The Morning Report – 1-21 – Terry Collins, Team Strengths, Shortstop, Arismendy Alcantara


I see that the subject of Terry Collins dominated the site on Monday. Once again, most of what can be said pro or con regarding whether or not he’s been a good manager is speculative. I give him a D as a manager but a B+ as a teacher because I remember what an effective job he did in extended camp before he was named the manager,
It’s only a matter of time that the TC reference is followed with someone touting Wally Backman as Collins replacement. I don’t think that’s a good idea and here’s a few reasons why:

1.     You’ve never met two people that approach this job in more of a different way. This would be very hard to translate on the field.

2.     This is a very young team and, though most of these players have gone through one of Backman’s team, that doesn’t make his approach to the game the right one in 2015 and beyond. I’ve learned the hard way on this blog that ‘old school’ doesn’t particularly mean ‘correct school’.

3.     This could be the perfect time to break the chain and go outside the organization for some new, young blood. And I’m not particularly talking about an ex-Met.

4.     Lastly, I don’t know how to do the research on this statement, but I simply don’t remember many success stories of managers being replaced by AAA managers in the same organization.

If you make the break… make it a clean one.

Fangraphs[i] on –
                 Team strengths –
It’s not even a sinkhole compared to the rest of the team, really. Looking at the non-pitching projections for the Mets, we see that three positions look like they’ll be strengths — catcher, third base, and center field, because yes, Juan Lagares really is that good. ZiPS likes Lucas Duda a little more, but otherwise the two projection systems largely agree — Curtis Granderson, Cuddyer, and the overrated Daniel Murphy are far more likely to be “adequate” than “difference-makers.”

            Mack – This is what I keep saying.

The Granderson and Cuddyer signings are supposed to be the Mets ‘big deal’ deals, but are they? Granderson was never a big time all-star kind of outfielders and Cuddyer is a one-year deal that solves nothing.

IMO, this is where the Mets miss. Step up like the other teams around you do.

I give the last two General Managers all the credit in the world for securing talented, young starters through creative trades (Syndergaard, Wheeler) and the draft (Matz, deGrom, Harvey), but everyday players so far stop with a lucky card Lagares. All other 2015 talent (Duda, deArnaud, Flores) will have to come with better results from within.

                 Shortstops -

The problem isn’t so much what the Mets have right now at shortstop, because what they have could be perfectly acceptable compared to plenty of other teams. The problem is that the Mets hope to find themselves in a position where every added win — whether at short or any other position — is what potentially puts them into that second wild card. The problem is that just because you have a position you want to upgrade upon, it doesn’t mean that a solution is magically available. Shortstop is a problem for the Mets, but perhaps not entirely the problem everyone seems to think it is.
            Mack – Are we actually talking about shortstop again?

            The Mets need to strike gold here and do the right thing for the future.

            Put together a sign and trade deal for Ian Desmond and offer him $12mil in 2015, $13mil in 2016, and $18mil in 2017 (this kind of deal would save the Mets first round pick, right?).

            Send to Washington IF Wilmer Flores, 2B Daniel Murphy, and RP Jeurys Familia

            Reese Kaplan asked –

First, with the trade of Dexter Fowler to play CF for the Cubs, what becomes of Arismendy Alcantara?  He was a SS in the minors and was moved to the outfield out of necessity given the Castro/Baez overcrowding.  With Addison Russell in the minors, too, he really seems extraneous.  If you look at his minor league numbers he showed that combination of speed and power that teams drool over.  His last season in AAA saw him post 10 HRs, 41 RBIs and 21 SBs in just 335 ABs as a 22 year old.  He batted .307 and is .284 for his minor league career.  His OBP has been going up each year, too.  He might be an under-the-radar acquisition if a deal could be struck with the Cubs.  Of course, I have no idea about his fielding ability, but with the Cubbies pretty set at most positions on the field I'm thinking Mike Olt at 3B is the only weak link.  He struck out an alarming 113 times in just 258 ABs.  That's worse than Kirk Nieuwenhuis (and that's saying something).  Would Daniel Murphy interest them in their go-for-it-all approach they seem to be taking for 2015?

Mack – Interesting how you think (see my previous statements on a Desmond trade I would like to see.

Everybody respects Murphy’s bat and the last thing Washington needs is another starter, but I guy like Familia could ink the deal.
As for Alcantara, is he the Cubs version of J-Lag?

The more I keep reading about all these so-called SS prospects, the more I feel they are being projected to produce what Flores has already done in the second half of 2014.

I’m sticking with Wilmer for the first 300 at-bats in 2015.


eraff said...

I have been a Non-Believer in the Flores Murphy Combo.... and also about Flores as a SS.


1. Defensive Shifts and Statistical Analysis: If you shift and "Pitch to the stats" it tields alot of AT 'Em balls...easy plays for sure hands and arms. Range Factor becomes somewhat diminished.

