Mack's Morning Report - 9-11 - Pipeline Position Analysis - 1B


I have, since 2005, finished every Mets system with my positional pipeline analysis. I grade each position as I see it, overall and not my team. 

We'll start with the position we all thought Lucas Duda would own forever.

Red Names - Prospects
Blue Names - Semi Prospects


  Dominic Smith - 1st Rd. 2013 - Smith finally arrived in Queens and hopefully we picked the right guy five drafts ago (seems like 100). Frankly, I'm not that impressed with what he has done so far at this level, but most rookies go through the beginning slumps (look how long it took Wilmer Flores to hit his stride). Hopefully, he won't trip on his meal allowance and wind up in the med-tent with his Mets buddies. Regardless whether he hits well in 2018, he will provide the team Golden Glove corner infield defense and I'm willing to give him 500+ at-bats next year to prove to me that he's the man.

Wilmer Flores, among others, have given Smith an occasional rest at this position since coming up.

AAA - Las Vegas

  Dominic Smith played 114 games this year for Las Vegas at first base.  Since then, Cody Decker, Jeff McNeil,  and Joan Urena finished the season at this position.

   Cody Decker - 22nd Rd. 2009 - Decker hit .263 in 144 at-bats for Binghamton until he was sent out went when Smith was promoted to Queens. Had another 126 at-bats for Vegas and didn't fair as well (.238). Decker looks like the perfect AAAA first baseman, especially since he is sandwiched between the two Mets first base prospects. The Mets have a decision here... resign Decker (he's now a free agent) and play him until Peter Alonso is ready, or promote Matt Oberste, who played last year in Binghamton. 

IF Jeff McNeil was considered the backup first baseman at the end of the season

AA - Binghamton

  Peter Alonso - 2nd Rd. 2016 - I liked this draft pick, even if I knew that he would never be as excellent a defender as Smith was. Still, every organization needs a backup prospect at every position and Alonso has always been the premier bat at this position. He always hit well at Florida, but his power began to blossom as a junior in 2016 (14-HR, .374). It continues now. 

This has been his first full season and, even with a mid-season trip to the disabled list, his stats are off the charts. First there was St. Lucie: 82-games, 308-AB, .286/.361/.516, 877 - 16-HRs (led the league), 23 doubles. He then was called up here to Binghamton and hit .311 in 45 at-bats (2-HR, 918-OPS). I'm confident he will be the opening day first baseman here and I am also confident he won't stay here for the entire season.

   Matt Oberste - Had a respectful .284-BA in 455-AB, playing first and DHing here this past season. My guess he will open Vegas in 2018.   

A+ - St. Lucie

  Alonso played first base here for most of the season (308-AB, .286). He was replaced primarily by the outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra once Alonso was promoted to the B-Mets and hit much better playing first in August (.275) and September (.500) than he did playing at his primary outfield position (July: .235). Becerra could slip in here and ride the tailed of Alonso eventually to Binghamton; however, any chance he has at getting to The Bigs will be as an outfielder.

 A - Columbia

   Dash Winningham - 8th Rd. 2014 - In 426 at-bats, he struck out 104 times, walked only 37 times, had 13 homers and 70 ribbys, but had an OPS of only 672. Just misses, but will still probably move on to Binghamton as their primary first baseman in 2018.

  Left fielder  Jay Jabs (.206) has filled in at first when Winningham was hurt.  

  Reed Gamache - 23/yrs. old - undrafted - Gamache also filled in at first base when Winningham went on the disabled list. He primarily is a third baseman and also plays second. Hit .237 in 131-ABs. 

A-Low - Brooklyn

  Jeremy Vasquez - 28th Rd. 2017 - Vasquez played the majority of the season at Kingsport, hitting .296 in 135 at-bats . Didn't fair as well in Brooklyn (98-AB, .224), but I still expect him to trump the newcomers listed below and move on to Columbia for opening day 2018.

