Ahh, Mets playoff baseball...

Even if it is in Kingsport and not Queens Port in Flushing.  

Let's not quibble, OK?  Mets fans take anything we can get.

The Kingsport Mets will square up vs. the Elizabethton Twins in a best-of-three series starting this evening.

The series winner will move on to the Appalachian League Championship Series next week.

The K Mets outscored the Twins squad by over a run per game this season, but the Twins allowed a run per game fewer than the K Hurlers, so it should be an evenly matched series.

Jarred Kelenic will get some valuable post-season experience.  Kelenic was named Appalachian League Co-Player of the Week for August 20-26, batting .579 over six games (11-for-19).  He recorded multi-hit games in each game and was on 8 game hitting and 7 game RBI streaks.

Fellow superior K Mets hitter Luis Santana (.348, with a .471 OBP) is on the DL, however. But Mark Vientos (after a great regular season, with 11 HRs and 52 RBIs in 60 games) will also get a chance to shine in this series.

Good luck, gentlemen.  let's win this thing.


(pictured: Simeon Woods Richardson)


How is that heading, for using an apostrophe in 3 straight words in my article?  My grammar school grammar teacher approves, I'll tell you that much.

Jarred Kelenic has had quite a rookie season as the 6th overall pick 
- but he is not a pitcher.  

So forget him for a minute.  How the heck are the drafted pitchers are doing (based on stats through Sunday)? 

(Hint: you'll like what you are reading):

SIMEON WOODS RICHARDSON - Round 2, overall pick # 48 - the 17 year old flamethrower has been dandy in rookie ball, 14.1 IP, 0 earned runs, 20 Ks.  Dwight Gooden II?

(Richardson did give up 3 runs in 3 innings in a game after I wrote this article, but fanned 6, bringing him to 26 Ks and just 4 BBs in 17 innings!)

(My take: Kelenic and Richardson could be the best combined 1st and 2nd round draft picks by the Mets, ever).

ADAM HILL - Round 4, pick # 110 - the 21 year old 6'5", 215 righty is very impressive in Brooklyn so far.  12.1 IP, 1-1, 2.92, but 22 Ks (16.1 per 9 IP).

RYLEY GILLIAM - Round 5, pick # 140, 5'10" 175 RHP and fireballer, he has gone 14.2 innings with Brooklyn and fanned a tremendous 28 (17.3 per 9 IP) while going 0-1, 3.38, but with 11 walks.

KEVIN SMITH - Round 7, pick # 200, 6'5", 233, 21 year old lefty.  Terrific start in Brooklyn - 4-1, 0.79, 22.2 IP, 0.75 WHIP, 26 Ks.  Gets up to the mid-90's.

TYLOR MEGILL - Round 8, pick # 230 - 6'7", 230, just turned 23 year old is also doing well - after his shaky debut with the Cyclones (2/3 of an inning, 3 earned runs), he has gone 22.2 innings, 7 earned runs, 28 Ks, including a few starts.

BRYCE DE OCA - Round 9, pick # 260 - the 6'7", 265 22 year old RHP has not pitched due to injury - but they say he throws 100 MPH.  We'll see in 2019, I guess.

FRANKLIN PARRA - Round 11, pick # 290 - 18 year old 6'1". 185 LHP has done great so far for the GCL Mets, albeit a bit wildly...10 innings, 11 walks, 10 Ks, 1 run, 5 hits allowed.

CHRISTIAN TRIPP - Round 13, pick # 380 - another giant, at 6'7", 215, he has done mostly well with 18 IP, 4.50, 12 Ks for Kingsport in the tough Appalachian League. 

ANDREW MITCHELL - Round 14, pick # 410 - the almost 24 year old lefty has had a very solid season for Kingsport and Brooklyn, going 2-3, 1.42 with 26 Ks in 19 innings with 2 saves.

TOMMY WILSON - Round 19, pick # 560 - the 6'4", 220 righty has been great for Brooklyn - 15.1 IP, 18 K, 1-0, 0.59.

ZACHARY HAMMER - Round 21, pick # 620 - the 6'3", 170 righty just turned 18 in July.  Just 2.1 innings so far in the GCL, 5 runs, 3 Ks.  He'll still be 18 when next season opens, and hopefully will be ready to rock and roll.

