4/23/14

April 23, 2014 -- Mets 3, Cardinals 2

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Jonathan Niese pitched 6 2/3’s of excellent baseball in cold and windy conditions at Citi Field and Lucas Duda hit his 4th homer as the Mets beat the Cardinals Wednesday night 3-2.  Michael Wacha started for the Cards and was tough to hit but it was feast or famine. His first nine outs were strike outs and through 4 he had 10 punch outs, but he also had 5 walks.  The Cards took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a RBI double by Yadier Molina. In the top of the 4th Wacha walked Ruben Tejada and Kirk Nieuwenhuis with the bags juiced to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.  Wacha was gone after 4. In the 6th Duda hit a bomb to deep right center off Seth Maness to make it 3-1 Mets.  Niese gets his first win of 2014 going the 6 2/3’s allowing 6 hits the 1 run he walked 2 and struck out 3. He’s now 1-2. Wacha only lasted the 4 innings. He allowed 3 hits, 2 runs, both earned the 5 walks and the 10 k’s, he falls to 2-2.  Daisuke Matsuzaka got the final out of the 7th, Carlos Torres left the 8th with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs  but Scott Rice who has been terrific of late retired Matt Adams to end the threat. Kyle Farnsworth allowed 3  hits and a run in the top of the 9th for this 2nd save on the year. But the real save was a relay throw from Miguel Tejada in left center to cut down Matt Carpenter at the plate to save the 3-2 lead. Carpenter had 4 hits to lead the St. Louis attack. The Mets managed 4 hits on the game. In the first inning Curtis Granderson snapped his nightmare 0-22 streak with a single to right. He went 1-3 with a walk.  Travis d’Arnaud  and Daniel Murphy also added singles. With the win the Mets clinch a split of this four game set and now stand at 11-10 overall and 5-7 at home. Thursday afternoon the Amazins look to win the series. Bartolo Colon (1-3  5.40) goes for the Mets.  Lance Lynn (4-0  3.42) goes for the Redbirds
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Mets Minor League Report: April 23, 2014

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MMLR Player of the Day: Savannah RHRP Akeel Morris.

 

Las Vegas (15-5) not scheduled.

 

Portland (12-4) @ Binghamton (9-7) postponed - inclement weather.


 
 

St. Lucie (11-8) bows to Palm Beach (9-10) 3-1.


 
Not enough run support for Gabriel Ynoa: 6.0 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 0 BB, 4 K.
Solid Paul Sewell: 2.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 3 K.

Only 1 XBH for St. Lucie, a 2B by Gilbert Gomez: 1-3.

 

Savannah (11-6) nips Delmarva (9-10) 3-2.


Ricky Knapp pitched a solid 5.0 innings: 2 R, 1 ER, 4 H, BB, 8 K.
The ever reliable Akeel Morris (W, 2-0) earned the win: 3.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, BB, 3 K. In 5 games so far, 11.2 innings, Morris has not allowed a run this year. Opposing batters are hitting .081 against Morris. The only wrinkle in his game is the high number of walks - 7.
Robert Coles (S, 3) came in to pitch the 9th: 0 R, H, BB, K.

The bottom of the order got it done tonight.
DH Matt Oberste, batting 8th: 2-3, 2 2B, R.
Colton Plaia, batting 9th: 1-3, 3B, RBI, R.




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A Quick Look - RHP - Tyler Beede - Vanderbilt

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     Tyler Beede

5-23-13 - Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - The only other player who has a chance to challenge Rodon for the top pick in next year’s MLB draft is Beede, who would be one hell of a consolation prize. The 6’-4” right-hander has three plus pitches of his own in a mid-90s fastball with great movement, a power curveball and a deceptive change-up. He doesn’t have quite the command that Rodon does, but he is just as unhittable. On the year, he is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 20 K/9 BB over 18.2 innings, allowing just 12 hits for third-ranked Vandy. LINK

6-6-13 - Mike (Toronto) - are you more bearish on Tyler Beede than others? (your comment on his W/L record....) – Keith Law - No, I just don't see any argument that he was top three in the country this year.

6-6-13 - Draft 14 – Q and A with Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede

Mack – We’re especially excited here at www.bigleaguefutures.com to be talking to one of the projected top picks in the 2014 draft, soon to be junior RHP Tyler Beede. Hey Tyler, I assume you’re all College World Series consumed right now.

Tyler - Well actually we are preparing for Game one vs. a VERY good University of Louisville team. We have our hands full and really just focused on game 1 that is slated to start on Saturday.

Mack – It’s funny… I’m interviewing Nick Burdi at the same time. He says ‘hey’. (out of the interview… don’t let this interview get in  the way of your focus on the game… it will not post up until everything is over and I would update it based on how the team does). Putting the CWS aside, I don’t have to tell you how important next year is going to be to you as baseball player. Have you signed up for any showcases or summer leagues we can look forward to following you once the series is over?

Tyler - Nick is a good friend and fellow "VELOCITY" family member. Please tell him I said hello and will see him Friday. I have been blessed to have been asked to be on the College National Team for TEAM USA. This is truly a DREAM come true. Other than that I will prepare my body at Cressey Performance in Hudson Mass with Eric Cressey. Eric has been helping me since 2008 so I stick with him during the off season.

Mack – Nick also passes on his hellos to you. Your game seems quite complete right now, but will there be anything new you’ll be working on this summer or is it just some more pounding the zone?

Tyler - This summer , both during TEAM USA as well as off season, I will be working on commanding my fastball to both sides of the plate. I will break down video and make adjustments with Coach Bianco and Coach Brown. I have a lot of faith in what coaches see both live and on video.

Mack – Tyler, I want you to go back to the day you decided that baseball was going to be the sport that you concentrated your abilities on. How old were you then, was there a certain person that helped you with that position, and is he or she still helping you now?

Tyler - I played three sports growing up and into high school. I feel that both basketball and football really help my mental ability as to how I handled what I consider impact moments. Example of that would be as a Quarterback staying poised and composed in a huddle and leading teammates and within the game of basketball, learning how to slow the game down and work to execute game plans. I would say after my Sophomore year in high school is when I knew baseball would be my path in college although I would REALLY enjoy the opportunity of playing football at the college level.

