“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 Span, B.J. Upton, Ben 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 CitiField – I 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