Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
There’s a guy in the Mets organization we may all want to keep one eye on.
Relief pitcher Jon Velazquez just finished pitching in 18 appearances, 1.83, 10-saves for Cangrejeros de Santurce in the Carribean League. Originally out of the Philadelphia Phillies chain, he bounced around in the independent leagues from 2011-2013. His 2013 results for Camden in the Atlantic League definitely impressed the Mets pitching coaches (6-2, 1.95, 61-appearances, 73.2-IP, 82-K) and got him a shot with Binghamton in 2014, going 4-4, 3.62, in 44 relief appearances.
He’s be 29 next season.
Comment From DL - Who better Matz or Thor?
Kiley McDaniel: Thor
Mack – Short question, short answer.
What I like the most about it is the fact that the Mets already seem to have three front end starters and the national press is now comparing two other starters as additional stars of this game.
Both of these guys are only one secondary pitch away from banking the doors down to the Mets clubhouse, though I still think the Mets will try to keep this as organized as possible. First up will come the Dillon trade to someday that aligns both Colon and Niese into the current 2015 rotation. Next up, will be the obligatory season ending injury, probably to both Colon and his contract. This will give Thor the door in and Niese the overseer of the left side of the mound until opening day 2016.
Just my guess.
I just can’t imagine what it’s going to be like to watch a Mets-Nats series in 2016.
Comment From Jay - You’ve tweeted that the Yankees have the deepest farm system. What do they do differently to bring talent in than other clubs?
Kiley McDaniel: Spend $30 million on July 2nd
Mack – This is such a simple solution to a simple problem.
July 2nd is the International signing day for all baseball players, especially those out of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. This is where all those 16-year olds come from that first get assigned to either the DSL or VSL teams in the respective organization.
There’s no posting fee here. You just have to offer the largest bonus one of those almost legal dudes (‘busteros’?) that control these kids at the time of their signing. They really don’t care who plays where. They’re just in it for the money and the highest bid wins.
The Mets have done well in this area, but it’s so much easier to do better.
Yes, you are going to have to wait around five years to see if who you signed was worth it, but, do this year after year and you not only will produce an all-star team of Latin American players, but you won’t lose a draft pick either.
Mets writers/bloggers have seemed to have moved on from shortstop as the subject of concern and returned to the outfield in hopes of finding a solution to the Mets lack of making the playoff.
Let’s stop right here for a second… the Mets have the pitching that can get this team to the second wild card. What we’re looking for is the next step.
The Mets have actually addressed four different outfield positions in the past three years and, frankly, have produced a vastly improved look at the future.
In no particular order:
1. Juan Lagares has now established himself as one of the premier If not the top in the NL) center fielders in the game, How he got there is no longer of concern. He is a defensive superstar, no one wants to hit towards him, and the other Mets outfielders have learned to adjust their game to give Lagares room to maneuver and make the defensive play needed. His .281 batting average last season was a bonus and he was only 25-years old. Wow.
2. The addition of Michael Cuddyer over Chris Young will prove to be a huge upgrade… if… Cuddyer stays healthy. Cuddyer can hit. He hit .332 in 2014 in a shortened season, but let’s not forget he hit .331 the year prior in 489 at-bats. Sure, it mostly was in Colorado, but (to me) Cuddyer looks like the perfect two-year transitional outfielder to future guys mike Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.
3. Some are writing that there is hope for Curtis Granderson to ‘turn around’ a bad season in 2014. Gee, I thought he already had showed sighed of doing that (September 2014: 87-AB, .299). I see Granderson benefiting greatly by the addition of Cuddyer who will create a situation where Grandy will get more pitched to swing at.
4. And lastly, the Mets could have done a lot worse than choosing John Mayberry Jr. as the fourth outfielder. He’s a right side bat who also plays first base. And, he used to be a Philly. You have to have one of them on your roster, right?
Yeah, I don’t see any of these guys starting in the 2015 All-Star game, but the Mets outfield has come a long way since 2013.
I really have no idea who will be the fifth outfielder. Candidates include Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker, Cesar Puello, and Eric Campbell. To me, Campbell would seem to have the best odds here because he can also play the corner infield positions and his talent (or lack of it) leans best for a part time role. As we all know, this was supposed to be Puello’s job… hell, he should have been at last the 4th outfielder by now… bot he’s out of both options and supporters. Lastly, Nieuwenhuis has had the most opportunities to win a job in Queens, something he just can’t seem to do.
Me? I go for ‘defensive replacements late in a tight game’ first over the potential of a home run vs. strike out (we all know who wins this battle the most times). Ruben Tejada would be my backup middle infielder, I’ve got first base covered with Cuddyer/Mayberry and either Flores of Murphy can shift over to third. This leaves me the ability to go + + defense in the outfield, with den Dekker.