Links: BA’s Mets International League Roundup, McHugh on Belonging, and the Cost of Rushing

LinkAt Baseball America, Ben Badler broke down the Mets’ 2013 international signing class at a level of detail only he can.

There’s a new name, so we’ll start with an excerpt on him:
RHP Scarlyn Reyes – $25,000 – “The Mets took a flier on an intriguing arm last February when they gave $25,000 to 6-foot-3, 190-pound Dominican righthander Scarlyn Reyes. By Latin American amateur standards, Reyes is already ancient, having turned 22 in November. Reyes also has a big arm, sitting at 92-94 mph, touching 97 and throwing a lot of strikes.

At his age, and with this scouting report, I’d expect to see Reyes stateside this year. 

OF Ricardo Cespedes – $725,000 – “one of the youngest players eligible to sign last year… a 6-foot-2, 185-pound lefty with a loose, whippy swing and good bat path. …He’s around an average runner with good body control and a solid arm, so the Mets project him as a center fielder.”
C Ali Sanchez – $690,000 – “an excellent receiver with good footwork, quick hands and an average arm that plays up because of his quick release and accuracy. Scouts highest on Sanchez have seen him hit in games with a contact-oriented swing from the right side, though other scouts were more skeptical of his bat.”
SS Yeffry de Aza -$475,000  - “high-waisted frame at 6 feet, 170 pounds and generates surprising power at times….With an average arm and average speed, de Aza will get a chance to play shortstop, though scouts from other organizations thought he fit better at second base.”
SS Luis Carpio – - $300,000 – “Several teams were surprised the Mets were able to sign Venezuelan shortstop Luis Carpio for just $300,000 and felt he was one of the more underrated players in the 2013-14 signing class…. good athlete who does a lot of things well… good bat control, recognizes pitches.. at least a plus runner underway…will start out at shortstop and has solid hands, though some scouts feel he could end up at second base or center field…”
RHP Luis Silva – $275,000 – ” 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame….88-92 mph before July 2, Silva has since been up to 94. His changeup is advanced for his age and is ahead of his slurvy 74-78 mph curveball.”

 

- Former Met Colin McHugh writes about the anxiety of reporting to a new organization, driving an old car, but finishes optimistically with the pleasure it feels to “belong.”

- Tim Dierkes at MLBTradeRumors, points out that the “Marlins gave up rights to Jose Fernandez’s age 26 season (2019) so he could throw five additional innings for them in 2013 (Apr 7 debut).” This is part of the reason that Noah Syndergaard will not start the season with the Mets. Even if he’s awesome in spring training, and basically MLB ready, he needs to spend two weeks in the minors (and make two or three starts) to give the Mets an extra year of control – which, if he’s as good as the team and fans hope – could be worth $20 million or more on the open market. Of course, he’d be arbitration eligible in that final season – the 2020 season -and perhaps making $10-$15 million. Even so, smart organizations do not piss away $5-10 million for one start from a guy who has never pitched in AAA as the Mets would if they started Syndergaard in the big leagues.

Four Mets Make Baseball America’s Top 100 List

baseball-america-logo.jpgBaseball America released their Top 100 prospects in baseball on Wednesday night and included four Mets: Noah Syndergaard at #16, Travis d’Arnaud at #38, Rafael Montero at #68 and Dominic Smith at #92.

John Manuel’s player capsules are below. Subscribers can read lengthier reports here.

Syndergaard

Syndergaard’s secondary pitches flash above-average if not better. More consistent power on his curveball would complement his premium fastball and help him make a midseason jump to New York.

Travis d’Arnaud

Stay. On. The. Field. His first injury-free season since 2011 would help make d’Arnaud a Rookie of the Year contender.

Montero

Few minor leaguers throw more consistent quality strikes than the smallish Montero, and as long as he maintains his command he should get his first shot in New York in 2014.

Smith

Smith might make his full-season debut at low Class A Savannah, a decided pitcher’s park. He’ll have to focus on his hitting approach and avoid getting down if the results aren’t there this season.

