12/31/17

Mack’s Apples – Omar Minaya, Luis Guillorme, Rich Dauer, Nick Madrigal, A Braves Look at the Mets

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Good morning.


New York Mets:  Fred Wilpon - and company have lost touch –

We all remember Omar Minaya. He had his run but he was basically run out of town. Fans had enough of Omar. Now the Mets bring him back as a special assistant to Sandy Alderson! That’s the move that will bring us back to the playoffs, Mets fans. How do we say this nicely? We don’t. SAY WHAT?!?!?! This is the priority of the ownership? If this isn’t prove that Fred Wilpon is clueless I don’t know what is.

It might just be time for the MLB to step in. Fred Wilpon may be a nice, old man but he doesn’t know what he is doing for the product on the field. Keep this in mind, the team has not won a title since he took over sole ownership. When he spends money recycling general managers for no apparent reason, you see why. The man has lost touch and he is clueless.

I’m far from the only Mets writer that is putting the heat on the Wilpons. And I will not stop doing it until this family has divested their interest in the team I once loved.


Three prospects that could bring good cheer in  2018 -

                  
     Luis Guillorme  - A 22-year-old shortstop, Guillorme’s glove gives off the impression of a young Omar Vizquel. The comparison is lofty, but both are on the smaller side (5-foot-9) and possess that slick-fielding ability that makes you want to see a second look.

The thing that makes him such a great fielder is his hands. Take a look at them on display below.

The good news is he made strides in 2017 to make a push for the next level. Although he may never hit for power (two career home runs), he walked 72 times in 2017, good enough for a .376 OBP. If he can get on base consistently and continue to flash the leather, he could be a contributor at second base this season if the Mets fail to address the gaping hole at the keystone this winter.

Someone told me recently that I seem to be becoming a ‘small ball’ guy. That’s not true.

I have always been a ‘defense first’ guy and a middle field of Guillorme, Amed Rosario, and Juan Lagares is going to win me 10+ more games, becau8se of what they do defensively, than we did in 2017.


The race to save a beloved coach’s life  - Rich Dauer -

With nearly one million revelers joyously drinking in their team’s first championship, the Astros’ World Series victory parade had wended through the sun-baked streets of downtown Houston to City Hall, where the next phase of the celebration would take place. On stage, the exhilarated Astros were joined by local politicians and a number of luminaries at the start of the official ceremony honoring the team. It was then that Rich Dauer, the club's first base coach, abruptly began to stagger, almost as if he was drunk. He stepped to the back of the stage with the other coaches as the players were being introduced to the crowd.

            Great story with a happy ending.


 MLB Madhouse came out with their Dec 23rd mock draft and they have the Mets taking 2B Nick Madrigal

For the past few seasons, the Mets have taken a huge gamble on defensive liability and a lack of speed. While they made due in 2015 and 2016 thanks to their pitching and reliance on power, the 2017 implosion of the staff and injury bug which bit many exposed many issues that needed to be addressed. Because the Mets are either unable or unwilling to invest in big ticket free agents to address current issues, like third base, and with the mind boggling addition of former GM Omar Minaya to the front office, it’s a wonder what this team is planning on doing in the future, and whether or not they really are focused on competing with Washington.

The Mets went to Oregon State in 2014 to grab a young masher named Michael Conforto, so it makes some sense for them to make a return trip in 2018 to get another Beaver in Nick Madrigal. Madrigal is arguably the best college hitter in the class, and at a diminutive 5'7", he does have some Jose Altuve in him. He may not be homer happy, but he can change the game by making consistent loud contact, and being a speed threat on the basepaths. He is defensively talented enough to play shortstop, although he does have a professional future at second base.
The Mets’ had the opportunity to get a glimpse of Amed Rosario and Dom Smith at the end of their lost season. While they still have a little ways to go before we can consider them fulltime big league contributors, having a quick riser like Madrigal would make for a very strong double play group, and Madrigal would be a nice addition to the leadoff spot. Mets fans had better hope the team invests in pro ready collegians, because it’s clear that in a big market, the team is acting a lot like Oakland or Tampa Bay, as opposed to their crosstown counterparts.



