Mets Merized Online » power http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:38:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 MLB Pipeline Ranks Amed Rosario 5th Best Prospect http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/mlb-pipeline-ranks-amed-rosario-5th-best-prospect.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/mlb-pipeline-ranks-amed-rosario-5th-best-prospect.html/#comments Sun, 29 Jan 2017 04:50:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230203 amed-rosario-mlb-photo

On Saturday Night, MLB Network announced their 2017 Top 100 MLB Prospects and the New York Mets had shortstop Amed Rosario ranked No. 5 on the list and first baseman Dominic Smith ranked No. 63.

On Rosario, here’s what they had to say:

“Always holding his own at every level, Rosario dominated across two stops in 2016 offensively. He’s always had very good contact skills and extra-base power has started to show up more consistently as he drew more walks and continued to fill out his ultra-athletic and projectable frame. He could approach Major League average pop in time.”

“Rosario has excellent speed and should continue to be a base-stealing threat. There is no question he’ll be a shortstop long-term, with the potential to be an elite-level defender thanks to his range, hands, footwork and plus arm.”

On Smith, they had some high praise as well:

“Smith continues to have a very advanced approach at the plate with outstanding bat-to-ball skills, leading to the consistent batting average, good walk and low strikeout rates. He started to add extra-base pop in 2015 and that translated to more over-the-fence power, particularly in the first half, in the move to Double-A in 2016. He then made adjustments and hit for a higher average in the second half of a year that included a trip to the Futures Game.”

“Smith continues to show outstanding defensive ability at first, with very good footwork and excellent hands. With his run-producing ability showing up more consistently, he is looking more and more like the everyday first baseman the Mets saw when they drafted him.”

While it was nice to see Rosario and Smith make the grade, I was surprised that we didn’t have at least one or two more Mets prospect on the list.

thomas szapucki  Allen Greene, Kingsport Mets

Last week, ESPN’s Keith Law released his Top 100 Prospects, and in addition to ranking Rosario at No. 3 and Smith at No. 29, he also had room for three more Mets prospects – in particular three promising young arms that have have had many a scout buzzing.

Law had right-handers Justin Dunn and Robert Gsellman ranked at No. 84 and No. 76 respectively, and left-hander Thomas Szapucki came in very high at No. 60. Here’s what he had to say about the Mets’ southpaw:

“Szapucki was the Mets fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft as a 19-year-old senior out of high school in West Palm Beach, but he pitched just two innings that summer after he signed, so he came into 2016 as just another guy in the system.”

“Then he delivered a true breakout season, as he moved from the Appy League to the New York Penn-League and dominated at both stops. He did so working a 92-96 mph fastball with a wipeout curveball and good command of his pitches, as well as a nascent changeup.”

We’ve been talking a lot about prospect rankings this month as we roll out our MMO Top 30 as well as sharing a half dozen other Top Prospect Lists. But the big takeaway for me is that despite all the talent the New York Mets have graduated over the last few years and some of the young talent we’ve traded away, we still have ourselves an impressive system that was recently ranked the seventh best in baseball.

It’s a true testament to the incredible dedication and commitment to excellence by Sandy Alderson, Tommy Tanous, and the entire Mets scouting and development team. I’m so proud of the job they’ve done and continue to do.

homer the dog

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Odd Man Out http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/odd-man-out.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/odd-man-out.html/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2016 17:00:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228573 jay-bruce

Once the Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, it became obvious that an outfielder would be traded. The logical candidate was Jay Bruce. Although he had done little since the Mets acquired him at the 2016 trade deadline, Bruce was not yet 30 years old and has been a reliable middle of the order power hitter for nine seasons and a quality right fielder.

All the Mets (and their fans) probably wanted in exchange were a proven relief pitcher and a good prospect. Somehow, relievers and prospects became hot commodities and the sights were set lower – one or the other or maybe a couple of lesser prospects. So far, nothing has happened. It’s unlikely Bruce will still be with the Mets by spring training so we will have to wait and see just what he brings in trade.

Which brings to mind a couple of past situations in Met history where there was clearly an odd man out. Most recently, in 2014, the Mets had to decide which of two left-handed hitting first basemen they would trade. Both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda were power hitters who struck out too much. Indecision probably cost the Mets as they went into the season with both. A couple of weeks later, they traded Davis to Pittsburgh for a AAA reliever in Zack Thornton and a former second-round draft pick, left-handed pitcher Blake Taylor who was still in Rookie League.

This was a trade that hasn’t worked out for either team (although choosing Duda over Davis was clearly the right decision). Davis never produced for Pittsburgh and is still hoping for another major league shot after briefly playing for the Yankees in 2016. Thornton remained a AAA pitcher, never warranting a shot with the Mets and Taylor had Tommy John surgery and is still trying to work his way out of Rookie League.

lee-mazzilli

Then there was 1982. In February, the Mets had acquired power-hitting left fielder George Foster from the Reds for the underwhelming package of Jim Kern, Alex Trevino, and Greg Harris. They had the speedy young Mookie Wilson in center field, Ellis Valentine and Joel Youngblood in right and Dave Kingman at 1st base. On the bench were players like Rusty Staub and Bob Bailor. This left their onetime showpiece player, Lee Mazzilli, without a job.

Since their starting pitching was woeful, it seemed logical that Mazz would be traded for an established starter. Instead, during spring training, Lee was traded for two pitchers who had spent the previous season in the AA Texas League. Those two, Ron Darling and Walt Terrell took a couple of years to make it to the big leagues, but it certainly turned out well for the Mets.

Darling became one of the key starters on the Mets’ solid teams from 1984 to 1988, and Terrell, after some pretty good work in New York brought back power-hitting third baseman Howard Johnson in a December 1984 trade with the Detroit Tigers.

It’s worth noting that at the time of the Mazzilli for Darling and Terrell trade, that relatively few fans followed college ball, the minors, or prospect lists as they do today thanks to MLB Network, Baseball America, and the proliferation of baseball sites on the web.

Not many Mets fans knew (or cared) that Darling was a recent first-round draft pick and highly touted prospect out of Yale. He was, as the insulted Mazzilli called the return the Mets got for him, just one of “a couple of minor leaguers”.

Mazzilli ultimately returned to the Mets to help them down the stretch and throughout the post-season in 1986, ironically, after the team released George Foster.

What’ll happen with Jay Bruce? Of course, the Mets are in a totally different position this year than they were in 1982 when they were a losing and rebuilding team, so getting back a major-league ready player would probably be preferable. Ultimately, though, the kind of return the Mets got for Mazzilli would probably suit most fans just fine.

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Mets Minors: Top 5 Outfield Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-outfield-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-outfield-prospects.html/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 17:00:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228348 desmond lindsay

We have voted on our Top 5 prospects at each position in the Mets minor league system. For the sixth installment in the series we now analyze the Mets five best outfield prospects. We have already covered shortstopsecond basecatcherthird base, and first base.

Looking over the Mets top outfield prospects, there is a definite theme that emerges. Each of the Mets top guys is a potential five tool player who needs varying degrees of time to put everything together.

With them, we see a definite front office goal in trying to acquire athletic players who could one day develop power. The only real issue with most of these outfielders is they are too far away to provide any immediate help for the major league club.

#5 Champ StuartCF

2016 Level: St. Lucie Mets & Binghamton Mets

2016 Stats: 114 G, 518 PA, 459 AB, 72 R, 110 H, 12 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 40 SB, 6 CS, .240/.314/.349

Stuart is as gifted as any player in the Mets minor league system. He has exceptional speed which not only helps him steal bases, but it also helps him play a terrific center field. On top of this, he certainly has the tools to get on base and hit for power. Unfortunately, he has struggled with plate discipline which has hampered his development a bit.

With that said, there have been flashes with Stuart this season. While repeating St. Lucie, he hit .265/.347/.407, which has been his best stretch as a professional to date. He was a pleasant surprise in the Arizona Fall League hitting .300/.329/.400 with 12 stolen bases in 19 games.

On the downside, Stuart has typically regressed each time he has jumped a level. While Stuart started the season well for St. Lucie, he struggled in 43 games for Binghamton hitting .201/.264/.261. The struggles in Stuart’s career may be attributed to the fact that the Bahamian born player came late to baseball. While all the tools are there, he has yet to fully develop as a player.

Stuart is as interesting a prospect as there is in the Mets farm system. If he figures it out, he could be Carlos Gomez.  If he doesn’t, he could be a poor man’s version of Billy Hamilton.

This season Stuart is likely to be slated as the Binghamton Rumble Ponies Opening Day center fielder.

#4 Ricardo Cespedes, CF

2016 Level: Kingsport Mets

2016 MiLB Stats: 56 G, 241 PA, 227 AB, 30 R, 73 H, 4 2B, 3 3B, HR, 16 RBI, 7 SB, 7 CS, .322/.356/.379

If there’s a player in the Mets organization named Cespedes, you know there is reason to get excited about him. This Cespedes is a 19-year old signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.

This year Cespedes took a tremendous step forward while playing in the Appalachian League. He not only showed himself to be a good defensive center fielder, but he also showed a more patient approach at the plate. At times, Cespedes has shown glimpses of being a real offensive threat, and he has shown he may very well develop some power one day.

In many ways, he is a bit raw, and he still needs to grow into his body. However, that makes a player like him all the more exciting because he is producing while he still is learning to put his entire game together.

Given when he was signed, and how well he performed in Kingsport, Cespedes will likely start the season for the Columbia Fireflies.

wuilmer becerra

#3 Wuilmer Becerra, RF

2016 Level: St. Lucie Mets

2016 MiLB Stats: 65 G, 263 PA, 247 AB, 27 R, 77 H, 17 2B, HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB, CS, .312/.341/.393

The 2016 season was somewhat of a lost one for Becerra. Early on, everyone was wondering why his power wasn’t developing at a rate that was expected. The answer turned out being Becerra was dealing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder that would eventually require season-ending surgery.

Despite the surgery, the Mets added Becerra to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The move was certainly justifiable as Becerra has tremendous raw power, and it he recovers well from the surgery, he can get back on the path to being a power hitting corner outfield in the majors.

There is also some doubt now whether Becerra can stay in right field. Athletically, Becerra has the tools to be a good outfielder.

