2/23/17

Mack Ade - Lucas Duda

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Good morning.


Lucas Duda is one of the many New York Mets that are coming back from season ending surgery, but he has another problem in the streaks that continue to haunt his game.

Let’s look at some monthly batting averages over the past few years and the swing in results:

            2016 -            April: .256   May: .192
            2015 -            April: .325,  May: .276,  June: .187, July:  .178, Aug: .304
            2014 -            July: .293,  Aug: .214

No one questions whether Duda has the ability to hit in this game. And, he’s not the worst player to put a first baseman’s glove on his hand either. But one of his off-the-field decisions might have backfired on him big time.

Duda came off his best season in 2014 with a mad skill stat line… 30-HR, 92-RBIs… and the Mets offered him a 3-year, $30mil extension instead of playing out his arbitration years and going to free agency in 2018. Duda told the Mets to put the offer on the shelf and they would revisit it at the end of the season which, of course, they never did due to poor numbers and injuries.

The turning down of $30mil for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 season never made any sense to me. It still would have led up to a free agency year of 2018. Instead of the $30mil, Duda got $4.2mil out of the Mets in 2015, $6.725mil in 2016, and will be paid $7.25mil this season. That adds up to $18.175, which means his decision to pass on the 3-year contract, for the same years, left $11.825 on the table for no reason. What kind of dumb bunny does this?

Ex-Mack's Mets writer (come on back!), Stephen Guilbert, added -  

Lucas Duda makes the Mets better. A lot better. It's that simple. I could list all the reasons why, dive into the metrics, and end up in in a verbose James Loney-bashing spiral but the point of it will be this: The Mets need Duda at first base and they need to have him there for 150 games. If he can do that, he makes the entire lineup better, adds value in the field and ensures we avoid another Loney or Loney-type mainstay at a position that needs defensive consistency and actual offensive production. Regardless of Dominic Smith's development, regardless of Duda not signing an extension, and regardless of Duda's perceived "streakiness" (a term I have come to loathe...because baseball is a game of streakiness because that's how probability works and baseball is a game of probability and here I go down another spiral), he makes this lineup exponentially more imposing this year when the Mets are ring hunting. Mets fans need to stop bashing the guy and realize what they have. He's a big part of this team and one of the league's better overall first basemen when healthy.

I'll make a bold prediction: If and Yoenis Cespedes combine for 290 games played, the Mets finish in the top 10 in the MLB by wRC+.

Opinion – I guess it really doesn’t matter what my opinion is about this guy anymore. Best case scenario is he stays healthy, he hits, like, 40 home runs before the All-Star game, and we deal him off to another team trying to get to their pennant. Worst case scenario is he either slumps again, or his back goes out, and guys like T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores have to fill in until Dominic Smith is ready.

Either way, 2018 is Smith’s year and Duda will be history.

Very sad story about a guy that I always said had the sweetest swing of any Mets minor leaguers I have ever seen.
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2/22/17

INJURY UPSTATE - SS - Ronny Mauricio

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Update on top international prospect rumored to be signing a bonus deal with the Mets - 

Oh no. Ronny Mauricio, a top 2017 Dominican SS, makes a nice play up the middle, then leaves with an injury, carried off the field.
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Mack Revisited - The Mets Young Guns - Written 7-5-06

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I wrote this for NY Sports Day on July 5, 2006

Currently, the Mets are going through some pitching problems, but no fear, help is on the way. Very quietly though, the Mets brass has been assembling a combination of draft picks, international signings, and Rule V acquisitions, and the following list highlights some of the names you may come to know in the near future. 

Binghamton: 

Willie Collazo - Collazo was originally drafted in the 10th round, in 2001, by the Atlanta Braves, and played in their organization in Jamestown (2001), Macon (2001), Greenville (2002-2003), and Myrtle Beach (2003). The Braves lost Collazo to Anaheim in the Rule V draft, where it seemed that his career took off in the wrong direction. 2004 was spent at AA Arkansas (6-10, 4.62) and in April 2005, Collazo was suspended for 15 games for testing positive for steroids. His stats that year were a disappointing 6.75 ERA wth the Los Angeles Angels' Class AA and AAA teams. In 320.1 minor league innings, Collazo has posted a 3.82 ERA. His second chance came in March of 2006, when the Mets signed Collazo to a minor league contract after pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. The Mets promoted Collazo to AAA Norfolk on 6-28-06, after going 6-5 and 2.86 with the B-Mets. 

