- Tom Brennan

I wrote an article last winter on which players in the DSL looked like they might be both deserving of, and heading to, stateside assignments in 2018, and which lower rookie league ballers ought to be positioned to prosper at higher levels in 2018. 

The two current DSL teams have played about 15 games, while the rookie teams in Kingsport and the Gulf Coast league are just getting started.

Here's what I wrote in the winter, with notes following in BLUE as to their 2018 assignments and progress through Wednesday's games:

High Profile Guys:

Mark Vientos was highly drafted and will play the left side of the infield at age 18 this season after a fine first season in the Gulf Coast League.  May he become our Alex Rodriguez.  A Major Leaguer at age 20?  Maybe.  He is good.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  Kingsport - 1 for 9 in his first two games.

Greg Guerrero will be 19 all year, and hopefully as healthy as a horse after a shaky GCL debut in 2017. Let's hope Greg can show us he has real Guerrero "hit machine" DNA like his surreal Blue Jays cousin Vlad Jr is.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  GCL Mets (on the Achy Breaky Disabled List)

Some drafted teen pitchers include the following 5:

Matt Cleveland, turns 20 pretty soon, and the 12th round righty fired a decent 24 GCL innings in 2017.  My guess for 2018?  Brooklyn Cyclones starter.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:   Kingsport - had not pitched thru Wednesday.

Cameron Planck is about to turn 20, but the highly touted HS school arm, drafted in 2016, has (like this writer) not yet thrown a pro inning.  May he rack up innings in 2018.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  Rehab at GCL, then Kingsport

Christian James was also nabbed in the 2016 draft and, unlike Planck, James finished his 2nd pro season, fanning 58 in 51 innings for Kingsport.  Get this 19 year old in full season ball in Columbia, please, he sure seems impressive.

  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT: Brooklyn - TOTALLY ONE TO WATCH.  Thru last Saturday, CJ had thrown 9 amazing innings in Binghamton and St Lucie (9 innings, 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K!!) before the Brooklyn season started, then was the Cyclones' opening day pitcher, he tossed 5 shutout innings. Hold on, he pitched last night too...6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 6 K.  HOLY COW!!!

Bryce Hutchinson was a big high school arm nabbed in Round 12 in 2017.  Got his toes wet in 2017 with a whopping 8 innings (Cameron Planck is jealous). Now, as a 19 year old for all of 2018, Hutch likely will be in rookie ball, hopefully racking up about 75 innings.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  GCL Mets - had not pitched thru Wednesday.

Nate Peden - the righty will pitch all year at the age of 19 - the 2017 13th round 6'4" righty put up kinda sorta 11 shaky innings in the GCL over 8 games, but with his toes now wet, hopefully 2018 will be a big season for Nate the Great.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  Kingsport - scheduled to start Thursday nite.

DSL 1 Mets teenage bats that showed promise were:

SS Sebastian Espino: not turning 18 until Memorial Day, Espino in 64 DSL games had 16 doubles, 9 triples, 2 HRs, and hit .267 with 60 Ks. I like the extra base hit output, but not the Ks, but he's young.  He was also  3 for 17 in a late season promo to the Gulf Coast League.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT: GCL.  Opening day 2nd Baseman.  5 for 10 and 2 walks!!!

C Wilfred Astudillo: turns 18 in a few weeks...only 20 Ks in 52 games: .291/.351/.368.  And he gunned down a very sweet 34 of 86 (40%) of base stealers in 2017.  Could be a goodie.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  DSL-2 - .435/.480/.696 thru 6 games!

3B Jose Peroza...21 doubles in 57 games, and .300/.349/.437, but 55 Ks.  Like Espino, he went 3 for 17 in a few GCL games too...and he turns 18 on the same day in June as lean, muscular old timer Dominic Smith turns 23.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:   GCL - DH. Had not played in first 2 games.

DSL 2 Mets bats in my past article who I said particularly impressed were:

3B Yoel Romero: .364/.439/.464, 32 Ks in 67 games. Close to Andres Gimenez #'s of 2016, so he is worth watching.  17 of 24 steals, too.. Remarkably, just 2 errors.  Already turning 20 in April, though...aging Tim Tebow would tell him not to waste time.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  Kingsport - ON FIRE!!  3 for 7, 3 BB in his first two games!

2B Luis Santana also was really strong at .325/.430/.481, and just 22 Ks in 65 games.  On the exclusive Brennan Watch List for 2018.  Swiped 16 of 20.  Just 4 errors, too.  Turning 19 in late July. Listed at 5'8", but swears he is taller than Freddy Patek
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  Kingsport - 3 for 9, 4 RBIs in his first 2 games!

SS Sherveyn Newton excelled at .311/.433/.444, with 9 triples. He fanned 57 times in 64 games but walked 50, so it nicely appears that he was intent on learning the strike zone.  Newton made 15 errors, but for a really young SS, that error-to-games ratio was solid.  Born in the Netherlands, I hear he prefers Dutch Boy paint and wooden shoes.  Turning just 19 in 2 months, Newton is listed at a towering 6'4".
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  Kingsport - ON FIRE!!  6 for 9 in his first two games!

