7/28/17

Talkin’ Baseball - Who’s The Closer Past Reed?

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Good morning.


This week’s question comes from Christopher Soto


Pretty much every playoff contending team has called in to check on the Mets Selling price for CL Addison Reed. In the event that he IS traded who do you make the closer going forward until Familia returns?



Reese Kaplan says –

That's an easy one to me.  Your closer for the remainder of the year should be the AAA closer from last year -- Paul Sewald.  With a few hiccups here and there, he's been mostly very high quality with a surprising number of strikeouts for a guy who's not really a power arm.  Remember that John Franco made a career out of soft tossing and spotting his pitches.

The Mets, of course, will turn to veteran Jerry Blevins in this role where he is likely miscast.  He's found his great success as a LOOGY and his batting average against while facing right handed hitters is enough to send you to Costco for the giant-sized tub of antacid.  

Tom Brennan says –

            It definitely has to be Paul Sewald. He has tons of minor league closer experience, very successfully I might add, and Paul has actually pitched very well with the Mets except for a few poor games for virtually the entire season. I think he'd give you a reasonable performance as a closer until Familia returns.  And the high strikeout rate he had in the minor leagues he has continued in the majors. My only question with Paul is: what took the Mets so long to bring him up in the first place?

Michael Maar says -

            If Addison Reed is traded I think the guy to look to as closer until Familia returns, and heir apparent for 8th inning work next year is Robert Gsellman.  (Assuming of course that he returns from his latest injury soon.) 

I have to admit that at one point earlier this season I read some chatter about Mets execs thinking he'd make a good reliever due to his temperament/fearlessness, stuff, and ability to throw strikes.  That rang true to me then, and it does now.  It's at least worth a shot to try him in a short relief role for the rest of this season. 

With Reed gone, the Mets would have a significant hole in the 8th inning and would need to find out if they have an in-house answer.  Otherwise they'll have to make 8th inning a priority on their Winter shopping list.  I say give Gsellman a tryout.
(I'd still look into signing Reed back next year as a FA if he doesn't get a closer's contract.  You never have enough good late inning relievers.)

Mack says –

            I’m sure most of the Mack’s Mets writers that participate this week will choose Paul Sewald, but I have a different spin.

            The 2017 season is a wash.

            Also, half of successful pitching is confidence and attitude.
            We have two talented pitchers that have had a miserable season. Rafael Montero is still looking for a role on this team and Hansel Robles is still looking for the side of the barn. Both have all the tools to throw 10-20 pitches in the last inning of a game their team is always winning.

            My first vote would be Robles who I thought would easily stop into this role only Reed left.

            Give him a shot and, if that doesn’t work after two or three outings, hand the ball over to Montero.

            For fun… give it to Cespedes for a couple of games.

            Past that... keep losing. You won't need a closer.

Jack Flynn says –

            There are really no good options here, but Hansel Robles seems like the most logical fit for the closer's role when Reed departs. Robles has shown flashes of brilliance since joining the bullpen in 2015 and was actually having a terrific year until mid-May, when his proverbial doors were blown off three straight times over an eight-day period. All of a sudden, Robles was down in Triple-A and he spent two months in the desert before rejoining the Mets last week.

Robles's stuff is what you would expect from a closer - heavily reliant on a 95 mph fastball with a put-away slider that has led to more than a strikeout per inning so far in his career. Robles is still the youngest reliever in the Mets bullpen right now and is under control for at least three more seasons. (The Vegas exile may have actually bought the Mets another season of team control). The other potential closers are all older than Robles, none of them throw especially hard, and no one has had the type of season that would make them a more worthy candidate to step to the front of the line.

There's no sense in turning the job over to veterans like Jerry Blevins (if he isn't traded as well) or Fernando Salas, since it's not clear if either man will be back with the Mets in 2018 anyway. Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker are as likely to be non-tender candidates as they are fill-in closers. This is also a personal preference, but I am not a fan of left-handed closers unless they approach a Aroldis Chapman- or Andrew Miller-level of dominance. Most teams still carry a platoon player or two on their bench to feast on southpaws, and since the Mets have only one regular left-handed starter, those guys would be waiting for Edgin or Smoker in the ninth inning of a close game. Paul Sewald has garnered some attention, but he's also sporting a 6.75 ERA since June 1.

Robles is hardly the ideal candidate, but he's the best of a bad lot.

