Mets Merized Online » power Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:08:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Best Mets Prospect We Never Saw Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:02:05 +0000 alg-cole-jpg

So one of my writers sent me a link to Baseball America asking me to check out last week’s Ask BA feature. A reader posed the following question to  J.J. Cooper:

“Who are the best prospects such as Grant Desme who never made MLB either by choice, injury, accident or other causes?”

Before I even got to Cooper’s response, I was wondering if he was going to bring up the one prospect that immediately came to my mind. And he did.

“It’s highly likely that Desme would have become a future big leaguer if he had continued to play, and he had the ceiling of an impact regular… Limiting it to players who didn’t make the majors Desme isn’t the best prospect to not play in the big leagues this century, but he’s close. As good as Desme could have been, Mets outfielder Brian Cole had a chance to be a truly special player.”

cole“In 2000 as a 21-year-old, Cole hit .301/.347/.494 with 19 home runs and 69 stolen bases between high Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. He had power, speed, bat control and excellent defense. An exceptional athlete, Cole had turned down a football scholarship to Florida State to play baseball. He wasn’t particularly big (5-foot-9) but he had surprising power. He was a center fielder who could roam from gap to gap.”

Actually, as good as those numbers look consider that he also had 7 triples and 35 doubles that season, a total of 61 extra-base hits in 550 at-bats. Cole also drove in 86 runs while scoring 104 of them. He was named the Mets Minor League Player of the Year, and the buzz was that he could essentially make the jump from Double-A to the Majors in 2001.

But the Mets had no intentions of rushing this prospect as they did with a couple of other top guys before him. Still they invited him to spring training so that Bobby Valentine and his coaches could have a closer look.

I don’t need to remind you how good it felt going into that Spring of 2001. We were coming off that World Series appearance and loss against the Yankees, but things were looking promising. Our 26-year old second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo just had an All Star campaign, batting .324 with 40 doubles, 25 homers, 94 RBI and a .967 OPS. Mike Piazza was coming off a monster season with 38 homers, 113 RBI, a .324 batting average and a 1.012 OPS. And we still had Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile, Al Leiter and Armando Benitez. What could possibly go wrong.

Cole, 22, didn’t fail to impress in big league camp, giving everyone a good look at his rare combination of power and speed. He put together a strong spring training and drew rave reviews from many of the Grapefruit League scouts. But as Spring Training drew to a close and with the Mets Season Opener two days away, tragedy would strike.

On March 31, 2001, after the Mets broke camp and Cole was reassigned to Double-A Binghamton, he and his cousin decided to drive to his parents home in Meridian, Mississippi from St. Lucie.

cole explorer

While trying to avoid hitting a car that swerved into his lane, he lost control of his Ford Explorer, causing it to roll numerous times and he was ejected from the vehicle.

Cole suffered massive injuries to his skull, brain, lungs and upper torso. He failed to put on his seat belt. His cousin who was wearing his seat belt, survived the horrific crash without any serious injury and was treated and released. Cole was pronounced dead.

It was a devastating blow to the entire organization and the news shook the franchise to its core. Former Mets GM Jim Duquette told the Daily News in an interview that he believed Brian Cole was going to be a major-league star. ”He probably would have come on the scene right with Jose Reyes in 2003,” Duquette said.

“He was a player we were going to build around as an organization…We were planning on David Wright at third base, Jose Reyes at shortstop and Brian Cole in the outfield,”

Nearly a decade later, Adam Rubin interviewed former Met reliever Heath Bell in 2010. The Padres closer was a teammate of Cole’s in the minors and he remembered telling him that he was going to have a $100 million dollar major-league career.

“I don’t remember him swinging and missing ever,” Bell said. “We used to have conversations. I said, ‘I would never want to face you because I never see you swing and miss.’

“He was one of those guys you wish you saw him play in the big leagues. He was a little guy, but he hit for power. He had speed. And he hit for average.”

In his short time with the Mets, Cole played in 320 games or roughly the equivalent of two seasons. In that span he batted .306 with a .503 slugging percentage and a .850 OPS. He collected 90 doubles, 19 triples and 42 home runs with 193 RBI, 237 runs scored and 135 stolen bases.

His friends, family and teammates said he was your average kid and always happy. He loved football and baseball and enjoyed life. He always addressed Mets coaches and executives as “sir” even when they told him he didn’t have to be so formal. His talent was undeniable. It makes you wonder how things might have been if he did come up with Reyes and Wright. Ah, the possibilities…. Such a tragic loss.

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Featured Post: Jim Callis Talks Mets Prospects With MMO Sat, 06 Feb 2016 18:35:11 +0000 mets batter silhouette hitter netting

Update: MLB Pipeline released their Top 100 Prospects last night with four Mets on the list: Gavin Cecchini #87, Amed Rosario #79, Dominic Smith #51, and Steven Matz at #15. Full write up to come. 

The following is an interview I conducted with the great Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline who you can follow on Twitter at @JimCallisMLB. Jim was kind enough to answer a number of questions about the Mets minor league system and many of our top prospects and sleepers. Please enjoy.

Mike – Would you say this years rookie class in MLB that included Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard was the best you have ever seen?

Jim – I would say that based on the talent of the rookies and how well so many of them performed in the big leagues. Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Miguel Sano, Kyle Schwarber and on and on and on.

MikeGavin Cecchini had a breakout season with the bat this year but struggled in the field, is he someone who surprised you this year? Can you see him as an everyday MLB shortstop?

Jim – The Mets have pushed him pretty aggressively, and it seemed like he finally caught his breath in 2015 and started to hit. I think he is an everyday shortstop, though the floor still jumps out at me more than the ceiling. Solid defender, should hit for some average with a little bit of power and a few walks.

Mike – The Mets graduated and traded away a bunch of prospect talent in 2015, where would you rank their current system as a whole?

Jim – Though the system did get thinned out with graduations and trades, there’s still some intriguing talent, particularly with position players like Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario and Cecchini. Technically, Matz still counts as a prospect until he gets another 15 big league innings. I haven’t stacked up all the farm systems against each other yet, but I’d expect that when I do the Mets will fall in the 11-20 range somewhere.


Mike – The R.A. Dickey trades seems to be the gift that keeps on giving with Wuilmer Becerra. Is he close to being a Top 100 prospect?

Jim – He’s not close to being a Top 100 guy yet, but he does have that kind of upside, just needs to polish up his tools. He fits the right field profile nicely. That trade keeps looking better and better for the Mets. Syndergaard alone would have been a sweet return.

Mike – Who is one Mets prospect that we won’t see on any Top 10 lists but you really like?

Jim – The system has lost some of its depth, so I don’t know if I’d say I “really like” anyone outside the consensus Top 10. But I am intrigued by Milton Ramos, who has a chance to be a very good defender. We’ll see how he hits.

Mike – I got to watch Robert Gsellman numerous times this year and was impressed with this ability to stay away from barrel contact despite low strikeout numbers. What do you see his potential as?

Jim – No. 5 starter at best. I’m not a big fan of guys who lack a plus pitch and don’t miss bats. Gsellman deserves credit for succeeding in Double-A but I’m skeptical as to how his stuff will play in the big leagues.


MikeDominic Smith had six home runs this year but led the Florida State League with 33 doubles. Do you think he can be a 15-20 home run guy in the big leagues?

Jim – Definitely. I saw him in the Arizona Fall League and thought he was one of the best hitters there. He has power, you can see it in batting practice, but he’s focusing on developing as a hitter. It’s an easy swing with an up-the-middle approach, and he’ll hit homers as he gets more comfortable and aggressive about turning on pitches.

