League Baseball and it’s drug policy enforcers. White says he plans to use Mejia’s case as a key piece of evidence.

In light of his lawyer’s actions, Mejia decided to file a separate suit where he will argue for his own reinstatement. Throughout his suspension and appeal process, Mejia claimed that he only failed one test.

He further alleged that the league pressured him to release information on where he obtained the PED’s after his second positive test, which he insists was inaccurate. But his most significant ground breaking assertion came when he stated that the league conspired to engineer a third positive test to ban him for life after his previous unwillingness to cooperate.

The MLB has denied both Mejia’s and White’s allegations.

While no claims have been substantiated in the public eye from either side, it will be very interesting to see how the situation plays out over the next few months. Stay tuned…

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2016 Season Preview: Jeurys Familia, RP Sat, 02 Apr 2016 16:00:11 +0000 jeurys familia

Jeurys Familia, RP

Bats/Throws: R/R

DOB: October 10, 1989 (26 on Opening Day)

Contract Status: First year arbitration (Salary: $4.1 million)

2015 Recap

In 2015, Jeurys Familia was simply incredible.

After a very good 2014 season in which he served as the setup man for Jenrry Mejia, Familia stepped his game up even further, dropping his ERA from 2.21 to 1.85. He raised his strikeout rate (8.5 K/9 to 9.92) but most impressively cut back on his walks dramatically (from 3.72 BB/9 to 2.19).

He had no trouble taking over the role as closer when Mejia was suspended. In all, Familia recorded 43 saves and was outrageously good in high leverage situations, holding opponents to a .582 OPS.

In the postseason, Familia was pushed to the limit. He ended up blowing three save opportunities in the World Series, but I don’t think anyone can say they’d rather have had another guy on the mound.

2016 Projections

Steamer – 65 IP, 2.98 ERA, 9.91 K/9, 3.09 BB/9

ZiPS – 77 IP, 2.69 ERA, 9.70 K/9, 2.22 BB/9

Marcel – 72 IP, 2.88 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9

All of the projections are a tad pessimistic on Familia, and I can see why. His xFIP last year was 2.55, suggesting a significant jump in his ERA. Also, a 1.85 is just not sustainable for most pitchers.

However, there is something huge that is simply too complex to include in one of these projection systems: Familia has added a splitter. And not just any splitter. Familia’s instantly became one of the most nasty splitters in the sport, and he threw exactly zero before August. Think about it: he added a nasty pitch to a repertoire that was already making him incredibly successful.

Considering how few innings relievers actually throw, it’s difficult to accurately project a relief pitcher. That’s why I don’t really buy into the numbers here. Outside a bad week or two in July, Familia was outstanding and only became more dominant as the season moved along.

Having established himself an almost impeccable track record and with the addition of a nasty pitch last summer, I see no reason why Familia won’t continue to be one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.


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Special Feature: Keith Law Talks Mets Baseball With MMO Tue, 23 Feb 2016 14:00:14 +0000 keith law

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of spending 40 minutes on the phone with ESPN Senior Baseball Writer Keith Law. Keith is a lead baseball analyst for and senior analyst for Scouts.Inc. He formerly worked in the front office of the Toronto Blue Jays. I interviewed Keith before last season and he graciously agreed to do it again with the 2016 season approaching. Check out what Keith had to say about the state of the Mets minor league system, their young core players, pitching, infielders, positional logjams, top prospects, and so much more. Then hop down to the comments and share your thoughts! Here we go:

Tommy Rothman, MetsMerized Online: Hi Keith, thanks a ton for agreeing to do this again this year. So I guess I’ll start with the farm system rankings. You just put out your MLB rankings, your top 100 rankings, and your team-by-team rankings. The Mets fell from number 4 last year to middle-of-the-pack this year. Obviously some of that is because they graduated guys like Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto who are no longer “prospects,” but they also traded away some prospects to get the guys they added during the season. So how would you size up the state of the Mets’ farm system, not only in terms of the prospects who qualify for your rankings, but the young core in general?

Keith Law, ESPN: Well the young core’s a lot better, obviously, if you’re looking at most of the rotation. And if you’re looking at most of the rotation, it depends where you draw the line between who’s young and who’s not, you could argue that Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are still a part of that young core. I’ve always been a big Michael Conforto fan, I obviously ranked Noah Syndergaard very high the last couple of years. The only part of that young core I’ve never been particularly high on is Steven Matz, because the injury history is so bad.

But I think their young core is one of the strongest in the game, which will [enable] them to continue to contend even though they’re not gonna spend that much money— the ownership group has made it clear that they’re not gonna spend the way a New York club should spend. So it’s critical to continue to compete through the farm system. And they have plenty of pitching for right now— they have no pitching depth. But they have plenty of pitching for the present, and you do have a lot of position players coming, as some of their guys… say, David Wright‘s tenure comes to an end, or Lucas Duda they decide to let walk, which I’m sure they will, and replace with Dominic Smith. You’ve got replacements for most positions on the diamond. So I think they’re in really great shape, I wish they’d spend more money obviously, but if they’re not gonna do that, they’re still in a great position even after the trades.

Tommy: Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised to see that when Yoenis Cespedes fell back into their range financially, they realized it was the move they had to make and pulled the trigger. But they certainly won’t be competing for those longer-term deals. So with that in mind, you mentioned the pitching depth— they do have the pitchers now, but after they traded guys like Michael Fulmer and Casey Meisner for Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, and other pieces, in the event of injury, they don’t have as many young arms in the pipeline. So obviously young pitching is the Mets’ strength, but is it also something they need to shore up in terms of depth?

 Keith: I mean, if they have the opportunity to add prospects somewhere, sure, adding more pitching would be great. I don’t know if they’ll target pitching in the draft because they’ve never drafted that way, it’s always been “best player available” since Tommy Tanous took over as Scouting Director. I want them to continue to do that. But the strength of the draft this year is probably college pitching anyway, so if the right one happens to fall into their lap, great, they certainly need it. But they’re not really in a position where they’re going to be able to add pitching prospects.

It might make sense for them to target somebody who might be a good sixth starter for them this season, who could spend part of the year in Las Vegas, but who you figure is probably going to make 12 to 14 starts this year for the big league club because you always need that. I don’t know who that’s gonna be, it might have been Fulmer if they hadn’t traded him for Cespedes, but there was nobody backing him up, even if he were still there, you could probably still ask the question, ‘What if Fulmer gets hurt again, who’s behind him?’ And the answer would be, probably nobody.

Tommy: Vice President of Player Development and Scouting Paul DePodesta left a couple months ago for the NFL. What impact do you think that will have on the Mets organization and how they do things?

Keith: Well, I think that’s a big loss, because I think Paul was kind of a philosophical thought leader too, helping drive direction in the draft and player development, and not just losing his intelligence, but losing his voice in the room, could have a lot of impact. Because I think you really had a split camp there last year where folks in the front office didn’t want to trade from the prospect depth to make a short-term run because they were looking at a long-term run of contention with this young core— and they still are. So don’t trade from it unless you’re getting longer-term assets in return. Instead they traded who I thought was their two best pitching prospects at the time in Fulmer and Casey Meisner for rentals. Without DePodesta there, is there going to be a strong voice in favor of continuing to build from within as opposed to making those short-term trades, as opposed to signing a Michael Cuddyer? I don’t know the answer to that. I will say I retain very high confidence in the amateur scouting department because they’ve had such good results and produced prospect value and produced big leaguers over the past couple of drafts since Tanous took over, and I think they’ll be able to continue to do so.

steven matz spring

Tommy: So like you said, you’ve never been high on Matz. Last year he didn’t make your top prospects list. Now you have him up there. Obviously it’s big that he could stay relatively healthy and it obviously helps his ranking that he pitched in the Majors, he pitched in the World Series… how do you analyze Matz, as an individual prospect but also among the Mets group? My personal opinion is that, well, I’m lowest on him of the four, or the five. What are your thoughts on him?

Keith: I would agree. I think he’s clearly behind the other guys. For stuff, it’s an above-average to plus fastball, a plus-or-better changeup, he will show you at least a solidly above-average breaking ball, it’s control more than command, and the delivery is still a little bit mechanical although it’s a million miles better than where it was in high school. But he has still yet to reach 150 innings in any regular season in his career, and he was drafted in 2009. And even last year, which was by his standards a full season, he was out twice with injuries that took him off the field for a period of time. And part of why he wasn’t on the list last year, and when I said it was kind of a fourth-starter type ceiling, and part of why he’s lower this year than Mets fans would have wanted him, is because I have no reason to believe he’s going to be a 180 or 200 inning starter, and certainly not on a regular basis. And a guy who pitches like a #2 starter, but only throws 140 innings a year, that’s not a #2 starter, that’s somebody who, by WAR, is going to produce more like a #3 or a #4.

If he hadn’t had— somebody asked where would I have him if he hadn’t had all the health problems, I said I wouldn’t have ranked him at all, because he would have been their #2 starter by now going into last season. It’s not that I don’t like him, but I have to be realistic about a guy who’s had this many injuries, some of which seem like they’re likely to recur, all of which I think adds up. Wheeler, Harvey, Syndergaard— who is like a machine— or Jacob deGrom, it’s funny, because three of those guys have had Tommy John Surgery, but we sort of shrug that off, whereas Matz it’s like almost anything he could break has broken at some point. And I feel bad for the kid, but we have to be kind of callous when looking at these guys’ futures.

