The Morning Report – December 19 – Chris Flexen, Ryan Bolden, LAD Monopoly Money, SD-Nats-TB Trade, Nats Drafting


I will begin today working on an update for the Mets top prospect list. I never have my list to a fixed amount of players because, to me, it’s based on the number of real time prospects that are in the system. A prospect to me is someone that is showing, at his level, that he has a good chance of someday becoming a major league baseball player.   

Right now, my list is 37 prospects. I will start posting these sometime before Christmas, starting with number 37, RHSP Chris Flexen.

I will also add this paragraph before each posting:

My rankings is solely subjective and based on nothing more than what is in my head at time I’m writing this. I’ve followed the Mets minor league players for many years and I feel I can recognize talent at various levels of their development. What I have failed at is how to determine when this talent seems to diminish. It’s amazing how many first round picks never make it in this game. 
I’m old school, so you won’t seem much SABR-discussion here, I do research and, when I find a good quote or two, I’ll add them to my analysis, but, like I said in the beginning of this post, most of this us subjective.

Marc Carig[i] on Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew.

The Los Angeles Angels 2010 first round draft pick, Ryan Bolden, was shot and killed last night. He was 21-years old. 

Bolden’s career never got going. He hit .187 for the AZL-Angles in 2010, repeated there in 2011 and hit .168, and returned for a third season in 2012 (.133). He was eventually released and played 2013 for Orem in the independent Pioneer League (23-Abs, .130). Back problems ended his career.

The fight, according to police, started over an argument by 10 and 11 year olds about candy. Adults got involved and Bolden would up shot.

I came across an interesting fact written online. The LA Dodgers are now paying $54mil to four baseball players, Brian Wilson, Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and Matt Kemp… to NOT play for the team. This combined money is more that the entire 2014 payroll of the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins.

It absolutely amazes me how, first, the league doesn’t have some ceiling on the amount a team can spend on their team, and secondly, how little the amount you spend has anything to do with success.

The top five team salaries in 2014, and where they finished were:
 1. LA Dodgers    $235,295,219 – 1st place – lost in NLDS
2. NY Yankees     $203,812,506 – out of playoffs
3. Philadelphia Phillies    $180,052,723 – out of playoffs
4. Boston Red Sox        $162,817,411 – out of playoffs
5. Detroit Tigers $162,228,527   – 1st place – lost in ALDS Not one of these teams made their respective championship series

I wouldn’t react too harshly to the three-way deal that brought both SS Trae Turner and P Joe Ross for basically OF Steven Souza and LHP Travis Ott. These are all team controlled players that have a long way to go before becoming major league stars; however, it speaks volumes to the success over the years of the Nationals draft system. 
They were a horrible team going nowhere, but they decide early on to build from within the system. The difference between them and the Mets were they weren’t hesitant to go over the signing bonus restrictions (when you could still do it without massive penalties) and took chances with ex-prospects that fell due to injuries suffered in school.

Did it work? Well, not really.

Most of the Nats draft success have come from picking highly touted first round players that were ranked as one of the top five in the nation at the time of the drafting (remember, how long this team was bad).

3B Anthony Rendon (2011), OF Bryce Harper (2010), SP Stephen Strasberg )2009), RP Drew Storen (2009), and SP Ross Detwiler (2007) have all added to the success of this team.

In fact, the only non-first round pick that had any degree of success in the major since 2007 has been 2B Steve Lombardozzi (19th round – 2008), 2B Danny Espinosa (3rd round – 2008, and SP Jordan Zimmerman (2007).

Washington participated in this trade for one reason… to find the replacement for Ian Desmond after his contract runs out at the end of the 2015 season.). 


Thomas Brennan said...

It will be good to read your thoughts on #37, Mr. Flexen.

Hopefully, the same wave the Nationals are riding due to years of draft quality will be hitting the shores of Flushing full force in 2015 due to Mets trades and drafts.

We got the best several year crop coming out in all of baseball, starting with Harvey. Sit back and enjoy as it continues to unfold.