Becerra’s recovery and rehabilitation will dictate where he starts the season. Ultimately, look for Becerra to be playing right field at some point next season for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

Nimmo Brandon

#2 Brandon Nimmo, CF

2016 Level: Las Vegas 51s & New York Mets

2016 MiLB Stats: 97 G, 444 PA, 392 AB, 72 R, 138 H, 25 2B, 8 3B, 11 HR, 7 SB, 8 CS, .352/.423/.541

2016 MLB Stats: 32 G, 80 PA, 73 AB, 12 R, 20 H, HR, 6 RBI, .274/.338/.329

With Michael Conforto struggling at the major league level with an injured wrist, Nimmo finally got his chance to play in the majors, and the former first round draft pick acquitted himself fairly well.  While his stats do not jump off at the page at you, you did see a player who was not over-matched in his time in the majors.

Overall, Nimmo had made strides at the plate. As you would expect from someone playing in the Pacific Coast League, Nimmo had his best batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage as a professional. As he has most of his career, he has shown patience at the plate, as evidenced by his leading the Pacific Coast League best OBP.

With his long home run at Citi Field, we know what type of power he possesses. However, Nimmo has yet to show an ability or a willingness to identify his pitch at the plate and drive it somewhere. In that sense, Nimmo at least seems more comfortable being a top of the order hitter who can work the count and find his way on base.

Defensively, Nimmo is an adequate center fielder, and he still has the tools to stay there even after a 2015 knee surgery. However, it seems that sooner or later, Nimmo is going to be destined for a corner outfield spot. If that is the case, he is going to need to produce a bit more offensively. That is perhaps why there has been a more pessimistic view of Nimmo of late where many see him as a fourth outfielder.

Still, there is plenty of room for Nimmo to grow, has shown a receptiveness to coaching, and he has shown tremendous strides over the past season, and no one should discount him making even bigger strides in 2017.

Due to the depth of the Mets outfield, Nimmo will start the season in Las Vegas. Should anyone suffer an injury, he will be the first one called-up to the majors.

#1 Desmond Lindsay, CF

2016 Level: GCL Mets & Brooklyn Cyclones

2016 MiLB Stats: 37 G, 150 PA, 122 AB, 21 R, 37 H, 6 2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 3 SB, CS, .303/.433/.451

In 2015, the Mets didn’t have a first round draft pick because of the Michael Cuddyer signing. Lindsay has shown it didn’t matter as the Mets were able to get a first round talent in the second round.

Lindsay has all of the tools, and he is only scratching the surface. Last season, Lindsay showed an ability to both get on base and to hit for power. Overall, he’s shown an advanced approach at the plate, and he has performed extremely well at each level. His performances are all the more impressive when you consider he has typically been young for each level he has played.

Defensively, Lindsay is starting to put it together. Despite his playing mostly first and third base in high school, the Mets moved the athletically gifted and very fast Lindsay in center field. He has improved reading and tracking down balls. At the moment, he uses his speed to cover up some of his growing pains, and he certainly has the arm to stay in center for the long-term.

Overall, Linsday is as exciting a prospect as there is in the Mets minor league system, and he is progressing ahead of schedule. Giving his trajectory, he could start the season with St. Lucie.

Honorable Mention

Aside from these outstanding prospects, there were a couple of outfielders who didn’t make the list that still deserve honorably mention. Like the aforementioned players, Ranfy Adon is a potential five tool player. He is well advanced in the field, but the 19-year old still needs time to develop at the plate. If he figures it out, he has plus power potential.

Another player worth mentioning is Kevin Kaczmarski. The outfielder has shown himself to be a good defender, and he has shown an ability to get on base in his relatively brief professional career.

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Mets Minors: Top 5 First Base Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-first-base-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-first-base-prospects.html/#comments Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228158 dominic smith

We have voted on our Top 5 prospects at each position in the Mets minor league system. For the fifth installment in the series we now analyze the Mets five best first base prospects. We have already covered shortstopsecond basecatcher, and third base.

The Mets first base situation is intriguing. On the one hand, you have a developing young hitter who could step right in and be a plus defender at the position right now. On the other, the Mets have a prospect that projects to have plus power at the position but with question marks regarding his swing.

With this being Lucas Duda‘s last year before free agency, the Mets may need to tab one of these players as the first baseman of the future. With that said, a lot is riding on the 2017 season for the Mets first base prospects.

#5 Jeremy Wolf

Ht: 6’2″     Wt: 200 lbs.     Age: 11/2/93 (23)

2016 Level: Kingsport Mets

Stats: 50 G, 183 AB, 31 R, 53 H, 12 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 33 RBI, CS, .290/.359/.448

Wolf was widely regarded as the best hitter in Division III, and as such, the Mets drafted him with their 31st round draft pick and assigned him to the Rookie Leagues. Despite the significant jump in competition from Division III to the Rookie League, Wolf was undaunted, and he showed he is a polished hitter.

Despite his being a collegiate outfielder, the Mets put the 6’2″ Wolf at first base, where he played reasonably well.  Ultimately however, it will probably be best for him to move back to the outfield if he is going to have a shot to go through this farm system because he is behind two well regarded first base prospects.

Wolf projects to play for the Columbia Fireflies at some point next season if doesn’t start there.

matt oberste

#4 Matt Oberste

Ht: 6’2″     Wt: 240 lbs.     Age: 8/9/91 (25)

2016 Level: Binghamton Mets

Stats: 124 G, 413 AB, 53 R, 117 H, 21 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, SB, 2 CS, .283/.340/.409

The 2016 season was a tough one for Oberste. With the emergence of Smith, and the fact that Smith is a better regarded prospect, Oberste found himself having to learn a new position. He would struggle at third base, and ultimately, he would find himself as a DH.

Unfortunately, he regressed at the plate. After what was a strong 2015 season, Oberste saw a dip in his walk rate, and he hit for less power. Despite this, he was given a chance to play with the top prospects in the Arizona Fall League where he struggled as well. It was not the best of seasons for Oberste, but he has shown the ability to hit in the past.

Oberste will likely open the 2017 as a member of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies as he waits for a spot on the Las Vegas 51s to open up.

#3 Dash Winningham

Ht: 6’2″     Wt: 225 lbs.     Age: 10/11/95 (21)

2016 Level: Columbia Fireflies

Stats: 125 G, 465 AB, 41 R, 109 H, 31 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 69 RBI, CS, .234/.284/.387

Like Oberste, Winningham had a difficult 2016 season after  a strong 2015 campaign. At the plate, Winningham had the same issues as Oberste in that he saw a drop in his walk rate, and he hit for less power. Another issue for Winningham was he started the year well only to have pitchers figure him out, and he failed to make the necessary adjustments.

There is still power in Winningham’s bat, and it is too soon to give up on the 21-year old. He should benefit from repeating in Columbia to start the year, and if the makes the adjustments necessary, he should be in St. Lucie relatively quickly.

peter alonso

#2 Peter Alonso

Ht: 6’3″     Wt: 225 lbs.     Age: 12/7/94 (21)

2016 Level: Brooklyn Cyclones

Stats: 30 G, 109 AB, 20 R, 35 H, 12 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 21 RBI, CS, .321/.382/.587

When the Mets drafted Alonso, they were hoping to get that classic slugging first baseman. In Alonso’s brief time with the Brooklyn Cyclones he certainly fit the bill.

In his 30 games, Alonso showed he was definitively the best hitter out of the Mets 2016 draft. He dominated the New York Penn League being named a mid-season and post-season All Star despite only playing 30 games. That’s how good a hitter Alonso was. Unfortunately, Alonso broke his pinky in August while sliding back into second base.

Given the terrific start to his career, and based upon the disappointing season by Winningham, it is possible Alonso leapfrogs him and starts the year playing for St. Lucie.

#1 Dominic Smith

Ht: 6’0″     Wt: 250 lbs.     Age: 6/15/95 (21)

2016 Level: Binghamton Mets

Stats: 130 G, 484 AB, 64 R, 146 H, 29 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 91 RBI, 2 SB, CS, .302/.367/.457

The one question mark for Smith entering the season was whether he would ever hit for power.In the second half of the season, Smith answered many of those questions hitting .345/.413/.492. His 14 home runs was also more than double the amount he had hit in any season in which he has been a professional.

These numbers are all the more impressive when you consider it took place in the Eastern League where you usually see players struggle to hit for power. For example, Duda, a player with significant power, never had double digit home runs in the Eastern League. Smith’s season was more impressive when you consider he was the youngest player to play a full season in the Eastern League.

As you can see, Smith’s bat is starting to catch up to his glove. Because of that, Smith not only played in the Future’s Game for Team USA, he was the only player to play the full game at his position. In many ways, this was a breakout season for someone who was already a well regarded prospect.

Next season, Smith will play for the Las Vegas 51s. Depending on how he performs there, and how the major league team fares from a health standpoint, Smith may very well find himself playing in the majors.

Honorable Mention

Players that we also talked about in this discussion included Carlos Sanchez (.317/.382/.444 in GCL), Anthony Dimino (.333/.445/.413 between Kingsports/Brooklyn), Kevin Taylor (.288/.386/.404 in St. Lucie) and Jose Maria (.306/.362/.478 for Kingsport). All of whom played other positions besides just first in the 2016 season.

Editors Note – I recently talked to Dominic Smith’s personal trainer and he has lost 20-25 pounds while adding some muscle as well. Smith looks fantastic and continue the work with the trainer until February. 

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Zack Wheeler Open To Pitching Out Of Bullpen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/zack-wheeler-open-to-pitching-out-of-bullpen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/zack-wheeler-open-to-pitching-out-of-bullpen.html/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:42:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227628 zack wheeler 2

Helping out at the Mets annual coat drive today, reporters caught up with Mets RHP Zack Wheeler. He was asked about pitching in the bullpen, and he told MLB.com‘s Joe Trezza, “I’ve started my whole life, so obviously I’d like to do that. But I know they’re looking out for me.”

One of the reasons he would pitch out of the bullpen would be to conserve his innings and preserve his arm. About this, he said, ”Whatever is best for my health is fine with me… My goal is to stay healthy the whole year, whether I’m starting or relieving.”

Wheeler also said that his arm feels good and hasn’t felt pain since April. “This is the best I’ve felt,” he told Trezza.

The Mets have Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and Zack Wheeler all on track to be healthy for 2017, so having Wheeler come out and say he is more than willing to pitch out of the ‘pen should help the Mets administration determine who will be in the rotation. They have said they might explore a 6-man rotation at times to preserve innings.

