10/11/17

Reese Kaplan -- A Nice, Small Core for Sure

18 comments

Who represents the core of the New York Mets?  There are a few obvious answers – Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario and Yoenis Cespedes for sure.  After that it gets a bit murkier. 

Dom Smith’s introduction to the major leagues was surprising on a few fronts.  His batting average – arguably his biggest hit tool – was an unimpressive .198 with just a .262 OBP.  Those numbers don’t play well even at shortstop, let alone in a traditionally critical offensive position like first base.

On the flip side, however, he hit 9 HRs and drove in 26 in just 167 Abs.  Extrapolated over a full season and that’s a lot more pop than he’s ever shown before – 32 HRs and 91 RBIs.  Was he consciously swinging for the fences which might account for the drop in hard contact for singles and doubles, or is it a matter of his power starting to become a viable part of his game?

Regardless, many folks have already soured on him and are now looking forward to Peter Alonso, but I think given his run production and defense he gets the whole of 2018 to show what he can or can’t do.  Maybe against some particularly tough lefties you might want to substitute someone like Wilmer Flores at 1B, but I’d really like to see what the Mets have in Smith.

Conversely, everyone is giving Rosario pretty much a free pass as the shortstop of the future.  His initial 1/3 of a season was less impressive to me.  He hit at a higher average -- .248 – but his 4 HRs and 10 RBIs do not translate to a solid line extrapolated over the course of a full season.  Like Smith, however, his defense and his speed – 7 stolen bases – cement him as a part of the future. 

Much of the rest of the team does not include many sure things.  Right now they have holes at 2B, 3B, CF, RF (until Conforto heals), starting rotation and bullpen.  Catcher is likely a tag team of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki since the pickings are fairly slim across MLB for catchers. 

I’d call Wilmer Flores a part of the core and your second baseman going into 2018, but hey, I’ve seen enough of the Collins/Alderson era to know that they don’t respect his offensive potential.  Obviously you’ll hold your breath every time the ball is hit in his direction, but didn’t we all do the same with Daniel Murphy? 

A.J. Ramos is also pretty much part of the core as is the surely-to-be-exercised free agent option Jerry Blevins.  A three man pen won’t cut it and after watching the balls sail over the fence from the likes of Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker and others, there should be quite a few job opportunities available for anyone who can earn it.

Matt Harvey, Steve Matz and Zack Wheeler should be part of the core, but their health won't get them membership into that elite cadre.  Neither Rafael Montero, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo (and seemingly countless others) showed enough to consider them seriously for membership either.  

So the  first question I pose is this one – if the Mets are indeed going to add major league caliber players to their roster this off-season, where should they go first – infield?  Starting rotation?  Outfield?  Bullpen?  Part two of the question is how you would go about acquiring your preferred targets?  Trades?  Free agency?  Remember, the Mets may have parted with a lot of salary dollars but they’ve also gone on record saying that the payroll will be reduced.  

18 comments:

Mack Ade said...

Morning Reese -

As you know, I believe that the Mets should use 2018 as a staging point for the 2019 season. This team just doesn't have enough 'core' start players, they have no top prospects in AAA/AA to trade for additional MLB core players, and the free agent market in from hunger.

We need a lot. Especially third base. But I'm willing to hold out until the next free agent market to fill that slot (Machado).

There are no free agent outfielders under 30. Additionally, forget Jay Bruce. The Yankees fans have made sure he will not come back to New York City.

I would go back to basics here.

Get your rotation straightened out. The free agent market here just plain sucks so you are going to have to juggle what you have. There are no decent pitchers here under 30 years old. Make sure all current candidates adher to their off-season healing program. More arm stretches and less Ranger games.

Gary Seagren said...

I agree with Mack but with one big exception: I'd go after Darvish as he would be a real solid #3 or 2 depending on Thor's performance and coupled with hopefully being able to come up with at least two other starters from the 20 or so it seems who will be fighting for a starting spot. I would add another solid reliever as well to hopefully give us a better shot next season and if it's a repeat of last year were not really committed long term except for YC and Darvish. The biggest disappointment of all last season to me was the Conforto injury as he was really our new David Wright and now who know's when and how good he'll be upon his return. Mack if we did sign Darvish I know our #1 pick is safe but what other pick would we lose...the second one or more?

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

I am not sure about what round we would lose.

I forgot about Darvish. You are right... a HEALTHY Darvish would fit in perfectly as the SP3.

And regarding relief pitchers, some of our future ones may be 2017's starters.

TexasGusCC said...

Gary, as a player traded in mid-season, Darvish cannot be QO'ed so there is no penalty. But, th new CBA has made the penalty to sign a QO'ed player a fifth rounder except should he get more than $50MM, the penalty is a third rounder.

Reese, you start your article talking core, or the base you build around and end it just merely filling out a roster.

Most disappointing thing in this article is Nimmo was not cemented in OF when this team has been dying for a leadoff hitter for years and finally found one. The outfield is set, but it's the infield in great flux. Cabrera at third is a solution, but a second rate one. Rosario at SS can bat eighth but his glove is important. The catchers are set. Really, the questions to this team are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd basemen. Giving Flores a full shot at second gives one peace of mind, but i can't start the year with Dominic Smith at first base and call myself a contender. That's way too big a question mark.

