Morning Report – October 14 – Juan Lagares, 2015, System Evaluation – OF


A scout on Juan Lagares 

“For anyone who underestimates the value of his defense, just ask his starting pitchers what they think.  Anyone who doesn’t think he’s terrific isn’t paying attention. He still has a ways to go. He continues to learn plate discipline. I think there’s more power there. He’s already a good base runner. In the NL East, I like him over Denard SpanB.J. UptonBen Revere and Marcell Ozuna. He’s at the top of the division.

Mack – I’ve said this before. You want to read as much information you can get your hands on from scouts of other teams. They have the best knowledge of how your players stack up with the rest of the league.

As for what this scout said, this is the kind of stuff you want to read… and, I agree with him. I think there is some more power here and we started to see it near the end of the season.

Juan Lagares and Jacob deGrom… two reasons to never give up on the organization.

Hunter asked –

            Mack, do we stand  chance in 2015?

                        Mack – Hey Hunter.

                        Tough question to answer.

There are a few things that do have to happen to get even close to any level in the playoffs.

1.     Stay Healthy – The Mets simply don’t have the depth of talent to lose key players to season long injuries. The loss of Matt Harvey in 2014 pretty much cooked their goose this past season. This can’t happen again to one of the handful of legitimate stars they have on their roster.

2.                 Keep Your Front of the Rotation Intact – Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom could all find themselves on the same All-Star roster. These three may be that talented and could carry this team on their back to the playoffs.

3.                 Obtain one more bat – It doesn’t matter if it’s a corner outfielder or a shortstop… nor does it matter if you have to trade for him or sign him as a free agent. You have plenty of excess pitching talent to get this done. One more 20+ home run bat in the lineup firms up 3-6 (David Wright, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud) in the lineup. You have to do this. If you don’t, it’s just baseball masturbation.

4.                 Move Right-Center of CitiFieldI kid with him, but Tom Brennan is correct. A small adjustment of the dimensions where the lion share of balls hit by Wright and Granderson that are short of going out of the stadium could translate to five more victories alone. On my team, I will take any win I can get by any means.

5.                 Get Off To The Right Start – We’ve discussed it (over and over) how much of this game is mental. The Mets just can’t afford to have Granderson and d’Arnaud play another miserable April. It seems like everybody hit .230 last season, but the secondary problem was they didn’t even do that consistently. Half the time they hit .180, then followed it up with.280. The team needs better than this. They played a very close to playoff version of this game after the All-Star break. All they have to do is duplicate 2014’s win-loss record, after the break, during the first half of 2015.

The Internal evaluation continues with our look in the outfield.

We’re not going to attempt to break this down by right, center, and left field. There simply is too much crossover in the minors.

In Queens, eight players played in the Mets outfield. Two (Bobby Abreu, Chris Young) are now gone, while two (Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares) project as starters next season. I think Grandy will move over from right and takeover left field until his contract runs out. This gives the strong arm of Matt den Dekker the inside track for, at least the left-handed hitter in a platoon (had only 15 at-bats vs. LHP - .200). Not listed as a Mets outfielder is super-utility player Eric Campbell, who does offer a viable platoon partner to den Dekker as well as the corner infield positions. This leaves Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and minor leaguer Andrew Brown as a fifth option, none of which would make my team. We know the Mets need more here, but it’s not going to come from Las Vegas. The Mets are going to have to go outside their organization for their fifth outfielder in Queens. The fan base simply isn’t going to allow for no improvement here.

In Las Vegas, things didn’t play out that well considering this was supposedly a wonderful place to hit. Den Dekker (335-AB, .334) has moved on to Queens where I expect him to stay next season. RHH Brown (385-AB, .283, 30-yrs old) and SH Anthony Seratelli (244-AB, .279, 31-yrs old) could both be pushed out. And Cesar Puello (318-AB, .252) will return and hopefully start back in right field. Lastly, Cory Vaughn was brought up from Binghamton in June due to team injuries and it just didn’t pan out at either level (AA: .190, AAA: 228). My guess right now is Darrell Cecilliani will make the jump from AA and join Puello as a Vegas starter. The other one, and two backups are up for grabs right now and we’ll discuss that move as we move on to Binghamton.

