Mets Merized Online » prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:41:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 NL East News: Braves Acquire Starter Jaime Garcia http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nl-east-news-braves-acquire-starter-jaime-garcia.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nl-east-news-braves-acquire-starter-jaime-garcia.html/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2016 23:16:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227375 jaime garcia

The Atlanta Braves have acquired left-handed starter Jaime Garcia from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for prospects according to Mark Saxon of ESPN.

The Braves will send former Mets prospect John Gant, infield prospect Luke Dykstra (son of Lenny), and right-handed pitching prospect Chris Ellis to the Cardinals according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

Garcia, 30, went 10-13 with a 4.67 ERA and a 1.375 WHIP in 171.2 innings for the Cardinals during the 2016 season. In his eight year career, all with the Cardinals, he is 62-45 with a 3.57 ERA and has a 3.97 ERA in seven postseason starts.

The veteran lefty will join former Mets R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon in the new look Braves 2017 rotation.

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The Binghamton Mets Are Now the Rumble Ponies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/the-binghamton-mets-are-now-the-rumble-ponies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/the-binghamton-mets-are-now-the-rumble-ponies.html/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:52:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225771 cwwjf46uoaazcxs

The Binghamton Mets have been renamed the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The renaming of the team was part of the new affiliation agreement between the Mets and Binghamton’s new owner John Hughes.

As Hughes told WBNG, “What I’m looking to do is strengthen the ties between the team and the community. I want the community to really be able to identify with this team, as well as this team be a proud representative of the Binghamton heritage, the Binghamton name and have something the community can relate to.”

With that the soon to be former B-Mets had a contest where fans could submit suggestions for what the new team name should be. The finalists were:

  1. Bullheads
  2. Gobblers
  3. Rocking Horses
  4. Rumble Ponies
  5. Timber Jockeys
  6. Stud Muffins

The Bullheads were a reference to the catfish that are in the nearby Susquehanna River, and the Gobblers were in reference to the turkey hunting that occurs in the area. The final four submissions were a nod to the fact that Binghamton considers itself the “Carousel Capital of the World.” As noted, and frankly unsurprisingly,

Accordingly, the 2017 season will be the inaugural season of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The new team colors will be red, blue and silver. A tribute to the Triple Cities’ carousel heritage, the “Binghamton Rumble Ponies” is a herd of fierce horses that no carousel center pole can contain.

Binghamton has been the Mets Double-A affiliate and played at NYSEG Stadium since 1992.

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Could The Mets Be Changing Triple-A Affiliates Again? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/could-the-mets-be-changing-triple-a-affiliates-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/could-the-mets-be-changing-triple-a-affiliates-again.html/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 23:57:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=220264

Sandy Alderson will be heading out to Las Vegas this weekend to discuss the club’s affiliation with the Las Vegas 51s, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.

The Mets and 51s have had an affiliation agreement since the 2013 season, after the Buffalo Bisons ditched the Mets for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mets were essentially stuck with Las Vegas, which has caused all sorts of problems. The hitter-friendly run environment both in Las Vegas and in the Pacific Coast League as a whole has made it more difficult to evaluate players and the distance between the two clubs has caused some logistical issues.

Ideally, the Mets would like a team close by and in the International League, rather than the PCL. The Rochester Red Wings are the most logical option and with Terry Ryan gone in Minnesota, they could look into changing parent clubs.

To attract a decent affiliate, the Mets will probably need to show that they can provide them with some decent prospects. The system is certainly not as loaded with big-time talent as it was a few years ago, but names like Gabriel Ynoa, Robert Gsellman, Gavin Cecchini, and Brandon Nimmo could help them reel in a new Triple-A team.

Teams in Toledo, Lehigh Valley, Colorado Springs, or El Paso could be of interest as well. Whatever happens, Las Vegas will probably be the last choice.

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Pirates GM Regrets Walker-Niese Swap http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/pirates-gm-regrets-walker-niese-swap.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/pirates-gm-regrets-walker-niese-swap.html/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 17:59:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=217724 jon niese

The Jon Niese – Neil Walker swap hasn’t worked out so well for Pittsburgh, said Pirates GM Neil Huntington in some very frank comments on a local radio station Friday morning.

“In hindsight, maybe the two fringe prospects and trying to figure out where to re-allocate the money might have been a better return,” he told 93.7 The Fan, ”That’s where the results take us.”

“Given the thinness of the starting pitching market, given the dollars that we had available, we felt that that was our best return, and it has not played out that way, and that’s a challenge, we own that, we accept that.”

“At the time Jon was one of the better starting pitchers available on the market given what we typically can do in this revenue stream, and that’s the reality.”

Niese has certainly failed to perform up to expectations this year. He owns a 5.13 ERA in 101.2 innings with the Pirates this year, a full run above his 4.13 ERA in 2015. His WHIP has ballooned to a career-high 1.574.

Niese is still owed about half of his $9 million salary and a $500,000 buyout at the end of the year. The Pirates are currently shopping him, according to reports, altough he probably doesn’t have much value left.

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Michael Fulmer Making Most Of Opportunity http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/michael-fulmer-making-most-of-opportunity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/michael-fulmer-making-most-of-opportunity.html/#comments Fri, 03 Jun 2016 14:25:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213790 michael fulmer 2

Steven Matz leads all rookie pitchers in wins, strikeouts, walks per nine, and WAR, clearly an early front runner for National League Rookie of the Year. In the American League, another starting pitcher looks to make his case for the award, and is a familiar name for most Met fans.

Michael Fulmer, 23, one of the arms dealt to the Detroit Tigers last season for Yoenis Cespedes, is having a very good start to his rookie campaign. Since making his Major League debut on April 29th, Fulmer has gone 5-1 with a 3.24 earned run average in seven starts. Fulmer boasts an arsenal of four pitches, four-seam and two-seam fastballs, change-up, and a slider. The hard throwing right-hander sits in the low to mid nineties with his fastball, averaging 95.08 on his two-seam fastball, almost three miles per hour faster then the MLB average.

Taking a look at the rookie starting pitcher league leaders, Fulmer is currently ranked second in wins behind Matz with five, third in strikeouts per nine (9.50), fourth in earned run average (3.24), fourth in swinging strike percentage (11.0%), and fifth in WAR (0.7). And remember, Fulmer didn’t make his debut until the end of April, so he’s two to three starts behind guys like Matz and Kenta Maeda.

Fulmer has been getting progressively stronger in his most recent outings, going at least seven innings in his last three starts against the Rays, Athletics, and Angels. His most recent performance on June 1st was exceptionally strong, throwing a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Angels on the road. His final line for the day was 7 2/3 innings, giving up two hits, walking two, and striking out eight, including a pair against All-Star Mike Trout, and one against pinch-hitter Albert Pujols.

Fulmer currently has a scoreless innings streak of 16.1 innings, and he’s only the second Tigers pitcher in history to have back to back starts with seven or more shutout innings, the last was Mickey Lolich back in 1968.

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Fulmer’s success shouldn’t come as a surprise to Mets fans, as he was highly regarded during his tenure with the club. Especially last season, when Fulmer was named the Double-A Eastern League pitcher of the year, and put up tremendous numbers in Double A Binghamton, going 6-2 in 15 starts with a minuscule 1.88 earned run average, and a 1.12 WHIP. When the Mets were looking to upgrade with a power bat before the trade deadline, Fulmer’s name came up with Detroit, who were looking to add prospects and concede that their season was over.

