Mack's Morning News - 11-6-15 - Future Positional Analysis – First Base, Jose Fernandez, Dusty Black


We do this every year.

We take a look at the players in the Mets organization, by position, and try to both predict the future and grade what the system is producing.

We start with the same position we start with every year. First base.

We’ve had a bunch of ‘A’ grades analyzing this position over recent years because, frankly, we had both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda in the system. Davis is gone and Duda is spending another year hitting 20+ home runs for the Mets, but his erratic hot/cold .244/.352/.486/.838 slash line may have been okay for ‘the old Mets’, but we’re talking about the World Series playing Mets now and I frankly need to see a little more consistency here.

I thought the above mentioned slash line was kind to him this season. In my opinion, Duda had a horrible season minus a hot streak or two and basically couldn’t be counted on in a clutch. His .352-OBP was dominated due to his 66 walks which is not what this guy is paid to do.

The good news seems to be the fact that the Mets attempt to sign Duda to a long term deal fell through before the 2015 season started. He now will move into his last two arbitration years and will eventually be ready for free agency in 2018. Sounds like a plan.

The future at first base seems to be Dominic Smith. The former first round pick that will play 2016 as a 21-year old will move on to AA-Binghamton after being named the most valuable player for the Florida State League (St. Lucie). Sure, the power still hasn’t developed yet, but he has become quite to hitting machine and conservatively should be major league ready sometime in 2017. With Duda being around through the 2017 season, there’s no rush to rush here.

Smith could be quite the future star in the game.

Past him, there isn’t much. First up, talent wise, probably is Dash Winningham, who led the Appalachian League in home runs (12). My guess is he will jump Brooklyn and open up in Columbia on opening day. He’ll play 2016 as a 20-year old and you have to respect anyone that led any league in home runs. I’d keep an eye on him.

Next up would be ‘the other St. Lucie first baseman’, Matt Oberste, who hit .301 in 419 at-bats. Like Smith, there is little power here (6-HRs) He should probably follow Smith to Binghamton and settle in eventually as the AAAA first baseman in the system someday at the AAA level.

Past that, Las Vegas is wide open in 2016, though Brandon Allen (AAA - .273) could be back or Vince Belnome (.252) could be promoted from AA-Binghamton.

As for St. Lucie, look for any combination of Michael Katz (Sav - .239), Jeff Diehl (Brklyn - .289), and/or Jon Leroux (Sav - .223).

Summary – The transition from Duda to Smith seems pretty simple, unless the Mets decide to revisit talks to sign Duda past his arbitration requirements. Frankly, I don’t see it at this point and it looks like that shiphas saied.

Rating - A

MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors  - Marlins P Jose Fernandez rejected long-term deal, and Henderson Alvarez won't be ready for Opening Day.

Mack – Interesting, but no big surprise here on Fernandez. He’s a Scott Boras client and we all know they don’t sign long-term deals before their time. They’re great for limited talent guys like Juan Lagares and Jon Niese, but you will never see guys like Fernandez or Matt Harvey do this against the advice of their agent.

Fernandez is entering his first year of arbitration in 2016 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Max Wildstein ‏@MaxWildstein  -

With the #Nationals unable to finalize a deal with Bud Black, the team will now offer Dusty Baker the manager job, reports Jon Heyman CBS.

Mack – It’s going to be very interesting to watch such three fundamentally flawed managers as Baker, Don Mattingly, and Terry Collins are, all managing in the same division.


Thomas Brennan said...

First base in the minors does have some potentially interesting guys...and Dominic Smith, who enters 2016 ahead of where Conforto was when he started 2015.

Jayce Boyd is another 1B in the mix, but he had a disappointing 2015.

I would still do a Murphy deal, put him at first until Smith arrives, and deal Duda off if a good deal can be had.

Ernest Dove said...

I wonder what the resident Dom Smith lover of Macks Mets thinks about future of first base for the organization? Oh wait, thats me..............
Streaky or not I'd keep Duda through his next two arb years and then hand the position to Dom.
Here's to hoping Dom can hit .300 and maybe 15 homers a year. Which is fine because im hoping TDA and Conforto hit plenty of homers to go around in the lineup for the rest of this decade.

Hobie said...

"... deal Duda off if a good deal can be had."

Easier said than done. If the Orioles lose C.Davis would they be interested in Lucas? Don't know exactly how they match up, but would including Nimmo (+ ??) net A.Jones?

In any case, keeping Murph as a 1B/3B (note, not 2B) option is a priority for me as well as getting TdA a 1B mit for Christmas.

Robb said...

Unlike most other positions where developing a prospect at it is important. First base is a place where anyone of diamond can be moved if needed. While defense is great. so are 30 homeruns. So wright could end up there. As could any power hitting prospect or defensively indifferent player. It culd be an outfielder who gets moved, like beccera or Even someone Ive never heard of. that being said. Smith does sound like an Eric Hosmer clone. Not really a 30 hr guy but a 15-20 with a smooth swing and great hands. id take it.

Michael S. said...

If Davis leaves, Baltimore would be my first call for offering Duda.

Mack Ade said...

Ernest -

For some reason he has been missing from the Arizona League lineup these past few games

Lew Rhodes said...