Sorry to hear about Ryan Bolden...the idiocy and tragedy of street gun violence is just appalling.

Kevin S said...

My main gripe with the trade is jealousy. It's got to be nice when as an organization, you can trade a major league ready B prospect for an A/A+ prospect a little further away.

Turner is a legit prospect who will stay at SS, unlike guys who may not (Correa, Russell, Seager, Baez).

I think Conforto did everything and more than was expected last season. I still would've chosen Turner over him though.

Lew Rhodes said...

I dunno Kevin - as much as baseball teams don't draft for need - I think when evaluating somewhat equal talents (Turner vs. Conforto) they look at the system - with Cecchini / Rosario / Guillermo they had a couple of legit SS prospects, but only one real OF prospects (Nimmo)

I am sure that was part of it - plus, they wanted a bat who projected to be ready in 2016/17

We may regret not grabbing Turner - but hopefully Conforto makes that less regretful!

Actually hopefully Rosario makes it non-regretful

Lew Rhodes said...

Mack -

So what you are saying, is that spending big dollars on big name players doesn't equal success?

Well.......how about that!

Thomas Brennan said...

Now that Amed Rosario turned 19 a few weeks ago after a promising 2014 in Brooklyn, I am very anxious to see what an added year at such a young age will result in for him in Savannah in 2015, his first full season league.

I'm hoping he cheats the normal learning curve timeline and blazes through the next few levels, and possibly even be a late 2016 call up.

Lew Rhodes said...

I dunno Tom - as talented as Reyes was, I remember a lot of maturity issues with him and his hamstrings and rehab, etc - nothing bad, but he was acting like the teenager he was.

I would rather Rosario be ready in 2017 at the ripe old age old 22.

Hopefully Wilmer/Reynolds/Cecchini make us not want to rush him too much

Reese Kaplan said...

It's not the lack of spending that galls most Mets fans as much as the inertia and the poor judgment. Even Michael Cuddyer comes with risks of age and infirmary instead of going after someone who could be a longer term solution such as Yasmany Tomas for the same AAV in the contract. Jose Abreu cost less than Curtis Granderson, but once again there was the "proven" tag used as justification (though tweaking the Yankees' nose was also part of it, I'm sure).

We won't even get into the Frank Francisco, Chris Young, and Angel Pagan debacles. None of them had to do with money, just poor judgment once again.

Now if you want to talk about money, then there's letting Jose Reyes walk for nothing...

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

well, it will be hard to match the Nats getting all those overall first picks in the draft

Mack Ade said...

Kevin S -

I loved Turner in the draft

Lew Rhodes said...

Reese - I get the frustration with some of the bad FA signings, but keep in mind they were all short and relatively low dollars and seen only as a bridge to try to keep the ML team competitive while the org rebuild went on.

Also - you can't compare Abreu with Granderson - Abreau is not an OFer, heck, there were even questions if he could play 1b; plus the Mets already had two guys playing 1b, one who had hit 32 HRs just two years before.

I think it is revisionist history to say we should have signed Abreau over Granderson.

As for Cuddyer - don't under estimate the impact Wright's mental state and focus had on that signing - Wright is still the best player on this team, and if signing Cuddyer helps get Wright back to right, it is a good signing.

I think sometime we lose focus on the off the field and locker room impact players have - which is another reason why the organization is high on Granderson

Lew Rhodes said...

Mack - Plus the Nats had back to back No 1 picks in years where there was a clear cut dominant player (Strasburg and Harper)

How often does that happen?

Thomas Brennan said...

True on getting that # 1 pick, it can make all the difference, Mack. As a Nets fans since seeing the miraculous Dr J in his healthy ABA days, I recall the Nets having the #2 overall pick and selecting the decidedly mediocre Keith Van Horn. One pick ahead? A guy no one ever heard of - Tim Duncan.

Not as sure a thing in baseball, but the #1 overall is special

Hobie said...

What surprised me most about the T.Turner trade was that I had thought you couldn't trade a draft choice until the 1st anniversary of his signing. Did I dream that?

