1/31/13

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Baseball America - Top San Diego Padres Prospects

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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Casey Kelly, rhp
2. Max Fried, lhp
3. Jedd Gyorko, 2b/3b
4. Austin Hedges, c
5. Rymer Liriano, of
6. Matt Wisler, rhp
7. Cory Spangenberg, 2b
8. Joe Wieland, rhp
9. Adys Portillo, rhp
10. Robbie Erlin, lhp











for the story and details, click here: 

http://ht.ly/2uwL0t 
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Mack Ade - The Quiet and Beauty of “Pitchers and Catchers” Reporting

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This is such a private and special moment for so few. You still have to check into the main offices of the St. Lucie complex, though the main clubhouse remains closed throughout the week. All players, be them on the parent team or from one of the affiliates are housed in the minor league complex at the other end of the field.

You get back in your car and drive over to the back road that leads to the minor league complex where the same guy has been working the gate is since probably the stadium was build. There are very few fans gathered because there simply is nothing that is going on for the general public.

Reporters and players begin to arrive around 8am. Adam Rubin is always the first one there, other than Jay Horwitz who is sitting outside the front door answering the countless emails that come in on his hand hold.

It’s never a large crowd but it’s always a special one and the players seem to treat the press as being part of this inner circle family that very few get the opportunity to be invited into.

And then it’s time. Everyone heads out for morning stretches, followed by toss along one of the back fields. Every day players that have arrived to camp eventually talk one of the coached (Tuff) into throwing batting practice on another field and eventually all the pitchers are sent over to the stealth series of mounds located between two of the back fields on the back end of the complex, opposite the field maintenance work area. It is here on these 8-10 mounds where Mets coaches and reporters will get their first look at this year’s crop of invitees to P/C.

It eventually ends and everyone returns to the minor league clubhouse and selective interviews are orchestrated by Horwitz. One year, it was Oliver Perez. Another, it was Johan Santana after being rehabbed. Kevin Burkhardt, if he’s in town,  always gets the first question, Rubin tried to be next, the rest of the major periodical beat reporters follow him, and the rest say nothing, frozen in the moment and afraid to wear out our welcome.

It’s all over by 1pm. Some players hang around in the clubhouse to play cards, but that’s their private moment. The complex closes down and the only thing left to do is go hang out at Duffy’s for the next seven hours.

Is it baseball? No.

Is it Spring Training? Almost.

Is it the single most important special club you can be part of in your entire life. You betcha.
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More Stuff – Gabriel Ynoa, Noah Syndergaard, Juan Lagares, Tom Tango

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Regarding losing draft picks due to free agent signings, when the Mets signed  P Francisco Rodriguez, they gave up their first round draft pick to the Los Angeles Angels, who used it to pick Mike Trout.



I decided to pick one prospect in each team’s farm system who I believe is poised to have a breakout season in the minors this year. New York Mets – Gabriel Ynoa (RHP). Great low-effort delivery, impressive control, finesse type of pitcher, with a #3-4 SP projection.

We don’t write very often about players whose only professional stats are in rookie leagues. Some are just getting some at bats or innings during the same year they just finished playing their last year in school. Anothor factor is just the free swinging wildness of the level. Pitchers tend to look better, but most of them disappear by the time they hit AA. In the case of Ynoa, who turns 20 in May, the IFA pitched one year  in the DR (5-3, 1.99), 2011 for GCL/K-Port (2-3, 3.21), and last season for the Cyclones (5-2, 2.23). He’ll move on to Savannah with his Brooklyn buddies, but we won’t know what we have here until 2015 when he is projected to pitch in Binghamton. By then, he might become major trade bait if Mr. Schwartz’s prediction for greatness is correct.


Jonathan Mayo

His (Noah Syndergaard) power curve has improved as he’s added velocity to it and it could be an above-average breaking ball in the future. He has a power changeup as well, which is still a work in progress, but could give him a third above-average offering. Despite his size, he has an easy delivery and he throws strikes. His combination of stuff, pitchability and aggressiveness on the mound point to a possible future as a frontline starter.

You do realize that there now is a distinct possibility that the 2015 Mets will have three SP1s? And all this hype is coming from the guys that know what they are talking about. How would you like a rotation with Jon Niese and Rafael Montero on the ‘back end’?




OF Juan Lagares - After a 2011 campaign where the one-time highly-regarded, yet oft-injured IFA broke out to the tune of a .350 average, he regressed in 2012 by posting a .283 average in a repeat appearance at Double-A. Regardless, the athletic 23-year-old still possesses a number of skills/tools that could help the big club in 2013. Most notably, he can hit lefties. In 2012 he batted .333/.382/.477 against southpaws, and that was no aberration (.346/.377/.516 since 2011). Additionally, though not a natural center fielder, he has taken relatively well to the position and even offers good speed, something the Mets lack. Once again, with the current state of the outfield it's fair to expect we'll see Lagares at some point in 2013.