SAUL GONZALEZ - Round 23, pick # 680 - almost a clone of Hammer, he also has thrown just 2.1 innings and allowed 5 runs.  6'7", 235 RHP.

BRENDAN HARDY - Round 31, pick # 920 - ANOTHER 18 year old, 6'4", 190 RHP - for the GCL Mets, he has thrown 16.1 IP, allowed 6 earned runs and 14 walks, and registered 19 Ks.  Looks like yet another good, young pick.

BRIAN METOYER - Round 40, pick # 1,290 - a 6'4", 160 righty, and 21 years old with a rep of walking a lot of guys, he has thrown 11 innings, 0-1, 3.27, walked 10, hit 3 guys, and fanned 7 for Kingsport.  Work to do, but deserves a promotion for 2019 to Brooklyn.

That's it.  The Mets got hosed by the pundits for this draft, but  that seems off base.

The above is a heckuva lot of good performance from a bunch of very big fellas, boding well for 2019 and beyond, especially in the case of Richardson.





Some players come out of the gate like a house on fire and fade fast.

Reminds me of Ron Swoboda who, in 1968, came out roaring in April, hitting 7 homers in 60 at bats.  In a late April interview, he said he was surprised, as I recall it, that pitchers kept throwing him fastballs.  He ended the season with 11 homers.  

Hint to hitters being interviewed: SHHHH!

Unlike Rocky, some players like to save the best for last.

Here are 5 Mets minor leaguers who fit that bill:

JHOAN URENA - somnambulant for most of his season, Volcano Urena has erupted.  Last 5 games, 6 homers, 10 hits, 14 RBIs for the switch hitter.  Still just 23.  Maybe he is finally throwing his hat into the ring.

YOEL ROMERO - after hitting in the .360's last year in the DSL, the now-20 year old defensive outfielder was mediocre all year long in Kingsport...until lately.  Last 10 games, 17 for 44, 9 RBIs, lifting him to .265 on the season.

RANFY ADON - Romero's 21 year old teammate, Adon has gone 14 of 32 over his last 8 games to lift him to .295 over 40 games.

DREW GAGNON - the 28 year old had one lousy Mets start this season, and is 7-6 with fourteen no decisions this season in AAA.  

Fanning more than a dude per inning, he fashioned a 2 hit, 8 K, 9 inning shutout last night.  By my count, it was his 5th excellent start in his last 8 in the very difficult PCL.  My thoughts are, why not a pen arm in 2019 and spot starter for the Mets?

Lastly, but not leastly, Drew's beastly AAA teammate:

PAT KIVLEHAN - he was not doing much that was that great, but then caught fire right around July 20 for Vegas. 

Since that date, he's friggin' smokin':

As in 44 for 122 (.360), 12 doubles, 4 triples, 13 HRs and 34 RBIs.  

Seems that Kivlehan deserves a real major league shot once again, that's how I see it, I don't know about you.  

Reminds me stats-wise of former Met Andrew Brown.

That's it on my late awakeners.  I hope I did not catch you sleeping.

Mike Freire - Foundation Pieces


Good Morning, Mets' fans.

I know that we still have a good portion of the 2018 season left to endure, but it is starting to reach the point where we need to look ahead to better days that hopefully start with the 2019 season.  I know, some of you have been looking ahead since the middle of June and that is understandable with how the season went off the rails at that juncture.

Regardless of when you threw in the towel as a fan, what is crystal clear is that the team was not good enough to withstand the barrage of injuries that took place this season and MAJOR changes are needed between now and next April if things are going to be different. 

The point of this entry is to take a quick look forward and to identify which players on the current roster will be a part of the solution.  In my world, I call them "foundation pieces" and they will form the core of our next successful team.

So, what is a foundation after all?  It is the base upon which you construct a house or other permanent structure and if you want your efforts to last, you select the strongest material that you can.  To quote a recent Coldplay song "Viva La Vida", the last few Mets' teams were based completely on "pillars of sand" and when the foundation crumbled, so did the team.  

No, what you want is a foundation that is much more solid than sand.  Perhaps we could follow Ashford and Simpson's lead and build the next Mets' foundation as "solid as a rock"? 

