Talkin’ Baseball – Question 3 - Which Mets Minor Leaguer Will Provide the Most Unexpected Performance- Both Good and Bad?


Question - Which Mets minor leaguer will provide the most unexpected performance- both good and bad?

Reese Kaplan

Most unexpected performances - Tim Tebow will flash enough power that people begin to think his presence is more than a marketing gimmick.  It's not beyond the realm of possibility for him to crush over 20 HRs.  He's not as bad as he looked today and if he sticks around against the lower tiers of the minors where a lot of meatballs are thrown right down the middle, he may feast. Of course, it's unlikely to translate at the higher levels. On the negative side, I think Wuilmer Becerra is not going to get over the hump due either to injuries or opposing teams learning to exploit his approach with the bat.

Tom Brennan - 

       Hmmm...which minor leaguer will post the most unexpected performance...first the good:

         Tim Tebow - I just think little signs like a .405 on base % in his last 10 Arizona Fall League games, something no one would have expected, plus hitting 4 for 17 against major league and near major league pitching thru March 18 tells me this guy is gonna be unexpectedly good.

         Some may feel it to be unfair that I'd pick Tebow as the guy to exceed expectations.  So let me add one more traditional candidate for the "Will Exceed Expectations" crown:.. Kevin Kacsmarski.  I am very high on his potential as a hitter. Double K is 6 for 10 this spring thru March 20, a sign of things to come.  I'd not be surprised if he hits .350 this year.

        Of the regular minor leaguers, I think Desmond Lindsay will defy expectations and have a huge season in 2017 offensively.

         Who might have an unexpectedly bad year?  I hate to peg anyone with that, but I am guessing that the recently weak performing  LJ Mazzilli and Jhoan Urena will continue to disappoint to the downside, but I would not be surprised if they both proved me 100% wrong.  Desperation can be quite the motivator.


           Judging from the wording of the question, I assume neither one of the players have to look good or bad at the major league level.

           That being said…

I expect pitcher Thomas Szapucki to blow through Columbia and finish the year pitching as the SP1 in St. Lucie. Szapucki has a 95+ fastball and a hammer curve that simply is unhittable. 

As for players going the wrong way, it’s a tie between OF Ty Kelly and P Sean Gilmartin. I see this being the last year either one of these guys will be in the Mets organization.

Eddie Corona - 

                 The biggest obstacles the Minor leagues has is its Vegas home... to which I believe P.J. Conlon will have a rough season. Vegas is not kind for pitchers and especially tough if you do not have a Plus Fastball... P.J. will need pin point control to avoid the Vegas sting... But as we know the stats do not define the Pitcher when playing in Vegas...

David Rubin - 

   It's always impossible to predict the future, but it's even harder to predict which team's prospects are going to become major leaguers, let alone which ones are going to perform well or poorly. However, it's also a favorite exercise of baseball lovers everywhere, and so my thoughts about whom will surprise, good and bad, is as follows:

                   Philip Evans will provide the most unexpected "good" performance, even off of a great offensive showing last year, as he proves to the Mets to be a fitting replacement for David Wright at third base. No one thought of him as a Third Baseman when drafted- he was going to be our "shortstop of the future" if all went according to plan. We all know it usually doesn't, and it's taken far longer for Evans to mature in the system then was originally expected. And yet, here he is, showing the ability to handle the hot corner defensively, showing that his bat can handle big league pitching and coming at a time when. most probably, our Captain is just about finished as a great, let alone useful major league third baseman.

                   Kevin Plawecki has greatly improved his defense as a catcher during his years in the Mets system, so much so that he's become an excellent pitch-framer. He was originally thought to be the "good hit, medicore defense" catcher, but he's shown that he's more then capable behind the dish. However, his offense hasn't come together as originally thought, and, in fact, his failure to perform well in the bigs caused the Mets to sign Rene Rivera off of waivers from the Rays to back up Travis d'Arnaud. Kevin still has the talent to be a competent (or better) hitter- he just seems to be one of those players who needs the proverbial "change of scenery" in order to reach the heights expected of him. He's my choice to disappoint this season in Vegas, causing the team to promote Nido earlier than expected and forcing the team to package Plawecki in a mid-season deal. I hope that I'm wrong- I think Plawecki's got the talent to be a starting catcher somewhere; I just don't think it's going to be with the Mets.

