The Morning Report – 1-3 – Lucas Duda, Courtney Hawkins, Michael Gettys, Carlos Alvarez, Wilmer Flores


Anthony DiComo[i] wrote his ’10 Questions’ the Mets have to answer in 2015. Or some reason, everyone ties these kind of articles/posts to the first of the year. I probably will do one too, but mine will be closer to opening day.

One of his questions was:

Is Lucas Duda for real? - Sandy Alderson made the right choice when he kept Duda around last summer, trading Ike Davis to the Pirates. Now, Duda must prove that the 30 home runs he hit last year was not a fluke. Particularly if Granderson and Wright continue to struggle, the Mets will need Duda to serve as a consistent power source in the middle of their lineup. He is confident and ready, fresh off an All-Star tour of Japan. But pitchers will be keying on Duda this summer, forcing him to adapt.

Mack – Yes, Duda will have to learn to adapt, but I don’t think the Mets are going to give him much opportunity against right handed pitching. Past that, he needs to keep the sweet swing he has contained and just try to guess corrently whether it’s a curve or a fast ball. His natural power alone,  plus 350-400 at bats, will get him to 30 home runs again .

My man Courtney[ii]

. About 16 months ago, I wrote this 3,000-word-plus diatribe about Courtney Hawkins, attempting to make sense of how a 2012 mid-first-round pick could collapse from a .284/.324/.480 line in his post-draft 2012 season (complete with reaching High-A at age 18) to an abysmal .178/.249/.384 mark in 2013 (complete with ghastly 37.6% strikeout rate).

For some, those numbers were grounds for Hawkins’ dismissal as a prospect; for others, his youth and level made that immediate, severe pessimism seem a bit over-the-top and premature; he did manage to slug nineteen homers in 103 games in the midst of all that whiffing, at least. The thought of this latter group was that Hawkins would repeat High-A in 2014 as a 20-year-old and that the tools that made him a first-round pick would again surface as he grew into the level.

 Michael Gettys[iii], CF Video: Gettys is one of the most electrifying prospects in the minors. He has plus plus bat speed, running speed and arm strength to go with above average raw power and defensive ability; he has also hit 95 mph with an above average curveball on the mound. Gettys was very easy to identify as a top prep prospect but he slipped to the 2nd round last summer because of his struggles with the bat. The bat speed gives him big margin for error, but Gettys has had trouble identifying spin at times, though it appears to be influenced by him pressing and guessing from draft year pressure, rather than a struggle with a true vision/identification issue.

Mack – Hawkins and Gettys were just two of the many players I loved at various draft days. I’m linking to these articles since we once again are a little short on Mets suff today.

Mack’s Mets regulars will be familiar with my almost obsession with Hawkins up to the 2012 draft. I actually got an email from Courtney the week before, blasting me, for what he was told, negative comments I was saying about him on the blog. He said he had receieved that information, on Twitter, from other Mets bloggers. We cleared that up.

Gettys was the 51st overall pick in the 2014 draft and may turn out to be the steal of the day. He hit .310 in rookie ball last year, in 213 at-bats, as an 18-year old.

A great story[iv]

Dominican Republic — Much has changed for the player who helped transform the way baseball teams operate in this country. Carlos Alvarez is 29 and maybe 30 pounds heavier than his early years as a top Washington Nationals prospect. He is no longer in the organization whose fate he changed when his false identity and true age were discovered in 2009.

Alvarez — known then as Esmailyn “Smiley” Gonzalez — still believes he has a future in baseball but it isn’t promising. He spent this past year playing for the Freseros de San Quintin in the Liga Norte de Mexico, a lower-level professional league, before returning to his native Dominican Republic to play winter baseball for the Tigres del Licey.

Our daily Flores story –

I think Wilmer Flores can provide value beyond Matt Carpenter next year contingent on his BABIP rebounding or if we are looking beyond runs produced (R+RBI-HR). Flores makes a little less contact, but has much more power potential. If we double Carpenter’s 2012 season, he basically averaged 11 homers and 3 stolen bases with a .305 batting average with an inflated .353 BABIP and .166 ISO for 2012 and 2013. Last year, Carpenter regressed back to a .318 BABIP and .103 ISO.

Steamer projects Flores for a .145 ISO and .270 BABIP. I [v]will not call this Flores’ floor, but I will say that he has a much higher ceiling based on his BABIP potential. While he lacks speed (like Carpenter), a BABIP closer to his minor league average of .315 would mean a batting average closer to .275. While defensive shifts could limit his full BABIP potential, his batted ball spray looks healthy enough, and he already has a 20+% line drive rate in the majors.-

(Mets trade P Noah Syndergaard, C Kevin Plawecki, P Gabriel Ynoa, and 1B Jayce Boyd to Colorado for SS Troy Tulowitzki) -  


Thomas Brennan said...

