Mets Merized Online » potential http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:37:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.15 Gsellman Puts Himself In Mets’ 5th Starter Conversation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/gsellman-puts-himself-in-mets-5th-starter-conversation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/gsellman-puts-himself-in-mets-5th-starter-conversation.html/#comments Mon, 08 Aug 2016 13:00:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219989 robert gsellman

With a great stretch of starts in Triple-A, Robert Gsellman is a potential candidate to replace Logan Verrett in the rotation.

Terry Collins suggested that prospects like Gsellman and Gabriel Ynoa are being considered for the 5th starter role in addition to Jon Niese.

“I think anytime is right if a guy is good enough,” Collins said. “We’ve seen what the dynamics are when you call some young guys up. It started with Matt Harvey to Zack Wheeler to [Jacob deGrom]. They came up and made a difference. A lot of times, as we’ve seen when we’ve faced guys for the first time, they can dominate you. So we haven’t made any decisions yet.” (Maria Guardado, NJ.com)

Even though Gsellman initially struggled after his promotion to Las Vegas, he has thrown four consecutive quality starts with a 3.04 ERA and 25 strikeouts over his last 26.1 innings pitched.

While not an overpowering pitcher, Gsellman is an interesting choice given his command and ability to generate a lot of ground balls. He has walked 2.3 batters per nine innings in his minor league career, and posted a ground ball rate as high as 58% in High-A St. Lucie in 2015.

The 6″4′ 204 pound right-hander was drafted by the Mets out of high school in the 13th round of the 2011 draft. And he has been one of the most consistent performers in the system over the past few years.

He has a career 34-31 record with a 3.06 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 87 minor league starts.

Heading into the season, he was ranked as the Mets’ 9th best prospect according to Baseball Prospectus. And he is currently ranked 14th overall in MLB.com’s latest midseason update.

At the age of 23, Gsellman is having another successful season as a pro. He has a 3.84 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 103 innings pitched this season between Las Vegas and Binghamton, and he is now inching closer towards an MLB debut.

The concern with Gsellman has always been that he doesn’t strikeout enough batters to thrive in the major leagues as he posted a 6.5 K/9 rate in the minors. But the Mets have enough strikeout artists in the rotation and Gsellman could provide a nice change of pace and different look. His K/9 is identical to Verrett but Gsellman has a significantly better K/BB (2.77 vs 1.81).

The Mets just need someone who can give them some quality innings at the back of the rotation until the potential return of Zack Wheeler in September.

Gsellman has been a rock solid pitcher throughout his entire minor league tenure, and he appears locked in at the moment.  He’d be a good choice to fill that fifth spot while keeping Niese in the bullpen where he has been effective. We should know what Collins decides on Tuesday.

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Mets Should Focus On Relievers Not Starters In Trade Deadline Deals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mets-should-focus-on-relievers-not-starters-in-trade-deadline-deals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mets-should-focus-on-relievers-not-starters-in-trade-deadline-deals.html/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2016 15:07:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218156 ryan buchter

With names like Andrew Cashner, Rich Hill, Jon Niese, Jeremy Hellickson and Michael Pineda circulating as potential trade bait on or before the trade deadline, the Mets would be best served by bolstering their bullpen rather than seeking a starting pitcher to replace innings lost due to Matt Harvey’s season-ending surgery. The current Bartolo Colon, Logan Verrett, Jacob deGrom, Stephen Matz and Noah Syndergaard rotation wouldn’t see any real improvement with a realistic trade target who offers little upside to Logan Verrett.

In fact, of the names circulating right now, Andrew Cashner likely has the most upside, assuming he can stay healthy, despite a 4-7 record, 5.05 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, to go with a K:BB ratio of 53:27 in 67 2/3 innings this season. That said, rumors have Cashner, who may be in need of a change of scenery, potentially landing with the Rangers or Marlins.

Admittedly, while the Mets’ starting staff has little room for further injuries (and are already dealing with Matz and Syndergaard on close watch due to bone spurs), Zack Wheeler has reportedly been throwing bullpen sessions down in Port St. Lucie and, while a formal schedule hasn’t yet been announced for his further rehab, we may see him back with the team in mid-to-late August.

Additionally, Gabriel Ynoa (Triple-A Las Vegas: 9-4, 4.09 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 116 2/3 IP) could be a potential rotation replacement in the event of another injury or rotation turn skip for Matz or Syndergaard despite carrying a poor K:BB ratio in 116 2/3 innings at Las Vegas (59:32). Using minor league trade chips to pick up arms for the pen (similar to last season and utilizing the game plan developed by the Kansas City Royals over the past few seasons) as a means to bridge the gap from starters to Reed/Familia should be the focus of the Mets’ front office when it comes to pitching help.

Potential targets could include LHP Ryan Buchter on San Diego (entering July 20th: 41 IP, 2.41 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 57:21 K:BB); RHP Brad Boxberger on Tampa Bay due off the DL in late July; RHP Jeremy Jeffress on Milwaukee (entering July 20th: 39 1/3 IP, 2.29 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 29:10 K:BB); old friend RHP Tyler Clippard on Arizona (entering July 20th: 35 2/3 IP, 3.53 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 42:12 K:BB); and RHP Nate Jones on the White Sox (entering July 20th: 41 2/3 IP, 2.38 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 44:8 K:BB).

Ideal options? Probably not. Exciting options? Definitely not. But these options not only would require a fraction of the talent that a starter could potentially command, given SP demand, but are also realistic given the likely trade chips the Mets would be willing to dangle. Additionally, bullpen arms would be much more likely to provide relative value in the long run than a borderline fifth starter who would only be a minimal improvement over Verrett, Wheeler or Ynoa at best.

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A Case For Eduardo Nunez http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/a-case-for-eduardo-nunez.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/a-case-for-eduardo-nunez.html/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 14:45:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215441 eduardo nunez

With the Mets sitting precariously in third place, it is almost universally accepted that Sandy Alderson will have to swing a trade or make a signing to cement the Mets as legitimate contenders from an offensive perspective.  Sure the sixth-year General Manager brought in Jose Reyes and worked out Yulieski Gourriel, but let’s face it, neither of those players are imminent game changers.

Fortunately, the Amazins’ have several potential trading partners emerging as teams begin to fall out of the playoff hunt. Among these potential future partners are the Minnesota Twins. At 24 and 51, the Twins sit in the cellar of the American League Central, 20.5 games out of first place. But amid season long struggles marked by injuries to key players and struggles of top prospects, third baseman and shortstop Eduardo Nunez has been a bright spot in the Minnesota lineup.

In his first season as a full time regular, the Dominican speedster has slashed .312/.342./.473 with 17 stolen bases, a tally good for third in the American League. Nunez is also in the midst of a career best power surge, in fact his 10 home runs this season are already a personal record.

Advanced metrics confirm that Nunez’s success has been no fluke. His .330 BABIP is not too distant from his .312 batting average, proving that luck has played a very limited role in his success.

Furthermore, his hard 28 percent hard hit rate and minuscule 13 percent strikeout rate have legitimized him as a true multi-faceted power and on base threat in the Twins’ line up.

eduardo nunez steal

At 29 years old, Nunez has two years left of team control, making him significantly more than just a half season rental piece. But his recent success and multiple years of team control drive up his price substantially.

Conversations for Nunez would likely begin with a young high upside pitcher, according to a prominent Minnesota beat writer.  While the Twins would likely push for somebody in the Mets’ current rotation, they are open to high potential minor league talent, perhaps young pitchers such as Gabriel Ynoa or Marcos Molina.

The Twins also have a need for talented catching. Kurt Suzuki‘s impending free agency along with the struggles of Juan Centeno and John Ryan Murphy signify that the Mets would likely need to part with a backstop.  This means that one of Kevin Plawecki or Travis d’Arnaud probably needs to be on the table for the Twins to consider a deal.

