1/26/15

Mack - 2015 Prospect List - #11 – OF – Wuilmer Becerra

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My rankings is solely subjective and based on nothing more than what is in my head at time I’m writing this. I’ve followed the Mets minor league players for many years and I feel I can recognize talent at various levels of their development. What I have failed at is how to determine when this talent seems to diminish. It’s amazing how many first round picks never make it in this game.

I’m old school, so you won’t seem much SABR-discussion here, I do research and, when I find a good quote or two, I’ll add them to my analysis, but, like I said in the beginning of this post, most of this us subjective.

Let’s get started.


#11 – OF – Wuilmer Beccera – 20-years old – 6-4, 190, R/R

Traded to the Mets along with P Noah Syndergaard, C Travis d-Arnaud, and C John Buck for Cy Young Award winning pitcher R.A. Dickey, C Josh Thole, and C Mike Nickeas.

International free agent – Caracus, Venezuela - $1.3mil bonus

2012 – GCL Mets -  32-AB, .250/.359/.375/734, 0-HR, 4-RBI  

2013 – GCL Mets – 173-AB, .243/.351/.295/646, 1-HR, 25-RBI

2014 – K-Port -  207-AB, .300/.351/.469/819, 7-HR, 29-RBI


The final verdict on this trade is still out… Nickeas never hit above .200 since leaving the Mets and is now a free agent… Thole had 133 at-bats last year (.248) and is nothing more than a catching partner for Dickey… and Dickey is a combined 28-26 for two years and has never come close to his award winning season (20-6) in 2012 for the Mets.

On the Mets side, Buck is long gone, but the next 18 months should grade out both Syndergaard and d’Arnaud, but, in the long run, the best player in this trade could turn out to be the throw-in in the deal, Bucerra.

Everyone in the Mets organization loves this kids and critics have nothing but positive things to say. The only thing close to negative was his lack of pop which may be starting to turn around after hitting seven home runs for Kingsport last year. He also played as a teenage and hit .300.


Outlook –


Players this young are all ceiling and projection. My guess is he will play for Brooklyn this summer which will give him a little taste of life in the big city.

I would love to project him to end 2015 in Savannah, but that’s a tough call. Let’s first see what he does for the Cyclones. 
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Zozo - An Open Letter to Fred Wilpon

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Dear Mr. Wilpon

I have some knowledge that you are a real estate tycoon and you own Major League Baseball’s New York Mets. I also believe that you have turned both of those two separate entities into corporate giants, and in both those regards I am very impressed with your business know how. I also hear that you are a big family man, and one day will leave control of both businesses to your family (hopefully from my mouth to Gods ears, that doesn't happen for a long time). I just have a few questions this FAN would like answers too.

First off, are both these two different businesses run in totally different manners? My reason for asking is because I would think owning a building, you would have to tend to your tenants needs and make sure those buildings are of sound structure and perform up to your tenants needs. Now owning a MLB Franchise you would still have to meet the FANS needs and make sure that the team is also a sound structured organization and fulfilling the FANS needs. The difference I believe for you is differentiating between Tenants and FANS needs. I feel like you treat the three million FANS like tenants, when it should be a whole different type of relationship. Owning a building in my opinion is a major accomplishment and owning an MLB Franchise is not only and accomplishment but and Honor. You have a FAN base of almost three million that live and die with every season that passes and I know you can't win them all but I hope you would try your best to do so. While being a tenant in various different locales I never had that type of feeling about setting up a residents in a building as I do with my association with my favorite ball club.

Mr Wilpon, are you a business man first and a fan of the team second? I kind of understand if you want to make money and not lose it, I believe that is the way most people would want their business ventures to go. The thing is when you have about three million FANS that look for their team to strive to be better, because that is one of our joys in life and sometimes take us out of our everyday doldrums. I feel we expect to be treated more like FANS than tenants.