Reese Kaplan said...

@Lew Rhodes -- you put the best field on the team that you can. That player who hit 32 HRs 2 years ago was hopelessly lost for the next two years (a'la Tejada) and was dispatched for the proverbial bag 'o balls. Now if you want to tell me had we gotten Abreu then we wouldn't have had 30 HRs out of Lucas Duda, perhaps you'd have a point, though I'd have countered with I'd have sooner seen Duda in LF than Bobby Abreu or Eric Young.

bob gregory said...


"Mack -
So what you are saying, is that spending big dollars on big name players doesn't equal success?
Well.......how about that!"

Do you know that you would have to go all the way back to the Marlins in 2003 to find a World Series champion that was not in the top half of all major league teams in payroll?
and that is only once in the past 15 years.

Out of those 15 years only 3 teams were ranked below 12th in payroll.

Do you realize that the Mets only had 3 losing seasons during the 10years from 1999-2008 when they were consistantly in the top 10 payroll ranking?

Nobody here is asking the Mets to spend spend spend and be the top ranked payroll...
We are asking to spend something though....
whether it is money or prospects or effort in being creative..
Look at what SanDiego's gm (Peller) is doing this year.

Wow... he even just added J. Uptin today!!

all while it appears that Alderson sits....and waits....and talks about ifs....

Mack Ade said...

Bob Gregory -

The Mets, under the ownership of the Wilpons, are NEVER going to operate like San Diego is doing now.

Frankly, what they are doing now is a step in the right direction. I am as frustrated as you are, but this is the team we choose to root for.

Lew Rhodes said...

KC only spent a few million more than we did last year.

The A's spent less.

Also, keep this in mind - in the next 3-4 years, the Mets have a lot of stud young pitchers that need to be paid.

I would rather avoid big contracts now then not be able to pay Harvey in 4 years.

Like I said yesterday, you can't look at anything in a vacuum - every move has consequences - trading for and signing Santanna was a great move - until it wasn't and completely tied up the organization for 2 years.

There is risk for big contracts - and generally teams, teams that sign several big contracts then have several years to pay the pipers - the Mets went through that in the mid-90's and again in the last 5 years.

The Phillies are going through it now.

The best way to avoid the post binge melt down and hangover is to build a solid foundation and spend smart once the foundation is built.

That is how the Braves did the 90's - they were always among the top in salaries, but they built a great farm system first.

That's where Sandy is going if you ask me - if this team stays exactly the same for the next 3 season, the salary will go through the roof as the young guys start hitting their expensive arbitration years.

You have to keep that in mind when you want the Mets to commit to big contracts now.

Lew Rhodes said...

Mack - Save this comment for reference later in the season:

San Diego will implode

Any team with Upton and Kemp on it may have talent, but there is going to be attitude and issues in the clubhouse.

I don't see if being a success - maybe I am wrong, but I don't see that being a good clubhouse.

bob gregory said...


That may be true...
but we have to stop rationalizing and accepting mediocrity.

notice.... Myers and Uptin this year are both reasonably priced.

We as fans do not have to accept or support Wilpons or Aldersons treating "our team" poorly.

Why would any Met fan have faith that the Wilpons/Alderson would pay all of the young talent what they are worth if the majority of them turn out to be the All-Stars they are touted as potentially becoming?

Wheeler, Harvey, & DeGrom alone could eat up $60+ million in salary when it is their turn.
Add to that a salary of a potential offensive catcher and a defensive all star centerfielder?
Now add in an above average closer's salary?

The Wilpons and Alderson have been putting tinsel on a terd and telling us it will grow into a beautiful Christmas tree.....

We have to stop defending them and rationalizing their action/inaction out of trust in what they will potentially, maybe, hope to, if everything goes right, could maybe accomplish

S Finch said...

Despite many fans that scream for a higher payroll, a team's spending on players really has little correlation with wins.

