Morning Report – September 20 – Juan Lagares, Jacob deGrom, Braves Update, Matt Reynolds, Philadelphia Phillies

Since June 25th, Zack Wheeler is 8-2, 2.56 in 15-ST, 91.3-IP.

Juan Lagares was tremendous as a rookie in 2013, finishing second among all center fielders with 26 Runs Saved despite playing just 108 games. This season, he has 28 Runs Saved in only 87 games. Lagares has exceptional range, but it’s his arm that stands out the most. Since 2013, Lagares has 15 baserunner kills (throwing out baserunners without the use of a relay man), the most at the position. - Most Defensive Runs Saved through 8-19-14  -  Jason Heyward: 32, Juan Lagares: 28, Alex Gordon: 20, Lorenzo Cain: 20, Zack Cozart: 19.  

Mack – His shutdown this week is going to cost him any chance of catching Heyward. That’s okay. The baseball world knows what the Mets have here.

What do the Mets have here? 

Well, he’s probably the best defensive centerfielder in baseball, is 25-years old, and is under team control into the next decade.

All this from a shortstop that led the Sally League in errors in 2007.

August Fagerstrom on Jacob deGrom’s record breaking strikeouts -

And, aside from the eight straight whiffs, those numbers aren’t even that shocking when you consider what deGrom has done so far. His ERA actually went up after Monday’s start, from 2.62 to 2.68. His FIP dropped from 2.88 to 2.72. You’ll notice those are both exceptionally low figures. Of all starting pitchers who have thrown more than 130 innings, his ERA ranks 14th, right behind Zack Greinke and a few spots ahead of Jordan Zimmermann. His FIP is ninth, better than that of Jon Lester, David Price and Adam Wainwright. I could go on with more examples like this, but the point is, deGrom will soon finish the season with a sample of work that – while smaller than most – is not small enough to be insignificant. And over that four-month sample, he has been one of the 15 best starting pitchers in baseball. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jacob-degroms-breakout-season-in-eight-batters/

Mack – We’re going to keep reading a lot of positive press about deGrom before the season ends and into the off-season. Every General Manager in baseball is sending scouts and cross-checkers to games deGee will be pitching in. He will be a hot item in the Hot Stove season and let’s all hope that Sandy Alderson doesn’t give this blue chip up easily, or, at all.

Drew Fairservice on the 2015 Atlanta Braves -

Decide on one of Heyward or Upton and trade the other – money will always be a challenge for the Braves, who cry poor often enough that they might actually believe it themselves. Both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are destined for free agency at the end of 2015. They are both very young and about to become very expensive. They offer similar production in two very different shapes. It won’t be an easy decision, should they decide to move one and build around the other. Perhaps the Braves will attempt to keep the current outfield intact for one more season and then let them both walk, recouping draft picks for complete franchise overhaul. Either way, these are valuable trade chips and the temptation to move them will be strong.

Fixing a team one year removed from 96 wins shouldn’t be a difficult task, but the choices before Wren and the Braves front office are tough indeed. There are many nice pieces in place right now but the Atlanta Braves team that takes the field on Opening Day next season could easily feature a whole host of new names and faces.

Mack – Read the story (Drew Fairservice… what a great name).

The Braves are the perfect example of how quickly a team can fall from grace. We’re so immune from this because of the years of graceless existence we have had in this game.

The Braves are also a great example of how easy it is to overspend on someone you think is a great bat… Uggla… Upton.

Matt Reynolds - The shortstop played well enough at Triple-A to be considered for the Mets job next year, along with Wilmer Flores and whoever else the organization brings in (we wouldn’t be shocked to see Ruben Tejada gone). Alderson said: “We think (Reynolds) can play shortstop, and he’ll be in the mix. He doesn’t have to be on the (40-man) roster, which is a little bit of a handicap in our system, because we have so many players.” Said Reynolds, who was denied a Sept. callup for roster reasons: “I was disappointed because I wanted to get up here and compete, but I’m not mad about it. It’s obviously a business decision. They have an idea of what’s going on, and it just gives me a lot o motivation this offseason to work hard.” 

 Our search for a new SS and/or LF continues with a look at the last team in the NL East… the Philadelphia Phillies.

According to Cot[i], the Phillies 2014 salaries are $177,729,967.

This is a very old team with far too many lengthy contracts to discuss here. We’ll just concentrate on the outfielders and shortstop.