Here's how an Atlanta Braves blog looks at our off-season link -           

       
     In 2016, the Mets were a Wild Card team and the first signs of a pitching breakdown emerged with only 2 starters able to muster 150 innings.  In 2017, the wheels simply fell off as only Jacob deGrom surpassed 120 innings.

Noah Syndergaard managed only 30.  Matt Harvey threw 93, and was faring poorly when he did throw (6.70 ERA).

Meanwhile, the rest of their roster was either bad or hurt or sometimes both, leading to a club that mostly mailed in the second half of the season.  David Wright is chronically hurt.  Michael Conforto nearly destroyed a shoulder during a swing.  Yoenis Cespedes couldn’t keep his legs going.

After game 80 in 2017, the Mets were just 4 games under .500 (38-42).  They were 5 under (45-50) after July 22nd.  They finished up 22 games under at 70-92, punctuated by an 11-0 loss on October 1st.


Oh, and the Amazin’s have a new manager:  Mickey Callaway – the former pitching coach of the Indians.  Good luck Mickey… you’re gonna need it.
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12/30/17

Hot Stove - 12-30-17 (+ new Met!)

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2016 1st Rd. pick, P Justin Dunn, put a video up online showing his 'long tossing' the width of a football field. He also seemed pumped to get back on the bump and prove he can do better than the 5.00-ERA he produced for St. Lucie last season.


The Mets signed P Drew Gagnon to a minor league contract. 

   Gagnon was a 3rd round draft pick (I had him going much earlier than that) in 2011 by the Milwaukee Brewers. He went 4-10 for a very bad Long Beach State U, team in 2011, but still produced an impressive 2.81-ERA in 15 starts.

    He pitched in the Milwaukee system through 2016 and was then picked up by the Los Angeles Angels.

    The 6-4 RHP 27-yr. old's best year was 2014, when he went 11-6, 3.96, in 28 starts in AA-Huntsville.

    Gagnon was converted to a reliever in 2016 but he can still go either way (10 starts last year at the AAA level).

    I'm sure the Mets have had some exposure to him since he has pitched the last  three seasons in the PCL league.





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Michael Friere - More or Less" (Part Two)

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If you read the first installment of this series, I mentioned my preoccupation with the game show "The Price is Right" and how a couple of the games reminded me of the Mets roster and their possibilities in 2018. 

For example, do you remember the game “Now or Then” where the contestants had to guess if a random grocery item’s displayed price was current or from the past?   Or, the game “More or Less” where the players were shown an item and a corresponding price that may or may not be correct.  The player had to guess if the displayed price was more or less then the real price that was concealed behind the visible price.  These two games gave me an idea for a series of articles about our favorite team as we clear the holidays and head towards Spring Training.

The overall roster is largely complete, whether we like it or not.  It also contains certain players who will be much more influential (positive or negative) on the team’s performance then other members of the roster.  In a previous article, I used the term “foundation pieces” to describe these players as they will likely be the reason that the team wins or fails to do so.  I will select a different player for each article and it will include their “career” statistical average(s).  

Once we have an average performance documented, we will play “more or less” using their career baseline as the "displayed price" (keep in mind that some players have more statistical data then others, so in cases where the major league data is lacking, I used their minor league numbers to produce a baseline).  In short, if our key players mostly produce “more” then expected, it will likely manifest itself into a successful season and possibly a return to the playoffs.

The second player we will look at is arguably our staff "ace";  Jacob DeGrom

JD has pitched a total of four seasons with the Mets (2014 through 2017), but a closer look shows a bit of a pattern developing.  In the even numbered years (2014, 2016) he appeared in 22 and 24 games, respectively (which is less then a full season).  However, in the odd numbered years (2015, 2017) he appeared in 30 and 31 games which is around the bench mark for a starting pitcher over the course of a full season.  If you blindly follow that pattern, then he is due for a season where he misses some starts, but hopefully that is not the case since he is a huge piece of the rotation puzzle.

