Mets Merized Online » minor leagues Wed, 22 Feb 2017 23:37:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 David Wright To DH In Games Until Mid-March Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:34:30 +0000 david wright 1 ed

Terry Collins spoke to reporters yesterday and mentioned that David Wright will likely DH in spring training games until mid-March.

“He’s not going to play a lot of third base,” Collins said. “He is going to get a ton of ground balls, as much as we can get him, but he probably won’t play a lot until we make sure his arm is right, so he is going to DH and go to the minor leagues and get at-bats, and he wants it.”

Collins wants to make sure there are as little distractions for Wright as possible as he works his way back from neck surgery. “We just don’t want him overexposed where if he makes a bad throw all of a sudden it’s a big story,” Collins said.

It is going to be interesting to see how the Mets handle getting him as many at bats and ground balls as they can while still giving him enough rest. His rehab team has him throwing every other day, throwing longer each time. “He is making strides,” Collins said. “You are looking at, three weeks from today we will have a real good idea where he is at. That gives him a lot of time to lengthen himself out.”

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Alderson: Conforto Could Start Season In Minors With Current Outfield Situation Wed, 08 Feb 2017 15:50:52 +0000 sandy-alderson-2

Sandy Alderson was a guest on Baseball Night in New York and was asked if he sees a chance for Michael Conforto to get consistent at bats this year the way the team is built right now. Alderson replied:

“I think he has the potential to be a very versatile player and a good offensive player across the board. I don’t think we’re going to piecemeal him this year, again I don’t want to forecast what’s going to happen in spring training, but I don’t see him picking up at bats at first base, picking up at bats here or there… Michael Conforto is a long-term asset for us and given the situation we have, unless we can trade an outfielder for Carmelo Anthony… I think unless we have a clear avenue for Conforto to play on an almost every day basis that we’re going to have to make some decisions at the end of spring training.”

The most important part of that quote is the last sentence, in which Sandy strongly hints that with the current outfield situation, there is a decent chance that Conforto will start the season in the minor leagues, most likely Triple-A Las Vegas.

Conforto under-performed in 2016, batting just .220/.310/.414 with 12 home runs, 42 RBIs, and a 92 OPS+ in 109 games. If Sandy Alderson can’t trade one of the Mets outfielders, it is very likely that Conforto is sent to the minor leagues. Getting consistent at bats is paramount for the young outfielder, and if they need to be in Las Vegas, so be it.

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2017 Mets Top 30 Prospects: #26-30 Led By Crismatt Thu, 02 Feb 2017 17:00:55 +0000 nabil crismatt

26. RHP Nabil Crismatt

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 200  Level: Brooklyn Cyclones (Short-A), Columbia Fireflies (Full-A), Binghamton Mets (Double A)

B/T: R/R  Age: 12/25/1994 (22) Age Dif: -3.5 (Double A)

Last year: #50

Acquired: Signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent on Aug. 3, 2011

2016 Statistics: 13 G, 65.2 IP, 1-4 W/L record, 2.47 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 74/7 SO/BB

Profile: The 22-year-old right-hander was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Colombia in 2011, and spent the first four years of his professional career playing with the rookie levels of the Mets’ minor league system (DSL Mets, GCL Mets, and Kingsport Mets). During that time, Crismatt was utilized mainly as a reliever, except for eight starts he made in 2015 with Kingsport. Crismatt posted a record of 6-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 62 innings in 2015, and ranked third in the Appalachian League in strikeouts (63) and in WHIP (1.03).

Crismatt opened the 2016 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones, appearing in eight games, three of them starts, and posted a 3.19 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP, along with 35 strikeouts to only four walks. Had he qualified, Crismatt would’ve been second in the New York-Penn League in WHIP.

He earned a promotion to Columbia on August 5, and pitched in four games with the Fireflies as a starter. He pitched at least 6.2 innings in each game, and had two double-digit strikeout performances (August 13 and 26). He held opponents to a .191 average, and continued to impress with his strong strikeout to walk numbers, averaging 10.05 K/9 and 0.63 BB/9, (a career best). He finished the year in Binghamton, making one start, allowing one run over six innings with seven strikeouts.

Mike M adds…

Crismatt is a personal favorite of mine because he attacks hitters and has a plus changeup that he will use in any count. Also has clean mechanics that are easily repeatable and has shown the ability to pitch effectively in any role. His 26.2 K-BB% was 20th among 1,877 minor league pitchers who threw at least 50 innings in 2016.

2017 Outlook -

The Mets have steadily increased his workload, as Crismatt pitched the highest number of innings this past year (65.2) of his five-year career. He’s shown that he has excellent control (9.7 K/9 to 2.0 BB/9 for his career), however, he’s not a hard thrower, routinely sitting in the 88-92 MPH range. If he can continue with his success limiting walks and adding a strong third pitch to go along with his fastball and changeup, then he could be an arm to keep an eye on during his progression through the system. He should open the year with Columbia, and could reach Binghamton before the 2017 season concludes.

27. SS Luis Guillorme

Ht: 5’9″  Wt: 190 Level: St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A)

B/T: L/R  Age: 9/27/1994 (22) Age Dif: -1.7

Last Year: #16

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 10th round of the 2013 Draft from Coral Springs (Fla.) Charter High School.

2016 Statistics: 123 G, 441 AB, 16 2B, 2 3B, HR, 46 RBI, 47 R, 43 BB, 63 SO, .263/.332/.315

Profile: Luis Guillorme’s claim to fame even before he was selected in the 10th round of the 2013 Draft by the New York Mets was his superb defense up the middle. Praised for his accurate arm, speed, and soft hands, Guillorme has excelled at shortstop during his four-year career thus far.

His breakout performance came in 2015, where he spent the entire season with the Savannah Sand Gnats as a 20-year-old, earning the South Atlantic League’s Most Valuable Player Award with a slash line of .318/.391/.354, with 67 runs scored, 55 RBI, and 18 stolen bases in 122 games. Guillorme was 4th in the SAL in OBP (.391), 2nd in average (.318), and 2nd in hits (142). His splits were also solid against both righties and lefties, as he posted an OPS of .743 against RHP, and .752 against LHP. His impressive numbers in ’15 may have partially been attributed to his rather high BABIP (.374), a career high for the Florida native.

The high BABIP in ’15 came back down in 2016 with the St. Lucie Mets, as Guillorme saw decreasing stats in all the main categories, slashing .263/.332/.315 in 123 games. Guillorme continued to post strong strikeout to walk numbers though, as he drew a walk 8.5% of the time, and struck out 12.5% (down from 13.4% in his MVP ’15 season). He did finish the season strong in Florida, in his final 14 games he posted a .306/.364/.347 line.

Guillorme split his time between shortstop and second in ’16 to accommodate Mets top prospect Amed Rosario, the first season he’s played anywhere besides short in his professional career.

2017 Outlook -

With fellow shortstop and top prospect Amed Rosario inching his way closer to the majors, Guillorme’s best chance at sticking with the Mets might be to move to second permanently moving forward or in a utility role. His defense is what scouts rave about, as he grades well above average and is routinely chosen as the Mets’ best fielding shortstop in the minor leagues.

As of now, he profiles more as a solid bench or role player, though, if he can continue to get on base at a solid clip (career .355 OBP), and fill out and add a bit more power to his game, he could be an enticing top of the order hitter. He should begin the year with Binghamton in 2017 as their starting shortstop.

corey taylor

28. RHP Corey Taylor

Ht: 5’11″  Wt: 245  Level: St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A)

B/T: R/R  Age: 1/8/1993 (24) Age Dif: -0.1

Last Year: N/A

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 7th round of 2015 Draft out of Texas Tech University

2016 Statistics: 45 G, 53 IP, 4-5 W/L record, 1.87 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 45/13 SO/BB

Profile: Corey Taylor got his career off and running in 2015 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, mere weeks after he was selected in the 7th round of the ’15 Draft out of Texas Tech (just the 5th player out of Texas Tech that the Mets have drafted in team history). Taylor tossed 18 innings in Brooklyn, posting a 1.50 ERA along with a 1.00 WHIP, and averaging 8.0 K/9.