You also had to deal with a scandal recently and it set back both your empires a bit. I just feel that must of weighed you down some, but it seems like you have rebounded very well. I hear you are looking at (with some business partners) building a massive mall right next door to Citi field? That is going to be a great fan experience when that project comes to complete fruition. Sort of like outside both Wrigley and Fenway Ballparks. Since I have been to both those venues, it is incredible and those fans have it really good.  My next question to you is where is the Great FAN experience these days? Am I supposed to get excited about going to the park and seeing a bigger Diamond Vision screen? I think first and foremost our FAN experience needs to start with reinvesting in the team. Don't get me wrong I do like what ‘Sandy and Company’ have done building up our pitching staff and you have to be excited about D'Arnaud, Flores and Lagares. By the way, I do believe you are missing a true lead-off hitter and someone other than Duda to hit cleanup. I also have heard your organization tell the Fans you lose money year after year, but it feels the other MLB organizations seem to be thriving right now with all this new TV contract dollars coming their way?  It also seems to me you should be able to reinvest more money into the team if almost every other team is doing it, if my calculations are correct? So Instead of investing in the future FANS experience with the mall, and the giant screen televisions, why not invest in bringing in two or three of the last pieces this team needs, and make a real run at this division? I really believe if you treat the FANS right they will return the favor and treat you right. Also in the long run we will help you pay for that Mall next door, with all the revenue you will be making.

In closing, I just feel when my life is at the end of the road, I hope I made a good lasting impression on the people that have crossed my path. I will also try and do my best to leave somewhat of an inheritance behind for my family as well, but most of all I hope I don't tarnish my family name and leave my future generations of family and friends scratching their heads as to what I did while on this earth. So please Mr. Wilpon before all is said and done please take this sour taste out of Mets Fans mouths while you still have a chance to right this ship. I am not asking for you to go spend evil empire type money, but have at your General Mangers disposal what funds he needs to turn this thing around. I believe the right amount of money should coincide with what you are charging to enter Citi field compared to other organizations. If you want a low budget team then you should charge accordingly, not too separate ends of the spectrum. You shouldn't be charging top dollar at the gate and in turn have one of the lowest budgets in the league. You are in the New York Market, and there isn't any stage in the world bigger than New York in my opinion.

So just like one of the Mets slogans was in 1980's you ‘gotta believe’.

 I believe you don't have to sell the team to put the fan base and this team back together again. I believe you stepping up to the plate, for us the FANS, is all we need.

Yours Truly

John Zozzaro
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Tom Brennan - Majoring on the Minors: Top 30 Prospects - #11 Jack Leathersich

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MAJORING ON THE MINORS: TOP 30 PROSPECTS – #11 JACK LEATHERSICH - VOL.20 – Tom Brennan
I’m doing my Top 30 Prospects articles a bit differently – in 2 lists:

·       A top 10 list of lower minors guys who likely won’t show up until 2017 or later.  Already done. See list at end of this article. 

·       Followed by my top 20 list of guys who are closing in on the big leagues.  Guys who could help in the near future or be trade bait. 

Here is the list so far:
20.   Daniel Muno
19.   Michael Fulmer
18.   Miller Diaz
17.   Dario Alvarez
16.   Jayce Boyd
15.   Rob Whalen
14.   Hansel Robles
13.   Gabriel Ynoa
12.   Gavin Cecchini

Today, for selection #11 in my ‘seasoned’ prospect Top 20 list, I go with a long time favorite of mine:

JACK LEATHERSICH

Surely most baseball organizations have their talented enigmas. 

Guys who you feel should do better sooner. 

For the Mets, Cesar Puello certainly qualifies.  

On the pitching side of the rubber, Jack Leathersich has earned "enigma status."  Strikeout Jack has averaged over 15.2 strikeouts per 9 since turning pro after being drafted in the 5th round of 2011.  

Very hard to fathom such a prodigious rate.  But he is a lefty enigma, who dominates righties but not lefties; walks close to 5 per 9 innings, a formula for failure if replicated in the big leagues; and has not found AAA PCL baseball to be anything but a nightmare to date.

