12/31/18

Tom Brennan - METS PROSPECTS # 6 THRU # 10

5 comments

OK, so I passed on infallible, indisputable truths on Friday - namely, that Peter Alonso, Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Ronny Mauricio, and David Kay are the Mets' # 1 thru # 5 prospects, respectively.

But let's not waste time - who are the equally indisputable # 6 thru # 10 Mets prospects?  

Hint: 5 guys who are highly unlikely to make the Queens club in 2019.


# 6 Mark Vientos IF

He reminds me of Wilmer Flores, just with more power, better fielding, and somewhat better speed.  He hit great as a 17 year old second rounder in 2017, ditto as an 18 year old in 2018, and why the heck should 2019 be different?  

I expect a GREAT season from MV Hammer in 2019...like 35 doubles, 20-25 HRs, 85 RBIs and .285 in A ball.  Future starting MLB infielder IMO.


# 7 Tom Szapucki LHSP

The blazing lefty reluctantly cooled his pits in 2018 following Tommy John surgery, but he sure looked dazzling prior thereto.  He is my third lefty fireballer in my top 7 prospects.

# 7 is a high rating given that recovery from TJS is not always 100%, but I am assuming he will return fine like my # 5 pick David Kay. Possible 2021 rotation dude, or a high-powered, late inning lefty reliever.


# 8  Desmond Lindsay  OF

I oughta be committed for having Lindsay (with the appropriate initials "DL") as high as my # 8 Mets prospect.  

But I am going to believe real hard that he'll stay healthy for a change in 2019 and show us what his high degree of athleticism and improved swing will do to propel him as arguably the Mets' best minor league outfielder.   A break-through season could have him in Queens by 2020.

Just keep him far away from the careening Juan Lagares and we should be all right.


# 9  Francisco Alvarez  C

Still 17 for 2019, this big bucks ($2.9 mil) bonus baby catcher is reputed to have a booming bat.  Let's see if he can be Peter Alonso bat-wise, while wearing the tools of ignorance, this year.  

Hey, Francisco, Wilson Ramos is only signed for 2 years, so if you're considered to be THAT good, why not be our 18 year old catcher in Queens in 2020?

OK, OK, that is greedy and unrealistic...I can wait until 2021 when you are 19 to be the Mets starting catcher.  (Mack just passed me my meds). 

OK, OK, but you better get to the Mets at age 20 by 2022, Francisco.   

The DSL is likely his starting point, given his lack of age, but he could follow # 4 prospect Ronny Mauricio's 2018 steps and debut in the GCL, too.

Anyway, Alvarez was Baseball America's No. 9 international prospect last summer, signed for $2.9 mil; they described him as "one of the strongest players in the class, (with) a stout, blocky frame, although he moves surprising well...for his size...(his) swing starts with a small toe tap and he generates big raw power with an aggressive hack."  Works for me.


# 10  Simeon Woods-Richardson RHSP

The 2018, 17 year old uber-athletic second rounder had a heck of a minor league debut over limited innings, showing superior velocity and stuff.  

You all know me by now - I am not at all greedy - I don't expect him to pitch in Queens younger than Doc Gooden did - but I can dream of him showing up like Doc at age 19.  

Much more likely he shows up at age 20 or 21 in 2021 or 2022.  Maybe he can be a top-of-rotation pitcher.  

Hopefully he gets to Queens in less time than it takes to pronounce his lengthy name.


Yep - a very promising 6 thru 10 - let's hope that prospect promise turns into top tier big league performance in a few years for all 5 of them.



NEXT ARTICLE: # 11 THRU # 15.
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Reese Kaplan -- Would Anyone in MLB Take Them?

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Can we agree upon one thing from the Sandy Alderson era?  Hope is not a strategy!  Going into a season hoping the injured players come back healthy and remain that way, the ones who had a bad year will bounce back and the ones primed to take the next step actually will. 

Yup, it’s possible there will be peace in the Middle East, a resolution to the government gridlock and a cure for cancer will be found.  I’m not saying it’s not possible, but the track records and trends suggest plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Towards that end I got into a bit of a debate about the relative merits of playing both Juan Lagares and Todd Frazier regularly this year in the HOPES that they will somehow remain healthy and buck the statistical trends that have evolved over the recent courses of their careers.  Let’s take a look.

In 2014 Juan Lagares was a force in the outfield running down anything hit remotely in his direction and gunning down runners with that Howitzer of an arm.  He hit .281 with 4 HRs, 47 RBIs and 13 SBs.  Nothing stood out offensively, but the overall numbers were indeed positive and for that reason it seemed prudent for Sandy Alderson to lock up the outfielder to a long term deal. 