Sure it’s a high ask, but Nunez is one of the premier options that the Mets can pursue in the near future. Unlike Gourriel or Reyes, Nunez is a young, controllable, known commodity, and he could provide the combination of speed and high on-base skills that the Mets so desperately need.

Given his production, potential, and availability, the Mets should certainly make a play for Eduardo Nunez. He’s an obvious fit; just how Yoenis Cespedes fulfilled the Mets’ power needs last year, Nunez could plug the gaping hole atop the Mets’ lineup this season.

With all that said, now we wait. Sandy, the ball is in your court.

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2016 MLB Draft: Five Players The Mets Could Select http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/2016-mlb-draft-five-players-the-mets-could-select.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/2016-mlb-draft-five-players-the-mets-could-select.html/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 14:20:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=214139 will craig WF2016Photo: Wake Forest

The First Year Player Draft is quickly approaching: three days, and thankfully dwindling. I’m getting antsy waiting to see who will be a new Mets Top Prospect, and there’s so much to look forward to as the Mets have 41 picks waiting to happen. Today however, we have a list of five guys we believe the Mets could pick with some of their selections.

19th Overall Pick

Will Craig, 1B/3B – Wake Forest, 6’3″, 235 lbs, R/R College Stats

The guy at this point is a consensus choice among all national mocks, and is going to get the longest explanation from me. Craig has been mocked to the Mets 14 times in 79 possible mocks, which is eight more than the next player. At this point it may be a foregone conclusion that the Mets are into the college BAT of Will Craig, who is likely one of the best pure hitters in college aside from Zack Collins and Kyle Lewis. A .392/.537/.766 hitter with 16 home runs, Craig oozes some nice bat speed and ability to put the bat on the ball from the right side of the plate.

As well, he is able to draw walks very easily, and produce some high On-Base-Percentages and doesn’t strike out very easily. The top knocks to watch for is his subpar performance in the Wood-Bat Cape League, and the fact that Wake Forest’s ballpark is a hitter’s park, likely juicing his numbers slightly. His bat could easily produce a .280 20+ home run season annually despite these issues.

The main issue for why Craig isn’t considered for higher than #19 is because of his body-type, and why I accentuated bat at the top. As MLB.com noted in their report and I’ll repeat, “If he was body beautiful, he’d be the first player taken”.

Craig is a large guy in general, has a plus arm that he also uses when pitching as Wake Forest’s closer. This could be helpful as he has below-average speed, but  with legs like tree-trunks, giving him below-average speed, and limited lateral mobility. While displaying fine hands, the mobility is the main fear for many scouts. That could be a concern for him sticking at third base in the long run, and may sooner or later force a change to the other infield corner.

My Take: I’ve been on the fence about this pick, but it’s not in my hands, so i’ll try to see what I can do to change your mind, and mine. Craig is the most advanced and complete hitter in this draft, despite playing in a bandbox and hitting poorly in the Cape League, and that’s fantastic, but the questions about his defense are not favorable. When looking on the bright side of this potential pick, I need to note a few things:

  1. He’s a guy who works very hard on everything he has done, and when challenged by his coach, he has exceeded expectations. He changed his diet to try to make him more mobile, and able to play at third, and the Mets have Barwis doing workouts at their Port St. Lucie that assist at agility. It may not make him improve exponentially, but it could definitely improve with the workouts.
  2. Should Craig stay at third base, it may not be an idealized circumstance and be at the range of a Machado, Donaldson, or Arenado. However, Third base isn’t usually considered a primary defensive position like Shortstop, Middle Infield, and Catcher. In some circumstances, you can possibly trade some defense for offense, and especially with Mets’ current offensive woes, having a little sacrifice could help. Not every pick is going to be sexy or have pizzazz, or five tools, especially not a top college performer, but if he’s adequate, it could play.
  3. They may be using an under-slot pick to go after for more upside later. An under slot pick could indeed fetch a high-upside arm with a high-demanded bonus in a later round such as a Chris Flexen, or a more elusive player that got away like J.B. Woodman or Anthony Kay, or A.J. Reed.
  4. If he can’t stick at third, he or Dominic Smith can be used as a trade chip for something of need. That’s the beauty of prospects.

Either way, the Yankees, who pick before the Mets have been tied to Craig heavily as well, so let’s see what happens there. I must remind fans, we have no say in this pick, whatsoever, so let’s hope Scouting Director Tom Tanous and Farm Director Ian Levin know what they’re doing.

matt thaiss1Photo: Virginia Athletics

Matt Thaiss C – University Of Virginia, 5’11″, 197 lbs, L/R  College Stats

You’re going to ask why another college guy? According to national mocks, the Mets are only interested in college position players, and if Craig is taken, Matt Thaiss is possibly their next guy. Thaiss is another college top performer, this time at catcher, and is possibly the best catcher in the draft after Zack Collins, who will be selected before him in the top 10-15 picks. A college performer, but yet again, not a Cape League one, Thaiss is an excellent Left-Handed Bat, hitting .380/.474/.585 slash line, with 10 homers, and a 37/16 BB/K ratio in a home stadium designed for pitchers. He can hit line drives to all fields, and has average power. As an advanced bat with a patient approach, he has the ability hit and get on base for a good average and OBP.

The knock, as with most college position players with first round caliber that aren’t Kyle Lewis or Nick Senzel, is that they aren’t great defensively, and that continues here with Thaiss. Not a pretty receiver, he has some rough hands behind the plate. He’s allowed 12 passed balls behind the plate in 60 games this past season. One net positive is that he has an above-average arm behind the plate, and a decent release, but his hands are going to need a lot of work if he’s going to stay behind the bag. Should the Mets believe they can help clean up the hands behind the plate, he may be what they’re looking for in a catching prospect at #19

My Take: I’d be disappointed if he was the #19 pick, because if the Yankees don’t take him at 18, he wouldn’t be taken until the 30′s if the Mets passed. As well, it would prove the Mets pro-scouts haven’t learned their lesson about getting a catcher with subpar defense, which Rene Rivera proves is very essential. I’d hope that if Craig isn’t there, they go for a high school bat, preferably one that can take Wright’s mantle…

31st Overall Pick

Taylor Trammell, OF – Mount Paran Christian School, 6’3″, 195 lbs, L/L

As I wrote last week on MetsMinors.net: Another double-plus runner, Trammell has at least four potential tools to work with, and the last one, his arm, he’s worked to improve.

With a quick left-handed swing, Trammell could probably hit for a decent average, should he hone some his raw nature. He is split between two sports, and has not completely worked out how to recognize off speed pitches and have a plan up at the plate. Should he choose one sport finally, he has a decent chance to hit, and hit well. He also has the potential for 15-20 homers annually, should he learn to tap into his power.

Because of his speed, he should be able to steal plenty of bases, and cover plenty of ground in center field. However, his arm is below average, but he has worked hard to improve it, and that has shown up as a positive development lately. He is definitely a high-upside pick the Mets would love to pick.

My Take: Trammell is a true boom-or-bust guy, considering his speed being close to top of the charts, and will allow him to stick in Center Field. As a left-handed hitter, he’s a raw player stuck between two sports, but one with upside, and no matter the consequence, upside’s a good choice.

Kevin Gowdy, RHP – Santa Barbara High School, 6’2″, 170 lbs, R/R 

Kevin Gowdy is definitely a high-upside high school arm with a lot of projection. A great sized pitcher with a commitment to UCLA along with elite draftees Mickey Moniak and Blake Rutherford, Gowdy sits in the low 90′s, touching 95, with room to fill in on his skinny frame. The delivery is easy and repeatable from over the top, and he has plenty of control along with it. He has performed well on the pro circuits, such as the Area Code Games, but at times his velocity became inconsistent and dropped to the high-80′s.