But with Jack, the high Ks, and success as a lefty vs. righties, are real positive signs of a future in the big leagues.

Leather Man, please figure out how to also dominate lefties, cut the walks, and you could be a long term bullpen asset.  Up to Jack to clear those final hurdles.  It seems he closed the gap a lot on lefties in 2014.  Keep getting better.  Be Andrew Miller, not Ollie Perez.

Hurry, Jack, we can always use another pitcher to hang up K cards for.

MY TOP 10 LOWER MINORS LIST:

# 1 - Marcos Molina

#2 – Michael Conforto

#3 – Amed Rosario

#4 – Dominic Smith

#5 - Jhoan Urena

#6 – Vicente Lupo

#7 – Wuilmer Becerra

#8 – Luis Guillorme

#9 - Casey Meisner

#10 - Milton Ramos
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2015 MLB Top Prospects: Dilson Herrera 4th Amongst 2B

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2015 Prospect Watch: Top 10 second basemen

MLB.com has begun released there annual 2015 prospect rankings. MLB Pipeline has already reviewed the top right handersleft handerscatchers, and first basemen. Today we take a look at second basemen. Among them is 20 year old Dilson Herrera, who rapidly ascended to the MLB last year and looks to be in line to replace Daniel Murphy in 2016.

"Herrera has always shown a knack for hitting, with a balanced swing and an ability to make consistent hard contact to all fields. He has excellent bat speed and doesn't strike out a ton, with more power than you'd expect given his small frame. Herrera is a solid runner who can steal a base as well. Herrera has played both shortstop and second in the past, but his defensive tools, from his arm to his actions, will work much better on the right side of the infield."
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Stephen Guilbert - Mets 2nd Rotation Better than 5 MLB Teams

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Noah Syndergaard, left, and Rafael Montero, center, front the Mets "2nd team rotation".

In roughly a month, pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie. At the moment, the starting rotation for the early season 2015 New York Mets looks to be:

1.) Matt Harvey
2.) Jacob deGrom
3.) Zack Wheeler
4.) Jon Niese
5.) Bartolo Colon

In case you have not heard, the Mets are deep in starting pitching. Very deep. Take, if you will, the "second rotation" or the "second team starters". Imagine this is basketball: These are your "bench SPs". Or, more morbidly, imagine the five starters above all get hurt and have to miss the 2015 season. In that dire circumstance, the 2015 Mets rotation would be:

1.) Noah Syndergaard
2.) Rafael Montero
3.) Steven Matz
4.) Dillon Gee
5.) Matt Bowman

I could see a very good case for Tyler Pill in the #5 as well but let's go with Matt Bowman who has a touch more Triple-A experience. His "stuff" is also better than Pill's.

The above rotation is a very solid MLB rotation. While four of the five are considered minor leaguers and/or prospects and three of the five have never pitched in the MLB, we have quite a bit of risk in that rotation. However, we also have quite a bit of reward. Syndergaard projects as a #1/#2 starter. Matz has been called an equal from the left side and Rafael Montero still has, in this writer's opinion, as much upside as any pitching prospect in the minors. After those three top-rotation starters, Dillon Gee anchors the back of the rotation and Matt Bowman--an intelligent Tim Lincecum clone with five pitches--rounds out the back end. Few people know about Bowman and he while he might be another Colin McHugh--a guy who never gets a fair shot with the Mets and blossoms elsewhere--he should become a serviceable starter and potentially a very good one.

I believe the above rotation competes against many teams in the MLB. While I could see an argument for this rotation being at least league average and perhaps better than more teams than it is worse than, here are five teams who are certainly inferior to the "Second Team Mets SPs":

1.) Colorado Rockies

Starting Five: De La Rosa, Matzek, Chacin, Lyles, Lannan

I am going out on a limb with Lannan #5 but the other options are equally ugly (Christian Bergman. Try that on for size). Bottom line is this rotation is pitiful. I dare you to find a worse rotation in baseball. Good thing for Rockies fans is that the era of Jon Gray, Eddie Butler, and Kyle Freeland cannot be too far away.

