3/31/16

IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING by Tom Brennan

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IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING by Tom Brennan

 

It Happens Every Spring…well, that gets 2 Pinocchios, because although they call it Spring Training, most of Spring Training happens during the winter season, as we’ve only recently leapt into spring.   

 

The season starts very soon, and when you cut away the spring baloney, the regular season is all about wins and losses: win enough, and the playoffs are your reward.  

 

Spring training is all about getting ready for the season, checking out prospects, bringing key guys along at the right speed so that when the regular season gun sounds, they're ready to play ball, go to war, and stuff like that.  Wins and losses in Spring Training are nice but a low priority.

 

So the Mets haven't won all that many so far this spring.  So their record looks like a bad hockey team in January, what with the 5 ties and many losses.  So what?  Still it is interesting to see how guys (thru Wednesday) have done, who's done well, not so well, and so here are some highlights:

 

HITTERS:

 

FLIP THE CHART AND HOW ARE WE DOING, DONALD? “WE’RE DOING SO WELL, SO WELL”: Flip it, and the Mets would be 2nd in homers and 3rd in hitting.  Actually, not flipping, the Mets are 28th in batting average (.256), and 29th in homers (12), but who’s counting?  It doesn’t count, right?  Right?  RIGHT??  Hey, last year, the Mets’ hitters tore it up in Spring Training, then went comatose for 4 months.  I’m expecting the reverse to happen this season.  The Mets have better hitters than what was on the field in April 2015.

 

LOWER HITTING PROSPECTS ARE TEARING IT UP:  The soon-to-be-great Amed Rosario and other household names (in their own households) - Jonathan Johnson, Jeff McNeil, John Mora, Raywilly Gomez, Derrick Gibson and Kevin Kaczmarski - combined to go 15 for 30 with just 1 K: "Hey, yo, Mick, this big league stuff ain't so tough! It ain’t so bad!"

 

CONTACT ABOUNDS: Not only are those guys not striking out, C Johnny Monell and OF Alejandro de Aza have also made more contact than contact paper…89 plate appearances, 8 strikeouts.  Sweet.  The fact that the 2 of them have gotten on base 40 times is also smile-inducing.  BTW, happy recent 30th birthday, Mr. Monell.  

Also, Dominic Smith has hit just .207, but only fanned twice in 30 trips, which is quite impressive.  Even Travis Taijeron (.333/.405/.556) “only” fanned 11 times in 41 plate appearances, which he’ll take any time.

 

GETTING ON BASE: Three guys trying to impress (Eric Campbell, Travis Taijeron, and Matt Reynolds) have combined for a .400 OBP…Reynolds the least of the 3, but spurting upwards of late.

 

REGULARS DOING WELL WITH THE STICK:  Messrs. de Aza (,372), Cespedes (.357), Flores (.302), Lagares (.318) are all in the .300 club.  Grandy close, at .295. Nolan Arenado is hitting .580, but who's counting?

 

SPUTTERING REGULARS: Duda and d'Arnaud slumming around .180.  The D Boys fittingly both deservedly get D grades so far.  Walker hitting in the low 2's but gaining speed – I like the glove.

 

DEAD BALL ERA IS BACK: Many teams have over 30 homers – 18 of them, in fact.  The Mets, as noted, have walloped 12.  The White Sox barely eke ahead of the Mets with 48 homers - well, OK, that means they've quadrupled the Mets’ output.  Thank the Lord above for re-signing Cespedes, as the Mets' homer pace is likely to really pick up as the regular boppers play with increasing regularity.

 

REMEMBER US? David Wright and Asdrubal Cabrera have seen little of the batters’ box, but that thankfully has started to change, as both are needed to be healthy and productive.  Both combined are a paltry 7 for 36, but Wright's homer to right on Sunday was vintage DW.