  Matt Winaker - 21/yrs. old - 5th Rd. 2017 - Off to a good start for Brooklyn this past season... .268 in 71 at-bats (why do the Mets keep drafting first baseman with their high picks?). Expect Winaker to stay in extended camp come April awaiting an injury phone call. 

   Jose Maria - IFA - 22/yrs. old - Maria is primarily a catcher, but filled in at first occasionally here in 2017. Hit .218 in 142 at-bats.

   Jeremy Wolf - 31st Rd. 2016 - LF Wolf also filled in at first in 2017 - 83 at-bats,  .241.

 Rookie - Kingsport

   Gavan Garay - 26th Rd. 2017 - Jeremy Vasquez had a great first half of a season here before moving on to Brooklyn. Garay took over from there and hit only .246 in 130 at-bats. There's nobody really pushing him here from the GCL Mets so I see him repeating at this level next spring.

Rookie - GCL Mets

   Luis Montero - IFA - The 21-year old hit .233 in 150 at-bats. 

   Domingo Martinez - IFA - The 22-year old (yes, 22!) was the backup here, getting 122 at-bats and hitting .244. I assume these stats aren't mixed up with the 675 other Domingo Martinez that are listed in these sites. His age alone at this level should result this being his last year in the organization.

  Anderson Bohorguez - The 19-year old played in the outfield, on first, and on short. It's the third year for him with DSL and he logged 206 at-bats in 61-games. His stat line was .272/.342/.354/696 . My guess he will move stateside next spring, probably as a first baseman.

  Not very much output at this position from this team.

DSL-1 Mets

   According to MiLB.com, no one played a single game at first base for the DSL-1 Mets this season. Looking back into the schedule, I found:

  Anderson Bohorquez - 19/yrs - third year for the DSL team and hit .272/.342/.354/696 in  61-games, 206 at-bats. No power at all here.  

DSL-2 Mets

   Wilmy Valdez - IFA - hit only .186 in 38 game... he played at 20-years old and will probably repeat here in 2018

Summary - 

The Mets should be just fine at this position for the next five plus years. More if you include the arbitration years for both Smith and Alonso. Sure, you'd love to have a third chip alternative down the pipeline, but the closest to that might be Vasquez.

Smith has done nothing so far this season to impress us with a bat in his hands in Queens, but he should have the entire year of 2018 to turn that around before Alonso comes a knockin'.

Vasquez and Winaker showed enough to keep an eye on them.

Oberste and Winningham has to power but not the skills.

Still, two top prospects at one position, both high in the chain, makes this grade easy.

Grade:  A-


Thomas Brennan said...

First base is a strong Mets position, if Smith shakes off his sophomore jinx (he's too big to be a freshman). I do like his 5 homers already. If he does not, I believe Wilmer Flores would be a fine first baseman. Flores may platoon with Smith and steal other at bats at 2nd and 3rd.

Alonzo in my opinion is a beast and will be ready by late 2018, so Smith needs to progress quickly or get lapped.

Oberste has had really disappointing power for a big guy. Just 14 homers in 868 AA at bats (ABOUT 975 PLATE APPEARANCES) this year and last. His ability to ramp that up - A LOT - will determine if his ceiling is to ever be more than AAAA.

The rest of them are not exciting, but the fact that we have two potentially elite major leaguers in Smith and Alonso is comforting.

Robb said...

Dom smith has a pretty good pattern. He gets promoated and he struggles for about a month and then he figures it out and hits about 300. He did that pretty much his entire minor league career. Then he crushes the league his second time through. ive been impressed with the power. 5 hrs in 30 games is 20-25 for a full season. He'll be fine. but outside of SS, 1b is the strongest position going forward for the mets with two young high potential prospects. Also smith is almost a full year younger then alonso and power comes last.

Reese Kaplan said...

Actually, Wilmer Flores had the same pattern. The difference was that his minor league managers would play him when he struggled until he figured it out, whereas his major league manager benched him after he once had a six-hit game.