As well, he has a sweeping curveball that sits in the 70′s, which has plus potential, and a decent changeup that needs a bit more use and refinement, but can become above-average at times. With high potential and a great Commitment to a big baseball school like UCLA, he could be a tough signee.

My Take: This seems like another high upside pick to go after, and with the Organization always needing high-upside Arms, this could be a great guy to get, and could be a fast-moving arm. This is where the ability to go over-slot may come in handy.

64th Overall Pick – Second Round

Luis Curbelo, SS – Cocoa HS, 6’3″, 185 lbs, R/R

For people in the know, Curbelo should come as no surprise as he headed a Mets Scout-run Puerto Rican Prospect team that played in Jupiter, as well as Puerto Rico. Curbelo moved from the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy, Carlos Correa’s former High School, to Cocoa High School in Florida for his senior year.

This exciting shortstop has above-average bat speed from the right side, that produces some pretty loud contact, with power that is below-average right now, but could possibly get to above-average with some good coaching. As a fielder, he doesn’t have the greatest actions and he’s an average runner with an average arm, but he could move to the hot corner. He sounds like a guy that should be available in round 2 with some untapped potential.

With this pick Curbelo would be the highest ever draft of a Puerto Rican Native by the Mets. Javier Rodriguez was the prior highest at #68.

My Take: I need to make a few amendments to Curbelo’s scouting report. The arm is above-average, the bat speed is plus, and when I mean the greatest actions, I mean at shortstop, third base he can be above-average. I think he would be a great pick, and if he is selected by the Mets, they already know what they’re getting, and possibly can get him under-slot despite a commitment to University of Miami. A high pick from Puerto Rico wouldn’t surprise me either because of a lot of drafts by the Alderson Era with players like Joel Huertas, Arnaldo Berrios and Kenneth Bautista drafted in recent years.

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2016 MLB Draft: BA Tabs 3B Will Craig, OF Buddy Reed For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/2016-mlb-draft-ba-tabs-3b-will-craig-of-buddy-reed-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/2016-mlb-draft-ba-tabs-3b-will-craig-of-buddy-reed-for-mets.html/#comments Mon, 16 May 2016 16:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=211949 will craig WF2016

Will Craig, Wake Forest (Photo: Brian Westerholt)

Baseball America rolled out their 3rd mock for the upcoming draft in June. Lets take a look at the two picks they projected for the Mets in the first round.

As we get closer to the draft, it seems more likely that the Mets are going to go with some college bats as they did with Michael Conforto. At No. 19, they have been projected to chose third baseman Will Craig.

Craig had a rough showing in the Cape Cod League, so using a wood bat could be a problem if we were to chose him. However, he has been pretty successful in the past two seasons at Wake Forest. He has good power and gets on base, as his .496 OBP last year would attest. This year, Craig is hitting .417 in 40 games and has matched his HR total already with 13. He also has a solid .551 OBP. His slugging numbers are also very good as he has posted a .702 in 2015 and .826 so far this year.  Craig was actually drafted once before in the 37th-round by the Royals out of high school.

Craig’s success can’t only be described by his stats above, but also by the fact that he has contended for the Atlantic Coast Conference triple crown. In 2015, he was tabbed as the league’s player of the year as a sophomore. He’s chasing the ACC triple crown again this year.

Scouts have always raved about his hitting ability, but some have had concerns about his lack of athleticism, as his frame already has him at 235 pounds. Craig makes consistent hard contact with a fluid right-handed swing that generates some really impressive bat speed. He would be a nice pick for the Mets due to his feel for the strike zone, his plus power projection, and his ability to get on base.

 (Shotgun Spratling)

Buddy Reed, Florida  (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)

At No. 31, Baseball America projects the Mets to pick up another college bat. This time it’s three-sport star Buddy Reed, an outfielder out of Florida. Reed is a switch-hitter with a tall, athletic build. He has the potential to do a lot of things well on the baseball field. He’s a freak of an athlete as he was the leading scorer on his school’s soccer team and a standout hockey player as well.

Reed has plus speed that works on both sides of the ball. He should be a true base stealing threat and can definitely stay in center field long-term. However, it’s his bat that needs the most work and why he should still be available at 31.

He does tend to make contact from both sides of the plate, but his setup and approach are inconsistent. Reed has strength, which he’ll most likely grow into, but he lacks extension from the left side, and that should keep him from showing any power that way. With proper coaching, and changing Reed’s approach, he could definitely reach his offensive ceiling.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not a huge fan of this mock draft by BA, but I wouldn’t mind either of these picks. Craig has all of the potential in the world, but he was said to have had a rough showing in the Cape Cod League, so I am a bit nervous to see how he transitions with a wood bat. Reed could be a solid pick, that’s only if he can work on his approach and make better and consistent hard contact. If he hits, he could be a very good center fielder for the Mets.

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MMO Players of the Week: Deja-Vu All Over Again http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-players-of-the-week-deja-vu-all-over-again-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-players-of-the-week-deja-vu-all-over-again-2.html/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:00:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=210382 What do I love more than the Mets? The Mets when they win. And boy, did they win this week. After failing to take advantage of the weak schedule very early on, they got right back on track with two series wins in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and a sweep in Atlanta to close out the road trip. It was definitely the most successful stretch that the Mets have had thus far, and they are finally looking like a formidable foe against these weaker teams. After the power display they put on in almost every game, I can confirm that chicks do indeed dig the long ball. Here are my picks for the MMO Players of the Week.

neil walker

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: NEIL WALKER

Daniel Murphy is batting .397!” “Murphy has reached base safely in 16 of his last 17 games!” “How could the Mets ever let Murph walk?” Well, have you seen Neil Walker yet? He is absolutely mashing. This past week, he batted .400 with three home runs, four RBI and five runs scored. Looking at the lineup from top to bottom, it’s stacked with quality hitters who can all put together good at-bats, and Walker is certainly no exception. Him hitting sixth might be the perfect spot, because not only does it give him ample opportunities to drive in runs, but it forces pitchers to pitch to Lucas Duda, because they won’t be intentionally walking him to get to Walker. He provides a great kind of bat that has the power to hit one out, but also the consistency to hit, say, four singles in a game. Sorry to all the fans who were with 28, but… Murph who?

yoenis cespedes

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: YOENIS CESPEDES

This category sucks. As in, it’s hard to pick a different guy every week because rarely does any player “explode defensively” like they do on offense. Nonetheless, I don’t really want to keep shoeing in a guy like Asdrubal Cabrera every week; I like having some diversity around here. So, enter Yoenis Cespedes. He made that awesome throw on Friday night that traveled at 93.5 miles per hour, per MLB StatCast. It came in a really important time in the game too, with runners on first and second during a 5-2 ballgame in the bottom of the fifth. If the run had scored, it would have been 5-3 with a runner on second and Kelly Johnson at the plate as the tying run against the struggling Matt Harvey. Basically, the throw was cool, so he gets the honor this week. Deal with it.

Noah  Syndergaard

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: NOAH SYNDERGAARD

“But Steph, you just said before that you like to have diversity in your category picks! So how come you’re choosing Noah Syndergaard for pitcher of the week again???” Sorry, but Thor is kind of the exception to everything ever. I was going to choose Steven Matz because he’s been pitching really, really well, but Syndergaard is basically a video game character with all the settings turned up to 10 out of 10 (I wasn’t the one to come up with this analogy… but I’m in love with it). He was locked in a pleasantly surprising pitcher’s duel with Philadelphia’s Jerad Eickhoff, who (please don’t kill me) might have a nastier curve than Syndergaard. But that shouldn’t take anything away from Noah, because his sinker literally hits 100 mph and his offspeed stuff is absolutely filthy. He continues to make his case as the best pitcher in all of baseball– an argument that would be a lot easier to make if Jake Arrieta would stop throwing no-hitters.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

As stated above, Steven Matz had another brilliant start on Saturday, striking out eight and going 6.1 innings. While allowing nine hits is not ideal, he only gave up two earned runs, which is really all that matters. As he continues to find his groove in a rotation stacked with aces, we are witnessing another ace in the making. Matz has an incredible amount of potential to keep churning out quality starts, which is all that we can ask for. I don’t care if he gives up 25 hits a game as long as his ERA keeps coming down.