As to a specific person that has helped me, there have been many. My father has been there for me since day one, but my biggest mentor would be Eric Cressey. He truly has taught me how to manage emotions and understand the strength and conditioning that it takes to play at the highest level. I have had outstanding youth coaches in my life, Mr. Tim Backlin and Mr. Doug Flink were my football coaches, Mr Jack Barry and Tim Cummins were my little league coaches that really taught me the game of baseball and Mr Bill McGuirk was my basketball coach. I would never be the athlete that I have become without these people. I have been blessed to have my academic life truly altered by Mr Chris Margraff. He is still to this day not only a former coach and advisor from my High School, Lawrence Academy, but a great trusted friend. Lawrence Academy altered my future and has allowed me to be a successful student at Vanderbilt University

Mack – (BTW, Dan Kirby, who just mocked you #1 in the 2014 draft, wishes you good luck next year). That’s awesome. Your father has done a heads up job touting you for the Golden Spikes Award. I’m going to leave it here and let the rest of the pundits ask all the same boring questions. I’ll check back with you before the 2014 draft and we’ll do this again, but, for now, is there anything you want to say to the readers of both Mack’s Mets and Big League Futures?

Tyler - Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me. I would simply like everyone to know that I am extremely grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to attend and play at Vanderbilt University. It has truly helped me become a better man and more prepared for my future both within and out of the game of baseball. I will continue to work hard and what ever may happen in a year from now is up to GOD and many many baseball scouts and executives. My only focus over the next twelve months will be to get better each and every day in hopes of being  a better teammate and help Vanderbilt win a National Championship.

Mack – Class act!

6-9-13  -   4.Tyler Beede, RHP (Vanderbilt): Live fastball and a strong breaking ball, but needs to improve his walk rate. Has clean mechanics and already has the build for pro ball. http://www.minorleaguerundown.com/2013/06/09/2014-mlb-draft-top-30-prospects/

6-9-13  - 1. Miami Marlins — Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - The 6’-4” right-hander is putting together one hell of a season for the top-ranked Commodores this year and is one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes award. Over 16 starts, he is 14-0 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 101 K/60 BB over 98.1 innings, allowing just 57 hits. He has an effortless delivery and the ball jumps out of his hand. He features a classic three-pitch mix with a mid-90s plus fastball with great movement, a plus power curveball and a deceptive change-up that freezes hitters. The one knock on him is his control, which can get wild at times, but once he harnesses that, hitters will have no chance of getting on base. I feel with his size, stuff and fluid delivery, he has the most upside of any college pitcher in the 2014 MLB draft. He gets bonus points for his high character and was named a member of Collegiate Team USA. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-mock-draft-1-0-no-time-like-the-present/34008#Vj5KQGPZZT1XUyhx.99 

6-10-13 - Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - The 2013 SEC Pitcher of the Year looks like a top 10 selection in next year’s draft.  Beede’s stuff is dominant.  His fastball sits 93-95 and he can touch 98.  His curve can be a plus pitch and he also throws a good change.  The key for Beede will be improvement of his command.  He has walked 60 in 98.1 IP this season and when he misses, he can miss big. http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/06/10/2014-mlb-draft-early-college-names-to-know 

6-11-13 - 2. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt: Beede, who didn't sign as a first-rounder in 2011, is a Golden Spikes Award finalist thanks to a 14-1 record, 2.32 ERA and .187 batting average against. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130611&content_id=50293726&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb&tcid=tw_article_50293726

6-13-13 - 1. Miami Marlins — Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - The 6’-4” right-hander is putting together one hell of a season for the top-ranked Commodores this year and is one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes award. Over 16 starts, he is 14-0 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 101 K/60 BB over 98.1 innings, allowing just 57 hits. He has an effortless delivery and the ball jumps out of his hand. He features a classic three-pitch mix in a mid-90s plus fastball with great movement, a plus power curveball and a deceptive change-up that freezes hitters. The one knock on him is his control, which can get wild at times, but once he harnesses that, hitters will have no chance of getting on base. I feel with his size, stuff and fluid delivery, he has the most upside of any college pitcher in the 2014 MLB draft. He gets bonus points for his high character and was named a member of Collegiate Team USA. http://beforeitsnews.com/sports/2013/06/2014-mlb-mock-draft-1-0-no-time-like-the-present-2513748.html?currentSplittedPage=2 

6-17-13  -  2. DP: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - Perkin said Beede (6-foot-4, 215), who declined to sign after Toronto drafted him in the first round in 2011, may benefit like Stanford's Mark Appel, the No. 1 overall pick last week whose stock improved after being drafted previously and turning down first-round money. Beede is "a smooth righty with top of the rotation stuff," Perkin said, noting "a 90-to-94 mph fastball that peaks at 95, a harsh 78-to-80 curve and a fall-off-the-table 82-to-84 changeup." http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20130610/draft-prospects-carlos-rodon/#ixzz2WWk0FqzU 

6-23-13  -  Player:  Tyler Beede  Position:  RHP  School:  Vanderbilt  Date of Birth:  5/23/1993  Height/Weight:  6’4/215  Bats/Throws:  R/R  2014 Class:  College Junior

Previously Drafted:  2011. 1st rd, Blue Jays  Scouting Report:  from Don Olsen on 6/18/2013  Tyler has the bulldog muscular athletic build, the frame and body to be that work horse to anchor a staff.  He has an easy delivery, safe three piece action that needs to refine extension and release point just a bit more to improve control.  Decent plane on his fastball shows some backspin elevation that could provide some swing and miss to the offering.  He works the offering both sides and changes eye levels with it and makes it tough to square up.  Long cruising speed 92-94 (95) mph. 2S has some tail and can provide another swing and miss wrinkle, good ground ball ability to LHH.  Good shape to curve, quality depth at its best, as release point refinement it should reach plus ability.  Change has two way action with impressive depth and a touch of arm side fade, offering shows deception.  Command and control are points for his progression, but shows an arsenal that can sit atop of the rotation.  Fields position well, very fast twitch reactions. http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/06/23/2014-mlb-draft-profile-tyler-beede/ 

7-17-13 –  Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - Beede has an ideal, athletic pitchers build (6'4", 215 lbs) and was anywhere from 91-96 mph on his fastball, but mostly was working with a two seamer so it was often at the lower end of that range.  He also tried to work in curve but had some issues commanding it.  He didn't walk a batter but he did hit two of them and didn't seem to locate as well he would have liked.  You don't want to get trapped into scouting results here (3 IP, 3 R) because you'd miss the boat.  The talent is obvious and it appears Beede may have been working on a few things as he prepares to face Cuba. http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/07/looking-ahead-to-the-2014-and-2015-mlb-draft-notes-from-the-collegiate-national-team-games/ 

8-14-13 – Through The Fence – Top 50 Prospects – 3. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, the right-hander has the size, along with the stuff, to be an ace at the next level. He features a classic three-pitch mix with a mid-90s plus fastball with great movement, a plus power curveball and a deceptive change-up that freezes hitters. Opponents hit just .187 against him as a sophomore as his ability to miss bats is something to see. The one knock on him is that he also has a tendency to miss the strike zone. His stuff and make-up are top notch, however, and if he can harness his control as a junior, he could challenge Rodon for the top pick. Posted a 2.32 ERA, 1.26 with 103 K/63 BB over 101 innings for the Commodores. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-top-50-prospects/36463#mwWwsFxSUZy7YC5V.99 