 

PITCHERS:

 

TEAM ERA of 5.05.  5.05!!! Before vomiting, many teams are worse, including San Diego at a ghastly 6.95, and even the highly respected Jints tossing at 6.87.  WAZZUP? The Mets' ugly ERA has them only as low as 20th – but also consider the following:

 

AWFUL, AND BANISHED: Pimental, Carlyle, Alvarez, Wheeler, Bradford, Sewald, Walters, Below, Montero, and Lara allowed a combined 45 earned runs in 30 innings.  That's a 13.50 ERA.  C’mon!  See ya later (or in Carlyle’s case, never again).  The rest of the team pitchers’ combined ERA is a much more respectable 3.82, so don’t freak over the 5.05 team ERA.  Even 3.82 is most likely far above what it will be in the regular season.

 

101: Noah Syndergaard's speed gun reading the other day.  I'm sure we'll see plenty of 100+ from Thor, and nothing indicates a less than stellar season awaits.  Cy Young?

 

SPEEDING UP: deGrom has been picking up velocity, but he seems to be simply great at any velocity.  Cy Young?

 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR? Steve Matz struggled his first few outings, but looked great Sunday.  I have a feeling that "looked great" will be frequently associated with his name this year.  I loved the curve ball action on Sunday, which was far from a finished product a few years ago.  Cy Young?

 

BOO BOO BETTER: Harvey was good enough, until his last awful start, then a doctor's visit, and phew!  Bladder infection (which will make you feel like total crap and pitch the same way) and a clot – antibiotics and a few days of healing and we'll have our Dark Knight back. Oh, yeah, baby!  Cy Young?

 

LIVIN' LARGE: Colon may be portly and effective when he turns 100.  He was fine his last 2 outings, but a LOT of long fly balls.  But he led the squad with 20 Ks.  Hopefully, he will delight, baffle, and amaze again in 2016.  But, Bartolo, hitless in 2 spring ABs?  Ahh, saving the hits for the regular season, I get it.

 

LESS THAN BULLISH BULLPEN: Shaky so far, let's be frank, but I smile thinking of our top 4 pen guys being Familia, Reed, Bastardo, and Robles, with Edgin edgin' closer to returning.  Far better quality going in than the pen was at the start of 2015. 

Oh, and Seth Lugo, who will start in AAA, did nicely (5 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 5 K) in his limited opportunities, and deserves a special mention when so many other minor league types struggled.

 

Thus ends my last update before Opening Day.  Let’s Go Mets!
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Mack’s Morning Report – 3-31-16 – Sunday Morning Report, Relief Pitchers, 1990 Mets

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Good morning.


Minor League Madhouse http://minorleaguemadhouse.com/ had their spring training mock draft 4.0 and here’s who they projected as the Mets pick at #31 (compensation pick for Daniel Murphy) –

It came down to a home state product and a collegian from Georgia, but Robert Tyler would win out here mainly because of his arsenal. I feel that in the future, Tyler would make a solid bullpen arm, with the potential to start if any of the big 5 leaves. If he continues to pitch this way, you can expect him to jump back into the first round.

Mack – As most of you know, I have had to cut back on most of my draft research here on Mack’s Mets, but I’ll try and keep you up to date on what the other sites are projecting as the top Mets picks.


Beginning Sunday, Mack’s Mets will return the Sunday Morning Report to an exclusive weekly look at the upcoming June draft and what’s being reported in the draft world out there on the world wide web.


The Mets released three ex-Brooklyn Cyclone pitchers, Brandon Welsh, Carlos Valdez, and Jose Celas. Valdez comes as a little surprise to me. I though he had a decent season going last year for Brooklyn (24-G, 1.59/1.09), but he obviously became derailed in the seven games he pitched for Savannah (7.62/1.77).

                   We at Mack’s Mets wish them all well.


 Fangraphs surprisingly ranked the Mets pen in the top 10 in the league –

                   #9 – Mets

                   Including the postseason, Jeurys Familia recorded 88 appearances and pitched 92.2 innings last year. This came after another 76 appearances the year before. Whether that heavy load will come back to haunt him this season is unclear, but the projections say he is going to have another very good year. Familia was actually better in 2015 than he was in 2014, so it is possible a heavy workload will not wear on the big right-hander. The Mets need to hope so because the options after Familia are not inspiring.