Mike Pelfrey - Pelfrey spent his college career at Wichita State University, where he went 12-3 in his last season, posting a 1.93 ERA in 139.2 innings. The Mets selected Pelfrey in the 1st round (ninth overall) of 2005 draft, and gave Pelfrey a $5.25 million contract, through 2009, with a $3.5 million signing bonus. Mike was named to the Eastern League all-star team in 2006, and OnDeck currently ranks him as the Mets No. 2 prospect. He has posted outstanding numbers (4-2, 2.71) so far this season and is expected to be called up to the Mets before the season ends. 

Eddy Camacho - In 2003, Camacho played for the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League. The Mets signed Camacho in 2004 after a very successful year at Cal-State Northridge, where he had allowed only 19 hits in 44 innings pitched that year. He finished that year in Brooklyn, posting a 3-1 record and a 0.69 ERA. 2005 brought more success, this time at St. Luice (2-4 2.74 10 saves). This year, he is 2-1 with a respectable 3.27 ERA. 

St. Lucie: 

Jose Sanchez – Sanchez was signed as an un-drafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants in 2002. He came to the Mets through a Rule V acquisition, in 2005, and was assigned to Hagerstown. Sanchez had a banner year, going 11-5, with a 4.20 ERA. So far this year, Sanchez is 8-4, with a 3.54 ERA, giving him a combined Met career record of 19-9. 

Phil Humber - Humber was first drafted in the 29th round of the 2001 draft by the New York Yankees, but chose to attend Rice University instead. Humber pitched three years for Rice University, compiling a 35-8 record and a 2.80 ERA. The Mets picked him as their No. 1 pick (third overall) in 2004, where he received a $3.7 million signing bonus. In 2005, Humber went a combined 2-7 for St. Lucie and Birmingham, and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He returned to St. Lucie on 6-28-06. Baseball America ranked Humber the 20th top prospect in the Florida State League. Humber throws a 90-94 mph fastball that tops off at 97, a true ‘12-6’ curve, and a splitter that he also uses as a change. OnDeck lists him as the Mets No. 3 prospect. 

Michael Devaney - Devaney was drafted by the Mets in the 23rd round (674th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He attended school at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, where he played both ways, hitting .409 with 10 HR's in his senior season. During his sophomore season, Devaney threw a no-hitter against Rockies prospect Jeff Francis. Scout.com listed him the 43rd top Mets prospect in 2004. In 2005, Devaney had a wonderful season last year in Brooklyn and was one of the top pitchers in the NY-Penn league. So far this season, he is 8-3 with a 1.62 ERA. You dream for a 23rd pick like this one. 

Hagerstown: 

Jonathan Niese – Niese was voted Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year for two straight years. The Mets drafted him in the 7th round in 2005, and Niese got his feet wet at the GCL Mets, going 1-0 in 7 games, posting a 3.65 ERA and throwing 24 Ks in 24.2 IP. This year, Niese is 8-4 for Hagerstown, with a 3.24 ERA. OnDeck has Niese listed as the 18th Mets prospect 

Deolis Guerra – Guerra was one of top 2 International prospects secured by the Mets last year. The Mets inked the 16 year old Guerra in July 2005 for $700,000, and he made his professional debut with Hagerstown on May 6, 2006. OnDeck ranks Guerra as the eighth Mets prospect. His pitches include a 91-92 mph fastball, and a developing change-up. It’s hard to judge a 17 year old playing organized ball, but Hagerstown has purposely limited Guerra’s pitches so far this season. He is 3-3 with a respectable 2.48 ERA. 

Brooklyn: 

Nelson Portillo - Portillo is a product of the Mets Venezuelan Summer League program. In 2005, Portillo went 6-0 with a 1.16 ERA. He allowed just 38 hits in 62.1 innings, while walking 17 and striking out 60. In 2006, Portillo spot started for the Hagerstown Suns and was transferred to Brooklyn when their season started. He is currently 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA. 