Reese Kaplan said...

I don't see them spending for Darvish but perhaps Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb.

Thomas Brennan said...

I think Smith and Flores as a 1B platoon works well. If Smith falters, Flores can do the job there. Flores can still get utility reps elsewhere in the IF - just get him at least 500 PAs unless he fouls another ball off the schnozola.

I would go all out for Darvish and Wade - spend real $$ - and at the mid season deadline you will find yourself in the pennant race and a buyer. You cannot concede seasons with the Bronx Beast as your cross town competition - you will lose new fans forever, and that costs more.

Gary Seagren said...

Thomas I agree but isn't that the issue here about spending money on quality on quantity as things haven't been the same since the Madoff mess. The front office HAS TO STOP TALKING ABOUT LOWERING PAYROLL to have any chance at competing going forward and unfortunately that is not happening. As long as our competition will do EVERYTHING in their power to win and we won't we lose.

Robb said...

If you recall Smiths history he has struggled for the first 30 games or so at every level. Maybe he likes knowing where he sleeps of just getting used to the way they pitch him, but each year as he moved up he has started slow and then hit 300 after the initial 30 games at a level bump.

As for the payroll, its apples to oranges going year to year. IF harvey had a good year he'd be making 15mm for 2018 instead of the 6 he's going to make. Same with familia. Alderson philosophy was supposed to be about payroll flexibility. The mets starting staff in 2017. the 5 pencilled in starters cost what 14 mm? In 2016 bartolo made 12mm. Thats the goal to replace certain high priced positions with guys on or near the minimum.

Would you rather have cabrera's 8.5 mm this year penciled in at ss or rosario at 600K. you can take the 17 mm, 10 mm and 8.5 mm of this years starting if and no that they dont need to spend that 35mm as it will likely be replaced by smith and rosario for 1.2mm plus a second baseman.

its not really about payroll but how you fill positions.

I think of the core as guys who will be in their positions for 3 years or so. The guys I would buy a jersey with there names on. So for me, its thor, degrom, rosario, conforto and Cespedes. Matz and flores too

TexasGusCC said...

Ian Kinsler should be very available for the rebuilding Tigers and his expiring contract. He's a good soldier and 35. Can he fit in at 2B and push Flores to 1B?

Robb, I thought of your Smith analysis too, but the jump from AAA to the majors is quite a big one and would you bank on Smith?

Mack Ade said...

All -

In my book...

the 2018 Mets have either holes or unanswered questions at 1B, 2B, 3B, OF, SP, and RP.

Other than that, we have a winner (sic)...

Reese Kaplan said...

Robb may have a point about Smith. Granted, it's cherry picking stats, but for a 16 game period from September 2nd through 17th he hit .298 with 4 HRs and 14 RBIs. That's the type of potential that deserves a long term look.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, TexasGus, and Robb, I think they go with Smith in 2018, simply because Flores would be a totally acceptable 1B if Smith falters. If, of course, they don't trade Flores. It is not like Smith's back up at 1B is Eric Campbell. Flores would provide a soft landing if Smith fails in early 2018.

Eddie Corona said...

For me the question of core is someone who is projected to be on the tem 5-7 years ...
Conforto, Degrom, Thor, Rosario I hope but was underwhelmed by his play as a top 3 overall talent in baseball... Hoping he Fills out and improves...
I dont see anyone beyond that i am sure of...
I would say I would be bold... I do believe 2018 is not a good year... so I would sign a Darvish and trade a Thor if i could get e Kings ransom... a team like The astros or the dodgers and get 4 top prospects...

You have to give something to get something... I would be looking for a CF and a 3B or C in those deals...

Yes it hurts but we must be bold if not completely concede NYC to the other team...

Thomas Brennan said...

Eddie, interesting on Thor. He is made for Hollywood (if he stays healthy, of course), and if we got super prospects, I'd be right on board.

Of course, if the Blue Jays want Thor back and we got Vlad Guerrero, Jr and Bo Bichette (and RA Dickey!) I would sure be open to that too. Both of those young guys look like future (super)stars.

Mack Ade said...

Eddie/Tom -

The LAD has a deep org.

You could get 3 quality potential 2019 starting 9 roster for Thor.

Just throwing that out.

Eddie Corona said...

Tom the blue jays came to mind too...

Sometimes these trade backfire and then you lose your job... But sometimes you need to be Bold...
Wonder which way the Mets go...

Reese Kaplan said...

Well, Sandy Alderson didn't lose his job and it's not in his DNA to be bold...so I am guessing the answer to that scenario is he does nothing until it's time to lose Thor as a FA and the team is unwilling to pay up. I wonder how many 4.00 or higher relief pitchers he's worth?

Robb said...

You cant trade thor, not because its not bold or even the wrong move, but hes a generational type talent. Those GMs never get another job. Trading very good players, sure. Not guys that people specifically would come to the ballpark to watch if they arent even fans of your team. I bet a bunch of people on this site can tell me about the Mets trading Nolan Ryan. Even more on Tom Seaver.

If youre made for hollywood you're built for new york. More ad money here.

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