5/31/18

Tom Brennan - WHAT IS IT LIKE TO PITCH FOR LAS VEGAS?

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Tom Brennan - WHAT IS IT LIKE TO PITCH FOR LAS VEGAS?


Sometimes numbers paint the picture better than words can.


Number of pitchers (current or otherwise) with Vegas in 2018 with ERAs of 6.00 or higher:


17 pitchers




Number of innings by those pitchers:


250.2 innings




Number of runs allowed by those pitchers:


247




Hits, walks and hit batsmen in those 250.2 innings:


450




That is all you need to know about what it is like to pitch for Las Vegas.


Waterboarding might be preferable.  Both are torture, but waterboarding is over more quickly.
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Roster Moves

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Please note the following transactions involving the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

May 31:
  • RHP Josh Prevost transferred from St. Lucie (High-A) to Binghamton (AA)
  • C Jose Garcia placed on Disabled List
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Mack - Trading Jake

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Thought I would try something and play the GM game...

I sent this tweet out to 10 baseball bloggers from other team's sites...

"Okay...  I'm offering up Jacob deGrom for a trade (article I'm writing)

Baseball bloggers @90feetfromhome  @Loyal_Bostonian @VincentPage74  @aalyssacohen @teckertfong  @SoxShowdown  @miasportsminute  @JaysFromCouch  @carpengui @JoshuaHowsam  

Please follow back and send offer."

I got three returns...

From 
  (Braves site)
33 minutes aMore

2 more yrs. of control... gotta believe there's no chance the would respond to the , but I'd try 4 pitchers in return: Luiz Gohara, Kyle Wright, Patrick Weigel [TJ, 6/17], and Ian Anderson (Nos. 2, 4, 5, 16). Try not to mess them up. ;)

I responded...

Mack: Let's make this simple... two for one... Acuna and Albies


Alan followed up:

I can understand that ask... but there's no way that would ever happen. Not even one of them.
I should probably add this codicil: if Acuna AND Albies-level players are what it would take to acquire deGrom, then no one would meet the price. Only the Jays/Mats/WSox have that kind of talent... but they wouldn't go there either.
If the years were equal, then maybe, but Donaldson (4 mos). wouldn't work for the Mets (2yrs, 4 mos) at all in this scenario.

So, I go back and look at the players in play, minus Acuna and Albies:

21/yrs LHP Gohara - #2 prospect - 18/MLB: 4-G, 2.45, 1.09

22/yrs RHP Wright - #3 prospect - 18/AA: 10-ST, 4.73

23/yrs RHP Weigel - #19 prospect - 18/DL - June 17, TJS

20/yrs RHP Anderson - #6 prospect - 18/A+ - 9-ST, 3.64

I go back for round 2...

Mack:

I appreciate your offer. I really do and we do need HEALTHY young pitching but this is too pitcher heavy. Also, we have enough TJS pitchers... let's go back to Albies and Acuna... what about a deal for multiple players that would include ONE of them?


If the price for deGrom begins with one of those guys, the might be willing to suggest Cristian Pache (best OF in minors, 2 yrs away), but both of Albies/Acuna are going to be close to untouchable. Admittedly getting tough to find strong NON-pitching prospects :).

(Pache: 19/yrs, OF, A+: .281)

Mack - Okay, so... is your offer Pache, Gohama, Wright, and Anderson?

(Gohara)... I would approve of that from the side. A strong-upside arm to replace JdG immediately, 2 more for the next wave or two, plus a premium defensive OF with emerging power.

Mack - So... Pache, Gohama, and two secondary chips?



Pache, Gohara, Wright and Anderson. And honestly, none of those are really secondary guys at all. That's a strong offer, and the Mets could even flip 1 or more to fill other needs.



