Reese Kaplan -- Indians' Top Prospects to Consider


Let’s take a look at the hottest rumor right now – that the Cleveland Indians are scouting not only Asdrubal Cabrera but also Jay Bruce as they attempt to cement their status atop the AL Central Division.  Their team is facing some critical injuries as the head into the second half -- .305 hitting outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, .304 hitting outfielder Austin Jackson, two-time All Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, reliever Boone Logan, and starter Cody Anderson.  They are obviously looking for some reinforcements.

While it’s obvious that Cabrera could reunite and fit in at 2B alongside Francisco Lindor and Jay Bruce could certainly help in the outfield, I can’t help but wonder if the smarter move would be to overwhelm them in order to land a crown jewel, namely catcher Francisco Mejia.  Obviously catcher is one of three positions – 3B and CF being the other two – where the Mets do not have obvious star quality options prior to 2017.  The third piece to consider in this reach for Mejia is closer Addison Reed.  Giving the Indians three quality players for their stretch run might entice them to part with MLB’s 32nd ranked prospect.

Why so much for Mejia?  Well, let’s take a look.  He had a combined (over two leagues) 50-game hitting streak in the minors.  Contact hitters are something the Mets could most certainly use.  He hit a combined .342 over A and Advanced A in 2016, following it up in AA this year with a .322 mark.  He doesn’t have much power – 11 HRs last year being his high – but he seems to be growing into it with 10 already this season in just 245 ABs.  The switch hitter is not a one-trick pony on the offensive side of the ledger as he’s a plus defender and capable of throwing out would-be base stealers.  Bear in mind he’s achieved these great offensive strides in the past two seasons at the tender age of 21.  He’s probably on track for AAA for 2018 and then the majors in 2019.  The one thing holding him back is prejudice against size as he’s rather small at about 5’10” and 185, but given the success guys like Jose Altuve have had in the majors perhaps it’s time to change conventional thinking. 

If you can’t pry loose Mejia then there are some other players in the Indians system definitely worth consideration in trade talks.  Starting pitcher Triston McKenzie is a rail-thin 6’5”, 165 pound right handed hurler with an awesome curveball that generates some eye-popping strikeout numbers.  He started off in the pro ranks right where he left off his stellar high school career.  In A+ Lynchburg he’s thus far showing a 9-6 record with a 2.86 ERA and 134 strikeouts in just 103 IP.  He’s holding batters to a .186 BAA and most scouts feel that as he grows into his frame his velocity (which currently sits in the low 90s) will improve.  He’s currently ranked as the Indians number two prospect after Mejia but he’s a bit more of a wildcard being much further down in the system. 

Since Sandy Alderson often has the desire to coax an extra low level player in any deal, the wildcard I’d want to snag is outfielder Conner Capel.   His low batting average and high strikeout numbers would make you think, “No way”, but scouts feels he is going to develop slowly into a high quality power hitter with grade 70 speed capable of playing any of the three positions.  This year he’s hit 14 HRs and driven in 36 in about half a season.  He’s just 20 years old and not projected to hit the big leagues until 2020, but given the dearth of outfield prospects in the system he might be one on which to roll the dice (assuming, of course, Tim Tebow doesn’t pan out) J

While Mejia would be my choice as Plan A, Plan A- would be to obtain McKenzie for the same package.   I’d advocated carrying payroll to increase the value of the return, but a more palatable option to the, ahem, frugal Wilpons might be simply to offer up a combination of quality and quantity in order to maximize what another team will offer back to the Mets. 



Thomas Brennan said...

Great thinking - and if other teams see the Mets seriously about to make that 3 player deal for Mejia, they may get more serious for Cabrera, Bruce and Reed if they think those 3 could disappear from your grocer's shelves.

If not Mejia, I'd be OK if we got BOTH of the others.

Mack Ade said...

Reece -

Good morning... late start.

I don't think anyone can pry Mejia away from the Indians. His future at a position that seldom has a bright future is just too bright.

One more door closed last night in Boston when they got Nunez.

Right now, I'd settle for SS Yu-Cheng Chang who, according to scouts, could be easily moved to 3B. A defensive whiz.

Zozo said...

The Indians had Mejia traded last trade deadline to the Brewers, if Lucroy didn't nix the deal. Why not throw in Nido to make it happen?

Eddie Corona said...

Tom I would think mejia is an impossible get. But I like your thinking... I would imagine we would have to pay the full salaries for all 3 players to make this something that they would consider...
Might even have to Blevins. But for a shot a future catcher with allstar potential ... we would have to... except Freddy Coupon doesn't know how to play in the big market...

Mack Ade said...

You want Mejia?

Fine... you need to lead a 3 player package with a chip pitcher... not Flexen, but maybe Lugo... or Merandy Gonzalez

Add Nido and Tibow

Pablo Grullon said...

I like this idea. Not sure if cleveland would make this trade but it doesnt hurt to ask. Whatever trades the Mets make i hope they at least come out of it with a young legit long term answer at either 3B, CF, 2B or C. We need to cover ourselves at these positions to minimize the chances of getting burned on the free agent market.

Reese Kaplan said...

@Pablo -- 2B is the least of my concerns with both Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera as viable options.

Reese Kaplan said...

According to Marc Carig of Newsday the Mets are indeed looking at packaging multiple expiring contracts together as I'd suggested:


Christopher Soto said...

If I'm Sandy Alderson....

I am offering Asdrubal Cabrera + Addison Reed for SP Triston McKenzie.

That kid is insanely talented and still has a ton of projection left. He is my personal #1 MLB pitching prospect right now.

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