Mack’s Morning Report – 6-15 - 2018 First Base, Scouting Article


Good morning.

The construction of my 2018 Mets continue…

Let’s review.

So far, I have:

            SP: (5) – Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Lucas Giolito
            RP (4) – Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Jerry Blevens
            IF (3) – Manny Machado, Amed Rosario, Wilmer Flores
            OF (2) – Michael Conforto, Yoenes Cespedes
            C (2) – Jonathan Lucroy/Carson Kelly, Travis d’Arnaud, Rene Rivera (UT)

16 players… 9 to go… 3 outfielders, a first baseman, 2 infielders, and 3 more relief pitchers.

Let’s move on to first base –

            Current Options –

Lucas Duda – I appreciate everything that Duda is doing this year. I really do and I hope he stays hot right into the Hot Stove all-star season. That being said, I don’t see any reason to keep him around for my 2018 season. I hope I could use him to spice up either my Lucas Giolito or Manny Machado deal. If not, I will part company and thank him for his service. Still one if the prettiest swings I have ever seen in Brooklyn.

Jay Bruce – Resigning Bruce for two more years and putting him on first base is making more sense every day. He’s proven to me that he can still hit 30+ home runs in a season and he didn’t embarrass himself at the bag when we asked him to play there with very little prep time. I’m going say he’s my early favorite here, but I will continue my research here to look for a stronger candidate.

Dominic Smith – I’ve mentioned this before. I just haven’t seen enough out of Smith to turn over first to him. Yet. I sure hope I get the chance to see him play in Queens at some point this season. My guess is I won’t, but we will have to see. The perfect situation for me is to have Duda moved for a chip and Smith to finish 2017 at first.

            ‘Other’ Free Agents

Carlos Santana – Big name guy with far less results this year. Through 6-5, hitting .227 with only 7-HRs. Slugging% down from .498 to .407. OPS down from 867 to 730. Playing 2017 at 31-years old, being paid $12mil, and splitting time as a designated hitter. He also can’t even play The Star Spangled  Banner correctly.

Is there something I’m missing here?

Recommendation: Pass

Eric Hosmer – Hosmer never has become the kind of player he was projected to be, but that doesn’t mean he’s not better than what we currently have. He has tremendous leadership skills, a decent run producer, and an all-star defensive catcher. He’s coming off a 25-HR/104-RBI season last year and, as of 6-6, is batting .308 this season. Will only be 28 next season. And, he does windows.
2017 salary:  $12.25mil

Matt Holliday – I’m not going to spend any time here. There’s no place for Holliday on my team.

Recommendation: Pass

Trade candidates

              We will approach this the same way we did with the catchers. Here are the guys that are ‘doing well’ this year in the majors, some contract information regarding them, and possible blocked guppies (research by John Sickels) in their pipeline –

                        Ryan Zimmerman – Washington – 32/yrs. - .365/.410/.690/1.100 – contract through 2019, team option 2020

                                    Blocked guppies - none

Eric Hosmer – Kansas City – 27/yrs. - .315/.366      /.457/.822 - $12.25mil-2017, FA next season – the Royals do not look like they are heading into the playoffs this year so Hosmer could be one of many summer sell-off candidates that could develop.

                                    Blocked guppies

Ryan O’Hearn, 1B, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, hit .275/.351/.478 with 22 homers, 56 walks, 158 strikeouts in 502 at-bats in High-A and Double-A; left-side power, 55 or 60-grade; can draw walks but a lot of swing-and-miss in his game right now; had more of a pure hitter reputation in past seasons and is not a strict pull hitter; has shown more power recently but batting average/OBP could be issues in majors; glove adequate but not great; ETA late 2017.

Samir Duenez, 1B, Grade C+: Age 20, from Venezuela, hit combined .284/.336/.438 with 33 doubles, 13 homers, 100 RBI, 39 walks, 86 strikeouts, 26 steals between Low-A/High-A/Double-A; was just placed on 40-man roster; limited to first base and is a mediocre defender at the position but he’s young and has shown some sock with the bat. ETA: 2019.

                        Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona – 29/yrs. - .305/.432/.567/.999 – contract through 2018, team option 2019 -

                                    Blocked guppies - none

                        Mark Reynolds – Colorado – 33/yrs. - .299/.368/.564/.932 – free agent next season -

                                    Blocked guppies

Ryan McMahon, 3B-1B, Grade B/B-: Age 22, second round pick in 2013, hit .242/.325/.399 with 12 homers, 55 walks, 161 strikeouts in 466 at-bats in Double-A; tough call here, left-handed power that made him so attractive is still here but contact problems were severe last year and defense has been disappointing, enough to move him to first base even without being blocked by Nolan Arenado; on the right day still shows an electric bat and he is young enough to make needed adjustments but parallels to Ian Stewart can’t be ignored. ETA 2018.

                        Justin Bour – Miami – 29/yrs. - .295/.369/.589/.959 – pre-arb/2017 – team control through 2020 -

                                    Blocked guppies - none

                        Joe Mauer – Minny – 34/yrs. -  .290/.360/.415/.775 – free agent in 2019 –

                                    Blocked guppies

Lewin Diaz, 1B, Grade B-: Signed for $1,400,000 out of Dominican Republic in 2013, scuffled in ’14 and ’15 but broke out in ’16, hitting .310/.353/.575 with nine homers, 12 walks, 35 strikeouts in 174 at-bats in Appy League; poor defender and lacks speed but 60/65 power from the left side and ability to make contact stand out, age 19; long way off but high ceiling, ETA: 2021.