Richard Jones - 

On my recent trip to Florida Michael Conforto became my nephew's favorite player after two signed baseballs and a signed Conforto bat. Like my feelings about Curtis Granderson, being a nice guy shouldn't get you a starting position in the Mets outfield.

In most cases I've been pretty satisfied with how Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have handled the Mets in recent years. How they've handled the outfield this year is an exception. Early in the season last year Conforto was unfairly drawing comparisons to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. His strong start last year did give us a glimpse of how valuable he could become to this organization not only for this year but years to come.

Granderson and Jay Bruce likely have no future with the Mets following 2017. Conforto does. The Mets are in a win now mode and I get that. However,  Conforto should have been plan "A" with Bruce or Granderson needing to out play him for a starting role. Announcing Bruce as the starting right fielder before the first day of Spring Training made no sense unless you're trying to justify a contract rather than winning ball games.

In a perfect world they all get off to a strong start and Bruce's or Granderson's stock goes up and you're able to package one of them with someone like Seth Lugo for someone like Jonathan Lucroy. Conforto is much to valuable to the Mets future to be mishandled the way he has.

Jack Flynn - 

          Crystal Balls are always at their foggiest in March. It's dangerous to try to predict anything too far into the future. But if we are going to look at unexpected performances (bad category), I do not think it is too much of a stretch to see Dominic Smith falling into bad habits in the thin air of Las Vegas, especially if he is hearing the whispers about not hitting for enough power as a first baseman. Cashman Field is a launching pad, of course, and I am worried that Smith will alter his swing to try to hit 30 home runs in the desert air. There's nothing inherently wrong with home runs, of course, but if they come at the expense of, say, 60 points in batting average and on-base percentage, then the power uptick will be a Pyhrric victory.

                    On the brighter side of things, I have high expectations for Tomas Nido in 2017. Double-A baseball is what separates the wheat from the chaff, so Nido will likely be plying his trade on a proving ground in Binghamton this season. Prospect mavens are beginning to take notice (or rather, prospect mavens are beginning to catch up to Mack in terms of taking notice!), so I understand that Nido is a bit of trendy pick right now. But I just think it's easy to forget that catchers - especially high school catchers - take longer to develop and so any skepticism surrounding his breakout season in St. Lucie last year could be misplaced.

Richard Herr

                       I've really struggled and struggled trying to figure this one out. I didn't understand why I couldn't come up with any surprises that did well. Then I realized what the problem was. I'm such an optimist about the minor leaguers, that if they do astoundingly well, I just figure of course they did that. That's what I expected of them. Then trying to figure out someone who was going to fail? That's unthinkable because they're going to do something like that. So, I really had to look around, but I did come up with something. The minor leaguers I think are going to outdo expectations are: Xorge Carillo and Luis Guillorme. And, doubling down on that Luis , because he did such a good job catching a bat, became a headline act at the circus as a juggler.

Gary McDonald-

The most unexpected performance on the good side will be David Thompson.  He had a breakout year last season as a run producer and I look for him to build on that and establish himself as a big time prospect. Honorable mention to Peter Alonso.  On the bad side is Ali Sanchez just not impressed with what I saw of him.

Casey Wentworth

            Crystal balls, I do not have here. However, let me say this...

Taking into full perspective the later portion of the 2016 NY Mets season, a handful of rookies literally kept this entire Mets team alive and in the pennant race immediately following serious injury to key starting players. Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Brandon Nimmo, Gabriel Ynoa, and Gavin Cecchini all came up unexpectedly and delivered hugely (as our own President would say.). It wasn't just their obvious talents and abilities either, it was their drive, enthusiasm, and determination to contribute when called upon here, which really amazed us all. And do not forget Jose Reyes here with all this too. You have to understand just one thing regarding this phenomena, without these six NY Mets players, there is no playoffs for us in 2016. None.