To make things interesting (or as interesting as stats can be), I will list his statistical line for the two seasons he made at least 30 starts and then his statistical line for his
entire career.

(2015 and 2017 combined)                   (Career Averages - 2014 through 2017)

30.50 Starts - 196.33 IP                                  26.75 Starts - 170.33 IP

14.50 Wins and 9.00 Losses                         11.25 Wins and 8.00 Losses

3.04 ERA - 1.08 WHIP                                    2.98 ERA - 1.13 WHIP

222 K (10.18 K/9 IP)                                        182 K (9.62 K/9 IP)

48 BB (4.62 K/BB)                                            44 BB (4.14 K/BB)

4.55 WAR                                                           4.00 WAR

Clearly, JD is a very good pitcher as his career stats are not too far behind the "cherry picked" stats for his two better seasons.  My point here is to show that we need
a healthy DeGrom in 2018 and everything else will likely take care of itself at the top of the rotation.  
So, the question becomes do we get the dominant Jacob DeGrom from 2015 and 2017 which would be "more", or do we get something closer to his career averages, which would be "less"?    
Both versions would be an asset, but the JG that eclipses the 30 start plateau is a true "ace" and a foundation piece for a successful 2018 campaign. 

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Reese Kaplan -- Thanks, But No Thanks

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Have you ever gone to a high school or college or military reunion expecting everyone to be the same as they were in your memory, only to be surprised by how different they are now?  Sometimes those differences are positive – better shape, more confidence or successful career – but more often it is disappointing to see how they are not as they once were and probably won’t be again.  Why then should it be any different in the world of sports where an athlete tends to have a short professional life that often deteriorates rapidly with age.  Consequently it’s a little puzzling to hear all of the “let’s get the old gang back together again” sentiments floating around this hot stove season. 

Jay Bruce – Arguably the best offensive option of the reunion candidates, it’s interesting that GM Sandy Alderson could not find a taker for him at $13 million for a single season.  Granted, he was coming off a miserable first showing in New York, but he was near the top of the league in RBIs when he was dealt away for A-ball reliever Ryder Ryan, owner of a 4.07 ERA and a rather mediocre WHIP of 1.397.  When the off-season began people were envisioning something like 5 years/$100 million but now his market is once again cratering as people are not as willing to offer more than 3 years (while Bruce has dropped the demand from 5 to 4) and the dollars are probably going to be not much more than he earned in 2017.  It could work and wouldn’t break the bank (of a professional run organization), but he’s still a streaky hitter with at best adequate defense. 

Bartolo Colon – In a word, “No!”  Yes, he’s something of a folk hero in Mets lore for his physique, his fielding prowess, his smile and his first-ever home run.  However, he flamed out twice last year and at his age it’s likely he may have hit the end of the road.  A minor league deal with an invitation to spring training is the best I’d offer, but even then I’d rather see extra innings logged by guys like Rafael Montero who is out of options than given up to someone who can’t accept the reality of his ability slipping away.

R.A. Dickey – People have more rational fondness for Dickey than they do for Colon as he actually won a Cy Young award for the Mets after Omar Minaya (remember him?) salvaged him off the scrap heap when had reinvented himself as a full time knuckleballer.  Unlike Colon, the 40-something Dickey managed to perform like a 5th starter last year and would be a good candidate for a minor league dela with an invitation to spring training.  Since he’s a knuckleballer whose success is not as dependent on velocity, I’d be more in favor of this move than one on Colon, but again shouldn’t they be looking to prepare for the future rather than trying to tread water one season at a time?

Lucas Duda – The big guy never took to the outfield but turned himself into a passable first baseman.  However, they already traded him away to make room for Dom Smith so there doesn’t seem to be any reason to bring him back no matter how low his price drops.  He can’t platoon as he is left handed and his health has been an issue for the past few years as well. 

