Morning Report – October 20 - Hot Stove, Paul Sewald, Top Prospect Alert Top 20 Mets, Addison Russell, Braves, Cespedes


On November 23, 2013, the Mets signed free agent OF Chris Young Jr. to a one-year, $7.25mil contract. The move caught Mets fans off guard because they weren’t used to General Manager Sandy Alderson coming out of the box and moving this fast during the ‘Hot Stove season’.

How much will the failure of this move effect the timing of when Alderson will pull the trigger this year? What if a guy like Alex Rios is willing to sign early a one-year deal for, say, Young-money… do you take the whole ‘find a corner outfielder’ target off the table and move on to the issue at shortstop?

You have to assume that Alderson is already in touch with teams that have players he has targeted for a possible trade. I assume that the Cubs, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox are programmed into Alderson’s speed dial, but there are 30 teams in the league and an agreement between one team and one agent doesn’t always come easy.

My guess is Alderson will handle the Hot Stove season the same way he and most baseball General Managers handle the draft…  do your homework, put your target names up on your board, and draft the best player available when it’s your turn to pick.

If a ‘target name’ crosses your desk at right price… sign em’.

Pen Prospect Focus – 

Paul Sewald       

Seward was drafted in the 10th round of the 2012 draft out of San Diego University. He pitched four seasons in college and received a whopping $1,000 bonus from the Mets for signing (I would have loved to be in that room when the Mets sold him that bill of goods).
He actually was a starter in his senior year (15-G, 14-ST, 8-4, 3.09), but the Mets knew exactly what they wanted from Seward… 16 more appearances that same year, all in relief, for Brooklyn (1.88).

Sewald’s professional numbers are unmatched. He’s been in the Mets organization for four seasons, has pitched in 94 games, has struck out 171 batters (no big fastball here, just intelligent mixing of four pitchers that include a high-80s FB) and has an ERA/WHIP of 1.85/1.01.

He finished 2014 with a cup of coffee in Binghamton, which is exactly where he will start 2015… I mean, relieve 2015… and he will pitch next year as a 25-year old. Still, this is the best $1,000 investment this team has ever made.

Right now, I have him as the number two relief prospect behind Akeel Morris.

JP Schwartz likes to put together a post every year with his top 20 prospect for each team in baseball (http://topprospectalert.com/2014/10/18/2015-mlb-organizational-top-20-prospect-rankings/). Every team is listed here if you want to visit the site.
His Mets list is interesting:

1: Noah Syndergaard RHP, 2: Michael Conforto OF, 3: Kevin Plawecki C, 4: Dilson Herrera 2B, 5: Steven Matz LHP, 6: Rafael Montero RHP, 7: Marcos Molina RHP, 8: Brandon Nimmo OF, 9: Dominic Smith 1B, 10: Amed Rosario SS, 11: Gavin Cecchini SS, 12: Matt Reynolds SS/2B, 13: Wuilmer Becerra OF, 14:      Gabriel Ynoa RHP, 15: Jhoan Urena 3B, 16: Casey Meisner RHP, 17:        John Gant RHP, 18:  Matt Bowman RHP, 19: Blake Taylor LHP, 20: Michael Fulmer RHP

Most of the usual subjects were ranked here and I first have to say that you will never find two people that agree on exactly the ranking of the top 20 Mets in the system. This is all subjective. Sort of like the Mets middle infield defense.

People that rank prospects usually go down one of two roads. Some have the older guys who have worked their way through the system and are knocking on the door ranked higher… others do this on ceiling and projected tools.

Me? Well, Cecchini, Bowman, and Taylor would not be on my top 20 and I definitely would have Robert Whalen, Paul Sewald, and Vincente Lupo. But see? That’s my opinion, which is always different when we do things like this.