Taylor’s journey wasn’t an easy one at times, he didn’t draw many college offers out of high school, instead attending Cisco Junior College for his freshman year. Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock saw Taylor while he was playing in a regional at Texas Tech’s campus. When Taylor went to play for Texas Tech in his sophomore year, he went 2-5 with a 7.18 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 52.2 innings pitched. Taylor transitioned more and more to the pen following his sophomore year, appearing in 40 games between his junior and senior seasons, while starting only 7 of them. In his final year in college, Taylor impressed, posting a 4-0 record with a sparkling 0.31 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over 57.1 innings.

Taylor followed up his strong ’15 season with Brooklyn by posting similar numbers just over more games in 2016 with the St. Lucie Mets as the team’s closer. In 45 games, Taylor posted a record of 4-5 with a 1.87 ERA (10th in the FSL), a 1.25 WHIP, and held opponents to a .252 batting average. Taylor saved 20 games out of 23 chances. Taylor was selected to the Arizona Fall League following the conclusion of the ’16 season, and in nine games Taylor posted a 1.93 ERA with 17 strikeouts and one walk in 14 innings pitched. He was also selected to the AFL All-Star Game.

Mike M adds…

Taylor really impress in the AFL flashing a plus sinker that topped out at 96 MPH and an improved that slider has become a swing and miss pitch for him. He will be in big league camp with the Mets and I wouldn’t be shocked for them to fast track him to the majors. Hitters have a tough time barreling up Taylor’s sinker, he’s allowed only two home runs in 71 innings.

2017 Outlook -

The sizable righties’ arsenal consists of a sinker, slider, and changeup, sitting in the low 90s with his fastball, and at times can reach back at 95 MPH. Since Taylor is an older prospect (just turned 24 in January), the Mets might be inclined to push him through the minors a bit more, pushing him and testing him at higher levels. Taylor should begin the season with Binghamton.

29. RHP Andrew Church

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 200  Level: Columbia Fireflies (Full-A), St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A), Las Vegas 51s (Triple A)

B/T: R/R  Age: 10/7/1994 (22) Age Dif: -2.1 (St. Lucie)

Last Year: #79

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 2nd of 2013 Draft from Basic High School in Henderson, Nevada.

2016 Statistics: 16 G, 95.2 IP, 7-4 W/L record, 2.92 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 78/25 SO/BB

Profile: For his first three professional seasons, Church had a hard time finding consistency while also battling injuries. The second round selection in the 2013 Draft had an especially tough time limiting hits (12.6, 12.5, and 10.7 in 2013, ’14, and ’15), coupled with low strikeout totals (5.3 his career high in 2014). Church told Michael Mayer in an exclusive interview on MMN, that he found it difficult to repeat his delivery and during every start “something didn’t feel right”. Church underwent hip surgery following the 2015 season, and it seemed to do wonders for the 22-year-old right-hander in 2016.

Church opened the year with Columbia, starting in two games and winning both, tossing 12.2 innings while allowing just two runs, one earned, along with 15 strikeouts. He was promoted in early June to St. Lucie, where Church made six starts, going 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 35 innings. His strikeouts were down and walks were up while with St. Lucie (22-14 SO/BB), and was subsequently demoted in July back to Columbia. In seven starts from July 16 to August 24, Church went 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA while limiting the opposition to a .582 OPS. His first start back with Columbia on July 16 was a masterful complete game, one-hit shutout against the Rome Braves, with just one walk and 10 strikeouts, a career high.

Church pitches to contact and features a fastball that sits in the low 90s, slider, curve, and changeup. He works quickly on the mound, and has the old school mentality of wanting to pitch a complete game each time out. He keeps his pitch count low, only hitting 100 pitches once in ’16 (and that wasn’t even during either of his two complete games).

2017 Outlook -

After reaching career highs in innings pitched, games started, SO/9, ERA, and WHIP, it appears Church has found a consistent rhythm and routine on the mound. While he won’t be a strikeout machine, if he can continue to work quick, keep his pitch count low, and get his changeup to be a more consistent pitch for him, he could be a quick riser in the Mets’ system. While he made it all the way up to Triple-A Las Vegas in ’16 for what was supposed to be a spot start (his plane ended up requiring maintenance, and instead arrived in the third inning) he should begin the season with Double-A Binghamton in 2017.

30. LHP David Roseboom

Ht: 6′ 2″  Wt: 225  Level: Binghamton Mets (Double-A)

B/T: L/L  Age: 5/17/1992 (24) Age Dif: -0.5

Acquired: Selected by Mets in 17th round of 2014 Draft from University of South Carolina Upstate (Spartanburg, SC)

2016 Statistics: 52 G, 57.2 IP, 1-1 W/L record, 1.87 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 54/18 SO/BB

Profile: A casual fan wouldn’t necessarily expect a 17th round draft pick to garner a ton of attention and be given high praise as a potential future cog in the bullpen. That’s exactly what left-hander David Roseboom has done in his short Mets’ career.

Taken in the 2014 Draft out of the University of South Caroline Upstate, Roseboom was mainly a starting pitcher in his four years in school (65 games, 56 of them starts), and had mixed results. A career 4.67 ERA along with 10.41 H/9 and only 5.88 K/9 left much to be desired, yet the Mets took a chance on the lefty, and wanted to see how he’d respond out of the pen instead. Roseboom started his professional career off strong with Kingsport after the draft, appearing in 16 games and pitching to a 1.59 ERA, picking up four saves, and averaging 11.9 K/9.

He began the ’15 season with Savannah, in which he posted superb numbers in ERA (1.15), WHIP (0.80), and K/9 (10.1). He earned a promotion to St. Lucie at the end of June, however, his early season success would not translate in Florida, as Roseboom’s ERA rose over three runs to 4.55, and his under 1.00 WHIP with Savannah jumped to 1.61. Roseboom attributes his struggles in the Florida State League to not being very aggressive, and trying to be too fine with his pitches at times.

Roseboom opened the ’16 season with Double-A Binghamton, and took pitching coach Glenn Abbott‘s advice of attacking the bottom part of the strike zone more.

“If I ever get hit, it’s because I’m up — not because I’m walking guys and falling behind,” Roseboom told ESPN

Roseboom assumed the closer role for Binghamton in July, once Akeel Morris was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Kelly Johnson and Beck Wheeler earned a promotion to Las Vegas. He saved 14 out of 15 games and posted a 1.87 ERA in 52 games on the year. From July 2 to the last regular season game on September 5, Roseboom tossed 29.1 innings, holding opponents to a .130/.193/.383 slash line, and a 0.92 ERA. Roseboom was selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 0.79 ERA over 11.1 innings of work, while holding left-handed hitters to a microscopic .083 batting average.

2017 Outlook-

Writer Logan Barer proposed on MMO last week that Roseboom might be a candidate to make the 25-man roster out of spring, especially considering the lack of bullpen moves the Mets haven’t made thus far. At the very least, the Mets and their staff will be able to get a good look at Roseboom and his repertoire of slider, sinker, and changeup up close. If Roseboom doesn’t make the opening day roster, I’d expect him to open the year with Las Vegas, and preparing for a potential call-up this season. Roseboom has the potential to be a solid back-end reliever, or could be a lefty specialist as MLB prospect guru Jonathan Mayo opined while watching him pitch in Arizona this past fall.


1. Amed Rosario, SS

2. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Robert Gsellman, RHP

4. Thomas Szapucki, LHP

5. Desmond Lindsay, OF

6. Justin Dunn, RHP

7. Gavin Cecchini, INF

8. Brandon Nimmo, OF

9. Andres Gimenez, SS

10. Tomas Nido, C

11. Wuilmer Becerra, OF

12. Peter Alonso, 1B

13. Marcos Molina, RHP

14. Ali Sanchez, C

15. T.J. Rivera, INF

16. Luis Carpio, INF

17. Merandy Gonzalez, RHP

18. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

19. Gregory Guerrero, SS

20. Chris Flexen, RHP

21-25 Led by Josh Smoker

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Ron Darling Compares Michael Conforto To Don Mattingly Fri, 06 Jan 2017 15:24:06 +0000 michael-conforto

In a recent TV appearance on MLB Network, former Mets pitcher and current SNY color commentator Ron Darling compared the swing of Michael Conforto to Don Mattingly.