Kingsport

Nicholas Carr - Carr was drafted No. 41 in the 2005 MLB draft by the Mets. He came straight out of Twin Falls High School, where he posted a 17-4 record over his junior and senior year. Carr decided not to sign, and instead attended the College of Southern Idaho, where he went 5-3, 2.18 ERA, last year. The Mets signed him as a draft-and-follow on May 24, 2006. Terms of his deal were not disclosed. Currently Carr is all speed, with a fastball that tops out at 95 

Greg Mullens - The Mets signed Mullens as a free agent out of the Western Major Baseball League in Canada. In 2005, Mullens was named the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) Pitcher of the Year, leading the league in wins, complete games, strikeouts, and OBA. The big righty is a native of Saskatoon, Sask., Canada and graduated from Columbia University in 2006. . After attending a Mets pre-draft workout in June and holding private workouts in his hometown, three major league teams show interest: the Mets, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners. In his final outing during the National Senior Championships, the Mets offered to sign Mullens and he became a professional player in August, 2005. He had a no-hitter going after 4 innings in his first outing at Kingsport this year and is currently 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: #4 BRANDON NIMMO

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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: #4 BRANDON NIMMO


Brandon Nimmo - Don't underestimate him.

I'll be honest, I was not too thrilled with Mr. Nimmo being a first round pick for the Mets in 2011.  I felt like dialing 911.

His minor league offensive results coming into 2016 were (let's be honest) mostly mediocre, albeit with good on base skills.  

Nothing in particular stood out.  Low power, mensa mensa speed.  But he was just 22 in 2015 and had suffered a few injuries since 2011 which slowed his progress a bit.  

Then the AAA season starts and Nimmo continued to reinforce my negative opinion by going 11 for his first 56, with barely any power (no homers and just 2 two baggers).  I was thinking, when are all those Barwis workouts going to pay off?

Then BAM...Nimmo started to rip, and in doing so, rip up my accumulating opinion of him as being a guy who talked a very positive game and did not deliver in kind.

I reconsidered, thinking he might just work out as a decent number 1 pick after all, when I saw him go 127 for 336 the rest of the way, a robust .378, with 42 extra base hits.  His time with the Mets was also modestly encouraging, hitting .274 but with just one double and a tape measure homer in 73 ABs.

Breaking his season's performance further, Nimmo hit better in Vegas (.387/.461/.571) but quite well on the road too (.326/.394/.518).  Good!

The lefty hitting Nimmo had a truly superb lefty/righty split in Vegas, hitting .358 in 120 at bats against lefties with a .567 slug %, and .349 against righties.  Great!

All things considered, he had one heck of a season.  

With the log jam in the Mets outfield, Nimmo may be ticketed back to Vegas for the earlier part of the season until the log jam eases.  If that were to occur, doubling his Vegas 2016 homer rate of 1 every 40 at bats to 1 every 20 couldn't hurt a bit.  If he spends considerable time in Vegas, I'd hope to see him hit .375/.450/.600 to further cement his readiness.

Nimmo has only stolen 37 of 67 in the minors, so his speed at first seems around average, but he has compiled a triple every 18 games in the minors, so it seems that once he gets his motor running, he can cover a lot of ground fast.

Defensively, he's been a competent CF with some limited experience in left and right field.

Overall, Nimmo seems to have a ceiling as a solid 2nd, 3rd or 4th OF.  I think that if Nimmo can continue to improve (and why not), his ceiling could be as a lefty hitting Hunter Pence.  Really?  Yeah, really.

Keep in mind that Pence made his major league debut 2 weeks after his 24th birthday - Nimmo got to the bigs earlier and will be exactly that age on Opening Day - he had a heck of a year for a 23 year old, Vegas Boost or no Vegas Boost.  

I say to Brandon Nimmo, why not be another Pence, and help make the Mets Great Again?

Best wishes for a tremendous 2017 to a very likable guy, Mr, Nimmo.

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Reese Kaplan -- Daniel Murphy vs. Neil Walker

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A friend was recently bemoaning the Mets decision to let Daniel Murphy walk and felt they had a vastly inferior alternative in Neil Walker who promises to be more expensive than the near-MVP candidate of the Washington Nationals.  While I am usually the one who’s quick to criticize the front office, I couldn’t let that opinion go unanswered.

First of all, let’s look at the numbers.  Over a 162 game period Daniel Murphy produces a highly credible 13 HRs, 78 RBIs and .296 batting average while playing extremely questionable defense and executing some head scratching base running plays.  Walker over the same span would provide 20 HRs, 81 RBIs and a .273 batting average while providing superior defense.  Whether you prefer a higher average or more power, it seems they are pretty much a wash.

