Morning Report – September 16 – Juan Lagares, 2015 Rotation, Noah Syndergaard, Chicago Cubs

One must re-evaluate, after last night's pitching performance by Jacob deGrom, who exactly is going to be the 2015 SP1 of this team. No one dominated another team like deGrom did in his first five innings. I haven't seen a curve like that since Dwight Gooden. There is no question in my mind that he deserves the Rookie of The Year, but it's very hard for a pitcher to win this award. Still, baseball people in the know realize that the Mets have truly been blessed with this pitcher, ever since he showed up in Savannah and stopped everyone dead in their tracks when he threw his first bullpen session. I was there and remembered the look on Frank Viola's face who knew very little about him up to then. 

My guess is we, as Mets fans, are set with three-fifths of our "Dream Rotation" for the remainder of the decade... and it just may be in the order of deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Zack Wheeler.

The Mets continue to heat up the stealing game of Juan Lagares. As of the end of Saturday’s game, Lagares has stolen nine bases in his last 15 games, being caught only once. His eight stolen bases in the last 14 games is most in baseball, three more than the closest other speedster.

Saying the word ‘speedster’ always sounds strange when using in the same sentence with this guy. He just wasn’t known for this kind of approach early on and even the scouts thought he was rather slow.

The Mets are grooming your leadoff hitter. This will be the 2015 version of Carlos Gomez.

Ted asked –

Mack, do you really think that Noah Syndergaard won’t be on the 25-man come opening day?

            Mack – I don’t Ted, but frankly it’s just too early to tell.

My guess is Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are safe around here (frankly, I’d shut down Wheeler after his last start and have Carlos Torres cover his ass until the season ends).

Frankly, everything gets a little cloudy after that. The Mets problem is that they have too many starters, the ones they want to trade aren’t high on the buyers list, and the ones buyers want are too valuable to trade. Confusing?

It looks like the Mets are making a permanent home down in the pen for Rafael Montero. Good. He’ll do well there and, if someone goes down with a similar injury that Harvey had a year ago, Montero can be stretched out and return to the rotation.

This leaves Jacob d’Grom, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, Noah Syndergaard, Logan Verrett, Matt Bowman, and Corey Mazzoni either all major league veterans or ready to make the plunge.

My ‘perfect rotation’ would be deGrom and Thor, followed by Steven Katz replacing somebody in 2016, but so many things have to go in so many directions for that to happen.

Sandy Alderson is in charge here and he can put together the final pieces of this team. He can protect deGrom and Syndergaard and build a lethal rotation that can stand up with any other team in baseball.

He can ten bargain for, and then trade for, the best hitters he can obtain with the remaining pieces mentioned above.

That’s all he can do and that’s what I hope he does as well.

Ready for the Majors: Noah Syndergaard, RHP: Syndergaard's stuff was still just as good this year as it was in the past, the kind of stuff that got him named among the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. He had some minor elbow and shoulder issues, but he responded from them just fine and his stuff was not diminished. SImply put, pitching in Vegas sucks and pitching prospects shouldn't be subjected to it. His struggles there stalled him briefly, but he'll be in the majors next season, possibly out of spring training, though probably after the super two deadline in June. There's not much left for him to prove in Vegas. 


Visited Dr. Andrews this morning and not really anything new to report. Surgery is likely. Always appreciate your prayers and encouragement.


The Cubs may be proving that you can actually have too many prospects in this game.
Take shortstop.

Everything seemed all locked up when they signed now 24-year old super-prospect Starlin Castro (528-AB, .292) to a 7-year, $60mil deal that ends in 2019 (with a team option in 2020). The problem is that along came two more viable SS prospect options, Javier Baez (136-AB, .169) and Arismendy Alcantara (219-AB, .210). In fact, Baez projects as being more talented that Castro, though it would be hard to guess that right now.

