The Morning Report 7.14.2015 | Dan Warthen's "Special" Slider, Moneyball DeBunked, Trade Reviews (Mariners and Padres)


Eno Sarris | FanGraphs- Longtime Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan loves the sinker. The Braves’ Leo Mazzone was all about establishing the pitch low and away. Rick Peterson may hate the cutter. The Mets’ Dan Warthen may not have the name value of legendary pitching coaches that have come before him, but he does have his own pitch. If you want to see what it looks like, you just have to notice how the Mets, as a team, are outliers when it comes to slider velocity and movement. The Mets are throwing a different kind of slider. Pointing out what this Mets slider is all about could be as easy as linking to this leaderboard, which shows that the Mets have the hardest sliders in baseball. Or even this leaderboard, which shows that Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Jeurys Familia are in the top 15 when it comes to slider velocity.

(Chris SotoI LOVE WHEN FANGRAPHS WRITES METS ARTICLES! Folks go out there and take a look at this article. The pitch Dan Warthen has developed seems to be a cross between a slider and a cut fastball and it has proven to be EXTREMELY effective against opponents since they began teaching it in 2013. Batters whiff at Harvey's slider 16% of the time, deGrom's 15%, and Familia's 27% of the time. When batters DO make contact....they can't do anything with it to the tune of a minuscule .174 Batting AVG against. When these guys are spotting it.....it's a virtually unhittable pitch. The scary part is that Sarris states in his article that Syndergaard and Matz are not even throwing it yet but are scheduled to learn it in 2016. Can you imagine an entire rotation throwing this game-changing pitch?) 

Noah Davis and Michael Lopez | 538 Sports- The Houston Astros currently sit on top of the American League West with a 2.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, a team paying Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, and the rest of the squad a combined $146.4 million. The Astros, meanwhile, will spend less than half that figure on players in 2015. The success of the Astros and the (comparatively) minuscule payrolls of other plucky small-budget teams is often cited by people trying to advance an egalitarian narrative: that the amount a team spends does not matter. That’s all heart-warming, but evidence suggests that the relationship between money and winning is as strong now as it’s been any time in the free-agency era.

(Chris Soto: I've been hanging onto these research articles for a few days now to give us something to view during the All-Star break. Noah and Michael correlation charts tell a very compelling story that destroys the whole concept of the "Moneyball" low cost high production team strategy. It's apparently clear that if you want to win ball games....you have to invest in the players you are bringing onto the team. We're not talking $150-200M payrolls though, the best teams on the correlation chart are generally in a comfortable $110-$130M range. By that metric, if the Mets want to get serious this season.....they have about $10-$20M to work with.) 

Chris Soto | Trade Targets

Let's start taking a look at realistic trade targets that Sandy could possibly put together. We'll start in reverse standings order and climb the ladder a few teams at a time.

San Diego Padres (41-49): About to Light the Barn on Fire 
  • The San Diego Padres hired a new General Manager this off-season, AJ Preller. Looking to make an immediate impact, Preller sold the farm (including top prospects Joe Ross and Trea Turner) to pick up Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, and Derrick Norris. They also signed one of the top free agent arms in James Shields. However, instead of competing against the Dodgers for the NL West title, the Padres have fallen flat on their face and now Preller is preparing to Sell Everything he has. The primary piece that the Mets would be interested in is OF Justin Upton. He's a true impact middle of the order bat having smoked 14 HRs in a very pitching favorable environment. 
    • Trade Proposal: Mets send 1B Dominic Smith and RHP Casey Meisner for OF Justin Upton
    • Reason: If the Padres blow this whole thing up....they aren't going to be able to compete until 2017, maybe 2018. They need long term pieces. The farm system is still ok in regards to OF prospect but is light on the corners and arms. Since Upton is only a 2 month rental player it's going to limit what the Padres can get for him so 2 fully controllable high upside prospects is actually a nice get for them.