At the time Daniel Murphy was allowed to walk away the Mets were fixated on the compensatory pick that would come from making him a Qualifying Offer which he declined.  They won this gamble and Murphy found himself making a bit less than what was projected for him by accepting a 3 year $37.5 million contract in DC.

To address that void the Mets shipped disgruntled and superfluous pitcher Jon Niese to Pittsburgh in exchange for free-agent-to-be Neil Walker.  The money was close so he came to the Mets at a net cost of just $1.55 million for the entire year.  Daniel Murphy was coming off a year in which he earned $8 million, thus resulting in a payroll savings of $6.45 million and a supplemental draft pick.

The end result was a 2016 season in which Neil Walker provided 23 HRs and 55 RBIs in just 103 games.  Of course, the season ended early as a result of surgery, but he was on pace to get 30 HRs by year’s end.  Had he finished with that total most of the Daniel Murphy supporters would be a lot less vocal.

Now Murphy’s season for the Nationals was one for the ages.  He batted an incredible .347 with 25 Hrs and 104 RBIs.  The batting average is likely to return to earth somewhat as he’d only been a .289 hitter prior to last season, but it’s possible the run production will remain the same now that he has an RBI position in the order and some decent bats around him for protection.

Right now the rumor is that the Mets are exploring a $40 million plus contract for Walker with the stipulation he would spread this year’s $17.2 million lost QO bet over the term of the deal to reduce the payroll hit overall in 2017.  For those folks keeping score at home, that’s more money for what people think is a lesser player.

However, the answer is, as usual, not nearly as simple as it would appear to be on the surface.  Obviously the Mets extended the QO in the attempt to hedge their bets against a Yoenis Cespedes departure and David Wright’s ongoing health issues.  The latter is now the rationale behind these contract extension talks.  Should Wright be forced to retire, they need someone capable of manning 3B and providing Wright’s power.

This situation may never come to fruition, of course, because reports abound that talks have hit what’s been called a terminal roadblock.  If so, then as opined last week, the Mets may have to consider what’s best to do with Walker who may indeed want to test the free agent market if he proves himself healthy.  Towards that end the Mets may find themselves facing the very same dilemma at the end of 2017 as they did at the end of 2016 and have to provide an even more expensive QO or have him walk away for nothing.

If the latter happens, it’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world.  They will have paid Walker $28 million for two seasons of credible work and rid themselves of Jon Niese in the process (whose only work option is a minor league deal alongside castoff Ruben Tejada with the Yankees).  Next season should have Asdrubal Cabrera on one side Amed Rosario at shortstop and there are a myriad of options for the other.

Who do you think will have the better 2017 – Daniel Murphy or Neil Walker?  Do remember that Walker is both allegedly healthy for the first time in years AND is playing for his free agent future. Personally I think they'll be a lot closer than many would suspect.
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2/21/17

Mr. Shea Stadium - Tickets Behind Home Plate For Sale

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Our friend Cornell, over at Mr. Shea Stadium, passes on... 


Many of you last year jumped at the opportunity to buy these so we are giving you the chance to do so again this year!

    We are contacting all of our Mr Shea Stadium follows to tell you about some 2017 Citi Field tickets for sell. A friend of ours has season tickets DIRECTLY behind home plate Field Level, the best seats in the whole stadium! He has a list of games he will not be able to attend and has a web page listing those he is trying to sell. The link to paste is:


His link also has his email contact info. Any questions just contact him.

    Also don’t forget to visit our ebay store for NY Mets/ Shea Stadium & Polo Grounds listings under ebay ID:  cornell-9


Lets Go Mets!
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Richard Jones- 17 Pounds

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The most talked about 17 pounds in baseball belongs to Noah Syndergaard. The additional muscle he added during the off season. Tom House predicts that the additional muscle will result in a Syndergaard injury by June 1st. House explains that the new muscle is "unskilled muscle". Yes I read that several times just to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

If the 17 pounds results in an injury it will have nothing to do with "unskilled muscle". According to reports Syndergaard also did a lot of work to remain flexible and early video of him pitching indicates the new muscle shouldn't pose any risks in itself. I believe House is just trying to get some much needed PR. If there is no injury no ones going to remember his statements come June 1st. If Syndergaard does get hurt House gets to pat himself on the back.