Here’s the problem with this whole Lagares play centerfield thing. He’s not going to do that in Las Vegas. Centerfield is Matt den Dekker’s job, both now in Nevada and the future, in Queens. I think Lagares has done a remarkable job of re-inventing himself, and, yes, he can hit lefties… in AA. Let’s give him a full season in Las Vegas and see what he can do there. He’s welcomed to right field.



Jon Greenberg had a fantastic interview with Tom Tango, the inventor of FIP. Here’s what Tango said about it:

FIP is great because it is such a simple construction, but it tells us so much about the pitcher. We don't have a problem with assigning different weights to each hit to come up with a slugging average for example. And that's what FIP is. FIP limits itself to looking at strikeouts, walks, and home runs, gives each a specific weight, and scales to ERA. I don't know that I'd tout other stats like that one, but the one thing that is most important is to make sure you understand the context of the stat. Don't just look at RBIs, look also at how many runners are on base. And not just how many runners, but where are they on the bases. And not just where, but how many outs, especially for runner on third. Once you realize there's so much bias in a player's RBI totals you learn to move away from it, and focus on the skills that lead to RBIs.
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1-31-13 – Cory Mazzoni, Bullpen Candidates, Brian Schnieder, Carlos Gomez

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Jonathan Mayo - ‏@JonathanMayoB3

Every-day 2B RT @JGuarino24: @JonathanMayoB3 what future do you see for Gavin Cecchini?




RHP Cory Mazzoni - Mazzoni is an interesting name for 2013 after a rather underwhelming 2012 debut for the '11 second rounder. A strikeout per nine mark around 6.5 between High-A and Double-A is a big red flag. Additionally, he seemed to have problems putting away Double-A hitters (.281 opponent average, 1.00 home run per nine), an unexpected turn for a guy known for a nice mix of polish as well as mid-90s heat. For that reason, scouts think his stuff would play up in shorter bursts. And should the Mets make that transition, expect Mazzoni's mix of command, velocity, and decent secondary stuff to move very quickly

I really don’t know where to project Mazzoni in 2013. The Binghamton rotation is kind of wide open right now. Rafael Montero should go back to St. Lucie, but probably will be rushed to Binghamton. Other candidates other than Mazzoni are Angel Cuan, Chase Huchington, Eric Goeddel, Tyler Pill, John Church, and Brandon Moore.There’s no rush here. I would slot him in as SP2 behind Montero and let him pitch the entire season in Binghamton. Long term, I see his future as a member of the pen.


The current candidates for the Mets bullpen:

Bobby Parnell             R, 29, 5-yrs, 13-19, 3.83, 1.46, 256.0-IP, 235-K103-BB         
Josh Edgin                  L, 26, 1-yr, 1-2, 4.50, 1.12, 26.0-IP, 30-K, 10-BB       
Frank Francisco          R, 33, 8-yrs, 19-22, 3.94, 1.33, 375.0-IP, 415-K, 166-BB
Pedro Feliciano          L, 36, 8-yrs, 22-19, 3.32, 1.38, 371.0-IP, 341-K, 154-BB       
Scott Atchison            R, 37, 6-yrs, 7-7, 3.47, 1.23, 210.0-IP, 164-K, 59-BB
Robert Carson            L, 24, 1-yr, 0-0, 4.85, 1.31, 13.1-IP, 5-K, 4-BB
Jeurys Familia             R, 23, 1-yr, 0-0, 6.00, 1.58, 12.0-IP, 10-K, 9-BB
Jeremy Hefner            R, 27, 1-yr, 4-7, 5.07, 1.36, 94.0-IP, 62-K, 18-BB      
Elvin Ramirez             R, 26, 1-yr, 0-1, 5.57, 2.10, 21.0-IP, 22-K, 20-BB
Greg Burke                 R, 30, 1-yr, 3-3, 4.11, 1.54, 46.0-IP, 33-K, 23-BB
Jenrry Mejia               R, 24, 2-yrs, 1-6, 4.91, 1.73, 55.0-IP, 30-K, 29-BB
Darin Gorski               L, 26, 0-yrs (minors: 4-yrs, 29-23, 3.68, 1.23, 455.0-IP, 417-K
LaTroy Hawkins          R, 40, 18-yrs, 65-88, 4.46, 1.43, 1301-IP, 862-K, 426-BB

Adam Rubin's projected pen: Francisco, Parnell, Edgin, Feliciano, Atchison, Hawkins, then long man like Hefner/Laffey


Brian Schneider:

“It hasn’t been an easy decision, but there are a lot of factors,” said the 36-year-old free agent. “You don’t want to retire, but you think of your family and I think more than anything it’s physically how you feel. I’d kind of like to leave on my own terms and not have my last impression of baseball be someone telling me I can’t play. But there is a lot going on in my life and I’m very fortunate to have a great family and start being a dad and being around more often and being a good husband.”


I really liked the trade of Schneider and OF Ryan Church to the Mets for bad—boy Lastings Milledge. I thought the Mets got rid of a trouble that would only get worse and received two legitimate front line every day players. I expected both to become long time Mets players and his first season with the Mets (.257, 9-HR, 38-RBI) showed promise, but then everything went south in 2009. As for Church, a couple of concussions caused his career to come to an end in 2010.