Tommy: So if the Mets did need to make a move, or wanted to make a move, to get a major impact hitter or another asset— obviously Matz probably has the lowest trade value of the four, but he does still have value— is that the guy you think they would and should look to trade to make it happen?

Keith: I’ve never had that discussion with anybody in the front office, specifically in terms of trade value. I think my ranking of Matz has reflected their internal sense of Matz relative to the other pitchers, I think they’ve always had Syndergaard higher since he came into the system, obviously you know what they think of Harvey and deGrom, and I think they believe that Wheeler, as long as he’s back at 100% this year, is also going to be ahead of Matz. And I think Matz’s trade value is going to depend entirely on whether they find a trade partner undisturbed by his medicals. If somebody looks at him and says, ‘we’re comfortable with it,’ says that he’s gonna be healthy and he can throw 160 innings next year, then they’re going to get a really good return on him. It’s possible that there could be something we don’t know about, that would stop any potential trade. That’s the kind of thing we won’t find out— if ever— until there’s a trade out there that falls through because the other team saw something they really didn’t like. But there I’m just speculating…

Tommy:  Yeah, when I watched Matz in the playoffs, and I guess throughout the season, it seemed like he really was just a five-inning pitcher. He was fine, he was solid through five innings, but—

Keith: Yep. And that’s fine, if you’ve got the long guys in the bullpen. The Cubs have Adam Warren, and Travis Wood, and others, if you’ve got a couple of those guys, that’s fine. A five-inning starter as your nominal fifth starter is fine. I don’t know if the Mets are set up to have a five-inning guy as a fifth starter.

Tommy: So with deGrom, I would say he has the least— he doesn’t have Thor’s curveball, for instance. But he’s gotten it done two years in a row now. He’s shown that 2014 wasn’t a fluke. But sometimes you’re watching and you still don’t know how he does it, how they don’t manage to hit him. Do you think he’s a candidate for regression going forward? What are your thoughts on deGrom?

Keith: I’m all in. I don’t think he’s a candidate for regression. I think his fastball life is real, I think his aggressiveness is real, I’m a huge fan of anybody who’s that athletic on the mound, I think he adds value with his fielding, obviously he adds a little value with his hitting. But he can compete really well, he throws strikes, there’s some command, I think there might be even better command going forward, because he doesn’t have the same pitching experience as these other guys [deGrom used to be a shortstop], I’m a huge fan, and, no, I’m not worried about regression.

The only guy in the rotation— we’ve talked about Matz— of the other four, the only one I’d say I’m worried about, I don’t know what Wheeler’s going to look like, or be able to handle, in his first year back from Tommy John. But I was an enormous Zack Wheeler fan going all the way back to high school. If he’s still that guy, their rotation might be the best in baseball. With Matz as the five, Matz could be the best number five starter in baseball. I’m not worried about Thor, I’m really not worried about Harvey— Harvey gave us nothing to worry about last year— and I’m certainly not worried about deGrom. I think deGrom being better in the Majors than he was at any point in the minors is just a reflection of that he didn’t pitch a lot around Tommy John Surgery after signing, and I think the stuff picked up right around the time he got to the big leagues.

noah syndergaard

Tommy: Obviously with Harvey, his first full year, his second year overall in 2013, he had a monster season. Thor is going into that season now. What upside do you think he has, not going forward, but just for 2016 specifically?

Keith: Yeah, I think he could— look, I still think there’s growth here as a pitcher, I’ve talked in the past about how he’s a guy who seems to make gradual adjustments and come back to the curveball, which in high school was a 30 or a 35 (on the 20-80 scale), in the Blue Jays system was like a 40-45, around the time of the trade to the Mets it was average, or maybe a little less than average, but everybody liked where it was heading, and now, you’ve seen with Thor it was pretty consistently an above-average pitch for him [last season]. I know he was worth about 3 Wins Above Replacement in three-quarters of a season, I see no reason he can’t pitch at that level over a 200-inning season, because he’s a horse. He’s built like a horse, the delivery is easy, he repeats it, he does everything you want in a pitcher you’d ask to go out and throw 200 innings for you. And the command and control were better last year. That’s another guy— pitchers get to the Big Leagues with the Mets and they pitch better. And I don’t think that’s a fluke. We’ve seen this with a bunch of guys now. And I think that’s true of Thor too, where— could he be a 5 WAR pitcher over a full season? I think it’s within reach, as long as he’s healthy. And he’s always been healthy. He has the best track record of health of anybody in that rotation. Yeah, I think he could do it. (Note for reference: deGrom had a 4.7 WAR in 191 innings last season).

 Tommy: And then for the other main guy the Mets got in the R.A. Dickey trade, Travis d’Arnaud. Every year we think he can’t possibly have another freak injury, and then he gets hit by a ball a week in. When he’s on the field, I think the consensus amongst us fans is that his defense has been a bit disappointing, especially his throwing. But he’s still young. How would you evaluate him and his opportunity to grow this year and become more of a star all-around catcher?

Keith: I really wonder if his future is at catcher— and I said this last season too— because he can’t stay healthy. And he’s had at least one concussion, which last year I was concerned about just in a baseball sense, now I’m concerned, you know, in a human sense.

Tommy: Yeah.

Keith: So if you wanna remove him from that risk of injury, well if they were any other club, you could find a spot for him, first base, left field, but they’re full right now. I don’t know where you put him. Because they could put Kevin Plawecki behind the plate 140 games, and I think he’d be great in that role. He’s a better receiver, certainly, and I think he’s even more consistent in controlling the running game, but he doesn’t give you Travis’ potential for offense. I think Travis’ bat might play in left, and you might get him on the field more, it’s just not an opportunity that’s open to the Mets. So since he’s clearly going to be on the 25-man roster, my guess is he catches a bunch, gets hurt at some point, they’ll try to mix him in at other positions as they need to, if Duda needs a day off, or Conforto should go on the DL for whatever reason, they could just try d’Arnaud out there, maybe think long-term to see if there’s another opportunity. But I wonder if he’s a guy who ends up traded because they have guys at the other positions where he might play. He’s not gonna run Conforto off of left field, clearly. And if the defense is an ongoing concern— and I agree with you that it’s disappointing— maybe Plawecki ends up the long-term catcher instead.

michael Conforto

Tommy: So you mentioned Conforto, I don’t think many people saw him arriving by July, establishing himself as a starter, and helping during the World Series run. So I know you were definitely extremely high on him when we talked last year, but were you surprised by how quickly he developed and got up to the Majors?

Keith: The only thing I was surprised about was the power output in the Big Leagues— and it was only half a season, so I don’t want to read too much into it— but otherwise that’s kind of what I thought he would be. I thought he was the best college hitter in the draft in 2014, I thought it was a great pick when they took him 10th overall, I thought his approach was really advanced when he worked through the low minors, and I was critical of the Mets when they started him in the Florida State League because he was too advanced for that. I thought he had a lot in common with [young Cubs slugger] Kyle Schwarber, in terms of proximity to the big leagues. Where Schwarber has the higher upside because he’s a potential catcher, I thought Conforto was further along. I was probably a little more surprised by how good Schwarber was as quickly as he was, than I was by Conforto.

Tommy: I think a lot of people will be surprised, when they look at your prospect rankings, by how high you have Wuilmer Becerra, because a lot of people who know him just know him as the throw-in in that amazing Dickey trade. But how close do you think he is to having a chance to contribute, either to the Mets or to another team if they decide to move him?

Keith: He’s probably three years away, I mean maybe it’s a little faster now because he’s 20. I thought it was a real breakout year for him, where he always had the ability— Mets people were stoked when they got him in the trade— but you knew it was a long-term play for them. The approach there is good enough, so that he can get to the strength and to the power. And you and I talked last year about what a terrible park Savannah is for power. So maybe Becerra gets out this year, gets to the Florida State League and starts to hit for a little more power, maybe the next year he gets to Binghamton and then the power really blossoms, because he’s out of those deadly A-ball parks that I think haunt a lot of those Mets hitters, where they get there and they really can’t hit for any power. My only real concern on him— other than that he’s young and that there’s some volatility there— no one is really confident in his outfield defense, so I think you’re just hoping he ends up playable, at either one of the corner spots. And then if he hits for the power I think he’s gonna have, it’s not really gonna matter.

Tommy: So with people worrying about defense with prospects, the idea that the NL might get a DH at some point, would that change the way you value prospects, just because you won’t have to say ‘he can start but he’d need to be on an AL team,’ would that be a big shift for you and other people who look at talent from a young age and factor in the fielding?

Keith: I can only speak for myself here, but I think it really wouldn’t affect the rankings because I try to make all my rankings team-agnostic, so that if I’m evaluating a player for an NL team, who looks like he’s going to have to be a DH, like Josh Naylor with the Marlins, I evaluate him exactly the same. His role is limited. He’s maybe a DH, he may be a first baseman, we’ll see. But it’s a bad body, and it could potentially end up at DH. And that’s going to drastically reduce his value, because we know replacement level is higher, anybody can DH. So it’s not gonna change that. It may actually change his market value, because you’re doubling the number of teams that could have an opportunity to play a player like that. Like where the Cubs look at a prospect like Daniel Vogelbach and say, ‘The kid can hit, but we have zero use for him.’

Tommy: The Mets have a lot of outfield depth, so one guy who’s kind of being forgotten about as a prospect is Brandon Nimmo, obviously they picked him very high several years ago, despite him having not— I don’t think he even played high school baseball.