2.) Arizona Diamondbacks

Starting Five: Collmenter, De La Rosa, Webster, Cahill, Hellickson

I hate to beat up on the NL West this much and this rotation does have some potential. Yet, nothing excites me about it either. There is no ace in the rotation and, as a rule, if you have a De La Rosa, you have a poor rotation. All joking aside, I do find it comical that my two least favorite MLB rotations both have a De La Rosa and neither is all that bad, either. Cahill and Hellickson were good at one point but just aren't anymore.

3.) Baltimore Orioles

Starting Five: Tillman, Norris, Gausman, Chen, Gonzalez

The only arm saving this from "League Worst" status is Gausman who is emerging into one of the betters starters in the AL. The rest of that rotation is going to haunt Baltimore. Tillman as a front man? Norris? Gonzalez might have been the luckiest pitcher in baseball last year and I see a correction that leaves him with an ERA north of 5.00 before banishment to Triple-A. The reason the Orioles do not compete this year is this albatross of a rotation.

4.) Houston Astros

Starting Five: McHugh, Feldman, Keuchel, Oberholtzer, Peacock/Straily

It pains me to put the Astros down here because I love what these guys did in 2014. All of them over-performed and did so in a tough division. However, I see regression for some of these arms and part of this ranking is my vindictive way of condemning the trade of Michael Foltynewicz in a package for Evan Gattis--a player who does not get the Astros over the hump. Gattis will help them set team offense strikeout records in 2015, a not-so-bold prediction I have for this year. Folty has such an electric arm that, starter or reliever, would have made this Astros team look so much better. I see a bunch of 4s and 5s in this rotation and maybe a 3 here or there. I hope they do well. I will root for them. For now, though, I cannot advocate for the Astros being a surprise team on the back of this rotation.

5.) Boston Red Sox

Starting Five: Buccholz, Kelly, Porcello, Masterson, Miley

No, I do not think the Red Sox have one of the five worst rotations in baseball. Then again, this was never an article listing a superlative of ineptitude. Rather it is a list of teams who have rotations inferior to the Mets "2nd team SPs" and I will confidently state that the Red Sox have an inferior rotation to our "2nd team SPs". Boston fans will not like me for this but I also want to take a stab at the team many think will be unbeatable in the AL this year. Do Sox fans really think this rotation is going to be good? Sure, Buccholz has shown flashes of being an anchor, Kelly was solid, Porcello is a steady, predictable starter, and Miley was a decent pickup this winter. None of these guys are dominant and it's not like this rotation doesn't come with risk, either. Personally, I would take Thor/Matz/Montero/Gee/Bowman over this group because of upside. At least the Mets have a couple aces in the hole. The Red Sox don't. I will make a bolder prediction that the Red Sox don't only finish second to the Blue Jays, but their mediocre rotation makes them fight for a wildcard instead of a division title.

There are other teams who have shoddy rotations. The Brewers rotation is ugly, I am not a fan of the Minnesota rotation and really hate the cost of it, the Phillies are going to struggle past Hamels unless Lee comes back strong (and if they trade Hamels, eek), and I am not all that enamored with Cleveland's group but Corey Kluber makes any rotation look good. Bottom line, though, is that in this pitching era, the Mets have the deepest group of starters in baseball. Before someone dismisses this as a gushing fanboy post, go back and read my other articles to see how critical I have been of the talent on the Mets and within the system over the years.

The pitching talent and depth on the Mets is just this good.
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The Morning Report – 1-26 – Jon Velazquez, Matz/Thor, Int’l Free Agents, Mets Outfield

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There’s a guy in the Mets organization we may all want to keep one eye on.
Relief pitcher Jon Velazquez just finished pitching in 18 appearances, 1.83, 10-saves for Cangrejeros de Santurce in the Carribean League. Originally out of the Philadelphia Phillies chain, he bounced around in the independent leagues from 2011-2013. His 2013 results for Camden in the Atlantic League definitely impressed the Mets pitching coaches (6-2, 1.95, 61-appearances, 73.2-IP, 82-K) and got him a shot with Binghamton in 2014, going 4-4, 3.62, in 44 relief appearances.