BA: Mets 13th in International Spending in ’13

Baseball America has compiled a list of an estimate on what every Major League team spent on on international bonuses during the 2013 year. The problem with a list like this is that it spans two different signing periods: the back half of the ’12-13 period when every team had $2.9 million to spend, and the ’13-14 period where teams’ official bonus pools ranged from $1.8 million (Nationals) to $4.9 million (Astros).

The Mets were 13th at $3.13 million in the 2013 calendar year. Most teams were in this range. Nearly half of the teams in baseball (14) spent between $2.5 million and $3.5 million.

The Mets began the 2013-14 signing period with a bonus allotment of $2,664,600, but added the #51 slot from the Angels, valued at $360,500 for OF Julio Concepcion and RHP Andres Perez in July. The Mets’ total bonus pool for the 2013-14 signing period is $3,025,100.

Here are the Mets’ major international signings from the 2013-2014 period so far:

PlayerPositionBA RankCountryBonus
Ricardo CespedesCFDR725,000
Aly SanchezC25VZ690,000
Yeffry de AzaSSDR475,000
Luis CarpioSS30VZ300,000
Luis SilvaRHPVZ275,000
Total2,465,000

Baseball America likes Mets’ Joel Carreno Signing

baseball-america-logo.jpgBen Badler at Baseball America listed the Mets’ signing of RHP Joel Carreno as among the publication’s “Picks to Click.” He wrote:

Carreno, who could be one of the steals (a relative term, of course) of the minor league free agent class. Carreno, who turns 27 in March, throws in the low 90s with a curveball that can help him miss bats, something he did more of in 2013 than ever before, perhaps in part because the Blue Jays made him a full-time reliever for the first time in his career.  After striking out 25 percent of batters in his minor league career, Carreno’s strikeout rate jumped to 34 percent last year between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo with a 2.43 composite ERA. Now he’s pitching well for Escogido in the Dominican League.

So, cheap bullpen help? Sure.

Baseball America’s Top 10 Mets Prospect List

baseball-america-logo.jpgMatt Eddy wrote up Baseball America’s Top 10 Mets Prospects for 2014.

1. RHP Noah Syndergaard (Thor)
2. C Travis d’Arnaud
3. RHP Rafael Montero
4. 1B Dominic Smith
5. C Kevin Plawecki
6. 2B/1B Wilmer Flores
7. SS Amed Rosario
8. CF Brandon Nimmo
9. SS Gavin Cecchini
10. RHP Jake deGrom

I have not sat down and hammered out my full Top 10 or Top 41.

However, I think Syndergaard and d’Arnaud are pretty clearly one and two.  Montero, based on his success in the high minors, stuff and proximity to the big leagues is a safe, and reasonable (if not consensus call) at #3.

Most notable to me is the exclusion of Cesar Puello and Steven Matz from the team’s Top 10. Puello’s in my Top 5. Matz I understand is a shakier argument in that he was 1. old for a-ball and 2. has a significant injury history both with Tommy John and then post-surgery shoulder problems, which were likely cascade injuries. Matz, I’m pretty sure will be in the back half of my Top 10.

I think I’ll have Nimmo, Smith, Plawecki, Flores, Cecchini and Rosario in my Top 12 or 15, but in a different order. I suspect much of the divergence in Mets prospect lists will be how the evaluator handles those five guys, Puello and Matz. In ranking the three high school first rounders, it’s important to remember that Nimmo and Cecchini play premium positions so the offensive expectations are pretty different than for Smith.

BA: Draft Report Card

baseball-america-logo.jpgLets get caught up with some links.

Last week, John Manuel wrote up the Baseball America Draft Report Card for the Mets’ 2013 haul.

Position Guys
Best Pure Hitter: Dominic Smith
Best Power Hitter: Ivan Wilson
Fastest Runner: Champ Stuart
Best Defensive Player: Smith over Luis Guillorme

Pitchers
Best Fastball: Tyler Bashlor (93-94, touching 97)
Best Secondary: RHP Andrew Church/ Johnny Magliozzi (curves)

BA: Thor #3 Prospect in the Eastern League and Top Pitcher

baseball-america-logo.jpgWriting for Baseball America, Josh Norris named Noah Syndergaard the AA Eastern League’s top pitcher, and #3 overall prospect trailing only Xander Boegaerts (BOS) and Miguel Sano (MIN).