Keith: Right. They don’t have it in Wyoming.

Tommy: So where would you say he is in terms of his development at this stage?

Keith: I would describe his development as kind of stalling out, where he got to double-A, and did not take a step forward. And it looks like he’s not taking a step forward, he moved to Vegas at the end of the year, and still didn’t hit well, and still didn’t find any power. And nobody seems to think he can play center field. So now you’ve got a corner guy, with some on-base ability, but no power, and isn’t really hitting for a high- enough average that you feel super confident in the OBP, and I don’t think that’s a regular anymore. When he was 19 and drafted, I could see the pick, but it has to come with power. And I don’t know if the lack of power is a hand strength issue, or— he had a lot of problems with his knees when he was younger, maybe he’s not generating that power from his legs— but at some point I have to look away from the body and just look at the production. And even in a more favorable power environment, he’s still not hitting for power. And given his age, and how long he’s been in the system, and especially the fact that he went to Vegas and didn’t find power, I just sort of feel like, I don’t know, maybe it’s not gonna be there. And that would make him a fourth outfielder. And probably a fourth outfielder soon, but nothing more than that.

Tommy: And now for the middle infield, obviously it’s going to look a lot different this year with Wilmer Flores bouncing around, and then Asdrubal Cabrera at short, and then Neil Walker instead of Daniel Murphy at second. So the first question is, whether you think they upgraded, downgraded, whether there’s much of a shift going from Walker to Murphy on both sides of the ball?

Keith: I’ll say I like Walker more than Murphy. I think Murphy was pretty bad defensively and I think it really cost them, maybe even more than the defensive metrics might reflect, because of the way they might have had to compensate with guys at other positions. Because he never really could play second base. They were just trying to find a spot for his bat, and I respect that approach, but it didn’t work. Walker can play second base. He’s not great, but he’s turned himself into a perfectly serviceable defensive second baseman.

Cespedes Yoenis

Tommy: So speaking of defense— before I ask you about Cabrera— with Cespedes, he won a Gold Glove last year in the AL, in left field, obviously those aren’t much of a reliable stat, but he has the best arm in baseball and he has good speed. But people view him… statistically there are a lot of people who argue he’s a disaster in center field. Do you think there’s room for his physical tools to translate and for him to become a good center fielder now that he’s going to be playing there full time?

Keith: I don’t think so. Having seen Cespedes all the way back to his first Spring Training in Oakland, where they did run him around in center, no I don’t think so. I think he can really be excellent in a corner, but it’s too much of an ask to ask him to play average or better defense in center field. Maybe it’s something they can live with, because they want his power, because the middle of the order is a little short on power— it’s a much better OBP lineup, especially because of Conforto, but definitely light on the power. It’s a trade-off. And it may be that that trade-off is fine for them, but I do think they’re gonna miss— 2014 Lagares back in center would be an awfully nice thing to have.

Tommy: So what do you think goes into that, the idea that someone with great physical tools, and definitely the speed to have good range, could be great in left, what makes him just so hopeless out in center? Is it route-running, how he reads fly balls, or…

Keith: I mean I don’t think he’s super fast, either. It’s not like he’s a 70 runner, and his first step is not that quick. Underway, he’s fast. And underway, I’d wanna get the hell out of his way. But speed in center, speed translating to defense in center is often about that first step quickness. I don’t think he has that. Maybe I haven’t seen him enough in center, other than in the playoffs, where he didn’t look good, if you really evaluate that. I don’t think that’s gonna be— or I don’t think that is— a strength of his.  Where in a corner it’s a little bit less of an issue, and you mentioned the Gold Glove, it’s probably because he can really throw, the guy’s a human highlight reel if you let him throw. And really, if you run on him, you’re stupid. Because it’s, not only is it strong, it’s reasonably accurate. It’s not an arm I would actively want to test.

Tommy: So you mentioned the lineup earlier, you’re right that there’s not a ton of 30-homer guys— you’ve got Cespedes, and maybe Duda. But one thing they have that they definitely haven’t had in a long time is that when you go up and down, everybody in that lineup should be able to hit 15 home runs, plus, including Cabrera. What’s Cabrera— what does he have, first in terms of power, and then— because he’s been so streaky, he was a star a few years ago, then he had a slump, but last year he had a great second half— what should Mets fans, first of all, expect, and also, be able to hope for?

Keith: I mean, the big problem with him is that he can’t play shortstop. He CANNOT play shortstop, and he hasn’t been able to play shortstop for several years now. So I don’t understand— I mean yes, this is the front office that decided Wilmer Flores could play shortstop, he really couldn’t play shortstop either— but then to go from Flores to Cabrera— is Cabrera really better than Flores, at anything? I mean Flores, I know the production wasn’t great, but the swing’s good, he puts the ball in play a lot, and I still think he’s going to come into some power, whereas Cabrera, outside of that one crazy first half power-wise he had with Cleveland a couple years ago, you kind of never got it. So I don’t understand— do they think they’re getting a better defensive shortstop than they really are? Do they think he’s going to turn into a 20 homer guy? Because I don’t believe that that’s the case.

I didn’t understand that signing at all. It’s part of why— somebody asked me about the Mets offseason— it’s great that they did spend some money, but what if they had taken the money they gave to Cespedes, and Cabrera, and Alejandro De Aza, and thrown it at one of the more premium free agents on the market. They could have done something better. Cabrera over Flores, I don’t even know if that’s an upgrade, and if it is, it’s a fairly small one.

Tommy: So prospect-wise in the middle infield, I know you’re extremely high on Amed Rosario and you have been for awhile, and then there’s Gavin Cecchini, who you put in your top 100. I know Cecchini’s probably closer in terms of an MLB timeline, but how would you analyze those guys offensively and defensively, and in terms of when you think they’re going to be able to contribute?

Keith: Cecchini’s glove is ready. His arm, he had a little bit of a throwing issue, last year. And he was better in Fall League, he was even better in August or so, I know they started to work on him with— particularly if a runner was going fast, he hesitated a fraction of a second, and suddenly looked up and realized the runner was getting down the line, then he’d rush a throw and often overthrow the first baseman. Just trying to work with him on that, it looked like he was better in Fall League. If that problem is resolved, his glove is ready. A half-season or more at Triple-A is not gonna hurt him because he’s really only been performing offensively the way we expected when he was rafted for about a year and two months, or so. So I’m fine with taking it slow with a guy like that.

Rosario, it’s still more tools than performance. This will be a big year for him. Obviously they jumped him a level last year, which was aggressive, and I think in the context of his aging and experience, he had a great year. But now, alright, now let’s go, let’s see the harder contact, let’s see the power, because we think it’s all there, but again he pays in a crappy offensive environment in St Lucie. Let’s see him go to double-A and start to produce a little more. He doesn’t have to be a superstar statistically, because given his youth, if he performs even a little bit, if some of that power starts to arrive, I think we’ll all feel a lot better about him getting to that star upside. But I think he’s a solid two years away from doing anything in the Majors, and he may be a guy who gets to the Big Leagues, and it’s defense first and the occasional home run, but it takes another year or two for the whole offensive [set] to come together. I’m just betting on the huge upside, because from tools, I don’t think there’s louder tools anywhere in the system.

jeurys familia

Tommy: So now I have a few questions about the bullpen. What are your thoughts on that situation at large?

Keith: On the Major League bullpen? I didn’t like the Clippard acquisition, in part because I didn’t think he was that huge of an upgrade over a Hansel Robles, I think they paid for experience. Then they turned around and picked up Addison Reed for lesser prospects, and that made more sense, and Reed carried over so they get more than a couple months out of him. I think that they had enough power arms, still have enough power arm relievers, sticking around the system that they can certainly patch together a good enough, more than good enough bullpen for than this year, with Jeurys Familia being potentially a dominant, top five, top ten closer in the game for a couple years here. I certainly feel way better about their bullpen now than I would have going into last season. And I would really like to see them trust that, and not do what they did. Don’t go out and trade real prospects, like Meisner, for bullpen help, while that bullpen help is already in hand, somebody in the system, who maybe can convert. It’s not gonna be a guy like Robert Gsellman. They have power arms sticking around, who could potentially go into that role for them.

Tommy: So like you said, you’re not a big fan of big trades for relievers at the deadline. But because a lot of teams usually do make some veteran relievers available, do you think they still have some of the depth, possibly at the major league level, to—

Keith: Oh yeah. To go get one? Yeah. Absolutely. Well because you can swap a position player who doesn’t fit for you, to go get a reliever. Or— Nick Pivetta was the cost for Jonathan Papelbon. I do like Pivetta, but he is— I like Pivetta because I think he has a chance to be a fourth starter. But if you said to me, ‘Hey Keith, I want you to nitpick Pivetta to death right now,’ I could also do that for you. He’s not a perfect prospect. There are strengths and there are flaws. And the Mets have prospects like that, mostly on the position player side, but they have prospects like that who could return someone of value. Nimmo could be that guy, where they flip him in July, one-for-one deal for a reliever with an expiring contract, and because I don’t Nimmo’s ceiling is that high, I’m okay with that. You hope to get a good reliever, not a Tyler Clippard, but that concept is fine. My problem with the Clippard deal was they gave up a good prospect for a reliever who I just did not think was very good. And then he wasn’t good.