Michael Conforto. He needs no savvy introduction. According to Brian Mangan on Twitter, Conforto leads the majors with a 52.4% hard hit ball rate. His 8.3% swinging strike rate and 20% rate of swinging at balls are both above average, in addition to a 12.3% walk rate and a 20% strikeout rate. What does this mean? It means that this kid is already one of the best and most disciplined hitters in the majors… and he’s only 23. Just like we’re witnessing the construction of an ace in Matz, we are also witnessing the start of one of the best potential position players in Mets history. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of wood to go knock on.

Here you can see the Mets Minors Players of the Week.

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MMO Top 30 Prospects: No. 10 Robert Gsellman, RHP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-top-30-prospects-no-10-robert-gsellman-rhp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-top-30-prospects-no-10-robert-gsellman-rhp.html/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:00:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209169 robert gsellman

#10 RHP Robert Gsellman

Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 200 Age: 7/18/1993 (22)

2015 Level: Single A Port St Lucie Mets, Double AA Binghamton Mets

MiLB Statistics: 24 G, 24 GS, 143.1 IP, 13-7 W-L, 2.89 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 86 K’s

We are now diving into our Top 10 with our third straight right-handed pitcher following Logan Verrett (#11) and Seth Lugo (#12). Despite midseason trades, the Mets still have a solid collection of starting pitching prospects that are close to be Major League ready.

The Mets drafted Robert Gsellman in the 13th round in the 2011 draft out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, CA. So far, they have seen a very nice return on investment given his 2.86 career ERA in the minors to date. After having a good year in 2015, the Mets decided to add Gsellman to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. When Mets decided to trade Michael Fulmer and Casey Meisner, they weakened the next wave of arms that would have provided depth to the starters they have on the big league team. However, this has provided an opportunity for him to be a reinforcement for the Mets going forward.

He has put up solid numbers at every stop in the minors to date, although he had trouble missing bats at A and AA last year, he only struck out 5.4 batters per 9 innings. All in all, Gsellman had a wildly successful campaign in 2015 pitching to a 2.89 ERA across High A and AA while only allowing 126 hits in 143.1 innings. He also did a great job of keeping the ball down shown by his 0.39 HR/9 last year for the Binghamton Mets. At 6’4 200 lbs, he stands tall on the mound with a fluid delivery which can be seen here.

There isn’t too many moving parts which should be beneficial to his future long-term health. He has a solid fastball and deceptive arm action with his changeup and breaking ball. The changeup comes out a little flat and could use refinement at AAA. However, the good part of his changeup is that it has a nice difference in speed from the fastball (10-11 mph). The breaking ball has a nice 11-5 break and has turned into an above average pitch.

Gsellman is a pitcher who won’t walk too many batters and will live in the zone. He only had 37 walks last year in 143.1 innings pitched. As a starter, his sinking fastball has been in the 90-92 mph range while hitting 95 at times.  Gsellman should be ticketed for Las Vegas for his final tune-up. Given the Mets lack of fifth starter depth, I expect him to get a shot at the big leagues if any injuries occur to one of the Mets starters.

In my view, the most likely outcome for Gsellman is as a 4-5 starter, which is perfect for the Mets given their solid core of pitchers with ace potential. If he can work on the sinking action on his changeup and have his fastball live in the 92-93 mph range, I see potential as a 3 starter in the big leagues.

Previous prospects in the top 30:

#11 Logan Verrett#12 Seth Lugo#13 Jhoan Urena#14 Gabriel Ynoa#15 Ali Sanchez#16 Luis Guillorme#17 Chris Flexen, #18 Max Wotell#19 Milton Ramos#20 Akeel Morris

MMO Top 30 Prospects: #30-26

MMO Top 30 Prospects: #25-21

If you would like to see the rest of our series, please tune into MetsMinors.net where we covered the Top 80 Mets Prospects. Come join our live game thread for night two of the minor league season with Gsellman getting the start for Binghamton.

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MMO Game Thread: Red Sox vs Mets, 1:10 PM (SNY/WOR) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-game-thread-red-sox-vs-mets-110-pm-snywor.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-game-thread-red-sox-vs-mets-110-pm-snywor.html/#comments Sun, 20 Mar 2016 15:00:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208121 noah syndergaard 2

The New York Mets will host the Boston Red Sox this afternoon at Tradition Field. Due to potential thunderstorms, LHP David Price who was due to pitch against today’s Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, will be replaced by RHP Heath Hembree in the 1:10 PM contest.

New York Mets

Curtis Granderson – RF
David Wright – 3B
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Neil Walker – 2B
Wilmer Flores – DH
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Juan Lagares – LF
Matt Reynolds – SS

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Featured Article: Wuilmer Becerra Goes From Throw-In To Big Win http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/featured-article-wuilmer-becerra-goes-from-throw-in-to-big-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/featured-article-wuilmer-becerra-goes-from-throw-in-to-big-win.html/#comments Wed, 02 Mar 2016 18:26:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206938 wuilmer becerra

An MMO Fan Shot by Matthew Sitler

It was the 17th of December, 2012, when the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays made their blockbuster deal official. The deal involved the reigning National League Cy Young winner and two of MLB’s top 30 prospects. The Mets sent the Jays knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey and two catchers that were comfortable with his signature pitch: Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. In return, Toronto sent top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, elite pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, major league backstop John Buck, and minor league outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.

Obviously, the primary pieces of this deal for the Mets were Travis d’Arnaud and right-hander Noah Syndergaard. John Buck was also later used as a piece in the trade to acquire top second base prospect Dilson Herrera. However, Becerra, thought to be only a throw-in at the time, began to blossom into much more than just an added bonus.

In 2012, Wuilmer signed as a 17-year old Venezuelan international free agent. At the time of the trade, he was the 25th ranked prospect in Toronto’s weak system after playing just 11 games in the Gulf Coast League. The year 2013 was Becerra’s first full professional season and he displayed some modest numbers for the Gulf Coast Mets. In 206 plate appearances over 52 games, Wuilmer hit .243/.351/.295 with a home run and 25 RBI.

A promotion followed in 2014 for Becerra as his professional career moved onto the Kingsport Mets. This is where he would take the next step in his evolution to top prospect status. With significant improvement across all levels at the plate, Becerra became one to watch after posting a triple slash line of .300/.351/.469 with 10 doubles, seven home runs, 29 RBI and seven stolen bases. The big question would be if he’d maintain this level of production when he makes the jump to Single-A Savannah and their grueling environment for hitters.

In 2015, Becerra responded with his best season as a pro with the Savannah Sand Gnats (now known as the Columbia Fireflies). He played in 118 games and over 487 plate appearances Wuilmer recorded 130 hits, 27 doubles, three triples, nine homers, 63 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He led the team in many offensive category including doubles, home runs, RBIs and total bases. Becerra finished the season with an impressive slash line of .290/.342/.423/.765 and by the end of the season he was featured on just about every top ten Mets prospect rankings.

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In an exclusive interview last week with MMO, ESPN Prospect Analyst Keith Law said he’s probably three years away, but could move faster if he keeps hitting.

“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.”

Law was impressed that Becerra had his breakout in what he called a terrible park for power in Savannah.

“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.”

His only concern with Becerra are some questions with his outfield defense, but he believes his bat will more than make up for any shortcomings. ”If he hits for the kind of power I think he’s gonna have, it’s not really gonna matter.”

Some scouts predict that if he continues to develop, Becerra will eventually surpass former first-rounder Brandon Nimmo to become the top outfield prospect in the organization. It’s simply amazing when you consider how much that R.A. Dickey trade has gleaned for the Mets organization, and it may not be too early to call it one of the greatest trades in franchise history.

