Morning Report – September 24 – Jacob deGrom, Collin McHugh, Frank Wren, Steven Matz, Tampa Bay Rays
Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
It’s interesting how Jacob deGrom has now become the strikeout king of the New York Mets. Frankly, I can’t remember a Mets pitcher being this dominant the first year they pitched, especially at the end of the season. He’s pitched three times in September, with 38 strikeouts in 27-IP (1.33).
We talk all the time about moving the fences in so the Mets bats can hit better. Well, what about the benefit the Mets pitchers have pitching on their home mound?
DeGrom has pitched 12 road games, generating a 3.52 ERA, but, at home, he’s pitched 10 times, striking out 71 in 68.2 innings while generating a 1.70 earned run average.
You may want to think twice about your wishes here. You just finished watching the Mets totally dominate the Atlanta Braves (in Atlanta), first by pitching and second, by scoring more than the average amount of runs they are used to scoring. But, as long as your pitching staff can dominate like they did in that series, you only need around four runs a game to eventually win your division.
CitiField may just be the best friend you have next season.
Comment From Nik - Lots of rumors with Cubs and Mets matching up in offseason for trade. Instead of proposing (a probably) ludicrous offer, I'll ask what you think an intriguing trade might look like. Thanks.
Steve Adams: Some kind of Castro/Rafael Montero swap would make sense to me, probably with some more pitching involved on New York's side, given the nice rebound season that Castro has had.
Comment From Mets Fan - do you have a corner outfielder for us who will provide steady production at an affordable cost?
Steve Adams: I like the idea of signing Cuddyer on the cheap, playing him at first against a lefty and then getting a guy like Justin Ruggiano in a trade from Chicago to play left when Cuddy's at first.
Comment From ChiSox fan - Could Travis d'Arnaud be gotten in a trade? We need a catcher BADLY.
Steve Adams: The Mets have two really good young catchers in d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, so I can't imagine him being off limits, but I don't know how well the White Sox line up for a deal. Mets need a SS and an outfielder, and Alexei Ramirez isn't getting d'Arnaud. Maybe Avi Garcia would.
You might not have noticed Jeurys Familia strike out Freddie Freeman swinging on an up-and-in fastball a few days ago, but it warmed the hearts of Mets' people. Familia has dominated right-handed hitters this season, holding them to a .138 batting average and .166 slugging percentage. Lefties, however, are hitting .308 with a .461 slugging percentage against the right-handed set-up man. "He's just learning to throw that inside fastball to lefthanders, like he did to Freeman,'' one Mets' decision-maker said."Once he can do that with some consistency, he'll be the closer (over Jenrry Mejia). His stuff is that good.'' http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/harper-best-team-made-yankees-mets-rosters-article-1.1949831
Wow. That’s some hot stuff from that source. I’ve always liked Familia but I didn’t realize how good he looks to the outside baseball people. Familia… Black… Parnell… Mejia… four guys that could close, There’s nothing wrong with this!
Bill Metsiac asked -
1) With all the ways to go re: SS/LF over the Winter, how about asking the "members" here for their opinions BEFORE Alderson makes his decisions?
LF--Do we trade for or sign as FAs players from other orgs, or go with a platoon of dD/Kirk and Campbell or someone like Cuddyer? If we do the former, that blocks out Nimmo and Conforto, at least one of whom should be ML-ready within a year. My take: Go with the platoon unless we can get Cespedes (locked in for only one year). If not, add Cuddyer if he'll sign reasonable for no more than 2 years.
Mack – Bill, I’ll open up with my opinion here. I am a newly signed up member of the Wilpon-Alderson austerity program and, frankly, I can’t remember the last time this team signed someone for big bucks that paid off. I would like to see a one-year signing here a la Cuddyer, that will keep things humming until Nimmo is reading to step in (conservatively) on opening day 2016.
SS--Do we give Flores the job, backed up by Tejada, Reynolds, or someone from outside that we could get on a 1-year deal? My take: Let Flores keep the job for now, with Reynolds getting a chance to compete in ST.
I would give the opening day SS to Flores and re-evaluate it around the all-star break. I also would keep Tejada as my SS/2B utility infielder and pay him his just due in the arbitration process. I think, in the long run, Flores will produce more HRs and RBIs than most shortstops in the league. I really do.
And while we talk about young pitchers that seem to have come out of nowhere to prove once again that we so called experts don’t know everything, what about ex-Met pitcher Collin McHugh? All he’s done for Houston is go 7-0, 1.77 in his last 10 starts. How did all the Mets experts miss on this one?