Carlos Gomez- In the event that Ellsbury has injury woes again in 2013, or commands a contract that’s outlandish, Gomez (28 years old heading into 2014 and another Boras client) would be a solid fallback option.  One of the players the Mets dealt to Minnesota in the Johan Santana trade, Gomez has established himself as an elite defensive center fielder.  It’s taken a while for Gomez’ offense to catch up to his defense, but he made huge strides in 2012.  For his career, he’s still only a .247 hitter with a .294 OBP, but he flashed above average power last year (cracking 19 home runs) while upping his average to .260.  Another Boras client, the Mets should be open to bringing Gomez back and sticking him in center field if Ellsbury isn’t brought in.


I don’t care what any of the minor league weenies will tell you now. We were all upset when this trade (Gomez, pitchers Deolis Guerra, Phillip Humber and Kevin Mulvey were sent to the Twins for the two time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana) went down. We are in the weenie business and these were the four best in the organization at the time.  But, like the Brian Schneider – Ryan Church story above, no one is certain in this business. Still, I would love to see Gomez back in centerfield for the Mets. I see him as a 20-25HR, .280 tops guy with impeccable defense (please don’t forget how many games this team has lost the past three years because of poor defense)
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Mets Sign RP LaTroy Hawkins

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The Mets announced last night that they signed 39-year old RHRP LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league contract, with a spring training invite.

Hawkins has pitched 18 years in the majors, the last being 2012 for the LA Angels: 48-G, 2-3, 3.64, 1.38, 42.0-IP, 23-K, 13-BB.

His less than one inning per appearance screams of ROOGY.

Lifetime, Hawkins is 65-88, 4.46, 1.43.
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1/30/13

More Stuff - Shaun Marcum, Zack Wheeler, Zach Lutz, Carlos Beltran, Michael Bourn

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Shaun Marcum –

“My main reason in my interest in the Mets was an opportunity to go out & make 30 starts and my ties with JP Ricciardi. I talked to David Wright and John Buck. Buck was my catcher in 2010 when I had my best year. I have a comfort level with Buck. This is a place I like. They gave me a chance. The way I feel right now, I'm looking forward to getting the ball rolling."

Zack Wheeler

“Naturally, I hope I could make the team. But, I’m prepared to pitch wherever they send me… I just hope to put up some good numbers this spring and show them what I can do.”



3B Zach Lutz - The 26-year-old showed, once again, that he can hit in 2012. In fact, it was the third straight season he posted an OPS at or near .900 at Triple-A Buffalo, showcasing what's become a familiar mix of power, patience, and raw hitting ability. Yet, the problem, as always, is that no matter how much he hits he's blocked by David Wright. What's more, his bulky frame doesn't profile anywhere else but first -- where he's also blocked. However, the Mets severe dearth of right-handed pop means Lutz will apparently get reps in the outfield this spring. He should hit if given the opportunity, the only question is whether the shoddy defense is worth the bat -- and if/when the Mets get desperate we'll likely find out. Additionally, a lot of the same can be said for the similarly road blocked Josh Satin, though with less pop in his bat.

Like Josh Satin, Lutz has spent his entire Mets career blocked and yet neither of the two were picked in the Rule 5 Draft. In the case of Lutz, he’s had every unlucky injury imaginable. It’s simply too late for him to be converted to an outfielder and the shame is that another great minor league bat was wasted.




Carlos Beltran- Yes, Carlos Beltran.  The player who many fans blame for the Mets not making the World Series in 2006.  The guy who won Game 1 of the NLCS by himself, but had the gall to be unable to hit an un-hittable curveball in the 9th inning of Game 7.  The best all around outfielder the Mets ever had.  Beltran will be 37 heading into 2014, but is still very productive.  He’s no longer elite defensively, but his offensive game is still there.  He hit .269 with 32 home runs and 97 RBI’s for St Louis last year, and should be available for a reasonable one or two year deal after this season.  If his 2013 resembles his 2012, the Mets should ponder bringing him back as a second piece that complements the addition of either Ellsbury, Gomez, or Choo.

This is what we call “reaching” during a period when you’ve run out of things to write about. I love Beltran, but his days in New York are over. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. He would fit in, age wise, perfectly with the Yankees.




Overall, those numbers don’t bode well for Michael Bourn. If there is a silver lining, however, it’s that the players who were able to maintain or improve on their stolen base rates over the next three seasons were the ones that received a lot of playing time. That does give some hope that Bourn might lucky enough to maintain his skills over the next three years. Giving Bourn a five-year deal would be a tough pill to swallow. The decline rate for these players is high enough in their early thirties, but it really jumps once they hit 33 or 34. Bourn had the most stolen bases of any player included in this study, which is another reason for optimism, at least in the short run. But the risk with speedy players is very real as they get into their 30s. The Mets are wise to be cautious in this scenario.

I think even Scott Boras is beginning to realize that his client isn’t going to get a 5-year deal. It’s simply too late in both the off-season process and the age of his client. Look for an opt-out one-year deal to develop that could result in a team getting back a 2nd round draft pick in 2014 after losing a first round pick in 2013. Now, all you have to do is find someone that wants this dude for only one year.
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Ryan Nodes - A Trade of Reckoning...