Mike – Who has a better chance of becoming a MLB starter: Gabriel Ynoa, Seth Lugo, or Mickey Jannis?

Jim – I’ll say Lugo because he misses more bats. Don’t see any of them as big league starters though.

Mike – Is Amed Rosario finally the answer to all the Mets hopes at shortstop?

Jim – Yes. Good defender, plus runner, chance to do some damage offensively once he gets stronger. Cecchini is a safer bet and will get their first but Rosario should be the better player.

MikeLuis Guillorme had an MVP season in the South Atlantic League, any chance he hits enough to be an everyday player?

Jim – Sure. He had an impressive 2015, and while he won’t hit for much power, he makes contact and controls the strike zone. That said, I don’t see him pushing Rosario off shortstop in New York.

Mike – The Mets went heavy on lefty pitchers in the 2015 draft? Which one do you think has the brightest future?

Jim – I like Thomas Szapucki the best, based on reports I heard on him versus Max Wotell, though Wotell went higher and had a better brief pro debut.

Mike – Who has the best raw power in the Mets farm system?

Jim – They don’t have a guy who really jumps out. In terms of usable power, I bet it’s Dominic Smith in the long run.

Great to hear Jim reconfirm what many of us think about Rosario, that he will be the Mets future shortstop and hopefully there for a long-time. As you can tell the Mets have built themselves some serious depth at the shortstop position with talents like Rosario, Cecchini, Ramos, and Guillorme.

That is without mentioning middle infielder Luis Carpio who had a great 2015 season and is jumping up prospect lists. The Mets also spent big on the infield in the 2015 international free agent period getting two of the best shortstop prospects in Gregory Guerrero and Andres Gimenez.

The Mets farm system has certainly taken a hit from graduations and trades but I think the Mets had a very good draft last year while supplementing that with the two talents I mentioned above. They also have a slew of intriguing toolsy young players in the lower levels including Carpio, catcher Ali Sanchez, outfielder Ricardo Cespedes, and pitcher Ronald Guedez.

I want to thank Jim for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. For more on the minors be sure to check out MMO partner site

MLB Pipeline recently released their Top 10 first base prospects with Smith coming in at number three. They also did their Top 10 left-handed pitchers and they had Matz at number three behind Julio Urias and Blake Snell.

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Pitching Inside: The Lost Art That May Never Return Wed, 03 Feb 2016 13:00:15 +0000 zack wheeler whiff

“People have gotten away from that, people are getting soft these days. I don’t care, if somebody is showing me up or throwing at one of our guys, you are going to get something inside to let you know I noticed that.” – Zack Wheeler in his recent New York Post interview.

Remember when the pitchers owned the inside of the plate? Hitters didn’t wear helmets, and it was much easier for a pitcher to intimidate a hitter. The inside half of the plate belonged to the pitcher. If you ventured too far into the pitcher’s territory, you more than likely got a nice clean shave from a pitch that was high and tight, reminding you that you crossed the line.

The pitchers used the inside pitch to keep hitters off balance. Hitters that were overly conscious of an inside pitch blazing in at 95mph were left vulnerable to off speed pitches and pitches on the outside part of the plate. Logically speaking, the pitchers that used the inside part of the plate as part of their strategy seemed to be more successful. Bob Gibson used the inside pitch to intimidate hitters. So did Pedro Martinez. Matt Harvey and Wheeler seem to like it. Heck, even a young Roy Oswalt commented on pitching inside in an early ESPN interview:

“It’s fun to see the fear of the hitter — especially if you’ve got a big-name hitter up there, and you throw inside, you can tell it gets under their skin. They want the ball out over the plate. Especially a young guy like me throwing inside, they don’t like that too much. I believe you have to. If you don’t knock ‘em down once in a while, then they get real comfortable. The biggest key to being successful is throwing balls inside for strikes and balls inside to move their feet. You have to throw a pitch to get them out of their stance.”

I always believed that pitchers chose to shy away from pitching inside because of the steroid era freaks being able to turn on the inside pitch consistently, and park it in the bleacher seats. The hitters began to crowd the plate more and more as advanced equipment came out to protect them — remember Barry Bonds‘ robo-arm guard? The hitters had less fear of getting hit by an inside pitch, and had more ability than ever (due to the enhancements from PEDs) to do more damage with the inside pitch.

But the question is, now that game has been cleaned up from rampant PED use, why haven’t the pitchers taken back the area of the plate that was once rightfully theirs?

Since we are in this golden age of advanced statistics, I wondered if there were any that could show that pitchers are more successful if they don’t pitch inside. If that were the case, it would explain why pitchers have all but abandoned pounding the ball in.

The search didn’t take long. Sure enough, I stumbled on to an incredibly detailed article on Fangraphs which tackled this very topic. In the article, they use statistics to either validate or void some comments that Zack Greinke made about pitching inside. I’m not going to get into great detail here (Read article on Fangraphs), but Greinke basically says while he found that hitters made better contact and hit the ball harder when he stayed away, and hitters tend to get on base more on inside pitches.

The first part of the sentence made perfect sense to me, but the second half was hard to believe.

He goes on to add that even though the hitters tend to hit the outside pitch harder, most hitters don’t have the power to hit a ball over the outfielder’s head to the opposite field. If a guy hits a ball 300 feet in the air, it’s more than likely an out. When he came inside to hitters, they had just enough power to get a squib hit that would often drop in.

Very interesting. But did the stats back up what Grienke was saying?

I have to admit, I was skeptical in thinking the stats would back up all of his claims, but they did. In fact, the hitters had a higher batting average and slugging percentage on inside pitches. That means that not only were they getting on base more successfully, but they weren’t exactly squibs either. The data was so convincing, that they go on further in the article to question why any pitcher would pitch inside anymore.

Well that just busted my bubble. I was hoping that with this dominating Mets staff, where the average pitch speed is something like 94mph on the radar gun, we would see some old school pounding of that inside corner. Now I don’t think it’s such a great idea. Wheeler may have been right about people getting soft on pitching inside, but is more than likely the statistics dictating new pitching strategies as everyone is looking for every advantage in their journey to a World Series title.

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Mets Will Open Season With Their Strongest Bench In Years Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:22:37 +0000 Mets bench

An MMO Fan Shot by Matthew Brownstein

What a difference a matter of months makes for the New York Mets to finally have depth behind their starting position players. Terry Collins might have been better off pulling a Billy Martin, and drawing names from a hat for his batting order the way things were going during the first few months of the 2015 season.

Lest we forget July 23rd, a mere eight days from Major League Baseball’s trade deadline when the Mets used John Mayberry Jr. in the cleanup spot, and Eric Campbell batting fifth. This was at a juncture when Travis d’Arnaud and David Wright were still rehabbing, and Michael Conforto had yet to make his Major League debut. But still, it was ugly to behold.

Even with the paltry lineup, the Mets remained only three games behind the Washington Nationals in the division, their starting pitching being the major reason they stayed so close. Some MLB insiders felt Collins deployed that putrid lineup to send a message to ownership that he needed offensive weapons and fast. Fans started a Go Fund me page online, in order to help ownership bring in a power bat.

As fate would have it, Mets brass finally felt that the team was in contention late enough in the season, and allowed GM Sandy Alderson to finally make the necessary moves. Alderson struck a deal with the Atlanta Braves two days after the Mayberry game, acquiring veterans Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to help their bench. See you later John Mayberry Jr. Then on July 31st, the Mets made their signature deal, acquiring Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers.