Enough with the music trivia, right?

Getting back to the topic at hand, what players on the current roster would be considered "solid" or an integral part of the future?

Here is my list, which includes a bit of projection and hope;

Peter Alonso (1B)

Jeff McNeil (2B)

Amed Rosario (SS)

Brandon Nimmo (LF)

Michael Conforto (RF)

Jacob DeGrom (SP1)

Noah Syndergaard (SP2)

Yes, there are only seven players on that list which is roughly 28% of a normal, "game day" roster.  This does not mean that there are not useful pieces left on the forty man roster, like Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman or even Dominic Smith.  Clearly, the team cannot go into the 2019 season with an seven man roster, right?

What I am trying to say is that the players on the aforementioned list are the foundation upon which the rest of the roster should be constructed.  Some other players will be around for a bit due to contract status or other reasons, like Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Vargas, Todd Frazier and Jose Reyes (just kidding on the last one, I hope).

Others will force their way onto future rosters as they develop in the minor league system and we may see some new additions with free agency and/or trades taking place this winter.  A great example of that should include moving pieces like Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores whose value has risen in 2018 but who are also free agents starting in 2020 (sell high while you can).

Until that picture becomes clearer, the seven players listed above will form the foundation of next year's team, in my humble opinion.

In what could be good news or bad news, that leaves the following positions open for change and improvement;

Catcher, Third Base, Center Field, SP's 4 and 5, along with most of the bullpen and a Closer.

What do your "foundation pieces" look like?



Reese Kaplan -- Can They Be Competitive in 2019?


Is there reason to be optimistic for 2019?  Already the Mets fans know going into the season that Yoenis Cespedes is on the shelf for half or more of the year, David Wright is once again a distant memory and other surgically repaired options – Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, T.J. Rivera, Rafael Montero, Jamie Callahan and Gavin Cecchini – are great unknowns. 

However, lately there have been some faint glimmers of hope.  Since the Cincinnati Series in early August the Mets have gone 13-9 up through the loss to the Cubs on Monday.  That’s a .591 winning percentage (a pace for 95 games over the course of an entire season).  While that may or may not be enough to win a division, it certainly would be enough to put them into the post season wildcard discussion.  More importantly, bear in mind that they have done so without contributions from any of the above-mentioned players.  So, what changed?  How did they go from total laughingstock to spoiler during this latter part of the schedule? 

There are a number of contributions they’re getting now that weren’t there earlier in the year.  Perhaps none is more important than the man we love to hate, Jason Vargas.  Over his last three starts he’s got a 2-1 record with a 2.08 ERA.  That’s not what we’d hoped to get when he was signed – it’s far better.  The truth is probably somewhere closer to his career mark of 4.30, but it’s a far sight better than the 8.00+ ERA he was sporting earlier in the season. 

Jerry Blevins was an arsonist more than a fireman earlier in the season.  Monday night notwithstanding, he’s turned his season around.  For an even longer stretch beginning on July 4th through August 25th Blevins was pitching to a 1.29 ERA with as many strikeouts as innings pitched.  Given that he’s the sole lefty in the bullpen, that performance is invaluable.

Somewhat under the radar is newcomer Drew Smith.  While not striking people out as prodigiously as he did in the minors, you can’t argue with a 14 game audition that thus far has resulted in a tidy 1.72 ERA. 

Another surprising contributor is Todd Frazier who was, like many of the Mets’ veteran hitters, struggling to stay above the Mendoza line for much of the season.  He’s now around his career mark, hitting with power and for this period of performance is batting .289 with 5 HRs and 15 RBIs.  That’s also better than we had expected.

Pilloried by many as being dead weight that needs to be replaced, Kevin Plawecki has also been contributing at a higher level lately as well.  He’s been nearly as good as Frazier, hitting .288 with 3 HRs and 13 RBIs.  Considering he gets fewer ABs, that’s pretty comparable.

Wilmer Flores’ power numbers have been off during this team hot streak, but he’s at .289 with a homer and 13 RBIs. 

Amed Rosario is hitting .275 for this period with 3 HRs and 14 RBIs plus has contributed 7 stolen bases.