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The date was August 21, 2009, which for some of you may ring a bell, as it was a very meaningful date for the NY Mets. It was one of the bigger signs that we were in for years of misery due to Wilpons/Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme which will later be considered as one of the darkest periods in Mets history . A left handed, flame throwing relief pitcher by the name of Billy "The Kid" Wagner had recently come off the DL and was pitching quite well for the Mets, so much so, that other teams were asking Omar "Lobby" Minaya what it would take to get the lefty closer, with almost 400 saves on his resume in a trade. 

It turns out the price tag for a once dominant left handed closer, (who at the time was rated as a type A free agent), would end up being a journeymen bench player with no real position in the field (Chris Carter) and a low level, non-impact prospect that retired just a few months after this trade, (Eddie Lora). I had to look up Lora's name since made such a little impact with us. Lora actually had 34 rookie ball AB's, hit a whopping .088 and then quickly retired soon after. Carter came up with a few big pinch hits, but was quickly non-tendered after the 2010 season and he's now out of MLB, playing somewhere in Japan, not exactly lighting it up there either.

Not only did we not get much in the trade, the real story is about what we gave up in that unfortunate deal. No, not Billy Wagner, he was expendable given where we were at the time, as well as K-Rod was entrenched as our closer. Wagner didnt end up helping the Red Sox win a championship in 2009 and actually didn't even pitch that well in the playoffs vs the Angels, but what he did do for the Red Sox was getting them the #20th & #39th overall draft picks in the 2010 draft. After the 2009 season, they offered him salary arbitration since he was a Type A free agent, which he declined, resulting in those compensatory draft picks. (To add even more insult to injury, they also got the #36th pick from us as a result of us signing Jason Bay from them, which turned into Bryce Brentz. In fairness, I wasn't against the Jason Bay signing at the time, but your welcome Red Sox fans).  

With those picks, the Red Sox drafted Kolbrin Vitek and Anthony Ranaudo, who some could argue haven't exactly lived up to their reputations to this point, but are still both young prospects and have plenty of time to turn things around. Both of those players would be nice additions to have in our farm system, but lets take a look at some of the other players that were drafted around these spots that we gave away to the Red Sox instead of just holding onto Wagner and the $3.5 m left on the last year of his contract.  This is the part that will sting!

Here are just few that we could have had a shot at:

(#23) Christian Yelich
(#24) Gary Brown
(#27) Jessie Biddle
(#28) Zach Lee
(#34) Aaron Sanchez
(#36) Bryce Brentz
(#38) Noah Syndergaard
(#43) Tajiuan Walker
(#44) Nick Castellanos
(#49) Mike Olt
(#59) Jedd Gyorko
(#70) Andrelton Simmons

It's not to say we would have drafted any of these guys, but its possible we could have picked up at least one of these guys at the very least would have a little bit deeper farm system with either of those picks.  The problem was, the Wilpons needed money BADLY, so they DUMPED Billy Wagner and the approx $3.5 M left on his deal, as well as DUMPED the price tags it would have costed to sign these high drafts picks, which would have been another approximately $3-$3.5 M based on estimated slot prices for those picks. 

This is the very definition of a salary dump, which has had a significant impact on the current/future state of the major league team. I agree that there's no way we would have drafted two of these big name guys I listed above, but what if we got lucky with either pick and did grab at least one of these guys? Just imagine how much deeper our farm system would be right now if we kept these picks and grab at least one of these guys. Right now, John Sickels has us rated as the #12th best farm system, add one or two of these guys would have us in the top 5, maybe #1! 

For example, if we had drafted say, Tajiuan Walker who's arguably a top 3 best starting RH prospect in all of baseball to team with Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Syndergaard, etc. for our 2014-15 rotation projection. We did pick up Syndergaard in the Dickey trade, but it wouldn't hurt if we drafted him and picked up Aaron Sanchez or Anthony Gose from Toronto instead in the Dickey deal.  How about having Bryce Brentz or Mike Olt right now to groom as our starting RF of the future that could hit for power in the middle of our lineup for years to come. Or say, Gary Brown or Christian Yelich roaming CF for us for the next 6-8 years would be nice additions right about now and wouldn't put our OF in such a dark hole that it is right now. Gyorko, Simmons, Castellanos, Lee, Biddle, ETC, ETC, ETC!! Not to mention the trade value these prospects would have for say a RH/OF with 30+ HR, 100 RBI power potential!! (and you thought I was done talking about Justin Upton, lol)

I know people are going to respond to this and say hindsight is 20-20 and obviously if we know now, what we knew then, they would do things different, but this is a different situation all together. To me, this was an obvious dump and horrendously awful moves made by Fred and Jeff Wilpon. I'm aware Omar Minaya was the GM at the time, but lets be honest, i think we all know why this move was made. This specific move is a perfect example where the Wilpons/Madoff Ponzi scheme had a specific, direct impact on the major league roster, which they came out and said it never would. No matter how many times we've heard that it wouldn't have an impact, I find it very hard to justify this move as being best for the "baseball" team, instead of being best for Wilpons. Im sure guys are going to say we probably wouldn't have drafted any of these guys and likely would have drafted some guys that would be considered busts and maybe your right, but it sure would have potentially put us in a better position to put us closer to contending and back on the winning path. 