Addison Reed is a Proven Closer, but he has only been an elite-level reliever in one season, back in 2013, after which the White Sox immediately traded him to the Diamondbacks. Reed was solid last season between the Diamondbacks and the Mets after some early-season struggles. He is an above-average reliever and should prove to be a fine fit as the Mets setup man.

Antonio Bastardo gets outs, but they come with a lot of walks. Hansel Robles has more potential, and he could be a guy that could step up and play a key role for the Mets this year as long as the home runs last year were a small-sample-size blip. Sean Gilmartin returns as long-man, but none of the other relievers inspire much confidence. The Mets rotation looks great, and there is no reason the bullpen can’t do a solid job converting the starters’ strong performances into wins.

Mack – This pen is going to have to prove to be their 2016 worth as the system goes on. My wild cards are Jim Henderson, as a late inning short man, and Logan Verrett serving them up first in after the starter.


Michael Mayer - Jerry Blevins leads all National League pitchers in appearances with 12 this spring…


Jacob DeGrom will finish this spring with an NL best 1.62 ERA.


 Fangraphs took a ride down memory lane and featured an article that started about the Mets premier starting rotation in 1990 –
                   A few weeks ago, I ventured into the topic of whether the 2016 Cleveland Indians’ starting rotation had a chance at breaking the league-adjusted team strikeout rate record held by the 1990 Mets. Those Mets (comprising a front four of Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Frank Viola, and Sid Fernandez) struck out 47% more batters than a 1990 league-average rotation. That was ridiculously good in 1990, and today, it’d be even more incredible were a team able to do it, given the increase in strikeouts league-wide and the expectation that there probably is a ceiling to the strikeout trend. (Because there has to be, right?)

                             Mack – Let’s keep an eye of the 2016 Mets rotation here.


I have to pull back at this point and say that this has easily been the most difficult spring training for me to wrap my hands around. This team just has forgotten how to win a ball game and I’m running out of nice things to say about Jacob DeGrom and Yoenis Cespedes.

I know that Terry Collins will keep reminding me that everything so far has added up to zero, but he doesn’t really believe that. He’s a smart man and he sees how bad this team is playing.


Let’s hope something positive happens against the Cubs in Las Vegas.
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3/30/16

B-Mets to Honor Steve Kraly with Jersey Patch

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The Binghamton Mets will honor former official scorer Steve Kraly with a special “SK” patch on all their jerseys for the 2016 season. The team will also commemorate their 25th season with an additional patch.

Kraly served as the official scorer at NYSEG Stadium from the B-Mets’ inaugural season in 1992 through their Eastern League championship in 2014. The Southern Tier baseball legend won 19 games with the 1953 Binghamton Triplets before pitching in the Major Leagues with the New York Yankees later that season. He earned a World Series ring after New York knocked off Brooklyn for their fifth-straight title.

Kraly passed away on March 7, 2016.

“Steve was a beloved member of the B-Mets family and the Southern Tier community,” said B-Mets general manager Jim Weed. “He was a fixture at NYSEG Stadium and we are thrilled to honor his legacy with this patch.”

In addition to the patch, the B-Mets will dedicate a plaque to Kraly on Opening Night that will be placed above his seat in the NYSEG Stadium press box.

A picture of both patches can be found attached to this release.
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Fireflies Fan Fest Scheduled for April 3

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With the 2016 season just around the corner, the Fireflies are inviting our community to enjoy a fun and free afternoon at Spirit Communications Park for Fireflies Fan Fest on Sunday, April 3, from 1-5 p.m.

Fans will have their first chance to meet the 2016 Fireflies and grab autographs from players on the main concourse starting at 4 p.m. All in attendance are welcome to watch the team’s first official workout prior to the autograph session.

Tours of the brand new Spirit Communications Park – including the 7,000 square-foot club level lounge – will be offered so fans can check out the new ballpark before the home opener on April 14.