This the last year of 35-year old SS Jimmy Rollins (536-AB, .243) contract ($11mil) and I would be very surprised if the Phillies resign him. He’s played 15 years in major league baseball, all for the Phillies, and he wants to finish his career exactly where he started it. The Mets won’t go after him. There’s too much history here.

Outfield wise, Marlon Byrd (532-AB, .265, 25-HR) has one more year left ($8mil)… Ben Revere (517-AB, .315) just finished his first arbitration year at $1.95mil… and ex-prospect Dominic Brown (424-B, .223) is still trying to find his way. 31-year old Grady Sizemore has been the most reliable 4th outfielder (134-AB, .291).
Prospect wise, it’s going to take a few years for top prospect, SS J.P. Crawford, to be ready to step up. OF Aaron Altherr is also two years away.

Mack Observation – Philadelphia has a ton of problems, starting with three aging players (Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels) making a combined $73.5mil next year in salaries. Sizemore is a free agent and could make a cheap alternative as the 5th outfielder. 

Other than that, I’d move on.


Thomas Brennan said...

Any word on Lagares' elbow? Since the stats above were thru 8/19, wonder if Juan caught. And passed Heyward in runs. Saved in the next 4 weeks. Maybe he does have a chance there. He's the best defensive OF the Mets have ever had.

Thomas Brennan said...

I know it is off track from your article a bit, but Matt den Dekker has shown something since he returned, with his .267/.376 in over 100 at bats. Power has been disappointing, but reasonable power potential is there. A decent K rate. Superior fielder. Very interested to see how his last several games go.

Charles said...

I pretty sure he did catch and pass Heyword already. I think Juan leads the league in runs saved by at least a couple already.

He's also the first player ever to have at least 25 in back to back seasons. He's unbelievable. I think better than Andrew Jones. I remember when Jones used to kill the Mets with his defense, and now it's reversed. Juan better be our center fielder for the next 10 years.

Steve from Norfolk said...

I'm a Den Dekker fan myself. He may be a late bloomer, but so was Jayson Werth, and we all know what kind of damage he can do. If Matt can get enough playing time, I think he'll surprise us next year. I hope he plays winter ball and they play him against every lefty. That's his only big fault - he's GOT to learn to hit left-handed pitching to succeed. If he can't, well, DD and Cuddyer would make a great platoon in RF - Grandy needs to move to LF.

Steve from Norfolk said...


According to the Bill James article Mack linked to in this morning report, Lagares is still behind Heyward.

Mack Ade said...

Thanks Charles for the Lagares update.

Play time is the kep for people like den Dekker and he just may never get it in this organization

Thomas Brennan said...

If Dekker did stay and play a lot, he'd not lose too many ABs in a lefty/righty platoon. But at some point the Mets might have to call themselves Platoons R Us. Dekker's real hope is if the Mets decide to go cheap - so he may have a real chance!

Mack Ade said...

You are correct Thomas and, with the dissapoitment of the $60mil deal for Grandy, plus the projection of Nimmo, I look for a cheap solution in 2015

Daniel Barnaby said...

I'm really hoping for cuddyer this off season. Get wrights buddy or 2 years 6 mil per year, maybe with a reasonable club option. He's a great club house guy with an awesome bat win positional versatility and a good vet for the young players to follow. Move Grandy to LF and keep cuddyer in RF splitting time with DD. You can also give him spot starts at 1b against top flight lefties and spot David at 3rd. Let Flores start the year at short

Steve from Norfolk said...

Daniel, You sound just like me! That's what I've been advocating for a week now, as have other people here.Hopefully Cuddyer would have a talk with David about taking care of yourself and taking a game off every now and then to let his body recover some as he gets older. I've said it before, but I'm starting to think of Scott Rolen when I think of Wright. Rolen was the same way - wanted to stay in the lineup as long as he could walk out to his position. David played way too long with that bad shoulder. Not only did he make his shoulder worse, he probably has messed up his swing and will have to find it again. He's not a kid any more, and he's got to realize that and adjust his attitude about staying on the field no matter what. He has the team's respect - he won't lose it by taking care of himself.

Steve from Norfolk said...

Remember the '86 Mets - platoons in CF and 2B, as well as a triad at SS. It worked for them. Of course, they didn't carry as many pitchers then.

Bill Metsiac said...

"Platoons" (plural)? I don't see any but the possible one with dD. Travis, Lucas, Murphy, Flores, David, Juan and Grandy are everyday guys except for occasional days off.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Bill
If Duda hits .180 with a .320 slug vs lefties, I'd keep a platoon at first - and I have all year been a Duda guy. He has to earn a non-platoon.

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