The injury parade began, including a 2015 including a period in which is vaunted arm went on hiatus and it looked as if he might even need surgery to correct it.  Over the period from 2015 through 2017 he delivered just a .253 AVG with 17 HRs and 65 RBIs but spread over 835 ABs.  He stole 18 bases over the 1.33 season’s worth of production as well. 

His much ballyhooed new swing seemed to be paying early dividends in 2018 when he started off with an outlier batting average of .339 over the course of almost a month with 0 HRs and 6 RBIs.  That would extrapolate to 0/36 over the course of a season, so unless he could sustain that heretofore unseen batting average, it looked like he was actually trending downhill with the bat. 

In the case of Todd Frazier, he was signed by the Mets after finishing out his career across town with the Yankees after having been peddled there from the White Sox.  He had a commendable season power-wise in 2017 with 27 HRs and 76 RBIs combined but with just a .213 batting average.  Even that number would be acceptable had he replicated his 2016 season in Chicago when he hit 40 HRs and drove in 98.  After all, the Mets withstood that type of production from Dave Kingman for several years.  During that 40 HR campaign he hit .225. 

This past season he replicated the .213 average upon his return to the National League where hegan his professional career with the Cincinatti Reds and remained there for 5 years.  His salary had gone as high as $12 million after having signed for $20.875 million over two years with the Sox.  Consequently when he was picked up for the sum of $8.5 million AAV for two years by Sandy Alderson, many applauded him for holding out to get good value. 

Of course, that bargain didn’t quite work out as expected.  Yes, he brought a professionalism to the team whose better players either were young (like Michael Conforto) or who shun the media spokesperson role (like Yoenis Cespedes).  He only had 408 ABs, hit just 18 HRs and drove in just 59 with an OPS under .700 and an OPS+ of under 100.  In other words, he was not very good.

So the question I posed to my group of friends clamoring for full seasons out of Todd Frazier at 3B and Juan Lagares in CF, is if they are so valuable would another team simply take them at full salary off the Mets’ hands, freeing up 3B for Jeff McNeil, 1B for Peter Alonso and CF for a solution yet to be determined?  The Mets would say – have at ‘em – just pay the $18.5 million due to them in 2019.  Any takers?  Bueller?

(And although he wasn't part of the original conversation, make the same offer to MLB for Jason Vargas' services, too...again, Bueller???)

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12/30/18

Mack – 2019 Mock Draft v2.0

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Good morning.

The following mock draft is a compilation of all the mock drafts published in the fourth quarter of 2018. The results from the previous mock have changed.

A few general observations before I show the ranking.

There are five ballplayers that will be long gone before the Mets pick at #12. 

They are, in no particular order, Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, Colleyville Heritage HS (TX) shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (GA) shortstop C.J. Abrams, and Hagerty HS (FL) outfielder Riley Greene. Everyone agrees that these will the early picks in round one.

The distance between these top five and the rest of the field is huge.

Rutschman was the odds- on favorite to be the first pick.

The general consensus is that this draft is rich with shortstops and short on right handed pitching.

Getting late play are Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn, Texas Tech 3B Josh Jung, and Southern Miss OF Matt Wallner.

Falling from the sky is The Bolles School (FL) LHP Hunter Barco,

So, without further ado…

1.      C               Adley Rutschman                 Oregon State            
2.      SS             Bobby Witt Jr.                        Colleyville HS (TX)   
3.      OF             Riley Greene                         Hagerty HS FL)
4.      C               Shea Langgeliers                 Baylor                        
5.      SS             C.J. Abrams                           Blessed Trinity HS (GA) 
6.      3B             Josh Jung                              Texas Tech                           
7.      LHP           Nick Lodolo                           TCU                                       
8.      3B-SS       Rece Hinds                            Niceville HS (FL)                  
9.      LHP           Zack Thompson                    Kentucky                              
10.  LHP           Hunter Barco                         The Bolles School (FL)        
11.  1B             Andrew Vaughn                    Cal                                         
12.  RHP           Brennan Malone                   Porter Ridge HS (NC)          
13.   OF            Matt Wallner                          Southern Miss                      
14.  RHP           Tyler Dyson                           Florida                                   
15.  SS             Logan Davidson                    Clemson                               
16.  RHP           Matthew Thompson             Cypress Ranch HS (TX)       
17.  3B-SS       Bryson Stott                          UNLV                                     
18.  RHP           Daniel Espino                        Bulloch HS (GA)                   
19.  LHP           Graeme Stinson                    Duke              
20.   2B            Braden Shewmake               TAMU                                    
21.   1B            Michael Busch                       North Carolina                      
22.   3B            Drew Mendoza                      Florida State                         
23.   OF            Jerrion Ealy                           Jackson Prep (MS)               
24.   OF            Mike Toglia                            UCLA                                     
25.   SS            Nick Quintana                        Arizona                                 
26.   SS            Will Holland                           Auburn                                  
27.  RHP           Alex Manoah                         West Virginia                        
28.   OF            JJ Bledsay                             Vanderbilt                             
29.   RHP          Matthew Allen                       Seminole HS (FL)                 
30.   SS            Greg Jones                            UNC Wilmington                  