Curtis Granderson – Another fan favorite more for his professionalism, smile and articulate thoughts on the game than for what he did on the field, he’s also in that R.A. Dickey category of year-to-year stagnation rather than looking for people who could help in the future.

Carlos Gomez – The once and almost future Met has had an up and down past few years during which he was paid rather handsomely.  Last year he was paid $11.5 million for 368 ABs during which he did club 17 HRs and drive in 51 while hitting .255 with 13 SBs.  He alarmingly struck out 127 times.  He’s been written off a few times already but at just 32 he probably has something in the tank.  The question is what he expects to get paid for subpar results (based upon his earlier career).  Still, he’s represent an offensive upgrade over Juan Lagares but moving the Gold Glover’s salary to bring on Gomez is going to represent a deficit, not a gain in the budget. 

Oliver Perez -- Before you start laughing (or retching) he's carved out a second career for himself as a LOOGY often misused against righties where he doesn't fare nearly as well.  Starting in 2013 he was able to harness his wildness somewhat.  Given that his fan appreciation rivals that of other pariahs like Doug Sisk and Mel Rojas, I can't see this reunion happening.

Jose Reyes – He’s a polarizing figure due to his happy-go-lucky attitude in the face of losing, his horrific start to last year and his deteriorating skills.  His supporters will point to his strong finish, his baserunning speed (since they have so little) and the fact that the club needs backup infielders with T.J. Rivera on the shelf and the injury history of Asdrubal Cabrera.  My gut says it’s time to move on and give Wilmer Flores a full time shot at 2B, but I think I’m prejudiced by the former Skipper who played him for three months of sub-Mendoza play while Flores rotted on the bench.  If used properly at this stage of his career as a substitute at several positions he wouldn’t be a bad pickup only if he’s willing to be priced like a bench player. 

Addison Reed – Here’s a guy I have no reservations whatsoever bringing back to the fold but given his great success during his Mets years (and despite his less than dazzling stay in Boston) he’s going to be priced over the $9.2 million expected to be paid to A.J. Ramos.  If we’re to believe that the Mets have just $10 million left to spend, let that pipe dream die. 

Neil Walker – After having taken $17.2 million for an abbreviated 2017 and an injury marred 2016, Walker did acquit himself well when he was able to stay on the field.  However, he’s going to want to be paid north of the entire remaining payroll budget.  Again, I’d rather see the much less expensive Wilmer Flores finally get a full time shot from day one. 

My feeling is that 2018 with its payroll constraints is not likely going to be a very competitive year.  Consequently they should do this coming season what should have been done last year – find out what the younger (and less expensive) players can do.  Then you know what you need for 2019 when theoretically you will be ready to contend with the big boys.  Trying to recapture the past is a wistful dream.  If you want to delve into the past, go get Daniel Murphy or Justin Turner or Michael Fulmer, not these expensive players in the twilight of their careers.

One dark horse reunion name never mentioned in the rumors who might be a good candidate is ironman Carlos Torres who had two terrific seasons in New York followed by one mediocre one after which he was let go.  He followed that up with one great season for the Brewers, then one mediocre one.  He would give you the innings of a Bryan Shaw at a $2.175 million price tag last year.  He's not as interesting as Matt Albers or Peter Moylan, but he should probably get a call to sound out what he's looking at in his age 35 season.  
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12/29/17

Hot Stove - 12-29-17

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RP Wade Davis has agreed to a deal with Colorado (3-yr, $52mil),


Marc Carig is reporting that it is "highly unlikely" that the Mets sign either OF-1B Jay Bruce or 2B Neil Walker. He made thse coments on a Mets blog podcast, so it's hard to determine if this was more that just his opinion. What I do assume is, after his blistering story on the Wilpons earlier this month, that he isn't getting much inside info from members of the Mets family lately.

                     https://www.facebook.com/the7line  


The Marlins are now actively trying to trade OF Christian Yelich and C J.T. Realmuto.


There is an unofficial report on Twitter that the Yankees have completed a deal with the Pirates for the services of P Gerrit Cole.

But...