I have one problem at current, I am not really certain who from the list above actually qualifies this 2017, as rookies? So, let me assume all do, for a moment. Lugo and  Gsellman are to me, better and right now more vital to this team than even Matt Harvey and Zachary Wheeler are. Yes, the injury thing. I am counting more on the former two starters than the later two. Both Lugo and Gsellman stepped up (hugely) upon their arrivals here to these NY Mets. From this point on, their star only rises. I am a huge Nimmo and Cecchini fan. I do not have a problem with both starting for this team beginning in 2017 (as apparently the Mets brass does) and do not support conclusions that other minor league players in this franchise (down below) are somehow automatic heir apparent  within this NY Mets lineup once they have fully arrived. Things happen, and a team could miss seeing what they have here now in talent completely. And it could be very, very good to see these players now. I do not shy away from such minor risk.

The NY Mets can favor certain players, it's normal, and all teams do because management is definitively human and thank God for that. However, there comes a time when management really does need to re-evaluate its own talent here and even consider upgrading it, especially players on its bench. The reason is simple, players having been here for four or five seasons are easy to evaluate based solely upon their own playing record. Players with four and five season track records here do have history, and to somehow expect more than that history from them now, well, it simply makes no real sense to me. I am sorry. The other side of this re-evaluation thing is that after four or five seasons of MLB exposure, other teams may know of them and see the value of acquiring them for their own team. In other words, these players may have trade value at this specific juncture that could greatly benefit this franchise via trading them now. This is the time in a player's career that you consider such trade ideas.

Now for what was being asked...

The most unexpected good performance overall from a minor league Met, I have three and in order to me: 1. Brandon Nimmo 2. Gavin Cecchini 3. Dave Roseboom Why you ask? Simple, no one actually expects (right now) any of them to contribute very much in 2017, but (to me) they easily could. If Gsellman and Lugo are in fact still considered "rookies", they are expected to do really well again this season based solely upon their own 2016 outstanding performances, which to me was absolutely no fluke.

The most unexpected bad performance overall from a minor league Met: 1. Amed Rosario, who could easily be rushed up here (second half) for some injury type of reason, and perhaps a little bit too soon for him. He's had basically one season of hitting well in the minors to his credit, and already he is being heralded as the next Reyes, Ozzie Smith, or Bill Russell . Silly, isn't it. Live and learn, eat slowly, and pass the Leprechaun.


Thomas Brennan said...

Great observations, and a fascinating minor league season awaits us.

Hobie said...

Tebow doing better than expected is like Carly Fiorina getting a bump in the Iowa Caucuses. I doesn't matter.
And talent-confirming years by Szap, Kacz, Maz (-elka, not -illi), Des, Dunn, Alonso, Thompson, etc. will not surprise me in the least, nor I expect many if any of the Mack-faithfull.

So here are two guys who will make enough noise in Las Vegas to make you forget Ty Kelly, Eric Campbell & Juan Centeno: Xeorge Carrillo & Victor Cruz.

Sadly I agree with Reese & Jack Flynn that there is danger, Will Robonson, in the air for Wullmer Becerra & Dominic Smith. For the latter it is that he go so Travis Taijeron on us that we'll really miss the Tony Gwynn he could be. For the former, it's the danger of proving why he was a throw-in.

Thomas Brennan said...

But Hobie, did you (as Trump once said) ever look at her face? He on the other hand is a heart throb for the ladies. And I agree with Reese, he'll hit 20 + homers - this year, if he stays healthy. I assume Alonzo and Lindsay are in Columbia with him...for that caliber of pitching, they will be hard to pitch through that trio unscathed.

Mack's Mets © 2012