Mets Minors Review Volume 2

31 May

Apologies for the mixing on this one, a couple segments are lower than they probably should be.

Agenda:

1. A Look at Jenrry Mejia’s rehab start

2. The Week in Review

3. Potential Impact Bats in the Mets System

4. Twitter Q+A

– DSL players making stateside debuts?

– What to make of Jacob DeGrom?

– What’s the deal with Reese Havens?

5. Josh Satin Watch/Mock Draft Rant

Mets Minors Review Volume 2

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Mets Minors Review Volume 1

24 May

Agenda:

1. Week in Review

– Is Matt Harvey Ready?

– How excited should you be about Jack Leathersich

2. A Report from Binghamton/New Britain

– Slightly less bold Jefry Marte predictions

– 49 Pitches with Collin McHugh

3. Matt den Dekker vs. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

4. The 2013 Affiliate Shuffle

5. Josh Satin Watch

 

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I should have an RSS feed for ITUNES, you know, when I figure out how to do that. Until then, enjoy it in crappy Quicktime.

 

Mets Minors Review Volume 1

Someday the City Will be Ours

14 May

I watched the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday with our man Catsmeat at my favorite English ex-pat bar in Brooklyn. I got there about a half hour before they officially opened and sat down near a Man City fan that had been up since 5 AM. He couldn’t sleep.

The bar filled up quickly, and I ended up positioned in between the City and United fans, since I wanted a decent view of both games. In hindsight, that might not have been the best place to be.

The City fans had to outnumber the United faithful by close to 10 to 1 (which is an odd quirk, since the owner is a Tottenham supporter, and more generally you would just expect to see more Man U fans) There was Zak who came in full face paint and an Adam Johnson kit for some reason. Justin who wore a “Why Always Me” shirt and was just a bit too young to remember 1968.

What happened has been all over the news, and if you didn’t see it live, well, it was even more amazing than the highlights showed. The slowly creeping soul-crushing agony of the first 90 minutes, followed by pure joy, utter chaos. Probably on facebook somewhere now is a photo of me, slumped over, head in hands, stunned into disbelief while a sea of blue celebrates behind me.

Afterwards I watched grown men weeping at the bar (in between shots of Jameson, naturally). I saw a City fan flipping off a United fan* right in his face while calling him a cunt, and then five minutes later saw them hugging, (while calling each other cunts). People bought shots for me and soon I ended up in group photos with City faithful as the weird, token Wednesday fan or something. Zak ran out into 4th ave. traffic in the middle of the day, waving his scarf and chanting at passing cars. I think he said he had a 3 PM kickoff for a local club match. I have no idea if he ever made it there, or if he changed into proper footwear or just played in his checkerboard VANS.

That first City fan from 9:30 in the morning, whose name has sadly retreated into the fog of Boddington’s and whiskey couldn’t stop chanting “You sign Phil Jones, we sign Kun Aguero!” He was born into the agony of being a Man City fan, and spent his whole life waiting for this day. He said to me “This is the way we had to do it. I wouldn’t trade any of it.” (or something like that, sobriety was a speck on the horizon at this point) It was a fabulous day to be a neutral. It was indescribably better to be a City fan.

Why do I tell you this?

Well, to be frank, City is the Mets. The parallels are obvious and have been covered by others. The inescapable little brother mentality, the somewhat tortuous recent history. Both teams had great success in the late sixties and early seventies and were shitty in the mid-nieties.

And someday the Mets will win the World Series again. Maybe they won’t be able to pull off the equivalent of beating the Phillies in 7, then the Yankees in 7 to do it, (while almost blowing it half a dozen times)** but it will happen. And I will be the crazy dude in the Josh Satin jersey and checkerboard VANS. Just try to keep me out of traffic.

The Yankees can keep their bazillion world series titles and their arrogance, both deserved and undeserved. Give me one day like Sunday. Let’s Go Mets!

* Have to say, the Man U fan was incredibly classy about the whole thing, and he easily could have killed the City fan. I think someone said he used to play for Blackpool, and he certainly was built like a center back.

**Then again, it’s the Mets, so…

Metropolitan Tales #10

3 Apr

What could force me to finally make time to record another podcast? Someone ranked Dillon Gee over Jeurys Familia on a list on the internet, you say? I’m on it! Patrick Flood of Patrick Flood Blog joins me to discuss his 2014 Mets Power Rankings as I continue my to talk about anything but the 2012 Mets. We discuss extensions for Ike Davis and Jon Niese, whether or not Daniel Murphy is a second baseman, and just how many wins Mets pitchers are getting for pitching in front of that defense. And of course at the end I pour one out for Josh Satin’s time on the 40-man roster. Hail Satin, ya’ll.