Wilmer is my pick for starting SS in this year's All Star game. Better to be first than right in one's predictions.

Courtney is our Ivan Wilson, apparently. May they both figure it out and hit 40 HRs one day.

Good morning, folks.

Thomas Brennan said...

If Duda starts 75% of the games, pinch hits and switches into games a bunch of other times, he ought to get 500 plate appearances almost exclusively vs. righties, not 350-400. I want 40 homers out of 1B between Duda and Mayberry. Why not?

eraff said...

Duda has over 1500 ab's---an OPS approaching .800. His "uptick" last year seemed to be a reflection of Maturity and considence and consistency---he seemed more aggressive. It was not an outsized and freakish step forward...it was a "nice" step forward.

I wouldn't be surprised to find him in the same range this year--- It's unfair to expect a whole lot more...and what you get is pretty nice. ...I think an ops around 800.... 20-30 hr.... 80-95 rbi...it's plug and play, but he's not going to become some sort of outsized monster bat.

James Preller said...

I like Duda; he's a guy who naturally fits into "the approach" that Alderson admires. He'll take his walks, though at times to his detriment as a dangerous hitter. The key is that he began to swing early in the count last season, since that's the time when power exhibits itself in baseball.

I don't think last season was a fluke. I just hope that he gets protection in the order; it's got to be very tempting to give the big, slow-footed slugger a free pass and let him to clog up the basepaths.

Personally, I think he must learn how to hit LHP to a reasonable degree. A part-time cleanup hitter just isn't optimal, especially in the late innings. Short-term, yes, a strict platoon will produce better numbers. But long-term, the Mets are a better club is Lucas Duda can hold his own vs. LHP. For now, I'd give him that chance to develop -- and support him in that process -- while letting him rest against some of the tougher LHP.

Damn the stats, develop the player! (But, of course, if he can't get it done . . . .)

Ernest Dove said...

I agree James......
Mets and us fans are dreaming of playoffs. So what happens if Mets run into a lefty pitcher, specifically in that wild card play in-game? Do they seriously sit their CLEAN-UP hitter in the most important game of the season? He's got to figure it out somewhat to help this team into late October for the next 2-3 years. (After that we Macks Mets regulars are dreaming of a 'guppy' taking his spot)

Thomas Brennan said...

On Duda, I wrote last year that he needed to be more aggressive. He got substantially more so after Memorial Day, leading to his great #'s. He'll do that for this whole season, as I am sure he now knows how vital aggression (not wasting good first pitches) is to his success. So why can't his #'s be even better if he gets it from day 1 this year?

He is a .319 lifetime slugger vs. lefties, if my memory serves me correctly. Mayberry vs, lefties? Around .535, as per my memory. I go for the strict platoon. It will largely work.

Mack Ade said...

I agree with James

eraff said...

The JP sightings are nice to see!!!!!!

Thomas Brennan said...

I was a big Duda guy all of 2014, had him over Davis in the 2014 spring contest period

But in 125 PA vs. righties last year, a miserable .180/.264/.252. Get me to .220/.320/.400 against lefties in 2015 and he can not platoon. A repeat of 2014 means platoon for me. I want to win in 2015, not develop.

James Preller said...

I hear you, Thomas. Obviously if Lucas fails, he fails. You can't accept it forever. But a cautionary note, just so you don't fall into the Terry Collins mindset: Winning & Development are not mutually exclusive. I think he should be allowed to fail for a while longer, and without having to look over his shoulder after every bad AB. It's a tough balancing act, something that I suspect is beyond TC, finding that sweet spot between allowing a good player to fail -- and supporting that player through his failures -- while still holding him accountable. It is a meritocracy, after all. I think Wilmer Flores will be facing the same issue this season. Difficult to thrive when you are two bad games away from the bench.

And don't worry about Mayberry: He can take Curtis's ABs vs. LHP.

As for winning in 2015: I wish management felt the same way you do, but I'm not seeing it.

Thomas Brennan said...

Big key for Lucas vs lefties is be aggressive. Don't take strikes. Too many Ks, has to limit times he falls behind watching pitches

Will said...

I wont be surprised if Wilmer Flores is a top 10 national league offensive short stop with regular playing time.

Will said...

I think we just like to see moves made. It gets boring lol

Thomas Brennan said...

Will, it is darkest before the dawn...of spring training

eraff said...

A top 10 national League offensive shortstop?......there are 15 teams in the National League---this is hardly an offset to his admitted defensive weaknesses.

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