7/21/15

HOW SOON? METS MINORS - HITTERS EDITION

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HOW SOON? METS MINORS HITTERS EDITION - Tom Brennan

A lot of folks clamor for Michael Conforto to be promoted to the Mets ASAP.  I’d love to see that as a fan, but sometimes, you have to not ask “Why Not Yet?” and ask another question:

What is the weak spot so-and-so needs to improve upon before he gets promoted?

Let’s consider 10 offensive guys (stats thru Saturday):

DILSON HERRERA: hard to add him to this analysis, as he already has had 141 major league at bats, with 5 homers and 15 RBIs.  But he does not turn 21 for 6 weeks, and unfortunately was hurt in his first stint with the Mets this year, and did not do well when he returned.  He is a fine hitting 2B, and is .340/.380/.483 in his AAA at bats this year.  He walks very little and strikes out at a fairly high, but tolerable, rate.  

At the major league level, he is clearly substandard in the K and BB areas, and needs to improve to be a starter.

Having stolen 71 of 100 times in 408 minor league games is an indicator he'll steal his fair share in the bigs.  An asset to his game.

He has unusual pop for a diminutive guy; one would think he will bulk up to 5’10” & perhaps 175 in the next yeor or so, which may add a bit more pop. 

My take is he has another several weeks in AAA in 2015, so use them well, and be ready to start at 2B for the Mets in 2016. Hopefully on opening day. He needs to increase the plate discipline and continue to improve overall, as any 20 year old should.  Use 2014 and 2015’s major league time played (and quite possibly more playing time in September) to learn from and be a positive contributor in 2016 in Queens from the get-go.

MICHAEL CONFORTO: I am betting he is a future major league All Star, and he is hitting well this year in High A and AA.  But his extra base hit rate is roughly 1 in 10 at bats (good, not great), his strikeout rate is around 1 every 6 at bats (which would likely come under considerable pressure if promoted right now), and he is doing this in A and AA.  His weak spot is his numbers are very good, but certainly not overwhelmingly great.  Yet.  Close, though.

I am not against him being promoted, and struggling, but I think September 1 would be a better major league call up timeframe – get another several weeks of play under his belt.  Major league pitching is so much better.  Eric Campbell put up terrific AAA #’s (average, slugging, low K rate) and he learned the “so much tougher in the bigs” reality, hitting just .174 in extended play this year.

BRANDON NIMMO: His season was set back by injury (missed nearly 30 games).  .274/.343/.361.  Meh.  More than a strikeout every 6 at bats.  It is too soon to promote him to AAA, much less the majors.   Not enough power, too many strikeouts.

 Let’s be frank: a disappointing year so far.   I would just hope he finishes this year strong and is ready for AAA next year. Bigs in late 2016 or in 2017.  With the Mets, or dealt? We'll see.

GAVIN CECCHINI: 80 games in AA, .298/.363/.426.  Only K’s once every 10.5 times up.  Just about the best K rate in the whole system. If you stopped there, I’d promote him to AAA tomorrow. 

But his defense has been bad (23 errors in 80 games).  Fix the D and join the bigs in mid-2016.  Don’t fix it, and you may not join it at all.  My guess is he fixes it, and shows up opening day 2017 if He is not traded.


JEFF MCNEIL: .317/.379/.397 in High A ball.  14 of 18 steals.  Eight errors in 77 starts.  K’s only once every 9 plate appearances. Other than power lagging a bit, there is no reason other than being blocked by others at AA that the FSL’s leading hitter is not in AA.  He needs to add some pop to make him a compelling case for a major league career by 2017.

AMED ROSARIO: Rosario is still 19 and more than holding his own in High A ball, exciting to see at that age.  .263/.306/.348 in 83 games.  56 extra base hits in about 900 career at bats.  Good size at 6’2”, 170 and room to bulk up.  11 of 15 steals on the season.  14 errors, but Macks Mets viewers of his defensive  play have touted his range and acumen at SS.  Only 15 walks,  and struck out 58 times in about 340 plate appearances, however. 

Seems like a legit starting major league SS in the making, and could be one in 2018 (opening day or mid-season), but his weak walk rate, competitive but unremarkable (if you forget his age) hitting #’s, and fairly high K rate would seem to indicate that perhaps another 1000 or so minor league at bats are needed to get him ready for the bigs.  Maybe by OD 2018, he will be 195 pounds and showing increased pop.  Maybe a late 2017 call up, at 21.


DOMINIC SMITH: after a slow start, he's hit around .350 over the past 10 weeks, with a slew of doubles and an occasional homer.  He sports a superior glove too.  He has walked just 23 times in 81 games, while striking out 59 times in about 350 plate appearances, so both of those areas could improve somewhat.  Having just turned 20 in mid-June, he (like McNeil) could certainly hit in AA right now.  They’re presumably trying not to rush him. 

