Morning Report - Apr 28 - Jeff Reynolds, Donald Sterling, Weekend Mets, Trade Chips, Michael Conforto, Travis d'Arnaud

1908 Cubs 

Coming Up –

        10 am –

        12 noon – Craig Mitchell - Terry Collins, The "Ward Cleaver" of Baseball.

2 pm – Top 10 RHP in 2014 MLB Draft - Updated 4-23-14

          5pm -  Carlos Rodon, Bradley Zimmer, Nick Gordon, Aaron Nola, Christian Martinek

          8pm –  RHP - Grant Holmes - Conway (SC) HS

Vanderbilt  - Carson Fulmer - 7.0-IP, 0-R, 8-K

Miami  - Andrew Suarez - 9.0-IP, 1-ER, 7-K, 0-BB

OF Juan Lagares should return during the May 1-4 series with Colorado. The assumption is Bobby Abreu will return to Vegas then.

The Mets released infielder Jeff Reynolds, without explanation. The Harvard graduate finished last season with Savannah (.242) at the age of 23. Something tells me this was his decision to get on with his life being ironed out in Harvard. Nice guy. Good luck to you Jeff.

LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling to his girlfriend on Majic Johnson:

"And I'm just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately. And during your ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE, your whole life, admire him -- bring him here, feed him, fuck him, I don't care. You can do anything. But don't put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games. OK?"

Mack – Yeah, I know, this isn’t Mets related, but I did think it was worth mentioning. If it’s race related, it always seems to involve Americans, in general, and old white guys, in particular. Are we ever going to get past this period of our history?

Ex-Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott said some Adolf Hitler (I can’t believe I just highlighted Hitler’s name) wasn’t bad in the beginning and that cost her a year suspension. What does a Commissioner do when a white owner tells his half-Mexican, half-African American girlfriend, who’s young enough to be his granddaughter, that she can boink Magic Johnson, but just don’t leave a picture with him on the Internet. WTF?

I don’t know what can be done here, but it speaks wonders to what is rational or not. We’re now not supposed to bring black people to basketball games. Amazing.

We learned something this weekend that some of us were taught as young as American Legion ball. The lesson was simple… you never bring back to the field the bad feeling you had from the previous day’s loss. Every game is different and there is no quicker way at extending a losing streak than to be lost in the feelings that got you to this negative point.

The Mets had a 5-1 lead on Saturday against the Marlins and seemed to be cruising to their fourth win in a row, but it just wasn’t going to happen and they wound up losing the lead, fighting back, and eventually losing the game 7-6.

Was it a bad loss? Yes, but it wasn’t a crusher nor was it a season ender. It was a game you move away from as quick as you can and maybe the only thing you save from it is the fact that no lead is ever safe.

Then comes Sunday and Dillon Gee is pitching a gem. The Mets are ahead 4-0 after seven innings and I guarantee you every Met on that field remembered how quickly Saturday’s game went in the crapper for Jenrry Mejia.

The good news is Gee pitched scoreless ball for eight innings and Carlos Torres closed it out and another game was won with what seemed like the minimal amount of offense (six hits).

Remember my mantra… give up three or less runs in the first seven innings and you will win enough games to get to the playoffs.

Play the game you’re playing.

 First rule of success.

There’s a considerable amount of chatter on this site about ‘trade chips’ and who will someday wind up on another team in return for a blue chip player for the Mets. Boy, I wish it was that easy.
There are three kinds of ‘trade chips’

1.  Established major leaguers

2.  High-end prospects ready to break through at the major leave level

3.  The rest of baseball

I’m not trying to be sarcastic about number three, but everybody from Allan Dykstra to Branden Kaupe fall into the same category… someone you simply can’t build a trade around. There is no history on these players at a major league level and hitting .400 in Las Vegas means nothing in the real world of baseball.

Let’s use a different player as an example.

We wrote recently about 3B/OF Nick Castellanos, who was DFA’d by Detroit this week. We talked about this guy a ton of times two years ago after he hit .312 (A-West Michigan) in 2011 and .405 (215-AB, A+ - Lakeland) in 2012. We wanted this guy to be a Met so bad and was thrilled when they started to convert the third baseman to an outfielder. Than came 2013 at AAA (.276) and a couple of small stints in the majors (80-AB, .275) and the Tigers have now decided he just doesn’t have what it takes to make it big time in the game.

The ‘rest of baseball’ trade chips aren’t players you build anything around. They are the extra player in a deal that just fills an open slot at one of your levels.

Ike Davis was a level one trade chip. So will be Chris Young and Bartolo Colon.

Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero would be level two trade chips. Maybe even Jake deGrom, Cesar Puello, Brandon Nimmo, Steven Matz, and Kevin Plawecki.

And folks… that’s all you have right now.

No one is going to trade you the answer to your shortstop woes for Allan Dykstra. I’m sorry. It’s not going to happen.

Now, if you want to try and put together a level three deal… say… Dykstra for Castellano… now you’re cooking with gas.

How important is a bat?

Big League Futures came out with a draft profile of Oregon State OF Michael Conforto (.414/.557/.594/.976, 3-HR, 42-RBI), who seems to be a lock for a top 10 pick in the upcoming draft. His scouting report included the following statements… “below average runner”… “average arm”… and “limited to left field defensively”.

But, it also said “above average hit tool, bat will play”… This alone gets you a top ten pick and a seven figure bonus.

Absolutely amazing.

