Morning Report – October 8 – System Evaluation – 1B


(Strong slate of stories for today folks so please stay tuned in all day.....)

We’ve been doing this every year for nine seasons.

We take a look at the Mets system, by position, and try to come to some safe assumptions about the talent level and future at this position.

We start, as usual, at first base.

Queens wise, we have Lucas Duda. No one is complaining about his output this season, but it still would be nice if he could produce a little more against left hand pitching. Eric Campbell is considered his platoon partner, though Duda will be taking on more full time duties in 2015. He has to learn to hit lefties.

Las Vegas wise, we had Alan Dykstra (343-AB, .280/.426/.504/.930, 16-HR, 74-RBI, 84-BB), and Brandon Allen (320-AB, .266/.368/.434/.802, 13-HR, 52-RBI). Both bat left. Right hand hitting Josh Satin and Eric Campbell did play some first also, but it is impressive that Dykstra and Allen combined for 29-HR and 136-RBI in 663-AB. Both would seem safe to return to Vegas next season if it wasn’t a fact that they are being pushed by Binghamton’s Jayce Boyd.

Binghamton wise, there was Boyd (RHH, 413-AB, .293/.382/.414/.796, 8-HR, 59-RBI) and Matt Clark (LHH, 219-AB, .297/.380/.498/.878, 10-HR, 46-RBI). I hate platooning but it’s a fact of life in the minors which make some stat lines look much better than they would be if they played in all the games. Still, Boyd is considered a ‘pure hitter’ and has been since his high school days. He did suffer injuries in 2013 that got him off to a slow start (April 2014: .182), but he finished the year hitting .297 against lefties (145-AB) and .291 against righties (268-AB). Boyd never has been one of those home run hitting first baseman, but he easily could wind up in Queens in 2016 if something put Duda on the disabled list. He would easily be considered the Mets top first base prospect if it wasn’t a fact that Dominic Smith was in the organization. My guess at this point is that Boyd will start in Vegas next spring which will move either Allen or Dykstra out of the system (though Clark's job isn't safe either).

St. Lucie wise, there was no clear cut first baseman. T.J. Rivera (252-AB, .341/.383/.452/.836) moved over from shortstop and played first before he moved on to Binghamton. Others, including Eudy Pina (.263) and Jairo Perez (.353) put a first baseman’s glove on, but the fact is that St. Lucie did not field a top level player at this position. Nobody quite knows what to think of Perez, nor are they sure where to play him. He’s a 27-year old third baseman that was signed out of the Minnesota system after spending 2013 out of baseball.

Savannah wise, there actually were two decent first basemen. Matt Oberste (RHH, 336-AB, .274/.320/.435/.754, 8-HR, 47-RBI) had a very respectable year. He actually hit far better against righties (.285) then southpaws (.245). He also will play next season as a 24-year old, so there might be some consideration to bump him to Binghamton where there seems to be a first base void next season.

The ‘other guy’ we all know. Top draft pick Dominic Smith (461-AB, .271/.344/.338, 1-HR, 4-RBI) did fade at the end of a very long, hot, and humid Savannah season, but these are very good stats for 19-year old playing his first full pro season (some Mets bloggers/critics have posted that they were disappointed in Smith's stats this past season... I wasn't because I live here and have seen the 'late season, heavy humidity fade' many times before). There’s no rush here so we’ll see him start 2014 for St. Lucie. Scouts continue to applaud the Mets for this pick and it will be interesting to see if there’s a bulk-up plan in the off-season to raise his pop next year.

Three Cyclones split first base this past season. Michael Katz (RHH, 153-AB, .275, 0-HR), Jeff Diehl (RHH, 118-A, .263, 1-HR), and Pedro Perez (SH, 83-AB, .193, 0-HR) showed very little power potential and one must guess who will move on to Savannah. My guess it will be Katz.

Kingsport wise, Perez also played there (149-AB, .242), splitting time with Zach Mathieu (RHH, 152-AB, .270).

The GCL Mets had two first basemen. Manuel Hilario (RHH, 99-AB, .232) and Dash Winningham (LHH, 169-AB, .231) under produced; however, Winningham did show some pop, hitting five homers.