I do feel Syndergaard's new muscle does pose a potential injury risk. Not to any of the "unskilled muscle" but to tendons, ligaments, and bones which the strength of the muscle may exceed. It can work two ways. The added muscle, which most of it is likely not in his arms, can add extra support to the tendons and ligaments. The extra lower body strength can make it easier on his arm to throw 98.3 mph. It actually may reduce the risk of injury. However if Syndergaard intends to use that extra muscle to throw harder, which he indictated he does, it can add extra stress to his tendons, ligaments, and bones.

Depending on how you look at stats there where anywhere from 3 to about a dozan starting pitchers better than Syndergaard last year. None of those pitchers threw anywhere near as hard a Syndergaard did. My advice to Syndergaard would be to find other ways to improve your game. If he stays at 98.3 the extra strength should make it easier to go deeper into games. Noah ranked 41st in innings pitched last year. A lot of room for improvement there. If the extra stregth makes pitching easier his comand should improve and his spin rates should increase. If the goal is to throw harder House's prediction may come to pass. If it's to pitch smarter I predict a great 2017 season for Noah.
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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: # 5 Tom Szapucki

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Tom Brennan – TOP 25 METS’ PROSPECTS: # 5 Tom Szapucki


One can only hope that Kevin Kaczmarski and Tom Szapucki don’t quit Mets baseball to open up a law firm (Kaczmarski and Szapucki, LLC) in Poland. 

Kidding aside, one of the minor league’s biggest pleasant surprises of 2016 was Tom Szapucki.  Drafted in the 5th round out of high school in 2015, the fireballing lefty barely got to the minor league mound, and what he did on it (while very short) may have led some to think “busted pick.”  2.1 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs.  Ugh.  But no walks and 3 Ks, a glimmer of what was to come. 

2016 was sheer dynamite for the 6’2”, 205 Szapucki.  He started out pitching in Kingsport like Sandy Koufax on a rehab assignment (5 starts, 29 innings, 2 earned runs, 47 Ks).  Time to promote Mr. Koufax – off to Brooklyn Szapucki went.  

Results?  Boring, you know, same old Koufax-like dominance: 23 IP, 6 earned runs, 10 hits, 39 Ks, striking out 10 or more in his last 3 starts.  A man against boys.   Of the 6 earned runs in Brooklyn, 4 came in his last start in which he went 5.1 IP, fanned 10, and allowed 3 hits and 3 walks.  OK, yep, that’s his bad start. 

Overall, before he was disappointingly shut down as a precaution due to a cranky back in mid-August, he compiled 52 IP, and had 86 K (14.9 K per 9 innings), just 26 hits allowed and a 1.38 ERA.  Only his 20 walks served notice that he is not yet ready for enshrinement in Cooperstown. 

I just have this funny feeling that like PJ Conlon, who threw 20 brilliant innings for Brooklyn in 2015, only to follow it up with the lowest ERA in all of baseball in 2016 spanning Columbia and St Lucie, Szapucki is going to pick up where he left off and torch full season A ball in 2017 in similar fashion. 

He just needs to refine command of his already good secondary pitches to complement the 97 MPH heater – and take care of that back.  My prediction?  If healthy, he fans 200 this year, in which he turns 21 in June. 

Assuming healthy progress, he could be another elite joining the starting Mets rotation by 2019.  Wait, we already have a ton of great starters?  Oh well, we’ll figure something out.
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Mack – Q and A – Zack Wheeler, Jordan Humphreys, Neil Walker, First Base

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Good morning.


Conrad asks –

OK, so say Wheeler starts the year in the BP to ease him into returning to a starting role (what the Cardinals do).  Now say he’s lights-out in relief—like black hole lights-out.  Do you keep him there?  Many pitch their way out of a starting role through failure, can you pitch your way out the rotation through success?

            Mack – Hey Conrad.

Baseball teams balance the need of the team with the ability of the player. Right now, it seems that the Mets are top heavy with seven viable candidates for their rotation.

I have seen many Mets starters have relatively successful minor league careers as a starter, only to be more successful as a reliever. In most cases, it is because the pitcher in question has the ability to throw high velo, especially in early innings.

Remember Noah Syndergaard’s first playoff inning? His fastball, which averaged 102, topped off at 103. Imagine this guy as a 15-20 pitch late inning reliever.

Two guys that come to mind are Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia. Both found more success in the pen.

My guess is, if Wheeler is ‘black hold lights out’ in relief, at any level, he will remain in relief, at all levels. I would hope that his future would be based on the care and welfare of his arm, but go ask Brad Holt how that worked out for him.