Lets go Mets!!


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1-30-13 – Armondo Rodriguez, Scott Hairston, Michael Bourn, TPA Top Mets Prospects

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Gio Gonzalez‏ - @GioGonzalez47
I've never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will. I've never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substance



RHP Armando Rodriguez - In his first season of relief, the 24-year-old had good success posting career-highs in strikeouts per nine (9.54) as well as walks per nine (2.60) as a member of the Double-A B-Mets bullpen. Remember a couple years ago when Omar Minaya compared his arm to that of Jenrry Mejia? Well obviously that wasn't entirely accurate, made clear by the fact that he went unclaimed in the most recent Rule 5 Draft. However, at the very least Rodriguez offers good command of a very strong fastball -- and not much else -- which, thanks to a spotty relief crew, should be enough to give him a real shot as middle relief fodder at some point in 2013.

I’ve always liked Rodriguez. He came on the scene in 2009 as a 21-year old International free agent from a country (DR) you usually read about teams signing 16-year olds. Where was he for five years? Then again, who was he for five years? That being jokingly said, Rodriguez has basically done nothing wrong during his four year accent to AAA. His career stats are: 19-18, 3.22, 1.13, 361-IP, 365-K… and last year’s stats at Binghamton (2-3, 3.22, 1.09, 72.2-IP, 77-K) got him past that hump. He finished the season pitching in one AAA game which is where he will start off this season. The 6-2 righty does sit in the low 90s where his velo seems to have peaked. We all know that the Mets pen is one of the areas that need improvement. Rodriguez will get his chance sometime in 2013 a la Elvin Ramirez did last season. Hopefully, the results will be different.


Jon Heyman‏ @JonHeymanCBS

Scott Hairston deal with Cubs is for $5M over 2 yrs. incentives, if hit, can add $1M extra.

Wow. I expected this to be a much bigger dollar figure. I know Hairston and his agent wanted many more year than this, but this is chump change based on what some of the other free agent outfielders got this off-season. I thought Hairston was going to bring back any deal to the Mets and, based on last year’s stats and the state of the current Mets outfield, why wouldn’t Sandy Alderson match this? No, there was more here, something we’ll probably never read about.


Fangraph  got into the action regarding the possible adjustment of the Mets 11th pick:

But, if the idea behind the compensation system was actually to promote competitive balance, then perhaps MLB should immunize the Mets from having to sacrifice their first round pick to sign Michael Bourn. Changing the rules in the middle of an off-season doesn’t seem fair, but the change would be narrow enough that no other team would be affected by the change, as the Mets were the only franchise pushed out of the top 10 by the Pirates failure to sign Appel. No other franchise could claim that the agreed upon rules had a material affect on whether or not their first round pick should be considered their “highest available selection”.  My guess is that MLB will rule against the Mets and declare that their pick is still eligible for forfeit, but it might be a more interesting decision that it seems on its face. If Major League Baseball is serious about continuing the charade that draft pick compensation is for the benefit of losing teams, making an exception for the Mets would be a good way to support that claim.

            Everybody just needs to move on here…



TopProspectAlert - 2013 Top 150 Major League Baseball Prospect


#10 Zack Wheeler – RHP – New York Mets (47) -  Born 5/30/1990 -  Highest Level Reached Triple-A Buffalo Bisons -  2012 Combined Stats:  MILB: 12-8, 3.26ERA, 149IP, 59BB, 148K, .221BAA

#25 Travis d’Arnaud – C – New York Mets (21) -  Born 2/10/1989 -  Highest Level Reached Triple-A Las Vegas 51′s -  2012 Combined Stats:  MILB: .333, 21(2B), 2(3B), 16HR, 52RBI

#44 Noah Syndergaard – RHP – New York Mets (107) -  Born 8/29/1992 -  Highest Level Reached Low-A Lansing Lugnuts -  2012 Combined Stats:  MILB: 8-5, 2.60ERA, 103.2IP, 31BB, 122K, .212BAA

#92 Gavin Cecchini – SS – New York Mets (NR) -  Born 12/22/1993 -  Highest Level Reached Short-A Brooklyn Cyclones -  2012 Combined Stats:  MILB: .240, 9(2B), 2(3B), 1HR, 22RBI

#114 Brandon Nimmo – OF – New York Mets (99) -  Born 3/27/1993 -  Highest Level Reached Short-A Brooklyn Cyclones -  2012 Combined Stats:  MILB: .248, 20(2B), 2(3B), 6HR, 40RBI

       this seemed like a tribute to Alderson's trading, rather than his drafting, ability. I also was surprised that Wilmer Flores didn't make the list.
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1-30-13 – Darin Gorski, Bobby V, Michael Bourn, The Latin Elephant

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IF Ronny Cedeno signs a 1-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.