From   
 (Angles site)30 minutes ago
Replying to   and 
Angels have a pretty mediocre farm system, but could offer Jaime Barria, Jahmai Jones, Griffin Canning, and Matt Thaiss

I had our West Coast scout, David Rubin, look over the offer:

Barria - RHP 21/yrs - 2018/MLB: 6-ST. 4-1, 2.97, 1.09

Jones - OF 20/yrs - 2018/A+: .243

Canning - RHP 22/yrs - 2018/A_: 7-ST, 1-0, 1.72, 1.02

Thaiss - 1B 23/yrs - 2018/AA: .287

David said it's a good deal, but we should only make it if the team is going to do a complete reload.

Me? The last thing I need is another first baseman. no less a 23 year old.

I go back with a counter...

Mack -
I actually like the way you think. You know that deGrom is something special.
I ask for one change. First base is the one position I have two ++ chips in the pipeline. I ask for you to substitute him with Taylor Ward.
Page answers...


And... from Toronto...
First...
So as the Jays, I can't see there being a real matchup here. The Blue Jays are in a position where they might need a soft rebuild, which would mean that neither of Vlad Jr. or Bo is going to be dealt for DeGrom, despite his elite-level skill and control through 2020. So while the Jays would likely be willing to offer some package including Alford, Reid-Foley, and one other solid, if not great, prospect, I can't see the Mets accepting that, as they could get a blue-chipper elsewhere.

Then, another Jays site -
Replying to   and 
. here. So, this is like throwing darts in the dark, but... I'd offer something like Sean Reid-Foley, Dwight Smith Jr, Juan Kelly and Richard Urena

So, what did he offer?

RHP Reid-Foley - #7 prospect, 22/yrs, AAA: 1-ST, 30.86!

OF Smith - #30+ prospect - 25/yrs, MLB: .276

DH Kelly - #40+ prospect - 23/yrs, AA: .224

SS Urena - #14 prospect, 22/yrs, MLB (18-AB): .278

I counter...

Mack - Got your offer and, frankly, we're way off. I'm offering one of the top 5 starters in baseball and you offer your team's #7, #14, #30+, and #40 prospect. Additionally, I do not need another SS and there are no DH in the NL.

I want a 'sure fire no miss' chip for Jake... plus two more.

My counter would be Vlad Jr., Danny Jansen, and Reid-Foley

His return tweet:

Well, then it would have to be a hard pass for me -
I can tell you Vlad Jr is a deal breaker. Jansen is my personal deal breaker. -

Then, Joshua, from BPro Toronto, saw the offer from "Jays On The Couch" and sent this:


I saw. I get their position, even though I'd be willing to offer a better package, simply because of where the Jays are in their competitive cycle. If the team was doing well, things might be quite different.

Mack - Counter away

I guess mine before wasn't clear. Maybe Alford, Reid-Foley, and, if a catcher was required, one of recent draftees Hagen Danner and Riley Adams.

Alford: OF, #3 prospect, 23/yrs, 2018 Minors: .165

Reid-Foley: P, #7 prospect, 22/yrs, AAA: 1-ST, 30.86!

Adams: C #9 prospect, 21/yrs, A+, .221


So...

how did I do?

which deal would you go for, if any?


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Reese Kaplan -- The Right Man For The Job

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It’s no secret to any kind of Mets fan that there are two prospects just tearing up baseballs in AA, Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso.  McNeil was gracious enough to grant an interview to our own Tom Brennan, but today’s article is about the big masher Alonso. 

After being derailed earlier in his career due to injuries, Alonso has responded to his streak of good health with the kind of hitting the Mets have not seen in quite some time from their farm system.  Right now Alonso is 5th in the league in batting at .333, leading in HRs with 14 and second in RBIs with 42.  He’s second in OBP with a .460 mark and second on OPS with a 1.092.  Extrapolating his numbers for a full season would suggest a 42/126 run producer.  Yeah, I think the Mets could make room for him.