Top 5 MLB Draft Prospects - #4. Tyler Beede, RHP (Vanderbilt):  possesses a quick fastball and a resilient breaking ball, but needs to develop his walk rate. Has clean mechanics and even now has the size for pro ball. At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, the right-hander has the bulk, along with the substance, to be an ace at the next level. He contains a common three-pitch mix with a mid-90s plus fastball with pronounced movement, a plus power curveball and a illusive change-up that freezes hitters. Adversaries hit just .187 against him as a sophomore as his capability to miss bats is astounding. The one knock on him is that he also has a propensity to miss the strike zone. His stuff and make-up are top notch, however, and if he can gain his control as a junior, he could contest Rodon for the top pick. Posted a 2.32 ERA, 1.26 with 103 K/63 BB over 101 innings for the Commodores.  http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/08/30/top-5-mlb-draft-prospects/ 

9-1-13 - Jim Callis – 7. Tyler Beede, rhp, Vanderbilt - Can make hitters swing and miss with three pitches but can’t always control and command them.

9-4-13 – Mack’s Mock Draft v1.0 – 3 – White Sox – RHSP Tyler Beede – Vanderbilt – Miami’s reluctance to go give out big bucks is the XXXX gain with the  Beede pick. The runner-up for the Golden Spike Award as a sophomore is easily the top college righty in the draft. The classic 6-4 power pitcher has, according to TTF, “a classic three-pitch mix with a mid-90s plus fastball with great movement, a plus power curveball and a deceptive change-up that freezes hitters.” He has had some problems pounding the zone but a pro pitching coach can straighten that out. Beede has  big time talent that projects as someone that can easily start the season at the A+ or AA level.

9-27-13 - Jim Callis - The 2014 Draft is a solid group that impresses scouts more than the 2012 and 2013 talent pools. College pitching is always a prized commodity, and there's plenty behind Rodon, starting with right-handers Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina) and Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt). There's more velocity this year in the high school ranks, with righty Tyler Kolek (Shepherd, Texas, HS) leading the way with a consistent upper-90s fastball. The pitchers stand out more than the position players, though there are plenty of intriguing bats. Catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego) and shortstop Jacob Gatewood (Clovis, Calif., HS) offer plenty of power, while Trea Turner (North Carolina State) has uncommon speed and is a rare collegian who should be able to play shortstop in the Majors. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130927&content_id=61864804&c_id

9-29-13 – XMLBScout – 2.)RHP, Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt, 6'4 220, R/R, classic pitchers build with very good velo early in games, 92-97 will touch 98 on occ, fb mostly true will run in vs RHH on occ, also decent command of hard cb and straight change, throws strikes, biggest obstacle is he rushes himself at times but when he has everything in synch, he's untouchable with heavy fb down on the knees and buckling cb that he will throw with confidence. Could go in top 5 picks in 2014!  http://xmlbscout.angelfire.com/ 

9-30-13 – TTF Mock 2.0 - 7. Philadelphia Phillies — Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt  At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, the right-hander has the size, along with the stuff, to be an ace at the next level. He features a classic three-pitch mix with a mid-90s plus fastball with great movement, a plus power curveball and a deceptive change-up that freezes hitters. Opponents hit just .187 against him as a sophomore as his ability to miss bats is something to see. The one knock on him is that he also has a tendency to miss the strike zone. His stuff and make-up are top notch, however, and if he can harness his control as a junior, he could challenge Rodon for the top pick. Posted a 2.32 ERA, 1.26 with 103 K/63 BB over 101 innings for the Commodores.  http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-mock-draft-2-0-draft-order-set/38280#5E3F5j1jWOgE69bJ.99 

10-6-13 – Kendall Rogers/PG – College Prospects -  5. Tyler Beede, rhp, Vanderbilt (Drafted: 2011, Blue Jays -- 1st round) - Beede’s past is well-documented after turning down the Blue Jays out of high school. The impressive 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, has an elite fastball that sits anywhere from 90-95, along with a sharp breaking curveball at 80-83 and a fast-developing changeup that made serious strides for the Commodores in the spring. Should Beede show improved command in the spring, he could rise a few spots. http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=9081 

10-9-13 – Early Pick for Cubs - Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - Here’s what you need to know about the 6’-4” right-hander from Vanderbilt: He has two plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball and knee-buckling curveball, and hitters can rarely touch him. He allowed just 64 hits more than 101 innings as a sophomore for a .187 BAA. He also added 103 strikeouts and a 2.32 ERA. He did allow 63 walks, however, and his control is the only knock on him. With three quality pitches in his arsenal, along with the size and make up of a future ace, his upside is special. Another reason to love this pick for the 2014 MLB draft is that former Vanderbilt pitching coach, Derek Johnson, is the current minor league pitching coordinator for the Cubs. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-early-targets-chicago-cubs-fourth-overall-pick/38723 

10-15-13 – Baseball America - 7. Tyler Beede, rhp, Vanderbilt: Unsigned 2011 first-round pick has three above-average or better pitches, but command has become an issue for him. http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/2014-draft-top-50-october-2013-carlos-rodon/

11-4-13 – MLB Draft Insider - Top 14 for ’14: College Pitchers - 7. Tyler Beede / RHP / Vanderbilt – Outside of Rodon, Beede might be the most famous collegiate pitcher in the class after not signing as a first-rounder in 2011; but middling command and some potential medical issues make him more of a mid-first round pick at this point. http://mlbdraftinsider.com/2013/11/top-14-for-14-college-pitchers/ 

11-5-13 - When Tyler Beede was in high school, at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts — which wasn’t that long ago – he had no idea he was going to be drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, and end up deciding not to sign. Instead he chose to attend Vanderbilt University. He was the only first round pick that year not to sign. As of now, it looks like that was a good decision. Beede’s draft stock has risen and he has been projected by many to be a top five pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. That’s a considerable jump up from the 21st overall pick in the 2011 draft. However, that’s not what his focus is moving towards spring. http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/11/05/under-the-lights-with-vanderbilts-tyler-beede/ 

11-20-13 – Tyler Beede - Change up: Beede’s CU could be his best pitch.  It sits in the high 70’s and shows very good deception.  It shows a good tailing and sinking action.  His CU has all the makings of a plus plus pitch if his release point is correct. Command:  This may be the only knock on him.  His release point has been the biggest issue in his development.  But he has shown times when his command is on and he is all but unhittable. Summary:   The only thing holding Beede back is consistence of his release point  If you go with pure stuff, he maybe the best pitcher in the draft.  Beede could become the best pitcher coming out of the 2014 draft, if he can get master his command.  It is very possible, if Beede shows the improvement in his command that he could be a top 5 pick. http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/11/06/scouting-report-tyler-beede-sp/ 

11-27-13 – Big League Futures Top 25 Poll –   2 Tyler Beede    RHP Vanderbilt http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/11/26/mlb-draft-top-25-prospects-poll/ 

12-4-13 - MLB Pipeline ‏@MLBPipeline   I have Tyler Beede slightly ahead. Both have work to do in spring. @spencerbingol: ... Who should @Phillies take between Gatewood/Beede?