2. Higher Strikeout Totals... Less Ground balls in Play? I know there are more K's than ever--- Less ground balls as well? Maybe Mr. Joura has a Stat on this, or another good stat guy?

Regarding SHIFTS: I expect "The Offense" to become somehwat more situational in response to The Defensive advances. The MLB defensive shifts are purely Situational on every play, every pitch. The Offensive Plate approach has been expressely LESS situational over the past 20 years--- we may see professional hitters begin adjustment to both Shifts and Game Situations.

Ernest Dove said...

News Flash
The Mets have who they have
The 25man will comprise of players already signed and/or invited to camp.
The coaching staff is the coaching staff for the year.
........oh, Lets Go Mets ! ;)

Thomas Brennan said...

Very depressing to read that Mets not interested in Yoan Moncada due to budget, but oh, the Yanks are ready to swoop in and grab him.

I would not like a Scherzer-type deal for the Mets - we already did that with (to varying degrees) Santana, Bay, and Martinez, with all 3 falling apart. Huge gamble.

Moncada is supposedly a very young future star. And we once again seem to be out of it, however. Nothing to give up but $$, right?

Good points made on situational defense. Would minimize Flores' SS defense deficiencies.

It seems Mack's trade suggestion would be good for both Mets and Nats. Maybe it'll happen, but would Desmond do a sign-and-trade for that $$?

Thomas Brennan said...

Go outside the organization...replace Terry Collins with...Reese Kaplan.

At least I'd know who the opening day SS wouldn't be.

Christopher Soto said...

Most of the time these projection systems are a crapshoot... Unfortunately its all we have at this point in the off-season besides historical data.

In reference to Murphy being "overrated" I think that's complete horse crap....

The Irish Hammer has posted positive WAR contributions every year as a starter and posted close to or at +3 wins per season 3 of the past 4 years.

A STEAMER forecast of +1.5 WAR is absurdly conservative. I think with a healthy Wright behind him that he's in line for another +3.0 season.

Projecting Lucas down from +3.0 WAR last season to +1.7 WAR is another with no statistical support. Duda's improvement was primarily due to to his increased aggressiveness. He reduced his K rate 3% and BB rate and increased his swing rate at balls in the zone by 5%. His BABIP (.283) was inline with the MLB average so we should see no decline in his roughly .255 AVG.

His HR/FB ratio was in line with his career norms and should hold with the reduced fences in RF and His Line Drive % is up as well.

Do I think he hits another 30 Hr's....probably not but 26-28 is not out of the question especially with 50 more plate appearances than last year and better line-up protection.

Michael Cuddyer is severely underrated as a hitter.....One of the primary things I look at when projecting a players success is their Line Drive%...This is because the batting average on ball hit via Line Drives is .685! Cuddyer last year hit Line Drives 24% of the time. Only 1 Mets starter last year had a better rate than that and his name was Daniel Murphy who clocked in at 28%.

I will agree on one thing with STEAMER....I think deGrom is due for regression...but that's not a bad thing. His regression is not due to him doing worse in 2015...its because he was just so darn good in 2014 that it's going to be hard to repeat in 2015. Had deGrom pitched a full 33 start season his WAR would have been +4.5....I don't think he'll get that high in 2015 but I think he can hit between +3.0 and +3.5. Certainly higher than the +1.3 they have him pegged for.

Michael S. said...

I never looked at the Cuddyer or Granderson signings as big ticket moves. It's a joke to think they are...almost as big of a joke as naming Wilpon head of financing. You can't make this stuff up.

And Moncada? With our market and our needs we should be front of the line on him but we're on the sidelines.

Christopher Soto said...


To answer your question....

Over the past 5 seasons....(2010 to 2014)

of the roughly 184 thousand Plate appearances per season.....

The BB% are down:
2010: 8.5%
2011: 8.1%
2012: 8.0%
2013: 7.9%
2014: 7.6%

The K% have risen:
2010: 18.5%
2011: 18.6%
2012: 19.8%
2013: 19.9%
2014: 20.4%

The GB% are roughly the same :
2010: 31.3%
2011: 31.4%
2012: 31.5%
2013: 31.1%
2014: 31.2%

The FB% are down :
2010: 26.5%
2011: 25.4%
2012: 23.7%
2013: 24.0%
2014: 23.9%

But have been replace by LD%:
2010: 12.8%
2011: 13.8%
2012: 14.6%
2013: 14.8%
2014: 14.5%

Ernest Dove said...

To kinda go along with my previous statement, the Mets are who they are. They prefer to take their chances with the $1mil 16yr old kids then pay $20-100mil for 19and over international guys.
Maybe moncada meets and exceeds his high expectation. Maybe not.
Maybe Amed Rosario meets his high expectations, maybe not. Either way Rosario much cheaper option/gamble

Zozo said...

If they don't spend on Moncada, they better at least go over and beyond on this year International Draft. Meaning at least draft 5 of the top 20 prospects. All the other teams do it, and considering we lost our #1 pick for Cuddyer go all in.

TP said...