Tommy: So now, with a situation like Jenrry Mejia, you follow these guys, being in your position, you follow them from a very young age. And it kind of looked like he was gonna contribute, he had 30 saves a couple years ago, and then his career, and really his life, just fell apart so fast… what are your comments and thoughts on that situation?

Keith: It’s sad. And it’s sad that a guy like that would feel like he has to do that, to further his career. I don’t know what the path back is, for a guy like that, we really don’t have any precedent… If I were his agent, for one, you’re just trying to get the kid— do we have a problem here that needs to be addressed off the field? And the second thing is, you wanna work, you wanna pitch, let’s get you in one of those leagues overseas, whether it’s in Europe, or somewhere, or something. Let’s just have you go pitch somewhere, be healthy, be clean, for a year, two years, work his way back and then try to work with Major League Baseball to see if there’s a chance of reinstatement at some point. Because as much as the lifetime ban was intended to— I think it’s there to be a deterrent, rather than to actually kick someone out forever. My guess is they probably figured they’d never get to this point, now they are at this point. They have to at least create an appeals process for somebody like that to clean his act up and potentially get back into organized baseball here. And I hope he does. Because I, you know, his livelihood has been taken away from him. Through his own fault! But still, he’s not hurting anybody. You’d like to see him be able to, if he cleans up his act, to be able to get back into organized baseball.

Tommy: And finally, the Mets are obviously in a much different situation in terms of outlook than they were a year ago. And the way their division is set up, obviously the Braves and Phillies aren’t going to threaten them in any way, the Marlins, every year people think they might do something, but they usually don’t, and then there’s the Mets and the Nationals. So the Mets definitely aren’t a guarantee to repeat, but they definitely have one of the most enviable positions, in terms of winning their division, in Baseball. So what’s your outlook on the Mets this season, just what you’re expecting, what you think the upside and the floor is?

Keith: I think I’d probably pick them to win the division. I think they can at least match Washington for talent on the field. Washington might be more famous, obviously Washington has maybe the best player in the league playing right field. But I think the Mets have a little more depth, they probably have more players who are underrated on name value, and I trust their front office more. And I trust their manager substantially more. I do not wish to underestimate Dusty Baker‘s ability to make the wrong decision, to think Trea Turner isn’t ready and send him to the minors and let Danny Espinosa screw up at shortstop for two months before they make a change. We’ll know more on April 3rd or whenever Spring Training breaks, but for right now, I’d give the edge to the Mets in a couple for departments.

Tommy: Alright! That’s all the questions I have for you. Thanks again so much for doing this.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Again, a big thanks to Keith for his time and insight. Check out his recently released Prospect Rankings if you have ESPN insider.

As always, leave your reactions in the comments (Unless you’re Dusty Baker).

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Sandy Alderson Spoke With Reporters At Tradition Field Wed, 17 Feb 2016 16:54:14 +0000 New York Mets Spring Training

General manager Sandy Alderson arrived to Mets camp at Port St. Lucie today and held a short media session with reporters. Here is a summary of what he had to say:

1.  Sandy is happy with team he has put together. “I haven’t really been this upbeat about a team in a long time and I think that’s exciting for us, for the players and fans as well. We may not have a lot of competition for jobs, but I think we’re going to have competition for playing time. And I think that’s just as important.”

2.  Sandy doesn’t have a set 90-win goal but he expects the team to win as many games as it takes to win the NL East division. “That is the goal.” He also said that the team is taking nothing for granted and that the players know there is room to grow both in the regular season and postseason.

3.  Regarding the young starting pitchers, don’t expect to see any of them pitching during the first 4-5 Grapefruit League games. While Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will not be on any innings limits, the team will be vigilant in keeping them strong throughout the entire season by using a spot starter at times and other things they did last season.

4.  As for David Wright, the team is going to be mindful of his situation with the goal of being more proactive than reactive regarding his health. The Mets will use Spring Training to try some players at third base that could spell Wright during the regular season when he needs rest. But don’t expect Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera to automatically slide to third whenever Wright sits. It’s a situation that will be in flux and evolving with Wilmer Flores in the mix.

5.  While catcher Travis d’Arnaud will see some time at first base and outfield during Spring Training, there’s no push to get him out of his everyday catcher role. “We’re not all that anxious to move Travis from behind the plate. He can be a plus-plus player there.” Kevin Plawecki will also see some time at 1B and OF.

6.  Despite Jenrry Mejia‘s suspension, the Mets still do not foresee signing any more relievers to Major League deals. However, if a good opportunity arises, it is not inconceivable that the Mets trade for a reliever toward the end of Spring Training.

7.  Finally, Alderson gave an update on his health, telling reporters he feels great but that being diagnosed with cancer was a surreal experience for him. He has a good longterm prognosis and added that the side effects of his bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments have not been too significant for him. He is still undergoing therapy and will leave Spring Training and head back to New York for his next treatment.

That’s a wrap…

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The Troubling Case of Jenrry Mejia Mon, 15 Feb 2016 13:00:30 +0000 USATSI-jenrry-mejia-Credit-Brad-Bar

The sad tale of Jenrry Mejia came to a close Friday night, as reports flew in that Mejia had failed a third drug test in less than a year. Major League Baseball issued a lifetime ban to Mejia, joining only Pete Rose on their banned list of players. Mejia can seek a reinstatement after one year, but would have to sit out a minimum of two years before he could potentially be reinstated.

Mejia, 26, undoubtedly left many Mets fans vehemently upset and angry over his third failed test, and failing the second and third time while already serving a prior suspension. It raises many questions on who was in Mejia’s ear and aiding him along while he served his first two suspensions? After the first time, wouldn’t his agents, family, and friends try to do their best to make sure Mejia didn’t make the same mistake?  You wonder whom Mejia had in his corner during these past several months, if anyone, to lean on for advice and help.

Many felt that the Mets should have cut him after the second failed test last summer, as it seemed that Mejia was uncommitted and didn’t understand the propensity of his actions. The Mets held on to Mejia and tendered him a contract in January for $2.47MM, though a large portion of that would be reduced due to time missed this season. The way the Mets were seeing it, they would be receiving a mid to upper 90s late innings reliever for the stretch run, someone that would help and provide experience in the back end of the pen. Mejia would essentially be the equivalent of adding a quality bullpen arm before the trade deadline.

But all that comes to an end now, with Mejia hammering the nail in his own coffin. While fans have the right to be outraged and upset, one does hope that Mejia seeks whatever treatment he might need to get back on track in his life. While his Major League career appears to be over, Mejia is only 26 years old, and it would be a shame to see such a young man derail his life over bad judgment.

I find it comical that some have made inferences that if Mejia was going to cheat, at least take drugs that are harder to detect or undetectable under the current testing. John Harper of the Daily News had a column in Saturday’s paper that talks about how players are now taking “synthetic testosterone and other more sophisticated PEDs…more for day-to-day strength and recovery to help players perform at their highest level over the grind of 162 games.”

Cheating is cheating; no matter what drugs one is taking or for whatever personal reasons they have behind it. Yes, getting caught with the same drugs (Stanozolol and Boldenone) is unequivocally moronic and puzzling, however, it wouldn’t make the suspension any easier to swallow had Mejia been caught with any other PED.

What Harper’s column does remind us all is that players aren’t as naive and foolish as Mejia was. Most players know what drugs are detectable and how fervent drug testing is now throughout the year. Harper brings up how very few players are getting caught failing drug tests these days. That most likely is predicated on the fact that A. a tougher more stringent drug place is in effect than ever has been before, and B. more and more undetected drugs are available on the market that players can turn to to skirt the system. So yes, the drug testing that’s in place is a great start, but there seems to always be newer PEDs that players can turn to that won’t result in a positive test result.

As far as Mejia goes, I will miss his enthusiasm and excitement he brought on the mound, along with the several plus pitches he commanded. I hope Mejia gets the right help he needs to get his life back on track and finds a new venture. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include a late September hold against the Nationals anymore for the young right-hander.

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Jennry Mejia Says He’ll Fight To Bitter End To Clear His Name Sat, 13 Feb 2016 03:20:54 +0000 Jenrry - Mejia

Latest Update:

Jenrry Mejia told Dominican Republic reporter Hector Gomez the following tonight, in reaction to the lifetime ban by MLB.

“I will appeal (the lifetime ban) win or lose, and I have a lot of faith. I have to clear my name. I will not stand by with my arms crossed and fully intend to take this case to the bitter end.”

“It is not how they (MLB) say, I am very certain that I did not use any steroids.”

Original Report

Former Mets closer Jenrry Mejia has been permanently suspended by Major League Baseball after testing positive a third time for PED’s.

Mejia, 26, was a former top prospect for the Mets, and originally made his MLB debut in 2010 at the age of 20.

However, it wasn’t until 2014 where Mejia made a name for himself, going 6-6 with a 3.65 ERA, and saving 28 games for the Amazins.

He became a beloved figure among fans due to his fiery and energetic presence on the mound, and his signature stomp after closing out games.

Fast forward to 2015, and Mejia was slapped with suspensions on two different occasions for testing positive for both Stanozolol and Boldenone, the same substance in which he was just suspended for again today.

Mejia was slated to return in July, and even agreed to a $2.47 million salary for the 2016 season to avoid arbitration.

He will become the first player in MLB history to be banned from baseball for violating the “three strikes and you’re out” PED policy.

According to Adam Rubin via Twitter, Mejia will seek reinstatement, but would have to wait one year to ask and serve a two-year suspension on top of that.