Darling goes on to talk about playing against Mattingly in 1983 in the minor leagues when he was more of a gap-to-gap hitter (and still playing some outfield).

Here is part of the quote from Darling,

“He was one of the best hitters (for) average that I had ever seen. He ended up of course reaching incredible power numbers when he reached the Yankees. Conforto’s swing reminds me of a lot of that swing that Mattingly had in ’83.”

“So, in my estimation, I think he’s a bonafide big-leaguer. He should be given that chance to play every day and see what happens. The Mets have developed a lot of pitching. They haven’t developed a lot of everyday players. This should be a guy they give a chance to.”

Conforto seemingly hit a sophomore wall during the 2016 season hitting only .220/.310/.414 in 348 plate appearances and an even worse .145/.223/.241 in the months of June and July. This coming after bursting onto the scene in 2015 with a .841 OPS just a year after being drafted in the first round.

The 23-year old Conforto did show some positive signs towards the end of the season after receiving his second recall from Triple-A Las Vegas. In September/October, Conforto posted a .396 OBP and only struck out 22.1% of the time (30.1% from May-August).

It still remains to be seen what role Conforto will play in 2017, as the Mets still have a crowded outfield with too many left-handed hitters best suited playing corner spots.

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Featured Post: Ben Rowen Might Be Mets’ Diamond In The Rough Tue, 27 Dec 2016 19:15:03 +0000 ben-rowen

This past Thursday, the New York Mets announced a pair of minor league signings of right-handed pitchers Cory Burns and Ben Rowen. Rowen’s contract guarantees him an invite to major league spring training, a sign that the Mets might have legitimate interest in seeing what Rowen and his submarine style pitching can offer the club in 2017.

Rowen, 28, was a 22nd round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Rowen has bounced around the minor leagues with different affiliates, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Milwaukee Brewers, his most recent team.

Rowen has spent minimal time in the majors since 2010, getting his first call up with the Rangers in 2014 for eight games, and then this past year with the Brewers for four games. The results were mixed, as evidenced by his 6.94 ERA and 2.06 WHIP, however, it’s hard to gauge those numbers since it was only done with 11.2 innings pitched combined.

His tenure in the minor leagues is a much different story. For his minor league career, Rowen has posted a minuscule 1.85 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 384.2 innings, recording 43 saves in 53 opportunities. The six-foot-four right-hander has also posted strong splits throughout his MILB career, including this past season with Triple A Buffalo, where Rowen posted a 2.03 ERA and .220 average against left-handers, and a 2.65 ERA with a .269 average against right-handed hitters. In 2015 with Double A Bowie, Rowen once again posted solid splits, 2.16 ERA against lefties and 2.33 ERA against right-handers. In total for his 2015 season, Rowen held opposing right-handers to a .545 OPS, and lefties to a .493 OPS.

Though Rowen’s fastball tops out in the low 80′s, his calling card is his submarine style pitching, and his penchant for inducing ground balls due to his sink on both his fastball and slider. Rowen’s posted at least a 60% ground ball percentage in 11 of 17 different stops along his career, including all minor and major league levels, and winter ball. Rowen has also posted a FIP under 3.00 in 13 of the aforementioned 17 stops in his career.

Rowen has been mastering the submarine pitching style for years now. In a FanGraphs interview conducted in February 2014, Rowen talked about the progression:

“I’ve been throwing submarine for about eight years now. Before that, my high school coach told me to throw sidearm. I think it was a good progression to throw sidearm for four years and then move down. Mechanically, it was easier than going from overhand straight to submarine.”

Add three more seasons to that eight year total, and Rowen has been working at throwing submarine for 11 years now, something that should appeal to the Mets since it appears Rowen is comfortable with his mechanics. With experience on his side, Rowen just needs an opportunity with a big club to showcase what he can offer over a full 162-game season. And that’s where the Mets fit in to this narrative.

The Mets have been looking to bolster their bullpen for 2017, especially considering closer Jeurys Familia will likely be suspended for his role in a domestic violence arrest in late October. The Daily News’ Kristie Ackert reported Friday that industry sources believe Familia will be suspended for at least 30 games next season, the same number of games Aroldis Chapman was suspended for to start the 2016 year.

With Addison Reed likely sliding into the closer’s role to begin the year, the Mets need to fill the back end of the bullpen and also look to retain LHP Jerry Blevins, who held lefties to a .636 OPS in ’16, and has also pitched with solid splits throughout his career. The Mets have balked at the free agent market thus far, seeing the likes of Brad Ziegler, Fernando Rodney, Koji Uehara, Mike Dunn, Brett Cecil, and Joaquin Benoit sign with other clubs.

Though there are some strong free agent names still left on the board, the Mets are always looking for undervalued or minor league deals for relievers. The market has risen over the past few years, where clubs are placing a higher emphasis on having strong bullpens, following in the footsteps of teams like the Giants, Royals, Indians and Cubs.

While the minor league signings of Rowen and Burns CANNOT be the only bullpen moves Sandy Alderson and Co. makes, Rowen does offer a ton of intrigue and should be given a decent look this spring in Port St. Lucie. No, he’s not Brad Ziegler, an arm many fans were pining to get, however, Rowen offers similar traits (sidearm, ground ball rate) and should be given a chance to demonstrate to the Mets what he can do to help piece their pen together for 2017.

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New CBA Notes: All-Star Game Will No Longer Determine Home Field Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:00:33 +0000 rob manfred

The new collective bargaining agreement was finally agreed to last night by Major League Baseball and the MLB Player Association as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The new pact is for five years and is great news with the beginning of the Winter Meetings coming on December 5.

One of the new changes is the All-Star Game will no longer decide who gets home field advantage in the World Series according to the Associated Press. Home field will now go to the pennant winning team with the best regular season record. Players on the winning ASG team will now receive a monetary bonus.

Another important piece in the agreement is MLB cutting back the disabled list minimum stay from 15 days to 10.

Here are more changes in the new CBA:

  • The luxury tax will rise from $189 million to $195 million for the 2017 season and rise incrementally each year until it reaches $210 million in 2021. There will also be new penalties for going over the luxury tax. The first time comes with a 20% tax, which increases to 30% for a second year and 50% for a third.
  • New MLB players will be banned from using smokeless tobacco (it’s already banned in the minor leagues) while current major leagues will be grandfathered.
  • There will not be an international draft but instead there will be a hard cap of $5 million on each team for international signings. Cuban players who are at least 25 years old that also have six years of Serie Nacional experience will be exempt from these limitations.
  • Starting in 2018 the season will begin mid-week, helping to create extra off-days.
  • Also starting in 2018, it’s possible that MLB will have games in Mexico and London.
  • The major league regular season will span 187 days starting in 2018, it currently lasts 183 calendar days.
  • The compensation for signing a player that received a qualifying offer will change next offseason. The compensation will now be broken down into three categories. Revenue sharing recipients would lose their third highest draft choice. Revenue sharing contributors would lose their second and fifth highest selections and also sacrifice $1 million in international signing availability. Teams that don’t fall into either of the previous categories would lose their second highest pick and $500K of their international bonus pool.
  • A player can only receive the qualifying offer once during his career and will now have 10 days to make his decision.
  • The league minimum for the 2017 season will be $535 thousand, will be bumped up to $545K in 2018, $555K in 2019 and then will see cost of living increases for the final two years of the new CBA.

One notable area that wasn’t change was September roster expansion. There was talk of MLB limiting the September roster expansion to 28 players and the Player’s Association agreeing to that if the everyday rosters were increased to 26 players.

We will update as more details come…

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Mets Minors: MMO All-Star Bullpen Led By Sewald Wed, 12 Oct 2016 14:30:43 +0000 paul sewald

This is the fourth and final part of our own Mets Minors All-Star team that brings you the best performers in the bullpen. Our choices are based on how each player did statistically speaking and not according to their prospect standing.

Closer - Paul Sewald (Las Vegas 51s) Another season and another great performance for the former 10th round pick who has a career 2.20 ERA in 258 innings. This season he saved 19 games for the 51s with a 3.29 ERA (league average 4.46) and 1.20 WHIP. He had a 21.2 K-BB% which was the fifth best in the Pacific Coast League. It’s the second straight year we’ve chosen Paul as one of closer’s on the all-star team.

