Mack Ade – “Stuff” – Las Vegas, Minors Ranking


Good morning.

Marc Edelman wrote a very good article on the Las Vegas 51s in Forbes Magazine earlier this month.

He pointed out the two reasons having this team as a AAA affiliate just doesn’t work. First, Las Vegas is 2,200 miles away from New York and a whole days is wasted getting someone up from Vegas to the parent team to fill in during an emergency situation. The other, as we all know is, the lack of the air that we breath, which can create a situation that hitters hit better than they really are and pitchers look like they pitch from hunger.

As Edelman points out - 

By having your pitchers throw regularly under conditions so different from both Major League ballparks, it is difficult for the team to assess their performance.  For example, two former Mets pitchers who absolutely dominated AA-ball and then were traded away after struggling in AAA are Collin McHugh and Matt Bowman.  Once leaving the Pacific Coast League, both pitchers reverted to their AA form in the Major Leagues.

McHugh went 9-starts, 2.87 for Las Vegas in 2013, followed by 9-starts, 4.69 for Colorado Springs in the same year. In 2014, for Oklahoma City, he went 5-games, 3.79.

Bowman pitched in seven games for Vegas in 2014 (3.47) and then started 26 of 28 games for the 51s the following year (2015: 5.53). Last year, he relieved in 59 games for the parent St. Louis Cardinals (3.46).

We’ve discussed many  times what Edelman touched on next -

If the Mets are serious about breaking their thirty-year World Series drought, moving their AAA affiliate back to a local city within the International League such as Norfolk or even Rochester would make a very reasonable step.
We know things aren’t this simple in the minor leagues world.

Keith Law recently ranked the Mets as the 7th top minor league systems in baseball. This was up from his 16th ranking a year ago. I assume this comes from a combination of recent signed talent, like Andres Gimenez and Justin Dunn, but also improved seasonal results from players like Amed Rosario and Tomas Nido.
I agree with Law that the Mets pipeline has improved in talent, but, in my opinion, seventh might be a little high. Hitting .350 in the DSL league isn’t the same as doing it in Flushing.

What both Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo did last season proves to all us pundits that you just don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens. No one predicted the increase of velocity Gsellman showed and I’m sure there are teams… cough… Nats… throughout the league asking for someone to test this guy.

I like what I see in Gimenez, Nido, P.J. Conlon, David Thompson, Wuilmer Beccera, and Desmond Lindsay, but, as of right now, only Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith can be considered A- to A type prospects.

My prediction?

Over time, Rosario and Lindsay will become stars. 

Others might, but it simply is too early to predict. 

Gsellman and Lugo have already proved there’s a place for them on future Mets teams. 

I am sure Smith will hit .300+ in Vegas, but will his new 800-LB body produce more power without losing any defensive skills at first base.

I like Beccera, but he basically was a designated hitter last season. We need to see if he can play in the outfield at a major league level.

Thompson has the potential to lead the National League in runs batted in, but, right now, he’s a man without a position. I would bump him to Binghamton and play him every day at third to continue the process of growth there.

I also would promote Nido to AA and see how his bat holds up there.

I would continue the progress of Conlon and make him the SP1 in St. Lucie on opening day.

I’ll get heat here, but I would start both Dunn and Anthony Kay in the Columbia rotation. They are big boy college guys and they can handle it.

I would (sadly) make Thomas Szapucki the SP1 in Brooklyn due to the logjam of starters in Columbia.

And I would slow pace the Dominican shortstops (Gimenez and Gregory Guerrero). 


Thomas Brennan said...

Kay will likely miss 2017 after surgery, so Szapucki will dominate Columbia, then St Lucie, as will Dunn. Conlon dominated Lucie, I have to push him to Binghamton. Let's hope Dom Smith finds Weight Watchers. Good synopsis I mostly agree with, Mack.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I missed the Kay surgery story... what was it for?

Gary Seagren said...

I am I crazy or does this all add up to a promising future and dare I say kudo's to the front office...can't believe I just said that and remember Conforto, Nimmo and Cecchini were SA drafted players. There's reason to believe in the next few years we could see Rosario, Smith, Nimmo, Conlon, Szapucki, Nido and Dunn and that's not including Lugo, Gsellman who performed so well last year. To be fair I've been as critical as anyone about the FO but I have to give them props here because 7th on Keith Law's minor league systems prospect list is impressive period. I can already hear Mack saying "hey they haven't played an inning yet in the big's" but lets stay positive here. Add to this more available funds for a key FA or two next year with Walker, Granderson, Bruce and probably Duda's contract's off the books and the haul of prospects hopefully from trading the Dark Knight. To stay with this optimistic pre-season trend I can't help but think of that immortal band Kimbuk 3: "The Futures so Bright I have to Wear Shades" .....so are you all on board?

Gary Seagren said...

Kay had TJ surgery I thought

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

(miss your emails with questions for my 'Q and A' posts)

There are a lot of good minor league players in the Mets pipeline. The first wave of these were pitchers who the majority of which were dealt off to fill in the parent team for a pennant run two years ago.

The difference now is the majority of the talent seems to have bats in their hands.

I too loike what I see, but you know me... show it to me in Queens. Case in point would be Conforto who still has not proved to any of us that he is a legitimate major league starter.

Hobie said...

Whining over the Las Vegas affiliation is useless. Getting a PDC signed with a more geographically desirable Minor League club is not a "just do it" financial action. The Mets could purchase an IntL club (I had hoped they'd buy the Charlotte franchise a few years back when it was dying) of course. But that was another "just do it" fantasy (trade for Trout, Harper & Stanton).

Zozo said...

Wow Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura both died in a car crash? This is so sad.

Zozo said...

I saw a before and after picture the other day of Smith on another site and he lost a whole lotta of weight this offseason.

Thomas Brennan said...

Thank goodness. Smith at barely 6 feet tall and 250 is not a success formula.

Thomas Brennan said...

Kay had Tommy John surgery in early Ocy. Certainly he won't pitch until the instructional league after 2017 at the earliest

Gary Seagren said...

Mack with the season coming up I'll send some questions

Reese Kaplan said...

It makes you wonder what the price is having a franchise affilitate in Las Vegas vs. what the price is having one closer to home. As we know, with this team it's always about money.

Hobie said...

A bunch of IL PDC's expire in 2018 (as does the the Mets/LV one): Buffalo (TOR); Columbus (CLE); Durham (TB); L'ville (CIN); Norfolk (BAL); Pawtuckit! Rochester (MIN); Scranton (NYY); Syracuse (WAS) and Toledo (DET).

None of them are owned by the MLB affiliate (only the Gwinnet Braves are in the IL--I thought Pawtuckit was, but it is not). I don't think it's just a bidding game to get a PDC, however; the Tides were bought by Ken Young who owns a number of Oriole affiliates and likes it that way.

Robb said...

Hobie, you can scratch, buffalo, scranton, pawtuckit off those lists as both team and affiliates love each other. syracuse, durham would make the most sense given the options. I thought when the mets were in new orleans it might have been the best of both world, but nashville would have been great too. at least vegas to ny happens 30 times a day and vice versa

Anonymous said...

Promise the Syracuse/Durham tebow for 2 years and we in.

Mack's Mets © 2012