Original Post – Dec 6

In one of the more surprising quotes to come from Sandy Alderson at the Winter Meetings, the Mets General Manager confirmed that the team is looking at possibly using Zack Wheeler out of the bullpen in 2017.

Wheeler, 26, is making his return from Tommy John surgery and has not pitched in a game since September 25, 2014. We had thought to see Wheeler at some point in 2016, but setbacks kept him off the mound.

“It’s one of the reasons to think about the ‘pen,” Alderson said. “He throws hard. Command’s always been a little bit of an issue.”

“Coming out of the ‘pen, take advantage of the power arm and try to minimize whatever lack of control may exist either fundamentally because that’s who he is or because of the layoff.” (NJ.com)

It is an interesting way to ease Wheeler back into a starting role with the Mets. One, that if used properly may be a bit less taxing on his arm in his first full season back.  With the team also looking to solidify the back end of their bullpen, Wheeler may be as good as any to help do that.

“I’m just trying to think — not really outside the box, but just expansively where he might fit,” Alderson said. “There’s no reason for us to say, ‘Well, he’s got to be a starter.’”

“Now, he may feel that way himself. But it may be coming back after two years that he’s better off pitching out of the ‘pen.” (MLB.com)

The emergence of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo has also complicated things for Wheeler as both rookies made their presence felt in 2016 in the starting rotation. Any combination of Gsellman, Lugo or Wheeler though could find themselves coming out of the bullpen to start the 2017 season.

With only one open spot in the rotation and three formidable candidates for it, it is sure to be an exciting battle that will go down to the wire in Spring Training.

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]]> http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/zack-wheeler-open-to-pitching-out-of-bullpen.html/feed/ 0 Encarnacion Rejects Four Year, $80 Million Offer From Blue Jays http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/encarnacion-rejects-four-year-80-million-offer-from-blue-jays.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/encarnacion-rejects-four-year-80-million-offer-from-blue-jays.html/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 22:51:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226925 edwin-encarnacion

According to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports, the Toronto Blue Jays offered Edwin Encarnacion a four-year contract worth $80 million dollars earlier this offseason, but were turned down. Still, Heyman says that Toronto is still open to re-signing him despite signing Kendrys Morales a week ago.

“The Jays didn’t entice Encarnacion to make a quick decision to return with their offer, but their continuing interest suggests the deal they offered is likely still on the table, at the least.”

A three time All Star, Encarnacion has been one of the premier power hitters in the game for a while now. Since 2012, he hasn’t hit less than 34 home runs, and that year he only played in 128 games.

In those five seasons, he has hit .272/.367/.544 with 193 home runs, 553 RBI, and 27 stolen bases. The former Cincinnati Reds third baseman played 160 games for the Blue Jays in 2016, belting 42 home runs and leading the American League with 127 RBIs.

The question is does the Encarnacion want more dollars or a fifth year? There are only three premier right-handed power hitters in this free agent market, so in a market that is so often driven by scarcity and demand, perhaps there’s a fifth year out there for Encarnacion despite the fact he’ll be 34 next spring.

However, I’m guessing he’s looking for an average annual salary of $25 million which isn’t exactly out of the question for his production. The other thing could be that Yoenis Cespedes is the linchpin to this offseason for power hitters and they are waiting to see what he signs for.

The Red Sox, Yankees and the suddenly free spending Astros have all been connected to Encarnacion who mostly DH’ed last season.

Of course this news is going to bring on an onslaught of posts saying that Cespedes is as good as gone as far as the New York Mets are concerned. It’s horse shit of course and just a nice way to get a bump in traffic for 15 minutes.

I am still hearing from more than one baseball insider that Sandy Alderson and his front office are in close negotiations with Cespedes and his agents, as they look to get something done before the Winter Meetings.

And one person I spoke with says that talks have advanced to a level he described as “serious.” I still believe an announcement is very close.

Encarnacion turning down his offer from the Blue Jays will have little to no bearing on what the Mets and Cespedes will ultimately do.

And as for that Cespedes to the Yankees rumor that one site keeps perpetuating every single day, you can use it to wipe your ass with in case you run out of Charmin. There is no real buzz on that other than an obligatory check-in almost a month ago.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Yoenis Cespedes, OF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-cards-yoenis-cespedes-of.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-cards-yoenis-cespedes-of.html/#comments Sun, 13 Nov 2016 17:30:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226415 yoenis-cespedes-2

YOENIS CESPEDES, OF

Player Data: Age: 31, B/L: Right/Right, Free Agency: 2017

2016 Primary Stats: 132 G, .280 AVG, .354 OBP, .530 SLG, .25 2B, 31 HR, 86 RBI

2016 Review:

What a player. Yoenis Cespedes, for the second year in a row, was everything to the Mets’ offense. The team was 72-54 when Cespedes was in the starting lineup, and 15-21 when he was not. As was a theme with this year’s club, injuries definitely held Cespedes back. The Cuban slugger not only missed or did not start in 36 games, but played hurt for much of the year.

Yoenis began the season on a power tear, hitting 7 home runs in April and 8 more in May. He seemed like a lock to shatter the franchise’s single-season record, but injuries took their toll and his bat came a bit back down to earth, especially from a power standpoint.

That’s not to say Cespedes was only a first-half player. His return to the lineup in August was arguably the main catalyst for the terrific stretch run that carried this team to a second straight playoff appearance. And to judge a player’s season by his playoff performance, especially when that sample size this year was ONE GAME against an elite pitcher, is asinine.

Still, his numbers would be even more impressive if he had sustained his early level of play throughout the campaign. Yo’s first-half slash line was an incredible .302/.372/.583 with 21 home runs. And he wasn’t catastrophic in the field like some had feared (he certainly helped his team more, on the whole, than Jason Heyward).

Cespedes is, unquestionably, the big bat in this lineup. We have other solid offensive players, but nobody like him. But once again, he is a free agent. If the Mets can’t find a way to bring him back again, replacing him in the lineup will be an enormous challenge, especially when, while our other outfielders hit left-handed, Cespedes is a righty who absolutely crushes left-handed pitching.

Grade: A-

2017 Outlook:

Cespedes should still have plenty left in the tank at age 31, but he’ll need to avoid these nagging injuries. He’ll bring one of the league’s most dangerous bats to the table. But he’s a free agent, and he might be the headliner in a weak class. He’ll have some lucrative deals to choose from. He wants to be a Met, so hopefully the two sides can yet again find a way to make it work.

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The Mets Will Double Down In 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-mets-will-double-down-in-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-mets-will-double-down-in-2017.html/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2016 18:09:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224759 mets-wild-card

Do you like teams built around talented young power arms that could fall apart due to injury at any moment? Do you like streaky power hitters and an offense that scores the majority of its runs via the long ball? Do you like short term contracts and a hard mandate from ownership to avoid expensive long term deals? Well then you probably love the team Sandy Alderson has assembled in Queens. Pitching, power, and payroll flexibility have been three of the hallmarks of Sandy’s New York Mets. And if you’ve watched him operate over the last six years you also probably realize that he’s unlikely to change his approach for the 2017 season. That’s right folks. Don’t get excited about the prospect of the Mets adding a number of new high-priced free agents. Brace yourselves. Sandy is about to double down on the current roster.

Pitching:

Despite the injuries to our pitching staff of young aces, the Mets had the third ranked team ERA (3.58) in 2016. Noah Syndergaard emerged as a stud ace. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz are all supposed to be healthy and recovered from their surgeries by Spring Training. Bartolo Colon has stated he wants to return to the Mets in 2017, and considering he was the most durable arm on the staff in 2016 (led the team with 191.2 IP) the Mets have every reason to bring him back. Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Gabriel Ynoa stepped up down the stretch and gave the Mets confidence in their organizational rotation depth.

Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed were arguably the two most reliable relievers in baseball in 2016. The Mets aren’t likely to shell out big bucks on a late inning reliever like Aroldis Chapman when they already have an elite back-end bullpen combo. They aren’t likely to bring in another starter when they have all the young aces due back for Spring Training and other young arms ready to step up at Triple-A. All signs point to the pitching staff remaining fully intact and mostly unchanged next season.

granderson cespedes

Power:

The Mets hit 218 homers as a team in 2016 (5th in baseball). They had four regulars who hit 20 or more homers (Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera). Jay Bruce hit 8 home runs as a Met and 33 on the season. Lucas Duda and David Wright failed to amass double-digit home runs totals due to injury, but they’ve both done so many times during their careers. Travis d’Arnaud had an awful season at the plate in 2016 and struggled to throw out base runners, but it’s possible that some of that was due to the rotator cuff injury he suffered during the season.

D’Arnaud is under team control for three more seasons, and the Mets will almost certainly bank on him returning to his 2014/15 form where he showed his power potential. Asdrubal Cabrera is signed for next season and his second half power surge helped propel the team to the Wild Card game. David Wright seemingly plans to attempt another comeback and has no interest in retiring. Lucas Duda is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility and is likely to be tendered a contract. Curtis Granderson is signed for one more season, and when the Mets inevitably pick up Jay Bruce’s one year 13 million dollar option he’ll be under team control as well. If Sandy has his way, this entire group of power hitters will return in 2017.

Payroll Flexibility:

The final characteristic of Sandy’s club is an emphasis on payroll/roster flexibility. Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Jose Reyes are all likely to return next year on one year contracts. That sounds like a Sandy Alderson payroll/roster flexibility dream scenario. It will allow him to re-evaluate a large portion of the roster at the end of next season.

The only real offseason question marks surround the future of Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes. This is where the payroll flexibility trait becomes a double-edged sword. On the surface, it makes sense for the Mets to retain Yo and Walker. They were arguably the two most productive hitters on the roster last year. But we all know ownership is unlikely to engage in a bidding war and pay Yo the contract he deserves if he decides to opt-out of his deal. Based on historical precedent, it’s unlikely that Sandy signs Neil Walker to a long-term deal either. But his late season back surgery at least makes it conceivable that he will entertain accepting a one year $16.7 million dollar qualifying offer if the Mets extend it. If by some miracle Walker accepts a qualifying offer and ownership is willing to add a few extra years to Cespedes’ current deal to keep him from opting out, the Mets might just be able to keep the entire roster intact while also meeting Sandy’s long-term payroll flexibility standards.