B/R – 11-21-13 - 8. Colorado Rockies: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - Tyler Beede decided not to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays as a first-round pick in 2011, turning down a seven-figure bonus to continue his amateur career at Vanderbilt. While his upside is still tantalizing, the 6’4”, 215-pound right-hander hasn’t put everything together as quickly as people hoped. Specifically, Beede struggles to keep his delivery in sync and goes through bouts where he comes nowhere close to the strike zone. He features a live fastball in the low-90s that tops out at 94-95 mph, as well as an above-average curveball in the upper-70s and potential plus changeup that registers in the same velocity range. Once Beede’s mechanical issues are ironed out, he should have a chance to reach his high ceiling as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the major leagues.  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1860341-2014-mlb-mock-draft-early-first-round-projections-for-all-30-teams/page/10 


1-3-14 – TTF Baseball - 4. Chicago Cubs — Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt - This fall, the 6’-4”, 210 pound right-hander allowed just three runs on three hits over 14 innings. He also struck out 23 batters without walking a single one. Adjustments have been made in his release point and Beede is now due for a monstrous junior season for the ‘Dores. As a sophomore, he set a school record with 14 wins and posted a 2.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 103 K/63 BB over 101 innings. He allowed just 64 hits, holding batters to a .187 average. His four-seam fastball can touch 97 mph and sits in the 93-94 range. His two-seamer was sitting 91-92 mph this fall and had Wiffle ball movement on it, often resembling a change-up to batters. His curveball is a knee-buckler with 12-6 action, sitting in the low 80s. His change-up has great deception and was also rated plus by scouts this fall. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-2/40753#ppGUqI6CbWFvzsPf.99 

1-20-14 – PG Preseason College All-Americans - Starting Pitcher - Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt - 2013 Stats: 2.32 ERA, 101 IP, 103 K , 63 BB, .187 OPP BA - The former Blue Jays first-round pick out of high school should emulate that selection next summer in the MLB draft, and for good reason. Beede is already one of the nation’s elite pitchers, and most would say he hasn't reached his full potential. Beede has a fastball anywhere from 90-95, along with a good 80-83 curveball. However, the biggest difference for Beede this season could be the development of his low-80s changeup and potentially improved command. Beede is ranked the nation’s No. 5 college prospect. http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=9294

2-19 – TTF - 10 college players on the rise - Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt (2) - I’ve seen Beede ranked all over the place on draft boards. I have had him second to Carlos Rodon for a while now, and on Friday, he showed why. After a bit of a shaky start in the first, he settled down and retired the last 13 batters he faced, seven via strikeout. Over five innings, he allowed just one hit while striking out seven to no walks. He showed off his four-pitch mix headlined by a mid-90s fastball with life and a plus curveball that buckles hitters. His change-up was on and he had control of all of his stuff. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-10-college-players-rise/41224#Brkvtc4VfkP16udZ.99
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B-Mets Rained Out

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Wednesday night’s contest between the Binghamton Mets and Portland Sea Dogs has been postponed due to unplayable weather conditions. The contest will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, May 3rd with game one scheduled to start at 12:05 PM.

The postponement marks the fifth of the season for the B-Mets and third at home. Binghamton experienced just one postponement in their first 66 games last season.

The B-Mets (9-7) conclude their shortened three-game series against the Sea Dogs on Thursday night at 6:35 PM. RHP Greg Peavey toes the rubber against RHP Keith Couch. The Horizons Federal Credit Union Pregame Show begins at 6:20 PM on Newsradio 1290 WNBF.
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Draft 14 – Tyler Beede, Mark Zagunis, Brad Zimmer, James Farris, Keith Weisenberg

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3-4-14 - Okay, now that I got that out of my system, a lot remains to be seen on Tyler Beede. The tools are there and if you're willing to take the risk that his Command never fully develops you could get rewarded with one of the best Starters in baseball. I'll probably do a post late in the College season to talk about guys who might be available at 7 and maybe Beede has elevated himself out of that discussion by then, but if he hasn't we'll take a look at his chances and the Phillies chances of gettin ghim and fixing whatever delivery glitches remain. http://www.thegoodphight.com/2014/2/27/5449712/phillies-2014-draft-preview-tyler-beede-rhp

3-25-14 – 6.  Mark Zagunis, Virginia Tech Height 6'1", Weight: 200 DOB: 2/5/1993 R/R - Back to Virginia Tech again after watching Horan and his boy Chad Pinder the A's drafted.  Zagunis is a Jersey Boy with a bat first rep.  Here is his link to VT.  Zagunis has a lot of power, and is a very good athlete.  The knock is he might not be able to stick behind the plate but the good news is he's athletic enough for a corner spot. http://www.yougottalikethesekids.com/2014/03/ten-catchers-in-2014-mlb-draft.html

2-21-14 – Project Insider - Bradley Zimmer, OF — San Francisco - Zimmer and his Dons teammates are at No. 2 Cal State Fullerton where the outfielder will face the likes of right-handers Matt Chapman and J.D. Davis. Scouts wants to see Zimmer explode in the power department, which would assure him of a top-15 selection. He has three doubles early, but no long balls and he’s whiffed four times versus less-than-stellar pitching. http://prospectinsider.com/draft-prospect-watch-hoffman-vs-fisher

2-27-14 – TTF - 10 college players on the rise - James Farris, RHP, Arizona (NR) - The 6’-2”, 215 pound right-hander isn’t a power guy. His fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range and he isn’t going to blow anyone away with it. What he does, however, is mix his pitches well and keeps hitters off balanced. With his five-hit shutout against Alcorn State on Friday in which he had 10 K/1 BB, he now has allowed just one run over 16.2 innings with 19 K/2 BB. He adds a slider and change-up and has great command of his stuff. Much like former Wildcat, Kurt Heyer, he is a workhorse pitcher with an advanced feel for pitching despite not having a plus pitch. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-10-college-players-rise-2/41299#ldBBF8hRKzmaiy5H.99

