The PCL is a tale of two leagues.  One is in the rarified/dry air of the western US, where 10 teams including Las Vegas play and the balls really fly. 

The other 6 teams play in the Midwest, where the air and humidity are much more like what we experience in the east, like the International League.

The average ERA for the 10 westerly teams in 2014?  An inflated 4.94 (Vegas was at 4.64). 

The average ERA for the other six more easterly teams?  4.16.

The two groups (West and Midwest), due to travel costs etc. presumably, rarely play one another.  Only 24 of Vegas’ 144 games were played vs. the Midwest teams.  Just thought I'd toss that tidbit in.

So let’s operate under the assumption that the ERAs of the western teams are inflated due to hitter-friendly conditions by about 0.75 (4.94 – 4.16 = 0.78). 
Then Syndergaard’s ERA may have been 3.85 rather than his 4.60 if he threw in a normal environment.  Similarly, Logan Verrett’s ERA may have been 3.58 rather than 4.33.  Very solid.

Which brings us to the performance of one Logan Verrett and how major league ready he is.

Verrett, the Mets’ 3rd round pick in 2011 out of Baylor, did not throw professionally that year, but the 6’2”, 190 righty tossed in Savannah and high A St Lucie in 2012, and did nicely there, with a combined 5-2, 2.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP in 17 starts.

Fast forward to 2013, he went a solid 12-6, with a 4.25 ERA for the B-Mets in AA, with a 1.14 WHIP in 24 starts.

Quickly on to Vegas in 2014, 11-5, 4.33, 1.37 in 28 starts.

All told, over 3 years, an excellent 28-13, with a 3.89 ERA and 1.19 WHIP and 344 Ks in 411 innings covering 69 outings, all starts.  A mere 78 walks in those innings, which is less than 2 per 9 innings.  Sweet.

Perhaps not spectacular, but rock solid and successful at progressively higher levels.  With an ERA that is PCL-inflated.

How did Jake deGrom fare in his minor league days, as a point of comparison?

21-11, 3.62, 1.28 WHIP, and 267 K’s in 323 innings, covering 58 starts.  Remarkably similar to Logan.

One more comparison: Dillon Gee in his minor league days prior to making the Mets.

28-19, 3.80, 1.20 WHIP, 385 K’s in 438 innings and 78 starts.  Factor in that unlike Verrett, Gee (drafted in the 21st round) never had the ERA-inflating stint out west that Logan did, and one could easily make the case that Verrett’s performance is superior to Gee’s minor league stats.

Which leads to the question: why would anyone think that Verrett is not ready to start in the bigs?  At least as a #5 starter….as of April 2015? 

Well, there are several practical obstacles to his doing so with the Mets at the moment – those obstacles are named (in whatever order you choose) Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Niese, Gee, Colon, and Montero, not to mention Syndergaard and Matz.  That’s 9 current starters or soon-to-be starters.  Logan makes 10.

My guess is at least 2, or all 3, of Colon, Niese, and Gee go bye-bye in 2015 or sooner, getting the list down to 7.  If those 3 all went this winter (and I’d be surprised if more than one goes, frankly, as the Mets move mostly cautiously these days), Verrett could start until Thor and Matz are deemed ready (or Super 2 ready).

Or Verrett could be a solid trade chip this winter, a guy who could slot in as a #5 starter on many teams, pitch 190-200 innings, and cost a mere $500G in salary.  Such a deal.

Or he could remain in AAA and try to better his 2014 production – but if he were to regress at all, his trade value could diminish, yes?

My guess is that the Mets want to minimize the risk of too many young guys being on the team in April in prominent roles, to avoid a bad start due to youngsters' nerves, adjustment period, etc.  So if the right package came along this winter, he’d be a very valuable chip.  If not, he goes back to Vegas until the deals heat up and the trio I named above are moved along. 

Especially with Matt returning from Tommy John, and Niese having some injury concerns, I’d say that you’d want at least 7 guys capable of being in the 5 man rotation day 1.  Matz and Thor may be held back for financial reasons until Super 2 June or later, as noted, so to reach 7, Montero could slide nicely into the pen, and Verrett could be held onto just to see if he’d be needed as a starter in early 2015 due to injuries.

But ultimately, he seems like a guy that in this crowded Mets field (and soon to get more crowded with the likes of a Matt Bowman or Tyler Pill not far behind, and Molina and others further back on the conveyor belt).  So I surmise he will be headed out of town sooner rather than later.  He’s has to be seen as a real value now as a trade chip, I’d think.  Some team will need a starter, and why not Logan, based on his excellent stats?

But stats are one thing, what about “stuff”?

Reports indicate that Verrett fires from a 3/4 arm angle, tops out at only around 90, and relies on a quality slider and decent change up, to go along with his outstanding control.

Topping out at around 90, he is not a flamethrower in the Harvey/ deGrom/ Wheeler/ Thor/ Matz mode, and even a few notches in velocity down from Mr. Montero. Which in this day and age of flame thrower baseball puts him at a competitive disadvantage.

Slower velocities will lead to more long balls generally, if a pitch is hung or slightly mis-located, and in Logan's case, that is all too true, with his having surrendered 49 homers in 411 career innings, quite a hefty total.  A red flag, no doubt, considering major league hitters have a greater ability to go deep than their minor league counterparts.  He'll have to continue to learn to pitch to less long ball contact.

Hence why I see him as a legit #5 major league starter (and nothing more, absent improvement), or at worst an inning-eating bullpen guy.

What say you? Logan ready? Trade him?  Keep him?


Anonymous said...

I would start a Las Vegas rotation with Montero, Verrett, Syndergaard, Matz and Bowman.


Tom Brennan said...

Jonah, if no trades involving Gee, Niese, Colon occur before opening day, that is a heckuva Vegas rotation. I may relocate!

Mack Ade said...

I really believe that Montero will not return to the minors anymore and will remain in the pen/emergency 6th starter

Tom Brennan said...

I agree there, Mack.

Montero has proven he is good enough to pitch regularly. His last 19 1/3 innings with the Mets in 5 outings, 21 Ks and 4 earned runs. Very impressive. Two of the 5 were relief outings, so he did pitch in both roles well.