In Binghamton, it’s all about Brandon Nimmo and when will he be ready to move on. He only had 240 at-bats at the AA level this past season and, though he was heading in the right direction, he still only hit .238 here after going .322 for St. Lucie (227-AB). Insiders say you should look past his lack of physical age (21) and yet the thin air in Vegas get his bat back on target. Everyone says this is a future star of the game and even his outs are hard. If he starts back in AA, he’ll be done with AAA by the end of the season and be ready for opening day 2016… past this, you still need another starter in AAA and my vote would go to Travis Taijeron (330-AB, .248, 15-HR). He, like his teammate Dustin Lawley (3B-OF), is one of the true power hitters in the organization, but needs to work on his overall offensive game (107-K). What better city than Vegas… lastly, there is Kyle Johnson (359-AB, .259), who would make a nice fourth outfielder in Vegas if you wanted to clean house there.

In St. Lucie, in addition to Nimmo playing here the first half of the season, there was Jared King (181-AB, .287), Maikis De La Cruz (450-AB, .267), Eudy Pina (430-AB, .263, 9-HR, 59-RBI), and Gilbert Gomez (313-AB, .217). De La Cruz and Pina have put in their A+ time and both seem like they have qualified to move on to Binghamton. In fact. Pina is back to being a borderline prospect, especially when it comes to his impressive gains in producing RBIs (2011: 16, 2012: 27, 2013: 49, 2014: 59). The true disappointment here was Gomez, who signed with the Mets with such promise. Lastly, this should be the 2015 opening day home for ex-top draft pick, Michael Conforto, who should skip the Death Valley town of Savannah. We’ll talk about him when we get to Brooklyn.

In Savannah, there was Victor Cruzado (359-AB, .273), Champ Stuart (285-AB, .256), Patrick Biondi (404-AB, .233), the previously mentioned King (104-AB, .231), and Stefan Sabol (327-AB, .199).
In Brooklyn, Conforto made his professional debut and did not disappoint (163-AB, .331). There still is some question regarding his projected ‘pop’ (only 3-HRs, 10-doubles in 54 hits). There’s a good chance that, if he starts off next season in A+ ball, and Nimmo is held back in Binghamton, thye both could wind up with the same major league ETA… past him, there was John Mora (89-AB, .292), Michael Bernal (233-AB, .240), Tucker Tharp (202-AB, .213), and Joe Tuschak (114-AB, .211). I know Mora didn’t play the whole season here, but you might see him start in Savannah next spring, especially since most of the outfielders around him didn’t fair that well last season.

In Kingsport, we might have found the third top Mets outfield prospect (#1 Nimmo, #2 Conforto). 19-year old RHH Wuilmer Becerra was a throw-in in the deal that brought catchers Travis d'Arnaud and John Buck and pitcher Noah Syndergaard to the Mets from the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher R.A. Dickey and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. Becerra hit .300 in 207 at-bats and guaranteed himself (at least) a starting spot in Savannah next spring… in addition, there were Oswald Caraballo (249-AB, .289), Vincente Lupo (133-AB, .278, 7-HR), Ivan Wilson (188-AB, .176) and Jose Figuera (67-AB, .104)… it seems to me that Caraballo is on his way to Savannah also. Lupo still seems to be a work in progress, but 2014 was a vast improvement on a very disappointing 2013 season for the GCL Mets (.220). Remember, this was the guy that hit .343 for the DSL Mets in 2012 and made all us think we had something special here.

For The GCL Mets, Mora started the season here (110-AB, .318) before moving on to Brooklyn… Emmanuel Zabata (196-AB, .301), Armaldo Berrios (103-AB, .272), Raphael Ramirez (125-AB, .256), and Hengelbert Rojas (116-AB, .224) finished out the GCL outfield.

And for the DCL teams, the most successful were Jose Medina (210-AB, .286) and Ricardo Cespedes (218-AB, .266).