Bring your appetite as well – the first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive a free hot dog, chips and drink.

Fans will also have a chance to sit in and preview any seats around the ballpark. The Fireflies Ticket Office will be open and both Opening Night tickets and season-ticket packages will be available for purchase. Single-game tickets for Opening Night and for all Fireflies home games on the Bojangles Berm are just $5 and prime seats between the dugouts – the Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union All-Star seats – are only $10. All seating is subject to availability.

The Mason Jar – the official team shop of the Columbia Fireflies – will be open on the concourse for fans who wish to purchase their team gear before Opening Night.

Additionally, kids can bounce and play for free in the State Credit Union Kids Zone.

Opening Night 2016
Opening Night at Spirit Communications Park is April 14 at 7:05 p.m against the Charleston Riverdogs (New York Yankees). Individual game tickets for the 2016 season are on sale now and begin at $5 for the Bojangles Berm, $9 for reserved seats, and $10 for The Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union All-Star seats – all subject to availability. The Fireflies are currently taking reservations for season ticket packages, including full season (70 games), half season (35 games), quarter season (17 games) and mini season packages (12 games). For more information on season tickets and to reserve your seats for the inaugural season of Columbia Fireflies baseball, visit ColumbiaFireflies.com, or call 803-726-HITS.
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Reese Kaplan -- The Final Cut(s)

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It’s getting close to opening day and the Mets must pare down the existing roster to the 25 men who will come north (well, 24 plus the two-game suspension of Hansel Robles).  Towards that end some of the early spring training prognostications require some tweaking as things have not developed exactly according to the original plan.  To wit, here’s my take on who should come north:

The Starters:

1B           Lucas Duda
2B           Neil Walker
SS           Asdrubal Cabrera
3B           David Wright
C             Travis d’Arnaud
LF            Michael Conforto
CF           Yoenis Cespedes
RF           Curtis Granderson

The Bench:

IF            Wilmer Flores
IF            Matt Reynolds
C             Johnny Monell
OF          Juan Lagares
OF          Alejandro De Aza

The Rotation:

SP           Jacob De Grom
SP           Matt Harvey
SP           Noah Syndergaard
SP           Steve Matz
SP           Bartolo Colon

The Pen:

RP           Jeurys Familia
RP           Addison Reed
RP           Antonio Bastardo
RP           Jerry Blevins
RP           Jim Henderson
RP           Logan Verrett
RP           Hansel Robles

There are two to three names that require some explanation here.  First of all, the Mets currently have 39 people on the 40 man roster, including Zack Wheeler who will be transferred to the 60-day DL.  That frees up two spots for adding non-roster players without dropping any of the current people from the 40-man list.  The first of these spots can be used for Jim Henderson who has been brilliant this spring.  The Henderson move is pretty much a lightning-in-a-bottle no-brainer.  If he succeeds, then the team looks like geniuses.  If not, you haven’t kicked anyone off the roster and have reinforcements in AAA.

The more controversial move is Johnny Monell over Kevin Plawecki.  I see this one as a short-term move for perhaps just the month of April to give Plawecki steady playing time and to balance out the right handedness of the bench with another lefty bat.  His roster spot opens up with the Wheeler 60-day DL move.  He becomes a sacrificial lamb in May.

The third one is the most puzzling perhaps -- Logan Verrett.  He’s another May or June sacrificial lamb who will likely be banished to AAA once Josh Edgin returns.  He’s been in 6 games for 11 IP (2 as a starter) and delivered a 1.64 ERA.  Given the lefties already slated for the pen in Bastardo and Blevins (with Edgin coming soon), another lefty might be superfluous. 

The losers in this scenario include Erik Goeddel who got a very late start to his spring and needs to get some more innings under his belt, Sean Gilmartin whose future value as a trade chip probably increases as a starter rather than as a middle reliever, Kevin Plawecki and Eric Campbell.  Having another true middle infielder in Matt Reynolds renders Campbell unnecessary with Wilmer Flores able to cover either corner if needed.  The outfield is already deep with Lagares and De Aza, so another right handed bat (with limited major league success) doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Of course, historically the team has shown a propensity for going with the familiar option.  Towards that end you could make the cases for Campbell, Plawecki and Gilmartin quite easily, but it’s likely not the best way to handle the resources. 