Told are currently "nowhere" on possible deal for Gerrit Cole and were actually never close in talks with . NYY rotation is set for now.








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Q and A - Do You Shoot For The Moon in the Outfield?

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Reese Kaplan asks –


                        We are still waiting for a number of slots to be filled, including the fifth outfielder, be it a starter or someone in a platoon, or a simple utility role. Sandy says he's got $12mil left for the entire Hot Stove season. Do you shoot for the moon here and who would your choice be?


Michael Maar said - 

                    Given a constraint of only $12MM left to spend (which is ridiculous considering the Met payroll currently projects at about $120MM), I'd focus attention on Catcher.  I believe Travis d'Arnaud has had his chance, and that it's time to bring in an anchor to provide the solid defense, consistent bat, and leadership for the pitching staff from behind the plate that the Mets have lacked for a looong time.  Clear d'Arnaud's $2MM in the process, so now I have $14MM to spend and can bring in another P.


                   There aren't a lot of FA options at C, and that's OK as long as the Mets could use that $12MM to land my #1 target - Jonathan Lucroy.  At 31, I'd try to get him on as short a of a deal as possible of course, but I'd be willing to go for 3 years/$36MM (IDK if that gets it done).  In Lucroy, I'd be looking for more than what the addition of the stats of a CF, 2B or 3B would bring.  I'd be expecting a major chemistry change up the middle and in the lineup.  Professionalism & leadership.

Mack says –

                        First, let me say that the Mets have two of the best outfielders in the game, Yoenes Cespedes and Michael Conforto.

                        I also expect neither of them to play their first game in 2018 unless they are 100% cleared to go. I look for a new era of controlled, managed, health management.

                        Lastly, and especially when you only have so much money left to spend, you practice the same philosophy all great teams practice on both draft day and the first day you can sign international kids… sign the ‘best player available’.

                        If it takes $12mil to lock up a quality chip that will around for years to come, so be it, and operate the rest of the year with the best players you have in your organization, to fill existing holes.

                        I know in my heart that the biggest long range problem on this team is third base… and I still will sleep better when five quality starters aren’t on the IR list. I don’t see anyone in the $12mil range left that can help us here.

                        So…

                        In 2018, I start my best defensive outfielder in the center of the field, Juan Lagares. If Cespedes and Conforto stay healthy, all I’m looking for here is ++ defense and around a .250 batting average (hitting eighth).

                        Brandon Nimmo will be my OF.

                        And then… when the market proves to Jay Bruce that he is not going to get the kind of deal he feels he’s worth, I lock him down in the 3-year, $30mil range.

                        I get my opening day first baseman, if it is necessary to send Dom Smith to Vegas for a tune-up, and I put RF to bed until the end of the 2020 season.

                        If you have any doubt whether or not this is a good idea, check the outfield pipeline.


Michael Friere says –

                        With the number of open slots on the roster, twelve million dollars will not give Sandy much in the way of high priced options for all of them.  So, he has two choices, as far as I am concerned;

1.  Drop most of that on a single player at a position of need (2B - Jason Kipnis, for example) and fill the rest of the openings with inexpensive players (prospects and/or veterans on one year deals).

2.  Spread the amount evenly across several of the positions and back fill the roster with warm bodies (below replacement value types). I think that putting all of your eggs in one basket is normally not wise.  However, with the limited amount of funds left in the budget, I think Sandy has to address the huge hole at 2B and at the top of the lineup.  Sadly, it will take most of that figure to get an impact player to come to Queens.  Plus, there are players currently on the roster that can fill the remaining needs on your list.   Adding a starter at 2B will free up Wilmer to be your  "super utility" player, like Ben Zobrist.


David Rubin says –

                        I say bring back Reyes at 2nd for a season & use the whole $12-$15 million on Jay Bruce then call it a day. He's a great clubhouse guy, likes Mickey "Cab" Callaway already & can play first and OF. He's not going to get the deal he wants so hopefully he will realize that sooner than later and just come back to Queens already!!


