Q and A with Mack and Company and… MetsBlog’s Michael G. Baron


I recently posted my interview with Mike from last year and it was still pretty spot on. He’s agreed to take some questions from the “team” over here at Mack’s Mets, so guys, fire away:

"Hey Mike this is Stephen Guilbert from Mack's Mets. There is some sense that Harvey, Wheeler, Familia, Mejia etc. will be slowed down and made to use 2012 to get the proper seasoning and experience against quality hitters. Is this still the word around the organization and if not, who do you think will see time in Flushing? Outside of the big four, which prospect has the best shot at making the team out of spring training?"

MB: I don't know what the official word is on Harvey, Wheeler and Familia, but I think it's logical to assume that neither of the three will be on the Opening Day roster, even if they have dominating Springs in big league camp. All of them need more seasoning; Wheeler has never played a game above Single-A, Harvey wasn't consistent at Double-A, and it doesn't seem like Familia has an identity yet, as good as he was last year.

Of the three, the pitcher wit the best chance of getting a cup of coffee is Harvey only because he is the most advanced of the three. I don't think there are any guarantees for him in 2012, but certainly 2013 is a realistic target for him to be on the big league roster out of camp.

In regards to Mejia, Sandy Alderson has already said he will not be ready for Opening Day. Assuming he is back at Triple-A in May or June, he will need to build his innings count up, build stamina, etc. It's not unrealistic to think Mejia can't be making an impact at the big league level in August or September, but, like Familia, it remains to be seen whether he will be a starter or a reliever going forward.

I don't know if any of their prospects will make the team out of camp mostly because all of them need to play consistently this year, and starting roles aren't currently up for grabs on the big league roster.


Hello Mike, this is Charles Thompson. My question is about Brandon Nimmo. When he was first drafted, there were a lot of people who thought the Mets decided to go cheap and pick na easily signed player as opposed to one of the top college arms available. Now, that feeling seems to have changed a bit and there’s more folks who believe Nimmo is a truly special talent. What was your opinion on draft day and has that changed at all in the past 6+ months? Thanks Mike.

MB: When the Mets drafted Nimmo last June, Paul DePodesta basically said they went after the best player available to them, regardless of the position. They felt that player was Nimmo. In August, they signed him to a reported $2.1 million signing bonus. The recommended bonus for Nimmo's slot (13th overall) was $1.65 million. So, I don't know if it's fair to say the Mets took the cheapest route in their first pick.

I was generally impressed with the Mets draft strategy last June. Outside of Nimmo, they largely emphasized pitching, which has always been a signature of this organization. I liked how they took who they felt was the best overall player available to them as well. While there are no guarantees with any of their picks, that strategy going forward is encouraging.


Mike, this is Frank Gray. Who was your favorite player to take a photo of , the most approachable person to photograph, and the least approachable person to photograph?

MB: By far, my favorite player to photograph is Jose Reyes. He, along with Angel Pagan are very approachable and easy to talk to. I developed a good rapport with both of those players over the last two years, and I'm looking forward to seeing them professionally with their new teams (although, as a fan, I am sad that Reyes has gone).


It’s Conrad Youngren … A lot of talk about the need for a LHB 4th/5th OF. With a potential starting lineup of 4 LHB's, a SH (Torres) & 3 RHB's (Wright, Bay, Tejada), what's the fuss? Does this mean: (A) Capt. Kirk will really not be ready sometime in 2012? and (B) Juan Legares coming off a productive 2011 and AFL has no shot at the 5th OF slot?

MB: I don't think the problem is so much in their lineup as it is on their bench, and I think the problem is independent of Kirk Nieuwenhuis potential arrival this season. Currently, they have five players who hit left-handed on their 25-man roster: Andres Torres (switch-hitter), Josh Thole, Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, and Daniel Murphy - all of which are projected as starters right now. They do not have a left-handed answer on the bench, and that leaves Terry Collins in a difficult position late in games.

I don't think they're looking for someone who would start - as I said, they have 4-5 lefties already in their projected starting lineup and adding another lefty to the starting lineup would make it unbalanced. They are presumably looking for a part time, utility outfielder who hits left-handed.


Hey Mike, Chris Soto here... It was announced a while ago that Harvey and Den Dekker have received Spring Training invites to the club. In Harvey's case I see it as just a preview for Mets fans, however what about Den Dekker? Is there a SLIM outside shot that if he produces in ST that he'll skip AAA and head north with the club?

MB: I don't think so, for the same reasons I mentioned about the Mets pitching prospects before. Den Dekker is probably already a major league outfielder, but he struggled offensively in Double-A last year, striking out a ton in a relatively small number of at-bats. He needs to play, and he needs to continue to develop his discipline at the plate. He is an exciting young player with quick hands, good power, and speed. He just needs a little more time.


David Groveman said...

My follow-up question would be: Let us imagine that Harvey, Familia, Wheeler, Den Dekker etc... have good springs and get sent dutifully to the minors. The season starts and after a month the Mets are almost 10 games out of first place in the division and Harvey, Familia, Wheeler, Den Dekker etc... have been doing well in AAA and AA (Without necessarily curing their ills).

When do the Mets risk player development of their prospects in order to keep fans in the seats?

Christopher Soto said...

IMO Dave, none of the Big 4 pitching prospects will get touch until September.

As for Spin, Havens, Kirk, and AAA Hitters. They could see time in late June/July if all things go well.

Hobie said...

@ Chris (& re Michael B.) "...As for Spin, Havens, Kirk, and AAA Hitters. They could see time in late June/July if all things go well."

These are all LH bats. Picking up another LHB utility OF for the the first few months seems a pretty low priority to me. Personally, I'd give N'huis PT to recoop in Buff for at least a few months and pick from Loewen, Baxter or even (RHB) Legares for that spot out of ST.

Mack Ade said...

2 things...

1. word I get is no one else will be promoted out of ST... basically, no one is ready

2. Re: Kirk - his injury needs to play every day - he'll stay in Buffalo until September, and, if the Mets are out of the race then, will play every day in the Queens LF

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