Tom - You can't put Dom Smith 2016 on the same plan as Conforto 2015 - Conforto was an experienced 3 year college player

Smith is at least a year behind that trajectory - he could pull what a then 20 year old David Wright did, but he hasn't shown that level of hitting yet.

Before writing Duda off, let's also factor in that he has turned himself into a pretty good defensive first baseman - Murphy is not a good defensive first baseman -- Murphy is also plenty streaky enough himself - I take Duda's power bat and better glove over Murphy at first

eraff said...

Duda is a Major League Play/Trade Asset... The Mets contract approach should be geared to maaintaining his Value as an asset. He may be a better asset with a deal. Their is no real "linkage" to Smith's trajectory at this point.

Lew Rhodes said...

Also on Duda's streaks - he disappeared in June and July when he was trying to carry the team on his own

He cannot be a focal point bat - but as long as there are 2-3 decent bats around him, he hits.

Check out his monthly OPS:

Apr - .915
May - .948
June - .576 (ugh!)
July - .749 (b/c of a .489 slugging!)
Aug - .976
Sept - .961

So, when he had a couple of solid bats behind him (you know, not Eric Campbell) he hit very well

His June was a product of pressing and trying to do too much.

Take June a bad 110 PA's away and he had a .900+ OPS.

To me you keep Duda and strengthen our depth to protect against injuries.

Sign a stud bat for the OF and keep Johnson for bench / depth and Duda should be solid next year

eraff said...

On The Flawed Manager idea--- I've always liked Dusty.

These "Flawed Managers" are similar to Torre and Charlie Manuel. Only guys with Championships are accused of "Genius". The reality is that the Modern Job of Managing a Team is much more about the Management of Personalities and Egos---these guys are in constant small space for almost 10 months a year! The best Managers manage THAT Best. A good deal of the rest is Interesting, because it's what YOU see...and you never know all the implications of the moves. The Baseball analysts on TV say that as well.

Lew Rhodes said...

Speaking of streaky (hey, I am on a roll -need to make up for my long absence!)

Check out these monthly OPS:

Apr - .604
May - .796
June - 1.143 (in only 5 games - so doesn't count)
July - .646
Aug - .862
Sept - .844

That is Murphy - his worst wasn't as bad as Duda (.604 vs. .576) but his best wasn't nearly as good either (.862 vs. .976)

Given Duda's much better glove at first, again, to me this is a no brainer.

Oh, by the way - Duda will be $9 million cheaper than Murphy - that $9 million can go to MUCH BETTER use.

Mack Ade said...

One more thing about Duda...

Flores would have had at least 10 more errors if Duda didn't dig his throws out of the dirt or tag the runner from an errant throw

eraff said...

Let's not hold up Duda as a Defensive Asset. Horrendous Range....highly susceptible on Bunt Plays. He's survivable if he hits.... the entire IF is like that at this pointy---to many flimsy links.

I'm looking forward to Dilson at 2b...maybe a Murphy?Flores 1b, with both guys wandering the IF for 400 ab's or so..... Duda for a Package of Hopes and Needs. Oh...and maybe adding a SS.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Lew - good to see you back.

Smith was MVP in FSL last year, which is better than college ball competition, and after around May 9, Smith woke up and hit .330 the rest of the way.

So I do not agree that on day 1 of 2016, he is behind Conforto as of day 1 of 2015. At least even, or Smith may be ahead, IMO.

I agree with the comment that Duda cannot carry the team if there aren't strong bats around him. I also think that in arbitration in 2016 and 2017, he will still be cheaper than Murphy, but not that much cheaper. And as such, he is more attractive as a trade piece.

I just think Murphy is more dangerous as a hitter against really good pitching, as he showed in playoffs. He also would not have made that errant Duda throw. I think if Murph played 1B every day, he would be a better all around fielder than Duda.

Lew Rhodes said...

Tom - Duda is estimated to cost $6.8 million - that is close to $9 million less than Murphy

$9 million will buy you two very good relievers, three very solid bench players, or about 40% of Heyward.

I take Duda + any of the above over Murphy alone - under the assumption that we can't move Duda for real ML talent

Let's take Murphy for what he is - a solid bat / crappy glove for a middle infielder or a so-so bat and so-so glove on the corner

Murphy has a career .755 OPS in 3619 plate appearances

He has also spent time on the DL the last 2 years and is on the wrong side of 30.

I love Murphy, one of my favorite players of all time.

I could be convinced that it is worth keeping him to back up Herrera, Wright and Duda - but not as a replacement for Duda.

Also, while Duda's range leaves more than a little to be desired, I take his reach and ability to scoop balls in the dirt - overall much more important at first -- and he is MUCH better than Murphy in each category.

Christopher Soto said...


C Anthony Recker and SS Wilfredo Tovar have cleared waivers and have been outrighted off the 40 man roster.

Christopher Soto said...

2nd FLASH:

The contract of LHRP Josh Smoker has been selected and placed on the 40 Man Roster.

Lew Rhodes said...

THIRD FLASH - Mets make QO to Murphy

Thomas Brennan said...

Interesting 40 man roster moves. Good to see Decker go, more of a commitment to more offensive catchers. Hopefully, he lands somewhere or lands with Vegas.

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