Reese Kaplan says –

I'd deal away Juan Lagares to free up the $15.5 million of salary obligation over the next two years as the team does not have enough overall offense to withstand him in a pretty much defense-only role.  That immediately adds $6 million to this year's total of $12 million.  I would also deal away A.J. Ramos to free up another $9.5 million.  That brings you to $27.5 million.

WIth that I would go hard and heavy after Lorenzo Cain to solve both leadoff and centerfield at about $16 million, leaving you $11.5 million to find another outfielder and bullpen arm.  Someone like Peter Moylan would cost relatively little -- say $3 million -- still leaving you $8.5 million for a Jose Reyes pickup at 2B to fight it out with Wilmer Flores and maybe a veteran backup outfielder such as Craig Gentry, Jarrod Dyson, Ben Revere, Ichiro Suzuki, Peter Bourjos or Gregor Blanco.  Remember that this outfielder is a BACKUP assuming you have Cespedes, Cain and Nimmo starting until Conforto returns.  Then Nimmo slides to the bench as well.


Of course, doing all of that would require creativity and aggressiveness, neither of which are present in the front office.  So let's try an Aldersonesque plan.  Sign Reyes for $3 million, sign two of those aforementioned outfielders (not Cain, of course) for a total of $9 million.  
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Tom Brennan - TEBOW VS. TAIJERON

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Tom Brennan - TEBOW VS. TAIJERON



This is my last Tebow-related article for 2017, I promise.  It's most likely my last article for the tumultuous year of 2017 anyway, so why not do the last of my 150 or so articles this year on a subject so near and dear not just to my heart, but to the hearts of optimistic Mets fans everywhere?
 It's actually sort of a holiday gift to Mack, given his great appreciation of "circus acts"!  What better gift???

Since Travis Taijeron was cast adrift and is now signed by the LA Dodgers, after essentially whiffing on his pretty brief audition with the Mets in September, it occurred to me that comparing Tim Tebow to him might be interesting - if to no one else, then to me. 
How does the progress to date of the second TT compare to the progress of the first TT?

Taijeron was drafted in the 18th round after 4 years of college ball, and started his career at age 22.  
Tebow did not play ball since high school, so he did not have even college ball to get his baseball skill set revved up, and unlike Travis, who had a brief break after college before he started his pro baseball career, Tebow's gap was more like 12 years.

Despite all the college ball time, Taijeron started out lower than Tebow, in Brooklyn, where he got about 200 plate appearances in 2011. 
With 4 years of college play, and 2011 rookie ball under his belt, Travis went into 2012 and split it between Savannah and St Lucie and hit .255/.362/.477 with 122 Ks in 112 games - not bad.

Tim Tebow, meanwhile, did have a brief junket in 2016 in the Arizona Fall League, much more limited in duration that Taijeron's 2011 inaugural stint with Brooklyn. 
His #'s in 2017 (.226/.309/.347) did lag Taijeron's first full season's totals, but as Tebow himself said, he was learning on the fly and making up for tons of lost time.  

I personally think he also hit the wall after being hot for most of July, going just .165 in August (and 18 for 127 - just .141 - from July 27 through August 31) - and slumps and dealing with a long season's grind are part of the learning process. 
Regardless, his box office appeal stayed strong thru his slump, as did his attitude.

He did bounce back to go 11 for 35 in his last 9 games of 2017, including 4 multi-hit games, which to me seems to be a good sign for him going into 2018.  He also had a lower K rate than Travis, as Tim fanned 126 times in 126 games, certainly not shabby given his accelerated assignment level.

After Travis' better 2012 than Tebow's 2017, it still took Taijeron 5 more years to get to the big leagues, so Tebow will really have to step it up in 2018, now that he is de-rusted player, to try to compress Taijeron's 5 years into a single year in 2018. 
I would imagine that his unannounced timetable target to make the Mets is September 2018.  We won't know until he actually gets out there in 2018, but the task of trying to get to the big leagues in such an accelerated fashion is certainly a daunting one.

