5/7/17

Tom Brennan - THE TWENTY AND UNDERS

13 comments

Tom Brennan - THE TWENTY AND UNDERS



No, the TWENTY AND UNDERS is not a TV series.

Reese Kaplan recently commented on the plight of aging minor leaguers aspiring to become big leaguers - how tough it is for them to overcome the age stigma. 

I personally hope, for instance, that Paul Sewald is finally shaking off that older prospect stigma and will get a real chance to stay on the Mets in 2017.


On the flip side of the coin, it is kind of a big deal for a player to be 20 or under and playing in a full season league, and not in one of the rookie leagues that start in mid-June and end around labor Day. 

A full season pro ballplayer who at 20 or under is not old enough to buy a beer at a bar.  There can't be too many.


In fact, the full season A league Columbia Fireflies have 7 players that are 20 or under, one of whom is 18 and one of whom is 19.

(Of course, Ed Kranepool had a few pro at bats as a Mets' 17 year old, and hundreds of at bats in the majors before turning 20 - and then, there was19 year old sensation Dwight Gooden, as well as a pitcher with a brief major league career spanning, oh, 27 seasons who appeared as a 19 year old for the Mets in 2 games, named Nolan Ryan...one of those 2 games was the first of Ryan's 773 big league starts, by the way.  Matt Harvey, by comparison, has thrown 554 - innings).

Back from digressing about days gone by, the other 3 full season teams, St. Lucie, Binghamton, and Vegas, currently have no players that are 20 or under.  Sounds like age discrimination to me! 

So let's look at players that are 20 or under on the Fireflies.

Let's also be inclusive (in these inclusive times we live in) and step it up a year for the 3 higher minor league teams, and look at the only 5 players that are 21 and under on those three teams as well.

How the heck are these youngsters doing?


(IN ASCENDING AGE ORDER, BY TEAM)

IF ANDRES GIMINEZ (18 YEARS, 8 MONTHS) - the wunderkind actually got into several spring training games, and skipped right past short season ball into full season Columbia Fireflies baseball recently.  Five games thru Friday, and he is at .350/.458/.550. Wow.  My guess is we got a kid here who might - just might - make the majors before he turns 20 (he hits the big 2-0 after the 2018 season ends).

IF LUIS CARPIO (19 YEARS, 10 MONTHS) - for a guy who missed most of last year with an injury requiring surgery, the fact that he is in full season ball already is quite impressive. He is hitting .267 with just one error in 25 games in the field at SS and 2B.

C ALI SANCHEZ (20 YEARS, 4 MONTHS) - the man who seems to be able to gun 'em down like Jerry Grote has found hitting to be rather unfitting.  We may need to wait until he is 21 to see if the hitting portion of his game surfaces.  (Jerry, BTW got a September cup of coffee in the bigs just before he turned 21).  A recent 4 game hit streak had him up to .176.  He hardly strikes out, so his batted balls are starting to fall in.

OF DESMOND LINDSAY (20 YEARS, 4 MONTHS) - this first full season has been a struggle so far for Desmond (and it makes me nervous that his initials are DL, I don't know how the readers feel). He is hitting below .170, but with a disproportionate 32 Ks in 77 at bats. Athletic dude, and I believe the last 4 months of this season will show real progress.

P JAKE SIMON (20 YEARS, 5 MONTHS) - he is listed as active, but hadn't pitched an inning until he threw 3 innings in a 1-0 loss last night in a game Columbia got no hit in. (Just to be clear, Tim Tebow went hitless too).

OF JOSE MIGUEL MEDINA (20 YEARS, 7 MONTHS) - he has shown a solid stick since starting out in the DSL in 2014, and this year is hitting .258 in 66 at bats in Columbia.

P JORDAN HUMPHREYS (20 YEARS, 11 MONTHS) - best performer in the "under 21" category.  What will he do when he's 21, for Pete's sake?


ST. LUCIE METS

P JUSTIN DUNN (21 YEARS, 7 MONTHS) - the first round pick's last 2 starts before last night had shown improvement.  He was 1-2, 5.33 in 25 IP so far. But then he went 2 hellacious innings last night in which he allowed 9 hits and 8 runs.  Back to square 1, JD.

BINGHAMTON AA

UTIL DALE BURDICK (21 YEARS, 7 MONTHS) - this 40th rounder and career .183 is filling in for the Bingos.  Whether his average ever fills in remains to be seen.

LAS VEGAS AAA

SS AMED ROSARIO (21 YEARS, 6 MONTHS) - the highest ranked, and arguably best performing, prospect in the Mets system is also the youngest prospect in the top 3 leagues.  The question is not if Rosario (flirting with .400 in AAA until the last few days) will be called up to the Mets; the question is "how soon?"

1B DOMINIC SMITH (21 YEARS, 11 MONTHS) - he has been around so long, we forget how young he is compared to the rest of the organization and to AAA players in general.  Rest assured, he is hitting in the low .300s for Vegas and on his way to the big leagues later this year, barring injury, assuming they feel he is ready enough to be the opening day 1B in 2018.