With the returns of d’Arnaud and Wright, along with the call-up of top prospect Michael Conforto, Collins could now mix and match his lineups based on matchups and situations. A refreshing and new idea for Collins in his Met tenure.

ruben tejada wilmer flores

Fast forward to present day, where the Mets are primed and ready, and packing their gear for Port St. Lucie in a couple of weeks. The Mets are heading into 2016 with a strong blend of talent backing up their starters. Starting with Wilmer Flores, who in 2015 was seesawing between shortstop and second, he now becomes the super utility man in the infield. His over .700 OPS and double digit home run power will be a welcome addition to the Mets bench.

The Mets will also have shortstop Ruben Tejada as the third option behind new arrival Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores. Tejada can provide late inning defensive insurance, and provides an above average OBP.

Also, starting the year in Las Vegas for the team’s Triple A affiliate, the Mets will have Dilson Herrera and Gavin Cecchini gearing up to contribute come as early as this summer. Cecchini had a strong offensive campaign for Binghamton last year, slashing .317/.377/.442. Depending on how Cabrera is faring in the middle of the season, Cecchini might be afforded the chance to play in Queens down the stretch.

In the outfield, the Mets have the ability to substitute strong defenders in the late innings. With the Mets re-signing Cespedes to his 3-year pact, their intentions are to use Conforto in left field, Curtis Granderson in right, and Cespedes in center. Cespedes had a tough go of it in center last season, posting negative numbers in UZR. With the addition of Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares now in a platoon, the Mets could move Cespedes to left field, and insert one of the aforementioned players in late innings.

Lagares will also be given plenty of starts in center against left-handed pitching. His splits from last year illustrate the difference: .771 OPS vs LHP and .599 OPS vs RHP. Lagares looks to rebound from a tough year at the plate, one in which saw his OBP and OPS drop. His strikeout rate did drop from ’14 to ’15, but so did his walk rate. I believe Lagares could be the ’14 offensive player, with an OPS around .720. The Mets could also look to trade Lagares mid-season to a team looking for a young controllable outfielder, possibly for relief help.

And with De Aza available against RHP (career .756 OPS), the Mets are afforded the luxury to play guys in spots where they can best perform. A stark difference from early last season when the Mets had no choice but to play whoever they could at the time.

I would’ve liked the Mets to have brought in a veteran catcher to provide guidance and leadership to d’Arnaud, while allowing more time for Kevin Plawecki to develop in Las Vegas. I think Plawecki has the chance to be a good power bat at catcher for the Mets. While his conventional stats were underwhelming, his average launch speed of batted balls was higher than MLB average (89.62 to 89.28) and 81.3% of his balls in play were hit with either medium or hard speed. Plawecki has a good chance to be a contributor for this club, and has strong minor league career numbers which resemble d’Arnaud’s stats closely.

Fans that attend games next year at Citi Field can go with full confidence that names like John Mayberry Jr., Darrell Ceciliani, Omar Quintanilla, and Rick Ankiel won’t be appearing in the lineup. The Mets finally have offensive firepower to be able to properly rest guys (Wright, d’Arnaud) use splits to their advantage (Lagares, De Aza) and offer the prospects of a 90 plus win team. A lot has changed, and fans should be awfully excited.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Matthew Brownstein. 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 Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Mets 2016 Breakout Prospect: 3B David Thompson Sun, 31 Jan 2016 22:48:57 +0000 david_thompson_960_onypk0ya_xh6arueb

Next in our breakout candidates is a relatively new face, 3rd Baseman David Thompson. Our first prospect in the series was fellow third baseman Jhoan Urena.


Before Thompson was a 4th rounder for the Mets, he was an offensive star in the Miami area. As a Westminster Christian Alumni, (Same high school as Alex Rodriguez), he the record for homeruns in a season (19) and career (55) for the entire state of Florida. His 55 beat Prince Fielder‘s previously held record by 13 home runs. He entered into the University of Miami on a football and baseball scholarship but had two surgeries for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. However, he did well, hitting six home runs with a line of .286/.368/.462.

Unfortunately for him the next year he had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which required a surgery to remove a rib, and he was relegated to a very weak 30 games. However, he upped his stock hitting .331/.355/.466 in the wood-bat Cape Cod League with four homers in 42 games.

In his final year, he led the Miami Hurricanes to the College World Series with a country-leading 19 home runs, and a .323/.424/.620 line. Injury concerns only warranted him a 4th round selection.

With the Brooklyn Cyclones, which is often a landing spot for Mets’ top college draft picks, Thompson underwhelmed offensively, hitting .218/.274/.320 with three home runs in 59 games. Due to the shoulder surgeries and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, he no longer has a strong throwing arm and will likely have to move to another position such as first base or left field.

Why he might breakout:

Hey, he broke a Florida home run record set by one of the better hitters of this generation, what’s not to like?

Also, He is a pretty disciplined batter, having more walks than strikeouts in his college career.  Plus, I want to see if he can start hitting for better average and hope that this uppercut swing will find a way to bounce and produce some of that awesome power. His likely destination is of one of the Single-A teams, depending on his time in spring training.

Having another possibility in power down on the farm has never been a bad thing.

Ted’s Prospect Extras:

Hitter’s Statistics from the 2015 Draft


Head over to for for minor league cover including our St. Lucie Mets 2015 Season Review

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Matz, Smith, Rosario Make Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101 Thu, 28 Jan 2016 21:26:06 +0000 matz steven

Baseball Prospectus released their annual list of the Top 101 Prospects in baseball on Thursday. Three Mets made the list, namely LHP Steven Matz (9), 1B Dominic Smith (86), and SS Amed Rosario (96). The list is headlined by Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, who had three hits including a double in 16 at bats against the Mets in the 2015 NLDS.

Here’s what BP had to say about Matz, who was the second left-handed pitcher on the list behind Dodgers flame thrower Julio Urias:

It seems odd to call someone who made three playoff starts for the National League pennant winner a prospect, but Prospect List protocol demands it. A torn lat muscle and a stiff back in the second half kept Matz from accruing enough service time to graduate, but he did pitch enough for the Mets to show off three average-or-better major-league offerings, including a plus-plus fastball and plus curve. He also has begun to work on the vaunted “Warthen Slider,” which you may remember from such 70-grade offerings as Matt Harvey’s and Jacob deGrom’s.

They hit the nail on the head in the first sentence. It’s easy to forget that Matz is still a rookie and has only pitched in nine major league games, although three of them were on the biggest of stages in the playoffs. His plus-plus fastball, a mix of a sinker and a two-seam fastball, averaged around 94 miles per hour last year and netted him 18 of his 34 strikeouts in the regular season, via Fangraphs. Matz’ curveball, which he could dial down to 73 miles per hour struck out eleven more batters. A slider would make Matz’ arsenal that much stronger, and would have to put him as one of the most dangerous number four starters in the majors.

Smith Dominic

Dominic Smith was one of two first basemen to make the cut (A.J. Reed, Astros, 55), and BP had this to say about the 20-year-old:

Unix programmers follow a guiding philosophy of DOTADIW (Do One Thing And Do It Well). Meet Smith. Dude can hit. He’s a first-base-only prospect, and he has yet to show much in the way of game power in his first two professional seasons, but he has preternatural bat-to-ball skills and started driving the ball into the left-center gap more in 2015. It’s still a difficult profile, and he has a high-maintenance body even for first base, but when you watch him swing the bat, those thoughts drift further from your mind. Now if only we could get you all using mutt for email.