Excellent points above about SS defense with shifting and higher K rates. Still, the defense up the middle is sub-par even with a K-inclined pitching staff.

I agree with your conclusions regarding the projection of Murphy, Duda, and deGrom. Hopefully that is good news. One point on Cuddyer's LD rate - very good, but clearly that BABIP was aided by playing in Coors. Still, I agree with you, he has some shortcomings, but this guy is a professional hitter.

On Collins, he is the manager and has his strengths and weaknesses. Every manager gets second guessed, even HOF managers. Two things I expect out Collins this season - enough of this "we gotta get him going" nonsense. The top of the order is for the guys hitting best regardless of their names and paychecks...that goes for DW and Grandy as well. Second, rotate the lineup to get the best possible OPS on every given day. Sure, Duda should get some shot vs. LHP, but this is not the minor leagues and they are claiming to expect to win.


Reese Kaplan said...

Oh, if only Cuddyer was just a single year deal...and Colon...and Granderson...but each of them got more than a single year.

Christopher Soto said...


Agreed....Even though the Coors situation has more of an effect on how many of a players Fly-balls turn into HR's (Cuddyer's 3 year in Coors...18.2%, 16.9%, 22.7%...MLB average 10.5%), I'm sure the LD% was helped a bit by Coors field. I can still see him spitting out another 20% season which is roughly league average.

That said....how impressive does that make Murphy's number look.....28% playing half his games in Citi Field....That's absurd.

If we are down 1 run with a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the 9th. Murphy is the guy I want at the plate.

Brian Joura said...

Interesting point about Triple-A managers taking over the major league team. The only one that comes immediately to mind is Joe Frazier.

I would counter that the situation Backman is in is rather unique. He's a guy by all rights should be an MLB manager but due to his past, he hasn't gotten a fair shot. He would probably do himself a favor if he went to another organization.

It's curious that he hasn't.

I'm surprised that a writer at FanGraphs would call Daniel Murphy "adequate." I'd call him comfortably above average. He ranked 11th among MLB 2B in fWAR last year and was seventh in 2013. If that's just adequate - let's go out and field a team full of adequate players.

Love the idea of getting Alcantara. Would much prefer this than overpaying for Desmond.

Lew Rhodes said...

Man - I have lots of comments I want to make based on this thread - where to start:

MACK - I think your proposed deal for Desmond would be AWFUL for the Mets. Desmond is 30, his K-rate has risen every year for the past 3 years and his OPS+ has dropped. Flores will likely out hit him over the next 3-4 years - so to give up Flores AND Familia AND offer Desmond that much money is an very bad idea in my opinion.

Besides, if we are going to pay him that much, sign him in the off season and hold onto Flores and Familia - they are likely better than what a draft pick would turn into

Comments on Cuddyer:

First, Cuddyer's career BABIP is .314; given the length of his career, that is what it is.

A couple of observations - last year his BABIP was .351 - drop that 30 points to his career average and he still would hit .300

His first year in Coors, his BABIP was .287 - awful and 30 points below his career average - AND, he still put up a 102 OPS+, despite the awful luck (or in his first year at Coors he was swinging for the fences).

Let's go back to Minny - his BABIP those three years were .298, .312, and.287. His OPS+ those 3 years was 125, 107, 120 (ironically his highest BABIP was his lowest OPS+)

In any event, year after year, despite fluctuations in his BABIP, his OPS+ is always above average.

Last year, EY and CY combined for 600 plate appearances and turned in a a combined OPS+ around 79.

So, if Cuddyer replaces their plate appearances with even an average OPS, that is a MASSIVE, MASSIVE upgrade.

If he can give us something more akin to a 120 OPS, I would be delirious.

Yes, there is a Coors Field effect with him, but LD% isn't going to change by park location - that is all about squaring up on balls

I believe Cuddyer will give the Mets some fairly solid offense

Lew Rhodes said...

I don't get the STEAMER projections on the Mets for 2015

Murphy is predicted at 1.8 WAR - his last 3 years his WAR was 1.3, 3.0, 2.8 - the only reason is was low 3 years ago was his awful defense - well the last two years his defense has been below average, not awful - I think he should be more in the 2.5 - 3.0 WAR range

Flores is another one - how do you take a guy with 1.3 WAR in half a season and project a 1.7 WAR in a full season? Especially a young guy who has done nothing but hit in the minor?

We need the season to start!

Christopher Soto said...


Glad we see eye to eye on this one.

Well said.

Robb said...

sorry mack i think that deal for desmond would be awful. A he's not signing for less then jj hardy and hes probably looking 5/6 years in the Hanley range, as he's already turned down 100mm. as again there are no shortstops. also Familia should not be traded unless it is it a transformative deal. none of this trading for guys w less then two years control.

also inter division trades are exceedingly rare.

Mack Ade said...

Robb -

That's kewl.

Half the time I'm putting together possible trade scenarios just to generate comments and traffic on the site.

Mack's Mets © 2012