The DSL-1 team featured Luis Montero (RHH, 182-AB) while the DSL-2 team had Hanser Ortiz (LHH, 201-AB, .224). One must assume that Montero is a candidate for next year’s GCL team.

Overall Observation – The combination of Duda, Boyd, and Smith give the Mets ++ talent at this position well into the next decade. Duda has actually become a legitimate major league ‘slugger’ and should improve if the Mets get a few more bats to surround him in the lineup. I can’t predict the road Boyd will travel but I will tell you he will hit. 

My guess... I don't see the Mets making any changes here through Duda's arbitration period unless he gets hurt. He will be eligible for free agency in 2018 which lines up perfectly with Smith's ETA.

Me? I'd run this move very differently if, like Alderson says, he has salary flexibility. Duda is one of the few (rare) sluggers in the National League and I would take free agency off the table by signing him to a 4-year (through 2018) contract for around $28mil.

The Mets look very good here.

Overall Rating:  A


Thomas Brennan said...

Great analysis, Mack. I think Boyd will be our everyday 1B at Vegas and hit .330 to .350, and add some pop. Think he'll blossom in 2015.

Great to see you go contrary to the Dom Smith skeptics too. Hopefully he replicates Dilson and gets out of the St Lucie heat and up to Binghamton by mid year.

Dykstra did some good things, but you kept rightly curbing my enthusiasm over PCL stats, and his .280 without huge power is showing he is most likely a AAAA ceiling and should not stand in Boyd's way. I want to see Boyd play 140 games in Vegas next year.

I do look forward to Dash W in 2015. He was 18 this year. Let's see if we have another Duda with him.

Good update, Mack.

Eric said...

Hi Mack:

I'm a long time reader, first time commenting. I read the Baseball America chat on the SAL top 20 prospects. JJ Cooper reported that managers and scouts very really down on Dominic Smith. Having seen his play I'd be interested in your reaction to their comments

Mack Ade said...

Eric -

Welcome Eric

I read that also and I don't think the write did his homework.

Savannah is a horrible place to play baseball on a good day, but this year had well over 50 days in which the heat index on that field during a home game was over 105.

This is a young kid learning the grind... he started out fine and had a wonderful mid-season, but if the organization wasn't obsessed with getting Savannah a second championship oin a row, Smith would have been on to Port St. Lucie, where the ocean breezes keep down the humidity.

Mack Ade said...

One more thing Eric...

It rains just about every day around game time in Savannah in the summer... sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 50 minutes... they are thunderstorms that blow up right along the I95 corridor...

Savannah easily led the league in cancelled and delayed games and the end of the season was a double header nightmare

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

Thank you

thunder12k said...

I like the fact that we have 1st basement at AAA & AA who could step in for the Mets in a pinch. I know Dykstra has his short comings but I think he could produce what Campbell has done from the left side if something were to happen to Duda.

Overall, I think everyone is pleased with Duda's progression and the overall depth of the position throughout the minor leagues.

Eric said...

Thanks Mack. That's all helpful, not only in understanding the situation with Dominic, but also with prospects coming through Savannah in general.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Thunder

I am just concerned with Dykstra's ability to hit up top. Mack knows I was an all-out supported of Andrew Brown, and he has not shown he can hit in the bigs, although he seems a better hitter (not as good an on-baser) as Dykstra.

One good aspect of Boyd is his ability to make contact and to hit both lefties and righties well. Takes away trying to figure out a platoon scenario.

Having said that, Boyd is still to touch foot in AAA, so let's see what he does in 2015 there (and it better be there and not back in AA).

Dykstra will be 28 in May, and for 2 years running, he faded in the 2nd half. .360 in April last year, and just .268 the rest of the way.

He's a good player, but I think Boyd has a superior major league pedigree (sort of Magadan/ Olerud), so I hope Jayce plays every day, even if Allan has to go back to AA.

Allan can hit .350 and 40 homers there and try to turn heads. His 2014 was good but not good enough - kind of a Zach Lutz season.

Mack's Mets © 2012