One of the things people have pointed out is that he is both a right handed hitter and a right handed thrower.  Traditionally first base tends to go to lefties as it is a better defensive posture for infielders and easier for the throws when they are required.  While I can buy into that thinking to some extent, I got curious thinking about other 1st baseman who somehow managed to overcome their right handedness and go on to lead normal lives and productive careers.  Do any of the following names ring a bell?
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Orlando Cepeda
  • Jimmie Foxx
  • Paul Goldschmidt
  • Hank Greenberg
  • Johnny Mize (batted left but threw right handed)
  • George “High Pockets” Kelly
  • Harmon Killebrew
  • Dave Kingman
  • Eddie Murray (switch hitter but threw right handed)
  • Tony Perez
  • Albert Pujols
Methinks he can somehow manage being a right handed gloveman.  Now, like many Mets, he’s not known for his defense, but then again if you can contribute with the bat then, like Daniel Murphy, Mike Piazza and others who have worn a Mets uniform, the good will outweigh the bad. 

Do you remember when they jumped Michael Conforto from AA to the majors to jumpstart a somnambulant offense?  It’s time to employ that strategy once again. 

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Tom Brennan – AN INTERVIEW WITH METS MINOR LEAGUER JEFF MCNEIL

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AN INTERVIEW WITH METS MINOR LEAGUER JEFF MCNEIL

I love Mets minor league achievers and climbers, those who show REAL talent and then clearly make adjustments to get even better and ultimately get to the big leagues.

Undrafted righty hitter TJ Rivera was one who hit very well in the minors early on, had position versatility, but lacked superior speed and did not produce much power in his game.  Bloggers, seeing that, wondered if he’d ever get his shot. 

In 2016, Rivera fixed the power portion of his resume with a significant uptick in power.  Good for him, as when injuries struck the Mets in 2016, the new and improved TJ got his chance with the Mets and he took full advantage of his opportunity, impressively hitting .304 in 319 major league at bats so far.

Jeff McNeil has followed a similar path, while exhibiting more base-stealing propensity than TJ.  At the end of 2015, if I had to pick between the two, I would have picked McNeil – both were lower on the power scale, but otherwise had real similarities hitting-wise. 
I’d go with the quicker, lefty hitting McNeil was my thought then. 

Jeff fell behind TJ, however, in 2016 and 2017, due to several injuries that limited McNeil to a mere 51 games over those 2 seasons.

All told, McNeil is at .304/.374/.424 in his career after 380 games, with 50 of 65 in steals.  Nice!  Here's how he's progressed:

He was drafted by the Mets in the 12th round in 2013 with a reputation as a good, versatile hitter without much power.  He had a great rookie ball debut in 2013, hitting .329/.413/.409 with no homers and 11 of 13 steals.

He then tore up A ball Savannah in the first half of 2014, hitting .332. Once promoted to St Lucie at midseason, he hit .246 over the remaining 58 games.   Overall, a fine season.

He spent most of 2015 in St Lucie, showing great progress, hitting .312 over 119 games, and in 2014 and 2015, stole 31 of 42. 

He also made excellent contact, averaging about 1 strikeout every 2 games in his career to that point. 

But in 287 games from 2013 through 2015, he hit just 3 homers. 
In a major league game today, where teams averaged over 200 homers per season, being a non-HR hitter is a disadvantage, I imagine, as a team ultimately decides who is heading to Queens.

Jeff did, however, hit 5 homers in 188 at bats spanning 2016 and 2017, so signs of added power began to emerge.

In 2018, McNeil, with 30 pounds of muscle added above his weight when drafted, has shown that a major power transformation, from “slap” hitter to “slam” hitter, is well underway. 

Despite playing well in 18 games in 2017 in AAA, Jeff started out in AA in 2018, most likely because with Luis Guillorme, Phillip Evans, Gavin Cecchini and David Thompson manning 2nd, short and 3rd in Vegas, McNeil was only going to get regular playing time in Binghamton, and after missing about 230 games in 2016 and 2017, playing every day in AA was clearly the necessary, right decision. 

Through Tuesday, Jeff has played in 42 games this year, and what has he done? 

A whole lot.

As in, 39 runs scored, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 12 homers, 32 RBIs, and a .311 average, while still maintaining that excellent 1 strikeout every 2 games pace.  Outstanding. 