But he needs to add HR pop, strike out a bit less, and walk a bit more.  He seems fine enough, with normal, positive development, to be a starting major league 1B on opening day 2017 or mid-2017.

LUIS GUILLORME: Luis has made his share of errors in 2015, but I worry not that the 20 year old won’t be an above average glove.  He has a reputed superior glove.  He has been Mr. Very Steady offensively all year, hitting .296 in 84 games, with a .371 on base % and excels at making contact.  

But…while SS is a position where defense is treasured, Luis has objective under-performance vis-à-vis his competitors in lack of power to date (7 doubles this year, and only 21 career doubles with no homers), and lack of speed (zero career triples in 800 minor league at bats). 
A lack of both power and speed present a challenging detriment…one cannot add speed, but one can add some pop (by building strength), and that will be (from what I can see) his challenge moving forward.  Maybe I am wrong. I see a 2018 utility player, or the next Wilfredo Tovar.

WUILMER BECERRA: Playing OF in Savannah at the age of 20, Becerra has put up .294/.344/.468 numbers.  Nice.  He has hit about .307 since May 1, even better.  But his K rate is about 4.7:1, which is OK but needs to continue to improve, and only having walked 19 times in a little over 300 plate appearances, he needs to improve there as well.  I understand he is a fine fielder, and he has 19 assists and just 7 errors in nearly 200 minor league games. 

No reason he can’t play at High A for half a season next year and move to AA, and perhaps be ready for Queens by 2018 opening day or mid-season – if he can lower the K’s and increase the walks.

EUDOR GARCIA: he is in Savannah and in 2014 and 2015, compiled almost 500 plate appearances.  So how is the 21 year old doing?  Nicely.  Glad you asked.  This year, disappointingly to himself certainly and to me, he did not join the Gnats until May 6, but has played most games since.  

He is hitting .271/.307/.421, so he is not quite at Becerra’s pace.  Only 11 BBs, and 66 K’s, in roughly 260 plate appearances, two areas that need obvious improvement for him to progress rapidly.  His performance has been fairly steady all season, so unlike Becerra, no recent spike in performance.

Twelve errors in 92 games, so he needs work there too.  No real speed in his game.  My take is this 2014 4th rounder could be a good one, but we’ll know a lot more this time next year.  I'll take a stab at mid-2018 call up. Possible future starting 3B.

I avoided going further down in the organization as of now...too early to tell on them.  A guy, for instance, like Desmond Lindsay has yet to even play. Maybe he makes it in 2020, but wow, Donald Trump could be running for a 2nd term by then.

Next article – the pitchers.

7 comments:

jd said...

Great article Tom! A name I rarely (if ever) hear mentioned is TJ Rivera. He has a .777 OPS in his minor league career. Yes, he is 26, I get that, but otherwise I don't see why we aren't talking about him as immediate help for our offensively challenged Mets. What is your take on him?

Thomas Brennan said...

Hi JD, thanks. I like Rivera, but his lack of power and speed element hampers him. Could he help?? Perhaps, but not much. He only has averaged a homer once every 100 at bats.

If I were him, I'd do everything possible to add power to my game. A guy like Taijeron has the pop and a strikeout-heavy bat. TJ, if he could boost his extra base hit rate and double his homer rate, would be more attractive.

Josh Rodriguez in AA is hitting almost as well, but with a lot more power, and still not making it. If TJ (who is 6'1") could boost the pop, he could differentiate himself from guys like Josh - or Muno, for that matter.

eraff said...

Herrera is 10% walk Rate...20% K in very brief and young MLB exposure---and that matches his Bingo Stats.

I believe he should be starting at 2b ....Now.

Flores and Murph can float around the INF and be ready bench bats---Flores can play "some" SS with RH K Pitchers. He can also play 1b. Murph can move 3/2/1b..... it provides the bench with some depth and quality.

BTW... Mayberry/Newee/Campbell----- one of these guys is #23 on the active roster!!!!---tehse are #25 guys, at best. What a shame!!!

James Preller said...

I truly wish Herrera did not fail both auditions so spectacularly. Mets could have used him this year.

James Preller said...

I think there's a possibility that with Herrera, it wasn't just a between-the-white-lines thing. He's 21 and, as far as I know, doesn't speak English. All of it combined -- not just the .195 BA -- may have led the organization to say, "Not ready."

Just a theory.

Ernest Dove said...

I believe that Dilson and Conforto would be excellent September 1 call ups and help this team at that time.
Mets can 'control' what pitchers they face, and Dilson can man short in the late innings of games as needed.
Experience or not, imagine if poor Terry Collins can look down his bench in the 6th7th inning and beyond and have a righty/lefty combo like this to turn to instead of what he has now.

Thomas Brennan said...

September 1 should be the absolute latest for Dilson and Conforto. I can't, though, argue with calling them up sooner, say for the next home stand. Get rid of the end-of-roster sub .200 players ASAP.

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