Overall Observation – As I’ve mentioned before, some players are late bloomers and guys like Puello, Cecilliani, Lawley, Taijeron, Lupo, etc. could still step up… like Juan Lagares did… but, right now, the system has two outfield prospects (Nimmo, Conforto) and a young kid showing promise (Becerra). This simply is not enough for a team that already is considered having one of the less talented outfields in the majors. A lot has to go right here real quick. A lot.

Overall Rating:  D


Kevin S said...

Here is a name ... Jay Bruce. The Reds will have a dilemma next offseason when Cueto, Latos, Leake & Simon all become free agents. That's 4/5 of their starting rotation. I'm sure they'll either resign or internally fill 2/3 of those spaces but it's going to be difficult with their budget. A proactive move might be to trade Cueto now. I'm looking at Boston while trying to get back Cespedes and a young arm (Renaudo or Webster possibly). Or maybe Boegarts. Either way, they match up very well with Boston.

This could allow the Reds to shop Bruce for another young arm. Bruce had a down year but so did everyone on the Reds when Votto went down. Bruce can hit .250 with 30 HRs (kinda what we hoped we were getting with Granderson).
He's 27, an average defender with solid power. He's signed for $12M & $12.5M the next 2 years with a $13M team option in 2017.

I would think there would be a Syndergaard for Bruce match here. Maybe throw them a bullpen arm not currently in Queens as well.

Tom Brennan said...

So this is what I read about the knuckleheads in Queens today about plans to only move fences in in right and right center: According to ESPN Stats & Information’s Mark Simon, had adjustments to this section been made prior to this season, the Mets would’ve hit seven additional home runs.

SEVEN!!!!!!!!!! WHY...BOTHER? Why spend the $$? Do it right!

Stupidity reigns supreme in Queens.

Mack, fences moved in right would also help Duda, Murph (if he stays) and Dekker (if he does in fact play a lot), but if seven added homers are all we are talking about, they are half-stepping it again. AGAIN.

If they move in right and right center, cool. Wind blows in a lot and ball does not carry, so would 401 instead of 408 be good in center? I certainly think so. Then, if you are going for architecturally cheap changes, also shorten the corners a bit and eliminate the out-dent in left. Done. I'd be happy.

If Ronald Reagan were around, he'd say, "Mr. Alderson, tear down those fences."

Enough on the fences, man. You can't help stupid, it seems.

Juan Lagares did show some pop in AA in 2011 when he was listed at 175 - he's bigger now (205?), so he can add to his homer total.

I agree with the rest of your points. I agree that the rating is D (or C- perhaps). Up to Nimmo and Conforto, and perhaps Taijeron, to prove us wrong on that in 2015.

I'm calm again....have a great day, everybody.

Tom Brennan said...

Hey, Kevin

Jay Bruce might be interesting - as long as they move the fences in enough to not make it a stupid decision.

7 more homers with shorter fences, spread around 3 or 4 guys, don't seem like enough, man. If that's all they do, I'd immediately pass on Bruce. He'd fail like everyone else out there.

Anonymous said...

@Kevin S.

I'm not sure I would make a run at Bruce.

His K rate has been ticking up each year over the past 6 seasons from 19.4% in 2009 to 27.3% this season. His offensive profile is actually very similar to Lucas Duda's.

Both are roughly .250 hitters who have 30+ HR power from a periphals standpoint Duda has more upside. Duda swung at only 28% of pitches out of the zone whereas Bruce swung at 33%. Duda is also slightly better at making contact on pitches in the zone (87%) than Bruce (83%).

Anonymous said...

