Posted by Mack Ade at 10:00 AM
First off, back to an earlier article on Mack's Mets by Tom Brennan.
His commentary regarding the trade of Gabriel Ynoa was basically that he did not think that this 23 year old starter would ever pan out to be anything more than proverbial flash in the pan MIke Pelfrey. Two things here. Mike was a setup man and not a starting pitcher in my opinion. I do not understand why they did not at least try him there seriously. Mike's stuff to me, was strictly set-up and not in long enough consistent duration to start. It seemed most obvious at the time. Now Ynoa, he is 23 years old at current. When called up to the Mets in 2016, he actually increased his ratio of strikeouts to innings, albeit in over only an 18 innings period of time. Gabriel did have seventeen strikeouts here with the Mets in 2016, which was far better a ratio than he had compiled down in the MiLB. My point on Ynoa is simply this, he is young, raw, and untested here in the majors. I liked what I saw of him in his brief stint here last season with these NY Mets. His mechanics were smooth, his leg stride long, and his arm angle and his fastball impressive. I just do not feel that at this time anyone currently on this planet earth can definitively forecast Ynoa out from this early on point of his entry into the major leagues. He is a work-in-progress and I wish him the very best wherever he goes. I would have hung onto him, absolutely. Sold someone else.
Secondly, the bench of five for 2017...
Some quick "Casey style" analysis here, if you don't mind. What does Wilmer Flores have that T.J. Rivera does not, besides being a little bit younger than T.J.? Two players whom to me have had every single opportunity to prove themselves out here are infielder Flores and outfielder Juan Lagares. How many opportunities do they get here with the NY Mets to showcase their talent? I like both players, Wilmer sometimes reminds me of a big league starter and Juan, well, he is Endy Chavez reincarnate to me. However, I sometimes think that it might just be wiser now (at this juncture) to give other people their shot at this too, namely all purpose outfielder Brandon Nimmo, four infield position Rivera, and pinch hitter power man Travis Taijeron, whom I call "The Sleeper." So with that all said, my five man bench would be: on the infield Rivera, who may just turn out to be another Daniel Murphy at the plate. This would not surprise me because what I saw of T.J. here in 2016 had Murph written all over it. T.J. already has the eye coordination and pitch discrimination needed, the batting mechanics as well. For the outfield bench role, simple, Curtis Granderson. Curtis is not really an ideal leadoff man and seldom hits for the kind of a batting average that a team would want leading off. But Curtis's true value now (at this point of his own career) is that he can play all three outfield positions well, and he can make things happen at the plate with his power stroke still being intact. So right there, you have two bench players (Rivera and Granderson) who have every single field position covered between them, except at catcher. My third and fourth utility players would be catcher Rene Rivera (as we await either Kevin Plawecki or Tomas Nido to come into their respective own) and pinch hitter Taijeron, "The Sleeper." Travis could also play some corner outfield if the case need be, and maybe if allowed also, play some backup first base or even third base.
So, you are probably wondering by now, who would my fifth utility player suggestion be? Simple, it is David Wright. I'd put the Captain on the slow train back to himself beginning Opening Day 2017. He'd also be my First Base Coach, or something similar to that in role responsibility, if he was not physically ready to be a utility player. I would keep David around for certain.
So what becomes of NY Mets Flores and Lagares? Probably trade them both. Try to send each one to a team where they will have a real opportunity to start. Then hopefully get back from this trade some MiLB A and AA level prospects to help restock our own MiLB system here with the Mets.
One last point here...
I understand by things Manager Terry Collins had said last season, "Having a homerun hitting team is optimal for offense" and then too, "We do not run." However, I might strongly suggest to Manager Collins that by getting the top two batters on base first, this might even be better way of scoring runs than having an eight player battery of only homerun hitters. After all, this is precisely how the MLB game has been played since its very inception. This is why I have suggeste3d now for some time into the starting eight field players a combination of this fact and younger players that bring youth and zeal into this lineup.
1B Duda 2B Walker SS Cecchini 3B Cabrera LF Cespedes CF Nimmo RF Bruce C Trade Acquisition using Travis, Juan, and Wilmer as trade-bait
Bench: INF T.J. Rivera, OF Granderson, C R. Rivera, PH Taijeron, Captain D. Wright.