Richard Herr says –

            How about this? I think it should be the guy who crashes through TC's office door, grabs him by the collar, and says, "Give me the fucking job!" The question seems to pussyfoot around the issue. We seem more to be saying, "Be vewy, vewy, fwightened," when we talk about the closer's role. That philosophy derives from Sandy Alderson's School for Nice, Young Gentlemen. (I think I've already mentioned that somewhere in this column.) A closer is not a nice, young gentleman. He's an audacious, in-your-face warrior who has shown up on the mound just for the sheer pleasure of slicing and dicing the upcoming batters. We shouldn't go about asking for someone, just anyone, to timidly poke their fingers in the air indicating that they might possibly want the job. We want someone who's going to say, "Why did you ask? Can't you see I'm right here?"

Eddie Corona

            The closer has to have Ice in his veins, a short memory and a mean streak... No one on the current roster seems to come to mind. But someone needs to get the final out. I would put Fernando Salas in the Closer's role and here's why... there is one more trade deadline. The waiver wire deadline. Maybe just maybe he does well enough that someone is desperate enough to parlay a mid level prospect for him. on the other hand If he blows a few games maybe that will help our draft status for next year








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Tom Brennan - 2018 SEASON INFIELDER PROJECTIONS

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Tom Brennan - 2018 SEASON INFIELDER PROJECTIONS


Lots and lots can change in the rest of July and August in terms of who is still with the Mets and who is not.


It seems very likely that bopping, low-key  Lucas Duda will be gone, given his pending free agency and the pending arrival of red-hot first rounder Dominic Smith.  (And, right on cue, Sandy Alderson, who hacks into our web server for pending articles so he really knows what's going on - LOL - trades the Big Lebowski last night).


Either Asdrubel Cabrera or Neil Walker may be gone too, given their level of salary involved in 2018 and beyond.  Most likely BOTH will go.


Jose Reyes would like to stay and has played so much better of late, but he will be even older and (most likely) slower in 2018.


TJ Rivera and Wilmer Flores have been mentioned a bit as possible trade pieces as the deadline approaches.


Amed Rosario is waiting for Sandy to very shortly unlatch the door to Queens just a tiny bit so Rosario can kick it in and bust the hinges to avoid locking him back outside again.


So how would I shape the 2018 infield given all of that?




SHORTSTOP:


Amed Rosario is Keith Law’s #1 prospect in the entire minors right now, so I am believing he will be a strong Rookie of the Year candidate next year (unless he gets too many at bats this year to qualify, which I hope is the case).  A solid bat, strong baserunner, and excellent defender. 


Jose Reyes will re-sign at a reasonable amount, mentor Amed, and substitute occasionally at short too.


2018 cost?  Cheap!




FIRST BASE:


Dominic Smith and his lefty bat will start at 1B against righties, and Wilmer Flores will slide over to first against lefties.  Smith is on a very similar hitting path to Flores when Wilmer was his age – both tearing up AAA, making really good contact. Smith will likely to transition to the bigs much as Wilmer did, without any major hiccups. 


In 2019, Smith is my everyday 1B, unless power-packed Pete Alonso surges out of the minors with a booming power bat and forces a trade.




2018 cost?  Cheap!




SECOND BASE: 


I like Wilmer there, glove (such as it is) and all. 


I want to see Wilmer play a lot. 


This year, he was hardly used in April due to the infield logjam caused by resigning Walker, and went just 6 for 35. 


After that, he started playing more and hit .304 from May 1 through July 24.   Nice.


My goal for Wilmer would be to start 150 games…with all 12 games off being night games against righties.  Why?


In 2017, he has hit .386 in day games, .239 in night games.  In 2016, .294 in the day, .254 at night.  And 25 points higher in 2015 in the day than at night. 


He has hit about .320 the past two seasons vs. lefties, .250 vs. righties.  His .276 so far vs. righties in 2017 indicates to me that he is improving in that regard.


I think once he knows he is an everyday starter, his hitting with RISP will improve (.208 in 2017, .225 in 2016).


Despite some continuing sporadic play, Flores in 2016 and 2017 has had 536 at bats, 27 doubles, 26 homers, and 78 RBIs, only 81 Ks, and .274/.316/.473.  Solid starter #’s, especially for a 25 year old just hitting his prime. And one with nearly 1,500 major league plate appearances already.


On days Wilmer slides over to 1B, TJ Rivera can slide over to 2B.


I think Wilmer can be the next Daniel Murphy as veteran sportswriter Chris Soto suggested TJ Rivera could well be.  I also happen to agree that TJ Rivera can too, and there is nothing wrong with having two guys who play like the 2017 version of Murphy in the same infield.