Michael asks –

                       I was looking at your web site the other day and I saw your top prospect list. There’s a name on there that I know nothing about. 

                   Who is Jordan Humphreys?

                               
    

                   Mack - Thanks for the question, Michael.    

                   Humphreys is a prep kid out of Crystal River, Florida, that was signed in the 18th round of the 2015 draft. He only got in seven professional games that year and all were for the GCL Mets out of the pen (11.2-IP, 7-K, 1-BB, 1.54, 1.11). 

                  In 2016, he returned to starting and impressed in Kingsport (12-starts, 69,1-IP, 76-K, 15-BB, 3.76, 1.15). He also led the Appy league in strikeouts.

He was promoted near the end of the season to Brooklyn, where he started one game (6.0-IP, 9-K, 1.50).

                       So far, even though it is a small sample, his professional stat line is quite impressive – 20-G, 13-starts, 87-IP, 92-K, 17-BB, 3.31 1.16.

                       His fastball is in the lower 90s, but his secondary stuff still needs a little polish. Still, he was worth adding to the bottom of my list. Keep an eye on him in Brooklyn this season.


Bill asked –
                       Assuming he's 100% and wants to stay, do you think a Murphy-like deal to Neil Walker which includes this year at lower cost, would be fair to both sides?

                      

                   Mack - I wonder if Reese can figure out which Bill asked this question.
    
                   Lots of flags here, but yes. If he was fully healed and was producing at least at the level he was producing at last year before his back went south, I would add at least one more year to his contract.

                       He’s not the oldest second baseman in the league and he did hit 62 home runs in the past three seasons.

                       But, before you sign him up, you have to answer this… do you instead pick up Astrubel Cabrera’s option for next season, promote Amed Rosario, and shift Cabrera to second?



Maynard asked –

            Mack, why can’t Michael Conforto convince Terry to let him take some reps in camp at first base?

                 
      
Mack - That's not how it works, Maynard.

Players have no say in what positions they play. They can stop by the manager’s office and voice an opinion but managers (and their boss upstairs) have usually decided who plays where during the pre-season camp.

As for first base, it’s Lucas Duda’s job to play there in 2017 and his backups are Wilmer Flores and Neil Walker. In addition, if Duda goes on the disabled list, T.J. Rivera is a phone call away.

2018 goes to Dominic Smith who should be the starting first baseman for the lion share of the games.

Conforto’s 2017 role will be determined next month, which will either be one of the Mets outfielders or a full-time player in Las Vegas. Either way, I don’t see first base as his future. 

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2/20/17

Richard Herr - I Wish

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I Wish
With spring training halfway started with pitchers and catchers, I find myself putting together a wish list for the Mets for this coming year. So here’s what I wish.

I wish - that Jeurys Familia finds his peace and tranquility--except of course, when he’s pitching. He can be as nasty as he wants to be then.

I wish - that Zack Wheeler heals and starts pitching again. Wherever that may be. Let’s not worry about whether it’s in the rotation or the bullpen, just so long as it’s in the land of healthy.

I wish - that Matt Harvey comes back to his old self, that means with the fire streaming out of his nostrils.

I wish - that Steven Matz stays healthy all through the year.

I wish - that Jacob deGrom gets back to being Jacob deGrom.

I wish - that Josh Edgin regains his fastball after the surgery.

I wish - that Noah Syndergaard---never mind, I don’t think there’s anything I need to wish for here.

I wish - that Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo continue what they were doing, only over a larger sample.

I wish - that Travis d’Arnaud takes over 1.) calling the game, 2.) throwing 3.) hitting.

I wish - that the Dude confidently hits to all fields.

I wish - that Walker and Cabrera stay healthy and come close to last year’s output.

I wish - David flourishes.

I wish - Wilmer shows them how he can hit

I wish - Jose drinks from that fountain of youth

I wish - Yoenis stays as productive - but he may need a couple more cars.

I wish - Grandy keeps on keeping on

I wish - Lagares lives up to his hitting po

I wish - Jay Bruce becomes a big city boy

I wish - Nimmo shows why he was chosen first

I wish - Terry spreads the load over the whole bullpen.

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.



You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.
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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: # 6 JUSTIN DUNN

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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: # 6 JUSTIN DUNN




Justin Dunn was the Mets' first round pick (19th overall). The Yanks picked one slot ahead at 18 and nabbed OF Blake Rutherford - it will be interesting to see whose pick works out better.  Also interesting is that Dunn and the Mets’ supplemental 1st round pick Anthony Kay are both from Long Island.


