The Morning Report – December 16 – Curacao, Cesar Puello, John Sickels


These are the kind of stories I love passing on… poor kids playing on fields covered with rocks… and yet they go on to become major league baseball players[i]

Curaçao did not produce a major leaguer until 1989, but in 2014 alone there were seven, and that does not include Wladimir Balentien, who in 2013 set the single-season home run record in Japan, with 60.

In addition to Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Schoop and Jurickson Profar (who missed the season because of a shoulder injury), Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, pitcher Jair Jurrjens (who played for the Rockies) and outfielder Roger Bernadina (who split time with the Reds and the Dodgers) are from little Curaçao. The seven gave the nation the most major leaguers per capita in the world last season. –

I never have been able to figure out the plus and minus of playing winter ball. I mean, it is baseball and you are on teams that have around 1000 players on their roster so it’s like you’re being called upon every day to over-produce. 

The Mets currently have two players on their 40-man roster that are playing in Latin America. Wilmer Flores has pretty much been granted the opening day shortstop position and he seems to be proving that decision a wise one, what with a winter stat line of .345/.390/.509/899, in 55-Abs.

The other is Cesar Puello, who seemed to have been relegated to cleaning the mud out of the spikes of other players when the league started this season. As of Monday, his stat line read .355/.375/.516/.891 in 31-Abs.

We can safely assume that the signing of Jon Mayberry was a wake-up call to Puello, who is out of options and would have to be designated if the Mets removed him from the 40-man roster.

I’m rooting hard for what looks like his last shot with the team.         


John Sickels[i] 39 preliminary New York Mets prospects –

          Dario Alvarez. LHP
Wuilmer Becerra OF
Gavin Cecchini SS
Michael Conforto OF
Victor Cruzado OF
Miller Diaz RHP
Michael Fulmer RHP
Eudor Garcia 3B
Sean Gilmartin LHP Grade C
Robert Gsellman RHP
Dilson Herrera 2B
Jack Leathersich LHP
Vicente Lupo OF
Steven Matz LHP
L.J. Mazzili 2B
Cory Mazzoni RHP
Jeff McNeil 3B
Casey Meisner RHP
Marcos Molina RHP
Rafael Montero RHP
Akeel Morris RHP
Brandon Nimmo OF
Kevin Plawecki C
Josh Prevost RHP
Cesar Puello OF
Milton Ramos SS
Matthew Reynolds SS
Hansel Robles RHP
Amed Rosario SS
David Roseboom LHP
Ali Sanchez C
Dominic Smith 1B
Champ Stuart OF
Noah Syndergaard RHP
Blake Taylor LHP
Johan Urena 3B
Logan Verrett RHP Rule 5, analyze then transfer to Orioles system
Robert Whalen RHP
Brad Wieck LHP
Gabriel Ynoa RHP… -

First, a name I have never seen before on a prospect list… RHP Josh Prevost. He’s a 6-8, 4-year RHRP out of Seton Hall that was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 draft. Had 11 appearances for Brooklyn last season (1.83, 1.17) with an underwhelming 14-K in 20-IP.

I did find a few names I thought were missing…

SP Matt Bowman deserved to be on this list as much as many of the other ‘secondary SP prospects like Miller Diaz. He’s got a lifetime 3.07 minor league ERA but, even more impressive, is his 3.47 last year in the hitting-crazy PCL. 

          RP – Paul SewardSewald is a 4-year graduate of Univ. of San Diego that is buzzing through the Mets organization (3-yrs: 94-appearances, 1.85, 1.01) at the age of 24. He finished the year at the AA-level and could be ready for a trip to Queens by next September.   


Thomas Brennan said...

One can only hope Cesar Puello starts playing daily after his recent, 2 day winter explosion.

Instead of Prevost, how about Kelly Secrest, who struck out twice as many guys per 9, or Cory oswalt, Brooklyn's best starter not named Molina? Also not sure why a top 39...Jack Benny fan?

That said, that is quite a prospect list and i could think of another 11 to make it a strong top 50.

Christopher Soto said...

Josh Prevost was a senior signing from the 2014 draft class.

He was the Big East Conference pitcher of the year thanks to a 12-2 season with a 1.62 ERA.

His fastball sits between 90-92mph with a max of 94 (50 grade). He pairs that with an ok slider and an ok change-up. Neither pitch projects as better than a 40 grade.

The huge advantage that he brings to the table is physical. At 6'8" with very long arms, he generates significant downward plane with his fastball and gets a TON of groundballs.

He combines this with plus (60 grade) command to consistently pound the lower have of the zone.

His comparison is fellow giant SP Chris Young.

Current ceiling: MLB Bullpen, high leverage groundball specialist
Current floor: Fringy stuff doesn't get him past AA

Anonymous said...

Prospect list 12-15-2014:


greg b said...

Ass. GM DePodesta said last wk that his sleeper player is Matt Bowman. Has 4 quality pitches and is a great athlete. And will contribute in 2015. So how is it his not on Sickels list.