Fulmer finished out the 2015 season with Detroit’s Double A affiliate the Erie Seawolves, and went 4-1 in six starts, with a 2.84 earned run average, and averaged more than a strikeout-per-inning. He made three starts in their Triple A affiliate this year before getting the call in late April for the injured Shane Greene.

Fulmer already has a big fan in his teammate and former Cy Young award winner, Justin Verlander.

“I liked his mentality on the mound,” Verlander said. “He’s not scared and I love his stuff. He pitches, attacks guys, and I think he’s got a chance to be an excellent pitcher at the big league level.” (Detroit Free Press)

Fulmer has emerged as the Tigers number three starter, after Anibal Sanchez was demoted from the rotation and another former Met, Mike Pelfrey, continues to struggle with a near 5.00 earned run average and a 1.77 WHIP. Manager Brad Ausmus has been so impressed by Fulmer and his poise on the mound, he likened his mentality to that of a young Roy Oswalt.

“He’s not afraid of (guys) stepping into the batter’s box,” Ausmus said. “The environment doesn’t seem to bother him. I think it’s his makeup. He’s got good stuff.”

While Fulmer is having a breakout rookie performance with the Tigers, this is a trade the GM Sandy Alderson would make again and again, after witnessing what Yoenis Cespedes can do for a team and its lineup.

Cespedes is currently on pace for his best statistical season yet, and has been one of the more consistent contributors to the Mets lineup this year. This might turn out to be a rare trade where both sides got a good return. I’m sure I speak for most of us when I wish Michael success in his big league career.

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An MMO Original: What is the Wright Move? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/an-mmo-original-what-is-the-wright-move.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/an-mmo-original-what-is-the-wright-move.html/#comments Mon, 04 Apr 2016 15:50:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208963 david wright

A routine error by Yoenis Cespedes, the highest paid center fielder in baseball according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, will gloss over the bigger fielding mistake from the Mets Opening Day 4-3 loss.

Cespedes striking out to end the game will make the highlight reel, a real-enough action to easily create a distraction to the true anchor that could weigh down the prospects for this season. And it took place just one batter before.

With the game-tying run 90 feet away and one out, David Wright just needed to avoid grounding into a double play. What was needed to extend the game was a productive out. What happened was the face of the franchise got blown away.

Jessica Mendoza, the new addition to the ESPN broadcast booth, noted that Wright hadn’t proved he could catch up to a high-powered fastball; something also noted by the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro. Wright was having a hard time all night catching up to 92-94 mph fastballs. Wade Davis took advantage of that fact, but that wasn’t the big problem.

The bigger concern took place in the sixth inning when Eric Hosmer bunted to the left-side of the infield. Wright barehanded the ball, but didn’t have enough on his throw to get the sliding first baseman. It should have been a routine out as analyst Aaron Boone noted, “that’s a play 90 percent of third basemen make.”

A similar play happened in the fifth, when Omar Infante‘s ground ball to third was fielded but Wright’s long throw wasn’t fast enough to get the 34-year old with a career 80 stolen bases. As Keith Hernandez would say, “there was no mustard on the throw.”

While his bat may eventually catch up with the high-octane heat from relievers like Davis, his arm has become a liability. It was on display last season, the sidearm style adopted due to his back troubles, and the resulting high-arching throws from third base.

It was something the Royals took advantage of – something I’m sure every team the Mets face will test – and something Collins is likely to do little about anytime soon. Granted, his first option is to replace the Captain with Wilmer Flores as a defensive replacement… but even that seemed strange as I wrote it. It certainly will seem foreign to a manager who’s known for standing by ‘his guys’.

I don’t think there’s a viable solution and that’s means another infielder who’s presence on the field is purely tied into his performance at the plate. The $87 million dollar question is do you think Wright will hit enough to make this irrelevant?

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Keith Law: Mets’ Farm System Ranked 16th In Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/keith-law-mets-farm-system-ranked-16th-in-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/keith-law-mets-farm-system-ranked-16th-in-baseball.html/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:44:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206050 thor matz degrom syndergaard

Some recent farm system graduates you may have heard of…

Keith Law of ESPN.com is releasing his yearly rankings of both individual prospects and entire farm systems this week. In his first piece in the series today, he ranked each team’s minor league system, taking into account all players who have not exceeded rookie eligibility. Overall, the Mets’ system was ranked 16th in the league.

While the ranking may seem low for a team that has shown great ability in turning out top young talent over the last few years, keep in mind how much the minor league system lost in 2015. Kevin Plawecki, Noah Syndergaard, and Michael Conforto, all consensus top 100 prospects, lost their eligibility. Nonetheless, the Mets will still put four players (including Steven Matz) on Laws 2016 rankings. From last year, the organization fell 12 spots, from fourth a year ago to 16th now.

Here is what Law had to say about the Mets’ system:

Still well-stocked with position players, but most of the pitching is gone in trades for Tyler Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes, leaving them very dependent on the health of the five young stars in the big league rotation. With a little luck, the next wave of hitters will hit Citi Field just as there are openings in the right spots in the lineup, helping them continue to compete behind their phenomenal young rotation.

In the Clippard and Cespedes trade, the Mets lost Michael Fulmer, Luis Cessa, and Casey Meisner, with Fulmer being the undisputed gem of this group. Meisner, who was traded for Clippard, was not a top 100 prospect in baseball, but he was one of the best remaining arms in the Mets’ system, coming in at number seven on our own Quinn Berry’s midseason list last June. Other significant losses in pitching include John Gant, Rob Whalen, Miller Diaz, and Matt Koch. Gant and Whalen were traded in the Juan Uribe-Kelly Johnson deal while Diaz and Koch were exchanged for Addison Reed.

As Law notes, the system has transitioned from pitching-heavy to hitter-heavy as pitchers like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard exited the ranks of the minor leagues. Outside of Matz, it is likely that three of Amed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini, Dominic Smith, and Brandon Nimmo round out the four that made the cut on Law’s top 100 list, which will be released soon.

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The Sixth Tool http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/the-sixth-tool.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/the-sixth-tool.html/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:00:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205546 image

Although it may sound like a M. Night Shyamalan movie, the sixth tool does exist in baseball, and is arguably the most important and yet overlooked tool a player can possess.

We know the traditional five tools are hitting for average, hitting for power, base running (speed + skills), throwing ability and fielding ability. Players are generally rated on a scale which determines where on the spectrum of each tool that they lie. If they excel in all five, that is the coveted five tool player that every scout is trying to find.

As they stand alone, these tools are nothing more than abilities, and make no determination as to whether or not the player will be successful on the field of play. So what determines whether a player with three, four, or even five tools becomes a successful player at the major league level?

This is where the sixth tool comes into play.

The sixth tool has been incorrectly identified by some in the past, as the pitch recognition tool. While this is very important to develop, I would still list that as one of the attributes that fall under one of the traditional five tools — hitting for average. You can’t hit for average if you can’t recognize pitches.

No, the sixth tool is much more than that.

The sixth tool is having an in-depth knowledge of the game, as well as one’s self. It’s primarily mental for the athlete. It gives the player the ability to get a better jump on a ball, or know what pitch is coming next. This is the sort of thing that can’t necessarily be measured, which is why it is often the most underrated and overlooked tool in the player’s tool box.