The bottom line is once you take a look at the state of the roster outlined above, it becomes pretty clear that Sandy is going to double down on his three pillars- pitching, power, and payroll flexibility. They may look to trade some outfield depth for another player that fits better on the roster and to create an opportunity for Michael Conforto to play. But based on how Sandy has operated in the past, I wouldn’t expect a massive roster overhaul. He’s more likely to make every effort to bring back this entire 87 win squad and hope that the team has some better luck in 2017. And considering Sandy led this team to two straight playoff appearances for only the second time in franchise history, it’s hard for me to doubt him if that turns out to be his approach.

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Mets Minors: Top 30 Prospects, #5-1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-minors-top-30-prospects-5-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-minors-top-30-prospects-5-1.html/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 15:41:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223112
becerra-wuilmer

#5 Wuilmer Becerra RF

Ht: 6’4″  Wt: 200   Level: High-A St. Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 10/1/1994 (Age 21)  Age Dif: -1.7

Acquired: With Travis d’ArnaudJohn Buck, and Noah Syndergaard in a trade for R.A. Dickey on 12/17/12

Preseason Rank: #6

2016 Statistics: 65 G, 263 PA, 243 AB, 77 H, 17 2B, HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB, 1 CS, 9 BB, 52 K .312/.341/.393

Profile:

Hate it or love it, Becerra has some serious upside. Acquired in the deal that brought back d’Arnaud, Buck, and Syndergaard in December of 2012, Becerra was considered the lottery ticket throw-in of the deal, and it looks like the Mets may be cashing in big time. Signed originally by the Toronto Blue Jays on July 4th, 2012 for 1.3 million out of Venezuela, he was considered a guy with considerable upside early on in the power-speed mold. Directly after signing (not common among players in this period), he joined the Gulf Coast League, and hit .250/.359/.375 in 11 games before being hit in the jaw with a wild pitch by Yankees pitcher Graham Stoneburner and missing the rest of the season.

After slashing .243/.351/.295 in the 2013 season, he finally broke out in Kingsport the following year with a .300/.351/.469 slash line with seven homers in 58 games. He followed it up with a fantastic 2015 season in which he hit .290/.342/.423 with nine homers in 119 games, playing half his games in what was the worst stadium for hitters in the Minor Leagues (Historic Grayson Stadium.

However, this year was uneven. Early on, there seemed to be something wrong, because he seemed to have issues hitting for power, but no problem hitting for average. He didn’t start in the field often, and instead played nearly exclusively as a designated hitter. After two months and 40 games, he only played 13 games in the field and had not homered once.

Turns out, Becerra had a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder, which occurred in Spring Training and possibly chose a wait-and-see approach with cortisone shots, to see if he could continue to play throughout the year, but it proved to be too much. He underwent surgery at the end of July, and figures to be at least rehabbing the shoulder by Spring Training of 2017, barring setbacks.

When healthy, Becerra draws rave reviews for professional makeup and ceiling. He figures to be a mid to high ceiling right fielder with above-average power and plus speed at the moment. His above-average bat speed from the right side allows him to make hard contact as he figures to hit many doubles, and the high teens in home runs, while drawing walks at a decent rate and hitting for a moderately good average.

In the field, his actions are plus, with a plus glove in right field and an accurate arm. Despite the setback, Becerra could have a very bright future ahead of him.

Brandon-Nimmo

#4 Brandon Nimmo OF

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 205 Level: Triple-A Las Vegas 51′s

B/T: L/R   Age: 3/27/1993 (Age 23)  Age Dif: - 3.5 (AAA) & -5.3 (MLB)

Acquired: Drafted in 2011 in the First Round at #13

Preseason Rank: #6

2016 Statistics: 

AAA: 97 G, 444 PA, 392 AB, 138 H, 25 2B, 8 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 7/8 SB/CS, 46/73 BB/K, .352/.423/.541

MLB: 20 G, 64 PA, 59 AB, 14 H, HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB/17 K, .237/.297/.288

Profile:

If you have prospect fatigue, I feel you. It seems like we’ve been hearing the likes of Nimmo on the top 10 prospect lists forever, and possibly that may be coming to a close. The first overall draft pick of the Alderson Regime in 2011, (I’ll be frank), Nimmo was draft far ahead of his pre-draft rankings at #13 overall. An athlete that came out of the baseball-starved state of Wyoming, with only American Legion Ball experience (close to equivalent of most high school ball), Nimmo seemed like a stretch of a pick, in terms of conventional experience. Nonetheless, at the time of the draft, he was pinned with a Paul O’Neill ceiling, and the results are mixed.

Nimmo after being drafted did not instill confidence with a .211/.318/.368 slash line with 14 strikeouts in 10 games, but then improved slightly to a .248/.372/.406 slash line with six homers as a 19-year old for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

In 2013, Nimmo had mixed results, in A-ball, with a .273/.397/.359 and a 27.3% strikeout rate, flaunting his ability to get on base at a very high clip, but striking out a lot, without hitting for power (though, once again, Historic Grayson was death to hitters). Finally with High-A St. Lucie, Nimmo started to hit better, posting a .322/.448/.458 with four homers in 62 games, and cutting down his strikeouts to an 18.4%. When he was promoted to Binghamton he hit for more power, launching six more homers in 65 games, but didn’t get on base much or hit very much in general with a .238/.339/.396 slash. He repeated Binghamton and sprained his ACL in May and missed a month.

After missing a month with a knee injury, it seemed like he was struggling a bit in Double-A with a .260/.340/.313 slash in 34 games before going to the very hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas and hitting .264/.393/.418 in 32 games.

Prior to this year, Nimmo was known to struggle against lefties after having a lackluster .203/.320/.250 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014-2015. This year, he had a total breakthrough, especially against left-handers, with a 19% Strikeout rate, and a higher OPS against them than RHP (.984 vs. 894). Some can assume that this could have been assisted greatly by the hitter’s paradise of the Pacific Coast League, but he earned a 20-game promotion to the Major Leagues because of it. He fell short of the batting title this year, finishing with his .352 average but did league the lead with his .423 on-base.

Nimmo’s main tool is his patience, which is pretty impressive. He knows the strike zone very well, and can control it well, which is good news for him in terms of value as an on-base machine. His left handed swing is smooth, but the bat speed isn’t above-average, and he can get beat by some good velocity up in the zone. In addition, he has some power in the teens, in terms of home runs, but still has yet to tap into his power fully in an environment other than Vegas.

Nimmo had above-average speed, but it regressed due to his knee injury to just solid-average. In the field, his range has not been great in center field, but both it and his above-average arm play well in left and right. In Vegas, the team has played him in center often, but when he was in the majors this year, they played him exclusively in the corners, not inspiring confidence that they believe he can be a center fielder. That’s a shame, because if he can’t play in center, and if he can’t hit for much power, his ceiling and upside drop dramatically. It drops to a fourth outfielder that can’t play center, or a Quad-A player if he can’t hit in the MLB. Despite this excellent year, that earned him the #4 placement, there is a lot of question marks on Nimmo’s ultimate upside in the major leagues.

justin dunn 3

#3 Justin Dunn RHP

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 185   Level: Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones

B/T: R/R  Age: 9/22/1995 (20) Age Dif: -1.4

Acquired: Drafted in the First Round of the 2016 Draft, 19th overall.

Preseason Rank: Unranked

2016 Statistics:  11 G, 8 GS, 30 IP, 25 H, 5 ER, 10 BB/35 K, 1.50 ERA

Profile:

Another Long Island kid drafted by the Mets in the Alderson Regime, just like Steven MatzTyler Badamo before him, and Anthony Kay right after him. The Freeport resident was drafted 19th overall in the 2016 first year amateur draft out of Boston College. At 18, Dunn touched 92 as a starter at The Gunnery and went undrafted, before jumping in velocity at BC.

In his freshman year at BC, he pitched in seven games and started four.He went 12 innings allowing 10 earned runs, 11 walks, and 12 strikeouts. It was clear the stuff was there, but he had to work on his control. The next year he pitched in 20 games, and started three of them. He ended the year as the closer at BC, and his innings increased to 47.1.

As a reliever, his velocity up-ticked greatly, garnering interest by scouts, who subsequently requested to see him start more. In his draft year at BC, Dunn had statistically his best year, starting eight times in 18 appearances, and pitching to a 2.06 ERA in 65.2 innings. He struck out 72 in those 65.2 innings while thriving better as a starter.

Since Dunn pitched a career high amount of innings in college, the Mets decided to limit his innings as they placed him in Short Season-A Brooklyn. For his first three appearances, he was given two innings each in relief. For the next eight, he started the game, and pitched three innings each. He was pretty dominant for 30 innings, with a 1.50 ERA, and 35 strikeouts.

Why the Mets gave him the nod for the first selection of the Mets’ draft was pretty simple: he’s just oozing with potential and high ceiling stuff. With a lanky frame and a pretty loose delivery, his body type resembles former Met phenom, Dwight Gooden (This is not a comparison on potential, just body type). He has a pretty impressive arsenal also, tossing 92-95 and touching 97 at times (and touched 99 as a reliever), as well as a plus slider, an average curve and changeup.

His control right now isn’t great, slightly below average, but that can develop with time and refining mechanics. He has the potential to be a frontline starter, if everything goes right. Lucky for him, The Mets are usually pretty excellent at developing pitchers.

dominic-smith

#2 Dominic Smith 1B

Ht: 6’0″  Wt: 250  Level: Double-A Binghamton Mets

B/T: L/L  Age: 6/15/1995 (21)  Age Dif: -3.3

Acquired: Drafted in the First Round of the 2013 Draft

Preseason Rank: #3

2016 Statistics: 130 G, 542 PA, 484 AB, 146 H, 29 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 91 RBI, 50 BB/71 K, .302/.367/.457

Profile:

Drafted 11th overall from Junipero Serra High School from Gardena, CA in 2013, Dominic Smith was considered the most advanced high school bat in the draft. Dominic Smith had a monster 2016 season, hitting a career high in homers with 14, leading the team, and led as well in RBI’s. His strikeout percentage dropped by 1.4% to 13.7, and his isolated slugging reached a career high at .155.

Smith started slow, hitting .260/.311/.368 with four homers and nine doubles in his first 64 games. Before going on an absolute tear, hitting .343/.421/.545 with 10 homers, and 17 doubles for the remaining 66 games. During his hot final two months, he drew 32 walks and struck out 31 times.