Rafael Montero was #13 on the list. Cesar Puello missed the list.

Norris’ comment on Syndergaard in part:

Two plus pitches and another that rates at least average is always enough to land a pitcher on a list like this. With his fastball, curveball and changeup, Syndergaard has that part down.

What sets him apart from his peers, however, is the outstanding command he displays and what one scout described as a “rare combination of power and strikes.” He uses his big, strong body to generate a fastball that sits between 93-96 mph, has touched triple-digits and features plenty of life. He couples it with a sharp curveball that improved in Double-A, reaching in the low-80s, and a budding changeup. He improved the arm speed on his curve after incorporating a slider into his repertoire this season.

Syndergaard still needs to refine his pitch sequencing and learn to keep his fastball down in the zone. If he irons out those issues, he’ll become the frontline starter scouts project him to be.

 

Also this for completeness:

He improved the arm speed on his curve after incorporating a slider into his repertoire this season.

Emphasis added. As he told me in Spring Training, Syndergaard actually added the slider last year – 2012 – when he was with the Blue Jays, and he says it helped tighten up his curveball.

 

On Montero at #13:

Montero puts his low-90s fastball just about wherever he wants and moves it in and out at will. He couples the fastball with a sweeping breaking ball and changeup that features plenty of late fade. Neither is a plus pitch, but both play up because of his top-grade control of his fastball.

Montero repeats his delivery and transitioned well to the offensive Pacific Coast League and the hitter-friendly Las Vegas venue. …

He’ll be given a chance to make the Mets’ rotation out of spring training next season and profiles as a No. 3 or 4 starter.

If the Mets really give Montero a chance to win a spot out of spring training, that would represent a departure from their practice in the first few years of Sandy Alderson in which the team has managed their prospects’ service time very carefully. Again, keeping Montero down in AAA for a month or so, would delay his free agency by a year by preventing him from accruing a full year of service time in 2014. Given that a single win in April 2014 will have limited value to a Mets team without Matt Harvey, preventing Montero from reaching free agency for a year, while giving him a little more time to work on his slider seems prudent.

 

Cesar Puello missed the list. The last four position players to make BA’s list: Garin Cecchini (Bos – #14), Jose Ramirez (CLE – #17), J.R. Murphy (NYY – #18) and Josmil Pinto (MIN – #20). BA raises a major issue for each of the four players: in order Cecchini – power, Ramirez – power/obp, Murphy – hit/receiving, and Pinto receiving/gamecalling. I get that Puello was suspended for Biogensis. The Mets believe he was 100% clean in 2013. Even with that slight black mark against him, and I don’t think all four guys ahead of him are actually better prospects.

BA: Syndergaard #6 Prospect in the Florida State League

baseball-america-logo.jpgJohn Manuel ranked the Florida State League’s prospects for Baseball America. He placed Thor (Noah Syndergaard) #6, making him the League’s top pitching prospect after five high-end position player talents (Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Javier Baez, Gregory Polanco and Maikel Franco).

 

Manuel’s comment in part:

Scouts and managers considered him the easy choice as the best pitching prospect in the FSL thanks to a premium fastball, notable as much for its arm-side run and ability to get in on righthanded hitters as for its premium 94-98 mph velocity. Syndergaard adds a fine pitcher’s build and clean delivery, both indicative of durability.

Scouts and managers in the FSL considered his secondary stuff—he throws both a curveball and slider as well as a firm changeup—closer to average, with the change more on the fringy side.

“His fastball is heavy,” Palm Beach manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “It really explodes out of his hand. He has the fastball to be a No. 1 starter, but his secondary stuff might make him more of a No. 3.”

Catcher Kevin Plawecki did not make Baseball America’s list.

In response, Mets Farm Report Tweeted:

This is a little misleading as Plawecki began in the SAL, a league he was a little old for in prospect terms, and stayed there for the entire first half. Playing against more appropriate competition, the 22-year-old hit a more pedestrian .294/.391/.392 (.783 OPS) in the FSL. I discussed Plawecki a week ago. I think he’s a big leaguer with a ceiling as a solid everyday catcher. He has a solid case to fit anywhere after 13 on Manuel’s list.