The sixth tool is not just some way to explain how crazy plays happen — like the iconic Derek JeterFlip Play” during the 2001 ALDS. There is no such thing as “right place at the right time” to explain how a crazy play just took place, it was the player’s innate sixth tool which allowed it to unfold.

The sixth tool is what I would argue gets a promising prospect to the big leagues, and it also transforms good prospects into eventual Hall of Famers. These players are able to read angles, understand strategy so well that they are thinking three steps ahead, and know themselves better than the other players on the field know themselves. They tend to rise to the occasion no matter what you throw at them. When you watch these players, you say they have “it.” I usually say they’re just damn good ball players.

The most recent player that comes to mind that demonstrates the sixth tool is Joe Panik, of the San Francisco Giants. I followed Panik’s career very closely due to the fact that he is the only athlete to ever play professional sports from my alma mater high school. He wasn’t drafted out of high school, but went on to St. John’s University and was one of the top college short stops in the nation back in 2011. He was selected at the end of the first round of the 2011 draft, and the pick immediately drew criticism.

The criticism didn’t stop there. Although Panik was listed as a top prospect in the Giants organization, all you heard was people questioning the guy’s tools, and question if he would be anything more than a fringe platoon player due to his lack of “standout tools.” Unfortunately for them…no…actually, fortunately for them, Panik did have a standout tool — the sixth tool. The kid could just play ball. It more than compensated for his lack of standout tools. And now, the Giants are reaping the benefits of having an All-Star second baseman, just starting to test the limits on what he can accomplish on the field.

Amed Rosario (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Amed Rosario (Photo by Jim Mancari)

When evaluating prospects and players, it is wise to not get too excited when we hear about “toolsy players” that have done little-to-nothing to show they can play the game of baseball. A player that jumps out at me with this distinction is Amed Rosario. Everyone gets googley eyes when someone is rated highly with their tools. They have visions of the next Ken Griffey Jr., or Ozzie Smith in their minds. The reality is the majority of those players are going to wash out, and the players who possess the sixth tool — the players who may have been ranked towards the back end of the prospect list due to their lack of standout tools, are the players that make an impact on a team.

However, when you do find that coveted five tool player that possesses the sixth tool…it’s magic. That’s when you get your Mike Trouts, your Griffeys, and your other iconic players that define generations. But that doesn’t necessarily mean players need all five tools to get to that level either. Larry Bird, the godfather of the sixth tool (applied it to basketball), proved that.

So how do you know when you have a player in front of you that possesses the sixth tool? I said earlier there is no way to measure it — I hate to say it, but you just know it when you see it. After watching the player perform day in and day out it becomes easy to identify. And even though it may be obvious that they have the sixth tool, the players that possess it often take a back seat to players with the standout tools that can be measured on a scale. That is, until you can’t ignore it anymore.

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Would You Trade Steven Matz For Yoan Moncada? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/would-you-trade-steven-matz-for-yoan-moncada.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/would-you-trade-steven-matz-for-yoan-moncada.html/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2016 17:30:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204241 steven matz

Baseball America has published a fascinating article that proposed five different trades that are prospect swaps including one that involves the Mets and their big four. J.J. Cooper thinks that a swap of left-handed pitcher Steven Matz and shortstop prospect Luis Carpio to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Yoan Moncada could make sense for both teams.

“This is a blockbuster. Moncada is one of the best position prospects in baseball. Matz is among the best pitching prospects in the game. And a swap would help fill big needs for both. Moncada could be the Mets long-term answer at second base (where Neil Walker has been acquired as a short-term replacement for Daniel Murphy) but his versatility means he also could become a rangy, explosive center fielder. That’s not an option in Boston where Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley already in the majors.”

I think it would be tough for the Mets to part with Steven Matz right now given the Mets lack of depth with starting pitching in the upper minors. If would force the Mets to rely on Rafael Montero (pitching healthy in winter ball), Seth Lugo (little AAA experience), Robert Gsellman (good prospect but not ready), or the likes of Sean Gilmartin as a starter until Zack Wheeler comes back in full force.

moncada_vij4o3cg_ds40k74p (1)

Nonetheless, the talent seems to be very close on both sides of this trade as the Mets would be getting one of the best prospects in all of Major League Baseball (currently #8, MLB.com) in Moncada while the Sox get another top flight arm they need. The 20-year old Moncada showed his five-tool potential in the South Atlantic League last year hitting .278/.380/.438 with 19 doubles, eight homeruns, and 49 stolen bases with only three caught stealing.

He had a tough time adjusting to minor league baseball hitting only .200 in his first 90 games before snapping out of it in the second half of the year and hitting .310/.415/.500 with 45 steals in his final 56 games. All 56 of those games came out of the leadoff spot where he seemed to flourish. The switch-hitter is listed at 6’2 and 205 pounds.

The Red Sox gave Moncada a record $31.5 million bonus in March which actually makes their financial responsibility $63M because of the matching penalty they had to pay for exceeding their international bonus pool. Moncada played second base exclusively in the minors last year but has experience at third base, shortstop, and center field.

Last year Matz showed why he is considered one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in baseball during his limited time in the big leagues going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 34 strikeouts in his first six starts. He also threw a career high 155.2 innings in 2015 between the minors, regular season, and his three playoff starts.

“Initially this deal did not include Carpio, but a scout surveyed about this deal said he felt that Moncada is a significant enough talent and Matz has enough injury concerns that they believed the Mets would have to include an additional piece. Carpio fits the bill as a middle infielder who is far enough away (he played in the Appalachian League last season) that his ETA would be closer to the 2019-2020 window where Boston may eventually start looking for middle infield help.”

Carpio, 18, has shot up the Mets prospect ranks after having a strong stateside debut this year with the Kingsport Mets hitting .304/.372/.359 in 45 games. He played 22 games at shortstop and 19 games at second base during the 2015 season. Scouts rave about his high baseball IQ and approach at the plate for such a young player, part of the reason BA had him as their 7th best prospect in the Mets farm system.

To me, this is certainly a deal the Mets would have to consider with the five-tool potential of Moncada and the rarity of his skill set for someone who plays in the middle of the diamond. Ultimately I think the Mets would pass on this deal because they seem unwilling to part with any of their big four and rightfully so. They also have Dilson Herrera (who I think is long-term answer at 2B), Gavin Cecchini, and Amed Rosario formulating what could be a strong middle infield for years to come.

I would be more inclined to do this trade if I knew Moncada could player center field which seems to be one of the Mets biggest weaknesses currently and possibly long-term as well if Juan Lagares doesn’t return to his 2014 form. If I was talking trade with the Red Sox and was willing to give up a stud pitcher Mookie Betts is the guy I would target but I see little reason for him to be available now.

Definitely an interesting trade idea, one that I think fits more with the Red Sox current needs and aspirations then it does with the Mets.

For more minor league insight head over to MetsMinors.net.

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Daniel Murphy Held Out Hope For Mets Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/daniel-murphy-held-out-hope-for-mets-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/daniel-murphy-held-out-hope-for-mets-deal.html/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2015 20:30:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203082 daniel murphy game over

The possibility of a Daniel Murphy-Mets reunion was apparently once possibly, at least in the mind of Daniel Murphy. As Mike Puma wrote in today’s New York Post, Murphy held out hope that he and the Mets could reach a multi-year deal until the Neil Walker trade went down.