2018 cost?  Moderate!




THIRD BASE:


TJ Rivera is my choice there.  He has hit .306/.337/.449 in the equivalent of his first full half season spanning 2016 and 2017.   Good enough to be a starting 3B, and he may well get better.  Glove needs work, but he’ll be OK, because he is a 110% worker.  Reyes may not like 3B, but he can certainly back TJ up there occasionally.


2018 cost?  Cheap.




UTILITY:


Jose Reyes is our # 1 utility infielder unless he wants too much money – again.  Somehow, I think he’ll get modest bucks and stay.  Matt Reynolds does not hit enough.  Gavin Cecchini doesn’t either – at least yet.  Phil Evans has heated up from a cold start, but his glovework is not strong and has limited power and speed.


So let’s try two other names, both in AA:


  1. KEVIN TAYLOR: Taylor is playing the infield and outfield (mostly outfield to give playing time to others) and he has hit .314/.399/.400 in 74 games for Binghamton.  Last year in 112 St Lucie games, .288/.386/.404.  Dude is solid!  He’s played 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and the outfield a lot in the minors.  Not a speedster; glove is OK/
  2. LUIS GUILLORME: I see Luis as an excellent defensive SS and 2B back up, a gritty pinch hitter who can get on base, and a little bit of speed.   When you have a 9th inning one run lead, it will be nice to have Luis, Amed, and Smith in the game at the same time for defensive purposes.  Luis, MVP of the South Atlantic League in 2015, is at .285/.367/.331.  Any sign of power would be a real surprise, but defense can (and does) win games just like offense can.
  3. ANDRES GIMINEZ: Having a fine year at the age of 18 for Savannah, “Amed Rosario V. 2.0” could show up in Queens in 2019 and be a fine middle infield starter in 2020, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – this article’s focus is on 2018.   We need an Andy who is Dandy in Queens soon, don't we, John Sterling?


2018 cost?  Cheap!




MY TAKE?


A lot could change, but we may have a very competent, very, very inexpensive infield in 2018.  Fewer long balls, though, offset by much improved defense.


BIG LEBOWSKI FOOTNOTE: Lucas the quiet, reserved giant, has moved on, and was all class, hoping his soon-to-be-successor, Dominic Smith, becomes a ten time all star.

Sadly, he was in the midst of his most potent offensive season, shortened somewhat by his freak elbow hyperextension injury that cost him weeks earlier this season.  He ends his Mets career with 760 games and 125 homers.  I wrote my first article ever for Macks Mets about Duda, imploring him to be more aggressive in not letting himself get to 2 strikes because of his poor hitting then. 

In about 1390 career at bats when his at bat ended on 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, or 3-2, he only hit about .160, but was Ruthian in his other at bats.  I always felt the "work the pitcher" mantra of Alderson was a detriment to Lucas.  I wish him well...and, again, swing away, Lucas, swing away.


Alderson was unsure if he was going to call up Dom Smith right away, so he demanded another D Smith (Drew) in the trade for the Dude; let's hope this fireballing bullpen righty can out-do Vic Black for the Mets starting soon. 

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7/27/17

TRADE! Lucas Duda traded to the Tampa Bay Rays

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     According to Joel Sherman, via Twitter, the Mets have traded 1B Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHRP Drew Smith.

In 8 seasons with the Mets, Duda posted an average stat line of a .246 AVG, .801 OPS, with 27 HRs and 81 RBIs per season. He finishes his Mets career 7th in franchise history in HRs, tied for 10th in Adjusted OPS+, and 1st in HBP with 48. It is expected that Duda will play 1B for the Rays with current 1B Logan Morrison moving into the DH role, and current DH Corey Dickerson moving back into the OF.

On the return side, Drew Smith is a hard throwing RH reliever with a plus fastball and an above average curveball that misses plenty of bats. Smith will be assigned to (AA) Binghamton Rumble Ponies for the immediate time frame. In 3 MiLB season thus far, Smith has a 1.80 ERA with 13 Saves and a 10.1 K/9 rate. According to MLB.com's Team Prospects page,


"Smith is largely a fastball/breaking ball short reliever. His heater will sit comfortably in the 92-95 mph range, and he can reach back for more, all from a clean and easy delivery. He'll show an above-average curveball at times with really good snap to it, but not consistently. Smith doesn't throw his changeup enough, and he'll need to improve his feel for the pitch and use it more in the future, though he did make strides as a strike-thrower in his second full season."
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ROSTER MOVES

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Columbia reliever/closer Adonis Uceta was promoted to A+/St. Lucie. He's earned it. The 23-year old has gone 4-0, 1.26, 0.91 in 29 appearances for the Fireflies, while striking out 47 in 43 innings pitched.
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Peter Hyatt - A Tale of Two Sluggers from Phil Mushnick

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Phil Mushnick did a terrific job summarizing the difference between two sluggers, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Yoenis Cespdes of the New York Mets. 