Michael Conforto is regaining his power stroke with a .264 average, 5 HRs and 14 RBIs during this winning interval. 

What can be told about Jeff McNeil that hasn’t already been said?  If he stays healthy, there’s no reason to think that he won’t be an infield starter for the foreseeable future.

Brandon Nimmo cooled somewhat after his torrid stretch but was regaining his stroke when that DL stint resulting from yet another HBP put him on the shelf.  I think everyone agrees he is the real deal and many are eating crow having condemned Sandy Alderson for his draft choice.  (I’ll have mine with herbs de ’provence, s’il vous plait).

However, the numbers don’t even have to be printed for the pitchers Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler.  Both have been practically unhittable for a long period of time.   Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman for the most part have regained their good form

It’s not all been peaches and cream.  Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz have both struggled somewhat of late, though showing flashes of what they’re capable of doing.  The once red hot Austin Jackson is reverting to form.  The lukewarm Jose Bautista remained tepid yet inexplicably the Phillies wanted him.  And even after a torrid stretch, Jose Reyes is still flirting with .200.  Others in the bullpen have been highly forgettable. 

However, there are some bright lights on the horizon, perhaps none more so than 33 HR hitting Pete Alonso in AAA.  Sometime in May he should be in Queen learning to adapt to the next level of pitching.  His right handed power bat should help offset the extended loss of Cespedes when next season begins.  A full year of Conforto, Nimmo and Jay Bruce, while not the stuff of Gold Gloves, will certainly provide a lot of lefty leverage on the offense.  A full year of Jeff McNeil, the continued development of Amed Rosario and the big five starting rotation all suggest 2019 could be better than anticipated.

(And before anyone asks, this message was NOT funded by the Wilpon organization.)






Special pre-article shout out to JHOAN URENA, who had 3 HR and 9 RBIs last night after a 2 homer game over the weekend!  

Now, on to the article:

I like to split the Mets minors into 3 categories:

1) Full Season Ball - AAA Vegas, AA Binghamton, High A St Lucie, Full A Columbia

2) Rookie Ball - Brooklyn, Kingsport, Gulf Coast Mets

3) Developmental (Dominican) - DSL 1 and DSL 2

Three very different and tiered talent development levels.

So how is each of the three doing, in the aggregate, where it counts most, wins and losses (through Friday) ?

1) Full Season Teams - 234 Wins, 275 Losses 

For good reason...lots of sub-par pitching and sub-par hitting.

Las Vegas is 63-67, 3rd in scoring (732, 5.6 RPG), and hitting .268, but pitching has been the league's worst (ERA of 6.06, 833 runs, or 6.4 RPG).  Surprisingly good record, considering the 101 run deficit.

Binghamton (61-69) has hit .251 (mid-pack) with 548 runs (4th lowest). Scoring has slackened after Pete and Jeff moseyed out of town.  Pitchers have the 4th worst ERA (4.34) and have allowed 603 runs.

St Lucie (51-75) has been last in runs (417, compared to league-leading Charlotte's 662) and 2nd to last in average (.237) and homers with 59.  The Lucites are mid in ERA at 3.77, but have allowed 520 runs due to 71 unearned.

Columbia (59-64) is 13th in hitting (.239) and 10th in scoring (504), while pitching to a 10th best ERA (3.82) and runs with 548, and 93 of those unearned. 

2) Rookie Ball Teams - 91 Wins, 92 Losses.

I'd say these 3 teams are better than the overall record, with above average hitting and pitching.  But fielding has been shaky.

Brooklyn has a solid 35-30 record in a league with great parity - one 3 games behind the league's best squad.  And quite a switch from seasons past - leading the league in runs (312, 4.8 RPG) and average (.261).  And 2nd in ERA with a 3.22.

Kingsport is 32-31, well behind Tampa's league-best 40-21 farm team.  In 63 games, the K Mets are trouncing the league in runs scored with 416 (6.6 runs per contest).  But they've allowed 366 runs, including 77 unearned runs.  Tom's take?  ENTERTAINING!

Gulf Coast Mets?   Season just ended.  

Their 24-31 record put them 15 games behind the Cardinals.  Middle of the pack in hitting (.255), runs (252, 4.6 RPG), and ERA (3.91), but 66 unearned runs.