According to Puma, Murphy was not aggressively pursuing other options until the Walker trade, despite being told by team officials that a reunion wasn’t going to happen.

Despite an incredible Division Series and Championship Series, Murphy’s market isn’t as hot as it was expected to be. (The entire position player market hasn’t been particularly great this winter.) Even with Ben Zobrist off the board, teams don’t seem too keep on the possibility of committing three or four years to an above average hitter with below average defense.

Even teams who would presumably be interested in Murphy like the Nationals, who were more willing to trade prospects and take on a cumbersome contract than sign Murphy, aren’t interested. The idea that Murphy could get upwards of four years and $60 million is now long gone.

That being said, Murphy’s drop in price could bring some more teams back into play, especially in the National League. Teams may be more willing to give up a draft pick if they are giving up $35 million instead of $60 million.

Whatever happens, it seems like the Daniel Murphy saga will continue at least for a few more weeks.

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Phillies Trade Closer Ken Giles To Astros For Five Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/phillies-trade-closer-ken-giles-to-astros-for-five-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/phillies-trade-closer-ken-giles-to-astros-for-five-prospects.html/#comments Sat, 12 Dec 2015 19:55:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202411 usa-today-8006515.0

One of the most useless pieces for a last-place team is a dominant closer. The Phillies capitalized on that this week by dealing their dominant 25 year-old closer Ken Giles to the Astros for a package of prospects which included former number one overall draft pick Mark Appel.

In two seasons in Philadelphia, Giles has compiled 16 saves with a 1.56 ERA. His ERA indicators are high on him as well, with his FIP coming in at 1.82 and xFIP coming in at 2.65 over 115.2 innings pitched. He strikes out a ton of batters, posting an 11.75 K/9 rate so far. Being just two years into his career, he still has five years of team control left.

In exchange, the Phillies got a slew of talented prospects. The headliner is right-hander Mark Appel, who is rated the number two prospect in the Astros’ system according to MLB.com. He was drafted number one overall out of Stanford in 2013 after an excellent college career. However, he has struggled at almost every level of the minor leagues, owning a career 5.12 ERA. Nonetheless, he is still considered a promising prospect.

The Phillies will get another consensus top 100 prospect in Vincent Velasquez, a 23 year-old right-hander who made his debut with the Astros this year. Over 19 appearances with the big league club this season, he posted a 4.37 ERA, but also struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings.

Thomas Eshelman, another righty and the Astros’ second round pick this year, will be heading to Philadelphia. He was a top 15 prospect in Houston’s system.

Brett Oberholtzer, a 26 year-old left-handed starter will be headed to the Phillies as well, and will presumably join their rotation next year. He has made 42 total starts with the Astros the past three years, and owns a 3.94 career ERA. He doesn’t strike out a ton of batters (5.9 K/9), but he has a very low walk rate (2.1 BB/9).

The last piece heading to the Phillies is Harold Arauz, a 20 year-old righty. Arauz has split time between the bullpen and a starting role and struggled to the tune of a 5.75 ERA in 2015.

Giles is the main player heading to Houston, but the Phillies are also sending 17 year-old shortstop and second baseman Jonathan Arauz. He slashed .254/.309/.370 wit two homers, two triples, and ten doubles in 44 games with the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League affiliate.

Now under new management, the Phillies are clearly in all-out rebuilding mode. They won’t be needing a dominant closer like Giles for a few more years, so perhaps it makes sense to use him to re-tool an ailing minor league system. Meanwhile, the Astros are building a very dangerous bullpen. After combining for a sixth-in-baseball 3.27 ERA this past year, their already top-notch bullpen should be even better in 2016.

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Red Sox and David Price Agree On 7-Year, $217 Million Contract http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/red-sox-and-david-price-agree-on-7-year-217-million-contract.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/red-sox-and-david-price-agree-on-7-year-217-million-contract.html/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 22:23:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201371 price david

According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starting pitcher David Price. The deal is for seven years and is worth $217 million dollars.

This is the largest contract for a starting pitcher ever, just beating Clayton Kershaw‘s current $215M contract with the Dodgers. The deal has an opt-out clause after 3 years. He will be paid $30 million per annum from 2016-2018, $31 million in 2019, and $32 million from 2020-2022 according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter).

Price, 30, was arguably the second best starting pitcher on the free agent market after Zack Greinke. Many people predicted he would go to Boston because of their need for starting pitching, as well as his relationship with Dave Dombrowski.

Last season, Price went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA. That ERA was good for best in the American League, also finishing third in innings with 220 1/3, and fourth in strikeouts with 225. He finished second in Cy Young voting, losing to the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel, and also finished ninth in MVP voting due to his instrumental role in getting the Blue Jays to the playoffs.

In seven full big-league seasons, Price is 104-56 with a career 3.09 ERA, and he won the 2012 AL Cy Young award with the Rays.

This is a fantastic signing for the Red Sox, as their rotation had the third highest ERA last season at 4.39. My guess is they’re not done bolstering their rotation yet, as they still have plenty of money and prospects to spend.

This is the second big domino to fall in five days. Things may be starting to heat up.

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Who Has Been The Mets’ Top Rookie: Syndergaard Or Conforto? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/who-has-been-the-mets-top-rookie-syndergaard-or-conforto.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/who-has-been-the-mets-top-rookie-syndergaard-or-conforto.html/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 15:15:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=195038 Last week the New York Mets announced this year’s Sterling Award winners, honoring the top players throughout their minor league system. It got me to wondering who the top rookie has been for the Mets this season.

The Mets have had 11 players make their major league debuts this year, but clearly the two biggest standouts have been outfielder Michael Conforto and right-hander Noah Syndergaard, respectively the organization’s top hitting and pitching prospects. Both players have made a significant impact with the Mets, but if you had to pick one Rookie of the Year, which way would you go? I decided to pose this question to some of our writers.

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Stephanie - My choice would have to be Conforto. He’s a solid hitter with an extremely patient approach and a keen hitting eye. Even as a rookie who skipped Triple-A, he consistently produced at the plate and always puts together great at-bats. He has some serious pop in his bat that, when honed in on, can make him extremely dangerous at the plate. His defensive side showcases an arm that’s average in strength but pinpoint in accuracy. The rest of his defense is arguably above average and will only continue to get better. If I had to rate him based on being a “five tool player”, I’d say he has the potential to master three out of five tools: hitting for average, hitting for power, and having great fielding skills. I’d even venture to say that his arm could be rated high because it’s so accurate.

Tommy - Thor. He’s played nearly a full season and been very solid. Conforto only played two months and took a little while to get going (aside from the 4-hit game to kick things off). Both have been great this year for the Mets, so this isn’t a knock on Conforto, whose defense has been a plus rather than the minus we were told to expect by scouts. I’m extremely excited about both of them going forward. In some ways, it comes down to personal preference. Would you rather the guy who has a huge impact on the game when he’s playing, but only plays once every five or six games? Or would you rather have the guy who plays nearly every day, but only impacts three or four at-bats a game?