BA: Steven Matz the #20 Prospect in the SAL; Nimmo Misses the List

Baseball America named Steven Matz the #20 prospect in the 16-team South Atlantic League today. CF Brandon Nimmo did not make the list.

Their comment about Matz praises the work of Savannah Pitching Coach Frank Viola in teaching his pitchers to throw strikes (here, here) and then on Matz:

Matz didn’t paint corners as much as Ynoa or Cessa, but he did throw plenty of strikes while showcasing three potentially plus pitches: an 89-94 mph fastball that touched 96 as well as an intriguing curveball and changeup.

The big question for Matz is health. His 106 innings this year came after he threw fewer than 30 in his first three pro seasons as he dealt with an extremely lengthy recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Baseball America: Amed Rosario #1 Prospect in the Appalachian League

baseball-america-logo.jpgClint Longenecker named Amed Rosario the Appalachian League’s top prospect for Baseball America. He also placed RHP Rob Whalen at #15 in the Appy League and RHP Chris Flexen at #19.

On Rosario:

Overall

he showed star potential in his debut season. With a lanky build, he’s an exceptional athlete with above-average speed.

“He could be a star,” a scout said. “He is 17 and can drive the ball to right-center field like a man. He has very good feel to hit and his swing generates a lot of leverage. I think he can have 20-25 home run power. I think he can be a shortstop because he has all the tools and he can run.”

Defensively

Rosario makes things look easy defensively, showing good feet around the bag and the range and body control to make any play at shortstop. He has good hands and a plus arm with the ability to throw from all angles. Managers expect him to reduce his error total with experience and they say he could remain at shortstop, but he could also profile at third base as he fills out.

Offensively

Rosario also drew rave reviews for his hitting ability. He has above-average bat speed with natural whip and a rare ability to drive the ball and create loud contact for his age, and he excels at hitting to the opposite field. He will need to shorten his stroke, improve on handling pitches on the inner half and polish his strike-zone discipline.

In July, when I talked to Rosario, he told me his goal was to become better at hitting the ball the other way. Perhaps the best swing I saw from him in game action was a flyball out to right where he let the ball travel deep before lifting it into an out in the opposite field. Rosario hit .241/.279/.358 in 226 PA over 58 games with a 6.6% extra-base hit rate, a 19% strikeout rate and a 4.9% walk rate. I agree, he has batspeed. The final sentence of the BA review is, ahem, extensive. I think he will have to rebuild nearly his entire swing. There’s some leg kick action but more importantly, his hand path is ugly.  He dips his hands very low at the beginning creating length and a poor plane through the zone (I’ll post some video, I swear).

 

Whalen
BA:

Mets fine-tuned his mechanics, and those tweaks, combined with a professional throwing program, helped him rediscover his stuff and finish second in the league ERA.

Whalen showed a low-90s fastball that touched 94 mph with above-average movement, and the incorporation of a sinker in addition to his four-seam fastball gave him a 2.4-to-1 groundout-to-flyout ratio. He has an advanced ability to throw strikes, and his offspeed stuff played up because of it, allowing him to use it in fastball counts. He throws a changeup, curveball and slider, and the best of the three is a high-70s curveball with three-quarters tilt that is consistently above-average.

That’s pretty far away from where I saw Whalen in July. At the time, I wrote, he “was sitting 88-89 mph with his fastball and touched 90 once or twice. He’s already listed at 6’2″ and 200 pounds, which is probably light. … He threw a few curveballs at 75-76 mph and tried a pair of changeups at 82.” I would not describe his curve as above average. Again, that’s supposed to be against MLB average.

 

Flexen
BA:

He has an average fastball that sits in the low 90s, and his velocity could improve as he matures. He gets good downhill plane, though the pitch can lack life.

Flexen has a solid-average curveball that has improved dramatically, with good depth and late tilt. He also throws an average changeup and a slider. With command of three average or better offerings, polish and a delivery that offers deception, he should advance as a starter.

I was disappointed to miss Flexen, who I was told was touching 94, when I saw the Kingsport Mets this year.