Addison Russell, SS - It’s possible that Russell won’t even make his major-league debut this season — or, not until September roster expansion, at least. Nevertheless, the projections indicate that, were he to receive a promotion to the parent club, that he’d produce wins at something like a league-average rate. The plate-discipline profile isn’t ideal at the moment, putting more pressure on the quality of Russell’s contact, but that’s also a concern mitigated by Russell’s positional adjustment and — so far as the future is concerned — how he’s turning only 21 years old. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-top-five-cubs-prospects-by-projected-war/

Mack – one of my objectives here in The Morning Report is to keep you all abreast to what’s being written about the shortstops and corner outfielders that could be available to the Mets this off season. Russell is one of them, though the Cubs are playing him at second base in the AWL right now.

(Keith Law reminds us that the main reason he's playing 2B in the AWL is because he can't play SS every day there)

We all know the fact that the Cubs have Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, and Russell all in the pipeline here, and they need pitching desperately.

One more thing...

Chicago is very happy with Castro on short and they have big plans for a guy named Bryant at third... every effort is being done to convert Baez into a second baseman which makes the trade for Russell even more puzzling. This must have been done figuring he can be turned into immediate pitching help.

I always talk about depth in the organization and how important it is when you are trying to turn around a team that isn’t going in the right direction.

Take the Atlanta Braves… they have a bunch of long term contracts bogging them down, only really three decent starters returning next spring, and a very questionable outfield situation. Add to this the cost of building a new stadium and we all know those problems, don’t we?

Well, the one problem they don’t have is in the infield.
First base and shortstop are a lock with Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons and, while most Braves fans are happy with Chris Johnson at third base and Tommy La Stella at second, rest assured they are backed up at the prospect level with 23-year old Kyle Kubitza (2014: AA-Ball - 440-AB, .295/.402/.470/873, 8-HR, 55-RBI and 20-year old Jose Peraza (2014: AA-Ball – 185-AB, .335/.363/.422/784).

See this is talent on talent. Major League producers sitting on high ceiling projected replacements. This is what a team strives to accomplish within its system.

The comments that OF Yoenis Cespedes is available on the market were not made by the team. They came from a reporter who supposedly was fed this information by a Red Sox source. He also said that Cespedes doesn’t care much about improving his defensive game which also isn’t going to help the team and him eat at the same dinner table anymore.

Look, the trade for Cespedes was a move to help Boston get to the 2014 playoffs. It didn’t work, nor (IMO) would giving this guy a long term contract; however, I’d love him in the Mets left field for 2015. It wouldn’t kill the Mets to add his 2014 results (22-HRs/100-RBIs) to the Mets lineup.

Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo are the future of the Boston outfield.

And then, even without Cespedes, you still have Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz.

The 2015 Mets need a bat like this in their lineup.


Thomas Brennan said...

Morning, Mack
I still have Leathersich as #2 relief prospect behind Akeel, and my gut is Hansel Robles is following close to the path charted by Jeurys Familia (spotty minor league starter turned relief beast)n so he is my #3. Then Paul Sewald, then Brad Wieck. Nice group to have. The above list ought to also include Dario Alvarez, but since he made his ML debut, I will leave him off the list for now as a graduate.

I am really anxious to see if Sandy mostly stands pat or gets good offers for the Russells and Cespedes of the world. This should be the most intriguing winter for the Mets in a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

As a long time follower of the Mets Farm, I must say that they have not had this sort of depth before, even if it may lack the super duper stars; quality inventory is the key, since putting all chips on one or two players can be risky. Hard to leave out Justin Upton and Jason Heyward from the decent starter list for the Bravos. Not sure what to think about the chances for Cespedes, but the power, the position and short term commitment definitely fit what I think Sandy is planning on doing in the OF and since he really cannot expect big returns for Niese and Gee, there may be a fit. As far as SS, I think Sandy may surprise and find one from somewhere else than CHI or AZ. The Indians, Tigers, Rangers and maybe even the Sox have an extra prospect that may not be as sexy as Russell, but after seeing Baez struggle when he came up, Sandy may not be as wedded to a superstar prospect as many think. I saw the post on the Rangers adding $20M in payroll yesterday; not sure where that came from, but there were rumors mid season that MLB had approached Texas about their crazy non-compliance with their debt service ratio, so it is really surprising that they would be talking about adding payroll, when MLB would like them to shave it down because they have already gone through one bankruptcy and cannot file again for several years. They really have taken on some dog contracts: Choo, Fielder, Andrus, etc.