Avery - Michael Conforto has been impressive so far. However, it is a limited sample of only 51 games, and most of his 157 AB coming against righties only. No rookie on this team will impress me more than Noah Syndergaard has all season long. He capped it off with an incredible start against the Cincinnati Reds this past weekend. After and during the start, I was texting my brother telling him how I thought it was the best start a Mets pitcher has put together all year. Overall, the 22-year-old has pitched to a 3.34 ERA in 143 innings. His strikeouts are also impressive with 156. Sure, he has shown that he is still a young pitcher learning the game. He has had some rough outings and has struggled on the road quite a bit. But he has shown his willingness as a gamer to come out every fifth day and flash some of the best raw tools in baseball. Let’s see him put it all together and carry his performance against the Reds into the Playoffs, where he will have a chance to shine in the National spotlight.

Teddy - I like Conforto better. I was on the fence regarding calling him up since we haven’t had much success with prospects hitting the ground running. But Conforto did a great job adjusting and showed himself to be the hitter scouts were raving about. While Syndergaard is every bit as deserving, as they’ve both been excellent rookies so far, Conforto helped revive the offense and his steady bat was definitely needed.

Roger – Syndergaard is this year’s top rookie. This is no slight on Conforto, who I think is going to be a great player and our likable version of Harper, but Thor has been our top freshman. He took our rotation from having the Big Two to the Terrifying Three. He allowed 2 or fewer runs in 12 of his 23 starts and 3 or fewer runs in 15 starts. He’s going to be a force for years to come and even though his overall numbers are not deGrom or Harvey-esque yet… this is a kid who just turned 23 and is still at the starting line. No one else in the postseason has a number three they want to face less than Thor. That says it all.

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Matt Balasis – Hard to compare a position player to a pitcher, but Syndergaard is special. Between his 10.31 K/9, his 1.89 BB/9, his 2.95 xFIP, 3.0 WAR and his nine wins, Noah’s numbers are anything but rookie like. Conforto has eight home runs, 29 runs, 24 RBI, a .516 SLG and an .866 OPS in 177 PA. Not shabby at all — good for a 1.9 WAR. Conforto deepens the lineup and is part of the reason why the Mets enjoyed an offensive resurgence in the second half. I predicted in the Spring that he’d be a September cal- up and he beat my prediction. The kid’s swing is an absolute thing of beauty. But Syndergaard when he takes the mound is scary as hell. It’s not just the incredible power, Noah is smart, his secondary pitches are lethal, and he’s been getting better and better at mixing them up. The Mets can probably muddle through with Conforto on the bench, but Syndergaard is one of the big guns responsible for turning this organization around. It’s a really tough call, but for the Mets, in 2015, i’d have to go with the pitcher.

Brian Mangan – As much as we all love Conforto, and he has pleasantly exceeded expectations, the Mets’ Rookie of the Year is undoubtedly Noah Syndergaard. When was the last time you even thought about Syndergaard *as* a rookie? When was the last time you doubted that Thor was going to be one of the Mets top three starters in the playoffs? Thor burst onto the scene this year on May 12th and hasn’t looked back. He has posted a 3.34 ERA over 143 strong innings, striking out 156 batters along the way (he’s even hitting .214!). He carried the load through the darkest parts of the season, without missing a turn, posting a 1.32 ERA over 34 innings in July when the season threatened to spiral out of control. As good as Conforto has been, he’s been icing on the cake compared to Thor, without whom the season might have been lost.

Brian Greenzang – I cannot remember the last time this team was blessed with so many great young stars. Choosing between Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto seems like choosing between Katy Perry and Scarlett Johansson for me. Both of these guys are great and are going to be stars. They do not seem to lack anything in any department. Syndergaard has shown he can handle the pressure of playing at this level all while completely dominating opposing line-ups. Conforto has shown the look of a true veteran at the plate, never cheating himself out of a good at-bat. Something that really was not talked too much about with Conforto was his fielding in the minors and boy has he made some stellar plays in the field. If I had to choose one for top rookie, it would be hard not to go with Thor. He is about to start a playoff game in his rookie year with the weight of nine years of playoff drought on his shoulders. Syndergaard has already proven he is the real deal and a star, not to say Conforto hasn’t, but I would have to give the nod to Thor as the team’s rookie of the year.

XtreemIcon – I give the award to Conforto this season because he’s outshone Syndergaard even in limited playing time. And we all know that’s not an easy feat as Thor has been fantastic. However, when you compare the numbers, Conforto comes out ahead. His 2.0 fWAR in 52 games extrapolates to about 6.0 over a full season, while Thor’s 3.0 in 23 starts would give him around 4.5 over 34 starts. Conforto has a 138 OPS+ against Thor’s 112 ERA+. Furthermore, if Conforto played only 100 games at his current rate, he’d still be considered the second best left fielder in all of baseball behind Yoenis Cespedes. Speaking only of offense, Conforto is 4th among left fielders with a 139 wRC+, ahead of even Cespedes at 135, and not one of the three ahead of him are full time left fielders. What Conforto has done in such a short time is remarkable. Syndergaard, while having a great season, just isn’t dominating his game like Conforto is. Thor’s extrapolated 4.5 fWAR would make him 16th best and his 112 ERA+ puts him well outside the top ten. Additionally, I give extra points to Conforto for scarcity of skills. Thor could be a perennial All Star and still be maybe the fourth best pitcher on the staff. Perhaps fifth if Zack Wheeler finds control. But Conforto is the most dangerous bat the Mets have developed since David Wright and while there are some exciting candidates in the minors, no one on the horizon has Conforto’s ceiling. Congratulations to Michael Conforto, my 2015 Mets Rookie of the Year.

Michael Branda – Both Conforto and Syndergaard have continued to shine a bright light on the Mets development of young players. I think Conforto has a bright future, but to me – his 2015 season has been carried mostly by a red hot August. Syndergaard has been reliable all year long. Sure, he’s had his struggles at times, but that is expected of a young pitcher. Choosing between them is a great problem to have, but at the end of the day – Syndergaard’s year long impact outweighs Conforto’s brief success.

Michael Mayer – For me I think the most impressive Mets rookie has been Michael Conforto despite having less time in the Big Leagues. Conforto has a slash line of .274/.340/.518 giving him a .858 OPS which is just below the .871 OPS Yoenis Cespedes has overall this year. His slugging percentage is fourth among rookies this year and he has shown impressive opposite field power for a 22-year old kid. He has produced a 2.2 WAR in only 54 Major League games. Michael has exceeded expectations for me offensively but even more impressively is how he has played in the outfield where he looked so-so to me when I saw him in the Minors. He has shown off his plus arm which he did so in Minors but has gotten to balls that I didn’t think he was capable off. If the Mets were unable to bring back Cespedes I think Conforto could arguably be the best hitter on the team in 2016. None of this is to overlook the great season Noah Syndergaard has had pitching the fourth most innings of any rookie pitcher while striking out the most with 156.

Joe D. – As much as I’d love to give my vote to Syndergaard and have him come away with a sizable 7-5 victory, I’ve got to go with Conforto which leaves us in a 6-6 deadlock. It looks like the readers will have to be the tie-breaker. I love Thor and watching him pitch has been one of the many highlights of experienced this season. However, Conforto helped change the dynamic and the direction of the team as soon as he was promoted. That he accomplished what he has with less than 50 games above Single-A is not only remarkable but it makes you wonder just how much better will he be next season and beyond as he becomes more and more adaptive to the major leagues? If you were to prorate his numbers this season over 160 games we’re talking over 40 doubles and over 25 home runs with a slugging percentage north of .500., all while providing spectacular defense in left field. In 50 games he already has a 2.2 WAR which suggests plenty of 7-9 WAR seasons in his future. To put that into context, David Wright has only had three seasons with a 6+ WAR in his incredible and spectacular career. So no knock on Syndergaard, but yeah… I gotta go with Conforto.