2-11-14 – PG/Florida HS Dream Team – P – Keith Weisenberg, Sr. Osceola - Each time he takes the ball at a Perfect Game event it is as though Weisenberg takes another step forward. The Stanford commit regularly sits in the low-90s and uses his 6-foot-4 frame and high three-quarters arm slot to get on top of the ball and generate very sharp downhill plane. Velocity comes easy for Weisenberg, and one shouldn’t be surprised when he continues adding to his fastball, which also has plenty of sink and run down in the zone. He already throws an above average slider in the mid-80s and shows a feel for a changeup, a pitch that shows big potential in the future. http://perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=9372
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Binghamton Mets 2014 Game Notes

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Binghamton Mets (9-7) vs.
Portland Sea Dogs (12-4)
(Double-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox)

RHP Greg Peavey (0-1, 6.75) vs. RHP Keith Couch (3-0, 2.20)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014  Game #17  Home Game #12
NYSEG Stadium  Binghamton, NY  6:35 PM

LAST GAME: Matt Spring launched a two-run homer in the top of the eleventh inning to lead the Portland Sea Dogs past the Binghamton Mets, 5-3, Tuesday night at NYSEG Stadium. Spring had struck out in his last four at-bats prior to taking B-Mets reliever Jon Velasquez deep. Binghamton had trailed 3-1, but chipped away with a run in the fifth and another in the sixth on a Jayce Boyd RBI single. Velasquez’s bumpy 11th marred an overall stellar B-Mets bullpen performance. Cody Satterwhite tossed 2.1 shutout innings, John Church posted a perfect eighth and Chasen Bradford allowed one hit over two scoreless innings. The relief came in support of Hansel Robles, who walked a career-high seven over 4.2 innings in the no-decision. Robby Scottfended off a handful of B-Mets threats over three shutout innings to collect his second win.

BINGHAMTON STARTER: RHP Greg Peavey makes his third start of the season and second straight against the Sea Dogs. Peavey faced Portland at Hadlock Field last Monday and pitched effectively before hitting the rumble strips in the sixth. He failed to survive the inning was tagged for five runs on four walks and two hits over 5.1 innings of work in the loss. He struck out a Double-A career best seven batters. The right-hander started last season in the Las Vegas (AAA) bullpen. He returned to Binghamton in mid-July and made six Eastern League appearances. Drafted in the 6th round in 2010 out of Oregon State University, he went 6-5 and compiled a 4.80 ERA between two levels.

PORTLAND STARTER: RHP Keith Couch takes the hill for his fourth start of the season and first against the B-Mets. He  has earned the win in each of his first three starts, most recently beating the New Britain Rock Cats on the road last Friday. In five innings of work, he allowed four runs on eight hits, but struck out five and received six runs of support. Couch had not allowed an earned run in his first two starts, spanning 11.1 innings. Couch was selected in the 13th round in 2010 by the Red Sox out of Adelphi University in Garden City, NY.

BACK-TO-BACK “L”s: The Binghamton Mets have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. Last year, Binghamton’s longest losing streak was just three games. The B-Mets need to win the final two games of the series against the Sea Dogs to avoid losing their second series of the year.

COSTLY LOB’S: In the final four innings on Tuesday night, the B-Mets stranded five men on base, including four in scoring position. Binghamton left the potential game-winning run on third in the ninth and tenth innings. The B-Mets finished Tuesday’s game hitting 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

STREAKING: B-Mets DH/1B Matt Clark is currently working on a ten-game hitting streak. He is hitting .400 (16-for-40) during the stretch with four doubles, four home runs and 11 RBI. The streak also includes a game against the Fisher Cats in which he walked five times and never registered an at-bat.

REYNOLDS KEEPS ROLLING: B-Mets middle infielder Matt Reynolds extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the first inning on Tuesday night. He has hit .486 (17-for-35) during the stretch and collected four multiple-hit games. He has raised his batting average to .364 to open the season, the eighth-highest average in the Eastern League.

THAT’S DIFFERENT: B-Mets reliever Jack Leathersich used three groundouts to post a perfect eighth inning on Monday. It was the second time in his career the lefty has thrown an inning or more and not recorded a strikeout. Leathersich last did that as a B-Met against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on April 12, 2013.
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Top 10 C in 2014 MLB Draft - Updated 4-17-14

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1.       Alex Jackson – Rancho Bernardo (CA) HS –

           
9-4-13 – Mack’s Mock Draft v1.0 – 5 – Brewers – C Alex Jackson – Rando Bernardo (CA) HS – We can talk all day about what a great catcher Jackson is, but this a future corner outfielder in the making. He probably will rate out as an average outfielder, but he does have a ++ arm that will work well out there. But, you’re drafting this guy for his bat. Is one of the top projected power hitters of the draft.

1-27-14 – BP - Positional Preview: High School Catchers - Alex Jackson | C/OF | Rancho Bernardo (San Diego, CA) | Commit: Oregon  Height/Weight: 6-foot-2/210 pounds  B/T: R/R  Draft Day Age: 18y 5m  Jackson boasts one of the best blends of offensive and defensive upside in the draft class, with a chance to hit for average and power while providing solid defense behind the dish and a strong catch-and-throw game. The Oregon commit routinely impressed in batting practice throughout the summer showcase circuit, with big pull side power generated through a leveraged swing. In-game the load can get a little deep, with the swing length causing some issues with velocity, but the bat-to-ball ability and bat speed give hope that the Oregon commit will figure things out as he continues to log reps against quality arms. Behind the plate Jackson moves well side-to-side with and shows an ability to impact the game with his arm, clocking pops as low as 1.77 for me over the summer and routinely sitting in the 1.85 to 1.95 range with low, level lines on his throws. There’s work to be done, no doubt, but the San Diego prepster has the body and athleticism to grow into a solid receiver and defender. Should a team desire to shift him to a corner to expedite offensive development, he is athletic enough to handle right field and possesses more than enough arm. Jackson was a worthy recipient of the first annual Baseball Prospectus Prospect of the Year Award last August as an impressive athlete with a chance to grow into an impact bat at a premium defensive position. He currently profiles as a solid top half of the first round talent. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22662

     
2.       Max Pentacost – Kennesaw State –

      
9-4-13 – Mack’s Mock Draft v1.0 – 30 – C Max Pentacost – Kennesaw State – Players earn their summer stripes in different ways and Pentacost earned his at the Cape Cod Games. He dominated offensively and was also named the Perfect Game College Summer Player of the Year. You can’t do better than that.