The problem is that Puello will not be going back to Vegas, he must be on the 25 man roster in April or subjected to waivers, where he is almost certain to be claimed, so they either make him the 5th OF or watch him go elsewhere. I think they will start the season with Puello as the 5th OF, even if they pick up someone outside the organization and see if he can fit as a platoon or extra OF. While he took a step backwards last year, there is still to great of a chance that he proves a serviceable extra OF, if not more, so I think it will be Kirk that goes back to Vegas. Lagares, Grandy, MDD and Puello will make up 4 of the 5 OF and the last spot will either be an outside addition or Kirk. I know Cesar did not step up, but management did not do his progression any favors by giving time to the likes of Allen, Serratelli, Brown and Vaughn. The choice is clear for Cesar: one final shot as the 5th OF or let him go via waivers. I know they let FMart walk, but I think that was more because of chronic injuries than underperformance. Either way, Cesar will not be going back to Vegas. I think the only chance that happens is if they sign him to a ML contract and he accepts the assignment, but I am not even sure that will happen.

Anon Joe F

Unknown said...

I would like to see Lawley in that 3rd outfield position in AAA. Also not sure but I thought I read Cesar Puello might be out of options? Does he have to be in the majors or dropped next year?

Kevin S said...


I hear you loud and clear as Duda and Bruce are VERY similar players, but 30 HR bats don't grow on trees and adding one for an unproven pitching prospect seems like a solid investment.

If the Mets want to compete with the Nationals, they need to have a rotation to match Strasburg, Zimmerman, Fister, Gonzalez & Roarke. I think we can do that. We need to match their bullpen. I think we can do that.

Our biggest discrepancy is matching their offensive production. Bruce would help close that gap.

Anonymous said...

@ZoZo and Joe F.

You are correct that Cesar Puello is out of options and will need to be passed through waivers in order to be assigned to AAA.

I agree that Puello will get a shot to stick with the MLB team as the 5th OF. As I stated in previous posts, he still brings good tools to the table thanks to his monster numbers against Left Handed pitching.

Anonymous said...

he is out of options, so he has to be on 25 man roster or subjected to waivers, which he almost certainly will be claimed. I think the only way around it is to offer him a ML contract and have him accept the assignment to Vegas. He might go for that because he could make more money next year and it would probably on be a one year deal, but I think the Mets will start him as the 5th OF for one last chance, unless they believe that he will never be a productive ML player and have given up on him altogether. Say what you will about his underperformance last year, but given his contractual status and previous year in AA, it is almost organizational malpractice not to have given him every single chance last year to get it going. I think Cesar will be a ML player at some level and still has a small chance to realize his potential, so I believe it would be down right foolish to simply let him go via waivers.

Anonymous said...


You are correct that 30 HR power is not readily available.....but the Jay Bruce we saw this year was real. His increasing K rates and declining BB rates are going to wreck havoc on his ability to hit for a passable average.

You can't hit HRs if you can't hit the ball. The Mets cannot afford to have (2) .220 AVG, 20 HR hitters in the line-up who are making double digit money.

In fact Granderson was actually a better hitter than Bruce this year....that should tell you enough.

Anonymous said...


There's actually no way around it. In order to offer him a Minor League contract he has to be released from his existing rookie contract. Doing so would place him on release waivers which would disallow the club from re-signing him for 30 days.

The only way around the "out-of-options" scenario would be to non-tender and then re-sign Puello to a minor league contract.....but then that opens a more hazardous scenario of losing him.....the Rule 5 draft.

Kevin S said...


To me, Bruce's numbers this year are a result of the entire team, except Frazier, losing their fight once Votto went down because they flat our stunk. I think he's way more likely, at age 27, to get back on track next season.

I understand there are two ways to look at everything but that's my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Im saying signing him to a major league contract and then have him accept the assignment, which he still may decline, but the best way is to start him on ML level

Anonymous said...


A) Players on Major League contracts do not have right to "decline" an assignment to the minor leagues until they have amassed 5 years worth of service time. Puello currently has 0.000. That said....

B) The scenario you are proposing requires an option which Cesar Puello is out of.

Anonymous said...

@Kevin S.

You may very well be correct with your opinion.

Personally I'm still in the bring Michael Cuddyer to New York camp.

Mack Ade said...

Morning everyone.

Regarding Puello, I actually would hate to give up on him. Potentially, he brings more pop ceiling to the plate than even Nimmo and Conforto, though we have no idea how his PED-year spiked those numbers.