Noah Syndergaard‏ @Noahsyndergaard - Today I attempted a knuckle ball... It was not pretty



LHP Darin Gorski - After a breakout 2011 in the High-A St. Lucie rotation (2.08 ERA), the 25-year-old struggled against more age-appropriate competition at Double-A in 2012 (4.00 ERA). He doesn't feature an overpowering fastball or much of a jaw-dropping repertoire, but his change-up is more often than not a plus offering. He'll have to take a big step forward to reach his ceiling as a back-end starter; however all signs point to a Spring Training audition for the second LOOGY role. And with a markedly better resume against lefties since 2011 (.193 opponent average) he's got a fair shot against the crop of journeymen the club will be looking at this March

I don’t remember who said that Gorski was going to be used as a LOOGY in ST next month. I think it was TC and I remember thinking how cute that was. I think his chance of this happening has now diminished with Pedro Feliciano coming to camp and I know Robert Carson has a different plan here. Gorski had a magical season in 2011, so may do at the A/A+ level, but I just don’t see the ‘stuff’ here for, first, a LOOGY role in the majors, or, a starting role in the majors. There will be nine pitchers battling it out for the five starting slots in Las Vegas. Gorski deserves one and I hope he gets it.




The possibility exists. MLB sources say SportsNet New York brass has reached out to Bobby Valentine to discuss a possible studio role on Mets telecasts. Valentine, who managed the Mets (1996-2002), would be featured on about 20 games, mostly marquee matchups like the Subway Series. He would be seen on SNY’s new pre-pregame show. Valentine would also fill in for Bobby Ojeda, SNY’s No. 1 studio analyst, on his off days. Sources said the fact SNY execs have already contacted Valentine means the Mets organization has approved the idea of giving their controversial former manager a TV platform

I was in broadcasting for 32-years. Bobby Valentine was made for the microphone and television camera. A move like this would make so much sense and I bet even Valentine has learned he needs to play the game a little more conservative. Anything he did along with Ojeda would be Mets magic and could turn SNY into the most watched local New York sports channel.




Keep in mind Boras is the King of The Opt Out (think Alex Rodriguez, J.D. Drew and Rafael Soriano). So it is possible, for example, Bourn could trade length of contract — perhaps accepting three years — in exchange for being able to opt out and re-enter the free-agent market a year from now if he desires. The Mets could be amenable to that, determining Bourn could help them in 2013, give them another season to incubate a center fielder such as Matt Den Dekker and — should Bourn opt out — provide the Mets the chance to tender him a contract and recoup a June 2014 second-round draft choice if he were to sign elsewhere.

                              It was interesting that Sandy Alderson did fly down to Houston and have dinner with Bourn and his agent. That was the right thing to do. I really don’t care who plays CF for the Mets in 2013. My concern is 2014 and beyond. At this point, my “current” future outfield is LF Lucas Duda, CF Matt den Dekker, and RF Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The quicker you play them, the sooner we’ll know what we have.



Regarding the new reports on illegal use of drugs out of a Miami clinic… is anyone going to mention the Latin elephant in the room? It is obvious that the vast majority of ballplayers caught cheating are Latin. And, let’ remember this… you’re not suspended the first time you test positive, so, you have to be stupid to take the drug, get caught, and then be more stupid and take it again. Anyway, the one thing on this particular story is most of the players named seem to live in South Florida during the off-season, but once again, Latin surname after Latin  surname. Carlos Gomez (the scout) told me once that there is a lot of pressure in countries like the Domincan Republic to follow in the footsteps of players like Alex Rodriquez and Pedro Martinez. Jose Reyes’ brother told me that the primary reason many Latin players can’t wait for free agency is this is when they will receive the kind of money needed to take care of all the members of their immediate family. The natural body size just isn’t there and a specimen like A-Rod is the exception to the rule. ‘Buscons’ have been the sports worst enemy, telling these kids that they never will make it to the States without doing whatever it takes to build up strength and muscle. Sadly, this may start as bad people around innocent kids. 
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1/29/13

BNS - Tampa Bay Rays: Top 10 Prospects For 2013

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1) Ranked No. 3 on the Baseball News Source Top 10 Prospects List for 2013, 22-year-old right fielder Wil Myers is widely regarded as the top hitting prospect in the minors. Though the Rays desperately need offense, they could assign him to Triple-A Durham to open the 2013 season to delay his free agent eligibility clock. When he finally makes his Major League debut, Myers is a right-handed bat who can hit for average and power as his .314/.387/.600/.987 slash line with 37 home runs and 109 RBI between Double-A and Triple A last season show.

2) Featuring four pitches (a mid-90s fast ball, a curve ball, a change-up and a cutter), 20-year-old right-hander Taylor Guerreri is yet another Rays starting pitching prospect with a high ceiling. A first round pick (24th overall) out of high school in 2011, he logged a 1.04 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP in 12 starts for Tampa Bay’s new York-Penn League affiliate last season.