2-5-14 - Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State - If scouts believe Pentecost can stick behind the plate, he has an outside chance to go this high with a strong junior season. His offensive potential alone makes him a first round pick. He picked up MVP honors at the Cape Cod League after hitting .346 over 35 games with six home runs, 29 RBI and five stolen bases. He also drew 16 walks to 22 strikeouts, showing off a solid approach at the plate. The 6’-2”, 195 pound right-hander is a very good athlete who has been clocked at 6.8 in the 60. Over 57 games as a sophomore, he hit .302/.374/.410 with 14 doubles, three home runs and drew 22 walks to 27 strikeouts. More of a line-drive hitter right now, many believe more power is going to come. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-dark-horse-candidates-chicago-cubs-first-pick/41075#UeYBipV5rOuYd7xE.99

   
 3.       Kyle Schwarber – Indiana –

       
B/R – 11-21-13 - Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana - Possessing arguably the best raw power in the 2014 draft class, Kyle Schwarber is loaded with strength at 6’0”, 235 pounds—and it shows when he hits the ball. Furthermore, because he has a relative flat bat path and keeps the barrel in the zone for an extended period of time, he projects to hit for a decent average at the highest level. Even though he’s currently a catcher, Schwarber is adequate at best defensively, lacking the agility and athleticism needed to be a full-time regular in the majors. So while he’s likely ticketed for a career at first base, his potent bat has the potential to support the position change.  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1860341-2014-mlb-mock-draft-early-first-round-projections-for-all-30-teams/page/10



4.       Jakson Reetz – Norris (NE) HS –

  
1-27-14 – BP - Positional Preview: High School Catchers - Jakson Reetz | C/OF/RHP | Norris (Firth, NE) | Commit: Nebraska  Height/Weight: 6-foot-1/195 pounds  B/T: R/R  Draft Day Age: 18y 5m  Reetz is one of the better athletes in the draft class at the catcher position, and showed good growth in his game between June and October. The Nebraska commit is an instinctual player who has no trouble slowing the game down on both sides of the ball. Throughout the summer and fall Reetz showed a knack for squaring up pitches and effectively working the whole field. Perhaps most impressive was how strong he finished the long summer, with a monster August/September that included a standout performance for the gold medal USA Baseball 18U National Team, a loud Area Code Games, and MVP honors at the Perfect Game All-American Classic. He’ll enter the spring as the top draft prospect in the Cornhusker State. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22662


5.  Chase Vallot

    
9-4-13 – Mack’s Mock Draft v1.0 – 22 – C Chase aellott – St. Thomas More (LA) HS – There’s a lot of good catching in this draft and Vellott is one of them. Has a strong arm capable of pop times in the 1.9-2.0 second range. Vallot is one of the youngest players in the class and will not turn 18 until the end of the minor league season next year

12-10-13 – TTF – Top 50 HS Players - 31. Chase Vallot, C/OF, St. Thomas More HS (LA) - One of the youngest players in the draft, the 6’-0”, 205-pound right-hander generates a ton of raw power due to his bat speed and strong wrists. His strong arm, size and footwork could allow him to stick at a premium position but many believe a move to a corner outfield position is likely. Another player I got to see at Wrigley, he hit a couple bombs out of the park with ease and showed a polished approach at the plate during the game. Committed to Mississippi State. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft-top-50/40532#zz88YJZTOG8iEa1Z.99  


    6.  Grayson Greiner -

     
9-29-13 – XMLBScout – 6.)C, Grayson Greiner, South Carolina, 6'5 215, R/R, one of best catchers in collegiate baseball for 2014, throws well above ave with sub 2.0 pop times and presence to be a strong ML catcher for a long time, has enough bat speed and strength to hit 250 and drive in some runs from the 6-7 hole spot and hit 15-20 HR's on occasion, best suited as a defensive guy, a gamer with good hands and shifts well defensively to be solid ML catcher. Top 10 picks for 2014!!  http://xmlbscout.angelfire.com/
     

7.  Aramis Garcia - Florida International

 Prior to FIU: Attended Pines Charter High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. where he was coached by Carlos Iglesias... Drafted in the 20th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals... Garcia is a rarity; an athletic high school catching prospect with remarkably quick feet and fluid receiving skills... His home-to-second-base throwing times range from 1.85 to 1.95 seconds, already above major league average... 2011 Rawlings Florida Region Honorable Mention All-American... Finished his high school career a .414 hitter (106-for-256) with 15 home runs, 89 RBI and 79 runs scored... Hit .508 with seven home runs, 25 RBI and a 1.071 slugging percentage his senior year... As a senior, was named team MVP as well as All-County First-Team by the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel... Also named All-Broward First-Team and All-District First-Team by BrowardHighSchoolBaseball.com in addition to being selected to numerous all-tar squads... Qualified for the Connie Mack World Series with the Florida Legends in the summers of 2010 and 2011... Was team MVP in 2011.         


8.  Garrett Boulware - Clemson

  
Catcher who emerged as one of the team's best hitters in 2013 after playing sparingly in 2012 ... a career .290 hitter with a .366 on-base percentage in 89 games (77 starts) over two seasons ... has 14 doubles, one triple, eight homers, 47 RBIs, 50 runs, 27 walks, nine hit-by-pitches, and four steals ... has committed only three errors and has a .993 fielding percentage ... showed his versatility as a freshman by playing most of his action in the outfield while serving as the team's third-string catcher in 2012 ... sidelined for the 2013 fall practice season due to a shoulder injury, but recovered in time for the 2014 season ... team co-captain for 2014  


9.     JJ Schwarz – Palm Beach Gardens (FL) HS –

           
11-19-13 - J.J. Schwarz (C) - High School: Palm Beach Gardens - I admit it. I took a look at this guy strictly because of his first initial and last name (J. Schwarz). However, upon further review, this 17-year-old University of Florida signee looks to have quite the potent bat with gap-to-gap power. Early reports from this summer’s East Coast Pro Showcase indicate that he has quite the arm as well–picking off two runners in a game. He was also a key performer on the Gold-medal winning 18-and-under Team USA squad at the World Cup. I am almost certain he will end up playing college ball at Florida instead of signing, but like I said, I just had to check out a guy with the same name as me. Here is a Baseball America video of Schwarz taking batting practice this summer. http://stlcupofjoe.com/2013/11/19/2014-mlb-draft-five-prospects-to-keep-an-eye-on-part-2/

 10.   Mark Zagunis – Virginia Tech –

5-28-13 - Mark Zagunis, C/OF, Virginia Tech - One of the more athletic catchers you will find, the 6’-1”, 200-pound right-hander stole 17 bases in 22 attempts as a freshman. He also hit .344 with 13 doubles, five home runs, 34 RBI with a slash line of .430/.513/.943 over 49 games, striking out just 25 times. He has started the year out hitting .415 (22-for-53) for the Hokies with five doubles, a home run, 14 RBI and six stolen bases. It remains to be seen if he will stick at catcher or end up in a corner outfield position. His bat and athleticism will find a way into a lineup at the next level. http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-draft/29840#fm24otWuYCEocLQZ.99
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PTBNL....Who is He? When Will he Make an Impact?

