Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
I’m very impressed with the return Brandon Nimmo is bringing to the Winter League tables, but the real pleasant surprise here is LJ Mazzilli, someone most or all of us have basically just thrown to the back of the heap when it comes to possibly winding up in Queens someday as a middle infielder.
I simply never took this pick serious. He plays four years in college and is a son of a Mets legend. Frankly I thought they went a little over bard with a 4th round pick when they probably could have waited and got him in the 8th or 9th.
He had four solid years at the University of Connecticut (2010: .312, 2011: .346, 2012: .339, 2013:.354) He signed right after the draft and went right on to Brooklyn where he hit .278 in 273 more at-bats.
But it just keeps getting better.
2014 first brought .292 in Savannah (250-AB), followed by .312 in St. Lucie (250 more at bats).
And now, he’s holding his own in the AWL with a stat line of:
He has two goals in the Arizona League this winter… work on his adjusted approach at the plate (that seems to be working) and becoming a better defensive second baseman.
So, when we throw names out here, like Daniel Murphy and Dilson Herrera, we may not want to forget this guy. God knows he has the bloodline.
Rotoworld http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/mlb/49399/3/almost-ready-afl-prospects) had a feature on the five top AFL players and one was SS Addison Russell. Part of what they said was:
The right-handed hitter’s combination of plus bat speed and a deep point of contact should generate upwards of 20 home runs at the highest level, possibly more depending on his physical development in the coming years. And given his ability to use the entire field, Russell should always tally a high number of doubles and triples.
Overall, Russell has the makings of an All-Star-caliber shortstop, but there’s still a sizable gap between his present ability and overall potential. He should be ready to make an impact in major leagues at some point next season, though the Cubs first will have to determine where he’ll play given their impressive depth up the middle.
Mack – Another outstanding blurb on Russell who, as long as Starlin Castro is on this roster, is excess talent. Folks, we all have opinions here, but I’d rather have the monster I know. Castro is already a major league player, he’s young, he’s a former all-star, and is coming off a great year. He also improved greatly defensively in 2014. Lastly, his contract is livable ($6.859mil-2015, $7.857mil-2016, $9.857mil- 2017, $10.857mil-2018, $11.857mil-2019, club option-20120) and I’m now done with worrying about this position until next decade.
In my opinion, let the Cubs figure out who should be their next shortstop.
I’ll take the guy who has already proved his value.
What would it take to get him? Well, I’m not giving up my top three starters, so my guess it would take a three player deal that would include the likes of Rafael Montero AND Kevin Plawecki.
As I’ve said before, I change daily on all this corner outfield and shortstop stuff, but, right now, my order would be Castro, Wilmer Flores, Owings, Russell, and then the rest.
Karl de Vries wrote a piece on Daniel Murphy (http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/daniel-murphy-underwhelming-or-underappreciated/) called: “Daniel Murphy: Underwhelming orUnderappreciated?” He includes what he calls Murphy’s ‘steady ways at the dish:
YEAR PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BABIP
2013 697 4.6 13.6 .286 .319 .415 .320 107 .315
2014 642 6.1 13.4 .289 .332 .403 .324 110 .322
And that’s basically the running theme of the Daniel Murphy fantasy story, a career .290 hitter over more than 3,000 plate appearances who isn’t a burden to owners in any particular category and is a solid contributor across the board. Having averaged 153 games played over the past three seasons, he’s a solid bet to stay on the field, and should the Mets trade him over the offseason to a team with a more competent lineup, it’s possible his value could increase even more.
It was asking a lot for Murphy to replicate his elite output from last year, but on the flip side, it was another solid, top-10 performance from a guy who can be counted on to deliver as advertised, year-in and year-out. The reward might not be breathtaking, but then again, neither will the price tag come draft day, and there’s plenty to appreciate about Murphy’s consistency, especially when it’s accompanied by such established upside.
Mack – Sometimes I think that the majority of baseball minds laugh themselves to sleep every night by thinking about how Sandy Alderson, in particular, and the Mets, in general, run this team. Is that that hard to recognize someone with talent, especially when they are surrounded by so many that don’t possess the same level?
We keep coming back to the same teams in our quest to find a better shortstop and corner outfielder. Here we go back out to Western Pennsylvania, the new home for ex-New York Met Ike Davis.
Fangraphs (http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/a-minor-league-review-of-2014-cardinals-pirates-brewers/) had some nice things to say about one of the corner outfield rising stars that the Pirates simply don’t have any place to play in the future:
Josh Bell, OF: Bell hit just nine home runs in 108 games in 2014 but he showed significant advancements as a hitter. He hit .325 on the season and struck out less than 12% of the time. The power will come as he continues to make adjustments and taps into his raw pop. With the Pirates’ outfield set with Andrew McCutchen ($51.5mil contract through 2017 + team option in 2018) Starling Marte,($31mil contract through 2018+ team option 2019) and super-prospect Gregory Polanco, Bell may see time at first base but he could be a solid right-fielder. He might be ready for the Majors in the second half of 2015.
You owe players like Bell the opportunity to play the game they were born to play as a starter and at the position he was put on earth to play. Travis Snider is perfectly capable of holding down the OF-4 slot
If he’s not good enough, that’s fine. The Mets have a list they can pick from as a throw in for the services of either Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon, or Rafael Montero.
Put Bell next to Brandon Nimmo on the plane to Vegas and let them get off at Gate 3 at LaGuardia at the end of June.
We can wait a half of season for this.