The righty Dunn (listed at 6’2”, 185) signed quickly at the age of 20 after honing his craft in Boston College.  He made 11 appearances, 8 of which were starts, but none of which exceeded 3 innings due to innings restrictions, given his college pitching earlier that year, so the equivalent of 11 short and long relief appearances.


How did he do in his final (junior) year at BC?  Well, the school website says this:


AS A JUNIOR (2016)


Named Baseball America 3rd Team All-America … also collected All-Atlantic Coast Conference 3rd Team, American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Northeast 2nd Team and New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) All-New England 2nd Team honors … recorded a 2.06 ERA with a 4-2 record, two saves, three combined shutouts and a .214 opponent batting average in 18 appearances and eight starts … ERA was fourth-best in the ACC while opponent batting average is seventh.


Recorded a 2.19 ERA with 49 strikeouts and just 15 walks as a starter … racked up a win, two saves, 17 strikeouts and just three walks in nine appearances out of the bullpen … in total, allowed 52 hits, 17 runs – 15 earned – 18 walks and 72 strikeouts over 65.2 innings … of the 52 hits allowed, just 11 – seven doubles, one triple and three home runs – were for extra bases.


One of two Eagles to throw a complete game in 2016 … ranked on 12 ACC top-10 lists, including tied for first for fewest runs allowed, tied for second for fewest earned runs allowed and fourth for fewest hits allowed … 9.87 strikeouts per game ranked fifth in the league, 7.13 hits per game ranked seventh and 2.33 runs per game ranked fourth … went 5.1 innings in the Super Regional opener at No. 3 Miami (6/10), allowing six hits, a season-high five runs and two walks with six strikeouts ... struck out a career-high 11 en route to opening regional win over No. 15 Tulane (6/3), allowing five hits, two runs and just one walk.


Helped the Eagles to their first ACC Baseball Championship appearance in six years with his first career complete game at No. 22 Georgia Tech (5/21), allowing just six hits, three runs – two earned – without walking a batter and recording a career-high nine Ks.


Yadda, yadda, yadda, all that’s nice enough, but how did he do as a pro in 2016?


BETTER!


In his 30 innings for the top rookie ball league Brooklyn Cyclones, he allowed 25 hits, walked 10, fanned 35, and had an ERA of 1.50.  Three of his 5 earned runs allowed came in one appearance, with just 2 earned runs in the other 10 outings.   He did also allow 6 unearned runs, but let’s blame that largely on sub-par rookie league fielding, shall we?


Dunn is said to have an above average fastball, curve, and slider, and an average change up.  He is  a switch hitter and deemed to be highly athletic as well. 

Concerns exist as to whether he will have the stamina to retain his fastball velocity over several innings.  He’ll get a chance to show that in full season ball this year.  Where?

My guess is he will start in Columbia and get promoted to St Lucie in mid-season – but if he progresses more rapidly, he might just be ready for a September bullpen call up to the Mets, if needed.  Seems doubtful, but he is a first round pick.


Between college and the pros he got a good number of innings in, which I am guessing is what he wanted to do by signing quickly, so he would have a high innings limit in 2017.


I am looking forward to watching Dunn and fellow amazing prospect Tom Szapucki blaze their way through 2017.  Along with PJ Conlon and Marcos Molina, they make an excellent starting pitcher prospect foursome to track on their likely paths to the big leagues as starters or relievers.


As for Dunn, I see him as a good mid-rotation starter or excellent pen arm for the Mets by 2019, if not sooner.  Perhaps he'll be our Harvey money-saving replacement in 2019.

Tomorrow: Our # 5 Son.









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Mack - Travis d'Arnaud

6 comments


Good morning.


Boy, did I like it when this guy became a Met.

And I not only thought he was the blue chip in the deal that sent Cy Young pitcher R.A. Dickey to Toronto, but I though we wouldn’t have to look for another catcher for possibly 10 years.

The first problem is he always seems to be injured. He’s only had 974 at-bats in his four seasons in Queens, with only 239 in 2015 and 251 last year.

The second problem is his once projected power has never happened. There’s only 30 home runs in those 974 at bats, with a slugging percentage of .393.

