Tom Brennan - AA DARK HORSES

Tom Brennan - AA DARK HORSES

I always like to look for dark horses, those guys who most quickly disregard, but who have real potential.  On the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, there are three:

KEVIN TAYLOR - I wrote about him recently.  Any guy who can hit over .300 with a .400 OB % should not be seen as a dark horse.  This former 36th rounder who spent time in Indy Ball is one to watch as a real MLB utility IF possibility.

JERVIS HARVIN STUART - known as Champ, the blindingly fast outfielder has always had a strikeout flaw that I felt overwhelmed his speed asset.  In May, he was striking out at a ghastly rate.  I really thought it was hopeless for Champ.

Then came June and July: 40 games, hitting .264 in 121 at bats plus 21 walks, resulting in a .383 on base %, just what you want from a guy who has stolen 30 of 33 this year and 131 of 149 in his career.

What about the strikeouts, though?  "Just" 41 in June and July, still too high but a large stride in the right direction.  He also needs to improve his home vs. away splits - he has a .385 OB % at home, just .291 on the road.  His overall .336 OB % is pretty decent for a sprinter, actually.

Given the desirability of having a speedster pinch run late in games, the 24 year old 6'0" 180 Champ, now in his 5th minor league season after playing little baseball prior to signing, has a leg up on the competition at securing a reserve outfielder spot in Queens by September 2018 if he can keep progressing.  Simple motto for Champ:


DALE BURDICK - another guy no one thinks about but who could be a utility guy in Queens by 2019 or 2020.  Why? 

1) He's only 21 and playing in AA, so he has progressed fast.  Guys in rookie league ball are older.

2) He's hitting just .218 this year between St Lucie and Binghamton, but has 7 homers in 188 at bats.  At 6'1", 223, he's got the size for power.

3) He was 6 for 47 in April (young, remember?) but .250 since.  Even better in July.

4) Dude can FIELD!  While we make excuses for other minor leaguers making errors, Dale has made just 1 error in 28 games at SS, 5 in 116 games at 2B, 8 in 50 games at 3B, and none in 5 games at 1B.  By comparison, whizzes Amed Rosario (16 in 84 games) and Gullorme (9 in 91 games) have been making more errors in the infield than Burdick. 

And last year, at Dale's current age, Luis made 18 errors in 121 games in the field.  I can't remember any other Mets minors infielder making so few errors in a career spanning from 18 to 21 years of age.

Burdick's biggest obstacle, as I see it?  Getting playing time, with so many middle infielders at AA and AAA.  However, once Rosario gets promoted to Queens, hopefully within a week, Guillorme should jump to Vegas, and Burdick will get a lot more playing time.  I have a feeling that when that happens, all will take notice.  Dark Horse no longer.

However, there is another possibility here, due to the presence of one Jeff McNeil.  Jeff is a player I really like, but one who's only amassed about 75 plate appearances this year and last due to serious injuries.  He is back and playing daily in St Lucie now.  The lifetime .305 hitter is hitting .333 over his past 10 games.  he has major league potential.  If Jeff were moved up now to AA to following a promotion of Guillorme, I believe Jeff would do really well.  LJ Mazzilli could man shortstop, even if not his ideal position, and McNeil could be their everyday 2B.

At the same time, in St Lucie, JC Rodriguez has mostly been the  shortstop.  Almost 25, he is not playing well, hitting .227/.273/.349 this year with a very high 27 errors in 85 games at shortstop.  I would JC has no potential for a major league future, and would thus suggest releasing JC and moving Burdick back down to St Lucie, to play every day at shortstop.  Dale's career record of 1 error in 28 games at shortstop tells me he can man the position, and it will get his bat in the line up every day to develop the hit tool, even if shortstop is not his long term major league position.

That's my Dark Horse take. 

What's yours, even if you prefer other types of horses?


Mack Ade said...

I do like Kevin Taylor a lot.

Obviously, I also like RP Drew Smith

Thomas Brennan said...

Featured Burdick twice. Time to prove me a prophet, son!

Thomas Brennan said...

Pete Alonso should be in AA: over his last 35 games, .328/.396/.642 with 10 HRs, 13 doubles and 37 RBIs.

Peter Hyatt said...

LJ was THIS close to that utility spot...some tough turns in life for him. Smart, I hope things turn for him. Tough New York shadow to come out from under.

Mack's Mets © 2012