Remember… this isn’t MY mock draft. It’s a compilation of other mocks from places like 24/7 and MLB Pipeline.

Most of my more frequent readers out there want another bat in the pipeline to replace the loss of Jarred Kelenic.

Anybody below those top five names could fall down (or up) to the 12th pick. We’ve talked about slugging infielder Rece Hinds before and I would be dancing in the hall if he was still around at twelve and we picked him, but I want to use this posting to highlight two other players you want to hope are still around when umber twelve comes around:

The 6-4 slugging LHH OF Matt Wallner has already done his fair share of damage at Southern University. In his freshman year (2017), he hit .336/.463/.655/1.118 while slugging 19 home runs and 63 runs batted in in 235 at-bats. His sophomore year (2018) brought more of the same: 228 at-bats, .351/.474/.618/1.092, 16-HR, 67-RBIs. If this was one season of 463 at bats, it would add up to .343/.468/.637/1.105, 35-HR, 130-RBI. He doubled as the team closer, but that’s not going to happen when he is drafted. This is a premium bat.



3B Josh Jung has been moving up the mock rankings, but as we have learned in the past, some come back to earth once the season starts. That being said, the 6-2 junior has put up two great seasons… .306/.395/.453 as a Freshman, and .384 batting average and incredible .490 OBP. He does have limitations though. He doesn’t run well which limits his mobility at third as well, but his fielding and + arm make up the difference. Also, there is only limited projection left for him to become a home run hitter, but he’s a pure gap to gap hitter whose bat is projected to be major league ready.

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From The Desk – Baseball Class Cancelled, Dominic Smith, Cuba, Derek Jeter, Collin McHugh

26 comments



Good morning.



 Coach reports compromise reached after baseball class canceled –

Parents and players cried foul earlier this year when they learned a longtime high school baseball class was no longer an option at school. The coach claimed the class helped students academically, but the principal disagreed.
So how has the change impacted students? 

"We've been able to produce over 140 college baseball players since 1996," Rio Grande High School baseball coach, Orlando Griego, told News 13 in an interview back in March. "We've graduated over 99 percent of our kids, and so those are things that I'm proud of."


What should the New York Mets do with Dominic Smith ? –

           Dominic Smith, one of the club’s former top prospects, has failed to show that he has the talent necessary to be an everyday Major League first baseman.
In 310 Major League at-bats, Smith has hit 14 home runs and has driven in 37 RBIs, but has only managed to slash .210/.259/.406. This results in an OPS+ of 79… far below league average.

This production is far from his Minor League slash line of .296/.361/.426.

PC - Reese Kaplan
Mack – Smith hasn’t panned out as we had all planned him to so the next step would be to trade him, right? Well, here’s one of the downers about social media. All the negative stuff written about this guy can be read by scouts from other teams. He seems to be poisoned now.

Me? I would play him exclusively in the Syracuse outfield in 2019 (this is called ‘player development’ in case any of the Mets people out there are reading this)and we might be able to recreate him into a viable outfield option in 2020.





The Possible Legal Issue with MLB’s Cuba Deal –

         
  On Wednesday, a White House statement criticized baseball’s agreement with Cuba, saying the administration would continue to restrict Cuba’s ability to profit from American businesses.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control could revoke M.L.B.’s license to negotiate with the Cubans. If it does, it would signal a shift in policy that could affect many other companies doing business in Cuba.

Mack – I really wish the Trump WH would look at more pressing issues than this.


Inside Derek Jeter’s  New York ‘Castle’ –

                 
       Derek Jeter is giving up his family’s castle.