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

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Alderson Was Wrong About Cespedes… In July http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/alderson-was-wrong-about-cespedes-in-july.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/alderson-was-wrong-about-cespedes-in-july.html/#comments Sat, 09 Jan 2016 13:41:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203918 yoenis cespedes muff

When assessing what’s left of this offseason, Sandy Alderson has given fair critiques on what remains. He has stated Yoenis Cespedes was a square peg for a round hole. In essence, Alderson was saying Cespedes’ bat doesn’t justify his poor defense.

Last year, Cespedes’ UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) in center field was -3.2, which is also his career average. UZR tells us he’s a below average center fielder. DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) paints an uglier picture. Cespedes was a -17 in center last year, which is about as bad as it gets. His career average in his prior years in center is -4, which suggests he’s below average. Therefore, no matter what stat you want to use, Cespedes is a poor defensive center fielder in a spacious Citi Field outfield.

Mets fans seem to feel differently because Cespedes hit extraordinarily well when he came to the Mets. When he was hitting like that you could justify his poor defense in a key defensive position. Problem is Cespedes just doesn’t hit like that. He’s a low OBP with good power (or potencia). He is a career .261/.319/.486 hitter. He is a career .236/.302/.491 hitter at Citi Field. I know I expected that to be a lot higher too. Thing is if Cespedes reverts back to these numbers, you can’t justify playing him in center field everyday.

Understandably, Mets fans remember him more for his insane hot streak. They overly correlate winning the division with Cespedes’ arrival. Some will dismiss the statistics and point to the eye test. With respect to the eye test, all I can say is Cespedes gave up not one, but two, Little League homeruns last year. How many center fielders do that?

Overall, the Cespedes’ situation leaves me irritated. No, I’m not irritated because the Mets aren’t going to re-sign him. I’m irritated because of what they gave up to get him.

The Mets gave up Michael Fulmer for three months of Cespedes. At the time of the trade, the industry believed Fulmer was an unbelievable get for the Tigers. Yes, baseball people said the Tigers won the deal; not the Mets. Part of the reason might be the fact the Tigers most likely couldn’t re-sign him due to the language in his contract. Cespedes wouldn’t and most likely couldn’t re-sign with the Tigers, and they got Fulmer in the deal? It just wasn’t a good trade. The Tigers were the more desperate team, and the Mets still gave up too much value for a player they knew they weren’t going to re-sign.

Fulmer could be a potential ace. Last year in AA, he was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. He’s a guy who can get his fastball up to 97 MPH with a full repertoire. He can probably help a big league team in 2016. He will be bringing that talent to the Tigers instead of the Mets.

Usually, it’s at this point I hear how you have to give up something to get something. That’s fine, but that doesn’t change the fact the Mets have up too much for a player they had no intentions of re-signing. I’ll also hear how it was worth it because the Mets won the NL East and made the postseason.  That’s a stretch considering the Nationals imploded, and the Mets won the division by seven games.

Furthermore, this trade ignores the John Smoltz trade. In 1987, the Tigers traded Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander. Alexander was terrific for the Tigers going 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA. He helped the Tigers win the AL East. I’m sure Tigers fans were elated. The problem is the Tigers didn’t win the World Series, and oh yeah, they traded away a future Hall of Famer.  Do you think the Tigers and their fans would want a do-over on that trade?

Is Fulmer a Hall of Famer?  We don’t know that yet. We don’t know if he’ll be an ineffective starter and have to go to the bullpen. The thing is his value as a potential ace was much higher than a rental.

Here’s what we do know:

  1. The Mets lost 15 pitchers over the last year;
  2. The Mets had to sign a fifth stater this offseason; and
  3. The Mets didn’t win the World Series.

That’s it in a nutshell. The Mets tout all this pitching depth, and yet they’re signing guys like Bartolo Colon because they didn’t have a fifth starter. Furthermore, the Mets don’t have a World Series title to show for losing all that pitching. In fact, they don’t even have a Cespedes. So while I agree with Sandy Alderson that Cespedes isn’t a center fielder, I can’t agree with him giving up a potential ace to a  desperate team for someone he saw as a square peg to a round hole.

Just like most Mets fans, I’m irritated over the Cespedes situation. However, I’m irritated because they gave up a lot to bring him to New York. I’m alright with them admitting he wasn’t a center fielder. I just wish they realized that before sacrificing a part of their future. A part of their future that will come all the more important when the Mets may not have the money to re-sign any of Matt HarveyJacob deGrom, or Noah Syndergaard.

When that times comes, what will you be thinking?  Will you be thinking the three months of Cespedes was worth it, or will you be wondering about how the Mets really could’ve used Fulmer to cushion the blow?  My bet’s on the latter.

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Expect Big Things From Michael Conforto In 2016 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/expect-big-things-from-michael-conforto-in-2016.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/expect-big-things-from-michael-conforto-in-2016.html/#comments Mon, 28 Dec 2015 21:32:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203210 michael Conforto

When the Mets drafted Michael Conforto in the first round of the 2014 draft, it was clear right from the start that he was different from all the other top draft picks by Sandy Alderson. He was an advanced and polished college player out of Oregon State, and he was someone who didn’t have to spend a lot of time developing in the minor leagues.

While the Mets’ front office knew he could advance quickly, nobody could have predicted just how soon he would advance to the major leagues and make a significant impact. However in just over one year since being drafted, Conforto not only made his big league debut, but the youngster thrived and showed off his tremendous offensive potential.

In 56 games with the Mets last season, Conforto batted .270 with 14 doubles, nine home runs, 30 runs scored and 26 RBI. Blessed with a fluid line drive swing with power to all fields, Conforto put up an impressive .506 slugging percentage with a .360 wOBA  and 134 wRC+ in 194 plate appearances.

His .841 OPS ranked second on the team behind only Yoenis Cespedes, and his 2.1 fWAR ranked 6th despite playing less than half the season.

Can we be looking at a 6.0 WAR season in 2016? Absolutely, and why I believe that’s possible was the maturity he displayed last season and his ability to adjust to the game as pitchers adjusted to him.

His contributions were one of the most overlooked factors in the Mets’ resurgence during their second half postseason run, but his heroics didn’t stop there. Conforto continued to play great baseball in the postseason and had one of the best games for a rookie in World Series history.

michael conforto

In Game Four against the Royals, Conforto blasted two home runs and became the first rookie to do so since Andruw Jones in the 1996 World Series against the Yankees, and the first Met to do it since Gary Carter in 1986. His first home run was a towering blast into the Pepsi Porch and his next was a rocket over the right field wall.

“He’s going to be a very, very good player,” Terry Collins said after that game. “He’s dangerous, and tonight he showed that. This guy is going to be an outstanding offensive player.”

In 15 total at-bats in the series, he batted .333 with four runs batted in. While his efforts weren’t enough to win the series, he showed that he could compete at this level and even take over a game with an exciting combination of game-breaking offense and his underrated above average defense.

In the field, Conforto not only displayed a powerful and accurate throwing arm, but he also showed off some surprising range and excellent instincts. He finished the year with six outfield assists, a 7.5 UZR and nine defensive runs saved which ranked second on the team to Curtis Granderson.

michael conforto 2

Conforto, 22, is expected to be in the lineup every day in 2016, even against left-handed pitching, according to manager Terry Collins. Steamer projects him to hit .260 with 22 doubles, 17 homeruns, and 60 RBI in 122 games next season. Way too conservative in my opinion.

Scouts have raved about his polished swing and discipline at the plate for years, but once he arrived, it was the rookie left fielder’s teammates that were doing all the raving. Team captain David Wright described Conforto as the “perfect player” last September. “If you were going to build a ballplayer with the right approach along with the right amount of talent, he’d be the guy,” Wright said.