In my opinion, when a guy is hitting, hitting with power, scoring like mad, driving in lots of runs, making great contact, and hitting very well and getting on base at a high rate, that is a heck of a resume for the player promotion decision makers in Queens to be considering.  I’m sure those same resume readers in Queens are hoping very much to read more of the same from Jeff as the season progresses.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff McNeil - follows here:


Brennan:  Hi, Jeff, how are you doing, great to speak to you today.  I’ve been a big fan of yours ever since you’ve been drafted.  How do you feel about your breakout year this year you’re having after 2 tough years missing a lot of time with injuries?

McNeil:  Doing real good. 


Being out for most of two years is tough, and it is great to be out there now. After missing almost all of 2016, last year I was getting back into baseball shape in 2017, and while doing do, experienced some compensation injuries, such as with the quad, as my left side of the body was weaker.  It was really unfortunate, but I’m feeling very healthy now, and doing real good.

Brennan:  Great to hear.  Before this year, I saw in you a fine 4 tool player – lacking a power tool - but this year, you’ve added tremendous power production to your game.  No homers in college, slow career start with homers, and now this big change.  Please tell our readers about that.

McNeil:  My college field was one of the most difficult to hit homers at.  Adding power to my game was something I knew I needed to work on, really working on hitting the gaps more. 


So I hit the weights real hard, and am continuing to do so, bulked up, and now I am healthy and it’s good to be barreling balls up and having balls going over the fences.

Brennan:  And how. It caught my attention that, besides just the number of your extra base hits this year, your power increase is substantial and real when I heard announcers calling the play-by-play on a few of your homers saying “that one was WAY out”.

McNeil: It has been good to be hitting some balls real well, and I am happy to see the results.

Brennan: I was a kid loving to watch Mantle and Maris have their home run race in 1961, and you two have kind of a similar home run race of sorts going on so far this year, which is cool for fans to watch.  It’s been fun watching you and Peter Alonso hitting homers the way you both have.  But how do you two compare on the power grade, is Peter Alonso still a little ahead of you? 

McNeil:  Yep, Peter’s got stupid, raw power – his homers are absolute no doubters - when he squares it up and gets the right launch angle, it goes a long way.  Peter’s done real well – he’s fun to watch.

Brennan: Former Mets Daniel Murphy (13th rounder), Justin Turner (7th rounder) – both started lower on the “power grid” and then added power, with great results.  You were a 12th rounder – you appear you might be following after their changed approach. 

McNeil: Yeah, Daniel Murphy’s last few years have been awesome.  For me, I feel like I’m real close, and hope to be up there sometime soon.

Brennan: If you will, please share with Mack's Mets readers what you consider your strengths - I see you are versatile, playing 2nd, 3rd, and short as a pro, but have played very little outfield in the pros to further diversify.  What are your thoughts on that?

McNeil: My strengths are that I put the barrel on the ball and put it in play to all fields, have a very solid strike out to walk ratio, get on base a lot, make things happen, and look to put together good, solid ABs. 


I have the versatility to play out there just about everywhere.  I played a lot of center field early in college before moving to 2nd base and the infield.  I feel very comfortable playing the outfield.

Brennan: What player do you feel in the majors your style of play most resembles?

McNeil: Ben Zobrist – Ben puts up quality ABs, is versatile, plays anywhere, puts the bat on the ball, makes things happen.

Brennan:  Ben's been great.  Your brother Ryan is in pro ball – you ever think about playing him in the NCLS someday?

McNeil:  Ryan was a 3rd rounder of the Cubs who had surgery at the end of last year and is pitching again now.  It would be great to face him in pro ball, I look forward to that someday.

Brennan: What’s your favorite position?

McNeil: Probably 2B, although I am also comfortable at other infield positions, and I’d be real comfortable in the outfield too.

Brennan: A little off subject Mets-wise, but what do you think of Vlad Guerrero, Jr., who your team has played several times?

McNeil: He’s an awesome hitter, pretty great, hits pretty much everything we throw at him, fun to watch him.

Brennan: After the Mets’ great start, with all of the injuries in Queens again this year, perhaps you and some other guys might have an excellent chance be up here in Queens sooner rather than later.