3) DSL Teams - 81 Wins, 62 Losses

The two teams have wrapped their seasons up.

DSL 1 - 47-25.  360 runs and .247 average are middle of the pack.  Team ERA of 2.91 is one of the DSL's best and a big reason for the fine team record.  

This team is the only one of the 9 Mets minors teams more than marginally above .500.

DSL 2 - 34-37.  293 runs and .209 average are in the bottom quartile. 4.02 ERA and 335 total runs allowed.

Last year's DSL teams were somewhat better, especially in hitting  but these 2 teams combined have done quite well.


One can see overall why the Mets farm system is weakly ranked - it is weak in wins and losses.  But the rookie and DSL levels are pretty impressive and inspire some hope for quality to come in a few seasons.


Reese Kaplan -- Mickey, Prove Us Wrong for Once!


While many cursed the Mets’ collective bad luck when the first ray of new sunshine – Jeff McNeil – left the game (and his 11-game hitting streak) early with a quad injury.  After all, how typical is it for something good to happen to this team only to have it snatched away quickly? 

Of course, from a logistics standpoint, the injury will make life a little difficult for the club as it’s August 26th when it happened and there are still 5 days before rosters can expand.  If it was a week later then the likes of Luis Guillorme and perhaps Ty Kelly would be around to pick up the slack (since Gavin Cecchini is still in the witness protection program).

However, the Mets have the rare opportunity to do something smart.  They have been very public about their desire to have Jay Bruce get time playing 1st base.  A lot of folks wondered how they were going to find the at-bats for him when their hottest hitter this side of Jeff McNeil (and the suddenly cold Austin Jackson) was firmly ensconced at 1st base.  Wilmer Flores is currently hitting .275 with 11 HRs and 48 RBIs over 346 ABs. 

Therein lies the solution to this problem.  Play Wilmer Flores at 2B.  His defensive metrics there are not nearly as bad as they were for Asdrubal Cabrera, it opens up 1st base for Jay Bruce and it shows versatility that might make it apparent to other clubs who could look to obtain him in trade over the winter.  You get Jay Bruce a steady diet at 1st base and open up plenty of outfield ABs for Austin Jackson and Jose Bautista during the rush to the post-season trading deadline finish line to show more of what they can do. 

Of course, these are the Mets and that means we will instead see a steady diet of Jose Reyes at 2B until McNeil returns.  Now I suppose you could make the argument that they’re “showcasing” Reyes for a possible last-minute deal, too, but I’m firmly in the camp that they’re holding out the hope for that 2012 reunion of Reyes and David Wright.  Besides, like Jose Bautista, can you really call it a showcase when you’re struggling to keep your head above the Mendoza line? 

As I’ve written before, I can live with the useless at-bats given to the Geritol brigade for another five days.  The McNeil injury allows them to play both Bautista and Jackson every single day.  What doesn’t make sense is taking your best hitters out of the lineup to make more room for your worst.  It’s time for Mickey Callaway to show some backbone and put the best players on the field and not simply do his Terry Collins impression, squandering innings on people who are not part of the future.    



Tony Plate - Justin Dunn


On this past Saturday evening pitcher Justin Dunn who was chosen by the New York Mets with the 19th overall pick out of Boston College in the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft held the Reading Fightin Phil’s to two hits and one run through seven innings as the Binghamton Rumble Ponies defeated Reading 4-2 on Amed Rosario Bobblehead Day. The attendance was not that good. There were plenty of empty seats as the season winds down. The kids that attended were thrilled to receive their bobblehead toy as they cheered for every Rumble Ponies hit. The big blow of the game came from Binghamton first baseman Joey Thermostatic who blasted a three-run homer over the right field wall to put Binghamton ahead 3-0. Ryder Ryan pitched in the eighth inning and Joshua Torres came on in the ninth and recorded his fifth save of the season. Malquin Canelo hit a homerun for the Phils. Ranfi Casimiro who looked shaky at the beginning and then settled down a little bit later went six innings and took the loss.  