Additionally, Rubin notes that MLB suspensions are honored by affiliated leagues in other countries, such as in Japan, South Korea and Mexico. However, suspended players are allowed to compete in winter leagues, such as in Jenrry Mejia’s native Dominican Republic.

This is ridiculous. Jenrry Mejia, you should be ashamed of yourself. Three suspensions for PED’s? You didn’t learn your lesson the first two times? Even that in itself is bad!

I have no words. I am fuming. If you get caught using a banned substance on three separate occasions, you deserve to be permanently suspended. Enough said.

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Revisiting The Johan Santana Deal Eight Years Later Mon, 01 Feb 2016 19:26:47 +0000 Johan Santana

On February 1, 2008, Johan Santana agreed to a six-year, $137.5 million dollar contract with the New York Mets, two days after the Minnesota Twins dealt their ace left-hander for center fielder Carlos Gomez, and pitching prospects Philip HumberDeolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey. By all accounts, it was a steal for the Mets.

The Mets had two days to seal-the-deal with Johan and as time was running out, both clubs asked for and received an MLB approved 2-hour extension. With three minutes to spare, the Mets announced the landmark deal that made Johan Santana the highest paid pitcher in baseball history.

More importantly for the Mets, after a historic and gut-wrenching collapse in 2007, the Mets were now the odds-on favorite to win the NL East with 10:1 odds they would go all the way and win the World Series.

Of course, it never happened, but that was hardly Santana’s fault, who led the National League with a 2.53 ERA in 2008 with a league leading 34 starts and 234.1 innings pitched while racking up 208 strikeouts and a 7.1 WAR. He would finish third in the Cy Young voting.

Things began to unravel for Santana after that as his body began to break down, and he would never give the Mets 30 starts or 200 innings again. However, when he was on the mound and healthy, few were better than Santana.

When all was said and done. Santana’s Mets career amounted to a 46-34 record over four years with a 3.18 ERA and 1.201 WHIP in 109 starts.

johan-santana no-hitter

A two-time Cy Young award winner who prided himself on making only one trip to disabled list in his eight years with the Twins, was hurt each season with the Mets, including missing all of the 2011 and  2013 seasons.

Despite all of the injuries, Santana gave the Mets everything he had when he was on the mound, and was one of the fiercest competitors ever to don the Orange and Blue.

No Met fan will ever forget the complete game, three-hit shutout he tossed against the Miami Marlins in the second to last game of the 2008 season. It was a do or die game and he answered the call on three days rest while battling a leg injury.

And of course, Santana will forever be remembered with reverence for tossing the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history. It happened at Citi Field against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 1, 2012 and when David Freese struck out to end the game, there wasn’t a dry eye in New York. It was euphoric and transcending, but it would also be Santana’s last shining moment as a Met.

So if you had to do it all over again, would you still make the trade for Johan and agree to the $137.5 million contract that sealed the deal? Of course you would. I do that trade again in a heartbeat and I never look back. I cried buckets on June 1 and I’ll never forget that night as long as I live. Worth every damn dime.

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Mets Avoid Arbitration With Harvey, Tejada, Reed, Torres, Edgin Fri, 15 Jan 2016 19:59:20 +0000 matt harvey

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Mets have agreed to contracts with relievers Addison Reed for $5.3 million, Carlos Torres for $1.05 million, and Josh Edgin for $625,000, thus avoiding arbitration.

Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record adds hat the Mets have also settled with Matt Harvey for $4.325 million and Ruben Tejada for an even $3 million.

That leaves Lucas Duda, Jeurys Familia, Neil Walker, and Jenrry Mejia - who all exchange salary arbitration figures.

Familia, who tied the franchise record with 43 saves last season, requested a raise from $524,000 to $4.8 million while the Mets submitted an offer of $3.3 million.

Second baseman Neil Walker made $8 million with the Pirates last season and is requesting $11.8 million, with the Mets countering at $9.4 million.

First baseman Lucas Duda is asking for $7.4 million, with the Mets submitting a $5.9 million offer.

Reliever Jenrry Mejia submitted a $2.595 million offer while the Mets countered with $2.345 million). Surprising that they couldn’t agree.

January 12

As expected, Lucas DudaJeurys FamiliaJosh EdginMatt HarveyJenrry MejiaAddison ReedRuben Tejada,Carlos Torres, and Neil Walker all filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday, according to Anthony DiComo of

The Mets have a long history of settling with their players and avoiding facing off against them in front of an arbitrator.

Look for both sides to exchange figures and meet in the middle beginning as soon as this week. Here are the latest projections:

Arbitration Projections ($38.0 Million)

Neil Walker – $10.8 Million

Lucas Duda – $6.8 Million

Addison Reed – $5.7 Million

Matt Harvey – $4.7 Million

Jeurys Familia – $3.5 Million

Jenrry Mejia – $2.6 Million

Ruben Tejada – $2.5 Million

Carlos Torres – $800 K

Josh Edgin – $600 K


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Final Mets Dominican Winter League Regular Season Stats Mon, 28 Dec 2015 18:18:51 +0000 Photo by

Juan Lagares continued some of his offensive trends from the regular season with the Mets right into winter ball action with the Aguilas Cibaenas. He hit .276/.333/.293 overall but was great against left-handed pitching going 7 for 13 without a strikeout. However, he was just 9 for 45 against righties with 11 strikeouts.

He did have an eight-game hitting streak that was snapped in what will be his last game of the winter season with the Aguilas not making the playoffs. More importantly though is the fact that Lagares had two outfield assists in his last game including throwing out a runner trying to score from second on a single.

Lagares had seven runs scored, five RBI, five walks, double, and two stolen bases in 16 games for the Aguilas. Here are some highlights from his time in the DWL, game-winning bloop singlego-ahead single to right field, and this nice lunging play in center field.

Here are the rest of the Mets affiliated players regular season stats:

  • John Mora - Got into only one game for the Aguilas without receiving an at bat.
  • Yeixon Ruiz - Was 0 for 1 in the only game action he saw for the Estrellas de Oriente.
  • Jhoan Urena - Went 1 for 4 with a double in his only game for the Gigantes del Cibao.
  • Jean Rodriguez - Played only one game for the Leones del Escogido going 1 for 4.
  • Dario Alvarez - 3.97 ERA, 1.76 WHIP with eight strikeouts/eight walks in 11.1 innings (21 games) split between Aguilas and Toros del Este.
  • Chase Huchingson - 3.86 ERA, 1.71 WHIP with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings (5 games) for the Tigres del Licey.
  • Rainy Lara -  Pitched seven games (one start) for Leones going 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA, 1.55 WHIP with seven strikeouts compared to five walks in 11 innings.
  • Luis Mateo - Allowed two runs on two hits with one strikeout in two innings for Leones.
  • Jenrry Mejia - Made 9 appearances (8 starts) for Tigres going 1-3 with a 3.92 ERA, 1.33 WHIP with 26 strikeouts/12 walks in 39 innings.
  • Stolmy Pimentel - Had a 3.18 ERA, 1.41 WHIP with two strikeouts/walk in 5.2 innings for the Estrellas before being shutdown with bicep tendonitis in his throwing arm.

Rafael Montero made his winter ball debut for Leones on Monday pitching one inning allowing a solo homerun and striking out two. The team announced that the Mets want him to be used as a reliever and he could be active for the playoffs.

The Dominican League playoffs started last night with the four qualifying teams starting their 18-game round robin. The two teams with the best records in the round robin will then play in a best-of-nine series for the championship.

Alejandro De Aza made his winter ball debut for the Toros del Este last night going 0 for 3 with a walk as the designated hitter in their 3-2 win in game one of the playoffs.

(Photo by

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Wuilmer Becerra On Fire In Venezuelan League Thu, 17 Dec 2015 15:48:34 +0000 CUkEvohUYAAOH_D-400x223

Mets outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra has finally started getting regular playing time for the Tigres de Aragua and it has paid off tremendously. Last night Wuilmer had his second straight three-hit game going 3 for 5 with a double, two RBI, and three runs scored.

During his six-game hitting streak the 21-year old has gone 10 for 20 with a homerun, four RBI, and seven runs scored. Overall for the Tigres in the Venezuelan League he is hitting .444/.444/.556 in 36 at bats spanning 11 games.

He has played a few games in left field this winter, a position he hasn’t played in the Mets farm system yet. For his career he has played 212 games in right field and five in left field (all with GCL Blue Jays in 2012).

Another Met minor leaguer on a hot streak in the Caribbean League is catcher Xorge Carrillo who was 3 for 3 with a RBI last night for the Aguilas de Mexicali in the Mexican Winter League. He now has an eight game hitting streak and is 15 for 29 with a homerun and five RBI in that span.

He has played in 44 games for the Aguilas hitting .308/.365/.413 with three homeruns, 19 RBI, and 21 runs scored in 143 at bats. The 26-year old played the entire 2015 season with the AA Binghamton Mets as their everyday catcher setting career highs with 10 homeruns, 40 RBI, 78 hits, and 38 runs scored.

Johnny Monell has cooled off lately, last night he was 0 for 3 with a strikeout for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Overall he is batting .305/.405/.495 with seven doubles, triple, three homeruns, and four stolen bases in 25 games. He was the DH last night as former Mets Juan Centeno caught the entire game.

You know by now that T.J. Rivera just simply hits no matter where he is and that hasn’t changed during winter ball action for the Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican League. He was 1 for 4 with a double last night and his hitting .333/.391/.429 with six walks compared to six strikeouts in 63 at bats.