McNeil:  I just hope to keep hitting the ball, control what I can control, and see what happens.   

Brennan: Thanks so much for your time.  Please wish Pete, Tim and the rest of the guys in Binghamton our best and we hope to see you and other teammates up here in Queens soon.

McNeil:  Thanks, I appreciate that.


I’ll just wrap it up by saying that I hope Jeff continues to successfully progress and that we get to see him in action in Queens this year or next.  I think we will like what we see.
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Jupiter 7 - St. Lucie 1

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (May 30, 2018) – The Jupiter Hammerheads cruised to a 7-1 victory over the St. Lucie Mets on Wednesday at First Data Field.

The Hammerheads opened up a lead just two batters into the game on a RBI single by Joe Dunand. Stone Garrett would make it 2-0 with a two-out RBI single later in the frame.

Jupiter made it 4-0 with a pair of runs in the second inning. Aaron Knapp ripped a RBI triple and Brian Miller brought home Knapp with a single.

Mets starter Gary Cornish would settle down and make it through 5.1 innings. He scattered eight hits, allowed four runs, walked two and struck out three.

Jupiter starter Daniel Castano blanked the Mets over six innings. He gave up four singles and needed just 65 pitches to navigate his six innings of work. He earned the win.

The Hammerheads scored three runs in the eighth to go up 7-0. The Mets avoided a shutout when Jupiter second baseman Riley Mahan sailed a throw over first base on a double play attempt that would have ended the eighth inning. Andres Gimenez was awarded home when the ball went out of play.

J.J. Franco collected two of the five hits for the Mets.
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Rumble Ponies 7 - SeaWolves 3

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Press Release:

ERIE, PA – Levi Michael, Peter Alonso and Kevin Taylor all drove in runs in Binghamton’s five-run eleventh inning to send the Rumble Ponies to a 7-3 victory over the Erie SeaWolves on Wednesday night at UPMC Park. Thrust into duty on short notice, Mickey Jannis tossed seven strong innings while three Ponies relievers combined for four innings of near-spotless relief to seal Binghamton’s sixth win in seven tries.
With the game knotted at two in the final inning, Binghamton filled the bases against Trent Szkutnik. Michael floated an RBI single into shallow right. His third hit of the night gave Binghamton their first lead. Alonso scorched a two-run single into left to cap his own three-hit game. Taylor salted the game away by poking a two-run single up the middle.

Binghamton’s eruption in the eleventh washed away a ten-inning stretch of offensive frustration. Prior to Michael’s hit, the Rumble Ponies were 2-for-18 with runners in scoring positon, including a stretch of nine hitless at-bats to start the game. The Ponies’ lone timely hit before extras came from Patrick Mazeika who delivered a two-run double to tie the game in the seventh.

Binghamton starter Jannis was tapped to take the mound a day earlier than expected after scheduled starter Scott Copeland was summoned to the New York Mets. On short notice, the knuckleball kept the SeaWolves in check over seven strong innings. He cruised through four scoreless frames before allowing single tallies in the fifth and sixth. The righty capped his day by striking out three of the final six SeaWolves he faced. Jannis finished with eight strikeouts.

David Roseboom entered in the eighth and stranded two before handing off to Joshua Torres for the final out of the ninth. Erie pushed the potential winning run to third with one out in the tenth, but Torres notched the final two outs to send the game deeper into extras. Following Binghamton’s five-run frame, Ryder Ryan fanned three in the bottom of the inning, his Double-A debut.

Torres (4-0) scooped up the win with 1-1/3 innings of spotless relief. Szkutnik (0-1) took the loss.

The Rumble Ponies (28-23) conclude their series in Erie with a morning tilt at 11:05 AM on Thursday. RHP Joseph Shaw takes the mound against RHP Kyle Funkhouser. 

POSTGAME NOTES: Binghamton is a season-best five games over .500…Binghamton improved to 3-1 in games decided in extra innings…the Rumble Ponies have won eight straight games at UPMC Park, dating back to last season
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