Smith had his finest season as a pro in 2015, hitting .305/.354/.417 with 33 doubles and 79 runs batted in  with St. Lucie, en route to a Florida State League MVP. It’s really encouraging to see his progress with the bat since coming out of high school, but the power just still hasn’t shown up. Most thought Smith would benefit from leaving Savannah, where he hit one home run in the entire 2014 season, but he still only managed to knock six balls out of the park last year (two more than his career total coming into 2015). Binghamton should help Smith blossom and build on last season, as should recognition in major league spring training.


Finally, Amed Rosario’s report looked like this:

Rosario has turned into a very different type of prospect than the Mets might have figured when they gave the Dominican shortstop $1.7 million in 2012. Scouts thought he might grow into serious game power but out of the position. Rosario hasn’t really put on mass, and hit zero home runs in the Florida State League (where he was the youngest every-day player) last year, but he has made huge strides with his defense. Rosario now looks like he could be an above-average glove, and he does have incredibly quick wrists that should at least give him gap power as he continues to physically mature. He may not be the prospect we expected, but he’s still a good one. If you were just here for the shortstops, you can quit now. No more, promise.

Shortstop is truly one of the deepest positions in Minor League Baseball, as an outstanding 20 players made the top 101. Rosario certainly has the tools to distinguish himself from the pack – a plus glove, and great speed – but he’s really struggled to get on base consistently at any level. The good news is that he’s only 20 so hopefully the Mets stay patient and give him time to develop into a more complete player in Binghamton.

It’s a bit disappointing to see a weak showing by Mets prospects on the list, but there have been a number of graduations. Last year’s BP list featured Noah Syndergaard (9), Matz (33), Brandon Nimmo (69) Rosario (78), Kevin Plawecki (80), and Dilson Herrera (82). Hopefully the number of guys on the fringe, like Gavin Cecchini and Wuilmer Becerra, take the next step this season.

 For more Mets prospect coverage check us out on MMO partner site and read our recent interview with new Met Ty Kelly

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How Three Popular Projection Systems View Cespedes Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:30:03 +0000 IMG_20160125_071847

It’s incredible to think that Yoenis Cespedes is back with the Mets. Everyone associated with the team should be thrilled and proud for how it all came together. Cespedes’ presence in the Mets lineup obviously makes them a significantly better team than the alternative Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares center field platoon. The question is, how much better?

Well, first let’s all understand that Cespedes is not going to produce at the same level of production as when he first arrived to the Mets and posted a .942 OPS. He was insanely hot, hitting 17 homers with 44 RBI in just 57 games as a Met. That’s roughly a 50 home run pace. He has power, but he’s never shown that kind of power. Cespedes also isn’t the .150 hitter we saw struggle in the World Series.

Cespedes is a career .271/.319/.486 hitter. According to Baseball Reference his 162 game average is 30 homers and 103 RBI. His OPS+ is 122. His wRC+ is 121. All of this is to say that the Mets will get some very solid production out of that cleanup spot from Cespedes.

I took a look at three of the more popular projection systems and they all seem to think he’ll hit a little worse than his career averages in 2016:

  • Marcel: .265/.309/.480 with 26 homers and 88 RBI
  • Steamer: .266/.312/.463 with 26 homers and 72 RBI
  • ZiPS: .270/.312/.498 with 30 homers and 98 RBI

So, the projection systems, for what they’re worth, see Cespedes’ production dipping slightly in 2016. Part of that could be his first post-30 year old season. Part could also be his .236/.302/.491 batting line at Citi Field. Or maybe these projections are just plain wrong and Cespedes will surprise a lot of people and produce an even better season in 2016 than he did last season.

Obviously, the Mets need Cespedes to be that 30+ home run guy this season. He needs to be that guy not only because the lineup needs that right-handed power threat, but also to makeup for the fact that he’s a poor defensive center fielder.

Remember, Cespedes has a career -12.6 UZR and -17 DRS in center field, a point that was driven home quite often by Sandy Alderson this Winter. Those are ugly numbers for sure, but they should be somewhat abated by Juan Lagares coming in late as a defensive replacement thereby shifting Cespedes to his natural left field.

The thing is, Cespedes’ immense impact on offense should far exceed any occasional missteps in center field – and that’s exactly what the front office is banking $27.5 million on in year one of the deal.

And what bodes well for the Mets is that Cespedes will be plenty motivated as he seeks to produce at a high level in what is essentially his walk year before testing free agency again after the season.

With his bat returning to the middle of the Mets lineup, the Amazins should be projected to win the NL East. And once they get to that point, they have the pitching to win the World Series. I’m projecting a very fun and exciting 2016 ahead.


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Dominic Smith Named Third Best First Base Prospect Sat, 23 Jan 2016 19:02:03 +0000 Dominic - Smith

Last night before all the craziness and joy of the Mets bringing back Yoenis CespedesMLB Pipeline announced their Top 10 first base prospects. Mets prospect Dominic Smith came in at #3 after the Astros A.J. Reed (former Mets draft pick) and the Pirates Josh Bell.

Smith is coming off a great season in which he was the Florida State League Most Valuable Player after hitting .305/.354/.417 with a league leading 33 doubles and 79 RBI.

Here is a quote from the article:

With his excellent hand-eye coordination and mature approach, he barrels balls repeatedly and shows promising power during batting practice.

Dominic was also recently named to the Minor League All-Defensive team by MLB Pipeline, he had a great regular season and Arizona Fall League season with the glove. The 20-year old will begin the 2016 season in AA with the Binghamton Mets where we should see more power from him in a better hitters league and park.

He ended the season as the #92 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline but I think he will be higher when they release the new top 100 on January 29th.

For more minor league coverage head over to

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Brandon Nimmo Looking Forward To 2016 Season Fri, 15 Jan 2016 17:51:06 +0000 brandon nimmo

In an interview for, Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo discusses the ups and downs of his 2015 season. For the third year in a row, injuries impacted his ability to have that truly breakthrough season everyone has been waiting for. He also discusses how he had to mentally adapt after his promotion from Double-A Binghamton to Triple-A Las Vegas, and he explains how his addition to the 40 man roster will motivate him to prove himself in 2016.

“It definitely fueled this offseason because you really just get an investment from them,” Nimmo said. “It’s like, ‘We know that we want you to be part of our future.’ So it definitely fuels that fire to work as hard as you can to become a part of that future.”


Nimmo, 22, batted .269/.362/.372 in 434 plate appearances for Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2015. He totaled just five home runs and 16 doubles for the year and .734 OPS was the lowest of his professional career.

Last month, prospect expert John Sickels of Minor League Ball wrote that Nimmo was beginning to look more like a platoon player despite his ability to get on base. He points out that Nimmo has struggled mightily against lefties and also has failed to exhibit any of the power that scouts had initially projected for him. Nimmo has just a .391 slugging percentage over his five minor league seasons.

Still, this might be the year where Nimmo finally puts it all together, especially if he could avoid the nagging injuries that have plagued him the past few years. He will get to play a full season in an extremely favorable hitting environment in Las Vegas. Coupled with his great eye and sound approach at the plate, 2016 could be his breakthrough season.


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Nats Trade Drew Storen To Jays For Ben Revere Sat, 09 Jan 2016 03:43:01 +0000 1447997897163

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Washington Nationals have dealt former closer Drew Storen to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for outfielder Ben Revere. The Nats are also sending some cash and a player to be named later to the Jays.

