11/28/14

Tom Brennan - CALL TO ARMS - VOL.9 - WHAT ABOUT OUR MINOR LEAGUE BULL PEN DUDES?

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A CALL TO ARMS – VOL. 9 - WHAT ABOUT OUR MINOR LEAGUE BULL PEN DUDES? By Tom Brennan


Hey folks, in Volumes 1 through 8 of my CALL TO ARMS series, I noted that the Mets, in my opinion have 34 starting pitchers or prospects of varying degrees of potential.  Give or take a few.


Let me recap my list of 34 starters before I proceed to discuss my top 10 relievers:


THE MAGNIFICENT 7:


Seven current big league starters: Colon, Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Niese, Gee, and Montero


TWO NIPPING AT THE HEELS:

Two uber-prospects who on many other teams could be in the starting rotation in April 2015: Thor and Matz

THREE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS:

Three dudes who have made quite the case as to being major league ready, or nearly so: Logan Verrett, Matt Bowman, and Tyler Pill. (Volumes 1, 2, 3 of my series).

THREE MORE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS:

Three pitchers (well, 4, as it was a tossup on the last 2, so you pick 1 of them), who are a step further down from those above: Erik Goeddel, Gabe Ynoa, Darin Gorski and Greg Peavey.  These were covered in Volumes 4, 5 and 6.

SIX WHO ARE DISAPPOINTING OR HURT:

Volume 7 includes 1 guy (Luis Mateo) whose high promise ran head on into Tommy John, and 5 guys who have, to me, been slightly, or more than slightly, disappointing: (Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia, Matt Koch, Luis Cessa, and Rainy Lara). 

 TWELVE GUPPY STARTERS OF PROMISE:

In Volume 8, I covered 12 more guys from mid A Savannah southward.  Marcos Molina, Rob Whelan, Miller Diaz, John Gant, Robert Gsellman, Logan Taylor, Corey Oswalt, Casey Meisner, Martirez Arias, Andrew Church, Blake Taylor and Chris Flexen.

Simply put: we have more starters than a Peps Boys warehouse!

Now surely some of those will falter, and some of those will end up (like Jeurys and Jennry) as pen arms.  But while 34 starters sounds crazy, if you projected this organization’s 7 minor league teams’ records over 162 games, the 7 teams AVERAGED 92-70.  And it was mostly because of the bumper crop of starter arms.

But what about guys already trained as relievers? 

Which ones might be useful in 2015 and beyond?

Let me, in this Volume 9, cover my 5 reliever favorites above rookie ball – Cory Mazzoni; Jack Leathersich; Miguel Sokolovich; Akeel Morris; and, in a 5th place tie, Cody Satterwhite and Jeff Walters.

In my next volume, Volume 10, I’ll take a crack at my top 5 Guppy Relievers from the rookie ball teams of Brooklyn, Kingsport and the GCL.

Volume 9 – Top 5 Relievers:

#1 Cory Mazzoni: some of you who read my Volumes 1 through 8 of starters may have asked, where is Cory Mazzoni?  Well, he has mostly started, but I see his future as a reliever more than a starter.  Maybe that is unfair, since he has been exclusively a starter since 2012.  A power righty arm, 2nd round 2011 righty Mazzoni has dealt with injuries, limiting him to 52 starts and 287 innings over the past 3 years, with most (36) of those in AA or above.  So his #’s have to be viewed through the lens of a guy who was rushed along and who also has been slowed by several injuries.  His most meaningful stretch was his 12 Vegas starts in late 2014 (5-1, 4.67, 1.27, 49 Ks in 52 innings).  His last 6 starts there were impressive, with 41 Ks and just 2 walks in 38 innings. A 4.67 ERA is more like a mid-3’s ERA in a normal environment, so I could easily see Cory as a member of the Mets’ pen in 2015 if there is room. And a starter in a pinch.

 #2 Jack Leathersich – this lefty, selected 3 rounds after Cory in 2011, is oft maligned for his relative wildness and struggles against lefty batters, but over the past 2 seasons, righties slugged just .292 against him, and hit .192.  Against lefties, he showed improvement in 2014.  And he has struck out 334 in 197 innings, which is insane, how else to put it.  He has struggled mightily with Vegas but let me note that in his last 9 Vegas outings, he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in 8 innings and K’d 15, so maybe the Vegas struggles are being put behind him.  Is he ready for the Mets pen in 2015?  Up to Jack to show it.

#3 Miguel Sokolovich – a hard throwing 28 year old righty with 16 major league innings to his credit, he had a 3.64 ERA in 51 Vegas games, and struck out 68 in 59 innings.  But he also allowed 68 hits and walked 19, but Vegas offensive #’s are inflated.  He also has been very impressive in winter ball so far. He missed 2013, but in the AAA International League in 2012, he had a 1.90 ERA in 52 innings.  I’d say he is an arm to call up in a pinch.  With this Mets franchise loaded with pitching, one wonders if the “in a pinch” days are over, though.  Apparently, the Mets felt similarly, as Sokolovich is now a free agent.  My guess is another team will nab him (and sure enough, the Cardinals did after I wrote this).

#4 Akeel Morris – hard throwing righty who just turned 23, who was the MILB fans’ choice as minor league reliever of the year in the entire minors.  Allowed 3 hits per 9, 3 of his 4 earned runs came on a single pitch, and 14 K’s per 9 in Savannah.  Nearly perfect in save opportunities in 2014, Morris could well be a stalwart in the Mets’ pen starting in late 2015 or 2016.

#5 (tie) Cody Satterwhite and Jeff Walters – a tie for 5th to 2 former Tommy John arms.  Satterwhite was a high level guy in the Tigers organization (2nd round 2008) who missed a lot of time with injuries.  Mets scooped him up and he was very solid with Binghamton in 2014 at the age of 27, with a 2.33 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 63 Ks in 58 innings, with 15 of 18 saves.  A few bad late season games pushed his ERA above 2.00, but he was then excellent in the playoffs (5 innings, 3 hits, a walk and 9 Ks).  He could turn some heads in 2015.

Jeff Walters had a terrific save year (38) in Binghamton in 2013, which is why I left him on this list.  But he sputtered in Vegas in early 2014, most likely due to arm discomfort that eventually required TJ surgery after 21 innings.   Now 27, he’ll have to show he is fully recovered in mid-2015 to get back onto the Mets’ very crowded pitching radar screen.

Oh, and I should have included Dario Alvarez in my top 5, but since he had a NY Mets cup of coffee in 2014, I will leave the list to others who have not yet pitched from the Citifield pitching mound.  Oh, and frankly, Paul Sewald has been terrific - he is in my Top 5, even, well, if that makes it more than 5.  He is struggling a bit vs. higher Arizona Fall League competition, but 17 of his first 29 outs there have been by K...that makes me sit up and take notice.

NEXT UP: Volume 10 – my top 5 rookie ball relievers
 

3 comments:

jeff said...

morris just turned 22 not 23

Hobie said...

I might shoehorn Hansel Robles into your top 5. He really seems to have taken to that RP role.

And there must be a reason he was protected over Verrett.

Thomas Brennan said...

Jeff, you are abosultely right on Akeel's age.

Hobie, Hansel has definitely soared as a reliever since switching into that role in the latter part of 2014. He may follow in Familia's shoes and hit the scene in 2015 in Queens at some point. Leaving him off the list was my oversight.

Mack's Mets © 2012