Metropolitan Tales #10

A Tale of Two Lefties

3 Mar

One of the prospects I am most looking forward to seeing in person this year is Darin Gorski.

Okay, I suppose that should be obvious.

I am a little annoyed I probably won’t get to see him opening weekend in Bingo, but with the murderer’s row of Wheeler, Harvey and Familia ahead of him, I’m not going to complain too vociferously. But he’s certainly a much more unknown quantity from a prospect perspective than those three. By now, we’ve all ogled his 2011 line in the Florida State League with its sexy sub-3 FIP and strikeout rate of over a batter an inning. While a 23 year old’s stat line in St. Lucie probably can’t qualify as #SABRporn, Gorski’s 2011 season was certainly a fair bit nicer than the Sears catalog.

Despite being classified as org filler coming into the season, Gorski’s breakout year rocketed him onto and up prospect lists in a still somewhat thin Mets system. I ranked him at #16 on my Top 40 list, and most other pundits had him in the same range. John Sickels ranked him #15,  Kevin Goldstein, #14, and Toby Hyde #13. Only Rob Castellano had him lower than me, at #19. But basically, the difference between #13 and #19 in this (and most) systems is fairly negligible. You are looking at a C+ prospect with back of the rotation upside. Kind of like Gorski’s 2010 Savannah rotation mate, Mark Cohoon.

Cohoon dropped off of just about everybody’s list this year, and with good reason. His finesse-reliant arsenal was merely serviceable in Binghamton, and then was shelled in Buffalo. Now Cohoon was rushed up to AAA as triage for the decimated Bisons rotation, but even in the Eastern League there were signs that advanced hitters were starting to figure him out. It’s also worth noting that Cohoon is basically the same age as Gorski and was the far superior pitcher in the South Atlantic League in 2010. Coming into this past season he was that same back-end of the Top 20, C+ type prospect that Darin Gorski is now. They are both lefties with good change-ups and lacking plus fastballs. So is Darin Gorski the next Mark Cohoon?

Possibly.

Yeah, yeah, I am hedging, so let’s examine both sides of the argument.

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Jose Reyes vs. Frank Francisco

27 Feb

From Joe Sheehan’s E-Mail Newsletter yesterday (which I highly recommend, especially if you enjoyed his old Prospectus Daily column):

“One way to look at the Mets’ offseason is to give them a pass, note that they don’t have much money to spend for reasons baseball and otherwise, and acknowledge that they’re doing the best they can with what they have.

The other way is this:

— 2012 salary, Jose Reyes: $10,000,000

— 2012 salary, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ronny Cedeno: $10,150,000

Reyes took a backloaded contract with the Marlins. I can’t tell you that he would have accepted that from the Mets. I can tell you that the Mets’ decision to not trade Reyes at the deadline reflected a desire to sign him (and an incredible naivete about what not trading him would do for their chance of doing so), and that if they had any intention at all of bringing him back, they clearly could have put something like that on the table. The Mets, instead, watched Reyes walk away and spent more than what he’ll make on two relievers and a bad replacement shortstop. Yes, it would have required a commitment of $100 million or more across future years, but the Mets will also have tens of millions coming off the books after 2013, and signing Reyes would have had an impact on the revenue side of the equation.”

I should point out that Sheehan was on the Mets all last year to trade Reyes and wrote several times that not trading him would have a negligible effect on their ability to resign him. He certainly appears to have been right in that regard. That said, it is kind of disingenuous to equate the above signings and then just sort of handwave the 100 million Reyes is due from 2013-2018. Rauch may be a bust, Francisco may be a below average closer and Cedeno may just be a caddy for Daniel Murphy at the keystone, but after 2012, the three of them are due only another 6 million. You have to think that the Mets finances impair their ability to go nine figures with anybody right now, no matter how much is coming off the books the next couple seasons.

Metropolitan Tales #9

9 Feb

Back to the previewing the 2012 Mets. And by back, yes I know I haven’t done one in four months, and the subject of the first one (Angel Pagan) is on the Giants now. I will soldier on for the listeners, though. We move over towards the late, lamented Mo’s Zone and right field to discuss Lucas Duda with Fangraphs and Amazin Avenue’s Eno Sarris. Eno has interviewed Duda a few times now and thinks his shyness is overstated. We talk about whether or not he’s a good breakout candidate in 2012, and spend some time discussing the newfound depth of the Mets farm system. Then it’s Top Chef time and Eno has to go.