Ernest Dove said...

Maybe not a ton of downside for hitters to be in winter ball, but pitchers are a different story.
Even if coming off shortened injury plagued seasons it doesn't make sense to me to send them out of the country to play for some random team.
We already argue enough about Terry Collins overuses the pitching in games. Imagine having some random coach who only has your guy for a couple months and then no longer has to worry bout em after that.

Anonymous said...

I don't see a single stud hitter in the group, so it's hard to crown this as some sort of amazing list. Yes, there's depth, but I've always looked for crown jewels.

However, if the GM becomes willing to trade for an impact bat or two, it could work out. But in general, I'm not one to go ga-ga over potential back-end starters down in Brooklyn.

Jimmy P

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Dom Smith went to off season conditioning camp? The knock on him last year was that he was a bit doughy and slow, so I would think if he heard the rumors, he would want to take steps to recover his prospect standing. I remember reading a Q&A with him and him saying that he was glad to have his family around to cook for him and play video games after playing home games. Don't think you would ever read that about Cecchini.
My candidates for offensive prospects who take significant strides this year: Rosario, Cecchini, Lupo and Becerra. I think the latter two get pushed to Savannah because after repeating short seasons, they could be facing Cesar Puello type situation in a year or two in the high minors, so best to move them up to see if there is anything to them. I really think that Cecchini is going to come out right from the start in STL and push himself to Bingo for the second half. He had nice peripherals for an underage player at High A and I think his August is what he can become as a player.
Anon Joe F

Christopher Soto said...

Never heard that about Dom.

I've only heard good things about his work ethic.

That said, he was EXHAUSTED by the end of last year. He doubled his games played from HS to Rookie ball in 2013, then more than doubled it again in the Savannah heat in 2014.

He will be fine.

Next year he will be only 20 years old playing in a league where the average age is 3 years older than him.

Lew Rhodes said...

Jimmy P it depends on how you define "stud hitter" - the true HOF caliber studs are few and far between.

If you want a stud hitter for postion, then both Herrera and Pawlecki look to be way above average for their positions.

And we all hope the real Puello was the guy who smoked AA two seasons ago - his numbers that year were at a "stud" level

Nimmo may never hit 40 HRs, but he is looking like a legitimate .850 OPS guy, which in the post steroid era is pretty good.

You need a lot of projection still, but Conforto, Buccerra, maybe Lupo, Rosario, and Urena all have the tools to be plus hitters - Conforto likely has the lowest ceiling of that group, but also the lowest floor.

There finally are solid to above average bats (Nimmo, Herrera, Reynolds, Pawlecki, Puello) in the upper minors who look to be average or above ML hitters

In the lower minors, there are quite a few bats (the above plus Smith and Stuart) with varying degrees of potential and projection.

Yes our pitching is much better and deeper, but I don't think any system has pitchers like Thor and Matz AND stud hitters - which is why the Cubs just vastly overpaid for Lester.

Anonymous said...

I hope for a Hunter Pence comp for Nimmo, maybe with a few less HRs, but more 2B and higher OBP. This year will go a long way to help understand the offensive prospects in the system and hopefully Puello will get one shot at the Bigs in April
Joe F

Thomas Brennan said...

And half the season he'll be 19, so Smitty should impress this year.

Another guy I think could have squeezed into a Met top 39 almost any other year is Jeff McNeil, who faltered a bit post-promo in St Lucie, but had a full year stat of .292/.367/.394 in the infield with 17 of 22 steals. The middle infield landscape is crowded, but I am looking forward to what he throws our way in terms of performance in 2015 as he turns 23. Similarly, Danny Muno - almost any other year, he is top 39. But the list, rightly, is top heavy with pitchers (21 of 39), so the position players' slots in a 39 prospect list, limited to just 18, are tough to crack.

Lew Rhodes said...

McNeil is on the list.

Isn't he the former golfer? The guy with unreal contact skills?

Thomas Brennan said...

Whoops, my bad on McNeil - thanks, Lew.

Not sure about the golf part, but Jeff's contact skills are excellent.

Anonymous said...


What do you make -- strategically -- of the Mets avowed "undecided" approach to Kang?

What are they trying to achieve by taking that indecisive position? It feels like gamesmanship on some level, but I'm not sure who they are trying to zoom -- other rival bidders, or fans?

I guess I don't believe that they are "undecided," so it's odd that it's their public position.

It seems so odd to me, that this would be the guy they'd be interested in, given Sandy's risk-averse approach. Though I guess he's always been "interested" in any player he feels he can maybe lowball. I'm not seeing this guy in a Mets uniform.

Jimmy P

greg b said...

If Cecchini can hit BA-250 & 10 to 12 hrs. Play good defense that gets you in today's baseball 7 mil per yr.

Hobie said...

Joe F-

Gavin Cecchini is on the Bingo roster right now. Does that mean he'll start there?