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Looking Back At My Thoughts On Mets Last Offseason http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/looking-back-at-my-thoughts-on-mets-last-offseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/looking-back-at-my-thoughts-on-mets-last-offseason.html/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=194994 the-future

A few days ago I came across an article I wrote last offseason about the upcoming Mets season after we acquired Michael Cuddyer. I thought it would be very cool to look back on it as the Mets get ready for their first trip to the postseason in nine years. The original title was “I Wouldn’t Trade Our Roster With Anyone Else In The NL East.”

I certainly did get a few names wrong, but overall I think I scored quite well in the hope, optimism and prediction departments. Enjoy…

I was going through some old posts from a couple of years ago looking for something I once had written about Juan Lagares when I came across this photo. It was taken by a Mets staffer during a flight and posted on Mets.com, and I used it in a post entitled, “The Mets Future Looks Bright.”

Here we are heading into the 2015 season and I look at those five players and I thought, “Wow, these five guys are now so critical to our success and each of them can play a vital role in what could be the most exciting season we’ve seen in years.”

Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores. Throw in Jacob deGrom, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, and Vic Black and call me crazy, but this could be the making of an incredibly exciting and young core to build a dynasty around. Yes, I said dynasty.

What’s even more impressive is all the top flight prospects that are yet to come and are knocking at the door. Talents like Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Dilson Herrera, Akeel Morris and Michael Conforto.

Some of you thought I was nuts last week when I said the Mets are well positioned to dominate the NL East for the rest of this decade. Well, I wasn’t kidding, my friends. I don’t see any other teams in our division bursting at the seams with the high caliber prospects we possess in our system  – a system which many experts rank in the top five in MLB.

I think one of you suggested I needed to seek therapy when I also said last week that I felt the Mets could contend in 2015 even if they had made no significant additions this offseason. Guess what, I still feel the same way. After watching the rest of the teams in our division each get minimally or significantly worse this offseason, while we got better, I can’t help feeling they’ve paved the way for a wild card finish and with a little luck a division title.

Why is is it so difficult for some of you to see the incredible potential this team has, a vast potential that is mostly based on a solid foundation of high upside youth and complimented by veterans like Wright, Duda, Murphy, Granderson and Cuddyer on offense, and Niese and Colon to stabilize the rotation?

I’m serious… Look at this team fairly and objectively and compare it to the Braves, Marlins, Phillies and Nationals. I wouldn’t trade our roster right now with any of those teams.

Does this team have issues? Of course it does, what team doesn’t?

But to me, the two biggest underlying concerns I have with the Mets are not even with the roster – which I love. My concerns lie solely with the manager Terry Collins, who I’m not sure is right for this team, and with the owners, who may not provide the financial flexibility we need to add a significant player at the trade deadline to strengthen and bolster our postseason chances.

That’s it.

That’s my biggest fear going into the 2015 season. I have zero problems with Flores at shortstop as you all know. I’m confident that one of Granderson and Wright are going to have a big bounce-back season.

I absolutely love the quality depth we have if we get hit with injuries. Herrera, Reynolds, Nieuwenhuis, Plawecki, Montero, Syndergaard, and Matz will all be in Vegas and a phone call away. You know how amazing that is? I doubt there’s more than 2-4 teams that can boast Triple-A depth like that.

Look, all of you know I’ve never really been a glass half-full kind of guy. But this team has me oozing with optimism and I’m unafraid to admit it. I can’t wait to get this 2015 season started already. This is going to be fun. I just hope that management and brass don’t muff it up.

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The Washington Nationals Are The Greatest Team That Never Was http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/the-washington-nationals-are-the-greatest-team-that-never-was.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/the-washington-nationals-are-the-greatest-team-that-never-was.html/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 19:00:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=190625 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

Despite being the early favorites in the National League East, the Washington Nationals’ season is quickly turning into a nightmare. They have dramatically played below expectations, and their season hit a shockingly new low over the weekend. They were swept by the San Francisco Giants, which extended their losing streak to six games and put their record a game under .500.

This kind of performance was unimaginable even for the most skeptical of observers during the offseason. They had a star studded roster, and they were coming off of a terrific 96 win campaign just one year ago.

As a result of these failures, Joel Sherman of the NY Post says they can end up being be one the biggest disappointments in recent years.

“Their play this year has been unfathomable – and kind of unforgivable. They play in a division with three of the majors’ worst teams (Braves, Marlins, Phillies) and each got worse (at least on paper) at the trade deadline by dealing away established pieces.”

“The Nationals have a team-record payroll of more than $160 million. They made two terrific trades in the offseason in dealing Tyler Clippard for valuable infielder Yunel Escobar and moving Steven Souza in a three-club transaction that brought back Trea Turner (one of the majors’ top shortstop prospects) and right-hander Joe Ross, who has been terrific in his rookie season. Max Scherzer, despite recent failings, has on the whole had a terrific campaign after signing a seven-year, $210 million pact. Bryce Harper has turned hype into reality and is the NL MVP front-runner.”

“Yet, Washington ended the weekend a game under .500 and 4 1/2 back of the Mets.”

As Sherman points out, this isn’t the only time the Nationals have been a major disappointment. They have been one of the best teams on paper over the last few years, yet they have not won a single playoff series during this period.

There’s still time for them to turn everything around, but that’s starting to seem more and more unlikely. They are playing like a mediocre team, which just goes to show that preseason hype doesn’t always translate into regular season success.

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Lefty Reliever Josh Smoker Working His Way To Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/lefty-reliever-josh-smoker-working-his-way-to-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/08/lefty-reliever-josh-smoker-working-his-way-to-citi-field.html/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:36:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=189698 josh smoker

In 11 appearances for Double-A Binghamton, Josh Smoker has made a positive impression on B-Mets baseball fans. Smoker, has struck out 16 batters and walked just three in 12.0 innings while posting a brilliant 1.50 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.

The fireballing left-hander pitched another scoreless inning of relief last night as Binghamton defeated Bowie 9-2.

Smoker, 26, pitched for both Savannah and St. Lucie this spring dominating Florida Coast League batters with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.844 WHIP in 14 relief appearances. He struck out 26 FCL batters in 21 innings of work.

So, what’s the story with Josh Smoker? He has experienced the thrills and downturns that baseball can present to even the most promising prospects.

Signed out of high school from Calhoun, Georgia, as a supplemental first round pick, Smoker entered professional baseball with a left arm destined to see him reach the major leagues.

However, two arm injuries later, Smoker was reeling when the Nationals gave up on him. With no professional baseball affiliation his baseball career was on hold.

But he loved the game and was not willing to abandon his chances to play until he had exhausted every opportunity to make a return to the game. Smoker swallowed his pride and attended showcase events targeting high school aged pitching prospects, and last season signed to play baseball for the Rockford Aviators of the Independent Frontier League.

It was that experience that proved to be a turning point for Smoker. During his stay in Rockford, he was able to tuck away all the disappointments, all the pressure, and rediscover the fun that comes with just playing baseball.