“Some guys come in here and they’re loud, a lot more talking than they are listening and he’s the opposite. He’s an excellent player, a great person, one of those young guys who gets it.’’

It’s possible that the league adjusts to Conforto next season, but he looks like a player that is very mindful of that and will continue to keep getting better. I won’t be surprised to see him build off this season and hit .290 with 20-25 homeruns and 85+ RBI in 2016. He’s an extremely talented player, and he certainly has the ability to shatter expectations once again.

Let me go out on a limb here and say that there’s a good chance we can see Conforto post a better OPS, OPS+ and wRC+ than Yoenis Cespedes next season. Crazy talk? You just wait and see and remember you read that here first.

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Mets Still Open To Full-Time Center Fielder http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-still-open-to-full-time-center-fielder.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-still-open-to-full-time-center-fielder.html/#comments Fri, 11 Dec 2015 03:17:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202252 juan lagares

While it seems ever more likely that the Mets will be looking for a platoon player in center field in the coming weeks, Assistant GM John Ricco won’t rule out the possibility of acquiring a full-time center fielder.

It appears likely that Juan Lagares will enter next season as part of a platoon, but there are certainly a good deal of full-time options available in free agency and on the trade market.

“If it were somebody to replace [Lagares], I’m not going to say no to that,” Ricco told reporters at the Winter Meetings, “But that’s just another one of the options we’re looking at.”

Among the potential acquisitions are Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, George Springer, Denard Span, and Dexter Fowler.

However, there are also plenty of platoon options out there, such as Will Venable, Gerardo Parra, and others.

Lagares hit .273/.333/.438 this past year against lefties, but struggled to a .253/.271/.328 line against right-handed pitching.

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Three Things We Learned From Asisstant GM John Ricco Today http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/three-things-we-learned-from-asisstant-gm-john-ricco-today.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/three-things-we-learned-from-asisstant-gm-john-ricco-today.html/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2015 21:42:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201954 john Ricco

Assistant GM John Ricco spoke with reporters on Tuesday and said:

1. The Mets met again with Ben Zobrist’s agents and while they have not  a final offer they discussed the parameters for a potential deal and will negotiate further if needed. “Not quite that close but each know the general parameters, but not at the point where we’re engaged at that level,” Ricco said. The sense is that a decision could come real soon.

2. The Mets are still trying to gauge the market for relief pitchers on the free agent market but there have not been any substantial talks with anyone. They are not concerned about the relievers who have already signed and are confident they will be able to effectively fill their needs.

3. On the outfield front there has not been any substantial progress other than touching base with some of the agents representing the outfielders they have some interest in. ”Nothing has progressed further than gauging interest and what it might take to sign them or trade for them.”

My guess is that everything is being held up until the Zobrist situation is resolved. Sandy Alderson is constant communication with Ricco and is fully engaged with everything that is going on. The Washington Nationals did not meet with Zobrist face-to-face as was first thought, but GM Mike Rizzo said he made a “nice, hard push” for him to his agents this afternoon.

Zobrist has a four-year offer in hand from an unknown team.

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MMO Mailbag: What Does The Future Hold For Sean Gilmartin? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-mailbag-what-does-the-future-hold-for-sean-gilmartin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-mailbag-what-does-the-future-hold-for-sean-gilmartin.html/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 02:02:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201261 sean gilmartin

Dave in Spain asks…

Do you know what the Mets long-term plans are for Sean Gilmartin? Is it definite that he´ll be in the pen in 2016, or could he possibly go back to being a starter in Vegas? Thanks!

Joe D. replies…

Ah… Sean Gilmartin, what a fantastic story he was this season. The young left-hander became the first Rule 5 selection to officially remain on the Mets 25-man roster for the entire season since Pedro Beato, who was selected in December 2010.

A former Atlanta Braves first-round draft pick in 2011, Gilmartin was traded to the Minnesota Twins four years later to acquire catcher Ryan Doumit in December 2013. A year later he is left unprotected and scooped up by the Mets for the bargain price of $50,000.

Gilmartin, 25, rewarded the Mets with an outstanding rookie season that saw him post a 2.67 ERA, 139 ERA+, 2.75 FIP and 1.186 WHIP in 50 appearances last season. In 57.1 innings pitched, he struck out 54 batters while walking just 18, and he allowed just two homers all year long. Nice…

Let me try to answer your question based on what I know and the limited information out there right now.

As you already know, Gilmartin was exclusively a starting pitcher throughout his professional career having started in 79 of his 80 minor league appearances.

The Mets were initially attracted to Gilmartin because of his 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and his low walk rate as a starter.

After the Mets lost Josh Edgin and the opportunity to make the team out of the bullpen arose in Spring Training last March, the Mets made the right call transitioning Gilmartin to a lefty reliever role. Still, there have been whispers from time to time about stretching Gilmartin out this Spring for a potential role as a starting pitcher.

It wasn’t a coincidence that his final appearance of the season was a start against the Phillies in place of Steven Matz. Gilmartin pitched well, allowing just three hits and one walk in his 5.0 innings of work. Unfortunately for him, one of those hits was a Citizen Bank Park home run by Darin Ruf, but the team was very pleased with his outing.

Here’s my take on the situation… I think it will all boil down to what happens with Jon Niese this offseason. If he does get dealt as many are expecting, I could certainly see Gilmartin transitioning into a starting pitcher role for the Mets or at least as a spot starter/long reliever.

However, given the team’s concerns with the bullpen, I don’t believe they will be too quick to pull Gilmartin out of a role he was so effective in last season. Especially given the room for even more improvement after his first taste of a relief role. That’s my opinion anyway.

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The Mets’ Playoff Starting Rotation Is Terrifyingly Good http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/the-mets-playoff-starting-rotation-is-terrifyingly-good.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/the-mets-playoff-starting-rotation-is-terrifyingly-good.html/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:00:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=194941 degrom harvey syndergaard

The more you look at the Mets’ probable playoff rotation, the more likely it seems that they will be able to make a deep run in October.

Dave Cameron of FanGraphs recently wrote a piece talking about how dangerous the Mets are looking right now, pointing out the incredible rotation, above-average offense, and bullpen that isn’t as bad as people think. However, it’s the pitching statistics Cameron pointed out that showed just how unique and special the four-man staff has the potential to be.

Take this last four-game series against Cincinnati, in which Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz all pitched, for example. Combined, those four tossed 26 innings over the four games. During those 26 innings, they racked up 36 strikeouts and didn’t walk a single batter. In addition, they allowed only a single home run. Their combined ERA was 2.77, but their combined FIP was a minuscule 1.03.

Sustainable? Of course not. Just by chance, they are going to allow more home runs and based on the fact that none of them are named Bartolo Colon, they will walk batters as well. But this just goes to show you how overpowering these guys can be.

The two characteristics that all of these guys seem to share are likely what allows them to be so dominant: velocity and high strike rates. According to Cameron, the four averaged over 96 miles per hour on their fastballs against the Reds, which is just astounding. Couple that with the fact that over 53 percent of pitches they threw were in the strike zone, which is well above-average. All of them are near the top of the league in terms of velocity, and all four have no problem attacking hitters with pitches in the strike zone. (It’s like giving actual quality pitches to Colon!)

Overall, these four pitchers have a 76 ERA- (or a 124 ERA+), a 79 FIP-, and an 80 xFIP-, which is astounding. As Cameron points out, that puts the four, combined, at the same level as Max Scherzer this year. The only rotations in recent memory (and granted, these are five-man staffs, so it’s probably a bit more impressive), are the 2011 Phillies and the 90s Braves. That’s good company.

When you look at these stats, it’s easy to see why Sandy Alderson and the rest of the organization were so patient with their young pitching, and so hesitant to give any of it away. It’s also easy to see why Todd Frazier dubbed the Mets “the team to beat.”

