Mack’s Morning Report – 9-18-15 – Power Ranking, Travis d’Arnaud, TJS Pitchers


Good morning.

Big Riser: Mets - The Mets can start counting down the days until October. They boast a staggering 9 1/2-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East and are cruising toward their first division title since 2006. BP's odds have New York with a 99.8% chance of winning the East and making the playoffs, and the team's magic number to eliminate Washington is 11, tied with the Royals for the lowest in baseball. Currently on a seven-game winning streak and with a 35–19 second-half record, the Mets jumped from No. 9 to No. 4 in this week's Power Rankings.

Everyone will point to Yoenis Cespedes as the reason for the Mets going from also-rans to division champs, and it's easy to see why: The Cuban slugger has hit a remarkable .308/.353/.680 in 40 games since joining New York, with 16 homers and 41 RBIs. But he's not alone in taking the Mets to the top. Travis d'Arnaud has come back from injury to hit .296/.383/.565 in the second half; his .949 OPS is tops among all regular catchers in baseball in that span. Curtis Granderson has posted a .403 on-base percentage atop the Mets' lineup since the All-Star Game and is second to Cespedes in second-half home runs on the team with 10. Rookie Michael Conforto, meanwhile, has shown no signs of struggling at the major-league-level, hitting .290/.371/.540 with seven homers in the second half. Add it all up, and the Mets' offense has become one of the game's best. After ranking 29th in the league in OPS (.660) before the All-Star break, New York ranks second (.797) since that time.

Mack – Sports Illustrated joined the pack of periodicals that are now praising the Mets for being the ‘power’ team they have turned into since the All-Star break. Being ranked second in baseball with a .797 OPS is pretty damn impressive!

The good news… we’re guaranteed that three of the four ‘bats’ the article showcased will be back next year.

Yoenis Cespedes with Mets, pro-rated to 162 games - 68 HR, 166 RBI, 214 hits, 120 extra-base hits, 16 SB

Michael asked –

This has been brought up before and I'm bringing it up again.  Travis has been one of my favorite Mets from the day Sandy traded for him.  We were in dire need of a young catcher and he was one of the two I wanted targeted, Yasmani Grandal being the other.

TDA has shown tremendous hitting ability and should be a big part of this team's future.  However, playing behind the plate could significantly shorten his career.  At this point, I'd start making plans on moving him to the OF.  He loses little value by playing there as his projected numbers would still make him a top hitter at his position.

He has the athleticism to do it and we could reasonably expect full seasons from him playing the OF vs playing catcher.  Mike Piazza's numbers were monstrous and would've been even bigger had he stayed a 1B.

First, do you think Conforto can play RF?  All we heard was that his defense was terrible but he has come up and proven the doubters wrong.  With how he has played and his arm strength, at this point I don't think a move to RF is out of the question.

We also have Plawecki.  KP might not project to d'Arnaud's level but he's a better defensive catcher and still projects to be an above-average hitter for the position.

I'm seeing an OF alignment of

LF: d'Arnaud
CF: Cespedes
RF: Conforto

Being good enough defensively while being one of the best offensive groups in baseball.  Add Plawecki behind the plate and it's solid all-around.


            Mack – Thanks once again for a great question Michael.

            Let’s take this backwards…

IMO, Kevin Plawecki has not shown me enough to warrant becoming the full time starting catcher for the future New York Mets. He was a good fill in while d’Arnaud was injured but he showed me that he was not in the same class as Travis. So, I definitely wouldn’t move d’Arnaud off of position without an adequate replacement.

Secondly, I can’t speculate on either Conforto playing RF or d’Arnaud playing anywhere in the outfield until they actually do.

And lastly, going forward, I don’t see the Mets solving their future positional problems by moving around internal pieces. This is now an established upper level team that has proven that they can fill what future holes they have either through trades or free agency.

Their remains eight every day positions in baseball. Two are catcher and left field and I suggest that the Mets leave d’Arnaud and Conforto in those two positions in the future and build around that.

David asked –

           Hey Mack, what’s the status on the pitchers we have rehabbing from TJS?

                       Mack – Hey David, long time no hear.

           I’m glad you brought this up though I don’t have an update on any of these pitchers that will make an impact in 2016.

           Zack Wheeler should be back latest in July and will fill out the fifth spot in the Super 5 Rotation. His operation/rehab was a little more complicated than lefty specialist Josh Edgin, who the last I heard will be ready sometime in May/June.

           Lastly there’s LHRP Jack Leathersich, who might be lost for the entire 2016 season. Stephen Guilbert lashed out at Wally Backman here about his handling ‘Leather’ and allowing him to pitch his way onto the disabled list.

           (I also will say this… I’m not going to label this as a ‘sources tell me’ thingy, but it is my understanding that Leathersich wasn’t the only pitcher on the 51’s roster that was perplexed with how this situation was handled)

           My guess… we’ll see Edgin first, followed by Wheeler.


Thomas Brennan said...