Jenrry Mejia made a relief appearance last night for Tigres del Licey and after a scoreless first inning of work it didn’t go as well when he came back out. After an error by the shortstop he walked two straight batters (including former Met farmhand Matt Clark) and uncorked a wild pitch before being taken out.

Both runners were allowed to scored by Eduard Santos and another error at shortstop by Taylor Featherston. Las Vegas 51′s reliever Chase Huchingson came in and allowed a two-run single to Steven Moya to extend the inning. Mejia ended up pitching one inning allowing three runs (two earned) on three walks and a hit. He now has a 4.50 ERA in 34 innings pitched, with this being his first relief appearance.

Juan Lagares was out of the Aguilas Cibaenas lineup last night in the Dominican League with what the team is calling foot/lower leg discomfort and is considered day-to-day. He does currently have a six-game hitting streak in which he has gone 12 for 24 during.

For more winter ball coverage and a profile on one of the newest Mets Andrew Barbosa head over to

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Wilmer Flores Makes Winter Ball Debut Playing Second Fri, 27 Nov 2015 17:59:15 +0000 25f549cc9d036cfb1d0f60fcc986bddb

Update: Flores left the game in the 8th inning last night after being hit on the ankle with a pitch. He is out of the lineup tonight and is considered day-to-day.

Mets infielder Wilmer Flores made his winter ball debut last night for the Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League. He played second base and batted third in the lineup going 1 for 4 with a hit by pitch and scored a run. Flores hit .322/.365/.556 with five homeruns and 18 RBI last winter for the Bravos in 24 games. He has been playing for Bravos since 2010.

The 24-yeard old Flores is coming off a season in which he saw his batting average, on-base, and slugging percentage increase for the second straight year with the Mets. His .703 OPS was actually the 7th best in Major League Baseball among qualified shortstops and his defense looked better in the postseason.

Here are the statistics for the rest of the Mets affiliated players that are playing in winter ball:

Puerto Rican League

  • T.J. Rivera: 7 for 22 (.318/.318/.364), double, three RBI, and two runs scored for Indios de Mayaguez.
  • Arnaldo Berrios: 1 for 5, four walks, two runs, and stolen base in nine games for Criollos de Caguas.
  • Johnny Monell: .389/.468/.593 with three doubles, triple, two homeruns, seven RBI, two stolen bases, and 11 runs scored in 54 at bats for the Criollos de Caguas.
  • Joel Huertas: 0-3 with 6.23 ERA, 1.96 WHIP, seven walks, 12 strikeouts in 8.2 innings (6 games) for Cangrejeros de Santurce.
  • Sixto Torres: Two runs allowed on four hits while striking out two in his only inning of work for Gigantes de Carolina.

Mexican League

  • Xorge Carrillo: .284/.342/.402 with six doubles, two homeruns, 14 RBI, and 18 runs in 102 at bats for Aguilas de Mexicali.
  • Octavio Acosta: 1-0 with 0.71 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, three walks, and seven strikeouts in 12.2 inninings (5 games) for the Charros de Jalisco.
  • Jose Carlos Medina: 0-1 with 19.64 ERA, 2.18 WHIP, walk and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings (4 games) and one start for Tomateros de Culiacan.

Venezuelan League

  • Travis Taijeron: .234/.339/.424 with three doubles, two homeruns, six RBI, and six runs scored with a 8/17 (BB/SO) in 15 games for the Caribes de Anzoategui.
  • Wuilmer Becerra: Made his debut on 11/22 going 1 for 4 while playing right field for Tigres de Aragua.
  • Adrian Almeida: 32.40 ERA, 5.40 WHIP in four games. Allowed six runs on three hits and six walks while striking out two in 1.2 innings for Bravos de Margarita.
  • Jose Celas: Has not given up a run in 1.2 innings but has allowed five hits and two walks while striking out two for Leones del Caracas.
  • Zack Thornton: 4.02 ERA, 1.28 WHIP in 17 games. Allowed seven runs on 12 hits, eight walks and struck out nine batters in 15.2 innings for the Navegantes del Magallanes.

Dominican League

  • Dario Alvarez: 1-0 with 5.40 ERA, 1.80 ERA, seven walks, eight strikeouts in 8.1 innings (13 games). Has split the season between Toros del Este and Aguilas Cibaenas.
  • Rainy Lara1-0 with 1.59 ERA, 0.88 WHIP in three games. Allowed one run on four hits and a walk while striking out two in 5.2 innings for Leones del Escogido.
  • Luis MateoHas allowed two runs on two hits (HR) with two strikeouts in two innings of work for the Leones del Escogido.
  • Jenrry MejiaMade six starts for Tigres del Licey going 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 29 innings. He has given up 13 earned runs on 34 hits and eight walks while striking out 17.
  • John Mora: Pinch ran in his only appearance for the Aguilas Cibaenas, has been playing in the parallel league where they don’t release stats for.
  • Yeixon Ruiz - Has just one at bat so far for the Estrellas de Oriente and did not reach base. He went 1 for 9 with a triple and RBI for the Dominican Republic in the Premier 12 tournament.

Juan Lagares was added to the weekly 40-man roster on Monday for the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican League but has yet to make an appearance.

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Top 10 Met Moments From the First Half Fri, 17 Jul 2015 17:11:10 +0000 noah syndergaard

As we prepare for the final 73 games of the New York Mets’ (regular) season, this seems like as good a time as any to take a quick look back at the club’s ten best moments of the first three months of 2015.

Honorable Mention:

Noah Syndergaard’s Debut (May 12)

Though it may have been in a losing effort, Thor’s first time taking the mound for the Mets showcased why he belongs at this level and that he has the tools to be a future ace. Striking out the first batter faced of his career was just the start of a strong first five innings before finally tiring in the sixth. This day was a year-plus in the making for Syndergaard, and for Met fans, and allowed us to see with our own eyes what scouts have raved about for years.

Jeurys Familia Exceeding Expectations

Where, oh where, would the Mets be without this guy? One of the best closers in the MLB this season may never have gotten his chance should Bobby Parnell have been healthy earlier in the campaign, or if Jenrry Mejia hadn’t been suspended for 80 games. Though he has had many–probably too many–clutch five-out saves and been the near perfect fire extinguisher this team has needed more than it knows, there aren’t an excess of Familia performances that particularly stand out. And for a closer, that is more than alright with me. So here’s to Jeurys, being the boring, automatic rock he has been this far for the Mets.

kirk Nieuwenhuis

Number 10

Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ 3-Home Run Game (July 12)

Opening up our top 10 is a man who has had quite the past three months–hitting under .100 over his first Major League stint of 2015, being designated for assignment before being traded to the Angels for, as Randy Moss might say, straight cash, homie. Then, after only 10 games with Los Angeles, he is released and, to the dismay of many New York fans (myself included), is picked up by the Mets and sent directly to AAA. A hot streak in Las Vegas (2-22) leads to his promotion and a big game in San Francisco, and an even bigger game–a historical one too–against Arizona in the Mets’ final pre-All Star break contest. Congratulations, Kirk Nieuwenhuis. You are the only player on the team who may have had a weirder first three months of the season than the team itself. While the chances are that he will return to his .100 self post-break, at the very least his three homers and curtain call on Sunday gave Captain Kirk some momentary validation for his spot on the roster.

Number 9

Noah Syndergaard’s Home Run (May 27)

If only the Mets could play the Phillies 162 times this year… Just as Steven Matz did in his MLB debut (we’ll get to that in a bit), Syndergaard overshadowed a great pitching performance with his bat on this day late in May. I think Yeah Yeah from The Sandlot would be the best candidate to describe most people’s opinion of Noah’s stat line of 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 6 K that day. Because with one out and the bases empty in the 4th inning, Thor swung his hammer and hit a pitch (one that was low and away, mind you) an estimated 430 feet, further than the average in-game home run distance of seven of the eight 2015 Derby participants. His 7+ scoreless innings on the mound were great, but what Met fan will forget Thor’s bomb to center that day?

Number 8

Noah Syndergaard’s 13 Strikeouts (July 10)

I promise, this entire piece is not an ode to Noah Syndergaard. But what the rookie did to the D-Backs about a week ago needs to be recognized. Easily the best start of his Major League career, he pitched 8 incredible innings, giving up only 4 hits, 2 walks, and a single 1st inning run over 116 pitches (74 strikes), a team-high for 2015. Oh, and he also struck out 13 batters, two more than any other Mets pitcher has up to this point in the season. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who can physically feel Ron Darling’s drool over Syndergaard coming through the TV each time he pitches. Thor’s start against Arizona gave us a glimpse at why 2016 should be the beginning of many years of 200+ strikeouts for him, as it looked like he was toying with hitters at times, choosing to finish off a batter with a curve instead of a fastball just because he felt like it.

Number 7

Bartolo Colon Doing Everything

For the purposes of this post, all Bartolo-related moments will be included here. Let me first mention his pitching, which has gone slightly downhill since his 4-0 start, but is still well above average for a 42-year old, back of the rotation pitcher. And while the term “veteran presence” is trending in the “he’s just a winner” direction of overused sports terms, Colon really does fill that role for this young team, especially when only one other starting pitcher (Jon Niese) has ever pitched a full season in the MLB. Now to the fun stuff. Where do I begin?… There was his first hit of the season (come on, of course his helmet fell off), a broken bat bloop in Atlanta. There’s his 3-game hitting streak, which included the longest RBI double, time wise, in MLB history.* His one-man pick off of A.J. Pierzynski. His quote about a blister on his finger affecting his breaking pitches, but being OK because he doesn’t throw breaking pitches. His childhood donkey named Pancho. Thank you, Bartolo.

