Tom Brennan - MINOR LEAGUERS MOST LIKELY TO HELP IN 2015
Every year, the opening day 25 man roster does not mean a whole lot in Metsville. My math could be off, but I believe 45 guys wore a Mets uniform last year, and that is not counting the guys sitting in Section 8 who bought their jerseys at the souvenir stand.
So why sweat it if you don’t make the opening day 25? Most of the rest of the guys in the organization will make the team at some point in 2015, if 2014 is any indication.
OK, I exaggerate. But which minor league guys will help in 2015? A “minor leaguer” includes some guys who played very briefly last year in the bigs, but conceivably might have a more significant role with the team in the future.
So I will leave out the likes of a Matt den Dekker, who I believe will play on, and help, the team in 2015, but who had about 175 plate appearances last year. I will leave out a Rafael Montero, who logged 44 innings last year with the Mets. Each guy had the equivalent of a full quarter to a third of a season, so even if they start out back in AAA (Dekker due to options, and Montero due to a pitching glut), they are big leaguers now.
Anyway, here’s my “Most Likely” list, with 12 guys on it
1. Noah Syndergaard – maybe he cracks the rotation in April, maybe in June, but he’s coming soon. He will be the god of Thunder when he does.
2. Steven Matz – lots of folks feel Matz needs a year in AAA to be turned into a starter with the Mets. I feel that on some teams, he could be an April starter. On this one, due to the glut, we’ll see him after Super 2 or in September, but I think he will pleasantly surprise a lot of people as to his readiness when spring training starts.
3. Dilson Herrera – I am assuming Murphy is still here opening day, and Dilson heads to AAA, a level he skipped in his September 2014 call up. I see a star by 2016 or 2017. I could easily see him called up by June or July 2015. Cream rises.
4. Matt Reynolds – I still think at some point he shows (by hitting robustly in Vegas again to show 2014 was not a fluke) he has more to offer than Ruben Tejada, and Matt will replace him as a utility guy.
5. Kevin Plawecki – I think his AAA numbers were subdued a bit due to his vertigo. Assuming that is in the past, he will show he is ready for the bigs by mid-2015.
6. Cesar Puello - I believe he showed enough in the 2nd half of 2014 in AAA, and in when he got to finally get off the bench in winter ball, to show he’s got enough talent to be at least a platoon vs. lefties and a defensive replacement and pinch runner.
7. Jack Leathersich – I have a sneaking suspicion he figures out Vegas, lefty hitters and his control issues enough to get some significant bullpen time in 2015, even if he is not on the opening day roster.
8. Cory Mazzoni – talented. A shift to the pen will get him here in 2015.
9. Dario Alvarez – I like Leathersich better, but Dario defied gravity by jumping from mid-A ball to the Mets in 2014, so maybe we will see another surprise from him in 2015.
10. Johnny Monell – I think the fact that this catcher with pop in his bat is a lefty hitter bods well for his chances at some playing time as a platoon guy vs. righty pitching.
11. Sean Gilmartin – lefty reliever pick up. Soft tosser of high pedigree. Time will tell.
12. Matt Bowman – already impressive at AAA, this rapidly rising starter is running headlong into a numbers game. Hard to see if/when he makes it, for that reason.
Long shots, or late season call ups:
1. Danny Muno – I think 2015 will mark another year of progression, with very strong AAA #s. If Herrera and Reynolds were not ahead of him, I’d move him up to the above group.
2. Wilfredo Tovar – slick fielding, light pop SS. Same crowd Muno faces.
3. Xorge Carillo – solid AA hitting catcher who had a strong winter ball. He could well be a future #2 catcher, but I doubt it will happen in 2015.
4. Brandon Nimmo – I still see 2016 for him, but maybe (after struggling in AA and winter ball), he leapfrogs in 2015 with a surge in performance in AAA. On a team that has a laser focus on Super 2, maybe his arrival is mid-2016, along with Conforto.
5. Michael Fulmer – put him in the pen? Maybe it all falls into place for him in 2015 if they do that. That would really surprise me, but maybe he comes in totally healthy and leaps forward. He’s disappointed the past few years.
6. Hansel Robles – just the lack of AAA time and the crowded pen limit his chances to be more than a September call up.
7. Michael Conforto – it would only be as a September call up, but from what I’ve read, he has a very high quality, advanced bat, so maybe he soars thru the 4 levels above Brooklyn in 2015 and gets a cup o’ joe.
8. Eric Goeddel – the righty did get a brief cup of coffee in 2014, but has to improve to get more than the same in 2015.
9. Darin Gorski – my guess? Maybe a cup of coffee in September. Close to “very long shot” status.
Very long shots:
1. Travis Taijeron – a bat with extra base pop that needs to plug the strikeout hole – he has not yet shown signs that will happen.
2. Jayce Boyd – I expect a strong 2015 from Boyd in AAA. Only injuries would clear up space for him at any point in 2015.
3. Tyler Pill – seems there will be no room for him, but he finished real strong his last 4 months or so in AA. Will his stuff work in the majors?
4. Akeel Morris – 2015 will show whether he can continue to dominate hitters above mid-A ball and sneak in some September coffee. I think he is more of a 2016 consideration.
5. Zach Thornton – more of a AAAA guy to me, so I don’t see it.
6. Cory Satterwhite – solid pen work in AA in 2014, but a lot of pitching bodies lie ahead of him. He’d need to show he’s better than 2014.
27 guys in all above – plus the likes of Montero and Dekker. Should be interesting to watch the shake out in 2015. There will be a whole lotta shakin' going on!