Closer - Joseph Zanghi (Brooklyn Cyclones) A little reported (outside of MMN, here is our interview with him) signing after he was drafted by the Reds in the 24th but failed to sign. The converted position player had a tremendous pro debut with 45 strikeouts in 29.1 innings for Brooklyn. He also saved eight games, had a 1.23 ERA and did not allow a home run.

Closer - David Roseboom (Binghamton Mets) The lefty got even better as the season progressed allowing only two earned runs in 25.2 second half innings. He went 14 for 15 in save chances and held opponents to a .168 batting average for the season (2nd best in Eastern League).

Setup Man - Gary Cornish (Brooklyn Cyclones) Yet another Cyclone that posted ridiculous strikeout numbers in his pro career with 44 strikeouts in 25 innings. His 0.64 FIP led the entire minor leagues for pitchers with at least 20 innings, as did his 15.84 K/9. He was the Mets 19th round pick from San Diego.

Crossover - Ben Griset (St. Lucie Mets) The 24-year old lefty did whatever was asked of him this year including three spot starts, 12 relief appearances of at least two innings and collecting three saves. He finished the season with a 1.80 ERA, 1.033 WHIP and struck out 66 in 60 innings. He held lefties to a measly .457 OPS without a home run or triple in 51 at-bats.

Longman - Nelmerson Xavier Mariano Silvano Angela (DSL Mets) The 18-year old lefty was really a starter for much of the season despite only getting six “starts” in 14 appearances. To finish off his great season he pitched five no-hit innings with four strikeouts in his last appearance. He went 3-0 with two saves, 1.88 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and held opponents to a .171 average.

Swingman - Nabil Crismatt (Brooklyn, Columbia, Binghamton) It was a weird start of the season for the righty who inexplicably started in the Brooklyn bullpen after dominating the Appalachian League in 2015. Ended up making 13 appearances (7 starts) with his final start of the year coming for the Binghamton Mets. Overall, he had a 2.47 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and struck out 74 in 65.2 innings. His 10.57 K/BB ratio was the 10th best in the minor leagues.

Previous Post – Bench, Starting Pitchers, Starting Position Players

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Mets Fire Long-Time Minor League Medical Coordinator Mike Herbst Tue, 20 Sep 2016 15:40:40 +0000 mike-herbst

The Mets have fired their long-time medical coordinator for the minor leagues, Mike Herbst, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Rubin.

Herbst had been head trainer Ray Ramirez’s assistant at the big-league level in between his stints as the minor league medical coordinator. He also served as the athletic trainer for the Brooklyn Cyclones back in 2001.

I’m sure many will read more into this than is warranted, but after 15+ years Sandy Alderson decided it was time for a change. It will be interesting to see if this is just the first of some dominoes to fall.

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Rosario, Smith Ranked in Law’s Top 50 Midseason Prospects Thu, 14 Jul 2016 15:54:33 +0000 amed rosario

Amed Rosario had seen his highest ranking ever last week when Baseball Propectus’ Top 50 Midseason Prospects came out and placed him #15 among the elite talent in the minor leagues. Keith Law of ESPN released his Top 50 today with Rosario coming in at #13, a new high for the talented shortstop.

Here is what Law had to say about Rosario:

Rosario returned to high-A to start the year, spent too long at that lower level and finally moved up three weeks ago to Double-A, where he’s hitting .424/.462/.610 in 16 games. He has great bat speed that should lead to more power down the road, although right now he’s more of a hard-contact hitter who seldom strikes out. He has the quickness and arm strength to stay at shortstop and could be the Mets’ solution there at some point in 2017.

On Sunday night, Rosario showed off his talents to a national audience in the Futures Game going 1 for 2 with a run scored, made an impressive play in the field and showed off his blazing speed trying to beat out a ground ball.

First baseman Dominic Smith had been left off Baseball Prospectus Top 50 and came in at #76 on Baseball America’s midseason Top 100. He was ranked number 44 by Law who had this to say about him:

Smith showed off some of his raw power with a little run in late June that helped him set a new career high in homers, but overall his line of .277/.340/.436 is less than I expect for his Double-A debut. He’s still an outstanding defender at first and has no trouble making contact, but he needs to get himself into advantageous counts more frequently to get to that power, whether it’s for doubles or homers. On the other hand, he’s the youngest regular in the Eastern League, younger than 2016 first-rounder Corey Ray and just two weeks older than Nick Senzel, and he’s already more than holding his own in Double-A, so there’s still cause for optimism.

When I saw Smith for Binghamton this year, it was clear to me that he had made some adjustments including getting more loft on the ball and tapping into the natural raw power he has. I had the opportunity to talk to Smith recently which you can read here.

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What’s Wrong With Michael Conforto And How Should Mets Proceed Tue, 14 Jun 2016 14:46:25 +0000 michael conforto 3 rbi

The New York Mets offense has simply been bad. When you take a look at the team stats for all Major League clubs this season, the Mets offensive ranks are mostly trending at the bottom of the pile, except for home runs. Their inability to score with runners in scoring position with less than two outs has been abysmal. Injuries have piled up. Guys haven’t been pulling their weight.

One such player that I didn’t think was going to go through such a prolonged slump this year is left-fielder Michael Conforto. Coming off such a great rookie campaign, most Met fans assumed that he’d be getting a chance to play everyday, including against lefties. Many felt that he’d become the eventual number three hitter, and that happened in mid-April, and with immediate success.

However, since the calendar turned to May, Conforto has taken a nose dive offensively. Take a look at his April numbers, in 74 at-bats, Conforto batted .365/.442/.676, with four home runs, 18 runs batted in, along with nine walks. Fantastic numbers to open the 2016 season with, which coincided with the Mets going 16-7 in the month of April.

Fast forward to May, where the regression began. For the month of May, Conforto had 83 at-bats, and batted .169/.242/.349, he did swat another four home runs, but had only six runs batted in, and saw his strikeouts almost double from 15 in April to 26 in May.

And now through the first ten games of June, Conforto is off to yet another rocky start, batting .114/.154/.229, with one home run, five runs batted in, and already 13 strikeouts.

Now it is normal for second year players to go through sophomore slumps. No one was expecting Conforto to hit .320 with 30 plus home runs and 110 runs batted in this year. The curious matter is that Conforto started the year off so dominantly, what transpired in May and June to see such a complete 180 take place?

Have the scouting reports for the opposing teams helped neutralize Conforto? Is he pressing at the plate during a time where the Mets are down several key middle of the order bats in David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Travis d’Arnaud? Is it simply growing pains, and Conforto is taking his lumps at an inopportune time when the Mets desperately need offense?

Or maybe it has to do in part with the lingering left wrist issue he’s been dealing, however, it was only recently reported that he was dealing with this ailment, so it doesn’t explain his issues in early May. And when pressed on the matter, Conforto asserted that the left wrist pain doesn’t interfere with his swing.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Conforto and his wrist before he left for the hospital on Sunday after feeling ill.

“He’s got a little bit of a wrist issue that’s been bothering him,” said Collins, who subsequently required a hospital trip because he felt ill. “He said it doesn’t really bother him swinging. He’s scuffling enough that I thought I’d let him have today and tomorrow to catch his breath.”

michael conforto

While I fully suspect Conforto to bounce back and find his groove again, it is puzzling to see a guy that was praised and lauded for having such a key eye at the plate, and mature approach at such a young age, to be struggling this much, and this far into the season. Especially after the way he got off to his torrid start in April, it seemed Conforto was on his way to an All Star season.

A little over a week ago, Conforto did admit that he felt he was pressing at the plate, and needed to work on getting back to a simpler approach at the plate.

“I think I am pressing a little bit and I think I need to take a deep breath and get back to what was working,” Conforto said. “That just starts with hard work and feeling confident.” (NY Post)

Taking a look at FanGraphs and their plate discipline section, it seems that Conforto is not making the same type of contact he once was at pitches outside the strike zone. While his O-Swing%, which is the percentage of pitches swung outside the strike zone, is about the same as it was last season, his O-Contact%, which is the percent of times he makes contact when swinging outside the zone is way down this year, at 55.3%, compared to 61.4% in 2015.