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

I've added to his article with bold italic type.  Click on Phil's name to link to the NY Post article directly.  

Aaron Judge: when rare is well done

Aaron Judge: when rare is well done
How to explain Aaron Judge?
How is it that we’re wild about him although he’s an honor student recently graduated from the “old school” — even if he was born after they knocked it down?
Or is that, in addition to hitting home runs, why we’re wild about him?
Having been compromised by TV and marketing plans that sell bad-is-cool, immodest bat-flipping sluggers, mean-mugging stare-down artists and end-zone twerk-dancers, perhaps we’ve become frightened to publicly admit that we’d much prefer young stars to be more Aaron Judge, less Odell Beckham Jr.

Other than HRs, what’s worth enjoying about Judge? Try these: We love the way he plays the game, respects the game, treats the game. We love the way he plays hard, runs hard, catches with both hands. We love his polite, warm engagement of fans.

We love his unapologetic humility and dignity, the kind sacrificed years ago to what ESPN and Nike determined, to our sustaining detriment, to be the bad-dude standard for attention and adulation. Judge betrays that lie.

Yes? No?

Where are those media who bash and ridicule “purists” and “traditionalists” for living life in the past lane — grumpy old men stewing in their obsolete juices — on Judge? Why haven’t they condemned Judge for playing humble, old-fangled, winning baseball? How has Judge been able to return us to a place he has never been?

Or is it that the new-age hip — aka, panderers — love what they see from Judge, too? Might they be closeted traditionalists who for years were afraid to risk the wrath of fools?

Where is ESPN’s smack-mouthed Dan Le Batard, who trashed those who prefer baseball to be played “the right way” — run hard to first, no all-about-me displays — as code for playing the game “the white way”? Where is his attack on Judge?





Friday in Seattle, after Judge hit a home run that threatened to ripple Puget Sound, YES’s David Cone noticed what we noticed: Judge allowed himself the briefest glance toward the ball before running — yes, running — toward first. Cone loves the way Judge plays the game.
But in the same telecast, Cone said ex-Yankee Robinson Cano, as he was shown in the Mariners’ dugout, eventually will “punch his ticket” to Cooperstown.
Sure, why not? A guy who has spent his career minimizing his teams’ chances to win by not bothering to do the least he could do — run to first base — is today Grade A Hall of Fame material. Oops, there goes my grumpy old traditionalist side. Gotta learn to control that.

Here, Mr. Mushnick sounds very much like the exasperated Keith Hernandez. 

Mex is simply unable to accept the new arrogance of lack of effort in baseball today.  

Ron Darling is at his best when Keith is in the booth; otherwise, Darling sometimes sounds like he is auditioning  for ESPN. 

Also, Friday, came the revelation that Yoenis Cespedes, a one-trick pony despite the pony’s recidivist ailments and indifference to performing — he was “rested,” Sunday, until flying out as a ninth-inning, “high-leverage” pinch hitter — said he’d like to one day return to play for the A’s, the first of three teams to which he became expendable as a player who hits home runs but otherwise doesn’t give a rat’s retina.

I've never seen a baseball player show moments of less effort than Yoenis Cespedes. Offensive and Defensive, he hustles only when he so chooses just as he chose his own ego driven leg press workout in the off season.  

When these moments are placed in context of his tremendous talent and $110 million dollar contract, the outrage only increases. 

In a day game against the Cardinals, he even caused a delay in the game as he was, inning after inning, the last player to reach his position and the last player to reach the dugout.  At one point, he stopped to chat with some Cardinals, and then restarted his entitlement shuffle.  I thought that the ump was going to warn Collins.  

Collins is hamstrung by management.  He cannot submit his line up card until he hears from "El Hombre."  At age 68, Collins' statements show he is growing weary of the onerous task of lying and covering for the brooding narcissist.  

Keith Hernandez praises Cespedes' base running and he is correct; this guy moves well and cuts the corners perfectly.  Of late, Keith has upped the level of complaint adding, "when he decides to go for it..." or something along these lines. 

We have the best baseball announcers.  Keith's "grumpiness" is perfect for what ails us. 