Best Defensive Teams as of April 25, 2014
TeamRuns Saved
Atlanta Braves22
Colorado Rockies20
Los Angeles Angels15
San Francisco Giants14
New York Mets10


While we’re on the subject (?), I’m starting to realize that we have nothing to worry about with Travis d’Arnaud. Yes, his batting average is only in the .220 range, but that was due to his horrendous start in the beginning of the season. That’s over now and we just may have ourselves a mini-me version of The Captain on our hands here. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could tuck this position into our pocket for at least the rest of the decade? It also will create all sorts of options Sandy Alderson can pursue using Kevin Plawecki as a chip. Yeah, I don’t give up a slot easy, but in my book, 25% (3B, C) of the position players through 2020 are done with. Yes, I’m looking for more success out of  Noah Syndergaard, but even if the guy’s arm fell off, this is going to turn out to be a great trade.


TP said...

Morning Mack,
I laughed out loud just now - what else can you say about Sterling but WTF? Well said. TDA is the least of the problems and worries, and not just because his average is now over the Mendoza line. I saw last week some unnamed scout was trashing him, but I think the Mets will be very happy with him once he settles in. This guy is 25, but 23 in baseball years given all the injuries, and to the untrained eye it certainly looks like he has big league skills. The Mets need to worry about SS and the back end of the bullpen. This was a real good homestand, and while many of us (me included) thought they may be buried by the end of April, they are not, thanks to the starting pitching. More than ever Alderson needs to actually upgrade the team, something he has yet to do in his tenure. Wilmer and his 6 Es is not the guy.

Unknown said...

So how about gee or Niese, they would be level 1 trade chips? I would trade gee right now if it get me owings. That would most likely solidify SS til 2020 as well. We can bring up DeGrom to take his place for a month and then send him down and bring up Montero or Synddy. That way we can reverse his (deGrom) service time.
Gee has been pitching amazing and that's why we should strike when the kettle is hot. We have to start trading some of these starting pitchers sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

d'Arnaud stats since the SABR Talk article came out.

.320 AVG, 379 OBP, 1 K to 3 BB

Just fantastic numbers. Wish I could build a SABR Talk article around Granderson but even SABR wise.....his stats are atrocious.

Tom Brennan said...

Hey John

If Gee were great and Mets were 10-15, I could see an impetus for that sort of trade now. Winning breeds ticket sales, so they likely will want to ride this wave and hopefully come back from a road trip against non-elite teams with a winning road trip and a buzz. Maybe hitting in easier parks get the hitters going. Maybe they see Matt Reynolds red-hot in AA and think he might be a SS solution too, and would prompt them to wait.

So there are reasons to wait. If it were you and me, though, I'd look to do it now and hope for the best with recalling, say, a Montero to fill Gee's shoes and Owings at SS.

Reese Kaplan said...

I had recently profiled some of Mack's Tier 3 players in AAA but also agreed with him by admonishing someone who suggested Allan Dykstra could net something significant in trade. He's good filler to have in case something happens to Lucas Duda but never having sniffed the majors and turning 27 his prospect window has closed.

Tom Brennan said...

Hey Reese, with regard to Dykstra, I do not think you'd get something "significant," at least not yet. But he could have value now to a team that needs a part time DH and 1B, or if someone were hurt and the team needed to acquire someone. If it is June 28 and not April 28, and he still has a .500 on base %, maybe something more significant then. Getting on base is (to paraprhase Larry Kudlow, the economist) "the mother's milk of offense."

Dykstra last year and this has been to the plate in AA, AAA and winter ball 600 times, on base 270 times, which is .450 on base, 34 doubles, 25 HR, and 108 RBIs. And his best #'s have been in AAA this year.

He could slump starting tomorrow, but as of right now, he is a possibly very intriguing late bloomer story, as is Eric Campbell - and trade chips in the making. I realize both are late bloomers, and may stall out at some point, but just maybe they don't and can carry this to a major league career of some substance. Bottom line is both have me intrigued right now, and that is what I love about this game. It is what I loved about RA Dickey's ascendance...the unlikely one defying the odds.

Unknown said...

The Padres designated Alex Castellanos for assignment.

TP said...

@ Christopher

There must be some types of SABR stats out that grade on veteran leadership, respect in the clubhouse, good teammate, overall nice guy, that can lend some optimism to Grandy's situation :-)

Anonymous said...


I wish.....unfortunately like I said even the SABR stuff is bad.

.190 Batting AVG with a normalized BABIP, Swings outside the zone up each of the past 5 seasons, Contact Rate on pitches in the zone down each of the past 5 seasons, Swinging Strike Rate up each of the past 6 seasons.

Unknown said...

I am no pro baseball player, but playing in my youth and to some degree as an old guy as well. If I have 2 strikes on me I am choking up on the bat and not making my swing as long as earlier in the count. Why don't some of these guys do the same, it worked amazingly for Rusty Staub as he got older.

Tom Brennan said...

Hey John - whatever it takes.

In Duda's case, it takes swinging more early in the count. I worked up this analysis - hopefully, Lucas is up on this stuff since it is all about him here:

Duda is hitting well vs. righties, just 1 for 11 vs. lefties. So he needs to only hit against lefties when there is a pitching change, period.

When he finalizes his at bat while having an 0-2, 1-2, or 2-2 count, he is 2 for 26 this year. But that means in 48 at bats (65%) he has ended his at bat in more favorable counts – and hit .333 in those at bats.

Last year, he hit a miserable .183 vs. lefties in 93 at bats.

And when he finalized his 2013 at bats while having an 0-2, 1-2, or 2-2 count, he was 19 for 146 (an awful .130). But in 172 at bats (just 54%) he ended his at bat in favorable batter counts – and hit .302 in those at bats.

So he seems to be getting it more – that he is miserable hitting in pitchers’ counts – and very good in favorable counts. He is getting into a lot less of bad counts this year by swinging more early, which I think was a mental benefit of the fat camp, to be more aggressive. That can’t help but make him more successful this year – and hopefully, he will go from 65% favorable counts to 70% to 75%. That could make him a potent hitter.

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