He’s be 29 next season.



Comment From DL - Who better Matz or Thor?

Kiley McDaniel: Thor

            Mack – Short question, short answer.

What I like the most about it is the fact that the Mets already seem to have three front end starters and the national press is now comparing two other starters as additional stars of this game.

Both of these guys are only one secondary pitch away from banking the doors down to the Mets clubhouse, though I still think the Mets will try to keep this as organized as possible. First up will come the Dillon trade to someday that aligns both Colon and Niese into the current 2015 rotation. Next up, will be the obligatory season ending injury, probably to both Colon and his contract. This will give Thor the door in and Niese the overseer of the left side of the mound until opening day 2016.

Just my guess.

I just can’t imagine what it’s going to be like to watch a Mets-Nats series in 2016.



Comment From Jay - You’ve tweeted that the Yankees have the deepest farm system. What do they do differently to bring talent in than other clubs?

Kiley McDaniel: Spend $30 million on July 2nd

            Mack – This is such a simple solution to a simple problem.

July 2nd is the International signing day for all baseball players, especially those out of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. This is where all those 16-year olds come from that first get assigned to either the DSL or VSL teams in the respective organization.
There’s no posting fee here. You just have to offer the largest bonus one of those almost legal dudes (‘busteros’?) that control these kids at the time of their signing. They really don’t care who plays where. They’re just in it for the money and the highest bid wins.

The Mets have done well in this area, but it’s so much easier to do better.
Yes, you are going to have to wait around five years to see if who you signed was worth it, but, do this year after year and you not only will produce an all-star team of Latin American players, but you won’t lose a draft pick either.



Mets writers/bloggers have seemed to have moved on from shortstop as the subject of concern and returned to the outfield in hopes of finding a solution to the Mets lack of making the playoff.

Let’s stop right here for a second… the Mets have the pitching that can get this team to the second wild card. What we’re looking for is the next step.
The Mets have actually addressed four different outfield positions in the past three years and, frankly, have produced a vastly improved look at the future.
In no particular order:

1.     Juan Lagares has now established himself as one of the premier If not the top in the NL) center fielders in the game, How he got there is no longer of concern. He is a defensive superstar, no one wants to hit towards him, and the other Mets outfielders have learned to adjust their game to give Lagares room to maneuver and make the defensive play needed. His .281 batting average last season was a bonus and he was only 25-years old. Wow.

2.     The addition of Michael Cuddyer over Chris Young will prove to be a huge upgrade… if… Cuddyer stays healthy. Cuddyer can hit. He hit .332 in 2014 in a shortened season, but let’s not forget he hit .331 the year prior in 489 at-bats. Sure, it mostly was in Colorado, but (to me) Cuddyer looks like the perfect two-year transitional outfielder to future guys mike Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.

3.     Some are writing that there is hope for Curtis Granderson to ‘turn around’ a bad season in 2014. Gee, I thought he already had showed sighed of doing that (September 2014: 87-AB, .299). I see Granderson benefiting greatly by the addition of Cuddyer who will create a situation where Grandy will get more pitched to swing at.

4.     And lastly, the Mets could have done a lot worse than choosing John Mayberry Jr. as the fourth outfielder. He’s a right side bat who also plays first base. And, he used to be a Philly. You have to have one of them on your roster, right?

Yeah, I don’t see any of these guys starting in the 2015 All-Star game, but the Mets outfield has come a long way since 2013.


And lastly…

            I really have no idea who will be the fifth outfielder. Candidates include Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker, Cesar Puello, and Eric Campbell. To me, Campbell would seem to have the best odds here because he can also play the corner infield positions and his talent (or lack of it) leans best for a part time role. As we all know, this was supposed to be Puello’s job… hell, he should have been at last the 4th outfielder by now… bot he’s out of both options and supporters. Lastly, Nieuwenhuis has had the most opportunities to win a job in Queens, something he just can’t seem to do.