To get to the bigs, he has one huge advantage that Taijeron does not: ask most Mets fans in mid 2017 who Taijeron was, and you'd get "Taijer-Who?"  

Taijer-Who is another term for no box office appeal....box office appeal-wise, as they were arriving in Queens, Dominic Smith had some, Amed Rosario certainly had some - but Tebow, at least on a short term basis, would have a significant big league box office impact.  And owners love the color green.

I am guessing that Tebow splits 2018 between Binghamton and Las Vegas.

If he stays healthy and gets in 125 games, I think he will hit .240/.320/.420, which will still not really have him major league ready, but which will represent significant progress nonetheless.  He'd then go to Spring Training in 2019 with a legitimate shot at a 5th outfielder position, perhaps still somewhat short on talent to even be a back up, but with continued box office appeal.

Time remains his challenge, as he will play 2018 as a 30 year old.  I am sure he is well aware of that challenge, and realizes that unlike other players, he will be pushed along if he is successful. I can't help but think of 2 former Mets of some impact, Tommie Agee, whose career ended when he had just turned 31, and Butch Huskey, whose career ended before he reached the age of 29.
One other person the lefty-hitting Tebow would be competing with over the next year or 2, perhaps, is newly acquired lefty hitting Zach Borenstein, a good power bat, but 3 inches and 40 pounds lighter than Tebow. 
Zach, as many have mentioned, is a Taijeron Clone, drafted the same year as Taijeron, both in the middle of the 40 round 2011 draft, and both with very similar offensive career numbers and whiff rate.  Zach, likely because he is a lefty facing far more righty pitchers than Travis faced lefties, struck out somewhat less than Taijeron while having greater speed (e.g., stole 17 of 19 in 2016 and 2017).  

Zach had a great 2013 in A ball, but sputtered, more or less, from 2014-16, before his strong AAA season with Reno.  Reno #'s are to be taken with a big, chunky grain of rock salt, similarly to Las Vegas #s.  Right now, to me, Zach might still be no more than a Kirk Nieuwenhuis Light, which is not a great thing.
May he, however, (if not on the Mets opening day roster) tear up Vegas the way that Taijeron never quite did.

To conclude, in this organization, there is not a lot in the outfield to slow Tebow's ascension, if he is truly good enough to ascend. 2018 will tell the tale.

Of course, the Yanks do not engage in what many would see as a sideshow - the Yanks instead acquired a player with muscular similarities to Travis Taijeron - but SO MUCH BETTER. 

A player named Giancarlo Stanton - maybe you've heard of him.  I was totally unfamiliar with him, so I had to look up his stats.  Not bad.  His 59 homers last year exceed the all-time Mets season record, but only barely - by 18.  In other words, 3 more homers per month, on average, than the current Mets record holders.
Continued happy holidays, y'all.
(Not So) Tiny Tim just chimed in, "God bless us, everyone."

Onward to 2018 we charge.

On an unrelated note, I saw 2 movies this week, Darkest Hour, and Churchill, both about the same man, one set at the time of the Dunkirk rescue operation, one at the time of Normandy.  Both terrific.  What a leader Sir Winston Churchill was.



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12/28/17

Hot Stove - 12-28-17

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The Mets continue to 'reach out' with their counterparts on the Pirates for the availability of 2B Josh Harrison. Harrison will play 2018, his last contracted year ($10.25mil + an option year), as a 30-year old.Last season, with 486 at-bats, he hit .272, 16-HR, 47-RBI




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Michael Friere - More or Less - Part One

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So, I was reminiscing over the holidays and for some odd reason I started thinking about the show "The Price is Right”.  Not so much Bob Barker, or his crazy cameo appearance on “Happy Gilmore” where he successfully fought Happy on the golf course, with the famous quote “the price is wrong, b#$th”!   No, I was more interested in the various games of chance that take place on the show (but the aforementioned movie scene was pretty entertaining).