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The trade is done....but the analysis is incomplete. 1B Ike Davis was traded for RP Zack Thornton and a PTBNL who "is a 2013 draftee of significant value" and "is the centerpiece of the deal." This tells me that the player is a Top 10 round draft pick. So lets take a look at who those guys are.

The "Highway Robbery" Guys
CF Austin Meadows- 1st round- 19 yrs old - Extended Spring Training
  • The Pirates Compensentory pick for failing to sign Mark Appel in 2012 has been drawing heavy comps to Cincinnati's Jay Bruce. Meadows was a huge Mets target in the 2013 draft but was nabbed 2 picks before them. He has the potential to develop into a .270 hitter with 25+ HR and 90 RBIs. That potential also comes with 120+ K's as well. He was assigned to the GCL last season where he hit .294 with 5 HRs and 20 RBIs in 43 games. The Mets have a number of OF prospects in the lower levels right now in Jared King, Ivan Wilson, Bradley Marquez, and Champ Stuart, but none of them carry the potential Meadows has.
C Reese McGuire- 1st round- 19 year old- Single-A West Virginia
  • A BP Top 60 player, McGuire was seen as a sure fire 1st rounder, but not someone who should go high in the draft. He's seen as a top rated defensive catcher with chance to develop some offensive potential. However BP grades him out as a potential .250-.260 hitter that can hit 15 HRs. While the profile isn't sexy, the Mets organization is thin at catcher at the lower levels with Jeff Glenn and Colton Plaia manning the dish for Savannah. So far in A-ball, McGuire is hitting .216 with 4 RBIs in 10 games.
The "Much Needed" Lefties
LHP Blake Taylor- 2nd round- 18 years old- Extended Spring Training
  • Much like the Mets system, the Pirates organization is heavy on RH pitching prospect but lacking in lefties. Taylor is a highly projectable guy who currently has a 90-92 mph FB and a plus Curve. At 220 lbs he won't add much more velocity but his FB could become a premium pitch if he can harness his control. His lack of a 3rd pitch limits how quickly he can advance in the system though and he seems like he's at least 4-5 years away from helping a big league team.
LHP Cody Dickson- 4th round- 22 years old- Single-A West Virginia
  • Dickson is pretty much a mirror image of Taylor except 4 years older. 91-93 mph FB from the left side with questionable control and a plus Curveball. His 3rd pitch is a change-up which is currently a below average pitch. Dickson perform well in the NY-Penn League last season with a 9.3 K/9 rate but did display those control issues walking 24 in 57 IP. While the system is starving for left handed starters it's hard to see Alderson liking either one of these guys without a third pitch.
The "Solid" Grab
2B/SS/CF JaCoby Jones- 3rd round- 22 years old- Single-A West Virginia
  • Make sure that "C" is capitalized! JaCoby is a high upside speed/athleticism tools play that has spent time at 2B, SS, and CF. While Jon Heyman has stated that "he looks like he can be a star ballplayer," his swing is ugly and will need to be re-built and quick frankly he hasn't performed to warrant his upside. JaCoby received a full season assignment and so far looks good hitting .288 with a HR, 8 RBI's, and 2 SB. While Meadows is superior to the group of CF's the Mets have now, JaCoby seems to be the same type as them, especially King who is currently in Savannah.
The "We've Given up on Cechinni" Guys
SS Trae Arbet- 5th round- 19 years old- Extended Spring Training
SS Adam Frazier- 6th round- 22 years old- Advanced Single-A Bradenton
  • If Alderson nabs either one of these two guys, it may signal that he no longer has confidence in Gavin Cechinni's ability to stick at SS long term. The Bucs went over-slot to grab Arbet who is regarded as a good all around offensive SS who has a fringy arm and fringe range at SS. In 38 games at SS for the GCL Pirates last season, Arbet did commit 21 errors. Frazier on the other hand is High IQ defensive whiz at SS with an advanced feel for the strike zone. This comes with practically 0 power though as he hit exactly 0 HRs in the 3 yr college career.
The "Never Have Enough Arms" Righties
RHP Buddy Borden- 7th round- 22 years old- Single-A West Virginia
RHP Neil Kozikowski- 8th round- 19 years old- Extended Spring Training
RHP Chad Kuhl- 9th round- 21 years old- Advanced Single-A Bradenton
RHP Shane Carle- 10th round- 22 years old- Single-A West Virginia 

Look you can never have enough pitching prospect. Even though the Mets system is flooded with RH arms I wouldn't be surprised to see Alderson grab another one. Borden and Kuhl were both Pitchers of the Year in their respective conferences and both feature low 90's FB's (though Borden can reach 96), and curveballs/change-ups that could be league average pitches. At 6' 4" Kozikowski has a ton of room to add velocity to his low 90's FB but is a young who is years away from helping a team. Lastly, Carle is another tall lanky righty who makes a living off of his heavy low 90's sinker.
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Reese Kaplan - Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

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With the one-way ticket to Pittsburgh handed to Ike Davis this past week on the heels of the unceremonious dumping of native son John Lannan, it appears that Mack’s 20 game assessment is slightly ahead of schedule.  We’re currently 19 games into the season as of Tuesday morning, sitting at a game over .500, and ready to decide what changes need to be made in order to push the team into the winning side of the ledger for more than just a single day.  40 year old Bobby Abreu joins his fellow 40 year old buffet line buddy, Bartolo Colon, on the Mets roster now, too.  Heckuva job, Brownie…always bet on black. 

Parting with Ike Davis was a little bit unexpected as the team seemed to give him an inordinate number of chances and as recently as opening day inserted him into the lineup as the number one first baseman.  That Lucas Duda was given the first nod for an extended look (well, by Collins’ definition that meant 2 days on, 1 day off), was equally surprising.  When they finally gave the big guy the endorsement to be the go-to guy by trading Davis was even more surprising, but I suppose there were $3.7 million reasons to make that deal.  To be fair, Duda would not have drawn as much in return nor provided as much salary relief, so it was probably a foregone conclusion that Davis would be the odd man out. 

Now that Sandy Alderson has finally moved to address one of the issues facing the team, it’s time to take a look at some others and see who might be available in-house to address the issues that are negatively impacting the team’s desire to progress towards a winning record. 

Shortstop

Granted, at the 18-game mark it’s not completely fair to condemn Ruben Tejada as a complete failure, but he’s certainly looking like the 2013 version who struggled to keep his head above water.  His play in the field (Monday night’s game notwithstanding) ranges from barely adequate to average.  He never provides power or speed.  If he’s not getting on base and not in line for a Gold Glove anytime soon, it’s time for this failed experiment to mercifully come to an end. 