He is a baseball fan at heart that cannot bear the disrespect of the game by loafers.  

But as dating website ads promise, there’s someone for everyone. Cespedes, who’d already proven to the Mets — as he had to the A’s, Tigers and Red Sox — that he’s often not in the mood to play baseball— he’s accomplished at turning doubles into singles — re-signed for $110 million over four years.

And Friday he pledged allegiance to the A’s.

Perhaps Cespedes has forgotten that he played for four teams in five years.  




Actually, losing $110 million is not the only issue. 


When Cespedes, before he re-signed with the Mets, was found to have played golf while on the disabled list, GM Sandy Alderson excused him while conceding that made for “a bad optic.” That’s how traditionalists say, “It looks bad,” likely because it is bad.
This bad optic? Given the Mets are paying a part-time, indolent outfielder $110 million, Mets ownership has again been suckered (see: Madoff, Bernie) out of a fortune.

On the other hand, what at first seemed an act that invited cynical suspicion — as if Aaron Judge is Eddie Haskell in pinstripes — remains stuck in genuine.

The 2017 Mets have had to deal with Cespedes' influence upon other players, including the already self indulging Matt Harvey.  By making his own rules, "El Hombre" has some apt pupils, including Noah Syndergaard .

"Cespeditis", the disease of conceit, spreads.  

In 2015, he broke an unwritten rule when he threw a rookie under the bus, blaming young Michael Conforto for his own misplayed ball. 

Cespedes comes and goes as he pleases and when the Mets' GM finally had enough, he went public with a statement in an attempt to get some value out of his investment:  going as far as telling the public that "no substantial injury" could be found with Cespedes' leg, "not even swelling."

When the Mets wanted x number of A games from Cespedes, Cespedes refused.  

When the Mets wanted x number of at bats, Cespedes refused. 

When he did come back, the home run ball shut the Mets up nicely.  

Now that he is approaching 100 at bats without a home run, his running of his mouth, much more than his lack of hustle, has not only irked management, but it has further divided the club house. 

Even buddy Jose Reyes had to distance himself from Cespedes.  Cespedes' main supporter is Astrubel Cabrera, of whom the same mouthy insult came when he demanded a trade because his employer did not share their minor league player development plans with him. 

Who does Cabrera think he is?

Cespedes? 

Mushnick concludes:  

So it now seems OK — not as politically incorrect or as pop-culturally risky as it first seemed — to admit that we like the way Aaron Judge plays, treats and respects baseball. We can admire him without even fractional compromise of the dormant and/or antiquated senses of right-from-wrong and good from bad.
As good and bad optics go, Aaron Judge is still not an optical illusion.

The Yankees have their Aaron Judge; a good kid, a good team mate and a good example for boys growing up. 

The Mets have Michael Conforto, with a major difference being that the Yankees are willing to develop young talent, while the lame duck combination of Alderson/Collins conspires to play aging contracts over talent. 

Had it not been for injury, the Mets lone All Star might be batting .400...

in AAA.

Terry Collins was "surprised" at Conforto's success.

No one else was, either in the fan base, nor in Major League baseball.

He was voted onto the All Star team...

by his peers.

None of them appeared surprised. 

The 2018 Mets could be a better, overall, team, without Yoenis Cespedes. 

See if Oakland is willing to take him back. 

It is not likely, even if we eat a good portion of his salary.  Oakland As were not enamored with him, as he seems to think, nor do current players respect a man who stabs his own manager in the back.  

Benedict Arnold did not receive the acclaim and respect he thought he would by the British.  

Cespedes should not expect much difference.

This contract is going to get more and more weighted as time progresses.  

Those who believed he was a year older than claimed may have a silent "I told you so" in a new form come 2019 when some say,

"We warned Alderson, but he was under pressure from the New York Media.  We warned him about the need for a psych eval.  We told him what Boston said. ..."

I'd like to see what an outfield of 

Conforto in Left

Bruce in Right and 

the possibility of Brandon Nimmo and/or Juan Legares in Centerfield, in 2018 might produce.  
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Tom Brennan - AA STARTERS WHO RUMBLE

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Tom Brennan - AA STARTERS WHO RUMBLE


Chris Flexen gets his first big league start tonight in San Diego, and it is a fine club to break in against - last in hitting and last in runs scored in the majors, averaging a run less per game than our Metsies.  Since he bypassed Las Vegas Pitchers' Hell to go straight to the big leagues, it shows that pitching for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies is sometimes a heartbeat from the majors.