Seattle Mariners (41-48)Not Giving Up 
  • The Mariners are one of the larger disappointment this season as they had high hopes of competing for an AL West crown. They have excellent pitching anchored by Felix Hernandez, and a strong offense with Cruz, Seager, and Cano in the middle of the line-up. Unfortunately, they are not getting any production from 1B, CF, C, or even DH. In addition the bullpen has struggled to hold leads late in the game leading to incumbent Fernando Rodney losing his closer's job. The Mets don't exactly have Bats or BULLPEN arms to spare at this current point in time so the likelyhood of a trade here is very low.
No Fit


Ernest Dove said...

Yeah, one can't simply try to compare an Astros with an Angels because the Astros (for better or worse) get YEARS of top 5 draft picks to stockpile. Same with the pirates. Hell, imagine if Mets could have had top 5 picks for all these past 5-7 years they've been losing?

Thomas Brennan said...

Our young pitchers can be historically great. Keep them.

Thomas Brennan said...

On Meisner and Smith, I do not think I trade them for Upton as he is just a 2 month rental. Both could be as good as him in 2-3 years. I could see Meisner in the rotation in mid-2017, and Smith possibly replacing Duda by opening day 2017.

One or the other, and a lesser prospect, perhaps, in a trade.

Christopher Soto said...

Well Tom....unfortunately you can't give up nothing to gain something.

A 2 month rental of Justin Upton leaps and bounds better than what we have now....and is contributing more to the MLB than Dom Smith or Meisner is.

Come mid 2017 their could be no spot for Meisner to fit into at the MLB. As for Dom Smith....if the team locks up Duda....then Smith becomes expendable.

Anonymous said...

I would say instead, Thomas, that Sandy has the difficult task of managing the pipeline. There is pitching in the minors that will become ripe and effective and ML-ready over the next few years, probably beginning with Fulmer.

I've always believed that a pitcher's trade value increases exponentially after they demonstrate an ability to win at the ML level. So rather than trading away the Meisners of the system, it could make the sense to grow this staff organically with a steady infusion of young talent.

As painful as it is to trade away a Syndergaard, for example, it is just as painful to watch him walk away as a free agent.

That said: I would not trade any of these guys within a year, until the next piece is absolutely ready.

James Preller

Thomas Brennan said...

James and Chris, good points. Thanks

Ernest Dove said...

I've been saying same thing for two years now. Big part of Mets future depends on how Sandy top draft picks do at major league level.
We've argued before about how most of the talent now contributing on team is from the 'omar era'.
Teams need solid guys from trade, free agency AND draft combined to win consistently.
2016 may start this true evaluation of everything Sandy and company have worked for.

Mack Ade said...

The future of prospects is always just that... the future. And there is no guarantee that either Meisner or Smith will work out.

That being said, I'm still not into rentals.

Kevin S said...

I'm not saying I make that trade for Upton but baseball in general is overvaluing prospects too much. Like Mack said, they are prospects and nothing is guaranteed. Conforto could become Josh Willingham, Nimmo could be Drew Stubbs, Dom Smith could be James Loney. These are guys that have had varying degrees of success throughout their careers but are hardly franchise cornerstones.

Not all prospects become superstars, some become role players and some just never make it. It's nice to imagine a lineup with Smith, Herrera, Rosario, Cecchini, Nimmo, Conforto, Buccerra & Plawecki but it just doesn't work out that way. Truth is majority of these guys won't even make it.

bob gregory said...

Rentals are not the answer.
Whether they are super stars or serviceable players.
Now if the Mets could lock Upton up to a contract when they trade for him......that's a different story.

If the Mets don't start expanding their payroll all of this wishing and hoping is for nothing.
Position players are not ready in the minors and even if everything goes positively (how often does that occur for the Mets?) the prospects won't be ready to make significant impact for a few years.
By that time the pitcher's demand more money.
Never ending cycle of being a one-sided team unless the Mets start spending.

Wright's situation and all of the TJ surgeries should be proof enough that always counting on the best case scenario is fool-hardy at best.

Imagine if the Mets in the past 2 years just acquired Peralta , Tomas, and Cespedes.