“The guys on the team at Rockford were hands on the best group of guys I ever played with, no egos, no cliques. Baseball became a game again,” Smoker told a reporter from Jupiter, Florida.

Smoker’s time pitching for Rockford was a turning point of sorts, in particular his work with Aviator manager James Frisbee. The B-Met pitcher credits Frisbee for helping to save his career, crediting him with keeping baseball fun and helping to reshape his mindset about his place in the game.

As for Frisbee, he couldn’t be more thrilled that Smoker used Rockford and the Frontier League to restart his baseball career. “Josh worked really hard to not only get back his health but his confidence as well, and I’m happy he’s getting the chance to get back into affiliated ball.”

The Frontier League is a pipeline of sorts for long shot baseball opportunity as Frisbee noted that 50 players who played in the Frontier League in 2014 were signed on professional baseball rosters alone one year later, including 6 from his Aviators.

“I feel as an organization, we are doing what’s right for our kids. My number one priority is to get these guys to the next level and hopefully someday to the Majors,” Frisbee explained.

At first glance, Smoker’s build and power fastball remind you a lot of Josh Edgin. Smoker relies heavily on a four-seamer, a pitch I saw clocked as high as 99 mph in the three times I have seen him work. He includes a few off-speed pitches in his tool kit but their effectiveness is connected with his ability to command his hammer. So far in Binghamton, Smoker has harnessed the power of his number one pitch.

The Josh Smoker story is a great story, and an unfinished story at that. And based on the buzz we’re hearing at Binghamton, and after zooming through three levels this season, don’t be shocked when you see him pitching on a mound in Citi Field sooner rather than later.

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Mets Looking To Rekindle Talks For Justin Upton http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/mets-looking-to-rekindle-talks-for-justin-upton.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/mets-looking-to-rekindle-talks-for-justin-upton.html/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:18:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188165 justin upton

The New York Mets may have balked at the asking price from the San Diego Padres for outfielder Justin Upton last week, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports the two sides are ready to rekindle talks. Especially as Uptons asking price continues to decline.

As as MMO reported last week, the San Diego Padres had been scouting the Mets Double-A team in Binghamton at least on two separate occasions.

Initially, the Mets walked away from the bargaining table because the San Diego Padres were not only looking for a top prospect in return for Upton but also wanted the Mets to take on his remaining $7 million in salary.

With the team only one game out of first place and a critical three-game series with the Washington Nationals beginning on Friday, the Mets could still be on the hunt for the big bat they’ve been rumored to be looking for the past two weeks.

July 26

Last week, both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman reported that the Mets and Padres were engaged in trade talks.

“Recently I heard the Mets were talking to the Padres,” Rosenthal said. He asked a rival executive for his opinion and the exec speculated that Justin Upton would be tops on the agenda for the Mets who were looking for offense.

However, according to CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman, the Mets balked at San Diego’s asking price for Upton who is a free agent at the end of this season.

“The Mets walked away after a suggestion that included a big prospect or two and no payment toward Upton’s $14.5-million salary, though it isn’t known whether they could resume talks at some point.”

Heyman confirmed a report in the Daily News that they continue to talk about other available hitters such as Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gomez, Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd.

It isn’t certain exactly which prospects the Padres mentioned, Heyman writes, but he speculates they could have asked for Michael Conforto or shortstop Amed Rosario.

The Padres are known to be seeking quality over quantity in their fire sale, Heyman says.

Upton has 15 home runs, 17 stolen bases and 49 RBI to go with a .248 batting average and 95 strikeouts in 375 at-bats.

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Latest On Zobrist: A’s Had No Interest In Likes Of Nimmo, Cecchini, Fulmer http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/latest-on-zobrist-as-had-no-interest-in-likes-of-nimmo-cecchini-fulmer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/latest-on-zobrist-as-had-no-interest-in-likes-of-nimmo-cecchini-fulmer.html/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 04:25:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=187773 ben Zobrist

Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that while Sandy Alderson still views Ben Zobrist as a top target, the truth is that both teams are at a stalemate. And with Oakland now in obvious full sell-mode, the buzz around baseball is that Zobrist will likely be dealt by this weekend.

According to people familiar with the negotiations between the Mets and A’s, the reason Beane walked away from the bargaining table was because he had no interest in the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Michael Fulmer.

Any potential deal now looks dead in the water. Bob Klapisch says there’s no chance Mets get Zobrist, Ken Rosenthal says there’s no active talks, and Joel Sherman says it ain’t happening.

The Nationals and Yankees are currently viewed as the leaders of the pack for the versatile player’s services, which includes at least a half dozen other interested teams.

Martino added that the Mets also inquired about A’s outfielder Josh Reddick, but came away dubious that Beane would actually trade him.

July 22

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, reported on Tuesday that the Mets have gotten as far as discussing pieces with the A’s for a possible deal for Ben Zobrist.

“The A’s have identified the prospects they would need to send the veteran utility man to New York, but nothing is imminent, the source said.”

However, a few hours after Ackert posted her report, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports shot it down, saying that there are no active talks between the Athletics and Mets regarding Zobrist.

Rosenthal also mentioned that the two teams did have lively talks about Zobrist up until last week, but once the discussion moved onto which prospects he would cost the Mets the talks were shelved and have not been resurrected.

From what Rosenthal understands, it’s unclear if the Mets are as serious about acquiring Zobrist as they say they are, despite the fact he’d be an ideal fit for the team.

Sandy Alderson told reporters a week ago that he’d be willing to overpay for the versatile infielder/outfielder without mentioning him by name.

And in fact, Jon Heyman reported the Mets tried to swap Rafael Montero for him before he landed on the DL, but the A’s declined.

Several reports say that with talks for Zobrist and the Mets now idle, plus the news that the A’s are now actively engaged with the Yankees, Nationals and Giants, Sandy Alderson has since moved on.

Eddie Coleman of WFAN reported that the reason talks died with Oakland was because the Mets were unwilling to take on the approximate $3 million dollars left on his contract.

Zobrist, 34, has become one of the hottest commodities on the trade block. After a slow start due to rust and coming back from injury, Zobrist is batting .320 with a .417 OBP and .520 slugging percentage in his last 120 plate appearances dating back to June 14.

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Don’t Sleep On Lefty Reliever Josh Smoker http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/dont-sleep-on-lefty-reliever-josh-smoker.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/dont-sleep-on-lefty-reliever-josh-smoker.html/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 19:20:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=187699 mqksCIYIIn just his first five outings on the pitcher’s mound, Josh Smoker has made a positive impression on Binghamton baseball fans. Smoker, a first round 2007 draft pick of the Washington Nationals, used 11 pitches, 8 of them strikes, and a healthy dose of high heat to retire the three batters in order in his B-Met debut.

The fireballing left-hander pitched a scoreless inning of work in his next three B-Met appearances before being touched up for his first run allowed Sunday against Trenton.

Smoker, 26, pitched for both Savannah and St. Lucie this spring dominating Florida Coast League batters with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.844 WHIP in 14 relief appearances. The fireballing left hander struck out 26 FCL batters in 21 innings of work.

So, what’s the story with Josh Smoker. Smoker has experienced the thrills and downturns that baseball can present to even the most promising prospects. Signed out of high school from Calhoun, Georgia, as a supplemental first round pick, Smoker entered professional baseball with a left arm destined to see him reach the major leagues.