So the question is, what do the Mets do with him? If they want to upgrade offensively, there are very few positions they can do that at, that aren’t already taken or have an injured player coming back to reclaim it. And unless more injuries were to hit the Mets, it seems hard to find spots to upgrade offensively in.

Would the Mets think about demoting Conforto to Triple A Las Vegas if the struggles continue? Can they afford to keep penciling his name into the lineup if he’s not being a middle of the order force and driving in runs? The Mets are in a win now state, and can’t keep running guys out there to work out their troubles at the plate, especially when it seems that more than half the Mets lineup isn’t doing much these past few weeks. That said, the Mets are committed to letting Conforto battle through this extended slump.

Assistant GM John Ricco spoke on the topic of potentially sending Conforto down to the minors, to work out his struggles without such constant noise and pressure on his at-bats.

“He’s a young player who has only been up for less than a year,” assistant general manager John Ricco said this week. “So to say that he’s up here for good no matter what happens? No. That’s always in the back of your mind. But that’s not what we’re thinking.” (Newsday)

“Right now, the best place to be for him and us is here,” Ricco reiterated on Sunday. “We’re still in the mode of ‘He’s going to play his way out of this.’ ”

More than likely Collins will continue to run Conforto out there to face right handed pitching, hoping that he’ll eventually break this prolonged slump and become the sweet-swinging line drive hitter Met fans were accustomed to seeing upon his arrival last summer. While you hate to see any of the guys slumping for such a lengthy time, you feel for the young 23 year-old because he arrived with such fanfare last season, had instant success, and was instantly revered among the Citi faithful.

Conforto was examined by team doctors on Monday for his wrist, and it might not be such a bad idea to place him on the 15-day DL. This actually might be perfect timing for all parties, the Mets can call upon a fresh body and not keep the trend going of carrying injured players that occupy precious roster space. And for Conforto, this can be a small hiatus, where he can rehab the wrist some, and also recharge the batteries and get set for the upcoming summer months when we will need Michael Conforto the most.

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Plawecki Has Upped His Game Since Collins’ Warning Wed, 11 May 2016 18:26:35 +0000 kevin plawecki

After a stretch where Kevin Plawecki hit .167/.348/.167, Terry Collins couldn’t bite his tongue anymore. Collins took the rare step of calling out one of his players publicly when he said, “I don’t mean to put a lot of pressure on him, but he’s got to start getting some hits. We all thought he was going to be a good offensive player. We need him to start getting hits.” (NY Post)

It was a bold move from Collins, attempting to motivate a player who has mostly underwhelmed since making the team out of Spring Training.

Plawecki has certainly gotten the message and has upped his game since his manager went public. In the five games since Collins’ statement, Plawecki is hitting .333/.368/.667 with three doubles and a homer.

And he’s not just making contact, he’s also hitting the ball with much more authority. He’s finally showing why the Mets selected him in the first round of the 2012 draft. He’s finally showing glimpses of the .290/.364/.432 hitter he was in the minor leagues.

Now, to say this new and improved Plawecki is a direct result of Collins’ prodding, would be a bit much. Plawecki has been working with Kevin Long, who is proving to be a terrific hitting coach. Additionally, he’s been in the majors for nearly a year now, had the offseason sinus surgery which negatively impacted his performance last season, and he’s in a much better lineup these days.

In any event, something seems to have clicked with Plawecki and it’s important because the Mets don’t know when Travis d’Arnaud will come back, or how he will play upon his return. The Mets need Plawecki to step-up in d’Arnaud’s absence and so far it looks like he’s doing just that.


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Mets Minors Recap: Nimmo Homers, Becerra Over .400 Fri, 06 May 2016 15:00:07 +0000 ChYNiVhVEAARrrY-400x327

El Paso 7, Las Vegas 6 (13-13) F/10 Box Score

The 51s pitching staff blew a lead of at least five runs for the second straight night but the big bright spot of the nights was Brandon Nimmo launching his first home run of the season to deep center field. He is now hitting .429/.500/.643 with eight RBI during his seven-game hitting streak. Travis Taijeron (1 for 2, two BB, R) and T.J. Rivera (pinch hit single) extended their own hitting streaks to 12 and 11 games respectively.

Chase Bradford took the loss after he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the Chihuahuas to win in walk-off fashion. It was another unispiring start for Seth Lugo who went 5.1 innings allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and struck out three without issuing a walk. He lowered his season ERA to 8.61 in 23 innings. Paul Sewald did throw two perfect innings with two strikeouts. He now has a 2.35 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in his first 15.1 Triple-A innings.

Both Dilson Herrera and Gavin Cecchini got the night off for Las Vegas.

Portland 2, Binghamton 1 (13-11) Box Score

The B-Mets had a 14-game winning streak in Portland snapped in a game that was scoreless headed to the seventh inning. Rainy Lara had his second consecutive quality start going six innings and giving up two runs. He allowed seven hits and walked one while striking out three. He is now 2-3 on the season despite a 3.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP but has struck out only 14 in 29.1 innings.

Leadoff man Derrik Gibson was the only Binghamton hitter to reach base more than once, he was 1 for 3 with a walk. Dominic Smith was 1 for 4 on the day and is now hitting .276/.324/.439 for the season with a career high .170 ISO. Outfielder Kyle Johnson (1-4) had a double for the lone extra base hit of the day for the B-Mets. He has reached base 15 times over his last six games.

St. Lucie 8 (15-12), Fort Myers 3 Box Score

Wuilmer Becerra is one of the hottest hitters in the minor leagues and continued that trend with a 2 for 4 night. He also walked and scored a run while extending his hitting streak to ten games. During those ten games he has hit .526 with seven runs scored and only four strikeouts. He is now in the top 3 in the entire minor leagues with his .405 average. He has also returned to playing right field for the last two games after being relegated to the designated hitter with a sore shoulder.

Amed Rosario went 1 for 3 and scored a run but the big news is that he walked twice, only the sixth time in 264 career games he has done so. He raised his slash line to .308/.350/.514 and stole his sixth base of the season. Champ Stuart doubled and walked three times out of the leadoff spot. Outfielder John Mora went 2 for 3 with two walks, two RBI, two runs scored and his fifth double of the year.

Corey Oswalt pitched 5.2 innings of three-run ball to pick up his second win of the season. Right-handed reliever Tim Peterson faced four batters and struck out three of them. He now has a 0.73 ERA and has struck 21 batters in 12.1 innings this year.

Columbia was rained out

They will play two tonight in Greensboro, starting at 5:00 pm.

Be sure to check out for all your minor league news including our the full recap of last night’s action.

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Morning Grind: NYC Tobacco Ban Will Be Ineffective Thu, 24 Mar 2016 11:00:35 +0000 05SMOKELESSweb-master675

Whether players like it or not, New York City has enacted a smokeless tobacco ban that will prevent them from using chewing tobacco at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. As we see from the quotes, there are players like Lucas Duda, to whom it’ll have no effect. There are others who do use it. We don’t know what, if any, impact it will have on them.

At this point, no one knows how this will work or how it can be enforced. No one knows how effective it will be. Remember this is the same city that has banned smoking indoors for over a decade, and yet, everyone looks the other way when Yoenis Cespedes sneaks into the clubhouse to have a cigarette. This begs the question of why even bother doing it?  These are grown men. No law is going to stop a player from using chewing tobacco. Most players who feel they need it to perform may do it anyway. So why do it?

The answer might be found in Curt Schilling‘s struggles with cancer as he describes in The Players’ Tribune. Schilling started at 16, and he could never stop. As a result, he faced a life or death struggle with mouth cancer. A fight he won; a fight others have lost.

Tony Gwynn died at the age of 54. He started dipping in rookie ball and couldn’t stop. He woke up, brushed his teeth, and then threw in a dip. He’d have a dip in his mouth the rest of the day. He dipped through every scare. He dipped right up until he had cancer.