 Dunn now (6-4) who was New York's third best prospect going into the 2018 season put on an impressive performance and struck out seven and walked four. He kept Reading off balance with his fastball and curveball. He hit the corners throughout the game. He showed his athletic ability by making a good defensive play in the field. He swung the bat well and also showed good speed by running down the first base line as well. Dunn got off to a slow start during the beginning of his minor league career, however he has showed some improvement.

As the season winds down for the Rumble Ponies and the Major Leagues look to expand the rosters on September 1st the parent Mets will be looking to see who they will call up from the Minor Leagues as they want to evaluate players for the 2019 season. Dunn will most likely be back with the Rumble Ponies next year. The Mets will probably will have the same starting rotation returning in 2019. In my opinion Corey Oswalt and if Rafael Montero comes back from his injury may have the best chance of competing against Zach Wheeler and Jason Vargas for the fourth and fifth spots in the starting rotation in 2019. The Mets can look to free agency and also make a trade to add to the bullpen or upgrade the catching and infield positions. It will be interesting to see what the Mets will do during the offseason.


Mack - From The Desk...


Morning Folks!

I have returned, though my ‘From The Desk…’ posts have been reduced to once a week. I will feature them on Sunday mornings.

One of the things I am going to do weekly is feature a targeted ballplayer that could make a difference in the first 10 picks of the draft. 

This week’s is Hagerty HS (FL) outfielder, Riley Greene

Perfect Game grades him out as a 10:

Riley Greene is a 2019 OF/LHP with a 6-2 190 lb. frame from Oviedo, FL who attends Hagerty HS. Outstanding athletic body, long and strong with plenty of room to continue to fill out. Left handed hitter, has a very fluid and easy swing with outstanding present bat speed, advanced balance and ability to square up the baseball, shows power to all fields, looks effortless doing it, sees the ball extremely well and will put up big walk totals in the future. 6.62 runner, has advanced base running instincts. Clean actions through the ball in the outfield, fields out front and makes accurate throws with mature footwork. Bat is his tool and it could be the best in the class.

It will be interesting to see how the Mets deal with the first base position in the upcoming off season. No one is baseball believes they will be able to push aside what Peter Alonso has accomplished this year in both Binghamton and Las Vegas. Per his interview with Reese Kaplan, he will play winter ball in Arizona which should just keep the fires burning. I know he won defensive player of the month in July, but continued effort to improve in the field can only help (I was there in camp when Daniel Murphy was first taking grounders at second. It was brutal). I hope for Dominic Smith’s sake that they play him at first for this month. He really doesn’t have a shot for the 2019 outfield. The Mets have three existing contracts in the outfield that are not going away in 2019 (Yoenes Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares). They also have a future star in Brandon Nimmo and one of the most exciting young outfielders in the game, Michael Conforto. My hope, for Dom’s sake, that anything he does positive in September can lead to a deal to another team that needs a good, young, defensive first baseman that can also get on base. Bruce (or Wilmer Flores) can backup Alonso here in 2019 and we can move on to the next position.

I’m a big New York Giants fan. No one excited me more that when an undrafted wide receiver from New Jersey changed the way the history of this team was written. Victor Cruz. Cruz retired this year to go into the booth and left this message on Twitter –

Victor Cruz - @TeamVic - The love has been absolutely overwhelming today. Thank you guys. All of you.. thank you so much. This kid from Paterson is still living the dream

We may have a winner winner chicken dinner in 2nd round draft pick Simeon Woods-Richardson. So far, the 17-year old is ‘perfect’ through 14.1-IP (6 games: GCL, K-Port), 0.00-ERA. 0.91-WHIP. He only was promoted in August to Kingsport to help them during their playoff push and tossing in three scoreless innings on Wednesday night helped the cause. I have ‘SWR’ as one of my top Mets prospects and have him returning to Kingsport for opening day 2019, where he will continue to be stretched into a starter. ETA: too soon to call

There’s a great video of ex-Boston Red Sox infielder Butch Hopson who is now the manager of the Chicago Dogs in the American Association. Check out the video:

SP Jenrry Mejia made his second start for the DSL-2 Mets on Friday: 3-IP, 0-R, 7-K. That’s seven innings, 10 strikeouts, and a seasonal 0.00-ERA. Before you get too exc9ited about this, let’s remember two things… one, he’s a 28-year old pitching in the DSL league to children… and two, he’s a 28-year old scum bag that will just break or bend the rules again down the road. Your call here Jeffy but, if it was me, I would never let him back on the roster again.