Anonymous said...

Not sure, he was a call up for playoffs when Herrara got promoted, so I would expect him to start in the league he was really finishing in rather than an aggressive assignment to AA. He mostly was pinch running, so wasn't really even exposed to that caliber of pitching. He had a great August in STL and I would like to see him pick up there where he left off and follow the path that Herrara and Nimmo traveled last year.

Christopher Soto said...

@Jimmy P.

I believe its all gamemanship so far.

Every team has been downplaying Kang's ability to translate his skills to the MLB.

So far in this posting period, Asian teams have been extremely disappointed in the bids that have been placed so far.

I would bet that the winning bid for Kang is no larger than $5m.

Mack Ade said...

Jimmy P -

welcome to the site


Mack Ade said...

Hobie -

It's hard to project Cecchini right now. He's not played up to snuff and he's young enough to repeat St. Lucie if the Mets want him to... but Rosario is coming up pretty fast right behind him

eraff said...

None of us has seen Kang Play???? ...so, here's my take---

It's tough to get overly excited about a very mature player (28 years old) dominating a "marginal talent league".

Yes---the guy had outsized stats....but the league was apparently in the midst of "juicing the offense" across the board.

The Best Player in any league is a ballplayer!....but this isn't a "very young" star from a "major" league. Theer would be a question of his being a good player on both sides of the ball, much less an impact guy or a Starter.

Take a bet or spend some money or talent for a more certain chance.

Hobie said...


All I'm saying is that GC is listed on the Bingo roster with only 3 other INF (Boyd, TJ and Lawley--who are all likely to be moved up to LV).

Thomas Brennan said...

Hobie, I'd bet on Gavin starting in AA. Think of Nimmo's off season last year, how much better he was after that 6 month off-season hiatus. Cecchini will be 6 months older, coming off his first full season, and I bet he'll get pushed up to Binghamton.

I have no problem with him doing a month or so in Lucie if needed.

We can speculate now, but it ultimately comes down to what the Mets' team see in him this spring in terms of increased readiness. If they think he looks more ready and mature, he has first round pedigree, and I could see an immediate jump to AA. It would have to be a scenario where he plays almost every day too. Mazzilli (if not bumped to AAA) and McNeil also need to play a lot. Maybe that is the opening day 2015 trio for 2B, 3B, and SS for Bingo.

Bill Bernstein said...

We know Kang's stats, but like those in the PCL they are only relevant compared to others in the same league. The numbers are impressive, but where did they rank in his league?

Anyone have the comparative figures?

Adam Smith said...

Y'all are sleeping on Jayce Boyd. He was a relatively high draft pick, and is one of the best hitters in the system. Spent the first half of last season recovering from shoulder surgery (DH'ing and struggling some at the plate), but once he got stronger, he had a .900+ OPS after July 1, in Bingo.

He should start the season as Vegas' 1B. He hits RH, and I'm looking for big things from him.

Mack Ade said...

Hobie -

The rosters that are listed at this time of the year are pretty much a mess and incomplete.

I'm sure my projected roster is also inaccurate but I have listed:

AAA - Reynolds, Tovar

AA - Evans, Sandoval

A+ - Ceccchini, Y. Ruiz

A - Rosario,

Mack Ade said...

Adam -

We have talked positively a number of times about Boyd.

He just needs to stay healthy, but he's not a power bat.

Thomas Brennan said...

I gave Jayce Boyd props in my 12:00 2012 draft update article. I'll bet more power will be forthcoming from JB in 2015, which will make him a heckuva hitter overall.

He should have been in the top 39.

eraff said...

Some of the Leagues have DH rules...and some of the better propects will also try different positions to keep them HITTING at levels that challenge and grow them.

I don't think they'll hesitate to promote a guy because the specific position is a little crowded. Generally, the Bat is the big development determinant, and that can only happen by increasing the Level and the Skills.

Lew Rhodes said...

Mack you are usually right, but I am not sure on Cecchini (why can't the Met's draft more Smiths?)

I think with a good spring he has a shot to start in Bingo - Evans will not block him, it's all on Cecchini.

Besides, I don't think the FO views Reynolds as a ML SS - so there may be some interest in moving Gavin along.

Plus, didn't he finish strong in the FSL?

Lew Rhodes said...

I like Boyd (reminds me of Hernandez) and hope he blossoms, but in today's game a RH 1B who doesn't have power is nothing more than a bench/platoon player.

If his power starts to blossom, he sure has the hit tool to jump in the rankings

Mack Ade said...

Lew -

Cecchini played well in A+.

You also remember his strong finish in Savannah.

I'm just suggesting something to help the guy.... give him two more months in Florida and then send him to Binghamton.

Just a plan

(God, I hate having to type in these numbers now on my OWN site to prove I'm not a robot)

Lew Rhodes said...

Good problem to have on prospect, the numbers are a pain, but necessary

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