*Completely unofficial, but highly probable

matt harvey

Number 6

Matt Harvey’s 2015 Citi Field Debut (April 14)

This one is a little personal for me, since I made the 10-hour bus ride from Columbus, OH to New York to see it in person. While Harvey may not have lived up to the somewhat unreasonable expectations thrust upon him for this year, he is still a borderline elite pitcher, and that night in mid-April was still a special one. For the first time in 20 months, New Yorkers got to see their Dark Knight pitch in his home stadium. A near sellout crowd did its best to power Harvey through a relatively rough start, with lots of “Har-vey, Har-vey” chants throughout, and he and the team were able to pull out the victory. No, it wasn’t the complete game, 2-hitter performance most of us had wanted to see. But it did signal that the Mets had their guy back, and their fans got to witness it in-person.

Number 5

Jacob deGrom”s Near Perfection (May 21)

After a single in the first, Jacob deGrom threw a perfect final 7 innings before leaving with a final stat line of 1 H, 0 BB, 11 K in 8 shutout innings. Arguably the finest (and most #deGrominant) start of his blossoming career, deGrom’s ace abilities were on full display. Starts like these have propelled him to become the staff’s uncontested best pitcher this year, a first-time All-Star, and a possible Cy Young candidate if he continues on his current trajectory. Keep the hair long and the great starts coming, Jacob.

Number 4

Mets Comeback vs. Atlanta (June 14)

Or, if it would help you rememeber, the Dilson-Herrera-wearing-paper-Gatorade-rally-cups-on-his-ears game. With New York in danger of dropping a third consecutive home series the night after losing a 5-3 heartbreaker in 11 innings, the Mets did the same thing I do when I’m struggling on the golf course and need to turn it around–draw a line on the scorecard to designate a fresh start. Though this was undoubtedly more of a metaphorical line for the Mets, it still represents the same belief– what’s done is done; the time to start over and turn it around is now. This line came in the middle of the 4th, at a time when the Mets trailed the Braves 8-3. And from the bottom of the 4th on, New York outscored Atlanta 7-0. Home runs from Darrell Ceciliani, Dilson Herrera, Travis d’Arnaud, and Juan Lagares paved the way for the rally. This was a huge win that brought out the fight in the club and made clear that they would not quit until out number 27. Or longer if the game goes into extras. Which leads me to…

Number 3

Mets Extra Inning Comeback vs. Toronto (June 15)

The following night, New York seemed to be riding the same clutch, come-from-behind hitting from the previous game. After trailing 1-0 from the get-go, the Mets retaliated in the 6th to take a 2-1 lead. It appeared as if that would be the game, and the narrative would be that they rally from a deficit once again, albeit a much smaller one this time. Instead, Jeurys Familia picked up the second of his two blown saves on the year, and the game went to extras. When the Blue Jays scored in the top of the 11th, it felt like a lost cause for the Mets. ‘Well, another loss after quality pitching and no offense. Plus the game was already in the bag, and even Familia couldn’t win this one.’ But then Ruben Tejada walked, and Lucas Duda took advantage of one of the most extreme shifts he’s faced and blooped a ball into left with two outs to tie the game before Wilmer Flores’ walk-off single. In back to back games, the Mets had stolen wins. This Mets squad would battle, not just be tossed aside as many previous versions of the team had.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets

Number 2

Steven Matz Debut (June 28)

You know the story. Boy grows up playing baseball, gets drafted to play for his favorite childhood team, fights through injury to get there six years later, and notches four RBI while going 3-3 at the plate in his first game. Pretty incredible path, especially if he gets paid to pitch. Steven Matz’s hitting slightly overshadowed his impressive first outing as a Met, and for good reason. After all, it’s not every day (never before, in fact) that a pitcher records four RBI in his debut. But without his strong showing at the plate–his first at bat specifically–that great pitching performance may not have happened. Anyone watching the game could see how crushing that double over Billy Hamilton’s head helped him to really settle into the game and get through 7.2 IP, giving up just 2 runs.

Number 1

Mets 11-Game Win Streak (Apriil 12-23)

What could possibly be better than a fantastic, long-awaited debut from yet another young pitcher that also happened to drive in four runs? The answer is simple: winning. Thanks to April 2015, the Mets can now check “Have a 10-0 home stand” off of the franchise’s bucket list. That almost-two week stretch at the beginning of the season set the tone for the team early on and gave them the cushion that they needed and have unfortunately since blown. It’s slightly scary to think about where the Mets might be without it. Following the 11th and final win of the streak, New York sat at 13-3. Since then, they have gone 34-39, good for a win percentage below that of what the Braves have posted in 2015 (.466 vs .472). Even though the team’s record has taken a sizable hit since April, that 11 game stretch provided the Mets with an early spark and got them off on the right track. And for any of you on the pro-Terry Collins side of things, a strong start to the season was certainly a must.

Whatever happens between now and October, we can only hope that it’s as nerve-wracking and entertaining as the first half has been. No team endures as many ups and downs as the Mets seem to, but that’s what makes following them so special; you never know what is going to happen. Is Captain Kirk going to get DFA’d today or hit three home runs again? Will any of our young arms hurl a no hitter? Most importantly–might Bartolo break Twitter by going yard? All of these questions, and many more, will be answered in the remaining 73+ games this year. Here’s to “Reaching the Postseason” making the list of top ten moments from the entire 2015 season.


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Mets Activate Jenrry Mejia, Option Logan Verrett To Las Vegas Tue, 07 Jul 2015 22:27:08 +0000 jenry mejia

As expected, the Mets announced they have activated RHP Jenrry Mejia from the restricted list. To make room on the 25 man roster, the team optioned RHP Logan Verrett to Triple-A Las Vegas.

To clear a spot for Mejia on the 40-man roster, RHP Buddy Carlyle was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Verrett posted a 0.73 ERA in six appearances over 12.1 innings since joining the bullpen with 12 strikeouts.

8:00 AM

Former Mets closer Jenrry Mejia is expected to be activated before tonight’s game having completed his 80-game PED suspension.

Mejia has performed extremely well in six minor league appearances between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. He’s allowed just one run in six innings pitched, striking out ten while walking none.

To make room for Mejia, the Mets will have to make a roster move before Tuesday’s game to clear a spot for him.

The problem is – as pointed out by Adam Rubin – that one of our top performing rookies: Logan Verrett and Hansel Robles will likely be demoted.

Meanwhile underperforming relievers Alex Torres (big contract) and Carlos Torres (out of options) are expected to be safe.

“It’s never easy to send anyone back to the minor leagues,” manager Terry Collins said. “And our bullpen has done a good job of keeping us in games. Unfortunately, one of them is going to be gone.”

July 1

Terry Collins told reporters that Jenrry Mejia is “ready to go” and will join the bullpen as soon as he’s able to return.

He is scheduled to come off the restricted list on July 7 and everything points to him being activated as soon as eligible.

“He’s throwing great,” Collins said of Mejia, who tossed a scoreless ninth inning for Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday night. Mejia struck out two batters. “He’s throwing very, very well”

Mejia will most likely go into a setup type role when he gets back, although Collins has always used various options in that role and prefers to play matchups.

Regardless, Mejia will give the pen a nice boost.

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Is Jeurys Familia The Mets MVP? Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:30:37 +0000 jeurys familiaLast night, Jeurys Familia showed why he’s the closer of the future for the Mets. He entered the game with one out in the eighth and finished off a five-out save. It marked Familia’s third straight outing of more than one inning and his fourth this season.

Familia’s numbers this season are absolutely incredible. The 25 year-old has a 1.35 ERA in 26.2 innings over 25 games, striking out 32 batters and walking seven. He has allowed just 15 hits and four runs all season. Jenrry Mejia was pretty stellar last year, but even he gave up more than a hit per inning pitched.

For once, I agree with Terry Collins here. With a closer so dominant, it doesn’t make sense to limit him to the cookie-cutter one inning role. Managers these days are probably too careful with their closers. Collins summed it up well after the game:

“We’ve got what I consider one of the best in the league sitting there. I’m not going to let Goldschmidt hit off anybody but him. So if you send him out there, you might as well finish with him. We’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. I was here when K-Rod [Francisco Rodriguez] was here. Thirty pitches a night two or three nights in a row is no big deal.”

The idea of replacing the closer with a so-called “relief ace” has been thrown around a lot in recent years, but teams have been afraid to fully commit to the idea, perhaps because of the mental aspects of closing out a game. The thinking is that if pitchers are more sure of their roles, they can focus more on the game and and pitch better.

Right now, Familia is not only looking like the team’s relief ace, but he may very well be the team MVP. The Mets have been unable to score much, so most of their wins have come in tight games. Right now, the bullpen is as critical as ever, and Familia has delivered. He has 16 saves (third in baseball) and 23 games finished on the year, which leads baseball. When Mejia was lost at the beginning of the season, the bullpen suddenly became a big question mark. As of this morning, the Mets’ bullpen owns a 2.54 ERA, fourth in baseball. While the Mets starters have received most of the headlines so far this season, the bullpen has been the glue holding the team together, and Familia is a huge part of that.