Not a bad deal for both sides. I like Revere, he puts the ball in play and runs like crazy. He slashed at a .306/.342/.374 clip last season with 31 steals for the Blue Jays and Phillies.

A former first round pick, Revere stole 49 bases in 2014 and might have made an interesting acquisition for the Mets.

As a leadoff hitter, Revere has a .310 average and .343 on-base percentage over the last two seasons. The lefty-swinging center fielder has a .318 average and .349 OBP against RHP.

As for Storen, he had become persona non grata in DC through no fault of his own. While thriving as the Nats closer the team yanked him from the role when they acquired Jonathan Papelbon and it all went downhill from there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… ;-)

Both players were arbitration eligible with Revere projected at roughly $6 million and Storen at about $8.5 million.

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Death, Taxes and Ben Zobrist Wed, 09 Dec 2015 14:27:36 +0000 John Ricco

The only sure things in life are death and taxes. Nobody knows that better than the New York Mets this morning as Day 3 of the Winter Meetings begins in Nashville.

On Tuesday, the Mets were feeling chipper and were on top of the world, oozing with confidence that they had made the first signature move of the offseason by signing their number one target Ben Zobrist.

While Jeff Wilpon hopped on a jet to Nashville so he could take the podium and announce the good news to the throng of baseball people gathered at the Opryland Hotel, manager Terry Collins held his own media session all wide-eyed and giddy, telling reporters that he texted Zobrist and that he was going to bat him second in the lineup come Opening Day.

After wining and dining Zobrist and his wife two days earlier, giving him the deluxe Citi Field tour, and then showing the happy couple some great housing options around the city, the Mets thought they had this one in the bag.

But alas, little did they know that Theo Epstein and the Cubs were watching and monitoring everything, hiding in the shadows, and courting Zobrist themselves.

While the Mets were joyfully speculating that the San Francisco Giants were probably out of the bidding because they knew Zobrist was very motivated to sign as close to home as he could, little did they know they were actually making the case for their Plan-A to sign with the Cubs who had already reached out to him.

John Ricco explained how marquee players like Zobrist were only too happy to play for the Mets because the Amazins were now winners with a bright future. Everything felt so right. Everything felt so good. What could possibly go wrong?

Then the four horsemen of the apocalypse suddenly appeared out of the fog in the form of Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein, Joe Maddon, and of course Ben Zobrist,. The End of Days had descended upon the New York Mets, sending them reeling into oblivion, never knowing or understanding what had just hit them.

Ben Zobrist had agreed to a four-year deal with the Cubs and worse yet, the deal was reportedly agreed to 24 hours earlier. All they needed to pull the trigger was for the Yankees to agree to take Starlin Castro off Chicago’s hands – and Brian Cashman was only too happy to oblige. The stage had been set.

The Mets never saw it coming. In fact, John Ricco was so confident Zobrist would choose the Mets, that an hour before Ken Rosenthal broke the bad news, he placed the odds at 80% that Zo would sign with the Amazins. Keep your day job, John.


Well here we are in the aftermath of a debacle, as Joe Maddon awakens and says he loves the smell of napalm in the morning. “It smells like victory.”

“The Mets will move forward,” Ricco said at a somber press conference. “We will move past this.”

Now Daniel Murphy is back in the limelight, but only if he’ll take a one or two year deal. Yeah, like that’s happening. Neil Walker is now looking more interesting than he did 48 hours ago, but no way the Mets give them the controllable young stud they are looking for.

How bad could Asdrubal Cabrera be? Right? Oh wait, we still have Dilson Herrera. He’s the guy the Mets were parading up until the moment we found out they were really preparing their full court press for Mr. Zobrist – red carpet and all.

But in all seriousness, what will the Mets do now? The truth is they probably don’t even know themselves, and that they’ll likely be spending most of today trying to figure that out.

They could switch gears and engage on Gerardo Parra, but while the Mets were focused on Zobrist, he says he wants a four-year deal and not the three-year contract the Mets were hoping for.

My gut tells me today will be all about developing their Plan-B which was something they probably spent to little time focusing on with the feeling that Plan-A was a cinch.

Today should be a very interesting one for our woozy Mets. However, Ricco was right about one thing last night… The Mets will move past this. We may not know what all the pieces will look like right now, and where exactly they will fit in the puzzle, but we’re going to be just fine without Ben Zobrist. I know that in my heart. Who knows, maybe this was all just a blessing in disguise.


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MMO Fan Shot: What Should Mets Do This Offseason? Sun, 22 Nov 2015 19:46:31 +0000 nlcs citi field dugout

An MMO Fan Shot by Dave in Spain

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Mets and how they can improve for 2016. I don´t think they need to make a lot of changes, as the core of the team is pretty good. But here are my thoughts on what they should do.

Team Strengths

Starting PitchingMatt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz make a great first four, and Zack Wheeler will be coming back in June or July. They´ll need a stopgap, but more on that later.

Closer - Jeurys Familia.

Corner OutfieldMichael Conforto in LF and Curtis Granderson in RF

CatcherTravis d’Arnaud is solid as long as he stays healthy. Kevin Plawecki is a good backup.

First BaseLucas Duda is maddeningly streaky, but is patient, gets on base, and can hit with unusual power. Worth keeping, unless you could get Edwin Encarnación or Paul Goldschmidt, but that´s not happening. And Duda is under team control for two more seasons, which dovetails nicely with the arrival of Dominic Smith.

Question Marks

Second Base – The Mets are clearly planning on having Dilson Herrera man the keystone. As with any rookie, you never know, but based on his numbers in the minors and all the comments I´ve read about him, it’s worth giving him a shot. If he succeeds, he could match Daniel Murphy´s numbers, more or less, with better D. If he fails, slide Wilmer Flores over to 2B.

Shortstop – Wilmer Flores will never be Ozzie Smith or Rey Ordonez, but he´s improved in the field and gives you unusual power for a SS. He´s still very young (24), and works hard on improving. You’d like to see a higher OBP, but he can hold the fort until Gavin Cecchini or Amed Rosario challenge him. And if he has to move to 2B, Tejada can back him up.

Third Base – Which David Wright will show up in 2016? Will he play a full season? Will he still be able to hit for average? Has he lost his power? The team clearly needs a backup option just in case.

Center Field  - Ah, Juan Lagares. The million-dollar question… Will his arm be healed by the spring? Was 2014 an offseason outlier? This is a potential area for improvement – see below.

Bullpen – There are some promising arms, but we might need somebody from the outside. Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, Carlos Torres, and Sean Gilmartin (Will he stay as a reliever, or will they stretch him out in Vegas to be a starter?) have all been pretty reliable, and with another year under their belts they could be even better. Parnell, Carlyle, Blevins, and Clippard are gone, and I can´t see Mejia getting another chance.

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Offseason Plan

1. The Mets need a leadoff hitter. Grandy has done an admirable job there, but his power could be put to better use somewhere in the middle of the lineup. I would target one of either Dexter Fowler or Denard Span to play CF. Both are leadoff hitters. Fowler has more power, and is a switch hitter, while Span (if recovered from his hip surgery) is a lefty bat with a higher BA and OBP. Both can steal around 20-25 bases per year. Having either a LH or SW batter will balance the lineup. Both will be in demand, but will not command an Upton, Cespedes or Heyward sized contract.

2. I would trade Jon Niese for a solid utility/backup 3B, a strong setup reliever, and/or prospects. The acquiring team would get a solid lefty with one more guaranteed year at a reasonable price and two team option years.

