Morning Report – October 17 – Michael Conforto, Ruben Tejada, Top 10 2014 Drafted Outfielders, Miles Mikolas, Julian Hilario, Lucas Duda


The Bleacher Report predicted the ‘Top 10 Future Left Fielders in Baseball’…

#4 – Michael Conforto (Courtney Hawkins was ranked #6) - Michael Conforto is on the fast track to Queens. The left fielder, who the New York Mets selected with the No. 10 pick in June, took apart the New York-Penn League over the summer. In 42 games, Conforto clubbed 10 doubles and three home runs, while hitting .331. When He'll Arrive in the Big Leagues: Conforto is on track to begin the 2015 season in Low-A. However, the way he's hit so far, the left-handed batter will end the year in High-A or possibly even Double-A. Ccnoforto could join the Mets by the end of the 2016 season.

Mack – I have no problem with this prediction or ETA. It sets up a year before the end of Curtis Granderson’s contract, but having the two of them, Brandon Nimmo, and Juan Lagares all available is a good thing.
Oh… one more thing… the same article had another Dodger outfielder ranked 7thScott Schebler… who slash lined at AA in 2014: .280 average, .365 OBP, .556 SLG, .921 OPS, 23 2B, 14 3B, 28 HR, 73 RBI, 10 SB, 45 BB, 110 K

Someone has to be moved here.

Ruben Tejada, shortstop  -  The Mets can’t get themselves a real shortstop fast enough. But they’ll have to spend some money this offseason to do it. Tejada once and for all proved he’s not the future at the position by hitting just .237 and showing no power. His ability to take walks was greatly outweighed by just 16 extra-base hits in 355 at-bats. Wilmer Flores gave you 20 extra-base hits in 100 fewer at-bats. It’s time to move on.  Grade: D  http://www.metro.us/newyork/sports/mlb/2014/09/30/mets-2014-report-card/

Mack – It is time to move on. Now we just have to figure out how far to move. All the great shortstops that will be available in the off-season will go to all the big spenders. The best plan right now is to continue the internal maturation of Wilmer Flores. Then, pick a utility backup between Ruben Tejada, Wilfredo Tovar, or Matt Reynolds. Tejada has the experience but will cost the most. At this point, I don’t have a call here. I normally go with experience which means I’d pay the arbitration money to Tejada and take him to Queens with me, but I could change my mind by opening day.

Top 10 2014 Drafted Outfielders

1.     1st Rd/6th overall – Alex Jackson – rookie – 84-AB, .274, 808-OPS
2.     1st Rd/10th overall – Michael Conforto – low-A – 163-AB, .331, 855-OPS
3.     1st Rd/21st overall – Brad Zimmer – low-A – 168-AB, .304, 867
4.     1st Rd/23rd overall – Derek Hill – low-A – 74-AB, .203, 487
5.     1st Rd/32nd overall – Braxton Davidson – rookie – 110-AB, .245, 730
6.     1st Rd/37th overall – Derek Fisher – low-A – 152-AB, .303, 786
7.     1st Rd/38th overall – Mike Papi – A – 135-AB, .178, 583
8.     1st Rd/39th overall – Connor Joe – never signed
9.     2nd Rd/50th overall – Monte Harrison – rookie – 180-AB, .261, 742
10.            2nd Rd/51st overall – Michael Gettys – rookie – 213-AB, .310, 795

(remember… my pick of the first round was:

            13. 2nd Rd/69th overall – Marcus Wilson – rookie – 131-AB, .206, 572)

Miles Mikolas - If there seems very little to compel you in Mikolas’ peripherals, remember that McHugh once had terrible numbers in the easier league. So, yeah, Mikolas doesn’t have a good swinging strike rate (7.5% career), nor does he have a great ground-ball rate (44%). He has shown the upside for great command in the minors, and he did improve his command this year. And now this, his curveball is interesting. An 8.8% whiff rate on the pitch may improve with better sequencing. His slider has a 17% whiff rate so far but he only threw it 100-plus times. And with a four-seamer that gets 7.3% whiffs and a sinker that only gets 41.5% ground balls, he’s actually primed for the same conversion that McHugh underwent. Drop the sinker! Throw the slider more! Never mind the homers. http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/finding-the-next-collin-mchugh-with-spin-rates/

Julian Hilario has never pitched above Class-A and he had an ERA of 5.79 this year, so he figures to take his lumps in the AFL. However, he throws hard and has some feel for his secondary pitches, so the Mets are hoping to challenge him and accelerate his development a bit in the hopes of turning him into a viable bullpen option down the line. - http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/10/07/arizona-fall-league-preview-for-new-york-mets-prospects/#slide_3

     Mack - as of Thursday morning, Hilario has made three Arizona Winter appearances, pitching six scoreless innings (0.00, 0.83). I guess we can't ask for better than that. 

