Once the regular season ends, the Mets are going to have to assess which players will be a part of the equation towards making the team a World Series contender next season. While fans will pinpoint players like Manny Machado or A.J. Pollock as key targets, the Mets need to cast a wider net in building their organization. In addition to the Major League free agents, the Mets need to be cognizant of supplying the organization with sufficient depth through minor league signings.
Those minor league decisions are more important than many believe them to be. For example, minor league free agent signees Josh Smoker and Ty Kelly played a role on the Mets team which went to the postseason. It is now incumbent on the Mets to find their next Smoker, Kelly, or hopefully R.A. Dickey, and that process begins with determining which of their own minor league free agents should be re-signed:
Nabil Crismatt, RHP
Level: Binghamton & Las Vegas
Stats: 11-10, 5.00 ERA, 27 G, 27 GS, 144.0 IP, 1.472 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 8.8 K/9
MMN Rank: 17
While the undrafted free agent was first used out of the bullpen and was predominantly a reliever over his first five minor league seasons. With the way he had performed, the Mets finally made him a full time starter in 2017. Over the past two seasons, we have seen Crismatt perform well early on only for him to taper off as the season progresses.
There could be any number of reasons why from fatigue, luck, or the league figuring him out. No matter the case, Crismatt has shown himself to be a talented pitcher with a terrific change-up. That change-up has gotten him this far, and it should be enough for the Mets to have him start the year in Syracuse.
If he is able to take the next step, he could find himself to get the chance Drew Gagnon or P.J. Conlon received this past season. Should that opportunity ever arise, it will ultimately be up to him to see what he does with it. Given how he’s performed, the Mets should keep him around so he could be in line to get that shot.
Levi Michael, UTIL
Level: Binghamton & Las Vegas
Stats: .306/.391/.467, 30 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 36 RBI, 13 SB
Michael was a former first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins who needed a fresh start and an offensive outburst for him to have any chance to ever fulfill his dreams of being a Major League player. Like Peter Alonso and Jeff McNeil, Michael would have that outburst in Binghamton.
What stood out with Michael’s 2018 season was he seemed to get better as the season progressed with him posting his best month in July before suffering a season-ending injury in August. All told, Michael would post career highs in doubles, homers, slugging percentage, and OPS.
It’s possible Michael is a late bloomer who could be a contributor at the Major League level as a utility player. He certainly helped his chances on that front by getting work at second, third, short, and the outfield this year.
With the upper levels of the Mets minor league system short on outfielders, it would certainly behoove the Mets to re-sign Michael and have him begin the season as an everyday outfielder for Syracuse. This would give the team a chance to see if 2018 was a fluke or a sign of him turning the corner in his career.
Jhoan Urena, OF
Stats: .261/.324/.418, 20 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 2 SB
After seeing consecutive seasons end early due to hamate bone injuries, Urena found himself back on the radar in 2017 with a strong season in St. Lucie. After a very slow start to the 2018 season with Binghamton, Urena may have fallen back off the radar.
Lost in his last season was just how strong Urena finished the year. From July 15 until the end of the year, he hit .301/.365/.523 with seven doubles, nine homers, and 31 RBI. Those numbers were buttressed by a monster August where he hit .277/.371/.566.
That was an important finish for a player whose bat is his calling card. When things are going well for Urena, he’s a switch hitter with a quick bat and promising power. The issue with him has been and probably always will be his defense with the Mets still unable to find him a position. However, with the potential he has at the plate, and the openings for a player to distinguish himself as an outfielder in the upper levels of the Mets farm system, there is room to give him an opportunity to distinguish himself and go from there.