3. I would re-sign Bartolo Colon. He could be a starter until Wheeler comes back, then transition to the pen. He’s older than the hills in baseball terms, but he can still pitch, and has been a great influence on all the Mets younger pitchers. If you don´t re-sign him, you still have Verrett, who has pitched pretty well this year as a starter, to be the stopgap starter for the first half.

4. I would get a solid utility player for 3B, either as a free agent or via a trade. While Juan Uribe is getting old, his overall numbers in 2015 were good, and he was great in the clubhouse.

Starting Lineup

I know that there are a lot of possible variations here, and it would change over the course of the year anyway, but this is a starting point.

  1. Dexter Fowler (S) or Denard Span (L) – CF
  2. David Wright (R) – 3B
  3. Curtis Granderson (L) – RF
  4. Travis d’Arnaud (R) – C
  5. Lucas Duda (L) – 1B
  6. Wilmer Flores (R) – SS
  7. Michael Conforto (L) – LF
  8. Dilson Herrera (R) – 2B


  1. Kevin Plawecki
  2. Ruben Tejada
  3. Juan Lagares
  4. Michael Cuddyer
  5. Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe

Starting Rotation

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Noah Syndergaard
  4. Steven Matz
  5. Bartolo Colon / Zack Wheeler


  1. Jeurys Familia
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Hansel Robles
  4. Erik Goeddel
  5. Logan Verrett or Carlos Torres
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Josh Smoker


This team would come in at around $105-108 million. Colon would probably get around what Niese would have been paid. Murphy, Parnell, Clippard will all be gone. There are some arbitration raises, but the Fowler/Span signing would probably be in the $12-15 million range for three years. Very do-able, and it leaves open the flexibility to sign one or more of our young pitchers to extensions when the time comes.

It´s time to get to work on 2016, and I don´t see the front office making sweeping changes to the team. But a few key additions, combined with good health (and a backup plan just in case), should put us right back the hunt next year. Let´s Go Mets!

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Dave in Spain. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily.

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Mets Hoping To Set Table For Lucas Duda And Get Offense Going Fri, 30 Oct 2015 17:53:19 +0000 lucas duda

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda has been a streaky hitter all season. He struggled in the NLDS and for the early part of the NLCS.

But Duda broke out in a big way in Game 4 of the NLCS, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a homer and collecting 5 RBIs. And he has four hits in nine World Series at-bats so far while batting .500 (8-for-16) over his last four playoff games.

Duda had a pair of hits in Game 2 of the World Series, including an RBI single. Those two hits were the only ones the Mets had in all of Game 2. So according to manager Terry Collins, Duda’s hot streak could be the key to getting the team’s offense back on track. Duda’s two hits in Game 2 were both opposite field hits, which is seen as a good sign in Collins’s eyes.

“He’s got enough power that he can hit the ball out of any park. I just hope he stays hot, because we’ve got to get a couple other guys hot that we can get on ahead of him, so he can start driving in some runs.” (

Duda has hit 57 homers and 165 RBIs over the last two seasons as the Mets’ primary first baseman. Even though he has been streaky, when he’s hot, Duda can carry the Mets on his back with his power. He has credited coaches Kevin Long and Pat Roessler for helping to minimize and control the timing of a leg kick that supplies much of his power.

“Any time I can help contribute, you feel good about it,” Duda said. “I like to hit and continue to work on my timing.”

Duda took optional batting practice Thursday at Citi Field in order to maintain his swing. He has fared batter at Citi Field this season, hitting .275 there compared to .215 on the road.

While home runs may be Duda’s biggest strength, he also proved in Game 2 that he can put the ball on the ground sharply and he beat the shift twice by hitting opposite field singles.

“I think those balls were just kind of hit perfectly,” Duda said. “They weren’t hit hard at all. They just kind of found a hole.”

Even though the offense has been held in check for most of the World Series so far, Duda knows as well as anyone that a hot streak can begin at any time and can instantly change the series.

“By no means are we done,” Duda said. “We’ve dug ourselves in a little bit of a hole here, but we’re used to it. We’re used to coming back and fighting back. It should be fun at home.”


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Mets Pitchers Won’t Change Approach Against Royals Tue, 27 Oct 2015 12:00:54 +0000  degrom harvey syndergaard

Despite the Royals success against power pitching this season, Terry Collins and the Mets aren’t concerned. They won’t alter their game plan, and they will continue to do what’s made them successful all year.

“Successful pitchers pitch to their strength,” manager Terry Collins said. “If that’s your main pitch, that’s what you’re throwing. What you’ve got to do is make good pitches with it.” (Jared Diamond, Wall Street Journal)

Collins has insisted that “we’ve still got to pitch to our strength, and our strength is power.”

The Royals are a team that attacks fastballs early in the count and struggles against pitches with low velocity. As Diamond points out in his article, the Royals only bat .209 on pitches 85 mph or slower, which the worst mark in the American League.

However, bench coach Bob Geren believes the Mets can use their aggressiveness against them. The Royals lineup is full of free swingers, and he believes the Mets pitchers can get them to chase pitches outside the zone.

“Sometimes to get the bat going to get to 95, you end up swinging at some marginal pitches,” Geren said. “So if they’re not walking but they’re getting hits, the total overall offensive output might not be any greater than a team that hits .240 on that pitch but tends to walk more.”

While the Royals may be a tougher matchup than the Cubs or Dodgers, the Mets’ staff can handle them just fine. They don’t only rely on power and high velocity as the Mets’ big three of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are each polished pitchers with exceptional command.

Pitchers with this kind of ability will make it difficult for any lineup to have success, including Kansas City’s.

“It’s mixing our pitches and not relying on our effective velocity,” Harvey said Monday about taking on the Royals. “We’ve done our homework here, and we know what Kansas City is about.”

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Former Met Al Leiter Praises Amazins’ Young Staff Mon, 26 Oct 2015 20:27:09 +0000 noah-syndergaard-matt-harvey-jacob-degrom-pittsburgh

Former Mets pitcher and current YES and MLB Network analyst, Al Leiter, had some pretty kind words to say about the current young Mets pitching staff. In fact, Leiter believes that there is truly no real comparison to what these young arms have been doing, especially in the postseason.

“If you’re talking about the combination of pure stuff and successful results,” says Leiter, “I have not seen this in my life.”

The combination that Leiter is referring to is one of both power and precision, a killer one-two punch that not all pitchers possess, especially as young as the ones the Mets have.

“Those guys (Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz), have started all nine of the Mets postseason games, posting an ERA of just 2.65. They were also a huge part of why the Chicago Cubs posted just a .164 batting average in the NLCS, the lowest ever.”

Leiter, who has been a part of and seen his fair share of dominant pitching staffs, recently conducted a breakdown segment of deGrom, Harvey, and Syndergaard. Even though those three would be considered power pitchers, Leiter was surprised to find that their fastballs only account for 61-62 percent of pitches thrown per game.

“To have guys throw that hard, from 95-100 mph,” said Leiter, “yet be able to use their off-speed stuff that frequently and command it the way they do, I just marvel at it.”

Leiter says that there have been dominant 1-2 guys, like Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, but that those teams lacked that third starter.

“And that’s why I say there have not been three like that on the same team like this. People said to me, “What about Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine with the Braves?’ And obviously they are all Hall of Famers, but as a group they didn’t have the pure stuff these guys do.”

Even Ron Darling, who of course was a part of one of the best Mets pitching staffs ever assembled during the 80’s, put this young group ahead of their’s.