I’d give a May 15th deadline for suddenly hot hitting Wilmer Flores to make his arrival (assuming Sandy Alderson doesn’t have another – what did he call it – “trade?” up his sleeve.)  After 3 years of inertia in this regard, it’s refreshing to see he’s discovered that lightning-in-a-bottle minor-league free agent contracts are not the only way to shape a roster.  By the middle of next month Wally Backman should be able to let the powers that be know if Flores’ bat can compensate for his glove.  If the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals can function with Jhonny Peralta manning shortstop, then we can probably do so with someone who’s not going to make anyone forget Ozzie Smith. 

Plan B in this regard would be to bring up slick-fielding Wilfredo Tovar who is off to a surprisingly hot start with the bat.  While I wouldn’t expect it to continue, at least we’d gain the benefit of solid defense and little bit more running speed.  He’s already on the 40-man roster, which stands in his favor as an alternative. 

First Base

Lucas Duda may be a gentle giant who seems sometimes to crumble under pressure, but obviously everyone would be tickled to see him rise to the challenge.   I figure he gets until at least the end of May to see if he can sustain success.  If not, currently reigning minor league player of the week and 2013 AA MVP Allan Dykstra is waiting in the wings to supplant him.  He’s a very high OBP player with decent power and a suspect glove who’s not yet made it to the majors.  Brian LaHair of the Cubs might be a good parallel as someone who finally turned the corner at age 29 and made the All-Star team. 

Second Base

If $3.7 million was too much for the Mets to stomach at 1st base, then another successful campaign by Daniel Murphy might push his salary up towards a Wilpon gut-wrenching $8 million mark next year.  With the ever-shrinking payroll and alternatives in Wilmer Flores and Eric Young, Jr. it’s possible he’ll be the next offensive player on the move.  Dissimilar to the Ike Davis situation, Murphy is a likeable guy with a terrific work ethic who has done everything asked of him.  This one would be strictly about what he could net in return and whether or not that Tampa/Oakland model of trading players before they get to be too expensive actually begins to take root here in New York as well. 

Catcher

Again, the fans are perhaps more impatient than anyone for a winner, hence the premature rush to call Travis d’Arnaud a failure and cries for Anthony Recker to take over behind the dish.  While riding the hot hand makes sense in some cases when it’s veteran vs. veteran, you do have to take a look at the long term record of both players in question to see which one gives you greater probability of success.  Recker has appeared in 221 big league ABs.  At age 30 it’s unlikely he’s morphed into Johnny Bench.  He’s a career .199 hitter.  d’Arnaud has not had much time in the majors yet and he’s off to a horrific start, but his minor league pedigree is first rate and it seems more prudent to keep rolling the dice on him hoping for the success we all expect than it does to trot out someone who is good enough as a backup but rapidly exposed as a starter.   Last night he had a 2-hit game and he’s inching towards the Mendoza line, so perhaps his slow start is just that.  Even Ron Darling voiced appreciation for his next at-bat when he lined a laser to shortstop that resulted in an out.  He said if d’Arnaud keeps hitting like that, they’ll start falling in for sure.

Outfield

Eric Young, Jr. is having a confounding season.  He’s hitting worse than ever (.217 at last glance) and already set a Mets club record for strikeouts in 17 consecutive games.  Yet despite these poor stats, he’s once again leading the league in stolen bases and top five in runs scored.  Also, despite the paltry batting average, he’s drawing walks and has an OBP of .346 – not exactly All-Star material, but nearly 20 points higher than his career average in that regard.  For now he needs to be in there every day alongside Chris Young in CF and Curtis Granderson in RF until Juan Lagares returns.  Then it gets real interesting.

There’s no great help down on the farm.  Eric Campbell is hitting well and Matt den Dekker had a terrific week after a slow start.  Cesar Puello thus far is not looking like the up and comer we’d expected based upon his breakout season of 2013.  Bobby Abreu is already here, though where and how he’ll play is anyone’s guess. 

Starting Pitching

Assuming they can stay healthy, leave ‘em as is.  We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from everyone with the exception of Zack Wheeler.  Jenrry Mejia is doing his best Matt Harvey impression.  If he can get past his blister and his bunion and whatever else ails him, he looks like the pitcher he was always expected to be (despite Jerry Manuel's and Omar Minaya's best efforts to ruin his career).  It’s actually interesting that as much as you hear people clamoring for the promotions of Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard and now Jacob de Grom, you have no place to play them.  Could it be that there could be another, uh, “trade?” in the works at some point in the future? 

Bullpen

It was not a good week to be Jose Valverde.  He pitched a little like a composite of Doug Sisk, Mel Rojas and Oliver Perez.  The long balls were a-flying.  When you’re 37 years old and hanging on by your fingernails only to have your job taken away and handed to a 38 year old who’s lost 10 mph off his prime-time fastball, well, it might be time to consider other career options. 

Most surprising this week was the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka who pitched successfully in back-to-back games over the weekend, including a 2 inning stint in which 5 of 6 outs by strikeout, earning his nickname of Dice-K.  With Bobby Parnell down and out, Jose Valverde licking his wounds and Kyle Farnsworth enjoying some borrowed-time success, might it not be out of the realm of possibility to do a Dennis Eckersley and convert Dice-K to closer?  He’s two years older than Eck was when he transitioned from starter to closer, but he was notable for his success pitching on consecutive games during his Japanese amateur career.  He always struck out a fair number of batters, so it’s not the craziest idea in the world.  Then again, when your current closer is Farnsworth, you start grasping at any available straw. 

The only bullpen help down on the farm include the non-roster duo of Joel CarreƱo and Miguel Socolovich, as well as “Wild Thing” Vic Black.  Hey, Mitch Williams made a long and successful career never knowing when his control would desert him.  Maybe Black can do the same. 

Bench

It's arguably the worst in the majors with Josh Satin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Anthony Recker and Omar Quintanilla all pretty much replacement level or worse.  Only Bobby Abreu is fairly credible, but at age 40 you do have to wonder what he's got left in the tank.  Then again, he was punishing pitchers in AAA when younger competitors couldn't manage to do the same.  I guess he's the new Rusty Staub or Ed Kranepool or Julio Franco.  It's interesting that they dispatched with Ike Davis due to his limited usefulness as a bench player, but isn't Abreu even less versatile, not really able to play the field?


Don't get me wrong. It’s refreshing to me to see them tinkering with the status quo.  Losing has become a way of life around this club and perhaps some fresh blood and new roles for existing players will result in a change in attitude that’s long overdue.  If it means some people also have to change their latitude, so be it.  The fact that they’re trying is refreshing.  Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but something different is most welcome.  (And as Jimmy Buffett sings to Mets fans everywhere, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane!”)
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