Bob- I think we can all agree that once you are in the playoffs, who wins is anybodies guess. 2014 illuminates this fact. You also have to realize that the bottom 10 or so in payroll are simply rebuilding. They have no intention of competing. The Astros have been last in payroll the last few years, but they right in the middle of the pack for much of the 2000s. If the relationship is as strong as you suggest, how come 5 of the top ten teams in payroll didn't make the playoffs? Take it one step further: 3 of the top 5 did not make it either...

I was going to run the regression myself to see what the relationship between spending and payroll is, but it's already been done. They found:

"The correlation coefficient between payroll and wins this season (0.202) is even smaller than the correlation between the standings and the first letters of the cities in which teams play (0.24). In other words, you’d have a slightly better chance of predicting playoff participants simply by using alphabetical order than by using payroll numbers."

Is spending a ton of money on free agents one way to win? Sure, but it's certainly not the only way and clearly not as foolproof as some suggest

S Finch said...

Our efforts might be better spent changing the team name to the Cosmopolitans and hanging tight with our current roster

bob gregory said...

S Finch

you are just rationalizing...misdirecting.

Taken a large enough group or shift the center or range of the data group your results change.

Focus please on just the Championship. World Series.

It is indisputable that over the past 15 years there is a direct realationship between being in the top 12 payrolls and becoming the World Series Champion!

Mack Ade said...

Bob Gregory -

We as Mets followers all tend to bear the same drums. You have consistently been a critic of how the Mets operate. I've tried to see a silver lining.

You have one choice as a Mets fan here... don't spend any money on them until you are happy with the product they produce for you.

Anonymous said...

as I mentioned yesterday, Reyes' value was severely depressed at the trading deadline because he was on the DL with a hammy and was also the only bright spot on a terrible team because he was leading the league in hitting. It would be impossible to project what he could have returned in a trade, but a 3 month rental for a player who was on the DL and was going to take the highest contract in the off season probably would have returned very little. The also received a compensatory pick for Reyes that was turned into Kevin Plawecki, so it is not accurate to say they got nothing. Could have they gotten more? maybe, but they did a get a catcher who is a top 5 prospect

bob gregory said...


you are forgetting that before Reyes' hammy problem there was opportunity and speculation that Reyes should have been put on the market.

I believe also... he returned healthy before the final trade deadline

S Finch said...

Rationalizing or misdirecting????

There are just not enough games played in a playoff race to make any real determination.. Any team can get hot and pull off 3 series wins in a row.

During the season we have 162 games as a data point (larger sample size=greater accuracy).

This is math... you are using 12 data points. I am using 162 games X 10 years. Which do you think is more accurate?

Is your argument that payroll doesn't correlate with wins, but somehow comes into play during the playoffs? I'm confused...

bob gregory said...


unfortunately that is exactly what I have done..

bob gregory said...

S. Finch...

once again....

It is indisputable that over the past 15 years there is a direct realationship between being in the top 12 payrolls and becoming the World Series Champion!

S Finch said...


First you are picking a totally arbitrary number to try and prove your point. If payroll is so important, shouldn't one of the top 5 in payroll win each year?

Second, i think you are totally misunderstanding my point. While wins and payroll DO have some relationship (it follows wins=greater chance at championship), the relationship is weak.

To make it easier, over the last 25 years, about 17 percent of variation in winning percentage is explained by payroll...

It's unlikely you will win with the lowest payroll , the Mets right now are at around 16th. Only another Michael Cuddyer signing behind your arbitrary top 12 number.

S Finch said...


First you are picking a totally arbitrary number to try and prove your point. If payroll is so important, shouldn't one of the top 5 in payroll win each year?

Second, i think you are misunderstanding my point. While wins and payroll DO have some relationship (it follows wins=greater chance at championship), the relationship is weak. Like really weak-Like the alphabetical order of team names explained the number of wins better than team payroll.

Expanding even further, over the last 25 years, about 17 percent of variation in winning percentage is explained by payroll...and this relationship has been declining over the past 5-10 years.