So what was Flexen accomplishing in Binghamton?  And...

How about his fellow starters, too, while we're at it?


Flexen first - he's young (just turned 23), big (listed at 6'3", 250), and throws hard. After a cup of coffee in the lower minors at the age of 18 in 2012, he had a great year in 2013, 8-1, 2.09 in eleven starts as a 19 year old.   He struggled for a while in Savannah in 2014, succumbed to the evil Tommy John mid-season, and returned mid-season in 2015.  After a rehab with Brooklyn, he dazzled with Savannah to close out 2015, going 4-0, 1.87 in 6 outings.

2016 was a decent year in St Lucie, some great starts, some not so great, but he got 25 starts in and went 10-9, 3.56 with a high 51 walks in 134 innings.  But in his last 2 outings of 2016, back to back 5 shutout inning efforts, the second with no hits allowed.  A great sign for 2017.

Spring 2017, hoping to see Flexen in spring games, was frustrating, as he needed meniscus surgery, which delayed his season start to May 17 - 3 outings for St Lucie, then on to Rumble Pony land. 

In AA, simply exceptional. 7 starts, 6-1, 1.66, slightly over a K per inning, superb control, 0.72 WHIP.  His "worst" outing involved him allowing 2 first inning runs and a 7th inning run.

Just 10 walks in 62 IP in 2017, a huge improvement vs 2016.

I for one very much look forward to this inaugural Mets start.


ON TO THE OTHER BINGHAMTON STARTERS:


MARCOS MOLINA: the prized 22 year old righty is just 2-8 this year, but the last start (no decision)was a beauty - Tuesday night, 6 innings, 3 hits, no runs, 9 Ks - he's back!!

As a 19 year old in the NY Penn League, he was the best starter in the entire league.  Sadly, Tommy John (what else) caused him to miss a chunk of 2015 and all of 2016. 

Back from TJS in 2017, his season was delayed until mid-May due to (what else) injury.

Once back, he was 2-3, 1.26 in 5 starts for St Lucie. Promoted to AA, he lost his first 5 starts, mostly pitching satisfactorily (but for one start), but the latest start against a decent hitting team hints strongly to me that he is about to enter the Flexen Fast Lane. 

Molina could be starting games in Queens at some point next year - I'd skip him over Vegas, too.

COREY OSWALT: Turning 24 this September, the 6'5", 250 Oswalt has been oft-injured (limiting him to 404 innings in 5 1/2 seasons. 

But he has been healthy this season, and sits at a fine 7-4, 2.61 (but a 1.26 WHIP compared to Flexen's 0.72).

However, drop his first two lousy starts and he is great - 7-2, 2.17 in his 16 starts since.  He has surrendered zero runs in 5 of his starts.  80 Ks in 97 IP is decent too.  

My guess?  He gets to experience Vegas Pitching Hell before he shows up in Queens in late 2018, perhaps as a pen arm if not as a starter.

MICKEY JANNIS: a 44th round pick, the 5'9" knuckleballing Jannis is trying to become  the next RA Dickey.  After pitching a 7 inning shutout in the doubleheader on Tuesday, he is 7-5, 4.04 this season in 17 starts.  His control has improved in 2017 (35 walks in 100 IP, vs. 76 in 141 IP last year), showing that he is progressing with the knuckler. 

We'll see if Dickey II shows up in Queens in 2018 or 2019 - if he in fact can make the bigs - but his 2017 progress seems to indicate that could be a real possibility, whether with the Mets or another big league team.

PJ CONLON: the crafty lefty was brilliant in rookie ball in 2015 and in A ball in 2016.  In AA, he has had some ups and downs (including 13 homers in 115 innings) but stands solid at 7-7, 3.68 with 3 shutouts.  Not a hard thrower, he nonetheless shows every sign of at least being a capable big league bullpen piece if he can not achieve a starter's role in the bigs.  I did an article a few years ago, where many decent minors relievers were cut or retired - a knuckler for marginal guys like Jannis can be the great equalizer.

CASEY DELGADO: the 27 year old undrafted Delgado, signed by the Mets out of Indy ball in 2015 at the age of 24, has struggled in 2017, going 6-5, 5.71 in 76 innings with a 1.82 WHIP.  Those #s don't shout "major league caliber."   Maybe adding a knuckler could help him get over the hump.

SUMMARY: Some intriguing quality starters in Binghamton this season.  If you don't agree with me, let's rumble, dude.

Oh, and Steve Matz stunk again last night against San Diego.  He's pitching worse than he did when he was in AA.
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