"Yoenis Cespedes with Mets, pro-rated to 162 games - 68 HR, 166 RBI, 214 hits, 120 extra-base hits, 16 SB" - I will expect nothing less in 2016!!!!!!

d"Arnaud has totally won me over. Catchers are fragile - I'd figure out a way to keep both him and Plawecki, and if that means playing one or both in less stressful positions (e.g., Plawecki platooning with Duda at 1B if Duda is not traded), so be it.

Getting Wheeler back close to 100% by July 2016 would be awesome. Very, very sad with Leathersich...maybe some day, we'll hear the real story (was it inevitable, or just a stupid drastic overuse in one outing by Backman?).

I wonder if Wheeler, if his injured elbow rehabs to be better than the one he was pitching with the past few years, might not be improved over the earlier version. Add a new and improved Zach to that rotation and....

Thomas Brennan said...

Love seeing that magic # in single digits. I checked the Nats game score last night, and saw it in the 8th go from 6-2 to 6-4, bases loaded 2 out before Nats' rally fizzled. Gives the Mets needed breathing room to relax this weekend. lets see how Yanks stack up against Matz, Thor and Harvey.

Will one of the teams come out of this weekend series damaged? We'll see.

My brother had screamed for Mets to get Andrew Miller this off season. His 2014-15 #'s are ERA around 1.50; 117 innings, 192 Ks, 61 hits...looks like Akeel Morris A ball #s. If we had Miller, we'd be series favorites.

Ernest Dove said...

TDA is the catcher. Conforto is the LF. Done and done for rest of decade and beyond.

Mack Ade said...


I see Plawecki's value as trade bait... he would make a nice addition into a trade package for a quality middle infielder or fifth starter

Lew Rhodes said...

Pawlecki isn't going anywhere for the next 1-2 seasons - love Travis, but he has yet to play 130 games in a season

Plus Pawlecki played some 1b in the minors, so he is a RHH to back up Duda

Lew Rhodes said...

Pawlecki isn't going anywhere for the next 1-2 seasons - love Travis, but he has yet to play 130 games in a season

Plus Pawlecki played some 1b in the minors, so he is a RHH to back up Duda

Ernest Dove said...

Im with Lew.......
I guess, like everything else, Cespedes signing not signing will effect decisions and other roster needs.
But I think Plawecki has recently proven that he can be productive while getting limited ABs so his development is no longer hurting. If a team wants him bad enough I trust Sandy will win in the deal. Otherwise remain stocked in team controlled talent (just like the arms) and win win win.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hi Mack, IMO Mets cannot trade Plawecki without some sort of viable back up catcher. That is not Recker, and as so many have assured me, not Monell. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but other than Recker's 2 HR game earlier this year he is 8 for 69, with 3 RBIs. Just before he was called up, he was 2 for 28 with 14 Ks in AAA.

He is a nice guy, and a good defensive catcher, but only makes sense if d'Arnaud can start 150 games in 2016, of which there is little likelihood.

Maybe hold onto Plaw for one or two more years and see if Mazelka is the real deal or not next year, or if his time in Kingsport (when he got passed over for MVP) was somehow deceiving. If Mazelka is, he would not be ready until at least mid-2017.

I think Plawecki's .230/.292/.300 this year in the majors will improve a lot in 2016, too (I could see .260 next year), so his trade value will increase further out.

Robb said...

The best hitting catcher in baseball is buster posey. he still catches and he's older then D'A. not exactly cheap either. while they continue to talk about transitioning to 1b in sf he continues to be the primary catcher. You can keep the maximum value at the position with a guy this young. at 29 it would be a different story. Think about Mauer and what has happened to him, though he had recurring injury problems ina way DA and Buster never have that necessitated his switch. This really is a conversation for 2 years from now, when it would behoove them to think about it. right now its fine.

As for Plaw, he's here through next year minimum, right now he's a below average full time catcher but a significant back up. also he cost league minimum for at least 2 more years. at that point when he's all of 25/26 you can either trade him or move DA.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

There's nothing wrong with a d'Arnaud/Plawecki combination for the next five years... of cource, that's okay if you can convince Plawecki to be happy making a salary in the $500K-$1mil per year range for the next five years.

(psst... I'd take it)

Christopher Soto said...

True...but we would also be $12m poorer and Familia would not have emerged as the closer he is.

Christopher Soto said...

Plawecki has no choice....under team control for another 5 seasons.

Next 2 at ~500k

If he continues this role of 5 days on for darnaud, 2 for Plawecki....his 3 arb years will probably look like this.

Arb 1: 900k
Arb 2: 1.5m
Arb 3: 2.15m

Herb G said...

I'd like to see K-Plaw stick around for a while, but I really believe he is better than just a back-up catcher in the majors. His hitting will improve as he gets more ABs. In the event that Cespedes cannot be signed this winter (and I desperately hope that Sandy will be flexible and creative enough to bring him back) I could see Plawecki as part of a package for a big bat OF. Wheeler and K-Plaw for Carlos Gonzalez anyone?

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