Metropolitan Tales #9

Metropolitan Tales Podcast #8

20 Dec

Yes, I’m back, but I’m not talking about the offseason, or that player in that ugly uniform. No, we’ll get to all that eventually, but in this edition Amazin Avenue’s Matthew Callan joins me to talk the 1999 Mets and why they have gotten the short shrift from the awards voters, the HoF voters, and just history in general. On tap: Lots of Edgardo Alfonzo talk, a discussion of the Hall of Fame cases for Robin Ventura and John Olerud, and a debate about what hat Mike Piazza will wear into Cooperstown.

Metropolitan Tales #8

Top 40 Summary and Some Thoughts on the New 40 Man Roster

18 Nov

So now that I have finished my 2012 Prospect List, I thought I would give some brief thoughts on the system as a whole. The system has definitely improved from last year. The 2011 draft was a successful one for the Mets, as they got two potential impact players in Nimmo and Fulmer, and added some interesting prep players in Evans, Budgell, Gsellman and Montgomery. I guess you can throw Tuschak in there as well, though he is really, really raw. Overall, I would say the system is average. It lacks a clear elite Top 50 prospect, though I would rate both Wheeler and Harvey in that 50ish range. Familia is a Top 100 guy for me, and while I wouldn’t put Nimmo in that range, some no doubt will. There is some decent depth in the C+ guys as well. Still, only 8 players rank as a B- or higher for me, which isn’t great.

Another issue is the system is also tilted very much towards the pitching side. Not that I will complain about having 5 power arms witha #3 ceiling or higher, but the organization lacks impact bats in the short or medium term. Nimmo could be that bat, but he is far away and far from a sure thing. The potential major league bats the Mets do have either have injury/performance issues (Puello, Flores, Havens) or are lower ceiling prospects (Nieuwenhuis, Lagares, Valdespin). The system is especially thin up the middle, and is basically barren at catcher and shortstop. They could also use a left-handed arm that is better than Darin Gorski, and I love Darin Gorski. Juan Urbina could be that guy, I suppose, but he is also a ways away.

Looking towards 2013 (a popular Mets fan activity right about now), the Mets are unlikely to graduate any of their top five. I expect, barring injury or regression, that we will see both Harvey and Familia at some point in 2012, even if it is just in September, but I don’t see either using up their rookie eligibility. This system will probably be even better next Fall, but it will take another season or two to build it up to even Yankee levels, let alone have it mentioned in the same breath with the truly elite farm systems.

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The 2012 New York Mets Top 40 Prospect List: 8-1

14 Nov

8. Cesar Puello, OF

Grade: B-

Age (as of Opening Day 2012): 21

Predicted 2012 Assignment: Adv. A St. Lucie

Optimistic Projection: 20/20 player that can handle a major league centerfield

Pessimistic Projection: Tools bust, something like a right-handed Felix Pie.

Notes: I kind of excoriated Puello on my midseason prospect list. I think I had him around 20 and ranted on the podcast about his lack of production at any level of the minors. It’s true that the stats don’t jump off the page at all, but my overall characterization was probably unfair. Ultimately the point of having a farm system is developing homegrown, cost-controlled stars. As much as I like writing about the Darin Gorskis and Josh Satins of the world, I can flip through any team’s C/C+ guys and find similar players. Now, once in a while those C/C+ guys turn into all-stars, but we’re talking about  a scant, scant few. Puello has an all-star ceiling. He’s not near that ceiling now, and the range of possible outcomes here is wide, but you squint and you can see a five-tool player here. Not too many of those in that system, and I still have him lower than most other sources. He is going to have to hit at some point and not just tease you with a strong second half, but he really has to rank ahead of Juan Lagares and Cory Vaughn.

 

7. Michael Fulmer, RHP

Grade: B-

Age (as of Opening Day 2012): 19

Predicted 2012 Assignment: Short Season A Brooklyn

Optimistic Projection: #3 Starter

Pessimistic Projection: He’s going to be 19 next year, so any number of bad things can happen.

Notes: So, a philosophical question: Why is Fulmer this much higher than Urbina and Morris? They are basically the same age and will probably be at the same level this year. Well, Urbina and Morris have shown you some of their warts in professional baseball, while Fulmer is considered fairly polished for a prep arm. But let’s be honest, Akeel Morris would have decimated Oklahoma high school hitters this year. Ultimately, we rank Fulmer higher, because he hasn’t done anything to dash our view of his ceiling yet. I think we also have a bias towards the known quantity of high school arms, especially when the international signings haven’t blown us away with their stat line or stuff. It’s one of those quirks of prospect punditry. Now, I don’t doubt that plenty of places will rate Urbina higher than Fulmer, just on ceiling. But I really like Fulmer and think he could even start in Savannah this year. But I am not totally confident in this ranking and it goes beyond simply the TINSTAAPP mantra. I don’t think he’ll be that much higher on the 2013 list, but he could certainly be lower.

 

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