Mack – Morning Report – 2- 2 – MLB Top 100, Int’l Free Agents, Cuba, 1st Mets Withdrawn From Expansion Draft, Dustin Lawley


 MLB.com ranked their top 100 baseball prospects on Friday.

The Mets had five players on the list… SP Noah Syndergaard  (#10), C Kevin Plawecki (#63), SP Steven Matz (#66), OF Brandon Nimmo (#72), and OF Michael Conforto (#82).

I was surprised that 2B Dilson Herrera didn’t make the list, but that might be due to the rules of the list. MLB states: “To be eligible for a list, a player must have rookie eligibility. To qualify for rookie status, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club.” Herrera played in only 18 games and had 59 official at-bats, but I have no idea how long he was on the parent roster. Needless to say (or either way), I still consider Herrera a top 100 prospect in baseball.

Jonathan May also ranks the Mets 9th in what he calls ‘prospect points (212). Ranked first was Minnesota who had six players on the list, all of which were ranked in the top 40 portion of the list.

And here’s a link to the actual list:  - http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2015

It’s no big secret how fond I am of signing international free agents (those 16-year old bonus kids) and how I wish the Mets would increase their budget in this market.

Well, Fangraphs[i] had a very interesting series of graphs breaking out all the players signed from various countries since 1998. The result (at least to me) was startling:

5th in playing baseball players born in the Dominican Republic (league total since 1998: 618… Mets: 49)

5th in playing baseball players from Venezuela (league: 321, Mets: 25).

5th in playing baseball players from Cuba (!) (league: 186, Mets: 7)

1st in playing baseball players from Japan (league: 61, Mets: 11)

I find it quite amusing that the MLB decided to send a memo to all the teams, advising them not to sign any additional Cuban players until the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) can find someone to guarantee that these ballplayers aren’t falsifying their identities. We’re still talking about a Communist country no matter how much you read about improving relations between our two nations. And these guys basically have nothing and are being paid close to $300 per month. I’m not talking about the low levels of the minors here. These are the stars of the Cuban National team.

Let’s see… $300 a month with your current identity…   $30mil if you change your name to Katy Perry.

Seriously, I can’t see a problem here. There’s plenty of paper trail on the starts of the Cuban leagues. All major league baseball has to do is figure out how they are going to compensate the teams down there that are going to lose their best players.

Also worth noting… this is not a country we are trying to introduce a new sport to. Let’s remember that baseball is the national sport there and no matter how many players just ship and come north, there will always be plenty of young players playing on the local fields in Cuba.

(note: OFAC has issued their own statement and says that the entire onus is on major league baseball. I’m sure this issue will resolve itself in good time, but I’m interested in your opinion, both of Cuban baseball in general (I’m still shocked at the Mets ranking in signing Cuban players), and this issue, in particular.)

Hey, let’s play a Monday game.

We know we’re running out of subjects waiting for this team to do something (anything) else in this off season, so while we sit here, let’s make believe that the MLB has announced that at 12 noon today will be the beginning of a new baseball expansion that will bring in four new teams into the league (Puerto Rico, Jacksonville, Mexico City, and Montreal), Each team will have the ability to hold back five franchise players that will not be available when one of the teams listed above picks a player from the Mets 40-man squad.

My question to you… who would be the first five you would protect?

Mine would be pitchers Matt Harvey (gotta take a chance here), Zack Wheeler, Jake deGrom, OF Juan Lagares, and 2B Dilson Herrera.

I’d dangle all my contracts for that first pick and pull back David Wright with the first pick in the second round.

Your turn…

And lastly... 

Dustin Lawley has 46 home runs and 165 runs batted in over the past two seasons (A+ through AAA - 916-AB, 245-K)

Travis Taijeron has 33 home runs and 133 runs batted in over the past two seasons (A+ through AA – 750-AB, 238-K)

Both of these guys will probably play Las Vegas in 2015 which will just add to their home run totals.