Should we just give up on Travis d’Arnaud? He only turned 28 years old 10 days ago and doesn’t become eligible for free agency until 2020. His current 2017 A1 salary of $1.875mil is affordable for a lifetime 4-year .245-BA catcher. The problem is .245 would be just fine if your catcher had mad defensive skills, which d’Arnaud does not have.

Should we stay with guy until Tomas Nido matures, who has an ETA of 2019?

Reese Kaplan, of Mack’s Mets, added –

When the Mets acquired Travis d’Arnaud from the Blue Jays he was considered the crown jewel of the package they received for R.A. Dickey and Josh TholeWuilmer Becerra was coming off injury and just 18 years old.  Flamethrower Noah Syndergaard was a few years away and many felt a major injury waiting to happen.  John Buck was a salary dump by the Blue Jays who only needed him as a backup and now they had Thole coming to take over that role.

Unfortunately things did not progress for d’Arnaud as the Mets had hoped.  He’s one of those players in the mold of Moises Alou or Cliff Floyd who seemed forever to be plagued by injuries.  He’s never managed to put in a full season in the majors.  In less than half a season in 2015 he demonstrated what he’s capable of doing by providing 12 HRs and 49 RBIs while hitting .268.  Extrapolated over a full season and that’s over 25 HR/90 RBI production.

Unfortunately injuries struck once again in 2016 and limited his action to 251 ABs.  Given his production, that may be a good thing as he was plain awful.  He hit just .247/4/15 over MORE at-bats than he had had in 2015.
The question the Mets are pondering is which reality can they project going forward?  If you look at the minor league record, he average about .290/19/85 over every 500 ABs.  Consequently there is potential there.  You have to wonder to what extent the injuries were responsible for him overcompensating and changing his basic swing mechanics last year.
It is well known that the Mets tried to obtain Jonathon Lucroy from the Brewers during last year’s July trading deadline before he was eventually dealt to the Rangers.  That couldn’t have boded well for d’Arnaud’s confidence either.

Defensively, d’Arnaud reminds many of Mike Piazza in that he’s in the game primarily for what he can do with the bat.  He’s not particularly good at throwing out runners, though he allegedly excels at the sports-agent created metric called pitch framing.  Even so, the Mets pitchers fared much better when Rene Rivera was behind the plate so that even further calls into question the validity of what impact that skill has on the game.

The hope when they obtained d’Arnaud was that he would become the kind of offensive player Ted Simmons was during his long career.  Expectations have been tempered significantly and perhaps current Cubs backup catcher Miguel Montero is a better aspirational comp.  For each 162 game period he would deliver .259/18/78.  I think at this point the Mets would do cartwheels if Travis d’Arnaud would be healthy enough and consistent enough to provide that much with the bat.  Whether or not he can is still very much in the air.  A decent year along those lines would make people feel comfortable about that position until Tomas Nido is available.  Another bad year will likely have the Mets scrambling for a replacement to tide them over until that day arrives. 

Christopher Soto, of Mack's Mets, adds - 

Man…What could have been when it comes to d’Arnaud. In the past, I remained confident that d’Arnaud could always bounce back and reach his prospect peak because his old injuries were of the “non-lingering” category. Not anymore though as a rotator cuff injury that sidelined him for much of 2016 has pretty much sapped any remaining arm strength he had left. 

Quite frankly, I’m not so certain that d’Arnaud is even the starting catcher going into 2017. Despite posting a terrible .222 AVG, the Mets starting pitchers flourished with Rene Rivera behind the plate posting an ERA over 2 runs per 9 IP LOWER, as well as, a K/9 rate almost 1 K better per 9 innings than with d'Arnaud behind the plate. In fact, Mets pitchers even worked better with Plawecki behind the dish over d'Arnaud.



D'Arnaud will certainly get an opportunity to win his job back during spring training, however, as long as Rene Rivera is working well with Generation K 2.0.....I can't imagine Travis actually winning the job back.


Mack's Opinion: - A team can only have no many needs on one season. I’m sure the Mets would rethink both this position and the availability of someone like Matt Wieters, if they could have traded off Jay Bruce or accept the resignation of David Wright. I’m an old GM and one has the responsibility to operate with some sense of profitability.

My guess is that d’Arnaud will be the starting catcher for the Mets in 2017, but I can’t guarantee anything past this year. Also, if he goes down one more time he could lose his job permanently to his once understudy, Kevin Plawecki.



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