The former New York Yankees’ legend — yes, legend, based on this alone — bought the 12,590-square-foot mansion in Greenwood Lake, New York, in 2002. Previously, his grandfather owned the property, and Jeter reportedly would visit when he was a kid. But now that Jeter’s working as CEO and part owner of the Miami Marlins baseball team, seems like he no longer needs the Empire State digs.

Listed price for the six-bedroom: $14.75 million, or more than $6 million less than the $21 million Jeter made playing baseball in 2010.

Mack – I owned a small summer house on that lake back in the late 70s. Cost me $35K


Collin McHugh: Starting again –

                              
      McHugh will rejoin the rotation in 2019, Brian McTaggart of the Astros' official site reports.

The Astros will have some new faces in the rotation next season, brought upon by the departure of Charlie Morton, the expected departure of Dallas Keuchel, and an injury to Lance McCullers (elbow). McHugh isn't actually a new face. He was a starter for the Astros from 2014 to 2017 before a strong season as a reliever in 2018.

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12/29/18

From The Desk… “Not Significantly Better”, Matt Harvey, Reloaded, Holiday Debates, Yoenis Cespedes

10 comments



Good morning.




Mets  Are Improved, But Not Significantly Better Than Last Year's Team –

Should the Phillies land both Machado and Harper it would make them the odds-on favorites to win the East, ahead of the Braves and Nationals, with the Mets slated for fourth place regardless of what they do, and the Marlins last, despite whom they bring in for catcher J.T. Realmuto.

            Mack – Sadly, I agree.

Now, add a healthy Yoenes Cespedes to this lineup and I have a team that can compete for this division.
            Dam those 800-pound squats.



What Matt Harvey Has Lost –


            Harvey was better than he was the year before, and he was healthier than he was the year before that. There’s been a drop in velocity, but Harvey still gets his fastball into the mid-90s, so it seems like he should have enough strength in his arm. From time to time, he can still look like the old Matt Harvey. But that 2018 stat line just isn’t good. It’s also not bad — we can agree to look past the ugly ERA. Harvey looked more or less like a league-average starter. The positive spin is that, by xwOBA, he resembled Chris Archer, Luis Castillo, and Madison Bumgarner. The negative spin is that, by xwOBA, he also resembled Tanner Roark, Wade LeBlanc, and Junior Guerra. Depending on your definitions, Harvey might be a No. 3 with a long medical record. Or he might be a No. 4.

Mack – “xwOBA” is defined as: Expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) is formulated using exit velocity and launch angle, two metrics measured by Statcast.



Could a reloaded Mets  team be the biggest threat in 2019? –

             
          While an NL East title doesn’t seem likely right now for New York, the much improved squad could prove to be a major test for the Braves in 2019.


Providing the roster remains mostly healthy (a major ‘if’, as always for New York), the Mets appear to be a very formidable foe. Last year’s lineup headlined at times by aging veterans such as Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista has been vastly improved and their always daunting pitching staff led by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will prove no less challenging.

The big challenge will involve the additions they’ve made to their lineup – and they may not be finished, either.



Cuban baseball players  will no longer have to defect to join MLB –

             
           Major League Baseball and the sport's governing body in Cuba struck a historic deal on Wednesday, allowing players from the island to play in the big leagues without having to defect, officials said.

The initial deal will run through Oct. 31, 2021, and will allow Cuban players to sign under rules similar to those for players coming from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced.

Mack – I’ve been asked many times on my Twitter account why the Mets never seem to go after Cuban players and I never could figure that one out.

Hopefully, with our new scouting directors, and the return of Omar, that will change. 


How to dominate  your holiday baseball debates –

                       
            If the win ain't dead, it's dying - Jacob deGrom's 10 wins in 2018 became a new low for a Cy Young starter. He appeared in first place on 29 of 30 ballots because, with so much better data both traditional (ERA) and modern (FIP, WAR, ERA+, etc.) available to them, the voters rightly recognized that deGrom's 10-9 record was probably the stat that told you the least about the DeGrom season.




     

Waiting on Yoenis Cespedes -

Yoenis Cespedes is expected to miss roughly half of the 2019 season after undergoing surgeries on both heels, but the possibility exists he could miss more time and perhaps even the entire season.

The Mets are hopeful Cespedes will return and be a midseason trade acquisition of sorts, provided they are still in the postseason race.

            Mack – That sounds about the same that I have been told.

Still… even if this happens… the Mets need to go out an get one more blue chip outfielder and sign him before the full squad reports to the spring camp. We will deal with the crowd out there when and if it happens.

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