Are we missing anything with one of these guys and, if they cut down their strikeout rate, could we possibly have another Juan Lagares here?
I mean, both these guys can hit the ball over the fence. Even Lucas Duda only had 45 major league home runs and 125-RBIs (832-AB, 237-K) over the past two season.

Neither one of these made my or Tom Brennan’s prospect list, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make their way to Queens someday. You especially want to root for Lawley, whose first position is third base though he does play a credible corner outfield as well.


Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Mack

I was tempted to add Taijeron to the list. His homers #'s are solid, but he collects doubles like some guys collect stamps.

68 doubles in 750 official at bats the past 2 years. That is a WOW #. He also has a career .363 on base %. Nice.

His strikeouts are high, which is why I (barely) left him out of my top 30, but in today's game, that flaw does not disqualify. Being a righty, he'll get plenty of ABs vs. righties in 2015 to continue to try to reduce that flaw.

Lawley is not as good on base - I think he is from the same mold but more of a long shot.

Chris Davis exploded for the O's in 2013. I'm not saying Travis will duplicate that on the major league level, but I see some similarities - high K, high power.

Dilson better have been left off due to major league time - has to be a top 100 player.

I don't think I'd pull Wright back that early, unless I was pretty convinced his production can uptick for a few years. Mets got better average, power and run production #s from CF than 3B last year.

Mack Ade said...

It would be interesting if one of them were to break out.

Dallas said...

From Amazin Avenue -

"Looking at the position player side, Law praised Dilson Herrera, mentioning that he just barely missed his top 100 list."

I have to agree it makes no sense to leave him off the list. Youngest player in the majors last year when he came up and had some success. Some flawed logic to have him miss.

Reese Kaplan said...

Several weeks ago I did a column about a hypothetical draft and I also left David Wright out of the first round thinking his production and price would make him undesirable for a drafting team.

Lew Rhodes said...

So, MLB leaves of Herrera and Law leaves off Matz?

I guess neither wanted the Mets to have 6 players on the list.

It makes no sense since all the folks who follow the Mets have Matz and Herra ranked above every Mets prospect other than Thor.

Hobie said...

The biggest Post-It on my draft bulletin board would say, "If someone drafts TdA or Pawlecki, protect the other."

Lew Rhodes said...

On Lawley and Taijeron - I don't see either being more than a minors slugger.

First, Lawley was 25 last year in AA and struck out at a 30% clip - he struck out at a 22% clip in St Lucie. He also doesn't walk much at all and seems to have no other real skills than hitting the ball really hard the few times he hits it. Plus, his numbers vs. LHP is not much better than his number vs. RHP

Taijeron also has his age and k-rate working against him - however, he at least showed a hit tool in the past (.291 in 64 games in Savannah and .303 in 55 games in St Lucie).

Also, last year Taijeron pummelled LHP - that was the first year he showed splits that extreme, so maybe he changed his approach a little and can repeat that success vs. LHP

If he does, he could be a useful 4th /5 th OFer, but he needs to get the K-rate under control - his is worse than Capt Kirk - and he doesn't have the secondary skills Kirk does

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Lew

If, performance-wise, Nimmo matches O'Neill, I'd certainly be pleased.

From 1993-98, O'Neill was actually stellar: he hit .317! He had a combined OB% of over .400 and a slug % over .500 in those 6 years. if he'd done that for 6 more years, maybe he is a legit HOF candidate.

Rest of his career was more of a .260 type average offense, though, but those 6 years are unparalleled in Met OF history, except perhaps for Strawberry.

No one in Met OF history had a better 6 year stretch. May we someday be able to say the same about Nimmo.

Zozo said...

I am pulling for Lawley being the dark horse and breaks out

Anonymous said...

Lawley has nowhere to go with this organization.
Sorry to break your heart but he is Evans and Lutz.
These are exciting times for Mets fans and prospect watchers.


Zozo said...

Maybe he breaks out and we package him in some sort of deal?

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