So, the first thing they do is try and get all of these guys in the game at the same time. They move Baez to 2B and Alcantara to CF, which seemed to be working out… in the beginning.

Then, Alcantara went cold followed by Castro being shut down for a high ankle strain. Baez has moved back to short, giving the baseball world a look-see at his potential there.

Another prospect, RF Jorge Soler (.382) will start in RF next season while a bunch of fourth outfielders will try to upgrade to third via a competition contest in spring training. Other outfield talent (Albert Almora, Kyle Schwarber) are at least a year away.

Which leads us to recently acquired SS Addision Russell, who simply has no place to play on this team. He most likely will start off in AAA next season.

Mack Observation – My guess is that the Cubs would strongly consider moving Castro, keeping Baez on second base, and playing Russell at short next season. The Castro contract is actually considered quite friendly, but the Mets are not going to sign anyone through the 201season. It’s not going to happen.

The word is that Baez is untouchable, so one has to ask why did this team trade for Russell, other than the fact that he could be moved in a future trade for the pitching they desire.

None of the Cubs catchers have lite up the league and this could be a perfect opportunity to go one-for-one for Kevin Plawecki. Russell is ranked as the 5th prospect by Baseball America… Plawecki the 40th… so, feel free to add in a secondary prospect pitcher like Logan Verrett, Matt Bowman, Corey Mazzoni, Gabriel Ynoa, or Rainy Lara.


Thomas Brennan said...

I missed the game last night but saw the dazzling highlights. Electric fastball, great location, great movement, great breaking pitches.

In my opinion, Jake is at least as good as vintage Harvey. Kind of like going into 2015 with your first two starters being Seaver...and Seaver. I'll take it.

Flores continues to do nicely, and weathered his slump. Thank God we did not get Stephen Drew - .156 in 234 at bats. Phew! Here is a stat I had not noticed. Wilmer has struck out just 9 times in 146 plate appearances since he was recalled. What an astonishingly good rate. Like a Joe DiMaggio RATE. HE WILL HIT, PEOPLE. Remember, he just turned 23. And he's 6'3", the power will show up. He can be my SS in 2015.

thunder12k said...

If I were the Cubs, there is no way I move Russell for Plawecki and a 2nd tier pitcher. I would consider it for Plawecki and Montero but I believe they should be able to get a future SP1 for a top 5, major league ready, shortstop prospect.

Not that many teams are dangling their future aces right now but someone will.

Michael S. said...

Me either. They just traded Samardzija for him. I'm not saying he's unobtainable, but it's going to take more than Plawecki +.

Dallas said...

Tom, you don't miss DeGrom day, come on now.

Boy was that fun to watch. You figured he had a pretty good chance at 9 when the opposing pitcher came up.

Nice to know that 40% of the games next year should be must watch games. Now lets hope even one of Matz, Thor or Wheeler can reach that level some day soon as well.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Dallas, it was a "honeydew" evening, what can I say. Matz in the clinching AA championship series game went 7 1/3 innings before surrendering a hit, with 11 Ks. Say no more. ACE. I have a feeling Matz will fit right in with the other ACES very, very soon. Hopefully, Thor and Wheeler can keep up with the ACE PACK.

Reese Kaplan said...

I noticed when Collins finally put Flores in a position to succeed (waiting until September 15th to do it) he has not had two multi-hit games in a row. I'm willing to go to battle with him at SS but I need to see a MAJOR upgrade in LF since we're stuck with what we've got in RF.

Lew Rhodes said...

We need a 2012 Scott Hairston to platoon with MDD in LF next year - I think Cudyer may be the guy.

I have been talking up deGrom for 2 years - I may be one of the only Mets' fan who said keep Jake over Thor back in April - the kid has stuff, he also has MOXIE.

I think Wilmer is turning a corner and starting to get his ML legs under him.

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

I wish Flores had another year with this team and 500 more at-bats next year to prove himself, but, I just don't know...

John Zozo said...