“I’m not diminishing what we did,” said Darling. “We were as good as there was back then, but this staff is going places that we as a staff couldn’t match.”

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Going, Going, Gone: Murphy Will Command Five-Year, $75 Million Deal Mon, 26 Oct 2015 15:29:46 +0000 daniel murphy (2)

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the stock is rising fast for Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy and there’s a lot of buzz surrounding him right now.

While polling scouts, managers, and general managers about the upcoming class of free agents, one American League general manager had the following to say about Murphy …

“Obviously, he’s not going to be as hot as he’s been in the postseason, but he plays positions where his power plays well. There are teams like the Dodgers and Yankees who need a second baseman. Others, like the Angels, need a third baseman, where he also plays. He’s going to be sought-after and get a five-year deal at around $75 million. Maybe more.”

The Orioles, Angels, Astros, Dodgers, Padres, and Tigers could all be potential suitors for Murphy’s services this Winter.

We have an MMO Roundtable on this coming up later this afternoon.


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Will Royals Have An Edge Against Mets’ Power Pitching? Mon, 26 Oct 2015 12:00:13 +0000 royals

After dominating the Cubs’ powerful lineup in the NLCS, the Mets may face their biggest challenge yet against the Royals. While Kansas City’s lineup isn’t nearly as dangerous, they could match up better against Mets’ star studded staff due to their excellent contact hitting skills.

The Royals had the best strikeout rate in the majors this season whereas the Cubs recorded the most strikeouts in baseball.

According to Ben Lindbergh of Grantland, this is the reason why Royals fare better against power pitching than most. Lindbergh talked to sabermetric analyst Mitchel Lichtman, who crunched all the numbers and found that the ability to hit for contact does provide them with a slight advantage against power arms.

“The Royals recorded a .292 wOBA against power pitchers this season, 10 points better than the .282 mark we would have expected based on their overall performance and the performance of the power pitchers they played.”

“That is around a 1.5 percent win expectancy per game. It’s not nothing, but it’s also not something you would ‘notice.’ It probably gives them an extra 2 percent or so to win a series.”

While it’s not a huge advantage, this factor could partially explain the Royals dominance in the postseason the past two years. Power pitching is more prevalent in October, and team’s who hit for contact have had a lot more success in the playoffs since the MLB expanded the strike zone in 2009.

Litchman found that contact hitting team’s like the Royals have a record of 32-14 in the postseason during this span.

The Royals don’t have the big name stars like the Blue Jays possess, but they clearly are an opponent who shouldn’t be taken lightly. They are a team that’s built for the playoffs with their tremendous combination of contact, speed and defense.

However, the Mets certainly talent to beat them and could dash their hopes of winning a World Series for the second straight year.

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Collins Discusses Wright’s Slump, Harvey’s Next Start, Makeup Of Roster Sun, 18 Oct 2015 22:03:28 +0000 Terry, Collins

Manager Terry Collins spoke to reporters before the start of Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday and answered the following questions from the media at Citi Field.

On Jeurys Familia and his dominance:

“Well, you know, he’s been a starting pitcher in the past, so I know he has the ability to go multiple innings. You look at the job he did last year, he was a multiple inning guy. He’s big, he’s strong. …I really believe our pitching coaches have done an unbelievable job of making sure that hey, look, if they need days, we give them days. So we looked down the stretch, his workload wasn’t huge down the last ten days of the season, so I think he’s rested, and I think he’s able to do it.”

“You’ve got that kind of stuff, that’s hard to hit. This guy throws the ball 98 miles an hour, 97 miles an hour with tremendous sink, a power slider. Now he’s got the split finger, and if he throws strikes, I don’t care, he’s hard to hit. He’s just flat hard to hit. So he’s got a chance to be dominant.”

matt harvey done

How is Matt Harvey‘s arm?

“Well, I haven’t seen him. He didn’t come in early for treatment, so I guess he’s going to be okay. I saw it after the game last night and there was that picture of Murph, the ball that Murph hit with the label on his bat, there were some stitches on Harv’s arm last night. So he’ll be sore today.”

Will Harvey pitch Game 5?

“Well, we’ll see how he is with the bruise and how it’s going to affect him. But he only threw 95 pitches last night, which is very, very good. If you’re going to come back on four days’ rest, keeping his pitch count where it was, I think it will be fine for him.”

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What was your first impression of Travis d’Arnaud after you traded for him?

“Well, I mean, I talked to a number of people about d’Arnaud because he was obviously the closest guy that we thought could help us. When he first came up I was really impressed with the fact that he worked so hard to try to work with the pitchers. The first and foremost thing he wanted to do was be a catcher that called a good game. So he worked very hard at talking to the guys, what they needed and wanted to do during a game. He talked during the game with them, and therefore, I think his offense wasn’t what we thought it was going to be because he worked so hard at being a defender.”

“Then last year when we actually sent him down because he wasn’t hitting, he went down and just found the confidence. Hey, look, I’m going to attack. I’m going to go up and attack. Instead of just feel for the ball, I’m going to swing the bat, and he came back and he’s developed into a heck of a player. The first time we saw him, I was impressed that he wanted to be a really good catcher.”

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What about Noah Syndergaard, your first impression?

“When I first saw Syndergaard throw, again, you see those great big guys and they’ve got good arms, now you want to know if they can corral it. Is this guy just going to be a power arm? Is he going to be able to command his stuff? Because as you know, a lot of times those big, tall guys, there’s a lot of moving parts. So he came up here this year and has always he hasn’t had control issues at all, and that’s been the thing that I’ve been most impressed with.”

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Explain the makeup of your roster.

“Well, we’ll start with the veterans. You’ve got to have leadership. You’ve got to have strong leadership, especially in the postseason because there’s going to be some bad nights, and those veteran guys know how to help those young guys get through it. The energy the young players bring this time of year is priceless because the veteran guys have been through this and they know how long the season is.”

“When you bring young players up here, they’re energizing. So that keeps the energy up in the clubhouse. They’re excited about everything that happens. The veterans have taken these chartered planes for ten years or seven years. The young kids come up here and they’re excited to see you get popcorn on the plane. That’s thrilling to them, so it keeps the energy up.”

“So you get into postseason, that blend is helpful. As you know everybody wants to try to help. When you’re winning, everybody wants to be a part of it, and so you’ve got that good mix. I tell you, our veterans, they help our rookies a lot to be able to deal with the pressures of playing in the postseason.”

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Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon,  how much do they elevate that  culture in the clubhouse?

“Guys have talked about it all year long. Bartolo has been a blessing for Jeurys Familia, a blessing. So you look, here we are, game what, 190 of the season, and I will bet you 190 times those two have stood in the outfield some place or have been some place together where they talk. His leadership with those young guys, and then when you add the humor of Juan Uribe, that’s been huge.”

“But Curtis Granderson, he’s just one of those quiet guys that goes about his job. I tell all the young players that come up here, If you handle the game like Curtis Granderson does because you’re talented, you’re going to be successful, because he never has a bad day. This guy’s got a smile on his face every day; if he’s playing, if he’s not playing. You wouldn’t know if he’s 0 for 40 or if he’s 30 for 40, same guy every day. That persona on a star, and young players see it, it helps a lot.”

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Daniel Murphy is so tuned in and can describe every detail of every game…

“I will tell you, the first time I met Dan Murphy I was the field coordinator here and he got his knee torn up in the last game of Spring Training, and I didn’t know him. I would go through, on our travels I’d go to St. Lucie to see our teams down there, and Dan Murphy’s at the Rookie League game in the morning and the St. Lucie game at night. And all he talks about is baseball, so I’m not shocked that Dan Murphy is aware of every single pitch that happens during the game.”