What do you all think?
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3/29/16

CHEERS - by Tom Brennan

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CHEERS - by Tom Brennan
 
CHEERS was a show everyone watched years ago - except me.  
 

I was watching the Mets - wanting to cheer, but not often succeeding.
 

In the past, prior to August 2015, that is, I have so often been the type of Mets fan who always feels the other shoe is about to drop.  At least since 1969's Cinderella story was over.  Heading down Memory Lane…
 

1973 was almost a miracle, coming from 10 games under going into September to what was almost a World Series clinching win, but Tom Seaver's fastball ran into Mr. October's bat before he was called such, and that miracle died.
 

Heck in 1984 we were close again, after many stultifying seasons, but Rick Sutcliffe gets traded to the NL and goes 16-1.  POOF.  
 

In 1985, despite Gooden's mercurial supremacy, John Tudor was ridiculously good for a great Cards team - and the Mets' 98 wins got them through game 162 but no further.  
 

We win the World Series in 1986, but only after hanging onto a very precipitously steep ledge by the tip of our pinky fingers in game 6.  Gets...by…Buckner.  PHEW.
 

But in 1987, that dastardly Tudor killed us again.  Hated the dude.
 

In 1988, Orel Hersheiser only knew how to put up zeros like no other major leaguer ever had.   Well, you get the idea…I could go on and on.
 

Last year, when the shoe-is-ready-to-fall Mets stuff seemed never-ending, we made dynamite trades, mixed in a few Wilmer Flores tears, and instantly transformed from sputtering jalopy through July to a Yoenis juggernaut the rest of the way.  
 

We got so close, but serendipity was not ours to be had in the World Series.  A foul off a very important knee cap here, a throw there to the plate that landed somewhere in Europe, and similar calamities and, well, the dream died - but man, what fun the ride was.  I did some moaning at times, but a lot of cheering.  Coulda skipped the extra weight from nervous overconsumption of chips, though.  Burp.
 

This year, however, regardless of what happens, I am doing one thing and one thing only: cheering for the Mets. So if a guy strikes out 4 times: I’m cheering. 1-25 slump? I’m cheering.  Lousy spring team record?  I'm cheering.
 

Sandy has given us a TEAM with the re-signing of Yoenis (Pig Slayer) Cespedes, and we have 5 guys named Clint Eastwood doing their best High Plains Drifter on the starters' mound when Wheeler returns, likely to replace Cool Hand Luke Colon.  I did my favorite Mets article series recently, and there is so much on this team to like, whether it is with the starters, the pen, the position players, and yes, even the bench.  Cheerful to ponder.
 

So, no matter what happens during 2016, I will cheer - but I have a feeling I will be cheering all the way to a return trip to the World Series - and a long awaited return to the Canyon of Heroes.  
 

Cheer with me, and make Queens Great Again.
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Mack’s Morning Report – 3-29-16 – Opening Thoughts, Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Harvey, Josh Lowe

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Good morning.

I’m getting ready to make my weekly trip down to Florida to spend the week taking care of my mother-in-law. Sadly, I won’t have any time to go to Port St. Lucie, but, frankly, there doesn’t seem to be much there to see right now. This has been a particularly hard spring training to cover past a couple a great springs by Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard and steady bats by Alejando De Aza and Yoenis Cespedes. The team BA is .265, ranked 21st in the league and the team ERA is 5.28, ranked 23rd. Yes, these are all spring numbers and everything starts over five days from now.

I think you will see the starting field players for the rest of spring training (thought there will be some variations using guys like De Aza and Wilmer Flores) and you’ll continue to see the projected rotation go through their assignments; however, don’t look for a lot of the projected relief pitchers to get major innings this week. Terry Collins will hopefully give the majority of them some arm rest until the two game series against the Royals.
My one guess for the last 25-man position (at least until Hansel Robles is activated), is relief pitcher Jim Henderson (10-G, 8.2-IP, 7-H, 3-R, 2-ER, 2.08/0.92).

