Mack’s Morning News – 3-28-16 – Neil Walker, Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta Braves, Astrubel Cabrera

Good morning.

 Scott Strandberg’s prediction -

Neil Walker is a top-ten second baseman.

Coming off a bit of a down year, Walker finds himself entering the season as our No. 17 2B. The 30-year-old’s 2016 wasn’t as bad as it seemed, as his strong finish was masked by an unusually low .270 second-half BABIP. For example, his strikeout-to-walk ratio improved by about 30% post-All Star break, while his ISO jumped from .136 to .188.

I love Walker’s run and RBI potential this year, as he’ll likely hold down the No. 5 spot in the batting order with the Mets, sandwiched between Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud. Don’t sleep on Walker; while he’s far from sexy, something tells me he’ll vastly outperform that No. 17 2B preseason ranking.

Mack – I want to believe in this signing. I really do. I know going in that I’m going to miss Daniel Murphy; however, at the same time I’m excited at the future of Dilson Herrera. Walker would be a great crossing bridge between the past and future of second base on this team.

I have friends both in the Pittsburgh main media and the baseball blogs there and they all tell me the same thing… that we made out big time here in an exchange for a starting pitcher we had no use or room for (Jonathan Niese).

And, tell me if I’m wrong but don’t we get a compensatory first round pick here because Murphy didn’t take the Qualified Offer we made him?

On paper, this looks like a really good deal, but it only works if Walker can duplicate the 16-HRs, 71-RBIs he produced last year in 543-AB (with only 7 errors).

So far this spring –

          Walker – 35-AB, .171/.237//286/.523

          Herrera – 30-AB, .100/.156/.267//.423

          Niese – 3-Games, 0-2, 9.82, 1.55, 11.0-IP, 13-H, 12-R, 4-K

It sure seems like someone needs to step up and turn this into a good one way trade.

 Justin Vibber bold prediction –

                  Travis d’Arnaud will be a top-3 catcher in all formats

This prediction relies on d’Arnaud being healthy this season, but if he is I think we could see 25 home runs with 70+ runs and RBI with a .270 average. In 268 plate appearances last season d’Arnaud had a .355 wOBA, not far behind what Kyle Schwarber did (.364 wOBA) in his 273 plate appearances.

Mack – It’s no big secret that any discussion about d’Arnaud should include a medical diagnosis and a seasoned team of former mash officers.

I too have been quoted with similar projected numbers for d’Arnaud. In fact, I seem to remember by BA projection was .280+.

We’ll see.

 Buster Olney on the 2016 Atlanta Braves –

                             Home cookin': 19 of their first 41 games are at home.

Games against teams with a record of .500 or better in 2015: 28 of 41 games.

Notable: Atlanta is rebuilding and everybody knows it, but the first nails might be driven into their 2016 season in the first six weeks because of how many great teams they play. Their first nine games are against the Nationals and Cardinals, and by mid-May, they'll also have three series against the World Series combatants, the Mets and Royals, and they also face the Dodgers, Cubs, Pirates and Diamondbacks. If they are buried early, it actually won't be a bad thing for the front office, which can quickly turn its focus to marketing their veterans -- shortstop Erick Aybar, outfielder Ender Inciarte and maybe others -- for more prospects. Last year, they overachieved early, and it probably complicated some of their decision-making.

Mack – I love it when I read things like this about the Braves and, no, we don’t need any more shortstops, thank you.

Boy, has this team gone to hell quickly.

Asdrubal Cabrera will play four innings in a Grapefruit League game on Monday.


Tom Brennan said...

I saw some of the televised game yesterday. Matz looked great. Amex Rosario showed real bat promise AND a laser beam arm on one routine play to short. Rifle! Add some muscle, Amex.

Concerto flat out crushed it, Wright looked great. Duda almost sent one out ( although was surprised when he took a fat first pitch fastball strike in an early at bat? No. And yes, Walker looked good.

Pen faltered again. Time to get it in gear.

Zozo said...

We might also get a compensation pick for Walker as well, depending on the new CBA they reach this offseason.

Mack Ade said...

Tom - my guess is the majority of the pen that are projected to go north will get the next 3-4 days off

Robb said...

i think the mets and the pirates made one of those trades where each side should be very happy with it. they exchanged players making the same money for players who played positions of need from positions of strength. each guy is ostensibly on a 1 year contract and neither side added money. the pirates, if the "fix" niese have the option for two more years at what becomes 4th starter money. the mets either get a guy they can offer a QO offer to and get an additional first round pick while playing a veteran after a WS run to replace a big bat or they get a guy they can let go without any problems from the fan base all while the money was washed out.

the mets will have two first round pics this year. will hopefully have 3 next year (cespedes/walker plus there own)

some teams assign a financial value to first round pics. in this case the sandwich round would be 4-6 mm so the mets could have picked up 10 million in player value here two just by letting murphy and niese go. doesnt mean it works out well, but its theory.

also how nice is it for all the great things murphy did that walker will make all the plays hes supposed to make and never just botch a random wtf play. though that might be cespedes now, which is fine if he hits 30 HRs.

Metsiac said...

Mack--- they'll get plenty of time off after OD. Bart should be in the pen for the KC games, and Matz/Thor might piggyback in game 2.Robles will serve his suspension until Friday's home opener. Hpw much rest could the pen need?

Anonymous said...

Would be great to get another compensation pick for Walker, but I think teams and player will start to look at the QO differently as a result of player running into barriers on next contract because of the lost pick. There are several players who declined it that in retrospect, would have done things differently. Kendrick, Desmond and even Murphy among others would have been better served to take the $16M and try their chances at FA next year without the burden of a lost pick attached to them. My guess is that unless Walker goes nuts this year, the Mets wouldn't risk him accepting, which would likely be an overpay and further blocking Toy Cannon

Anon Joe F

Mack Ade said...

Metsiac -

They will be in the pen for the KC games... I was talking about the pre-season.