You have your team do infield practice every day, most teams don’t.

“Well, again, the game has changed a little bit. Obviously, batting practices have changed. But I still think I’m a big I think defense is huge. I’m in the minority probably today in baseball. I think there is a real place for defense. So I think the more you do it, the better you become at it.”

“So I’ve asked Tim (Teufel), who buys into it also, that every day we take our ground balls, we turn our double plays. Tom (Goodwin) makes the outfielders throw to the bases two to three times a week, because there’s going to be a time they’ve got to be able to do it. If you just don’t do it anymore, when you’re asked to react, you can’t expect them to be perfect, and we don’t.”

“But I don’t have a formal infield. We just take that 10 or 15 minutes, and there’s no balls flying around, like during batting practice, so guys are not worried about catching a ball and the ball’s coming off the bat. So we get it out of the way and we do it early.”

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David Wright is struggling, is it the pressure?

“I spent 20 minutes with him last night when the game was over. There’s no pressures. They’re not getting to him. I will tell you, this is David Wright, okay? He said to me last night, I said, “How you doing?” He said, “Okay.” I said, “Are you stiff?” He said, “Terry, it was 35° out there, we’re all stiff.” I said, “No, how are you?” He said, “I’m fine.” He said, “Now I suck, but I’m fine.” And that’s him.”

“So are they getting to him? No. He’s a baseball player. He’s been in this environment a long time. I just keep saying, hey, look, keep putting those good at bats on because it’s going to happen. He’s just too good a player.”

“Again, as much as you want everybody to hit, guys, who we’ve had to face lately, there’s not going to be a lot of good ABs. Outside of Justin Turner, I think the Dodgers were going back to the dugout saying the same thing, God Almighty, we’ve got to face these guys again? So David’s going to continue to play as long as he physically can, I’ll tell you that.”

You impressed with Kyle Schwarber?

“Well, it is pretty impressive. You talk about some bat speed. I mean, he’s got some bat speed. Those two balls he hit last night, up the middle and the one home run, he’s just a good young hitter. I can see why he’s up here as fast as he got here. He’s going to be a danger. He’s going to have to hit for power. So there are guys who come on the scene who are going to be destined to be great players, and he looks like he’s going to be one of those guys.”

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Unraveling The Arrieta Enigma Sun, 18 Oct 2015 16:06:12 +0000 arrieta

There have been late bloomers before. Jamie Moyer didn’t really see any sustained success until the age of 33. Also at age 33 R.A. Dickey began a fantastic string of three seasons with the NY Mets where he posted a 39 – 28 record with a 2.95 era and a Cy Young in 2012. Hoyt Wilhelm didn’t even make it to the major leagues until the age of 29. And of course there’s Randy Johnson who really was a mediocre pitcher until about the age of 30.

It isn’t unprecedented, but when you consider that Dickey reconfigured himself into a knuckleballer and Wilhelm spent several of those early years in military service, it is exceedingly rare to se a pitcher struggle early in his career only to bloom into an ace level pitcher in his late 20’s, and yet that is precisely what Jake Arrieta has done.

Consider for a moment the following: 4.66, 5.05, 6.20 and 7.23. Those numbers reflect Arrieta’s earned run averages in his years with the Orioles. His command was below league average (he averaged over 4.5 BB/9 in his Oriole years), and while he always had a decent sinker, he never accumulated more than 1.6 WAR in a season and never pitched more than 114 innings. He also averaged under 7 K/9 prior to coming to Chicago.

Eno Saris over at FanGraphs points to his sudden improved command and an even better, more versatile sinker but when you look at his 2015 numbers it is astonishing, a 9.28 K/9 and an insane 56.3% GB rate. Saris believes his sinker has become such a versatile weapon, he not only is able to spot the two seamer on different sides of the plate, he can use it down and in to righthanders as a strikeout pitch.

Arrieta throws a four seamer, his signature sinker, a changeup, a slider, and occasionally a curveball and a cutter. But he is for all intents and purposes a sinkerball pitcher, albeit one who can get more than his share of swings and misses on the pitch. He had a 7.4% swinging strike rate on his two seamer, with, again, that 57.9% ground ball rate. The four seamer is primarily a strikeout pitch high in the zone that Mets hitters should lay off of, but he seems to be using it less and less.

There are a lot of fans out there who believe it’s that sinker that makes him so effective. He is able to power it by hitters and, when they do make contact they drive it into the ground. It sounds a lot like our very own Familia doesn’t it? I differ somewhat on my analysis, yes his sinker is indeed more effective with perhaps an inch more of drop than his already great sinker from last year, but the most striking thing about this new improved Arrieta is his command. His control back in his early years was always a problem, and that is certainly no longer the case with his 1.9 BB/9 rate in 2015.

If the Mets are going to beat this guy they’re going to have to pick their spots and find some holes. Weaknesses? Well his HR/FB rate is somewhat high but that is probably an artifact of playing in Wrigley. He has few weaknesses, but there is perhaps one. While his command has never been as good as it’s been in 2015, he’s also pitched 243 and 2/3 innings this season (73 innings more than his previous high) and he wasn’t sharp in his last outing. Joe Madden even commented that his performance may have been fatigue related … so there’s that, but then he’ll be going on extra rest today. His record this year against the Mets? 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts.

The Mets will certainly have their work cut out for them. They have to believe that Syndergaard can pitch with him, and that’s certainly possible, but the Mets will have to hope his command is still somewhat off, that fatigue may still be an issue, and that some of their grounders find holes. No matter how it goes, tonight promises to be another great pitching match-up.


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Wright Responds To Critics, Confident Mets Will Beat L.A. Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:33:46 +0000 david wright

After thanking the fans at Citi Field following the final game of the regular season, David Wright had a lot to say about the Mets’ critics who doubted the team all year.

“This team believed early on,” Wright said. “Back in spring training, a lot of guys said it — that they thought we were a playoff team. It got a lot of chuckles, people thinking it’s just talk, so it’s nice to go out there and back up that talk. We’ll take that same mindset into next week.” (John Harper, NY Daily News)

The majority of experts all picked the Nationals to win the NL East in a landslide, but it was the Mets who came out on top with a fantastic 90 win season. They caught fire right after the trading deadline and ultimately ran away with the division.

New York will once again be underdogs in the NLDS against the Dodgers, who have the best 1-2 punch in baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.  However, Wright says the Mets talented young staff is good enough to take down the NL West Champs and could even carry the team deep into the playoffs.

“When you build something with young, power arms,” Wright said, “it seems like, from what I’ve experienced and I’ve seen, that’s what teams that make deep runs in October all have in common.”

While the Mets lack playoff experience, Wright doesn’t expect this to be a problem. Wright says this issue was already taken care of in the offseason with a team meeting.

Wright and several other Mets’ veterans talked to the team’s young players and discussed what is was like to play in the postseason.

“The meeting quickly turned into story time,” Wright said. “You could see some of the younger players were all ears and interested to hear what it would be like.”

“We wanted to let it be known the confidence we had in this team at spring training and that those were the expectations this year,” (Roger Rubin Newsday)

The Mets have certainly lived up to their expectations, and provided their fans with a memorable season. Now, they can make the year even more special if they can advance deep into the playoffs.

“It’s not just going to be what we said that’s in their minds’ eyes,” Wright said. “They are going to live it now . . . I have no doubt they are ready.”

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