3) When the Rays traded Matt Garza to the Cubs in January 2011, they landed promising shortstop Hak-Ju Lee (see below), catcher Robinson Chirinos, outfielder Sam Fuld and right-handed starting pitching prospect Chris Archer. Boasting a power fast ball and slider, the 24-year-old Archer has middle of the rotation potential, and he could also emerge as a late-inning reliever.


click here for the rest of the list...  http://baseballnewssource.com/prospects/tampa-bay-rays-top-10-prospects-for-2013/15685/ 
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Reese Kaplan - Reshaping the Roster Between Now and Opening Day

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If the season opened tomorrow there would be a lot of jockeying for positions on the 25 man squad that came north, yet many of the contenders for those spots don't offer a whole lot in terms of up side.  Two outfield platoons, a mystery bullpen and some unknown commodities on the bench don't put much fear into opposing teams when they have to play the Mets.  Now if you accept the mantra of the week -- build from within, cherish draft picks and don't hand out long term contracts to anyone on the wrong side of 30 -- then there it requires a little creativity and dice rolling to improve the team.

Target Chicago Cubs

Make a push for Tony Campaña.  The speed demon simply has nowhere to play and CF is his natural position.  It should not take much to pry him loose.  Whether he can hit or get on base enough to start we won't know until given the chance, but he's stuck on the depth chart behind David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston,  Alfonso Soriano and Brett Jackson.

Target Colorado Rockies

They have some OF depth in Tyler Colvin, Dexter Fowler and Eric Young, any of whom could help the Mets.  Where they could possibly use some help is at 2B or 3B and the Mets could offer up a choice of Daniel Murphy or Jordany Valdespin or Wilmer Flores as a starting point.  They could always use pitching and whomever the Mets feel deserves a lifelong beating at Coors Field could be bundled as well.

Target Los Angeles Angels

If they use Mark Trumbo at DH, then go with an outfield of Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton, then the only surplus is the albatross of a contract of Vernon Wells.  The interesting name here is Hank Conger, a .297 career hitter in the minors who, at 25, could give the Mets good backup should D'Arnaud have injury problems and the luxury of parting ways with John Buck.  Alberto Callaspo seems to be the weak link on the team, so your same options of Murphy, Valdespin and Flores could come into play, though only Valdespin might be a good value even-up.

Target Los Angeles Dodgers

Despite their enormous payroll and them embracing the old Yankee philosophy of buying a pennant, they are a little weak at both 2B and 3B.  The same triumvirate could be pitched here in return for some relief help from one of the more talented bullpens in the game.  With Brandon League now dubbed the closer, I'd at least ASK what it would take to get Kenley Jansen to come east knowing it might be a few months before he's 100% after surgery.  It's unlikely you could get Jansen but there are others there with good numbers, too.

Target Milwaukee Brewers

It's been reported that the Brewers are seeking a first baseman and the Mets have a few possibilities in Duda and Murphy to offer up to an opposing team.  Murphy is not a classic first baseman in that he has limited power, but Duda seemed to flourish when given the opportunity to play there.  The target from the Brew Crew would be former Met farmhand Carlos Gomez who last year put together a 19 HR/37 SB season while playing his usual stellar D in centerfield.  He's also the right side of 30.  Offering up Duda, a centerfielder and a 2nd tier pitching prospect -- Familia, Gorski, etc. -- might be a place to start the conversation.  I'd also inquire about Norichika Aoki who showed in his American rookie season that he wsa not intimidated by major league pitching.  They could also use a shortstop.  On paper Jordany Valdespin can play that position.  I'd pity poor Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez if he did, however.

Target New York Yankees

While trades between the crosstown rivals are relatively rare, they usually can take place when they don't involve marquee names.  Towards that end I would see what it would take to pry speedster Eduardo Nuñez free from the Bronx Bombers.  The Mets most definitely have a lack of speed on the team and Nuñez has played all around the diamond Valdespin style in search of a position.  He's played mostly SS in his minor league career, but with Captain Fistpump firmly entrenched there until his retirement, you might find they would talk.  I don't know what type of player they'd seek in return.

Target Oakland A's

Coco Crisp is the odd man out in Oakland with the acquisition of slugger Chris Young.  Therefore it would be worth talking.  It seems the A's are weak and 2B and 3B, so the same suspects -- Murphy, Valdespin and Flores -- could begin the conversation here, too.

Target San Diego Padres

The Friars have long been rumored to lust after Daniel Murphy and it's been reported that the Mets turned down a swap of he and uber setup man Luke Gregerson.  Given the state of the Mets' bullpen, it might be worth reconsidering that transaction.  They could insert your choice of Justin Turner, Jordany Valdespin, Josh Satin or even Reese Havens at 2B as a one-year stopgap while grooming Flores to take over in 2014.

Target Texas Rangers

After losing Josh Hamilton and handing the CF reigns over to untested Leonys Martin, the Rangers might be less inclined to move super backup Craig Gentry, but as 4th on the depth chart it shouldn't take a whole lot to get him.  He's a speed merchant with the glove for centerfield, so he would be a good fit for the Mets.