Smith has always lived up to his billing as an advanced hitter, posting a .291/.358/.387 hitter in 1237 plate appearances from 2013 through 2015. In his first 51 games through the Gulf Coast League and Kingsport (three, to be exact), Smith started out very well, with a .301/.398/.439 slash line, including 13 doubles and three homers. He was jumped quickly over his previous first rounders, Brandon Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini to Full Season-A Savannah, and like both, did not fare too well.

As we continue the trend of offensive death and Historic Grayson, it manifested with Dominic Smith as he homered only once, and slugged .338 in 126 games. Smith didn’t start out very well the next year in St. Lucie, with a .157/.231/.171 slash line through his first 19 games, before going on an absolute tear, pacing the league in doubles, 32 games later. By the end of the season, Smith doubled his previous career high of home runs, hit 33 doubles, and led the league in RBI, earning the league’s MVP Honors in a notorious pitching league. He carried his success into the Arizona Fall League with a .362/.483/.511 slash line in the league.

The book on Dominic has always been his hitting, as explained above. When he was drafted out of high school, they stated he was one of the best hitters in the draft, however, he didn’t hit for as much conventional power as a usual first baseman. In his first 1237 plate appearances, he hit ten homers between rookie ball, and two different A-ball leagues with notorious abilities to suppress power between them. As predicted, by switching to friendlier confines of the Eastern League with better parks he doubled his previous career high of six. It looks as though Dominic’s power is still developing as he comes up the ladder.

Usually in the cases of young hitters, the cliche goes that power is one of the last tools to develop, if it hasn’t already. It’s very likely that what you saw from Dominic this year is only the beginning so throw that James Loney comp out the window. In addition to his hitting, Smith has a gift in regards to driving in runners, as evidenced by high RBI totals. Smith is an excellent defender, and is fantastic with his feet and hands at first base. When I saw him on July 30th, he dug up quite a few balls in the dirt with ease. His arm, though not important for first base, is plus, and in high school he reached 92 miles per hour as a pitcher.

Now for some issues he must overcome: while he is an excellent hitter, with great hitting mechanics, his bat speed only grades out as average, so the limit to his power may be around the low 20-ish range in terms of homers, and a lot of doubles. Another thing to watch is his ability to hit left-handers, which started to show this year at AA. Prior to the season, Smith hit .300/.367/.410 against left-handers in 359 career plate appearances. However, this year, he hit .261/.333/.340 in 129 plate appearances, and as the pitching gets harder, his issues versus them may be exacerbated, or it may have been an aberration.

However, his most pressing issue has been his weight, that has been getting heavier and heavier since last year, and Keith Law stated in the Arizona Fall League that he looked “sloppy”. Smith does a lot of work during the offseason, and usually attends the Mets’ Barwis conditioning Camps when they are held, but it does seem that he may need to do more work on getting into shape. He may just have a high-maintenance body that absorbs fat quicker than others, and requires more work than what he’s been able to sustain so far.

While on the road, most places these teams stop at are not healthy alternatives, and instead fast food. It’s something I noticed on July 30th as a problem going forward, but it’s his issue, and his choice on how he will proceed. However, no matter what, his play is the ultimate need and not the worry of his weight. That’s really what matters to me, and likely to the Mets as well, so I’m not going to shame his weight, just point out there’s an issue he may have to address soon.

Ultimately, Dominic is viewed as the first baseman of the future by the team and that may be very soon.

amed-rosario-mlb-photo

#1 Amed Rosario SS

Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 170 Level: Hi-A St. Lucie Mets & Double-A Binghamton Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 11/20/95 (20) Age Dif: 

Acquired: On July 2nd, 2012 out of the Dominican Republic.

Preseason Rank: #2

2016 Statistics: 120 G, 479 AB, 65 R, 155 H, 24 2B, 13 3B, 5 HR, 71 RBI, 19 SB, .324/.374/.459

Profile:

Since this is my final article ever, I’ll admit that Rosario has been my favorite prospect since I reported on him in Spring Training, 2013. Signed in 2012 for a franchise-high (for 16 to 23 year olds in the International Free Agency) bonus of 1.75 Million out of the Dominican Republic. He is the son of a judge, who named him Amed after his favorite character in an Iranian Soap opera.

Amed completed his high school diploma before being signed on July 2nd, 2012, which is something not many players his age do before being signed to contracts in the IFA. Those aren’t the reasons why he’s the top prospect, however. Instead it’s because he’s a high-upside shortstop with plus ability to hit and defend, who took off in a big way this year offensively. Due to his high performance and plus tools, he was awarded high honors of #15#13#18, and #13 on four separate midseason prospect lists.

In 2013, the team decided to be aggressive with Rosario, putting him in the advanced rookie league, Kingsport. When he was there, he hit .241/.279/.348 in 58 games with three homers and 15 extra base hits overall. The next season he held his own as an 18-year old for Brooklyn in the advanced league with a .289/.337/.380 slash line and 17 extra base hits in 68 games. He got a cup of coffee with Savannah at the end of the year to get him some advanced exposure.

It seemingly impressed the Mets to jettison him up to High-A St. Lucie with his best friend, 3B Jhoan Urena. He struggled offensively hitting .257/.302/.335, with 20 doubles and 5 triples in 102 games as the youngest player in the league. He also battled a couple of wrist issues towards the middle of the year that hindered his performance. Those wrist issues lingered towards the end of the year, and kept him out of the Dominican Winter League, where he was drafted to the Aguilas of Cibao.

This year, things were different, he was finally healthy, and started the season with a bang: a walk-off home run to right-center. In April, he matched his career high of home runs, with three, and was running rampant on the Florida State League with 11 extra base hits and a .537 slugging percentage. During that time he raised his walk rate by 2.2% to 7.2%, and his strikeout rate cut to 12.4% from 17.5% the year before.

On June 23rd, after appearing in the FSL All-Star Game, and leading the league in hits and triples, Rosario earned the promotion to Binghamton and got even better. He hit for a higher average (.305 in St. Lucie to .341 in Binghamton), walked at a higher rate at 8%, and hit for even more power, with the same amount of extra base hits in 12 less games.

While he finished with a .341 average, he slowed down greatly after enduring a mild hamstring strain towards the end of July. When he came back, he started to strike out at a much higher frequency, which ballooned his strikeout percentage from 15.1% to 21.5% within one whole month. While he struck out more, he hit for a bit more power, with his first two homers in Double-A. Offensively, overall, it was his worst month with a .290/.337/.409. However, over his final 13 games, he hit .407/.458/.519.

When he was signed, Amed was not known for his shortstop defense, and there was question on whether or not he was going to stick there long term and instead land in the outfield. His bat, however, was suggested as a power bat, with the potential to hit up to 20 home runs in a single season. The trouble with projections for a 16-year old player is that they can sometimes drastically shift, and while he will not hit for 20-homer power, he will definitely stick at shortstop.

Rosario has plus bat speed from the right side, that can get to almost anything in the zone. He’ll be able to hit for a pretty good average in the future, and has been improving his plate discipline and ability to walk every year. He still needs some development in recognizing spin, and learning what hanger to hit and lay off. Rosario adjusts from at-bat to at-bat, so these walk and strikeout numbers shown above may change even more as his career progresses.

He has above-average raw power that may play just average for the future, if there is no further development, but he will hit many extra base hits to the gaps that will play up to his plus to possibly plus-plus speed. According to Baseball Prospectus, Rosario’s speed took a jump this year in scouting grades from a 60 to a 70 on the 20-80 scale. How that can happen so late in development may be attributed to conditioning programs and running coaches that changed his running mechanics. He hasn’t utilized it completely for base stealing, but I could see more than 30 steals in a season with his speed, and plenty of triples.

As for defense, despite 23 errors this year, Amed is an excellent defender, featuring plus range, getting balls deep in the hole, and a plus arm with some very good hands. If there’s anything that will make Rosario fit in easily in the MLB, it will be his defense. However, sometime he gets reliant on his arm and stays back in the hole. This could result in rushing throws, or a hesitancy to charge the ball. Rosario gets great praise for his makeup and effort, and loves to be on the field, even when he can’t, as he coached first base when he was sidelined with a hammy issue.

Now for a warning, as I did for each player on this list. This one is about hype. Rosario is a young and potentially explosive player, and has earned praise in all of his abilities, but some people put some lofty expectations of comparisons on him. I’ve seen requests for Carlos Correa, and people ask if he’ll be our next Jose Reyes. The answer is likely no on both, because players rarely become that. Reyes and Correa are/were extraordinary players, Correa especially, who has the potential to be a once in a generation type of player, who can hit for a high average, 30 homers, and stick at shortstop. Reyes, who was the Mets fans’ standard for “good shortstop” since leaving had top of the scale speed and base running ability, and provided an exciting leadoff option in his prime.

Rosario is likely closer to a .270/.340/.440 slash line with 12-15 homer potential as he progresses, while stealing 30 bases. He’s the shortstop of the future, and has high potential, but just let him be him, no comparisons. Between his ability and his personality (that you need to see on twitter, it’s just great, and it IS him), he’s a one of a kind guy…just not the talent you’re expecting. He may not make it, as regulating commenters state, “most prospects don’t”, but he’s the one guy I have a feeling has the ability to do great things in Orange and Blue, when he gets a little bit more development and the chance. You should see him mid-year in 2017, or sooner if Asdrubal Cabrera gets hurt.

Writer’s note: This is it, final article. Wanted to thank the fans, for all your support and encouragement. Wanted to thank Joe D. for being so awesome for having me here the last three years, even though the only thing I really wanted to do initially was to do a fan shot. And Michael Mayer for keeping MetsMinors.net up and running, and getting me to write more regularly. These people are brilliant, please keep reading them and giving your support. Thanks, Satish Ram, I met you on the site, and you’re my best friend, best man, and little bro. Also, thanks Omar, you’re an inspiration.

Also wanted to thank my family, my dad for his support, not easy living in his shadows, but I found a niche somewhere, for a short time. My wife as well, for inspiration and insight. My mother, sister, friends for cheering me on, and especially the ones that don’t know baseball giving it a try on my articles nonetheless. 

Just now, I have to focus on my career outside of prospects. Focus on grad school and MSW. Maybe one day, there may be something between them with enough effort and connection.