It's unlikely you will win with the lowest payroll, but the Mets right now are at around 16th. Another Michael Cuddyer signing behind your arbitrary top 12 number.

bob gregory said...


That is not even close to true.

The objective of any MLB team is to be the champions. If not in the current year...then in the near future.

There is nothing Less arbitrary than to use:
1) the World Series Champions
2) a time frame such as 15 years as a modern era

What is the sense of playing any game over and over again if you are automatically assured that you will not win?

The focus is NOT... spend X amount and that will = Y place in the standings.

The focus here is to be the Champions. Plain and simple.

you don't like that I arbitrarily chose the 12th ranking?
ok... well here you go....
2014: San Francisco Giants, 7th
2013: Boston Red Sox, 4th
2012: San Francisco Giants, 8th
20111: St. Louis Cardinals, 11th
2010: San Francisco Giants, 10th
2009: New York Yankees, 1st
2008: Philadelphia Phillies, 12th
2007: Boston Red Sox, 2nd
2006: St. Louis Cardinals, 11th
2005: Chicago White Sox, 13th
2004: Boston Red Sox, 2nd
2003: Florida Marlins, 25th
2002: Anaheim Angels, 15th
2001: Arizona Diamondbacks, 8th

What would you like as the cut off?
No matter what ranking you would like to use as your point of reference, it favors the top portion of payroll spending teams as becoming CHAMPIONS.

bob gregory said...

another point of interest...

You would have to go all the way back to 2006 to find a World Series Champion that had a payroll under $97 million.

LastExitToBrooklyn said...

Mike Francesa says we should get Jose Reyes. I feel like this guy's really smart and knows his sports and we should listen to him.

S Finch said...

Apparently math isn't working so i will conclude with this:

Over the last 8 years, all WS winners except 1 had a top ten catcher. By your logic, I could argue that has been the Mets' missing piece...

The goal is to get to the playoffs and hope to get hot/lucky once there... To make the playoffs, you must win games. There are a lot of ways to win games-payroll being one (declining in importance) of many components.

bob gregory said...


I really don't know what else to say or how to reason this out with you.

Sure wealthy people can come from humble and poor beginnings...
but .... it sure increases the odds to start out with more money.

facts are facts.
The Mets have out right stunk to high Heaven and back again under Alderson's stewardship.

Care to make a bet right now as to the Mets winning the World Series?
How about even making it to the World Series?
How about even to the National League Championship Series?

S said...

The Mets chances on all of your questions: low, just like every other team in baseball minus maybe the Giants. Though, not because of payroll.

They will have a decent shot at the playoffs and that's all any fan of any team can hope for.

Clearly, the stinking and lack of WS championships under Alderson can be attributed to not having a top ten catcher ;)

StarvingHystericalNaked said...

This is for Bob Gregory (and anyone else who feels like responding):

From Mack: "You have one choice as a Mets fan here... don't spend any money on them until you are happy with the product they produce for you."

And from Bob: "unfortunately that is exactly what I have done.."

1st question: Did you used to spend money on the Mets? If so, when did you stop?

2nd question: What constitutes spending money on a team? Isn't it just ticket sales & apparel? I don't live near Queens & I own 0.00 baseball jerseys but I still consider myself just as big a Mets fan as any. I invest time? I watch the games on SNY. Who knows … maybe I would be more of a cynic (or realist or whatever) like you if I had actual money invested?

3rd question: So do you now invest neither time nor money? I assume you invest time … commenting on this site has to be considered such?

4th question: When do you go back to investing your money then? Let's say the Mets leave the roster exactly as constituted now, then they win their 90 games. I.e.: they win but don't use your free-spending superstar-acquiring strategy to do so. What happens then? Do you go back to spending your money? If so, wouldn't that be a tad hypocritical?

5th question: I know you're talking about an overall problem rather than just 1 move or lack of 1 move … but play GM for a second … what's the 1 move right now you want them to make? (Please don't say Tulowitzki. You can if you want, but just please don't.) So then they get that player, will you spend money then? But say they get him, he bombs, Jason Bay level of bombing, do you continue to spend that money? If not, that seems hypocritical too?