Well, as our wonderful 9th round pick written about above (deGrom), and people like Juan Lagares, some professional minor leaguers are just late bloomers and need only the stage in which to perform what they do well. The Mets never gave that to McHugh. Houston did. Basically, the end of story, but maybe the real ending here could be a deGrom vs. McHugh facing in the last series of the season. That would be a hoot, but it's not going to happen. McHugh was shut down due to innings limits on Monday evening.
The firing of Frank Wren as General Manager of the Atlanta Braves continue to prove that no one is safe in this game and you are as good as your last pennant. Wren’s downfall (IMO) have been some God-awful deals for people like Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton. Add to this a tremendous amount of bad luck when it comes to pitching injuries and a complete collapse at the end of the season (culminating with a weekend sweep by the Mets), and that was it for Wren. (Jerry Crasnick: until this year, Wren produced consistent winners on modest, middle-tier payrolls. Just no postseason success).
Baseball is no different than every other job in this country. You keep it if you do a better job than you did a year ago. That’s how this whole success thing works (Mark Simon: Braves averaged 91 wins from 2009 to 2013 ... one bad year and the GM goes).
How does all this translate to Sandy Alderson keeping his job? Well, based on how the Mets have played since ten games prior to the All-Star break, Alderson has earned a return to Queens, but there will be a day that he will have to be judged for not making the playoffs.
Wren had one disadvantage to Alderson. No one ever has projected Alderson’s Mets to win their division.
Steven Matz, LHP (No. 9 prospect) - The lefty took a big step toward making good on a childhood dream this season. The Long Island native, who grew up a Mets fan, posted a 2.24 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 24 starts with Class A Advanced St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, then carried a no-hit bid through seven innings in the Eastern League championship game.
General manager Sandy Alderson considers Matz a part of the organization's Major League starting-rotation depth for 2015.
"You don't see a left-hander sitting 93-94 [mph] consistently with the assortment of pitches that he has," Alderson said. "He's very definitely on the short list at this point."
Added Matz: "I'm pretty encouraged. It's pretty awesome to be in the mix."
"Definitely, my curveball has come a long way from last year," Matz said. "I feel a lot more confident throwing it early in the count and putting hitters away with it when I'm ahead in the count. It's almost like I can have two gears with it now, whereas last year, I was just flipping it in there and hoping for the best." http://m.mets.mlb.com/news/article/95849306/mets-farmhands-take-right-mindset-into-2015
Mack – It is pretty exciting to see Matz ‘in the mix’, but make no mistake here. He won’t be available to pitch in Queens until after he gets past all this ‘Super 2’ shit. Possibly right after the all-star break, but still based on the performance levels of the other starters, how many aren’t on the team anymore, and if any of them is on the DL.
I happen to think he projected earlier than Syndergaard, but that’s just me.
We continue looking at the American League East division for a possible trading partner for a future LF or SS. This time, it’s the Tampa Bay Rays.
According to Cot[i], the Rays 2014 salaries are $76,872,384 (this includes $5.5mil net that is still being paid to Heath Bell).
The Tampa Bay shortstop is Yunel Escobar, who is contracted through a team option in 2017.
Outfield wise, David DeJesus (really the starting DH) still has a 2015 contract of $5.12mil left (plus 2016 team option), Matt Joyce (392-AB, .260) is being paid $3.7mil in his ARB-2 year, Desmond Jennings (479-AB, .244) will begin his first arbitration year in the spring, and Wil Myers (282-AB, .227) is pre-ARB. Additionally, there is two more pre-ARB players, in play, Brandon Guyer (230-AB, .265) and Kevin Kiermaier (293-AB, .270)
Prospect wise, there is an interesting shortstop here (Hak-Ju Lee), but he had a miserable 2014 (AAA: .203) and needs at least another year before he’s either playable or tradeable. #2 prospect, SS Willy Adames, is at least two years away.
Mikie Mahtook is their closest outfield to being ready and he just finished up a decent AAA-INT season (489-AB, .292/.362/.458/.820, 12-HR, 68-RBI. Scouts project him as either a right fielder or a 4th outfielder at best.
Mack Observation – Tampa Bay is not going to spend a tremendous amount of money in the off-season and most of their future players will come from within their system.
I would love Mahtook to be in my organization, but he really isn’t a left fielder. The guy you would want to pry away here is the 23-year old Myers, but he also is a right fielder.
I guess all this means pass and move on.