Lucas Duda. When the Mets named Duda the starter at first base in early April, then traded away Ike Davis later that month, they opened themselves up potential criticism. Instead, Duda emerged into one of the top power hitters in the National League, giving the Mets lineup the third best home run hitter in the league this season. There is still greater upside for Duda heading into the offseason but he has already shown that even if he stays at this level, the Mets have a legitimate middle of the order hitter. http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2014/10/mets_7_best_things_about_their_2014_season.html

     Mack - Just some more positive Duda-news.


Thomas Brennan said...

Conforto slots very nicely offensively against his 2014 peers. Wonder how he'd rank defensively, even though I am an offense-first guy. Just curious.

Flores will have a big year in 2015 - although it may be difficult to lose the fond memories of Ruben Tejada drawing walks.

Duda will do better in 2015. Shorter fences, coupled with a more aggressive approach at the plate. I hope for 40 HR in '15. Ike hopes he'll start 40 games in 2015.

Anonymous said...

Perfect world in OF prospect land? Nimmo starts in AA and earns mid season promotion to Vegas; Conforto starts in STL and earns AA promotion to replace Nimmo; Bucerra and Lupo start in Savannah and one of them earns a promotion to take Conforto spot in High A. How much would that chance the landscape of this team as it begins to assemble its monster staff over the course of 2015. I think this team competes in 2015, but 2016 is really the start of vision coming together. If those progressions take place while Thor and Matz graduate, the OF bat sought could be found within and heaven forbid have an extra one out of Nimmo or Conforto. There is a case to be made for additional patience on adding those final pieces, which could be found internally and coincide with the monster staff completely off innings limits. Too bad Cecchini has been a dud so far, a rapid and solid progression from that SS pick could totally remake this team
Anon Joe F

Christopher Soto said...


Just to give you a bit of a tease on Wilmer Flores.....

2015 STEAMER projections are out and here is the batting line they are forecasting for Flores.

125 Games Played, 511 Plate Appearances

.272 BABIP

.254 AVG
.694 OPS
14 HR
56 RBI
5.1% BB rate
13.3% K rate
2.1 WAR

Amongst MLB SS with 250 PA's this year, these numbers would be:

HR: Tied for 6th
RBI: 9th
K rate: 9th
WAR: 15th
OPS: T-16th

So Steamer is projecting him to be an above average offensive SS in his 1st full season with his overall value being curbed by his below average defense. Overall he would be middle of the pack.

Anonymous said...

Morning Mack:
I remember a couple of months or years back. You were comparing what the Mets were doing to San Fran! Building a strong Rotation,and mixing and matching around it? Watching this seasons playoffs has me ,thinking the METS are a mixture of San Fran and KC! The Mets have a strong rotation like San Fran 3 years ago. And like KC's bullpen this season. The only issue is defence. The Mets need to put better defensive players out in the field. Catcher below par,2nd below par,SS below par,only position up the middle the Mets are strong is in CF. Timely hitting is what it is. But with the pitching the Mets have,every game will be close! So I think they should go with the strongest defense they can find/get.
What do you think Mack?
Have yourself a great weekend

Christopher Soto said...

@Joe F

If Nimmo can sustain his Arizona Fall League performance.....I think the club will have no choice but to start him in AAA.

Conforto's performance warrants a start in Port St. Lucie which I think they will do.

I think both Lupo and Becerra start in Brooklyn since their K rates are still a high 31% and 24% respectively.

As for Cecchini, I actually do not feel he's been a bust so far. When the Mets drafted him, it was well known that he does not have a plus tool....but he is above average across to the board.

He was slashing .259/.333/.741 in Savannah before his mid-season promotion to St. Lucie. Adjustment time should be expected since he's only 20 yrs old.

It may not look sexy.....but SS isn't a sexy hitting position. What's really impressing me is the respectable 15% K rate from a 20 yr old prospect.