Thomas Brennan said...

90 win team. I'm gonna go more. I'm gonna watch more.

The day Reese goes, though, Collins will put Tejada in the lineup.

Bob Gregory said...

wow quite the handle alias there.

you know all that you are doing there is trying to nit pick at each of those points.

yes my money and time has decreased dramatically over the past few years.

Do you pay money or time to watch movies that are not entertaining?

If the same actor/director/movie studio creates a more entertaining movie do you refuse to watch it/enjoy it?

is that hypocritical?

There is no one player acquisition that would automatically change my spending.
Just as it took a while to loose fan interest because of year after year of losing/questionable leadership/say one thing but do another
it would take time to earn my commitment back

Mack Ade said...

Starving -

First of all, I invest nothing in this team. I write about it and was a reporter paid by a newspaper.

My suggestion to Bob was the logical one.

Secondly, stop taking all this that serious.

Lastly, one move... not that simple... takes two to tango...

Steve from Norfolk said...

Know what I got from your list? Count the number of WS winners above 10th place in spending and below or equal.

Answer - The median is between 8 and 10. If you discount the bottom 10 teams Mack says are rebuilding,the WS Champ distribution is weighted towards the range between 10 and 13, or the bottom 4 of your sample

Moral of this story is you can make math say anything you want. In this case,it seems to say that a team between 10th and 13th in payroll has a 50% chance of being the WS Champ. We're almost there!

Steve from Norfolk said...

Sorry - meant between 9 and 10

Mack Ade said...

Deadspin lists the 16th top team 2014 payroll at Milwaukee with $103,844,806.

The 17th (which the 2015 Mets would have surpassed) was Colorado at $95,832,071.

S Finch said...

Anyway thanks for the debate today, Bob. Even though we obviously disagree, your comments made me rethink some of my own preconceptions.

Steve from Norfolk said...

Steve from Norfolk said...
bob, I live in Norfolk, VA, as you've probably discerned from my handle and my posts. I invest in the Mets by whatever their cut of mlb.tv is and buying a couple of t-shirts and hats (although I'll never replace the hat and Alfonso and Franco t-shirts I bought at the Grand Slam Single game - I was lucky enough to buy Ricky Henderson's seats from a guy that worked for the team - 12th row, well behind the foul ball screen.

Sorry, got lost in history.

I also invest a Lot of time in the Mets - I watch EVERY game, stinker or runaway win or walk-off HR. Why - because I love them. They've my team since 1968 when they first move their AAA team here and built a ballpark less than a mile from my house, close enough to walk or ride my bike.I was 13 then, now I'm 59.

I love these guys. Always have, always will. Alderson has built us a great farm system, that spits out star pitchers like an assembly line. We're catching up on hitters, too We have one real hole. We'll fill it (Santa, please give us Ian Desmond for Christmas!) We're doing what we can with indifferent owners.We actually have a good chance of making the playoffs. I'll bet you twenty bucks and drop my pants right here in public, on Mack's Mets. Come back, Bob. Come back, to Flushing. There are people there that love you. At least 25 of them. Look at them - greeting you with open gloves and a barrage of foul balls just for you to catch! It's beautiful here at Citi Field. come back to us, Bob. You know you want to.
December 19, 2014 at 8:20 PM

Mack Ade said...

Steve From Norfork -

Steve, email me at: macksmets@gmail.com

I want to ask you a question.

bob gregory said...

S Finch & All

Thank you as well.

Happy Holiday Thoughts to you and your loved ones

Steve from Norfolk said...


Thank you, and I wish you also Happy Holidays, but especially a Happy Festivus (if you don't remember it, it's got a page on Wikipedia)!

I hope I didn't go overboard on the comments. I just hate to see a fellow Mets fan so down in the dumps over the team when we're heading for the good times. We've made the turn! Enjoy yourself over the holiday season, and remember, the day after New Year's there's only about 6 weeks to Spring Training!


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