Thanks,

Teddy

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Yoenis Cespedes Is On the Best Run in Mets History http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/yoenis-cespedes-is-on-the-best-run-in-mets-history.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/yoenis-cespedes-is-on-the-best-run-in-mets-history.html/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 17:25:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221877 yoenis cespedes walkoff

No one, not even Sandy Alderson himself, knew the Mets were getting this Yoenis Cespedes when they acquired him at the trade deadline last year. In Cespedes’ first three seasons in the majors, he was a .263/.316/.464 hitter who averaged 24 homers and 87 RBI. He was a guy that had a lot of power, but he didn’t quite hit for enough power to compensate for his low OBP.

However, with the Mets, Cespedes has been a completely different player. He might’ve just put together the best “season” any Mets player has ever had.

After last night’s game, Cespedes played in his 162nd game with the New York Mets. In those 162 games, Cespedes has hit .294/.358/.584 with 96 runs, 34 doubles, five triples, 44 homers, and 112 RBI. Other than Mike Piazza, Carlos Beltran, or possibly Darryl Strawberry, there are no Mets players that you expect to put up these types of numbers over the course of a season. In fact, no one has really put up these types of numbers in a season as a Met.

If Cespedes had put these numbers over the course of one season instead of parts of two seasons, he would hold the Mets single season home run record topping Beltran’s 2006 season and Todd Hundley‘s 1996 season. His .584 slugging only trails Beltran’s 2006 .594 slugging percentage (minimum 500 at bats). His 112 RBI would rank 11th all-time.

Keep in mind, this only refers to the kind of impact you can quantify. These numbers do not speak to how he has energized both the team and the fanbase. It only alludes to how each and every Cespedes at-bat is a must see event; how you don’t leave the room when he steps up to the plate. It only gives a glimpse to how Cespedes has taken the Mets from a team in the postseason mix to a team that is in the discussion to win the World Series.

Overall, Cespedes’ 162 game run is among the greatest, if not the greatest, we have seen in Mets history.

This speaks to how much the Mets need to have him on the team and in the lineup. Over this past “season” he has shown just how important he is. If Cespedes does indeed choose to opt out after the season, the Mets must do everything they can do to make sure he stays with the team.

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MMO Prospect Pulse: Tomas Nido Sees His Stock Rising http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mmo-prospect-pulse-tomas-nido-sees-his-stock-rising.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mmo-prospect-pulse-tomas-nido-sees-his-stock-rising.html/#comments Sun, 21 Aug 2016 15:12:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221024 Photo: MiLB.com

Photo: MiLB.com

I’m not sure about any of you, but I believe but Tomas Nido has been one of the biggest Mets surprises on the farm in the 2016 season. Drafted out of Orangewood Christian School in the 8th round of the 2012 Draft, Tomas Nido was known for his power, and was the battery mate on his travel team with now-major leaguer Robert Whalen (I can’t stop saying this, I’m too proud).

At draft time, his scouting report from Baseball America went like this:

Nido isn’t quite a one-tool player; the Florida State signee has average arm strength. But his calling card is plus-plus raw power, as he has strength and takes a big, powerful swing, generating above-average bat speed. He’s a slow-twitch athlete, and it may be a stretch for him to stay behind the plate. He has a tendency to sell out for power, even though he doesn’t need to with his strength. Nido had late helium and was doing some individual workouts for teams, and if he puts on a power display with wood, he could be drafted highly.

Baseball America was very correct on him selling out for power, which wasn’t a very wise approach, slashing a .246/.286/.336 in his first 218 games with 32 doubles, 2 triples, and 10 homers, and having to play in Brooklyn in both his age 19 and 20 years. In addition, his catching was not very good to start, so he needed to work on that, especially with the arm strength that started out as just average as the above scouting report notes.  The underwhelming performance offensively and defensively caused many to lose faith in him as he entered his age-22 year in St. Lucie.

Photo: Ed Delany

Photo: Ed Delany

Michael Mayer and I disagreed on whether to add Nido to our Top 80 prospects, I wanted him on, while he wanted him off. I won, and we placed him at No. 74, citing his ceiling, though he had underwhelmed so far. Apparently I wasn’t alone, as MLB’s Jonathan Mayo and Mets Farm Director Ian Levin both stated they were high on him, citing a strong showing in spring training. Now even with a strong spring training a player can underwhelm, such as Angel Manzanarez has, so it means barely anything. However, Nido didn’t stop clubbing after joining High-A St. Lucie.

This year in his age 22 season, Nido is hitting .320/.351/.470 in High-A with 7 homers and 22 doubles. He has set career highs in hits and home runs, and a career low with a 11.9% strikeout percentage, 11.9%, a significant drop-off from last year’s 25.7%. The Florida State League, which he leads in batting average, is notoriously known for being harsh on offense.

Also, on defense, Nido has gone above and beyond, throwing out an excellent 40% of base runners and being a smooth receiver behind the dish. It looks like Nido has turned a corner, and has impressed many, including Baseball Prospectus, who wrote this updated scouting report about him. (FYI, the scale is a 20-80 sliding scale, and they vary in what they indicate, but usually a 50 is above average.)

A report like that is very encouraging, especially since it projects a pretty above-average catcher offensively and defensively, and this coming from an outlet that pulls no punches. So take that for what it’s worth.

Nido abandoned selling out for power and instead opted for contact and trusting his natural strength. His isolated slugging is up to .150, which was .060 up from his previous four year average, and climbing. With his natural power, it may get better as he develops and possibly evolve into 15+ homers, which is superlative for a catcher.

Should Nido continue down this road and hit well in Binghamton, watch his stock rise as he works himself onto the Mets radar. The front office will have a big decision to make as they may have to protect Nido from this upcoming Rule 5 draft. I’m sure the team will also consider sending Nido to the Arizona Fall League, come October.

If Nido’s tools continue to improve and polish up, there may be a better heir to the Mets catching position than what Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki are indicating right now.

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Stanton Out For The Season, Marlins Considering A-Rod and Gomez http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/stanton-out-for-the-season-marlins-considering-a-rod-and-gomez.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/stanton-out-for-the-season-marlins-considering-a-rod-and-gomez.html/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2016 15:26:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=220519 Giancarlo-Stanton-Marlins1

Faced with the loss of Giancarlo Stanton for the rest of the season, the Marlins are considering both Alex Rodriguez (unconditionally released) and Carlos Gomez (designated for assignment) according to various reports.

MLB Network Radio’s Jim Bowden says it’s inevitable that the Marlins could sign Rodriguez to play first base, according to his sources.

Marlins team president Michael Hill confirmed interest in Rodriguez, though he’s unsure if A-Rod has a desire to continue playing this season.

“We’re going to look at everything,” Hill said. “There has been information out there about his situation. I have no idea what his interest level is to continue playing.”

“This team has played too well for too long. We’re right in the thick of this thing, and we’re going to do everything in our power to help in any way we can. If it’s him, if it’s someone else, we’re going to try to find a way to make it happen.”

Original Report – Aug 14

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will miss the remainder of the season with a groin strain, Don Mattingly told reporters this afternoon. Stanton was injured on the final play of last night’s 8-7 loss against the White Sox attempting to stretch a single into a double.

This is no doubt a huge loss for a Marlins team right in the playoff hunt, currently tied with the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot.

Stanton is certainly having a down year by his standards, slashing .244/.329/.496 (117 wRC+) in 103 games, the worst showing of his career. However, he still has 25 home runs and remains a legitimate power threat. He leads Marcell Ozuna, who has 19 homers, for the team lead.

Stanton’s spot in right field will presumably go to the 42 year-old Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro is having his best year since 2009, slashing .313/.389/.390 (113 wRC+) in 240 plate appearances. He recently picked up his 3000th big league hit.

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Can Jay Bruce Save Mets From Becoming the Worst Team Ever With RISP? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/can-jay-bruce-save-mets-from-becoming-the-worst-team-ever-with-risp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/can-jay-bruce-save-mets-from-becoming-the-worst-team-ever-with-risp.html/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2016 19:08:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219329 Jay-Bruce

The New York Mets and their fans are hoping Jay Bruce‘s arrival to Citi Field is not posthumous for their season.  They enter play after last nights loss to the Yankees 7.5 Games back in the division and 2.5 out of the second wildcard spot.  They are further out of contention for a division crown then their opponents, who ironically were sellers at the deadline.

The Mets are also rapidly approaching the worst mark in Major League Baseball history while hitting with two outs and runners in scoring position.  Their anemic .170 average in such situations is alarmingly close to the 1965 Houston Astros .167 clip, the team that currently owns this notorious distinction.  The Mets failure to tack on more runs in the 6th inning of Monday’s subway series opener contributed to the problem further, as did James Loney being stranded in scoring position by three consecutive batters to end the game.

To review, heading into play against the Yankees on Tuesday, the Mets average with runners in scoring position was .205. If the season concluded today, this would rank the 2016 Mets as the second worst mark in the in the history of Major League Baseball.

That’s how bad the Mets have been as a situational hitting team this season, a team that had expectations to play deep into October.

.Jay Bruce arrives to hopefully be the panacea to what has plagued this floundering club; Hitting with runners in scoring position. Bruce is a .360 hitter with runners in scoring position this season, and leads the National League with 80 RBI.

The club’s epic struggles with runners in scoring position has been widely publicized and discussed throughout the 2016 season. Terry Collins has mentioned a need for his club’s situational hitting to improve as well, going further to comment during a post-game press conference after a loss to the Rockies that it is indeed possible said struggles are weighing on the hitters in run scoring situations.

How much would some production in these spots have helped thus far? Let me show you….

-30- The Proposition

For this proposition, let’s assume the Mets had 30 more hits with runners in scoring through their first 105 games and for every one of those hits they scored 1.25 runs on average, which could be a modest approximation but taking into account the variable being the number of runners on second and/or third in any one of those 30 opportunities.

Thirty more of these situational hits, bringing their season total to 184 with runners in scoring position, would make their average in such spots .245, which is still below the league average mark of .256, which coincidentally the Washington Nationals sit at exactly. .

These thirty hits, resulting in a conservatively estimated 1.25 runs per hit, would bring the Mets total runs scored up from 386 to 423, STILL 30 runs below the league average. And according to the Pythagorean expectation, the increased run differential would have improved their winning percentage from .514 to .561 to-date. Such a run differential, assuming all things are equal with the Nationals, would place them two games behind their rival in the loss column on the day after the trade deadline.