I was always told that his name was associated with them the year BEFORE he played so well, so who knows.

Look... offer the guy a $500K minimum major league contract... replace Ruben Tejada with Matt Reynolds and we're ahead of the game salaries wise.

I'm not sure he matches up well with Wally and you might want to keep him in Queens as the 5th outfielder. Yeah I know, he'll never get the proper amount of at-bats to blossom, but those days may have passed for him.

He still could be quite valuable as a PH/DH fill-in.

Reese Kaplan said...

One thing Puello also offers is BLAZING speed. The stolen base numbers may not have been Billy Hamilton, but I saw him in person in El Paso when the 51s came to visit and was stunned by how fast he is.

Hobie said...

Syndergaard for Bruce? No. Just No.

If we’re going to keep Granderson (likely) then a den Dekker/Puello RF has to start the year while we wait for Nimmo. If it’s at all possible to dump Curtis then a 1 year place-holder (Cuddyer? Rios?) makes a lot of sense. That would be my choice, and in a perfect world, Nimmo makes a big splash in the 2nd half.

With Grandy, adding a, say, Cuddyer (who you know will play) will just prevent us from finding out what we have in dD/Cesar. That’s what would have happened to Legares if Collin Cogwill had had a Grandy-like year.

The “bat” we all know we need is a restored Wright, a continued progress of Travis & Flores, an insurance that Duda doesn’t go “Ike” on us, and Granderson uptick. Perhaps a lot to ask, but a better bet IMO than trading Thor, Wheeler and/or Mejia/Familia.

And, Mack—
My candidate to the Legares/deGrom Hall of the Ignored: TJ Rivera.

Mack Ade said...

Hobie -

Good choice... and, you know... it could wind up to be Reynolds too

Kevin S said...


I'm with you that I'd rather have Cuddyer, as opposed to Bruce, being our RF this year and then let the best man start come 2016. DD is our insurance in case Cuddyer or Lagares continue their injury streaks.

Tom Brennan said...

I'd like to add about Puello my vote to retain him. Why?

He is as fast as Eric Young, and has stolen 148 of 187 bases in his minors tenure, over the equivalent of about 4 major league seasons, so about 37 of 47. His on base % the past two years, including his struggling 2014, is .380. Partly because HBP is a major part of his game, accounting for 49 points of on base since he turned pro. Most guys are under 10 points. Getting on base counts - just ask Ron Hunt.

So he should be at least as good as Eric Young offensively - just as fast and gets on just as much, my guess, at the big league level. But he has far more power, and is a much better defensive OF.

In other words, he has to stay. He could in 2 years be a 5 tool star elsewhere...maybe not, but the upside is there.

He only went to the plate 370 times last year - for a guy with his upside, that is criminal, regardless of how he is playing, BTW.

Anonymous said...


I agree that Thor for Bruce is too much.

The way I see it....the team, as is today, is a slighty above .500 team 83-79 in my opinion.

In order to make the playoffs we need to add 5 more wins at a minimum.

I don't believe Den Dekker and Puello can equal a 5 WAR player, nor, do I think Cuddyer will. At most we may be able to squeeze a +2.0 WAR out of either scenario.

The remaining 3 will have to come via growth from our young stars and returns to form from Granderson and Wright. This is currently how I have the 2015 team laid out in my mind.

Replacement Level Team = 48 wins
C- Travis d'Arnaud: +3.2 WAR
1B- Lucas Duda: +3.0 WAR
2B- Daniel Murphy: +2.5 WAR
3B- David Wright: +5.0 WAR
LF- Curtis Granderson: 1.5 WAR
CF- Juan Lagares: +3.5 WAR
RF- Michael Cuddyer: +2.0 WAR
C- Anthony Recker: +0.3 WAR
CIF- Eric Campbell: +0.2 WAR
MIF- Daniel Muno: 0.0 WAR
OF- Matt Den Dekker: +0.7 WAR
OF- Cesar Puello: 0.0 WAR
SP- Matt Harvey: +4.0 WAR
SP- Zack Wheeler: +2.5 WAR
SP- Jon Niese: +1.5 WAR
SP- Jacob deGrom: +2.5 WAR
SP- Dillon Gee: +1.0 WAR
CL- Bobby Parnell: +0.7 WAR
RP- Jhenrry Mejia: +0.4 WAR
RP- Juerys Familia: +0.6 WAR
RP- Victor Black: +0.5 WAR
RP- Josh Edgin: +0.3 WAR
RP- Carlos Torres: +0.6 WAR
RP- Dario Alvarez: 0.0 WAR