For example, do you remember the game “Now or Then” where the contestants had to guess if a random grocery item’s displayed price was current or from the past?   Or, the game “More or Less” where the players were shown an item and a corresponding price that may or may not be correct.  The player had to guess if the displayed price was more or less then the real price that was concealed behind the visible price.  Oddly enough, these two games gave me an idea for a series of articles about our favorite team as we clear the holidays and head towards Spring Training.

The overall roster is largely complete, whether we like it or not.  It also contains certain players who will be much more influential (positive or negative) on the team’s performance then other members of the roster.  In a previous article, I used the term “foundation pieces” to describe these players as they will likely be the reason that the team wins, or fails to do so.  I will select a different player for each article and it will include their “career” statistical average(s).  

Once we have an average performance documented, we will play “more or less” using their career baseline as the "displayed price" (keep in mind that some players have more statistical data then others, so in cases where the major league data is lacking, I used their minor league numbers to produce a baseline).  In short, if our key players mostly produce “more” then expected, it will likely manifest itself into a successful season on the field and a possible return to the playoffs.

The first player we will look at is arguably our most important player;  Yoenis Cespedes

YC has played a total of six seasons in MLB, with teams in both the AL and the NL, so his statistical averages should be fairly reliable.  Not so surprisingly, over the course of his career, he has averaged 131 games played per year (including a low of 81 games last year).   If you throw out the 81 game aberration last year, his average games played for the other five seasons is 141 games, which is more reliable, but it also means that he has missed roughly 20 games per year.   

I spent extra time on the games played stat because his availability, or lack thereof, will have a huge impact on the offense.  The Mets are simply not the same team with YC out of the lineup.

I would sign up for his bat in the lineup for 141 games right now, to be honest.  Especially since he is getting older and seems to be more injury prone as the seasons pass by.

OK, so how about his average production?

If you take 87% of his 162 game average (141 divided by 162), you would arrive at a statistical line of;

28 HR - 89 RBI - 7 SB - 81 R

.278/.328/.498 (BA/OBP/SLG) or an OPS of .826

3.78 WAR (Wins Above Replacement Level)

So, do you think YC produces more or less then the listed offensive statistics and why?






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12/27/2017 Winter League Results | Carrillo Slumping Again, Long Balls Doom Albaladejo's Final Start, Stadium Fire Postpones LIDOM Playoffs

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Arizona Fall League
- Completed on November 18th
(Recap can be found here.) 


Mexican Pacific League
- Venados de Mazatlan 3 - 4 Yaquis de Obregon [11 innings]
- Charros de Jalisco 3 - 4 Tomateros de Culiacan
- Caneros de los Mochis 2 - 5 Mayos de Navojoa
  • C Juan Uriarte: 0 for 1
Aguilas de Mexicali 3 - 0 Naranjeros de Hermosillo
  • C Xorge Carrillo: 0 for 4, K [2 for his last 16 ABs, including 5 Ks]

Venezuelan Winter League
- Bravos de Margarita 2 - 1 Cardenales de Lara
- Tiburones de La Guaira 6 - 9 Tigres de Aragua
  • RHP Jonathan Albaladejo: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR Allowed, Loss(5-6)
  • LHP Kevin Canelon: 1.0 IP, 2 K
- Navegantes del Magallanes 7 - 8 Leones del Caracas [12 innings]
  • PR Walter Rasquin: Caught Stealing

Dominican Winter League Playoffs
- Tigres del Licey 9 - 4 Aguilas Cibaenas
Gigantes del Cibao vs Leones del Escogido [PPD- Stadium Fire] 

Side Note: Never a dull moment in the Caribbean Leagues....the Press Box at Quisqueya Stadium caught fire before the game causing the evacuation of all stadium personnel and the postponement of the game. The stadium is home to BOTH the Leones AND the Tigres so today's scheduled home game for the Tigres has already been postponed as well. It is currently unclear if the stadium will be ready for use by 12/29 when the Leones are scheduled to play at home again.



Roberto Clemente Puerto Rican League
Side Note: Regular Season will start January 5th, 2018.
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