With Mejia, Vic Black, and Bobby Parnell all hopefully coming back at some point this season, Familia will receive even more help in keeping the Mets afloat.

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With Familia Dominating As Closer, Is Mejia Finished As A Met? Wed, 29 Apr 2015 12:44:22 +0000 familia mets win

It’s been a few weeks since Jenrry Mejia was slapped with an 80-game suspension for testing positive for stanzolol, a performance enhancing drug.

mmo feature original footerWith Mejia out, and Bobby Parnell still working his way back from Tommy John surgery a year ago, 25 year old Jeurys Familia has had the reigns of closer bestowed upon him, he has surely lived up to the task.

Familia has pitched in 11 games, recording a league leading 9 saves in 9 opportunities. He owns a 1.69 ERA with a cumulative .118 BAA in 10.2 innings pitched.

Control issues had been a problem for Familia in the past, but after a strong campaign last year in which he appeared in 76 games and pitched to a 2.21 ERA, Familia seems to have continued that pattern while closing out games so far this year. He looks very confident out there, blowing hitters away, and doesn’t look like he’s going to let up anytime soon.

jenry mejia

With Bobby Parnell set to return at some point in the near future barring a setback, and with Familia pitching as well as he has, one has to wonder, are Jenrry Mejia’s days as a Met over?

Sandy Alderson voiced his displeasure for Mejia after the suspension, stating “I hope there’s no spot for him in the bullpen when he’s done serving his suspension.”

“We feel like he betrayed us. He let a lot of people down. He let his own teammates down.” Alderson also added.

Even Mets captain David Wright said that Mejia deserved to be punished to the fullest extent.

“It’s obviously disappointing. Not only do you cost yourself 80 games and don’t get paid, but you’re hurting everybody in here. You’re letting down your teammates and I think that probably means just as much, if not more, than hurting yourself” Wright said.

In addition to the suspension, Mejia is also not eligible for postseason play, should the Mets make it that far. So is it worth it to have Mejia come back, to only not be available when the Mets would really need him? Has Jeurys Familia’s dominance increased the chance that Mejia doesn’t return? It definitely seems feasible.

If the Mets are serious about winning this year, it is something they really have to consider.

Mejia is eligible to return from the suspension in June.

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3 Up 3 Down: Mets Salvage The Finale! Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:00:04 +0000 recker familia

3 Up

A Different Core Four

Earlier this spring, Matt Harvey referred to a unit within the team known as the ”core four” and in it the team’s most valuable players.  It included himself and David Wright, Curtis Granderson and newly acquired outfielder Michael Cuddyer.  Harvey may have been on to something with the title, but he should have bet strictly on homegrown talent like himself.  David Wright remains a core piece and has rebounded from 2014 to the tune of a .320 batting average in 6 games, with a home run, 2 RBI’s and a run scored.  Instead of the veteran corner outfielders though, Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud are actually the two hottest hitters on the team right now.  Duda (.863 OPS) went 3-5 during Sunday’s series finale, with all three hits coming against LHP.  D’Arnaud (.813 OPS) went 3-7 in the series with an RBI and it was tough to see the Mets take their hottest hitter out of the lineup, but the team still managed to come up with the win.

Bullpen Takes Identity

Jeurys Familia may not have envisioned his opportunity to close coming about in the way it did this week, but with the suspension of Jenrry Mejia, he earned his first save in Sunday’s finale.  Jerry Blevins and Carlos Torres were credited with their second holds on the year, with Blevins proving to be a legitimate bullpen threat against left handed pitching.  Depending on the returns of Vic Black and Bobby Parnell, this team could end up feeling no impact from the loss of Mejia.

Hard Nosed Veteran Move

Michael Cuddyer still has work to do at the plate, but his slide on Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons should go a long way in earning the respect of his teammates and a lot of fans.  The Mets are all too often the nice guys, Cuddyer went in, cleats up, way off the baseline and aiming right up at Simmons, who earlier dropped a hard forearm in the face mask of Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud on a collision at home plate.  To some, both plays seem unrelated, but anyone who was watching intently could see there was a different vibe from these Mets.

3 Down

Middle Infield Defense

This was discussed in the last 3 & 3, except against the Nationals, the consequences were minimal.  In Atlanta, the mistakes were costly, although the causes ranged from tough luck to poor mechanics and fundamentals.  Jon Niese didn’t have his best stuff on Friday night’s series opener, but he gritted his way through a decent performance and only gave up one earned run through five innings before being pulled.  Wilmer Flores had multiple poor throws and continued to look uncomfortable at shortstop and at the plate to start the season.  Daniel Murphy was inconsistent as usual and David Wright missed a tag on Jace Peterson that ultimately proved to be the difference in Niese’s outing.

Montero’s Pitch Selection

Part of what made Rafael Montero so appealing during spring training was that he used all of his pitches, including a deadly change up.  He still has a lot of potential, particularly after seeing him get up to 95 mph regularly on the gun, but his pitch selection was mostly fastballs during Saturday’s 5-3 loss.  It’s questionable whether communication between him and catcher Travis d’Arnaud was an issue, normally the catcher would be expected to mix up the calls or visit the mound with any issues that needed further discussion.  The idea that both of them were on the same page through that outing seems far fetched given the choice in pitches.

Corner Outfield Vets Slow To Start

Curtis Granderson has managed to compile a .348 on base percentage so far this season, but only one hit in six games played (.063 average).  Michael Cuddyer hit his first home run as a Met during the Braves series, but is also sluggish out of the gate with a .208 average and only 3 RBI’s, despite serving as the cleanup man.

Onto the Phillies at home tomorrow, Lets! Go! Mets!

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MLB Slaps Mejia With 80 Game Suspension After Testing Positive For Steroids (Updated) Sun, 12 Apr 2015 02:42:16 +0000 Jenrry - Mejia

MLB announced that Mets closer Jenrry Mejia has been suspended 80 games without pay for testing positive for Stanozolol – an anabolic steroid.

Mejia, 25, says he has no idea how the substance ended up in his body.

“I know the rules and I will accept my punishment, but I honestly have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system. I’m sorry to the Mets organization, my teammates and the fans, as well as my family.”

The New York Mets issued a statement that read:

“We were disappointed when informed of Jenrry’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”

“We fully support MLB’s policy toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the sport. As per the Joint Drug Program, we will have no further comment on this suspension.”

Mejia is currently on the 15 day disabled list with inflammation in his throwing elbow. He will now miss at least half the season if not more.

Manager Terry Collins understandably angry and didn’t hide his disappointment.

“We’re very disappointed. I mean, extremely disappointed,” Collins said. “We came into this whole thing in spring training with huge expectations and the back end of our bullpen being very, very strong. So we’re all shocked and disappointed.”

“I’m going to be honest: I love this kid. We challenged this guy last year. He stepped up and did a great job for us. Certainly this is a big disappointment. I understand everything about it. I really do. But, you know what? There are 24 other guys in that locker room who need him, too.”

Mejia will lose $1,134,426 of his $2,595,000 salary and will also will be ineligible for the postseason should the Mets qualify.

Jeurys Familia is currently serving as the team’s closer. And Vic Black and Bobby Parnell are also expected to be activated from the disabled list in the next week or two.

For those of you considering the possibility of the Mets considering a run at free agent closer Rafael Soriano to fill the void, forget it.

The Mets do not intend to pursue any external options for a replacement, according to what team sources told Andy Martino of the Daily News.

The Mets are happy and very satisfied with the depth they have in the bullpen and will stick with Familia, Carlos Torres, Erik Goeddel, Rafael Montero, and Buddy Carlyle as right-handed options despite their lack of closing experience. At least until Parnell and Black return.

But Make no mistake, this is a huge blow for a bullpen that was heavily relying on Mejia this season. I’m not buying Mejia’s excuse and I think this was very selfish of him. He’s let the team down.


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Both Buddy Carlyle and Jeurys Familia Impress In Season Debuts Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:17:39 +0000 buddy carlyle

While the news on Jenrry Mejia and his sore elbow put a damper on Monday’s Opening Day win over the Washington Nationals, there was a ray of hope in the performances of Jeurys Familia and Buddy Carlyle.

Both righthanders handled their late inning relief outings with efficiency and sheer dominance in the case of Familia.

A year and a half ago I predicted that Familia would eventually become a lethal weapon in the Mets bullpen and could ultimately earn the closer role for this team. He is now a heartbeat away from that happening depending on the results of Mejia’s MRI today.

All Familia did yesterday was come into the eighth inning and dominate the Nationals with a nasty sinker that was hard, heavy, and had great late break.

It was unhittable and hard for batters to resist. The sinker has always been Familia’s signature pitch, but last night it was especially devastatingly effective. Familia pitched a 1-2-3 inning and struck out a pair, including former Met Matt den Dekker.

After the game Terry Collins announced that Familia would take over as the team’s closer if Mejia misses any time. Nobody wants to win a job this way, but this could be Familia’s big break and his time to shine.

In the ninth inning, after Jerry Blevins came in to face and retire Bryce Harper, Collins called on Buddy Carlyle to get the final two outs.

The 37-year old veteran got both Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos to ground out to shortstop to earn his first career save and clinch the Opening Day victory for the Mets.

Carlyle posted a 1.53 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 27 games for the Mets in 2014 and was re-signed to a minor league deal this past offseason. Congratulations to Mr. Carlyle.

So while the Mets potentially got some bad news in the bullpen on Monday, there were some very bright spots as well.


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