These are the reasons for the laws. No one wants to see Curt Schilling go through this. This was a man who was unbeatable in October. He got sutures in his ankle just to pitch in the 2004 ALCS and World Series. During the biggest moments, he’s seemingly invincible. No one is invincible when it’s cancer. So whether we agree with the law or not, to a man, we can all agree that we hope it works. We hope it’ll stop people from starting. We hope it’ll get people to quit.

The problem is it won’t. Smokeless tobacco has been banned in the minor leagues since 1993. Despite this ban, minor leaguers come to the majors and use chewing tobacco. Whatever measures baseball has put in place has not stopped players from using it. So no, banning it will not reach the intended goal. Banning something rarely does.

Banning it hasn’t worked, and it won’t work now. Instead, what we have is an avenue for big leaguers to talk about their use and why preventing them from doing it is a bad thing. So in essence, this law is going to have the direct opposite effect of its intention, at least in the short term. Instead, everyone should be looking for real solutions to solve the problem.


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Travis Taijeron Looks For His Chance Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:00:52 +0000 travis taijeron 2

For Major League clubs, depth is never a bad thing. Each year, teams look to shore up deficiencies and weaknesses on their roster, and look to add positional depth by stashing players in the upper minors in case of an injury.

It’s been widely reported that the injury to Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (out with a strained patella tendon in his left knee) wont be a major issue due to the team’s organizational depth at the position – even if he does miss the start of the season.

Which brings me to the signing of Alejandro De Aza. Back in late December, the Mets agreed to a one-year deal with De Aza for $5.75 million. At the time, Sandy Alderson admitted that he didn’t think Yoenis Cespedes was going to fall back into their laps at the dollars and years, they were willing to offer. So the logic was to have De Aza split time with Juan Lagares in center field, and use the matchups accordingly.

And while I understand that the Mets wanted to fill a void that was left with the surprise retirement of Michael Cuddyer, I wish the the money spent on De Aza could’ve been used to add another bullpen arm instead. Why didn’t the Mets need to go out and sign De Aza you might ask? They already had their backup depth in a slugging outfielder named Travis Taijeron.

Taijeron, 27, has been with the Mets organization since they drafted him the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Cal Poly Pomona. Right away Taijeron put up big numbers, playing in 56 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2011 and putting up a slash line of .299/.387/.557 for an OPS of .943. He also smashed nine home runs, and drove in 44 runs. Of his 58 hits that season, 27 were for extra bases, which resulted in his monster slugging percentage.

In 2012, Taijeron began the year in Single-A Savannah, putting up a .949 OPS with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 64 games for the Sand Gnats. His hot start earned him a promotion to to play with the St. Lucie Mets. Taijeron’s slash line took a nose dive, as he posted a .677 OPS in 48 games, but still managed to add seven home runs to his overall total of 19 for the season. Taijeron did a complete 180 in 2013, starting the year with St. Lucie and slashing .303/.396/.564 for an OPS of .960. He finished the year with Binghamton, combining for a line of .271/.356/.531 for an OPS of .887 while increasing his home run total to a new career high 23 to go with 69 RBI.

Taijeron played the entire season in Binghamton in 2014, posting another year of .800 plus OPS, and double-digit home runs. Taijeron took a liking to the hitter friendly confines of Cashman Field and the Pacific Coast League, and hit career high 25 home runs, along with 71 RBIs in 2015. Taijeron’s numbers are a large enough sample size to garner a look with the big league club, a move I wish the Mets had thought of before jumping at signing De Aza.

travis taijeron

This is not an article to bash De Aza however. He does boast a solid resume, and has played in 680 Major League games in his career. He’s had success in Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, and San Francisco, and offers a career OPS of .756 against right-handers, which was to complement Lagares’ .753 OPS against lefties. However, it is worth noting that while Taijeron is a right-handed power hitter, his splits are worth taking a look at.

In 2015, Taijeron had 259 at-bats against right-handers, and hit 13 of his 25 home runs against them. He also posted an OBP of .380, slugging of .483, and an OPS of .863 against righties that year. You want to say that Vegas is a hitter’s haven, fair enough. Lets dive into his earlier numbers than as well.

While playing with Binghamton in 2014, Taijeron hit 7 of his 15 home runs against righties, drove in 33 runs, had an OBP of .351 and slugging of .418, for an OPS of .769 in 201 at bats. While the slugging and OPS numbers were down compared to 2015, a .769 OPS for a platoon player would be a welcome sight to pair with Lagares. The only time De Aza posted higher OPS numbers than .769 was in 2011 while playing with the White Sox in 54 games.

Taijeron posted an OPS of .864 against right-handers in 172 at-bats in 2013 with Binghamton. That’s over 600 at-bats with an average OPS of .832. Surely that’s worth a look if you’re the Mets, front office, and are still keeping an eye of finances and wanting to assemble the best roster for a reasonable cost.

The one issue Taijeron has is his range in center field, or should I say, lack there of. He’s a strong corner outfielder with a good arm, but based on scouting reports wouldn’t quite be able to handle center on a regular basis. But he wouldn’t embarrass them either, especially if the Mets employed defensive substitutions in the later innings. De Aza has had similar criticisms thrown his way as well; especially when you consider that he hasn’t played a consistent center field since 2013 with Chicago. That year, De Aza’s UZR/150 was -4.1, with an ARM (Outfield Arm Runs above average) of -2.3. De Aza posts substantially better numbers in the corner positions, leading us back to Taijeron.

If De Aza and Taijeron are on similar footing defensively, then I think the Mets should trade De Aza this Spring as some outlets are reporting. Taijeron is four years younger, offers more power, higher OBP, SLG, and OPS. And it would save the Mets roughly $5 million to use at their disposal.

The Mets have made it known that they aren’t actively shopping De Aza in a trade, but six teams are very interested in trading for him. De Aza is increasing his value though, currently hitting .438 with an OPS of 1.063 in sixteen spring at-bats. But Taijeron is having an equally impressive spring, invited as a non-roster invitee; Taijeron is hitting .385 with a .421 OBP and 1.087 OPS in 28 plate appearances.

For now, Taijeron will be neatly tucked away in minor league camp as he was reassigned by the Mets on Tuesday. But if the Mets do indeed deal De Aza, he’s only a phone call away, or they could just jog over to the other side of the complex and tell him to get back to Major League camp.

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Where’s The Love For T.J. Rivera? Wed, 09 Mar 2016 15:30:51 +0000 T.J.-Rivera3

Every so often you might peruse through the Mets minor league statistics, see who’s on a hitting streak, latest pitching highlights, or how the teams are faring in the standings. I for one love to go on and dissect some minor league numbers, as all of us try to predict who might have a future with our beloved ball club.

Which makes me wonder, why do some players that clearly have commendable stats to be given a chance to prove their worth, not get the call-ups? Why are some players perennially stuck in a baseball limbo if you will, between Double A and Triple A? Especially when said players have distinguished their abilities not just in one season, but over several productive years.

A name I’ve been hearing about for some time now is Thomas Javier Rivera, or T.J. Rivera for short. Rivera was undrafted out of Troy University in Alabama in 2011, and a week later signed on with the Mets as a free agent. It’s surprising no one took a chance on Rivera in the draft, in the three years he played college ball at Wallace Community College and Troy University, Rivera put up a combined slash line of .320/.368/.466, good for an OPS of .834. He only struck out 51 times in 631 at-bats, and in his senior year at Troy, he had 24 walks compared to 14 strikeouts.

t.j. rivera

Since his time in the Mets farm system, Rivera has been a jack-of-all-trades, playing all over the infield throughout the various minor league levels. His best statistical position appears to be second base, where he owns a lifetime fielding percentage of .975. He’s not the fleetest of infielders, yet he can hold his own quite well wherever he’s placed. Binghamton Mets hitting coach Luis Natera spoke about Rivera’s fielding prowess last season.

“He’s a steady fielder,” Natera said. “He’s not a Gold Glover, but he’s steady, can turn a double play. He has average range, he just needs to be a little quicker.”

What’s appealing about Rivera besides his versatility in the field is his bat, and penchant for getting on base. Here’s Rivera’s OBP the last four seasons in the minors:

2015 –  .364

2014 –  .388

2013 –   .348

2012 –   .372

Rivera’s minor league OBP is .366, which is rather impressive when comparing to current members of the Mets infield. Wilmer Flores for example had a minor league OBP of .334. Ruben Tejada had a .338 OBP. Newly acquired Neil Walker’s was .323. Only Lucas Duda (.380) and David Wright (.391) had higher minor league career OBP than Rivera.