However, two arm injuries later, Smoker was reeling when the Nationals gave up on him. With no professional baseball affiliation Smoker’s baseball career was on hold.

But, Smoker loved the game and was not willing to abandon his chances to play until he had exhausted every opportunity to make a return to the game. He swallowed his pride and attended showcase events targeting high school aged pitching prospects, and last season signed to play baseball for the Rockford Aviators of the Independent Frontier League.

It was that experience that proved to be a turning point for Smoker. During his stay in Rockford, he was able to tuck away all the disappointments, all the pressure, and rediscover the fun that comes with just playing baseball.

“The guys on the team at Rockford were hands on the best group of guys I ever played with, no egos, no cliques. Baseball became a game again,” Smoker told a reporter from Jupiter, Florida.

Smoker’s time pitching for Rockford was a turning point of sorts, in particular his work with Aviator manager James Frisbee. The B-Met pitcher credits Frisbee for helping to save his career, crediting him with keeping baseball fun and helping to reshape his mindset about his place in the game.

As for Frisbee, he couldn’t be more thrilled that Smoker used Rockford and the Frontier League to restart his baseball career. “Josh worked really hard to not only get back his health but his confidence as well, and I’m happy he’s getting the chance to get back into affiliated ball.”

The Frontier League is a pipeline of sorts for long shot baseball opportunity as Frisbee noted that 50 players who played in the Frontier League in 2014 were signed on professional baseball rosters alone one year later, including 6 from his Aviators. “I feel as an organization, we are doing what’s right for our kids. My number one priority is to get these guys to the next level and hopefully someday to the Majors,” Frisbee explained.

At first glance, Smoker’s build and power fast ball remind you a lot of Josh Edgin. Smoker relies heavily on his fastball, a pitch I saw clocked as high as 99 mph in the three times I have seen him work. Smoker includes off-speed pitches in his tool kit but their effectiveness is connected with his ability to command his hammer. So far in Binghamton, Smoker has harnessed the power of his humber one pitch fanning 7 without walking a batter in his 5 innings of relief.

The Josh Smoker story is a great story, and unfinished story at that. Here’s hoping Josh Smoker can write a script that sees him continue to have fun and thrive on the pitching mound all the way to Citi Field for the Mets.

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Alderson On Second Half: Things Can Only Go Up http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/alderson-on-second-half-things-can-only-go-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/alderson-on-second-half-things-can-only-go-up.html/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:16:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=186703 Sandy-Alderson

Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider listed the Mets among nine teams he believes will be among the “Movers and Shakers” leading up to the trade deadline, asserting that GM Sandy Alderson is simply waiting for the right opportunity to strike.

“Alderson has never been one to make a hasty, knee-jerk trade. He has historically taken his time, then made solid moves to improve the team’s future,” Bowden said.

“Timing is not as important as winning deals and filling voids at the right price. Mets fans will just have to be patient and have confidence that Alderson will eventually strike to improve his team.”

As has been discussed ad nauseam, the team’s deepest strength is their starting pitching, however the Mets would rather move Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon instead of one of their young power arms, which makes the chance for a deal less likely.

Last week, Alderson blamed an uncertain and ambiguous market, however on Wednesday he told reporters that the market has expanded and more options have become available.

“Things will pick up, I think the marketplace will be more active and there are more possibilities now,” Alderson said. “We’ll see what shakes out, but definitely the activity will pick up in the next week.”

In an interview with Kristie Ackert of the Daily News on Thursday, Alderson seemed content with where the team is currently in view of all the injuries and no real contributions on offense from anyone except for Curtis Granderson.

Looking at the Mets offense through the first half of the season, a lineup that without David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud has struggled to score runs, Sandy Alderson knows something has to change.

“We’ll the good news is, we’re two games over .500 and really have not gotten major consistency or significant contributions from anybody except Granderson.”

“So you can look at it in retrospect, ‘Gee that’s got to change.’ On the other hand you can also say, it can only go up.”

It’s pretty clear what the team’s needs are, but at the same time that has to weighed against the cost to acquire the player both in dollars and prospects.

Alderson made it abundantly clear it comes down to one player and that he’s not in a position to add more than that. So in other words, just one bullet so make it count.

Sandy has insisted the dollars are there, but executives from other teams tell Ken Rosenthal and Joel Sherman differently.

“Is that gamesmanship by the Mets to try to get competitors to lower demands or honesty? Because if it is honesty, that means the Mets brass is lying to their fan base through the New York media by saying they can spend,” writes Sherman.

The point is that all eyes are on Sandy who said he expected this team to win 90 games in March, and that he’d be “disappointed if the Mets failed to make the postseason.”

The ball is in his court now as the season hangs in the balance.

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How Mets Minors Can Affect Their Younger Hitting Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/how-mets-minors-can-affect-hitting-prospects-mentalities.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/how-mets-minors-can-affect-hitting-prospects-mentalities.html/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 10:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=186680 sandy alderson paul DePodesta

Due to their consistent offensive struggles and the possibility that Michael Cuddyer could end up on the disabled list, the Mets desperately need more bats. However, it doesn’t seem like a trade for a hitter is coming anytime soon.

Once again, the Mets will probably look to their farm system for offensive help. It might not be as deep as their pitching was, but they have some potential future stars awaiting at Double-A Binghamton.

Which brings me to an interesting article I read by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, who spoke to Mets VP of Player Development, Paul DePodesta.

DePo spoke about why so many of the organization’s draft picks out of high school struggle so much to begin their careers. Prospects like Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith.

“In all candor, our system is not set up for high school position players to be successful,” said DePodesta. 

“(Short-Season Single-A) Brooklyn is tough. So is (Low-A) Savannah. Not until they get to Double-A (Binghampton) is it neutral.”

“They are not going to put up great numbers. They just aren’t. They aren’t in environments that are conducive to that. This is the reality. We tell them, ‘We don’t expect you to put up huge numbers. The numbers will come.”

One example is Cecchini, who was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft out of high school. Last year with Savannah, he only had 3 home runs. Now this year, he has six home runs for Binghamton. It’s still not overwhelming power numbers but it shows progress.

Baseball America associate editor Matt Eddy bought up an interesting stat line of minor league ballparks and compared the overall ballparks to the Mets minor league ballparks.

He determined that 92% of minor league ballparks feature more runs per game than Savannah. For High-A St Lucie, it dropped to 64%. Then 49% for Binghamton.

Once they get to hitter’s park Cashman Field in Las Vegas, it’s 4%. So the Mets minor league position players pathway gets easier as they move up.

When DePodesta was asked if this  concerned hitters development mentally, he said: “Not necessarily. It hasn’t negatively impacted the final product. To some degree, it’s hardened them and forced them to become more complete hitters along the way.”

“If we see evidence that it’s beaten guys down, we’ll reconsider. But it’s played out as we thought it might. These guys are all showing that they haven’t suffered negatively from it.”

On the other hand, Mets pitching prospects all start out easy and it gets tougher as they move on through the system.

“Which may actually be advantageous to some degree,” said DePodesta. “A young pitcher, he may need to get away with a little more. They need to get away with a little more. They need to get more fine. It gives them a lot of confidence to attack the strike zone early in their careers, and then they face the ultimate test in the (Pacific Coast League).”

It was pretty interesting to hear his take on this and it does explain a lot about some of the struggles we’ve seen with the high school selections.

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