Reese Kaplan said...

To Robb's point:

"Over his past five games, Smith is hitting .352 with two extra base hits and four RBI. While he hasn’t hit for the average (.210) his Triple-A numbers suggested he would, the 22-year-old has proven worthy in clutch situations."

Saw this short sample but encouraging statistical recap posted elsewhere.

Richard Herr said...

Coupla things.
One. Smith has this great reputation for a stellar glove. I haven't seen that in operation. What I've seen of him with the Mets is quite mediocre: not getting scoops on throws in the dirt, losing double plays with bad throws to second base. He hasn't looked as good as Duda.
Two. I got a brief glimpse of Alonzo in spring training games, he looked like he had real rock hands. What has his fielding been like in the minors?

Viper said...

The only player the Mets can look forward to right now is Alonso which tells you the whole story of how bad this GM trifecta is at picking talent.

By contrast, I was reading about the farm system of the Yankees, who unlike the Mets, have professional baseball scouts and the willingness to spend money for the right prospects. Even with all the players that have graduated to the ML, they are still loaded in the minors. We have Alonso.

With 2017 having been a complete disaster, these Mets are already talking about reducing the payroll which means, expect the same kind of year or no better than a 500 club for 2018.

Having been a Mets fan for over 40 years, I already have that empty feeling knowing that there is little to be hopeful in 2018. The Genius will not go for the best FA but in true Money Ball form, he will try to find cheap players on the rise which is very hard to do.

So the constant cycle of manure, where only the consistency seems to change, will continue. Great or good players will no longer find the Mets as a desired location to land if they have a choice.

Seven years of Sandy and we still have a team full of holes and very little to look forward to.

I expect Flores taking over at 1B once Smith eats the 1B bag.

Thomas Brennan said...


Mack Ade said...

To All -

All valid points...

An organization has the responsibility of drafting 3 chip players in the first 100 picks in the draft each year. THAT'S what makes for a great team. Successful draft picks and key international guppy signings.

The Alonso signing reminds me of the David Thompson drafting. Both 'almost' play their position. You would think we could do better than that.

I think this position will work out over the next 2-3 years with some combo of Smith, Alonso, and Flores.

I think.

Viper said...

Mack, some questions for you.

The last time I mentioned Plawecki you said you didn't like him much. Has his recent play change your mind a little bit?. Is he the starter for the Mets in 2018?

With the 2018 Mets looking like the current 2017 version and the Mets unwillingness to invest money, should they trade either deGrom or Syndergaard for a boat load of prospects with an eye of a much better team in 2019? Right now unless they go and spend money, 2018 is going to be a wasted year anyway.

If the Mets were to open up the wallet and sign Jay Bruce to play 1B and Lorenzo Cain CF, would such a team be able to compete or would it be just above 500? (deGrom and Syndergaard would be kept in this scenario)

Cain, Rosario, Conforto, Cespedes, Bruce, Flores 2B, Cabrera 3B, Plawecki.

Mack Ade said...

Viper -

Re: Plawecki: Yes, I do like what I am seeing now. I especially like the way that he is pressing d'Arnaud. You will see in my catcher evaluation that I am happy in 2018 with these two splitting time behind the plate

Re: Trading either deGrom or Syndergaard for prospects to make a much better team in 2019...

Definitely worth considering, especially since it looks like the next wave of top starters will hit beginning in 2019 (11 - Flexen, Oswalt, Molina, Dunn, Humphreys, H Gonzalez, Crismatt, Szapucki, Kay, Peterson, McIlraith)

If the Mets were to open up the wallet and sign Jay Bruce to play 1B and Lorenzo Cain CF, would such a team be able to compete or would it be just above 500? (deGrom and Syndergaard would be kept in this scenario)

A - Bruce and Cain would help, but only if a decent 5 man rotation returns in 2018, which I don't expect it to.

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