The 2014 and 2015 seasons were two of his best statistical years. Splitting time between St. Lucie and Binghamton in ’14, Rivera compiled a slash line of .349/.388/.446, with an OPS of .834. He also knocked in 75 runs, and scored 70 times. In ’15, Rivera split time with Binghamton and Las Vegas, where his stat line was .325/.364/.449, with an OPS of .814. Rivera’s RBI total was down from the previous year at 48, but he still scored 63 runs.

Clearly his offensive abilities has stayed very consistent year in and year out. Last year, when speaking to the NY Post, ex-Mets vice-president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta had this to say about Rivera’s offense.

“He’s just a really good baseball player who has excellent barrel control,” said DePodesta. “He centers up more baseballs than most anybody in the minor leagues.”


Unfortunately for Rivera it doesn’t seem like he’ll get a chance with the Mets. He’s moved down the totem pole of backup infielders, with guys like Matt Reynolds, Dilson Herrera, Gavin Cecchini, and Ruben Tejada holding precedent over him. And now with Flores being the super utility guy on the team, Rivera might need a change of scenery to get a shot at the big leagues.

Rivera should hope for a chance at the big leagues soon, even if that’s not with the Mets. When he played with Binghamton last year, he was 1.6 years older than the average Double A player. Rivera turned 27 when the Mets opened their World Series bid against the Kansas City Royals on October 27th.

Rivera understands that his chances are growing smaller with the rise of infield prospects the Mets have along with the exciting middle-infield talent at lower levels such as Amed Rosario, Luis Carpio, Milton Ramos, Luis Guillorme, and Gregory Guerrero. Here’s what Rivera said last year on how he’s had to prove himself every year, especially considering he went undrafted.

“I figured it was going to be a little harder for me to move up the rankings. I knew that coming in, so I was expecting I had to prove myself over and over.”

Rivera seems to have a positive attitude while he goes about doing what he does best, hitting for a high average and getting on base. He was invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee for the first time this year, which has to raise his hopes up some. If nothing else, he provides added insurance for the Mets in the minor leagues, and hopes to make an impression, whether that’s with the only team he has been apart of, or with another. The Spring offers a chance for him to showcase his talents to a plethora of scouts in attendance, with hopes of maybe someday exhibiting those gaudy on-base numbers in the Major Leagues.

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Mets Minors: Top 5 Outfield Prospects Led By Nimmo Fri, 05 Feb 2016 23:29:45 +0000 While the likes of outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto took Flushing by storm in 2015, a number of young prospects at the same position made noise in the minor leagues. Here are the top five outfielders in the Mets system, as ranked by

victor cruzado

No. 5 – Victor Cruzado
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 180 B/T: S/R Age: 6/30/1992 (23)
2015 Level: Hi-A St Lucie/Double-A Binghamton

2015 Stats: 97 G, 392 PA, 324 AB, 20 2B, 7 3B, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 2 SB, 48/69 BB/K, .268/.358/.395

This season will be Victor Cruzado’s sixth in the organization, and he’s made it up the ladder by hitting pretty well at every level. As a switch hitter, he has historically hit right handed pitching better, but hit .317 against southpaws at St. Lucie last season. Cruzado was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 and bounced around the diamond for a few seasons before settling in the outfield for good in 2013. He played exclusively in right field in 2015, and his arm suggests that is where he’ll stay. He doesn’t project as a guy with game changing speed, but he finished tied for second among Mets minor leaguers with seven triples last season. Cruzado will head to Binghamton in 2016, where he’ll form an outfield to keep tabs on with Champ Stuart.

john mora

No. 4 – John Mora
Ht: 5’10”  Wt: 165 B/T: L/L Age: 5/31/1993 (22)
2015 Level: Low-A Savannah Sand Gnats

2015 Stats: 115 G, 481 PA, 407 AB, 22 2B, 12 3B, 5 HR, 57 RBI, 14 SB, 57/70 BB/K, .278/.368/.428

John Mora may get a little funky when he steps into the batters box, but he means business. The 2011 international signee put his name on the map in 2013, when he was named the Sterling Award recipient for the Dominican Summer League Mets after hitting .310 with 46 RBI and 16 stolen bases, and was invited to take part in the ceremonies at Citi Field. Mora made his United States debut in 2014 with the GCL Mets, and hit well enough to earn at bats in front of much larger crowds in Brooklyn at the end of the season. His average dipped in 2015, but his power numbers jumped, setting career highs in doubles, triples, and home runs. The latter is the most impressive, considering he didn’t hit his first professional dinger until April of last season. He has plus speed to expand his game, and stolen bases are not uncommon. Expect to see Mora at the top of St. Lucie’s lineup in 2016.

Lindsay Desmond

No. 3 - Desmond Lindsay
Ht: 6’0″  Wt: 200 B/T: R/R Age: 1/15/1997  (19)
2015 Level: Rookie GCL Mets/SS-A Brooklyn Cyclones

2015 Stats: 35 G, 134 PA, 114 AB, 7 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 3 SB, 18/40 BB/K, .263/.364/.386

The Mets used their top draft pick on Lindsay a year ago, making him the fourth high school bat selected by Sandy Alderson with his highest selection. Coming out of school, Desmond Lindsay was a third baseman with a quick bat and speed to match. He moved to center field upon entering the organization, where his quickness allowed him to navigate the outfield. Although he hit over .300 in the Gulf Coast League, Lindsay struck out 35% of the time across two levels, didn’t show much power, but that should come as he progresses. Most scouts believe he has five-tool potential, and should at the very least develop into a well rounded threat at the top of the order.


No. 2 - Wuilmer Becerra
Ht: 6’4″  Wt: 190 B/T: R/R Age: 10/1/1994 (21)
2015 Level: Low-A Savannah Sand Gnats

2015 Stats: 118 G, 487 PA, 449 AB, 27 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 63 RBI, 16 SB, 33/96 BB/K, .290/.342/.423

Wuilmer Becerra has come a long way since being the throw-in in the R.A. Dickey trade (or now the Syndergaard trade?). There’s a lot to like in his game, including power potential, a strong right field arm, and speed that helped him more than double his career high in stolen bases in 2015. He mashed at Savannah a year ago, finishing seventh in runs batted in and fifth in doubles among Mets minor leaguers. For his efforts, the 21-year-old took home postseason all-star honors in the South Atlantic League. Becerra is tall and thin, but sometimes struggles to generate power from his legs, leading to long swings and a lot of strikeouts, the sixth most in the system last year. It will be interesting to see if they go conservative and let him begin 2016 in St. Lucie, or put him in a lineup full of prospects in Binghamton.

brandon nimmo

No. 1 - Brandon Nimmo
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 205 B/T: L/R Age: 3/27/1993 (22)
2015 Level: Triple-A Las Vegas 51s/Double-A Binghamton Mets

2015 Stats: 104 G, 434 PA, 376 AB, 16 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 5 SB, 48/78 BB/K, .269/.362/.372

Even after a disappointing 2015 season statistically, Brandon Nimmo remains atop the list. He fought the injury bug for the first time in his professional career, missing time in May and June with a knee sprain. The Wyomingite got off to a solid start, with his batting average hovering around .300 until the injury. Nimmo was hitting .289/.351/.382 when he left Binghamton to participate in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Cincinnati for the second time in his career (2013, New York).  He would spend two more weeks in Double-A, before being promoted to Las Vegas. Nimmo slumped in late August, which, combined with the major league club’s success, prevented him from appearing in the big leagues during the year that most thought would provide the 22-year-old with his first taste of major league action.

The fact that the Mets are bound to Curtis Granderson for two more seasons, Juan Lagares for four, Conforto for six, and Cespedes for potentially three, certainly doesn’t help Nimmo’s case for a starting job anytime soon. Coupled with his recent statistics, it seems more than likely that Nimmo will ultimately settle into a platoon role, providing a solid left-handed bat. At least that’s what most of the top prospect analysts are saying. Hopefully he will have healed from the partial tendon tear in his foot in time for major league spring training this year, but that might be cutting it close.