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Would You Trade Matt Harvey for Xander Bogaerts? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/would-you-trade-matt-harvey-for-xander-bogaerts.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/would-you-trade-matt-harvey-for-xander-bogaerts.html/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2015 15:34:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=193682 World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Four

A topic being discussed recently in the Boston area in sports media and sports talk radio involves Mets pitcher Matt Harvey. The question they are asking Red Sox fans is:

Would you trade shortstop Xander Bogaerts for New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey?

Red Sox beat writer Peter Abraham himself actuality posed the question to his readers in the Boston Globe on Sunday.

Abraham noted the topic was first raised by his Globe colleague Nick Cafardo several weeks ago, but no one really took Cafardo’s scenario very seriously. But, when Scott Boras lowered the boom on Met management accusing the Mets of placing his pitching client’s future in doubt, Abraham wondered aloud whether, perhaps, the landscape may have changed making a Bogaerts for Harvey swap a possibility.

Bogaerts, 22, is slashing at .321/.352/.415 with 30 doubles, 3 triples, 5 homers, 70 runs and 72 RBI with 110 OPS+ and 4.6 WAR.

From a Met perspective, would you trade Matt Harvey for Xander Bogaerts? You have to admit the possibility could have legs. Here’s why…

The Red Sox are desperate for starting rotation help and simply can’t head south in February with the same cast of characters who started games in 2015. Boston will be looking to wheel and deal to bring in pitching help, so why not Matt Harvey?

The Sox recently hired Dave Dombrowski as their new President of Baseball Operations. That’s the same Dave Dombrowski that sent Yoenis Cespedes ito the Mets for Michael Fulmer. That trade seems to indicate Dombrowski and Met GM Sandy Alderson have a good working relationship. Personal dynamics between key personnel in baseball operations of two teams can create the environment to get things done.

The Boras/Harvey brouhaha badly eroded the Harvey warrior persona of toughness. Adored by Met fans and credited with helping reshape a laissez-faire Met clubhouse attitude, when Harvey backed up Boras and validated the Boras contention that a 180 hard innings cap had been established by his surgeon, his credibility with Met fans plummeted almost overnight. The thought of trading Harvey, once considered preposterous by most Met fans now actively received support.

The Red Sox are stacked at the middle infield slots. Deven Marrero, the Sox’s number one draft pick in the 2012 draft, started this season at shortstop for Triple-A Pawtucket. The athletic Marrero profiles as an elite defensive shortstop who makes handling play at the position look easy. The kid, who recently turned 25, has gold glove potential and is considered to have at least average major league batting potential.

And, Marrero might be a place holder for ‘off the charts’ Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada. Moncada is uniquely gifted physically with a build more like a football defensive linebacker than a baseball infielder. Although he doesn’t necessarily profile with the defensive deftness of Marrero, he shows soft hands, better than average range and a strong arm. And, it is expected Moncada will hit with power.

If the Mets moved Harvey to bring in Bogaerts, Wilmer Flores could be moved to second base to replace Daniel Murphy. The 16 home runs and 59 RBI’s this year for Flores validate the confidence baseball people like Wally Backman had evaluating his potential as a major league hitter. Defensively, Flores would be an upgrade at second over Murphy. In fact a Met infield with Bogaerts at shortstop and Flores at second would be pretty tight. Dilson Herrera, who hit .327 at Triple-A Vegas and smacked 10 HR’s would compete with Flores for the second base position and provided much needed depth. Flores would be an insurance policy for David Wright should he experience issues with his spinal stenosis condition.

Moving Murphy would save a large chunk of salary that when added with the salary saved by severing service, or dramatically reducing the cost of service, with Bartolo Colon would provide a healthy kitty to allow the Mets to compete in the sweepstakes to retain the services of Yoenis Cespedes.

Harvey hails from Connecticut and would be an instant hit in Boston, meaning the Mets might leverage a deal to obtain additional prospects in a deal for Bogaerts.

For me, the jury is still out on the idea of trading a guy like Matt Harvey. Harvey has been a beast on the mound for the Mets. From the moment Harvey first stepped on the Citi Field mound, his bulldog mentality has helped change the Met narrative. Harvey turned the hope of a Mets turnaround into a reality.

But, is Bogaerts the kind of talent the Mets would want to obtain for someone of Harvey’s baseball ilk? I watched this kid play for Portland at the Double-A level and fell in love with his play. His 2013 post season splash (.296 BA) had Bogaerts on almost every baseball fan’s radar. Bogaerts is having a breakout season in 2015 hitting .320 for the Sox. Although Bogaerts has hit only 5 HR’s, his doubles production has slightly surpassed that of his rookie season, and the Red Sox shortstop has knocked home 71 runs. Bogaerts has also reduced his strikeout percentage, is only 22 years old and doesn’t become a free agent until 2020.

Yet, the fact the Boston media is openly asking Sox fans whether Xander Bogaerts could be traded for Matt Harvey made me wonder what Met fans would think about the possibility of trading Harvey for Bogaerts. Met fans, what do you think?

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Waiting for Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/waiting-for-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/waiting-for-cespedes.html/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:30:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=190966 yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes has already had a big impact on the Mets in his short time with the team. His acquisition alone has been lauded by Mets players as a sign that the front office was finally willing to go all in for a playoff run.

His daily presence in the Mets lineup has helped create a much deeper and more intimidating offense. He has played a solid center field when called upon, and has shown off his absolute canon for an arm.

Despite all that, Cespedes could do much, much more where he is most needed – at the plate.

The sample size is extremely small, but since joining the Mets Cespedes has been underwhelming with the bat. In 17 games he is hitting a respectable .274 but has just two home runs and five doubles, three of which came in one game. Cespedes is slugging just .425 as a Met, well below the .506 he posted with the Tigers this season and his .471 career number. Since he never walks (which we knew all along), his OPS is just.727, a steep drop from the .829 OPS he had with Detroit.

While the Mets offensive output has significantly improved since acquiring Cespedes, much of that has been due to streaks by other hitters such as Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson. You could argue that the mere presence of Cespedes in the lineup has helped those other batters see better pitches and become more productive, which is probably true to some degree. But the fact is that so far as a Met, Cespedes has not been the type of big time, middle-of-the-order hitter we expected and were so excited about acquiring.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to conjure visions of Jason Bay, or even John Mayberry, Jr.. And again, 17 games do not make a season. However, with just 42 games remaining and the Mets clinging to a 3.5 game lead over the Nationals, every single game carries immense importance. With a struggling bullpen making every low scoring affair a scary proposition, and an offense that is still prone to droughts, the Mets sorely need Cespedes to come alive at the plate over the last quarter of the season.

The good news is we know that he can do it. In his four years in the majors, Cespedes has shown that he is the type of hitter that can carry an offense. And with his free agency approaching and a $100 million-plus contract very possible, he has every incentive to go on a tear the rest of the year. But in his short time with the Mets, Cespedes hasn’t been much more than a mediocre hitter with enormous breakout potential.

The Mets, in the midst of a heated pennant race, need that that potential to become reality quickly.

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Alderson Says Mets Will Turn To Internal Bullpen Options… Applause. http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/alderson-says-mets-will-turn-to-internal-bullpen-options-applause.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/alderson-says-mets-will-turn-to-internal-bullpen-options-applause.html/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:38:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=190706 sandy alderson

Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post that any help to bolster the Mets bullpen will not come externally, but that they will look at in-house options like Vic Black.

“I don’t foresee us making a trade,” Alderson said. “Black is certainly among the internal options we continue to monitor.”

While Black has been pitching effectively of late, posting a 2.16 ERA in his last ten games for Triple-A Las Vegas, he continues to be plagued with extremely high walk rates and rarely ever has a clean inning.

I’m glad that Sandy is not looking at external options, because quite frankly I think all of them stink.

On Monday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested that Alderson should pursue one of five relievers recently passed through waivers: Addison ReedFernando RodneyJohn AxfordEdward Mujica and David Aardsma. No thanks.