Target Toronto Blue Jays

Despite having already pulled off the biggest deal of the off-season, it would still appear that Toronto has three players that could help the Mets who are NOT slated to be in their starting lineup -- Emilio Bonifacio, Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose, all base stealing threats and all capable of playing centerfield.  How do they match up?  The only immediate weak link I see is at 2B where Maicer Izturis is about a replacement level player. In fact, why he's listed ahead of Bonifacio on the depth chart, I'm not sure.

Target Free Agency

There's not a lot left out there, but there are still some bullpen arms worth exploring.  It's well known the Mets are kicking the tires of Brian Wilson, but what about Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Kevin Gregg, LaTroy Hawkins, Bobby Jenks, Brandon Lyon and the trio of former Mets Frankie Rodriguez, Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch?

There's not much left that can swing a bat now that the Phillies nabbed Delmon Young for a $750K base salary while Sandy Alderson was out working on his outfielder standup routine.  Unless you think Jim Thome, Grady Sizemore or Carlos Lee can play the outfield, about the only credible and healthy name with some pedigree is Scott Podsednik, but another lefty isn't exactly what the franchise needs right now (despite the apparent flirtation with Michael Bourn).

There are options out there which won't jeopardize the future core of young talent bubbling beneath the surface in the minors.  What it takes is some vision and some guts to make the necessary changes.  A friend asked me if the Mets are actually better at any position starting 2013 than they were ending 2012.  Despite a minor debate on the merits of Buck vs. Thole, the answer was no.  That conclusion doesn't sound as if the overhaul promised in October has taken place.





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Herb G. - Mets Interested in Roy Oswalt

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According to MLBTradeRumors, a baseball source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets are interested in the free-agent right-hander, who appeared in 17 games for the Texas Rangers last year, and that even though they have signed Shaun Marcum, the door is not closed to bringing in another starter. Given the fact that the Mets were the very last team to sign a major league free agent this year, closing the deal only yesterday, and that suddenly talk of interest in two high profile free agents (Michael Bourn and now Oswalt) arises, one has to wonder if these expressions of interest are merely a smokescreen to convince skeptical fans that the team is not punting the 2013 season, as some have suggested. After all, Oswalt's agent says he knows of no interest in Oswalt by the Mets at this time. We can't know for sure, however, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt and consider the Mets interest in The Wizard of Os genuine.

The first question to ask is do the Mets need to acquire another starter now? With the 2013 rotation set with Santana, Marcum, Niese, Gee and Harvey, with Wheeler waiting in the wings for a mid-season call-up, and with Mejia, Hefner, McHugh and possibly Schwinden available either in Citifield's bull pen or Las Vegas' rotation, how much depth do we need? It is said, of course, that you can never have enough pitching, but is another starter where the Mets should deploy their rather meager resources? Well, perhaps if the starter in question were an apparent upgrade over the aforementioned Mejia, Hefner, McHugh and Schwinden, it wouldn't be such a bad idea. So, let's go to the next question.

Would signing Oswalt be a good idea? After a workhorse career, where he could always be counted upon for 200+ innings, he has battled injuries over the last few years. And at age 35 he just might be losing his touch. Posting a career worst WHIP of 1.525 and ERA of 5.80 last year, he was eminently hittable, despite showing his usual impeccable command. Moreover, his interest in returning to the mound this year seems to be tepid, at best. Off hand I'd have to say signing Oswalt looks like a bad idea. But wait! Looking a bit deeper, Oswalt's starter/reliever splits last year show a significant disparity. In 9 starts, averaging barely over 5 innings per start, his stat line was ERA = 6.36, WHIP = 1.693, with 7.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. As a reliever, however, in 8 games, (12.1 innings) ERA = 3.65, WHIP 0.892, with 14.6 K/9 and 0.73 BB/9. Admittedly a small sample, but perhaps meaningful to our front office. We do need a better bull pen this year. If Oswalt would sign a reasonable contract and accept a role in the bull pen to start the season, he could be a valuable addition.

There are those who might worry that if Oswalt cracks the rotation and pitched well, he might delay Wheeler's debut. I wouldn't be too concerned about that. If Wheeler meets expectations in Las Vegas, we will see him in Citifield some time this summer. And his arrival could just coincide with Oswalt's departure, going to a contender in need of pitching to bolster their post season push. Who knows, a successful Oswalt might bring back another Wheeler. Shades of Carlos Beltran.
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FLASH - New Met - RP - Scott Atchison

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 signed RHP Scott Atchison to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league Spring Training.

Atchison compiled a 1.58 ERA with the Red Sox last year, ranking 4th in the majors in ERA among relievers with at least 50.0 IP.

2012 Boston::  2-1, 1.58, 0.99, 42-G, 51.1-IP, 36-K, only 9-BB  6-2, righty
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FLASH - Huge Drug Story Via Miami Newspaper

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Click on this link...

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2013-01-31/news/a-rod-and-doping-a-miami-clinic-supplies-drugs-to-sports-biggest-names/

Also, turn on MLB-TV and follow this story this morning...

There's quite the story coming out of the Miami New Times about Latin ballplayers claiming their use in illegal drugs supplied by a Miami clinic.

Some of the players... Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, Cesar Carilo, Yasmani Grandal. 

 
 
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