And it’s not such a drastic leap for the Mets to have taken.

These 30 additional hits with runners in scoring position equates to only 1 more hit every 3.5 games. Essentially, a little less than one hit with runners in scoring position per series would have changed the fortunes of the Mets dramatically to this point in the season.

But it’s for this reason alone, along with the Mets established championship-caliber pitching staff, why the injured and floundering Mets should in no way mail the season in just yet.

The ultimate randomness of their inability to succeed with runners in scoring position suggests they can only improve from here. The Mets owe it to the science of baseball to take their chances and acquire better run producers to counteract the injury plague on the basic ability to be better situational hitters, and a little luckier as well.

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Updated: Wuilmer Becerra Had Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery To Repair Labrum http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/updated-wuilmer-becerra-had-season-ending-shoulder-surgery-to-repair-labrum.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/updated-wuilmer-becerra-had-season-ending-shoulder-surgery-to-repair-labrum.html/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:28:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218321 Becerra_960_2_0f0a2d7o_oo86j31y

Metsmerized Online has learned from an organizational source that Mets outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder to repair a partially torn labrum. 

For some unknown reason, the Mets front office was trying to keep the news under wraps and it took a few days of investigating and talking to sources to eventually find out why Becerra had not played in a week. They finally placed him on the DL on Tuesday.

Our source told us that Becerra hopes to be ready for spring training next season.

The hushed up injury, that took place in spring training this year, has had a direct impact on the right fielder’s power outage and prevented him from taking the field in all but 13 games this season. He was limited to the designated hitter for a majority of the season and hadn’t played right field since May 31st.

MMO has also learned that Becerra has received at least two cortisone shots over the course of this season for the injury to allow him to keep playing despite it hindering his ability to throw from his outfield position.

The injury has certainly affected Becerra’s power as he’s hit only one home run in 247 at-bats this year, after hitting nine in 449 at-bats last season in a great pitcher’s park. His .312 batting average is a career high and second to his league leading teammate Tomas Nido in the Florida State League.

Overall in 65 games, Becerra hit .312/.341/.393 with 17 doubles, the one home run and 34 runs batted in.

Becerra was ranked as the Mets #7 prospect according to Baseball America’s Top 10 midseason update. He was of course the final piece of the R.A. Dickey trade in which the Mets also got Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck.

Tough break for the kid, we’ll see him next year.

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Has Kevin Long Unlocked James Loney’s Power http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/has-kevin-long-unlocked-james-loneys-power.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/has-kevin-long-unlocked-james-loneys-power.html/#comments Sat, 02 Jul 2016 14:39:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=216555 james loney

In many ways it is fitting that James Loney was assigned the number 28 by the Mets.  Loney is a left-handed contact hitter that has been pressed into action at first base after the Mets lost Lucas Duda to a back injury.  Throughout their careers, Loney and Daniel Murphy have been very similar hitters.

Coming into this season, Loney was a career .285/.338/.411 hitter who averaged 25 doubles and 10 homeruns.  Murphy was a career .288/.331/.424 hitter who averaged 33 doubles and nine homeruns.  The similarities do not end with those basic statistics.  If you look at their stances and approach at the plate, you’ll see that Loney and Murphy are very similar hitters in more ways than production alone.

Here is a James Loney 2014 at-bat:

As you can see, Loney stands fairly upright in his stance with his hands held high. He stands a little off the plate with a somewhat open stance.

Now here is a Daniel Murphy at-bat: from 2013

Again, Murphy is fairly upright at the plate with his hands held high.  He’s a little off the plate with a slightly open stance.  Loney’s and Murphy’s stances are not identical, but they are very similar.  Unsurprisingly, both had similar approaches at the plate.  Both pulled inside pitches with some authority, but they would go the other way with outside pitches just hoping the ball would find a place to land.

Last year, Murphy linked up with Kevin Long, who has a reputation for unlocking a player’s hidden power.  Here is a look at Murphy’s updated stance from the 2015 postseason:

Murphy’s stance is now closed, and he’s in more of a crouch at the plate.  The results have been terrific as Murphy has been hitting for more power.  This year he’s produced a slash line of .351/.394/.588 with 20 doubles and 14 home runs. The 14 home runs tie Murphy’s career high, and there is still more than half a season left to play.

Kevin Long has now made similar adjustments to Loney’s stance.  Here is one of his at-bats from his short tenure with the Mets:

Now, the crouch in Loney’s stance is not as pronounced as Murphy’s.  However, a crouch is still present, and Loney has also closed his stance.  From the looks of it, it appears that Long has tweaked Loney’s batting stance and approach much in the same way he did with Daniel Murphy last season.

And so far, Loney appears to be hitting the ball with much more authority and power when he makes contact. A lot more authority than he’s had in nearly 10 years.

The bottom line is that Loney is now hitting .297/.345/.495 with eight doubles and four homers as a Met, and he hasn’t had a slugging percentage this high since 2007.

Long has seemingly unlocked the power in Loney’s swing just as he did with Murphy. And it now appears that Loney may not just be a stopgap for Lucas Duda, because if he keeps this up how can the Mets risk losing his bat from the lineup when Duda returns?

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Mets Sign 2nd Round Pick 1B Peter Alonso http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/after-a-dominating-college-world-series-performance-mets-sign-2nd-round-pick-peter-alonso.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/after-a-dominating-college-world-series-performance-mets-sign-2nd-round-pick-peter-alonso.html/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:32:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215946 peter alonson

Peter Alonso, the Mets 2nd round pick (64th overall), has finally signed after concluding his collegiate career with a dominating College World Series performance. As a benefit to the Mets, Alonso was signed for under slot value at just over $900K, compared to the $1,009,200 slotted for the 64th pick in the draft.

Alonso concluded his Florida Gators collegiate career going 16-for-32 with four doubles, five homeruns, 13 RBI and 11 runs scored, while drawing three walks in the World Series.

This dominating performance comes on the heels of a breakout sophomore season that saw Alonso produce a .374/.469/.659 slash line, despite missing the last month of the regular season with a broken left hand, an injury that perhaps allowed the power-hitting first baseman to slip to the Mets in the second round of the MLB draft.

“Every time he comes to the plate, it’s like everybody in the dugout gets quiet, everybody in the stands is kind of watching. It’s just unexplainable,” his Florida coach, Kevin O’Sullivan, told Newsday. “I honestly feel like every time he comes to the plate he’s going to hit a home run. It’s remarkable. It’s a great story to come back and swing the bat like he has.”

As a freshman, Alonso was named a second-team Freshman All-American by the National College Baseball Writers Association and he was one of three Gators named to the SEC All-Freshman team.

Alonso will report to the Brooklyn Cyclones where he will begin his transition to wood bats.

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MLB Draft: Mets Give It The Old College Try http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mlb-draft-mets-give-it-the-old-college-try.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mlb-draft-mets-give-it-the-old-college-try.html/#comments Sat, 11 Jun 2016 17:17:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=214625 Justin-Dunn-2016-mj-624x440

Mets 1st Round Pick RHP Justin Dunn

During Day 1 of the MLB Draft, the Mets selected RHP Justin Dunn of Boston College and LHP Anthony Kay of UConn with their two first round picks, and 1B Peter Alonso of Florida in the second round. You can read more about them here.

During Day 2 of the draft, the Mets selected eight more college players in Rounds 3-10. 

Round 3 (100): Blake Tiberi, 3B, Louisville

Round 4 (130): Michael Paez, SS, Coastal Carolina

Round 5 (160): Colby Woodmansee, SS, Arizona State

Round 6 (190): Chris Viall, RHP, Stanford

Round 7 (220): Austin McGeorge, RHP, Long Beach State

Round 8 (250): Placido Torres, LHP, Tusculum College

Round 9 (280): Colin Holderman, RHP, Heartland CC

Round 10 (310): Gene Cone, OF, South Carolina

Amateur scouting director Tommy Tanous said the Mets did not make a concerted effort to avoid high school talent, but the players they liked were either selected before the Mets had an opportunity to draft them or had signability issues.

Read scouting reports and profiles on each player here on MetsMinors.net.

The draft concludes on Saturday afternoon with rounds 11-40 which you can follow on this MMN Draft Thread

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MLB Draft: Mets Select First Baseman Peter Alonso In Second Round http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mlb-draft-mets-select-florida-1b3b-peter-alonso-in-second-round.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mlb-draft-mets-select-florida-1b3b-peter-alonso-in-second-round.html/#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2016 04:10:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=214571 peter alonson

The New York Mets have selected first baseman Peter Alonso out of the University of Florida with the 64th overall pick in the 2016 first-year player draft.

The 21-year old right-handed slugger has seen his stock climb in recent weeks. His improved contact rate and plus raw power makes him very attractive. More likely to stick at first base, his defense is pedestrian and he has no speed.

Alonso is currently batting .364 with a whopping .628 slugging percentage for the No. 1 ranked Gators. He’s hit 14 doubles, 12 homers and has driven in 52 this season.

MLB.com says:

As a high school third baseman at Plant High School in Tampa, Alonso went undrafted. After three years at the University of Florida, that won’t happen again, as he was swinging a hot bat at the right time as the Draft approached.

Alonso was making consistent, hard contact for the Gators as his junior season progressed. He’s always had raw power, but didn’t always look like he could tap into it consistently. Lately, however, he’s shortened his swing and begun to use the whole field more effectively, showing extra-base pop to the opposite field. Much of his success stems from a more open stance which has helped him get his hips through more consistently. He’s a first baseman only with well below-average speed, though his hands and footwork at the corner infield position should be adequate.

As a right-right first baseman, the bat is really going to have to play. Offensive college performers tend to do well in the Draft, and Alonso’s raw natural power was giving him some helium as the spring progressed.

Baseball America says:

Injuries have dogged Alonso the last two seasons–he missed 30 games in 2015 with a broken foot and later broke his nose, and in May 2016 he missed time with a broken left hand. He nevertheless has been the Gators’ most consistent power bat in that span and was leading the ’16 Gators in batting and homers when he got hurt. Alonso didn’t show much power in the Cape Cod League last summer with Bourne after hitting 18 the previous summer during an MVP turn in the Northwoods League.