As for Matt Harvey’s ‘medical condition’, whatever it is has become serious enough to take him out of the rotation for now.

Mike Puma - Person with knowledge of Harvey's situation says this isn't major.

Frankly, because of the schedule, and the three days off in the first six days of the season, the Mets could go back to not having one of their starters work as a reliever. This would set up the opening day pitcher (let’s assume Jacob DeGrom) have his second start on Sunday, April 10th and Harvey could pitch the SP5 slot on Friday, April 15th (after another day of on the 14th).

Kevin Kernan  - From what I'm hearing sounds like Harvey will miss opening night but it is expected to be perhaps a one start absence


OF Michael Conforto missed Monday’s game, but he’s fine. He was just given one more day off as part of the rehab from his back issues this spring.


Zorak: How long until the Mets OF goes full platoon to minimize Cespedes’ time in center?

Jeff Sullivan: This is the right time for Cespedes to be making his mistakes. He’ll probably get his share of defensive replacements, but I think he’ll be only a slight negative CF.  As for yesterday…I don’t know what that was about. That wasn’t really a talent mistake. That was a I-don’t-want-to-bend-down-for-this mistake. Would’ve seemed clever if Bucknor hadn’t walked all the way out there to make him look like an idiot

Mack – Sully was obviously discussing the ‘ball under the wall’ none play by Cespedes. Me? I write this off as just a lazy move in the spring that Cespedes was hoping to get away from. It obviously isn’t going to happen again unless it involves ivy in Chicago.

As for any defensive loss by playing him in center, that issue is greatly overshadowed by the positives of having his bat in the lineup.


The Los Angeles Angels signed P Deolis Guerra (7.2-IP, 0- 1, 8.22).


The pre-season game this weekend in Las Vegas vs. the Cubs will be televised on Comcast SportsNet and WGN


 Paul West had an interesting idea on how to realign the outfield for opening day –

By virtue of both metrics and proverbial eye test, Yoenis Cespedes is much better as a corner outfielder than he is in center field. It isn’t a matter of tools; he’s got speed, a throwing arm, and reasonable athleticism for a player his size. But his reads can be dicey in center, and he often looks uncomfortable. His closing speed at times makes up for it, but sometimes not…whereas Lagares has great closing speed as well, combined with fantastic reads and a great first step. As for the matter of athleticism, Lagares isn’t as impressive in stature as Cespedes; but he makes diving catches as well as leaping ones, and he runs down balls that look like sure-fire doubles off the bat. And lest we forget, before last year’s elbow issues he had one of the best arms we’d seen on a center fielder since Rick Ankiel. When Juan Lagares is in center field, the pitchers’ margin for error is much different than it is with Cespedes out there.

Mack – Jeez, we’re really that bad that we had to have Rick Ankiel in our outfield?


The Detroit Tigers have released P Bobby Parnell.


P Alex Torres was reassigned to the Braves AAA team.


 Minor League Madhouse did their latest mock draft and here’s who they had as the Mets pick at #19 –

Mistakes can be made by even the best of minds. When Sandy Alderson signed Michael Cuddyer last season, you would have found it very difficult to find any Mets fan that agreed with the move, especially when the team forfeited the first round pick which became Mike Nikorak. Now a year later, with both a top 20 pick thanks to other teams signing QO free agents, and a second first rounder for losing postseason hero Daniel Murphy, the cycle of repopulating a farm system that has seen plenty of graduation over the past few years, will begin.