Current Forecasted Team Wins: 84.5 Wins

Steve from Norfolk said...

Where's Flores?

Kevin S said...

85 wins without a shortstop. That's difficult.

Also, 23 comments before lunch? Let's keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Yikes....my bad....I have Flores at SS being worth +2.0 WAR.

Steve from Norfolk said...

That brings us to 86.5 wins - I redid the addition and Flores wasn't included in your WAE totals. Every little win helps!

Anonymous said...

Wowzers.....the Dodgers fire Ned Colletti and hire Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman.

Expect a heavy shuffle in the Dodgers roster this off-season as Friedman is more prospect friendly then Colletti.

I would expect that Joc Pederson and Corey Seager are now untouchables.

Anonymous said...

Seeing Friedman going to LA,could work well for the Mets? Yes Seager and Pederson will be untouchable,but he values prospects! He might be willing to take others for Kemp and pay most of his salary,as sunk cost? Could the METS get Kemp and have LA pay half his salary for Plawecki? or for Bowman and Mazzoni for Kemp

buddy3 said...

Captain Kirk and Puello both out of options. Those are either your 4th and 5th outfielders or they sign a rightfielder and one of them get exposed to waivers as MDD moves into 4th Of spot.

Anonymous said...


I think Kirk is the odd man out....However, I do not believe a team will claim him on waivers when the Mets try to pass him through to AAA.

He'll be your Las Vegas Opening Day CF.

Mack Ade said...

Buddy -

Kirk will pass through...

Mack Ade said...

Freidman going to LA could create a new home for Kevin Plawecki.

It won't help the Mets move Gee, Colon, or Niese, but I think the one OF that is most in trouble there is Puig.

Mack Ade said...

Here is what Friedman walks in the LA door facing...

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez $71 million over the next four years, at the end of which he’ll be 36

Outfielder Carl Crawford $62.25 million over the next three years, at the end of which he’ll be 36

Outfielder Andre Ethier, who lost his starting job with Yasiel Puig in the mix, $56 million over the next three years, at the end of which he’ll be 35

Outfielder Matt Kemp $128.5 million over the next five years, at the end of which he’ll be 35

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw $193 million over the next six years, at the end of which he’ll be 32

Zack Greinke $102 million over the next four years, at the end of which he’ll be 34.

Tom Brennan said...

Mack, they'll have to change their name to the LA Dollars. Those 6 guys you list total up to $600 million. Whoosh!

Mack Ade said...

It was reported last week that the Dodgers want to operate 2015 BELOW $200mil... they sit around $229mil in 2014 with $30mil running out in free agents...

They can only do this if they DON'T sign Hanley Ramirez which looks like a sure bet now.

My guess is one of the high priced outfielders will be traded off with the Dodgers paying around 50% of his existing contract.

You will then see either Pederson or Van Slyke start

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

This is how BADLY this team has spent over the past 5 years.

We bitch all the time about the Wilpons and yet Kansas City is playing tonight and the top six teams in payroll are no longer in the playoffs.

This is what Friedman will bring to the Dodgers, but, like Alderson, it will take 4-6 years to turn the way this team operates around

eraff said...

The Dodgers and Boston have excess players and Money---it's gonna be a great display of "Moneyball with Money"!

I don't believe Kemp or Puig are going anywhere---they are not tearing down, they're reloading. The focus will be on winning with their present group...likely, MINUS Hanley. However, I could see them tendering him of his agreement allows it.

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