CF Jhoander Saez was spiffy, too, at .320/.397/.378...he did fan 66 times in 68 games, but stole a spiffy 20 of 24. And just two errors...turning an ancient 20 in late March.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT: GCL METS. Opening day center fielder - 4 for 14 so far.

1B Dave Lozano in 50 games, he  hit .313/.412/.381, stole 14 of 19, and fanned just 22 times. Turns 20 in mid-May, so there is still time to send him a birthday card.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT:  DSL1. In his first 11 games through Saturday, the right hitter was .282/.396/.333, with just 3 Ks.  Eight errors.  Listed at 5'11". 177.

Many of the top DSL's top Mets pitchers were already 20 or older last season, so I ignore them here - too old. Teens only here, people.  3 DSL teen arms of note include:

Willy Taveras, 19 turning 20 as we speak, the 5’11, 160 righty allowed just 6 walks in 70 IP in 2017, in which he went 8-3, 2.31 with an 0.91 WHIP.  Surely headed stateside in 2018. 
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT: GCL.  Opening day pitcher - 4 one hit shutout innings.

Oscar Rojas – found by super scout Felix Unger, Oscar, Oscar, Oscar is another low walks freak, with just 2 in 36 innings, to go along with 38 Ks, as he went 1-2, 1.99 ERA in 7 starts plus one save his other game in relief.  He turns 19 in May, and after this brief but very successful first pro year, I’d like to see him pitch in the GCL in 2018.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT: GCL - had not yet pitched thru Wednesday night.

Jefferson Escorcha, an 18 year old lefty for all of 2018, the Scorcher was used exclusively in relief in 2017.  He went 21 games, 3-2, 1.86, 28 Ks, 7 walks in 29 innings.  A 1.38 WHIP was not bad…he may have done enough to get him a promo to the GCL in 2018, too.
  • 2018 ASSIGNMENT: DSL 2 - in his first 11.1 IP of 2018, a 0.79 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in relief.

Super-young, super-talented category:

Ronnie Mauricio, considered a top Mets prospect as he gets ready to play his first season at age 16, and slugger Adrian Hernandez, a year older, both of whom signed $1 million + contracts.  Maybe by the end of 2018, those two are in everyone's Mets' top 20 prospects.
  • Mauricio: GCL: opening day shortstop.  At 17 years and 2 months of age.  3 doubles and a single in his first 3 games.
  • Adrian: DSL 1:  In his first 9 games, he had 13 hits and 4 walks!  

WAIT!! Add in 17 year old OF Stanley Consuegra, a $500K  signee who started out in the DSL this year and was quickly promoted to the GCL.  He is making good contact, appears to be fast, and reportedly has a cannon for an arm.  One to certainly watch.


Juan Uriarte - I did not include this fine catcher, who toiled well last year in rookie ball, in the earlier article.  So I will now.   Now age 20, he is assigned to Brooklyn, and hopefully will move fast.  But just 1 at bat through Wednesday night, as

DSL 1 SHORTSTOP Malvin Nunez has blasted out of the gate - after 14 games, .390/.527/.512!!  Go, Malvin, go.

DSL II SHORTSTOP Felix Valerio after 13 games is at .339/.413/.464. 

Lastly, Brooklyn did not hit in its first game, but has torn it up over the next 5 games, leading the league with a .288 average and scoring 35 runs (and then won 6-0 last night, too!) 

More on them next time.  But so far, I am liking what I see.  A lot.


Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I look over my excel charts and I still show some 'ex-DSL blue chip pitchers unassigned:

William Valencia (2017: DSL2 - 10-app, 1-0, 0.66, 1.46)
Miguel Pinedo (2017: DSL2 - 15-app, 3-0, 0.47, 0.98)
Jose Guerrero (2017: DSL2 - 11-app, 4-1, 1.04, 1.01)
Gregori Advincola - (2017: DSL1 - 11-app, 1-2, 2.16, 1.14)

I never understand what goes on down there.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, when they are that young, anything can happen with them, I guess. If these 4 were relievers, maybe they could fare well against weaker competition, but were perceived as unfit for higher competition.

Or maybe they got separated from their parents at the border and are in NYC somewhere. We living in interesting times.

Anonymous said...

The need to add veteran ball players from other teams that tend to be to somewhat past their individual and respective primes (during the off season and right before Spring Training commences) is very likely the culprit to how this NY Mets baseball franchise got to where it is today. Many of these such acquisitions did not work out as desired.

Can it be corrected now with what the Mets have here and close? A: Yes. But they have to be willing to get all their best kids into the games now and let them play and gel.

I have never favored Terry Collin's idea to rest his younger players after their having a good game. I understand the purported psychology here but most players resent it and want to keep their success going by playing at least that very next game so that they can have a chance to stay in a nice productive groove.

Maybe playing the kids now with just Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista, and Jose Reyes as the veteran exceptions. Look what you have: 1B P. Alonso/D. Smith/W. Flores 2B Jeff McNeil/Jose Reyes SS A. Rosario/Jose Reyes 3B D. Thompson/W. Flores LF Yoenis Cespedes/D. Smith CF Michael Conforto RF Brandon Nimmo/Jose Bautista C Good Luck here, maybe acquire someone like Pawsox catcher Charlie Madden, someone who can hit?

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