Besides Vic Black, the Mets have RHP Erik Goeddel who could be activated from the DL sooner rather than later according to team sources. In 22 relief appearances for the Mets, Goeddel shined, posting a 1.96 ERA and 1.045 WHIP while striking out 23 batters in 23 innings.

logan Verrett johnny Monell

The team could also turn to RHP Logan Verrett, who is already on the 40 man roster, and already had a short but impressive stint with the Mets bullpen earlier this season.

Other options could include LHP Josh Smoker who we’ve written often about on MMO in the past two months. The former first round draft pick of the Washington nationals, has a 1.15 ERA and 0.861 WHIP for Double-A Binghamton with 22 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of relief. There are many in the organization who believe Smoker is ready for a big league call up.

Other less likely candidates, but worthwhile options are Jeff Walters, Paul Sewald and Dario Alvarez.

The point is, I would consider any or all of these options before giving up any players to acquire those unwanted relievers that Joel Sherman suggested. They are all younger, hungrier, and infinitely more effective.

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Innings Limits Are Problematic For October Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/innings-limits-are-problematic-for-october-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/innings-limits-are-problematic-for-october-baseball.html/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 13:15:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=190307 jacob deGrom

The Mets’ most recent post-trade deadline surge has the team, fans and writers all thinking optimistically to the potential for October baseball in Queens for the first time since 2006.

While everything from the team’s offensive surge to the Nationals’ inability to get out of their own way bodes well for the Metropolitans as October approaches, it seems the hot topic on everyones minds’ now is how Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson will manage the innings limits on some of their young pitchers.

This team has been carried by the starting pitching all year and even with the newly improved offense, the rotation plays a crucial role in keeping the pressure off of hitters and on the opposing lineup. The Mets rotation is one of the most impressive in baseball this year and is set up to be for years to come.

The top three in the rotation: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, are all on pace to pitch more innings this season then in any previous season of their professional careers.

Below are the inning totals with each corresponding season for the trio:

Matt Harvey

  • 2012: 169 1/3
  • 2013: 178 1/3
  • 2014: 0
  • 2015 (to date): 148

Jacob deGrom

  • 2012: 111 1/3
  • 2013: 147 2/3
  • 2014: 185
  • 2015 (to date): 146 2/3

Noah Syndergaard

  • 2012: 103 2/3
  • 2013: 117 2/3
  • 2014: 133
  • 2015 (to date): 135

DeGrom has age on his side and is probably the most fit to pitch well into a deep season and postseason run.  However, Harvey and Syndergaard could prove to be problematic for the Mets.

matt harvey

Harvey is coming off Tommy John Surgery that kept him out for all of the 2014 season. While he has impressed in his ability to show flashes of his pre-operation self, every time Harvey steps onto the field, he risks re-injuring his elbow.

Syndergaard is almost 23-years old and like Harvey and Zack Wheeler, is among the hardest throwers in the league. Couple that with added strain from breaking pitches and just a slight twitch in his motion could set him on a path similar to his two predecessors.

With over a month and a half left in the season, both pitchers are slotted to breach 185 innings in just the regular season, barring any setbacks. In an article on CBS SportsMike Axisa notes that this isn’t just about thinking about seasons to come, but rather thinking about making a run in October.

“When we get into September and we get in the middle of September and we will see what’s going on,” Collins said to Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com. “We’ll make a lot of determinations of what’s going to happen. But again I can’t sit here today and say that Matt Harvey’s going to get shut down at X amount of innings.”

The Mets have a handful of arms to help take some of the workload off of their big three: guys like Rafael Montero, Steven Matz, Dillon Gee and Logan Verrett. However, the team isn’t at the point yet where they can afford to not send their best arm out there each and every day.

While they lead the NL East, that can change very quickly (ask the Yankees or Nationals). Steven Matz is currently rehabbing from a partially torn lat muscle and his recovery will be crucial in the team’s rotation plans. Matz, although he only pitched in two games, impressed Mets personnel enough to gain trust as a dependable arm against any opponent when he returns.

Ideally, the boys from Queens would extend their lead over the Nationals to the point where once rosters expand on September 1st, the Mets might be able to afford a handful of spot starts against some of the easier teams in their fall schedule such as the Phillies, Marlins or Braves.

The point is that the Mets’ starting pitching has gotten them this far and if they want to make a legitimate run in October, they need to have all of their pitchers at full strength while holding back nothing. It will be interesting to see how Terry handles the rotation for this final stretch. One thing for sure is that this is the crucial month.

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Collins Believes Mets Rotation Will Soon Be The Talk Of Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/collins-believes-mets-rotation-will-soon-be-the-talk-of-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/collins-believes-mets-rotation-will-soon-be-the-talk-of-baseball.html/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:55:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188458 harvey-degrom-2

According to Steven Marcus of Newsday, Terry Collins says that it’s only matter of time before the team’s rotation becomes the envy of the league.

“There’ll be a lot of talk about ‘well, we’ve got to face the Mets,’ ” Collins said Sunday. “When our young pitching — when they’re all healthy — there’s going to be a lot of compliments being handed out. In the big picture of things, for the fan base of the New York Mets, it’s going to be pretty fun to watch here in the very near future.”

Curtis Granderson says he’s already hearing praise from opposing players about the team’s promising rotation.

“I’ve heard other players from other teams say it already,” he said. “When I get to first base and talk to guys, when I get to second and talk to the second baseman and shortstop. It’s been a conversation that’s been happening.”

The Mets starters rank sixth in the majors in ERA, seventh in strikeouts and third in the league in WHIP.

The rotation is currently headlined by three excellent young starters in Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but this is a staff that is just scratching the surface of their potential.

Once Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler return from the disabled list, New York will have five power pitchers who all have the ability to become front line starters.

Matz was ranked as the 33rd best prospect in baseball by Baseball America, and he had 2-0 record with a 1.38 ERA in two starts in the majors this year.  Wheeler, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery posted a 3.55 ERA and 187 strikeouts during 185 innings last season.

 

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Prospect Pulse: Seth Lugo Exceeding Expectations http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/prospect-pulse-seth-lugo-exceeding-expectations.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/prospect-pulse-seth-lugo-exceeding-expectations.html/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 11:29:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=181014 Lugo

Mets minor league pitcher Seth Lugo has gone unnoticed for most of his career, but he is now starting to gain more recognition due to an impressive start to the 2015 season.

In 19.2 innings for Double-A Binghamton, Lugo is 2-0 with a stellar 1.37 ERA.

During his last outing on Tuesday, Lugo allowed just one run and five hits in 6.2 innings.

“He certainly has major league potential,” Paul DePodesta, the Mets VP of player development and amateur scouting, said.

“He’s certainly showing right now he has the stuff to start. I think he has the repertoire to do it.” (Mike Vorkunov, NJ.com)

As the Mets 34th round pick in 2011, Lugo overcame a lot adversity to make it this far.

Lugo did not even expect to get selected, but he caught the attention of Mets’ scout Jimmy Nelson.

Nelson eventually convinced amateur scout Tommy Jackson to invite Lugo to a workout two weeks before the draft.

“When I say I didn’t see him till late, that’s what I meant,” Jackson said. “I didn’t see him till late. It was late, late. Sure enough, he’s telling the truth. We got him out of that workout.”

Lugo also underwent a major surgery in 2012  to repair displaced vertebra in his spine, which cost him the entire season.

In his first year back on the mound in 2013, Lugo flashed a lot of potential with a  2.53 ERA and 1.13 WHIP while pitching for Single-A Savannah and Single-A Brooklyn.

“When he came back from rehab he kind of came back a different animal,” Jackson said. “He really was focused.”

“I think to some degree we’re all a little – I think he’s exceeded expectations,” Jackson said.

“He exceeded the general expectations of any other 34th round draft pick.”

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