The Las Vegas 51s have released their initial roster for the 2018 season, their last as the New York Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.
The 51s will be led by new manager Tony DeFrancesco, he spent last season as the Houston Astros’ Triple-A manager. He will be joined by former Binghamton Rumble Ponies pitching coach Glenn Abbott and hitting coach Joel Chimelis who spent last season in the Astros organization as well.
Infielders – 5
Gavin Cecchini – After a lost 2017 season, Cecchini seems to have revamped every aspect of his game. He will look to better his 2016 .325/.390/.448 batting line and will look to steal a career high in bases.
David Thompson – Thompson finished the year slugging .546 over the last month of the season, and he repeated it by slugging .569 in the Arizona Fall League. He will now enter a hitting environment well-suited for his newfound power stroke.
Luis Guillorme – Lost in Guillorme’s incredible defense is his ability to get on base. He has a career .361 OBP with a .376 OBP for Binghamton last year.
Matt Oberste – Gets his first taste of Triple-A after slashing .284/.360/.389 with 27 doubles and five home runs for Binghamton in 2017 over 516 plate appearances. Played 103 games at first base and does have 37 games of experience in his career at third base.
Ty Kelly – During Kelly’s last stint with the 51s, he hit .328/.409/.435, which all but forced an injury prone 2016 Mets team to call him up to the majors. Ultimately, he would find himself on the Mets Wild Card roster that season. Kelly wasn’t able to repeat those stats last year hitting .193/.260/.341 for the Phillies in 69 games.
Outfielders – 5
Zach Borenstein – The powerful Borenstein is coming off a year where he mashed hitting .279/.351/.573 with 24 homers and 91 RBI for the Reno Aces. He will look to put up similar numbers in the PCL again this year.
Patrick Biondi – Speedster with 131 career stolen bases that plays a good center field is minor lesgue depth at this point. He hit .284/.360/.389 with 26 stolen bases in 2017 for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Bryce Brentz – Right-handed slugger that the Mets picked up on waivers last month then slipped through waivers. He popped 31 Triple-A home runs last season for the Red Sox. He’s hit .287/.313/.377 in 90 major league plate appearances. He plays both corner spots.
L.J. Mazzilli – The now utility man hit only .217 in 16 games with the 51s last season.
Catchers – 3
Jose Lobaton – An expert pitch framer, Lobaton was brought in as catching depth for the organization. Considering Travis d’Arnaud‘s injury history, we may very well see him called up at some point next season.
Jeff Glenn – The eight season minor league veteran has spent the last two seasons with the 51s as he acts as a coach that gets activated when needed.
Pitchers – 13
Zack Wheeler, RHP – The Mets followed through on their promise to carry their best pitchers by putting the struggling Wheeler in Triple-A. In his last six starts last year, he had a 9.89 ERA and 2.197 WHIP before getting shut down with injury. In five Spring Training appearances, he had an 8.10 ERA and 2.400 WHIP.
Chris Flexen, RHP – For this first time for a Mets pitcher since Mike Pelfrey in 2006, Flexen made the jump from Double-A to the majors. As a result, his first pitch in 2018 will be the first ever pitch he throws in Triple-A.
Corey Oswalt, RHP – The Eastern League Pitcher of the Year looks to repeat his 2017 breakout season in the much more difficult Pacific Coast League pitching environment.
Mickey Jannis, RHP – The 30-year-old knuckleballer will be pitching in Triple-A for the first time in his eight year career. He went 8-7 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.25 WHIP for Binghamton last season. Followed that up with 2.33 ERA in 27 Arizona Fall League seasons.
Jamie Callahan, RHP – While many struggle in the Pacific Coast League, Callahan had a 1.80 ERA there in nine appearances after the Mets obtained him as part of the Addison Reed trade. He will look to put up those numbers as he tries to make his way back to the majors.
P.J. Conlon, LHP – Out of the bullpen, he could be utilized much like how the Mets utilized Sean Gilmartin in 2015, or they can attempt to make him a LOOGY. Last year, he limited left-handed pitchers to a .252/.273/.358 batting line.
Kevin McGowan, RHP – The Mets were quick to bring McGowan back to the organization after he was designated for assignment at the end of the year.
Matt Purke, LHP – After holding left-handed batters to a .192/.314/.212 batting line in the International League last year, the Mets brought Purke into camp with a chance to claim a roster spot as the second left-handed pithcer in the pen. His chances took a significant hit when he was sent home early in camp due to illness.
Kyle Regnault, LHP – Regnault has pushed himself into consideration for a LOOGY role with his limiting left-handed hitters to a .255/.318/.347 line while mostly pitching for Vegas last year. He also had a dominating Arizona Fall League stint that saw him post a 0.71 ERA and a 0.947 WHIP.
Tim Peterson, RHP – The 27-year-old allowed five runs in 2.2 innings last season in his first Triple-A experience. He fared much better in Binghamton with a 1.14 ERA in 55.1 innings then followed it up with a strong 0.87 ERA in 10.1 AFL innings.
David Roseboom, LHP – The lefty missed most of the 2017 after having foot surgery. He looks to regain his 2016 form when he had a 1.87 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 14 saves for Binghamton.
Kelly Secrest, LHP – Another lefty for Vegas that looks to have a rare bullpen controlled by lefties. The 26-year-old allowed only two runs in seven innings for the 51s last year after posting a 4.03 ERA for Binghamton. He posted a 1.66 WHIP overall between the 51s and Rumble Ponies in 2017.
Logan Taylor, RHP – The right-hander missed the second half of last season after he was attacked by a homeless man which resulted in a concussion. He had a 4.57 in 45.1 innings for the 51s before the injury.
Couple of notable names not on the roster here including right-handed pitcher A.J. Griffin, left-handed pitcher Fernando Abad, first baseman Dominic Smith, outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski and outfielder Jayce Boyd.
Griffin signed a minor league deal with the Mets in the offseason and actually got a start late in major league camp. No word yet on if he exercised an opt-out to leave the team.
The Mets reportedly signed the veteran Abad a few weeks ago. Smith was placed on the major league disabled list and is expected to miss the beginning of the season.
Kaczmarski suffered an injury late in camp and is expected to begin the season on the DL. Boyd looks the liek casualty of adding Brentz.
Pitching is certainly lefty heavy and given current roster construction it looks like Conlon, previously reported to moving to the pen, could be in the rotation to start the season.
The rotation of Wheeler, Oswalt, Flexen, Jannis and Conlon should be a strength on this 51s team.
Outfield depth in Las Vegas has improved significantly with the additions of den Dekker and Brentz.