                        Danny Valencia – Seattle – 32/yrs. - .283/.346/.439/.785 - $5.5mil/2017 – FA next season

                                    Blocked guppies

Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Grade B-/B: Age 24, acquired from Cubs in July trade; hit .292/.417/.505 with 23 homers, 97 walks, 101 strikeouts in 459 at-bats in Triple-A, went 1-for-12 in the majors; despite 6-0, 250 build he is not a brute-force slugger; he has legitimate pure hitting skills with advanced strike zone judgment and a clean swing to go with his 60-grade power; limited to first base; he doesn’t make many errors but lacks range; should hit enough to be a long-term DH if he loses too much glove as he gets older. ETA 2017.

                        Justin Smoak – Toronto – 30/yrs. - .283/.347/.565/.913 – contract through 2018, team option in 2019 –

                                    Blocked gupplies

Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Grade B: Age 21, 30th round pick in 2013; hit .297/.387/.530 with 23 homers, 63 walks, 92 strikeouts in 438 at-bats in Double-A; you will likely find him behind Anthony Alford on every other Blue Jays prospect list (including this one) but Tellez is actually younger and closer to the majors and I’m more confident in his bat; power, plate discipline, and under-rated pure hitting ability; lacks range at first but not a butcher and catches what he gets to, though may be a DH long-term; projects as .270-hitter with above-average OBP and SLG, could be consistent run producer. ETA 2018.

Conclusion on the ‘trade candidates’ – there are none. The only team that have attractive looking guppies also are teams that have their current first baseman facing expired contracts. The Mets will have to solve this either through their current pipeline or via free agency.

So, here’s what I am going to do –

1.     I’m going to go balls to the wall for the services of Hosmer. I’m looking at a 4-year, $76-mil deal, with a team option for a 5th year at $20mil.

2.     If that doesn’t work, I would consider an offer to Bruce for a 2 year deal at $30mil, but there is a catch here. I can’t do this deal until after Hosmer turns me down and I can’t begin the Hosmer negotiations until after the season is over. This takes away any opportunity I would have to deal off Bruce this summer.

I then have to judge Bruce’s ‘current’ future value only as a possible 2-year right fielder and I can’t do that. I have to throw his name into the summer pot and move on.

3.     Lastly, I would turn back to Smith and tell him to grab his first baseman mitt and get on the plane.

Adding to my 2018 team:

            1B (1) – Eric Hosmer/Dominic Smith

And lastly - 

    A great scouting story:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/sports/baseball/give-baseball-scouts-a-perfect-80-for-tradition.html?_r=0  


Thomas Brennan said...

I'd be happy with Hosmer. Smith himself recently said he has things to still improve upon - I am not as sure as I was before the 2017 season that he would be ready to assume the mantle of first baseman on OD 2018.

I heard Cecchini and not Rosario will be coming up to replace Walker.

I am starting to think that if the entire Mets squad went on the DL, they'd trade for Danny Muno to put him at SS and leave Rosario in AAA

Reese Kaplan said...

I'd be interested in retaining Bruce because they only have 2 outfielders for 2018 (if Lagares is an expensive backup). He's a hedge for 1B as you said though I'd be more interested in Moustakas from KC for 3B than Hosmer for 1B where there are alternatives -- Smith, Flores -- or retaining the services of Bruce or Duda.

Reese Kaplan said...

Speaking of good articles, here's one on former number one prospect Ryan Jaroncyk who simply walked away from the game:


Zozo said...

Smith is my go to guy. He is a two way player in my eyes that is grade A defensively at First base. I love defense and so does any pitching staff. If you get an extra out that shouldn't have been or are more aggressive at your position (ala Keith Hernandez) and gun the lead runner out. That to me saves your pitching staffs arms and their confidence levels. With Smith, Rosario, Cespedes and Conforto you have a defensive juggernaut in the making that can also hit the ball.

Smiths power might not be there just yet, but if he can provide us with 15 homers a year and get us a Good OBP and average we are set at first base for years to come. Not to mention the palatable salary that comes along with it. That way you can spend the same Money you offered Hosmer in free agency for a great defensive CF (Lorenzo Cain) and Catcher (Lucroy) instead of wasting money at First base.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, quite the article there - it can get easy to get fed up.

Zozo, you still may be 100% right on Smith - hopefully, his hitting continues to improve this summer - I would say what he says - he still has room to improve. It is also Smith's 22nd birthday today.

Reese Kaplan said...

In another 5 years or so they may deem him ready for a promotion. 8-10 years in Rosario's case, apparently.

Gary Seagren said...

Thomas isn't that Jordany fellow still playing somewhere ...he beats Muno right :) Reese Fernando Martinez might be ready now he's 29 and at that age TC would play him.

Reese Kaplan said...

Just make sure he doesn't get near any "Just for Men" and lets some gray hairs pop up. That'll catch the old man's attention and favor.

To be fair, though, for once I wasn't criticizing the Skipper. I was criticizing the front office for being so much more interested in dollars than they are in winning.

Thomas Brennan said...

They are worried if Rosario might struggle in transition...his first season, he hit .196...but it broke him in and he ended up in the hall of Fame. Break Rosario in. Now.

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