In closing, I’ll try to take off the training wheels next week and have a longer, more comprehensive weekly post. One of the things I would like to add back is a weekly question from one of you that I can give my spin to each week. Send them to: macksmets@gmail.com.

In addition, use the same email address if you would like to become a writer here, like both Erica Lay and Tony Bats did lately. We’d love to have you join us.




Reese Kaplan -- Since the Mets Don't Care About Defense...


While everyone gets on Sandy Alderson for the contracts handed out this past off-season to Jason Vargas, Anthony Swarzak and Jay Bruce which resulted in poor production, somehow no one seems nearly as upset by Todd Frazier’s minimal contributions.  Yes, he’s had some injuries and if you extrapolated his numbers they wouldn’t be awful.  In fact, hitting in the .230s is a step above what he delivered for the White Sox and Yankees last season.  At $8 million this year, he took a cut from the $12 million he was earning.  Next year he’s on tap for $9 million and performing at 2 WAR you could certainly argue he’s good value.

In roughly the same amount of ABs Wilmer Flores has provided the same offense with a higher batting average.  More importantly, he’s showing that with regular playing time those number have improved dramatically – something we’ve seen the past as well.  Wilmer is earning $3.4 million this year and arbitration eligible for the first time.  At 1.3 WAR, he’s going to get a pretty big bump in pay.  By numbers he is rated as a -2 defensively (slightly below average) at 1B though the eyeball test may disagree.  He is someone Manager Mickey Callaway has singled out as needing to be in there every day because he takes quality ABs.

Therein lies the problem.  The Mets’ highest rated near term prospect is Pete Alonso who plays 1st base.  Then there’s Jay Bruce having worked out at 1B.  Then there’s Dom Smith whose best position is 1st base.

Well, what about 2nd?  Jeff McNeil is certainly making the case that the Mets should have promoted him the second Todd Frazier went down with an injury, but hey, we all know how critical it was to get Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista more playing time, right?

So, going into 2019 you have an interesting problem.  Assume they hold Pete Alonso down for the first 3-4 weeks of the season “to work on his defense” – at least that’s what the Cubbies got the Players’ Union to swallow when they didn’t promote Kris Bryant to start the year.  Who plays 1st for that interval doesn’t much matter.  However, once Alonso arrives (miraculously having dramatically improved his defense in just 3-4 weeks), who goes where?

Just to add gasoline to the fire, there are a number of folks campaigning for the Mets to reunite with hands-of-stone Daniel Murphy because he can hit the ball well.  Wait…isn’t that the very same profile of Wilmer Flores – someone who can hit but doesn’t seem to comport himself well while wearing a leather on his hand?  To wit, Murphy ranged from -7 to -9 as a second baseman while playing for the Mets.  Will he improve with age?  He’d be 34 next season.  By contrast Wilmer Flores was nearly as lethal at 3B but at worst was a -3 at 2B. 

Many feel Wilmer’s best role (should he stay with the Mets) is as a supersub, getting ABs all around the diamond and coming off the bench.  Evidence has shown that he performs better when playing steadily.  Unlike others, he does not get “exposed” when he’s in the lineup on a daily basis. 

On Thursday I read the disheartening comment from a clearly flummoxed Terry II that perhaps they’re going to move McNeil around to see how he responds to a utility role.  WHAT???????????????

No, the answer seems obvious to me from both an economic standpoint and run production standpoint.  Once Alonso arrives, play Wilmer at 2B and shift McNeil to 3B.  While Todd Frazier still has not gotten the stink of failure on him that plagues many Mets’ acquisitions, peddle him and his reasonable contract to another club.  You’re only secure with him for one more year anyway, and better to trade someone a year too soon than a year too late.  Take the savings delta between his salary and Flores’ salary to address another need.  If Alonso struggles against certain righties, you still have Bruce (and Smith) available to play 1B.  You’re not going to find takers for Sandy’s mistakes (throw Juan Lagares in that mix, too), so you’d better start thinking about small savings wherever you can find them. 

Mack's Mets © 2012