Me?  I go for ‘defensive replacements late in a tight game’ first over the potential of a home run vs. strike out (we all know who wins this battle the most times). Ruben Tejada would be my backup middle infielder, I’ve got first base covered with Cuddyer/Mayberry and either Flores of Murphy can shift over to third. This leaves me the ability to go + + defense in the outfield, with den Dekker.
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1/25/15

Tom Brennan - Majoring on the Minors: Top 30 Prospects - #12 Gavin Cecchini

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MAJORING ON THE MINORS: TOP 30 PROSPECTS – # 12 GAVIN CECCHINI - VOL.19 – Tom Brennan
I’m doing my Top 30 Prospects articles a bit differently – in 2 lists:

·       A top 10 list of lower minors guys who likely won’t show up until 2017 or later.  See list at end of this article. 

·       Followed by my top 20 list of guys who are closing in on the big leagues.  Guys who could help in the near future or be trade bait. 

Here is the list so far:
20.   Daniel Muno
19.   Michael Fulmer
18.   Miller Diaz
17.   Dario Alvarez
16.   Jayce Boyd
15.   Rob Whalen
14.   Hansel Robles
13.   Gabriel Ynoa

Today, selection #12:

GAVIN CECCHINI (pictured above with Kevin Plawecki)

I listed Mr. Cecchini at #12.  Everyone writes so much about him, usually in a “not good enough” way, you’d think he was Wilmer Flores or something.

So far, he is the high first round pick in 2012 who has reportedly fallen short of expectations.  Supposedly can’t field…lacks power…mediocre hitter.  Stop for a second, if that’s how you think, walk over to the medicine cabinet, and take a chill pill.  Wait, take 2.  Feeling better?

Let’s recap…he will spend all of next year as a 21 year old.  He mistakenly was put in rookie ball in 2013, and because he got hurt during the short rookie season, only got up 212 times when he should have gotten up 500 times for his development. 

In 2014, he had his first full year in mid-and high-A ball.  534 plate appearances, .247/.328/.378.  Not so great, not so bad for full year #1. 

Do that production again in 2015, and I will jump on the naysayer bandwagon. 

But what went well in 2014 for GC, as he played his 1st full year as a 20 year old? 

·       How about 40 extra base hits in 534 appearances, vs. only 8 in 212 appearances in Brooklyn in 2013? 

·       How about 8 HRs last year, vs. ZERO in 2013?  Growing up and adding some beef can do wonders.
·       How about 10 of 14 steals, and a solid strikeout rate of only slightly more than once every 6.5 times up? 

·       And a solid 10.6 walks every 100 at bats vs. just 6.6 per 100 the year before?

In some respects, it represented a quantum leap in 2014.  Maybe the just-turned-21 Cecchini has another quantum leap coming in 2015 in AA. 

2014 fielding was shaky at shortstop with 27 errors and a weak .942 fielding %, but part of that could have been hot-sun, full season fatigue; in short, cooler seasons in 2012 and 2013, he clocked in at a very decent .965.  Usually young guys get better.  He will.

So overall, I ranked him at 12th in my “close to major league ready” group of minor leaguers.  I’ll bet he does surge the next 2 years to be at a “competent major league rookie starting player” level by late 2016 or opening day 2017.  Whether there will be room for him or not to be that starting player, or even a utility player, who knows?  Father Time will answer all questions in due time.

Whaddya think, folks?

MY TOP 10 LOWER MINORS LIST:

# 1 - Marcos Molina

#2 – Michael Conforto

#3 – Amed Rosario

#4 – Dominic Smith

#5 - Jhoan Urena

#6 – Vicente Lupo

#7 – Wuilmer Becerra

#8 – Luis Guillorme

#9 - Casey Meisner

#10 - Milton Ramos
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