All of them would have given this team significant value for their contracts AND the pitching staff would be intact.
How many more wins would the team have? How would the division race look?
How much more profit would have rolled in due to the success? How much more likely would it be for the organization to enjoy the $$$ that comes along with being in the playoffs?

bob gregory said...

How much impact would increased surrounding offensive production have on Duda and others as pressure is put on the pitcher because more runners are on base?
How would the increase in offense affect injuries/errors/base running mistakes as players do not feel so much pressure to over-perform because giving up just one or two run could lose a ball game.

Would it be more likely for the Mets to be able to trade Murphy as originally speculated going into the season? How would that trade possibly strengthened the major league team or minor league system?

bob gregory said...

Wait a minute all of this would have resulted in reduced playing to time for Tejada.

I'm sure that is a non-starter for the Mets organization.

bob gregory said...

Nicer to imagine a lineup of C. Gomez, Braun, Lagares, Murphy, Peralta/other SS, Flores, Duda, & D'Arnaud

Lew Rhodes said...

Remember in the off season how many people were griping that Sandy wasn't doing anything and Preller was going all out on building an awesome team in San Diego?

Funny how that panned out - I remember predicting that the Padres would fall on their faces - as did a few other folks here.

I would LOVE Upton - I am not sure he will cost too much if the Mets take on all of his salary - I think more teams need pitching than bats - yes he is a rental, but if we can't resign him, we will get an extra 1st round pick next year.

Reese Kaplan said...

If you want to do something bold, go offer the Dodgers Matt Harvey for Corey Seager straight up.

Kevin S said...

An Upton trade would have to be similar to the Beltran/Wheeler trade (2 month rental to a contending team). Same scenario. You'd have to give up a high upside player who is still a while away. We don't have a Zach Wheeler to trade but Dom Smith sounds like he fits the bill as a position player.

Lew Rhodes said...

Kevin - We do have a Zack Wheeler to trade - his name is Michael Fulmer

Hobie said...

I'd be fine with renting Upton (in a vacuum). But I'm hesitant on losing Smith for just a rental--sign-and-trade and I'm in. And no, Lew, you don't get a pick for a rental that walks anymore.

And there's another bug in the butt: for 2 years I've been saying the fly-in-the-ointment is Granderson. Unless they can dump him, there is no chance they sign Upton.

Thomas Brennan said...

Always a good day when Lew shows up - how are things?

Smith and Meisner go if they are willing to work out a long term deal for Upton? That I am OK with. Win the pennant and spin the turnstiles.

ZachBoyer said...


"I could see Meisner in the rotation in mid-2017"—how?

Harvey/Wheeler/Matz/Syndergaard/deGrom—that's 5?

Trade? Permanent 6-man? Are we just factoring in assumed TJSs at this point?

Mack Ade said...

Rafael Montero pitched an inning today for the GCL Mets

ZachBoyer said...

Does anyone know who they'll be pitching vs. Washington in game 3?—that's what I'm most concerned about.

I hope they go back to Syndergaard and THEN start on the 6-man.

Kevin S said...


Fulmer doesn't have the same pedigree as Wheeler when the Beltran trade was made. I believe Wheeler was a Top 2 prospect for SF and was definitely in the Top 50.

Maybe you get Upton for less than Beltran was traded for but Smith sounds like a fair starting point.

jd said...

Lew- teams trading for a free agent to be mid-season no longer are eligible for the draft pick compensation. I believe that rule changed during the last CBA. Without the pick... You still do it?

Dallas said...

How often does the 2 month rental really work out? Beltran didnt get the Giants to the playoffs. Byrd was decent for Pittsburgh but I think that trade is going to look really bad for them in a few years. They didnt make it to the NLCS. Maybe he got them to the Wild Card game?

Thomas Brennan said...

The last time I did a 2 month rental the library really socked it to me. I offered to pay my fine with a Player to be Named Later, but I was suspended for 80 games because the player was using. I am hoping to have full use of my library card soon, and am rehabbing by taking out a short children's book a day until the librarian decides that I can go up against more advanced literature.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how the Padres and their genius GM were the darlings of the offseason........now, not so much. Goes to show there is no quick fix.

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