It took me a while to figure out the best fit for the Mets, but I believe they could, for the time being, kill two birds with one stone by selecting two way player Josh Lowe. The third baseman and right-handed pitcher may be forced to choose a position in the future, but as of now there is a benefit to having that type of versatility. Would Lowe be David Wright’s eventual successor? Would he possibly be a future member of the rotation if any of the Big 5 leave? And it’s not like Lowe is better at either position right now, as a third baseman he does have solid lefty power and professional defense. As a pitcher, he’s got a low 90’s fastball, and developmental secondary pitches, but his frame is suitable for a big league pitcher. Either way, if the Mets take him, they could have themselves a good problem.


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3/28/16

UPDATE - UPDATED - P - Matt Harvey

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Matt Harvey was the only member of the team not to travel to Jupiter today for the game.

Instead, he went to a 'doctor appointment that, according to the Mets, was 'non-orthopedic'.

3:57PM - Sandy Alderson says Harvey may go to NY for further examination.

From Adam Rubin - Sandy Alderson said Matt Harvey may have to go to New York for further examination. He will not pitch the remainder of exhibition season, but Opening Day not yet ruled out yet. Alderson said Harvey experienced a symptom which prompted medical attention. The GM declined to reveal any specifics. However, the Mets say it's not orthopedic (related to an elbow, shoulder, etc.).
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Ernest Dove - MLB Draft Prospect Watch: C.J. Chatham SS FAU

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  While we anxiously await the start of the Mets season, let's not forget that 'regular season' baseball games have been played ongoing at the amateur level for awhile now. Mack's Mets prides itself on its minor league and MLB draft prospect following and information. I have written a couple of posts on players specifically on the nationally ranked FAU Fighting Owls (yes, it's my alma mater, hence the bias towards its schools players). Today I wanted to spotlight the one who is arguably the best of the bunch, shortstop C.J. Chatham (you can follow CJ on twitter https://twitter.com/CjChatham)

  Per Chuck King, Managing Editor for FAUOwlAccess.com :

SS CJ Chatham Jr., 6-4, 180 R/R

Possesses strong arm and surprising range for this size. Hit .355 as a sophomore and showed hints of power to come. Recently listed among Perfect Game's Top 150 MLB Draft prospects. With a strong junior season, Chatham should vault into the draft's early rounds. Might eventually become a third baseman as his body continues to mature.
D1baseball.com currently has C.J. ranked as the 2nd best SS in the nation
        Through 22 games, playing for the nationally ranked Owls, C.J. has the following stats:
                           .374 BA (34/91); .438 OBP ; .527 SLG ; .965 OPS 
                    17 Runs; 7 Doubles ; 2 Triples ; 1 HR ; 17 RBIs ; 10 BB and 8 Ks

 The most glaring improvement for C.J. during his college career has been his BB and K rates.  As a Freshman, C.J. had 8 BBs against 39 Ks.  Sophomore season saw the numbers improve to 10 BBs against 28 Ks.  Now in the early going this year he has more walks than K's, which of course is leading to his college career best numbers in batting average and on base percentage.

  Regarding his position on the field, C.J. has played everyday as the SS on the team.  However, he's had experience in the past at the hot corner, as Chuck King has pointed out, as the now 21 year old fully matures and perhaps moves on to the next level.

  Reports have C.J. as a good fielder, an average to above average arm, and average to above average range.  Thus leading to possibilities for a transition to Third Base.

  C.J. has been a steady force in the Owls lineup, hitting 3rd and helping to lead the team to a fast start on the season, and maintaining at least a share of first place in Conference USA to go along with its national ranking.

  With the Mets, as I've previously written on this topic, have a history of drafting FAU players over recent years, I would like to think the organization may have its eye on C.J.  As with the history of teams in regards to high school and international signings, we've learned that you can never truly have enough shortstops in the pipeline.  And with the option of a possible transition to 3B being available, it might be worth looking into for the Mets as a college bat who might be ready sooner rather than later.

  In regards to overall draft status, because C.J. is a Junior it's ultimately up to him about whether or not to declare officially for the upcoming draft.

  If he does, don't be surprised to see his name called in the top 100.

  And since the Mets have a glaring need at 3B within the system, I certainly wouldn't mind Mr. Chatham wearing a Mets cap after draft day ;)

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