Anon Joe F

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Joe F

I agree on you minor league assessment. Also, Sin Shoo Choo had an awful season overall and demonstrates the extreme danger of long term contracts to aging guys, not that he is old yet, but last year might be the first year of real decline (as well as the first year of a 7 year, $130MM contract). That contract is a whole kennel of dogs barking.

Free agent guys over 30? Two years tops, or see you later, as far as I am concerned.

If Dekker does play as much in 2015, I'd hope for similar or better production offensively, with better defense and speed results (Choo: 3 of 7 steals). At a very, very small fraction of the cost.

Reese Kaplan said...

Assuming you can't get Mookie Betts, the outfielder I want from Boston is Allen Craig. He's coming off a lost year due to injury and as such it's a buy-low situation where you might land him for relatively little and have him around longer than you would Cespedes. For his 22/100 season Craig is year removed from 97 RBIs and 2 years from 92 when he also hit 22 HRs. And he hit over .300 both of those years, too...I think of him as a defensively challenged Keith Hernandez -- the type of consistent bat needed in the 3 position in the batting order. Also he's right handed which helps balance out the Granderson/Duda lefty power with David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud.

Mack Ade said...

There has to be a Mets pitcher for a Boston outfielder deal out there somewhere

Kevin S said...

I think Gee could land you Craig straight up. Boston will be searching for an ace this offseason but I think adding Gee to a rotation that will have some top prospects fighting for rotation spots would help balance their rotation.

I'd make that trade in a second from a Met's perspective.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese and Kevin, what was Allan Craig's reason(s) for his precipitous drop off last year? How confident it is something he'd rebound from?

Kevin S said...

Craig finished seventh in the National League batting race in 2012 with a .307 average, was eighth with a .315 average in 2013 and hit a remarkable .454 with runners in scoring position for a Cardinals team that went to the World Series in '13.

I know he had a foot injury last postseason that carried into the offseason. He's owed $25.5M over the next 3 years with a team option for 2018. He's 30 years old.

This seems like the ultimate buy-low guy to me. He's pretty much owed Chris Young money over the next 3 years.

Christopher Soto said...

@Tom Brennan

Allen Craig pretty much nursed a foot/ankle injury throughout the entire 2014 campaign. It sapped all his power and his ability to lift the baseball. His Line Drive rate plummeted from 27% to 21%, his FB% dropped from 28% to 25%, and it all shifted over to his GB numbers which jumped from 45% to 54%.

Reduced LD% and FB% + Increased GB% = less home runs thus less protection against the all mighty BABIP.

Craig suffered huge BABIP deflation. In his first 1,420 Plate Appearances between 2010 - 2013, Craig's career BABIP was an astounding .349 but in 2014 his BABIP dropped to .266. You couple that with a K rate that jumped from 17.9% to 22.4% and it does major damage to your batting average.

Kevin is correct that Craig is a strong bounceback candidate but before anything happens, Doctors need to verify that his foot is 100% healthy.

Christopher Soto said...

For what it's worth, at his new lower .329 career BABIP....

STEAMER Projections has him producing the below stat line for 2015:

.277 AVG
.774 OPS
17 HR
75 RBI
1.7 WAR

Reese Kaplan said...

He had a Lisfranc injury:

"Lisfranc Injury Recovery Time?
Stable Lisfranc injuries that do not require surgery may cause an athlete to miss 2 months or more of their season. However, most athletes are able to successfully return at some point.
- See more at: http://www.sportsmd.com/SportsMD_Articles/id/283/n/matt_schaub__what_is_lisfranc_injury_and_how_long_to_recover.aspx#sthash.kp1PHFC6.dpuf"

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