That's a fantastic start for his career. At 6' 1" and 180 lbs he probably still has some room to fill out and add more power to improve on his 8 HRs this year.

In the end I still think he could end up being a .250 AVG 15 HR, 15 SB guy with above average defense which a fantastic find for SS.

Anonymous said...

Lupo and Becerra were a stretch and I probably was too hard on Cecchini as I am higher on him than most, but it was a pretty high draft pick and it would not have been unreasonable to expect a higher ceiling from that spot. Dud as far as where he was picked might be a bit too strong, but he has shown flashes of a ML player, so let's hope his has a sort of Herrara breakout year next year where he starts to show a decent ML profile

I think Nimmo still starts in AA, but would be thrilled if he earned the Vegas spot out of the get go, would only accelerate his arrival
Anon Joe F

Christopher Soto said...

@Joe F.

Agreed...the make it even more exciting about Nimmo....

I've heard that he is returning to the IMG Academy to work out with Andrew McCutcheon again this off-season. It worked wonders for him this past season to the tune of an extremely strong .906 OPS in Port St. Lucie.

I'm hoping that lighting strikes twice there.

Thomas Brennan said...

I think Flores will do better than the pundits show offensively - and what they show is not bad.

I'd really try to get Lupo and Becerra in Savannah for full season ball, and pull them back (like they did with Rosario) if they feel that is too fast. Those 60 extra Savannah games vs. Brooklyn's total could be invaluable to both.

Cecchini has done OK - this is a really important year to him, as he is still very young but getting to a mature age.

Nimmo's winter league play time may just be enough added experience get him to AAA. If not, I hope he starts out in AA for no more than a month in 2015.

I agree - great times are coming to Queens.

Anonymous said...

Team needs a strong defensive SS. Im not sold on Flores,being it? The pitching staff needs strong defense, they will be in every game so defense will be needed. Murphy's defense off sets whatever he does offensively. Flores would be an upgrade at 2nd. Build like KC,Wheeler would do well only having to throw 6innings,with a 7th man Familia-8th man Parnell and 9th Mejia

Thomas Brennan said...

Hi Anonymous

I would look to deal with that partially by having a strong defensive back up SS who could be a late inning substitute for Flores.

Christopher Soto said...


Agreed Tom...

1 has to remember that with our new, younger power pitching, K racking, rotation, the percentage of "balls in play" is falling dramatically.

If Flores can produce the STEAMER numbers and provide positive WAR value, I can live with his defense.

That's also why I'm a proponent of non-tendering Tejada and promoting the more defensive minded Wilfredo Tovar next year.

Anonymous said...

Nimmo strikes me as a Hunter Pence from the LH side, which I think most fans would take right now. As far as the off season workouts go, I would place a bet that Cecchini is working his tail off this very second trying to do something to make his game better; I think that is the intangible that made them take him so high. Maybe Marco Scutaro type?
Joe F

Mack Ade said...

Steve -

You have a great point.

Defense makes for winners and you have to have it 'down the middle'... catcher, pitchers, middle infielders

These mostly was weak points for the Mets defensively

Hobie said...

If there's a level playing field in ST, I'm betting on the dark horse, TJ Rivera, to be our UT INF.

Of course there may not be, especially if Reuben is extended, but TJ will hold is own against the Reynolds' and Muno's.

Christopher Soto said...


While I agree TJ should get more love than he currently does.

There's a 0.0001% chance that he makes the MLB club. This is solely due to the fact that BECAUSE he flies so under the radar, he's really not a risk to be taken in this year's Rule 5 draft. Thus no reason to "waste" a 40 man spot on him.

Reynolds is not even eligible for the Rule 5 draft so that's why I think he stays in AAA a little longer as a back-up plan in case Flores gets hurt long term.

Due to Muno's proximity to the MLB, his advanced eye at the plate and his 3 position versatility....I can see a team plucking him from us. Thus the reason I believe the Mets will protect him and add him to the 40 man.

This gives him an inside edge on that 25th roster spot. (Internally that is)

Hobie said...


Whether or not TJ is exposed to Rule 5 (I think he will be, as you suggest-and I have this premonition that the NYY will take him) if he is in the org come ST, I just hope he gets a shot with the Tovar's, Muno's etc.

Michael S. said...

Cecchini is still very young. His power developed a little this year. If he continues filling out he could really be a 'surprise' player.

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