OF ARNALDO BERRIOS (21 YEARS, 4 MONTHS) - apparently due to a shortage of Mets minor league outfielders, and not wanting to screw around with OF assignments on the other 3 full season teams, Vegas recently added Berrios to its roster.  His last pro action was 4 levels lower in Brooklyn in short season ball in 2016, where he hit a very weak .185 in 124 at bats, so he is not in AAA right now on merit, but due to need.  Through May 4, he is 1 for 9 with 6 Ks with Vegas, showing he is in over his head. 

ONE FINAL NOTE: one of the best under 21's not listed above is Tom Szapucki:

The "ofSzapper" dazzled in short season ball last year, but the now 20 year, 11 month old lefty has not pitched this year yet due to a shoulder impingement.  David Wright and Bill Clinton say they feel your pain, Mr. Szapucki.  Kidding aside, we hope we see you soon firing BBs from the mound.




13 comments:

Mack Ade said...

Happy Sunday Tom -

I do know about you but I consider the entire results of the Mets system this season disappointing. Especially our so called 'prospects'.

Oh, there are exceptions like Rosario, but, overall, I give it all a meh rating.

Especially the starters.

Reese Kaplan said...

That could be said if most if the squad in Queens, too.

Gary Seagren said...

Baseball sure is a funny game. Were pitching like the 62' Mets but hitting the cover off the ball ...who would have ever thought it possible. Anyone else feel like were 3 or 4 months into the season instead of barely over 1? Also could it be more ironic that Sandy was in the booth talking about, what else, injuries and then Cabrera goes down and probably for at least the 100th time this season I'm saying to myself: you just can't make this stuff up.

Thomas Brennan said...

I injured my lats laughing at all these crazy injuries. When the Mets won last night, Cabrera tried to give it 2 thumbs up, but he was afraid of hurting the good thumb, so he decided against it.

Justin Dunn is the poster boy of prospects' blasé play in 2017....27 innings, 28 runs allowed, 40 hits, 13 walks, only 16 Ks, just ugly. I would demote him to Columbia, in a league where hitters are scarce, and lower the bar, but one would think that a 1st round pick with as much college as he had should have been able to handle FSL hitters far better than he has.

How are our LI pitchers doing? Dunn - poorly; Kay - see you and an innings limit in 2018; Matz - see you in June? Maybe it's the local water?

Thomas Brennan said...

Besides Rosario and Smith, it appears the cream of the hitters' crop is Pat Mazeika.

He has played, since turning pro, the equivalent of a full MLB season, 157 games. How's he doing? Superb.

.336, 51 doubles, 13 homers, 109 RBIs. And the good news? He is doing his best hitting in 2017 in St Lucie:

26 G, 27 RBI, .374/.433/.648.

Will we see him in the majors in mid-2018? My vote is YES.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I do not have any proof for this theory, but there is a reason most of the pitching talent goes to school and lives in either Florida or California... the weather.

Check how many rain/cold/snow outs there have been this season in Binghamton... try pitching in that weather.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, Jenny Mejia pitched in winter weather in Buffalo in late April and needed TJS right afterwards.

Thomas Brennan said...

Conlon was brilliant in AA last night - I wonder if he could get thrust into a starter's role for the Mets soon. Beavan (if that is his name) got shelled last night in his Vegas debut.

Adam Smith said...

The early returns on the system have been mixed. Dunn and Lindsay have struggled mightily. Let's hope it's just youth and inexperience. And of course Szapucki's (sp?) injury is worrisome. But Giminez looks like the big time prospect they were hoping for at a level above where he was expected to be. Carpio, who has a high ceiling, is getting it together after missing a year, despite his youth. Mazeika certainly looks like he's taken another step forward and, if he can stick at catcher, might just turn into a top 25 prospect in baseball. Rosario and Smith look like future big league fixtures, a number of the young pitchers are making it happen in games. Luis Guillorme has parlayed the most bad-ass bat catch I've ever seen into a season in which his own bat is sending balls flying (and his defense, from the highlights I've seen, continues to be other-worldly). And there have been a few nice surprises, like Dimino, who does nothing but hit, seems to be able to play multiple positions, and can steal a base or two, which is a nice bonus for a 1B/C (particularly since he doesn't look to have much power). Even Champ Stuart, he of the three elite to above average tools, has cut down on the K's to the point that he'll be an interesting follow all season. It's early, but the news from the farm is not all bad. I wonder how many legs would trade their top five 21 and under prospects for Rosario, Smith, Giminez, Carpio and Humphreys. I'm guessing quite a few.

Adam Smith said...

And yeah, I almost forgot, Jhoan Urena, whose bat they've always loved, despite a couple of tough years, looks for all the world like he's figured out this hitting thing. He and Mazeika should find themselves tested at AA sooner than later. Defense could be an issue for them both, and neither might be playing their current positions at higher levels, but if they can continue their offensive production at Bingo, then Bingo.

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

Let's not forget that Mazeika could be the potential Mets... first baseman.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mazeika hits, hits with power, great on base.Ding, ding, ding !

Thomas Brennan said...

Dag nab it! Dale Burdick with the game of his career today, with 2 homers among his 3 hits! Run with it, Dale!

Mack's Mets © 2012