I have a feeling that our crappy ownership group has weathered the storm. The fans will start to come back next year and make them a bunch of happy campers. :(... Until they have to pony up to keep this rotation together in 4-5 years.

Got some free tickets so I went to my second Citifield Mets game of the year and what a degrominant performance it was!!! This kid is special and we should be in for a treat for a few years with this pitching staff.

Charles said...

I remember two years ago when Mack first wrote about Viloa going Ga Ga over deGrom. I'm positive it was the first time any reporter or blogger spent any words on the great righty.

Akeel Morris, too. He's had his ups and downs but has now seemingly found his place. Mack used to say he had SP1 potential. He likely won't reach that plateau, but we all see that this kid has the goods.

Good work Mack. You cherry picked a few diamonds in the rough.

Mack Ade said...

Zozo -

The Mets system is rising to the top regardless of itself. In the end, the Mets ownership and management is going to look great... they'll have a division winner in 2018 at around a $28mil payroll :)

Mack Ade said...

Thanks Charles -

I went back and found my original notes from my interview with Viola that year...Fulmer ("impressive...asks questions... quick learn")... Tapia ("incredible stuff needs tuning 97 sinker)

His comments on deGrom were short and sweet... "had TJS... I love him"

D Whit said...

The person to target on the Cubs is Kris Bryant for LF next season. The Mets won't trade for Castro's contract, Baez is untouchable, and I don't think they traded for Russell just to swap him out again-he's definitely a locked in part of their future. As for Alcantara-he's not really much of an upgrade over what we have now. There's already questions about Bryant remaining at 3B and with those future OFs on the horizon you mentioned. He could become the odd man out. Unless he tanks badly in the next ten days, I believe Wilmer is SS opening day 2015. They had a plan when they sent him to Michigan and it seemed to have helped him turn the corner. When he develops power he'll be a better-hitting Jhonny Peralta.

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree with you, Mack, on wishing Flores had more at bats to show his stuff. Unfortunately, they stuck with Tejada too long, something I wish Reese could have mentioned :) LOL

But Flores does have another 45 at bats this year over the last 11 games if they start him every game. Please, Terry, no more Ruben. Let's max out on learning about Flores.

Anonymous said...

I think Bryant is even more untouchable than Baez at this point. The question is not so much about whether or not Bryant can stick at 3B, but he is considered such a high end athlete that he could move to the OF to free up an IF spot for other Cubbie prospect. The Baez and Alcantara debut's may have changed the landscape a little bit. It is one thing for prospects to struggle in their first taste of the majors, but good grief, Baez is whiffing at a crazy rate and recently, Alcantara has been matching him K for K. Baez does not have the defensive chops that Bryant is considered to have and with a 40% whiff rate, his trade value is not quite as much as it was just a month ago.

Mack Ade said...

D-Whit -

(first of all, thank you for your series on the site this season...)

It's my guess that Bryant is totally untouchable.

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

the real question is... is Flores at SS and Campbell/den Dekker good enough in 2015 at SS and LF?

This gives time for Nimmo to mature and allow the team to operate on a $18mil payroll


Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -

I don't know why people keep thinking that minor league baseball players are simply going to duplicate their minor league stats in the majors.

Every level has a higher degree of talent, but do you have any idea how high the talent level is in the majors?

It's the 75o top baseball players... in the world

Thomas Brennan said...

The major league minimum salary for 2014 is $500,000. So the Mets' goal is 25 X $500,000 = $12.5MM. Anything more is excess.

bob gregory said...

Maybe Alderson/Wilpons will finally take a chance on the international market for a player above rookie ball.

Keeping Flores, and actually going all in for Yasmani Tomas.

and of course....bring in those d_ _ n fences.

Thomas Brennan said...

Like I was saying, Mack, I'm OK with Flores at SS in 2015. Sweet nite for WF tonite, even if it was while playing 2B.

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