The next group of outfield prospects include 2015 draft pick Kevin Kaczmarski, toolsy Raphael Ramirez, and the powerful bat of Ivan Wilson.

For more minor league coverage head over to where we have started counting down our Top 80 Prospects

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Mets Sign Buddy Carlyle, Three More To Minor League Deals Mon, 14 Dec 2015 22:55:30 +0000 buddy carlyle

The Mets announced the signing of four players to minor league contracts today, including right-handed relief pitcher Buddy Carlyle. Left-handed pitcher Duane Below, first baseman Marc Krauss, and left-hander Andrew Barbosa were also inked to deals.

Carlyle, 37, had a fantastic year with the Mets in 2014, posting a 1.45 ERA over 31 innings. However, he was limited to just eight innings with the Mets this season, having season-ending hip surgery in June.

Below, 30, was also in the Mets organization this year, but pitched exclusively with Triple-A Las Vegas. In 49.1 innings with them, Below pitched to a 2.19 ERA. He has experience starting and pitching out of the bullpen. In 78 innings in the major leagues between the Tigers and Marlins, Below has a 4.27 ERA.

Krauss is a left-handed hitting first baseman and left fielder who has spent time with the Astros, Rays, Angels, and Tigers over the past three seasons. In 435 career plate appearances, the 28 year-old has a .188/.255/.324 slash line with 18 doubles and 12 home runs. He has some power and hit 20 home runs a few times in the minor leagues, but not much else has been there so far for Krauss.

Barbosa is a 6’8″ left-hander who has struck out a ton of hitters at the lower levels of the minor leagues, but has been held back by high hit and walk rates. 28, Barbosa has a career 3.65 ERA in the minor leagues along with an 11.0 strikeout rate and 4.4 walk rate. He made nine start for the Long Island Ducks in 2015, posting a 2.82 ERA over 51 innings. In 43.2 innings with the Braves’ Double-A affiliate, Barbosa owned a 2.68 ERA and 2.78 FIP.

Carlyle is a year short of qualifying for XX(B) free agency, so all of these deals will presumably be standard minor league contracts.

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Could The Struggling Nationals Turn To Wally Backman? Tue, 18 Aug 2015 16:45:08 +0000 Is it time for some Wally Ball at Citi Field?

The Nationals are struggling big time. Despite being one of the preseason World Series favorites, Washington has dipped under .500 and now sits 4.5 games behind the Mets in the division and 9.5 back in the Wild Card.

They’ve lost six straight as well as 17 of their last 24, leaving some to speculate that manager Matt Williams is on the hot seat. Last night, John Harper of the New York Daily News took that one step further, suggesting that the Nationals could tap Wally Backman to manage the club.

GM Mike Rizzo has stood firmly behind Williams, but, as Harper points out, he also has a relationship with Backman going back to their days in the Diamondbacks organization.

The crux of Harper’s piece, however, is a potential Backman hiring could “mess with the Mets’ mojo.” With a pretty young team, a lot of current Mets have played under Backman in the minor leagues.

Backman also would certainly provide a change of pace for the Nationals, as Williams is a low key, quiet manager while Backman, as we have seen, is as fiery as it gets. He could be the jolt of energy that Washington needs to turn things around.

Backman or no Backman, if the Nationals keep struggling, the pressure to fire Williams will only grow, as will speculation of possible replacements.


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Syndergaard Steps Onto The Big Stage Tonight Tue, 12 May 2015 18:57:51 +0000 noah Syndergaard

Just as they were with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, don’t look for the Mets to bring up Noah Syndergaard for a spot start. Once he’s here, unless he really spits the bit, he’s not going anywhere. Like everybody else, I’m excited to see him pitch, just as I was when Harvey and Wheeler first came up.

mmo feature original footerWhat it means is Dillon Gee will move to the bullpen or be traded. That much is inevitable when Gee comes off the disabled list. The Mets were so hot to trade him because they knew this day was coming. The only snap for the Mets was Gee getting hurt, otherwise they would have kept Syndergaard down for Super Two.

We can talk all we want about Syndergaard’s stuff and his fall-off-the-table curveball. We know from spring training, Triple-A Las Vegas and his Tweeting he has no shortage of confidence. However, his stuff and confidence will only carry him so far tonight in Wrigley Field.

The most important thing Syndergaard must take to the mound is poise. Actually, I’d like to see him get in trouble to see how he responds to adversity and pressure. That quality is what defines a great pitcher. We’ve seen it in Harvey and until recently, in Jacob deGrom. Now, I want to see it in Syndergaard.

The standard cliche for a rookie pitcher is it’s still the same game he’s been playing in the minor leagues. Not true. In the minor leagues he’s facing minor leaguers. This is the major leagues and mistakes get hit a long way.

Syndergaard must keep the ball down and get ahead in the count. That much is obvious, But, he also needs to minimize damage when he gets in trouble. He needs to find something when that curveball is missing its spot.

The distance between the rubber and the plate is the same, but everything else will be different, including the opposition, the pressure and all those eyes watching him.

Syndergaard did a lot to get here. He must do a lot more to stay. Here’s to hoping for a memorable debut and more importantly a big rookie season.


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Sources: Plawecki Will Likely Return To Minors When TDA Returns Thu, 07 May 2015 14:39:51 +0000 kevin plawecki first hr

Marc Carig and David Lennon of Newsday are reporting that sources indicate that catcher Kevin Plawecki would most likely be sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas once Travis d’Arnaud returns from the disabled list.

“The internal belief is that Plawecki could still benefit from playing every day in the minor leagues as opposed to splitting time in the majors.”

That said, after last night’s 5-1 win against the Orioles, Terry Collins told reporters that it’s still unclear when d’Arnaud will be ready to come back from a broken finger.

Reports indicate that TDA is progressing very well and Collins said he is scheduled to be examined by doctors on Monday.

The Mets manager views the issue of playing time for both young catchers as a good problem to have and doesn’t rule out keeping both on the roster.

“If you’re looking down the road, it’s hard to say who’s going to get the majority of the playing time.”

In an exclusive interview with MMO’s John Bernhardt in the offseason, GM Sandy Alderson expanded on the possibility of having both Plawecki and d’Arnaud playing together in the future.

“Right now we’re fortunate that we have two catchers who are essentially major league ready — I think Plawecki is close — of such high quality.”

“At the same time, as they sort of both converge on the major leagues, it’s a question of whether both can be accommodated. I think there are circumstances under which that’s possible.”

“For example, sharing the catching duties and then one of them playing first base a little bit or playing in the outfield. Or, during interleague games one of them DHing against left-handed pitching. I think there are ways to do it.”

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Undrafted Prospect T.J. Rivera Impressing Mets Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:54:13 +0000 t.j. rivera

Mets prospect and Bronx native T.J. Rivera was undrafted out of Troy University in Alabama. But so far in the minor leagues, he is making the Mets notice writes Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Last season at Class-A St Lucie and Double-A Binghamton combined, he hit .349 with 5 home runs and 75 RBIs in 453 at bats and helped Binghamton win the Eastern League title for the first time in 20 years.

This season, he will start with the Double-A club, playing all 4 infield positions, grooming him into a potential utility role in the majors. But he might even see some limited time in the outfield, according to Mets vice president, Paul DePodesta.

“I think he has an interesting skill set and what a National League club might need,” DePodesta said.

Rivera played for Lehman High School in the Bronx and played  for former Met, Mackey Sasser in junior college at Alabama. He also played winter ball at Puerto Rico and his fiancee also lives in Alabama. So he couldn’t spend much time in NY this winter.

“I figured it was going to be a little harder for me to move up the rankings.” said Rivera on trying to reach the majors after being undrafted. “I knew that coming in, so I was expecting I had to prove myself over and over. Hopefully I’ve been able to do so after last year. And I’m hoping to do the same thing this year and go out there and prove myself again.”

“He’s on equal footing,” said DePodesta. “He’s done nothing put perform since Day 1. He has a real knack for hitting the ball on the barrel. He’s shown that from the beginning.”

If Rivera continues to hit like he did last season, it wouldn’t be long before he sees the majors.


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