Alonso has plus raw power, hitting the first-ever home run to center field at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha during the 2015 College World Series. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Alonso does it with strength rather than bat speed and is a poor runner who likely will be limited to first base, but his righthanded power is his carrying tool.

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Baseball America Raises Eyebrows With Latest Mock http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/baseball-america-raises-eyebrows-with-latest-mock.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/baseball-america-raises-eyebrows-with-latest-mock.html/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2016 17:00:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=214466 br1

Baseball America changed their Shock…er…Mock draft today for their fifth attempt at projecting the first 34 picks of the draft. In this one, previously named #1 Pick, Jersey lefty Jason Groome dropped to 14th overall in the draft, and Puerto Rican Shortstop Delvin Perez drops completely out of the first round after being in the top-10 overall for the last six months. Flame-throwing Matt Manning drops to #29, and has the Mets picking outfielder Blake Rutherford at #19.

For those who don’t know, Rutherford, a high school outfielder with five bonafide tools, has been a foregone conclusion to be selected among the top ten overall picks. In fact, of all the mocks I’ve surveyed, Rutherford has not been mocked to the Mets once, prior to this. When you see the tally I’ve accrued, you’ll check out the last name on the #19 pick, and that’s Rutherford. That’s how certain Mock Draftees were about Rutherford not leaving the top 10.

What they said:

19. METS: Rumors are fast and furious for the Mets after weeks of them being tied to Will Craig. They appear to be the team most tied to Rutherford and may be the team to block the Phillies from floating him all the way to their second selection. PICK: Blake Rutherford, of

Anyway, my turn…

#19 OF Blake Rutherford, Chaminade (Calif.) College Prep

Outfielder Rutherford is more of a known quantity in the prospect circles for scouts, especially because he’s older than most prep players, and has been in the USA 18U Squad the last two years. Turning 19 in May, Rutherford is more mature in body type, with less projection, but that doesn’t stop him from being a top caliber player in this draft. He is an above-average to plus hitter from the left side, with above-average power to possibly plus if he can make some adjustments to tap into it more.

His swing is geared towards line drives all over the field, with the power going the same way. According to two reports this spring, he has been inconsistent and has not been able to tap into that power so far, but that can come with more experience. His swing reminds some of Grady Sizemore, and Scouts in general compare him to Jim Edmonds.

In the field and on the base paths, Rutherford is a plus runner. He doesn’t take the prettiest routes in the field defensively, but he’s definitely able to track down balls in his area. His arm is above-average for the position, and should he slow down for any reason, the arm will work fine in right field with time. Rutherford is committed to UCLA, and apparently is asking for a $3,000,000 bonus to buy him out of his commitment.

In case you’re wondering, the Mets have a $2,378,800 slot at #19, so they would have to go $621,200 over-slot. I’m not sure what would drop Rutherford other than his age, but if the Mets are going to grab someone with great upside, it should be him. This is the pizzazz/sexy pick you’d hope for with a chance to move quicker to the majors than usual.

#31 LHP Anthony Kay, Uconn

If the Mets take Rutherford at 19 overall, they’ll try to handcuff him with a safe-bet collegian, and they have confidence in the pitchability of Lauer and UConn’s Anthony Kay. PICK: Anthony Kay, lhp

If you’re familiar with the name of Anthony Kay, i’ll remind you why: He was a Mets’ 26th rounder in the 2013 draft out of Ward Melville High School in Long Island (same HS as Steve Matz), who didn’t sign. During the time of being drafted previous and Thursday, he has upped his consideration to  possibly the supplemental round.  Kay seems like a safe-ish type of guy to get for a lower price at the 31st pick and limited upside.

The book on Kay is that he is a polished arm with above-average control from the left side. A smallish, but sturdy-built guy that sits at 91, he can touch 94 or 95. He also has an above-average to possibly plus changeup that he can use to induce a swing and miss, but requires him to drop his arm slot, which will make him susceptible to being figured out at higher levels. He also has a breaking ball, in which he calls a slider, but has not defined itself yet.

Kay should be easy to sign as he’s getting a raise in his payday from what he was likely offered in 2013. He may have to sign an additional form to state he was re-drafted by the same team as before. He’s a safe pick with the upside of a mid-rotation starter, but likely will drop from the 8.39 K-rate he had before, unless he finds another pitch for is arsenal.

Other Draft Notes: 

Top Puerto Rican shortstop possible draftee Delvin Perez has failed a Pre-draft toxicology for an undisclosed performance enhancing drug according to Baseball AmericaJon Heyman, and Keith Law. This will likely cause him to drop, but not past the first round, according to JJ Cooper.

Reported bonus demands of first rounders including Rutherford:

  • RHP Matt Manning $5,000,000
  • LHP Joey Wentz $3,380,600+
  • RHP Jared Horn $3,000,000
  • 3B Drew Mendoza $3,000,000
  • OF Will Benson $4,000,000

Top Lefty Jason Groome is committed to Chipola Junior College instead of going to Vanderbilt.

Mock Draft Tally as of 6/7

#19

3B/1B Will Craig 23, C Zack Collins 6, OF Alex Kirilloff 6,  3B Nolan Jones 6, 3B/RHP Josh Lowe 5, RHP Connor Jones 4,  C Matt Thaiss 4, SS/3B Drew Mendoza 3,  RHP Austin Bergner 2, 3B Nick Senzel 2, RHP Cal Quantrill 2,  3B Bobby Dalbec 2, 1B/OF Will Benson 2, RHP Kevin Gowdy 2, RHP Daulton Jeffries 2, RHP Alex Speas 1, LHP Jeff Belge 1, RHP Ian Anderson 1,  C Chris Okey 1, OF Kyle Mercer 1, RHP Kyle Funkhouser 1, OF Nick Banks 1, OF Avery Tuck 1,   RHP Alec Hansen 1,  OF Bryan Reynolds 1,  OF Buddy Reed 1, RHP Matt Manning 1, LHP Anthony Kay 1, OF Taylor Trammell 1, RHP Forest Whitley 1, OF Blake Rutherford 1 

#31

LHP Eric Lauer 5, C Chris Okey 5, LHP Jesus Luzardo 4, RHP Kevin Gowdy 4, 3B/1B Will Craig 3, 3B Drew Mendoza 3, OF Taylor Trammell 3,  OF Buddy Reed 3, SS Gavin Lux 3, LHP Anthony Kay 3, 3B/SS Carter Kieboom 3, OF Nick Banks 2,  OF Bryan Reynolds 3, OF Will Benson 2, RHP Logan Shore 2, LHP Joey Wentz 2, LHP Kyle Muller 2,  RHP Robert Tyler 2, RHP Zach Jackson 2, RHP Kyle Funkhouser 1,   3B/RHP David Lowe 1,  RHP Alex Speas 1, RHP Zach Bergner 1, LHP Braxton Garrett 1, OF Heath Quinn 1, RHP Ian Anderson 1,  RHP Zack Burdi 1, RHP Jordan Sheffield 1,  RHP Justin Dunn 1, C Sean Murphy 1, RHP Cody Sedlock 1

#64:

SS Luis Curbelo 4, OF Heath Quinn 3, C Ben Rortvedt 2, RHP Drake Fellows 2,  SS Grant Bodison 1, RHP Wil Crowe 1, SS Errol Robinson 1, RHP Ian Hamilton 1, RHP Nick Banks 1, LHP Matt Krook 1

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The Mets Have a Need for Speed http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/the-mets-have-a-need-for-speed.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/the-mets-have-a-need-for-speed.html/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2016 13:32:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=214094 juan lagares steals

The Mets lack speed, and everybody, from opposing teams to the fans at Citi Field knows it. As of today, the team scores over 60 percent of their runs via the longball, making them perhaps the only squad in baseball capable of being fourth in the league in home runs while simultaneously sitting third from the bottom in total runs scored. To fix this unfavorable reality and add another dimension to the offense, the Mets have to inject some speed, and fast.

The root of the Mets’ offensive woes lies in the team’s inability to manufacture runs and win without the home run. With just 88 extra base hits and 12 stolen bases on the season, (both good for second to last in the majors) the Mets struggle not only to hit with runners in scoring position (.215 with RISP) but to get them there in the first place. The team’s lack of speed is the keystone for their overall offensive struggles.

On the opposite end of the baseball spectrum, teams like the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates prove that speed is essential to creating a dynamic offense.

This season, Boston has the most prolific offense in baseball.  They have established a consistent way to win using speed, leading the majors in extra base hits and swiping 41 bags as a team.  Conventional metrics also show that speed has helped the Sox, who have scored 341 runs, driven in 328 runs, and batted with .298 runners in scoring position.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are fourth in the majors with 41 stolen bases and sixth in runs scored. This is despite the fact that they rank 23rd in baseball with 56 home runs.

Both of these teams rely on a combination of speed and contact to win ballgames, rather than raw power. When facing tough pitchers, they are able to scrape out runs by getting runners into scoring position, moving them over or bringing them home on simple base through the infield. In contrast, how many times have we seen the Mets get a runner on base against a tough pitcher and fail to capitalize? Frankly, it’s more times than I can count.

asdrubal cabrera

At the moment, the Mets do not have the personnel in the organization to fill their gaping need for speed. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options on the market. But for the Mets, the speed acquired is only as good as the on base percentage that accompanies it. As the old adage goes, you can’t steal first base.

The Twins’ Eduardo Nunez and the Brewers’ Jonathan Villar could be intriguing options for the Mets to consider. Both players get on base -.364 and .399- respectively, and swipe bags racking up 12 and 21 steals each respectively. If either was acquired, their stolen base number would instantly lead the team.

Both players are in the midst of breakout campaigns, and likely wouldn’t come cheap because of their youth and multiple years under team control. Still, bringing in a player at least in the mold of Nunez or Villar should be a primary target if the Mets offense continues to sputter.

In the end, trying to score runs without speed or the home run is a lot like trying to build a house without nails; it just won’t work. The Mets could continue to hope for the longball, but addressing the need for speed from outside of the organization is the more proactive approach.

If the team continues to rely on power as the sole means of winning, dazzling starts from the likes of Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio could become regular occurrences if the offense fails to hit the ball out of the yard. In baseball’s current pitching dominated landscape, teams that blend speed and power on offense are the ones leading in each and every division. For the Mets to join this club of division leaders, they need speed. Once they get it, the sky’s the limit going forward.

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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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