Tom Brennan – MINOR LEAGUES – WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT UPDATE
With the short season summer leagues right around the corner, 3 more teams will shortly be coming on line, with lots more players to consider – so I will keep my list short as well:
10 hottest, 10 honorable mentions, and a few words on some Chilly Willies in the system.
Who's red hot?
Steve Matz is still #1, because he's the best minor league pitcher in the world and belongs in NY. If you disagree, you're wrong, I'm right, that settles it.
Dominic Smith is #2. Three weeks ago, he was struggling terribly. Bruce Banner has turned into the Hulk, with an astonishing, and likely unprecedented in baseball history, 17 doubles in 21 games. Throw in a homer and a bunch of singles, and folks, we got us a real hitter. Send him birthday wishes as he turns 20 on June 15.
Gavin Cecchini is #3. I heard no one raving about him being the first round pick in 2012. Now that he is hitting .331 in AA with a recent 18 for 40 stretch, anyone raving now? Besides me, of course. I guess you can start raving now, too, for the 21 year old.
Akeel Morris is #4. He is the next best pitcher in the minor league universe, in my opinion. Typical is Tuesday night's 6 up, 6 down, 3 K effort. He rarely allows a run, and almost as rarely allows a hit. His middle initial ought to be K, since he accumulates so many of them. 9 saves so far for St Lucie.
Casey Meisner is #5. He has been migh-ty stingy giving up runs. Pitching great start after start for the Gnats. High draft pick, high expectations, so far, so good in 2015.
Robert Gsellman is #6. Yep, his first AA start was shaky. But 6-0, ERA under 2.00 in St Lucie before that for the 21 year old keeps him in my top 10.
Paul Sewald is #7. He is nothing except extraordinarily tough out of the pen, since the day he was signed. Not a fireballer, but danged good. I would not be surprised to see the righty (currently in AA) get a September call up.
Jeff McNeil is #8. Last time I looked, Jeff led ALL High Class A teams in baseball in batting average, amazing when one considers that he stood at .194 a few weeks in. Future super-sub?
Wuilmer Becerra at #9 is another 20 year old who is impressing with the stick. Already 20 extra base hits this early in the season, with several homers in homer-unfriendly Savannah. Power is great, an asset shared by...
#10 hombre Michael Conforto, who also is in the 20 extra base hit arena, and promoted really quickly by Met brass to AA. GO, MICHAEL, GO!
In the honorable mention second 10, I include the following, in league order:
11. Johnny Monell - flunked his major league call up, but he leads all Met minor leaguers in BA, so he stays.
12. Duane Below - by far the best current Las Vegas hurler not named Matz.
13. Colton Plaia - hitting .300 as a catcher.
14. Amed Rosario - hitting in the vicinity of .280 in St Lucie, and still 19. Exciting.
15. Kelly Secrest - the reliever (a high draft pick in 2014) is 5-1 with St Lucie. Can't argue with wins.
16. Luis Guillorme - Mr. Super Duper Consistent, hitting above .300, where he has been almost all season. Brings a vacuum cleaner out to shortstop when he plays defense.
17. Dave Roseboom - superb relief work for the Gnats.
18. Brad Wieck - strikeout reliever in Brooklyn last year is strikeout starter for Gnats this year.
19. Martirez Arias - after a terrific 2014 in short season ball, he has been a dandy starter for the Gnats in 2015. It was tough picking him over several other starters doing pretty well. So I picked the tallest.
20. Jonathan Johnson - very old for the Gnats, but as a new guy, he has done really, really well so far.
Three first round picks made the top 10, but a 4th one (Nimmo) missed out due to a prolonged knee injury. Get well soon, buddy.
And now - Chilly Willies:
Vegas has gone frigid with the bats, so the likes of Reynolds and Taijeron are left off the list.
And Tyler Pill and Matt Bowman remain major AAA starting disappointments - both with very high ERAs, high hits allowed levels, and lots of homers allowed. Clones - of the wrong kind.
That's it for this week. Hope I did not overlook any highly deserving guys - that would be not so "hot" of me.
Whaddya think, folks? Especially regarding doubles mass producer Dominic Smith?