This group of four Mets prospects are all likely to get to the big leagues, but are unlikely to ever be average regulars. Instead, if they make it, it will be in part-time roles, or as middle relievers. All four are 2010 or 2011 college draftees so it’s time for them to produce in the big leagues. All have dealt with injuries on their way through the minors.
#33 – RHP Erik Goeddel
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185 lbs
Acquired: 24th round 2010 (UCLA)
2013 Rank: NR (2012: #33) | Stats
Why Ranked Here: The Mets added Goeddel to the 40-mand roster for the 2014 season; 40-mand guys almost always make my Top 41. While 2013 was the first season he survived without injury, he should hold up better in shorter outings out of the bullpen, where his velocity will play up.
As a starter, Goeddel’s velocity has been 89-92 for the most part, although he can reach back for more and touch 95. He’s a four-pitch guy with a curve, slider and changeup. Some nights in Savannah, the curve looked like a big league pitch and some nights the slider looked like a big league offering, but it seemed rare that he had both working at once. Some nights his fastball command was solid, others it was very erratic. According to Jeff Paternostro at Amazin’ Avenue, Goeddel remained fairly inconsistent appearance to appearance this year. Jeff far preferred Goeddel’s curveball to his slider in 2013. This year, he adjusted the grip on his changeup to increase the contrast with the fastball.
Where many young pitchers rush their delivery, and must train themselves to stay back, Goeddel has the reverse issue. He told me that when he feels too slow, he loses tempo and struggles to repeat.
2013: Goeddel stayed healthy all the way through the 2013 season with AA Binghamton where he posted a 4.37 ERA in a career-high 25 starts over 134 innings. As a starter in AA, he gave up a hit an inning (135) walked 9.9% of opposing batters and struck out 21%. National League pitchers had a 19.9% strikeout and a 7.7% walkd rate in 2013. Eastern League pitchers were similar, fanning 20.1% of opposing batters and walking 9.1%. Given that Goeddel walks more batters than the average Eastern Leaguer, and the average National Leaguer, I am skeptical that he has the command to work through a linup multiple times as a big league starter.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Good middle reliever, maybe even an 8th inning guy.
Debbie Downer Says: Worse command than average in AA. No better than the last guy in the bullpen.
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: 2014
#34 – CF Matt den Dekker
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 205 lbs
Acquired: 5th rd 2010 (Florida)
Born: 8/10/87 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
2013 Rank: 23 (2012: 18 ) | Stats
Why Ranked Here: He can play centerfield and hit righties. He’s a tick above average as a runner, but gets great jumps in center, and sells out chasing balls so that he should be an above average defender in centerfield.
Den Dekker is already 26 and has never hit lefties in his minor league career. Good breaking balls fool him.
2013: A broken wrist in spring training kept den Dekker out of action until he began rehab in the Florida State League June 17. He returned to AAA on July 1. After showing improvement in AAA over 2012 (lower strikeout rate, better walk rate) the Mets rewarded him with a late-season call up and he made his big league debut on August 29.
Dr. Pangloss Says: I would like him as a fourth outfielder who can go play center and hit righties.
Debbie Downer Says: I would prefer players who do not strike out in 1/3 of their plate appearances.
Projected 2014 Start: The Mets have three guys on the MLB roster who can play center, so it will take an injury or two for den Dekker to break camp on the big league roster.
MLB Arrival: 2013. He’ll be back.
#35 – Cory Vaughn
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 225 lbs
Acquired: 4th round 2010 (San Diego State)
Born: 5/1/89 (Carmichael, CA)
2013 Rank: #40 (2012 Rank: 32)| Stats
Why Ranked Here: The Mets left Vaughn off the 40-man roster this winter, but I think there’s some a chance that the 25-year-old will make his MLB debut in 2014. He can play either corner and has beat up on left-handed pitching in the minors. That skill set will give him a chance to be a 4th or 5th outfielder on a team comfortable with platoon outfielders.
In 2013, he hit .242/.327/.374 in 198 AB against righties and .344/.403/.578 in 64 AB against lefties. In the last three years, through the full-season minor league levels, he has bashed .296/.401/.528 in 409 PA against lefties and .231/.335/.383 in 1047 PA against righties.
Although he cleaned up in 2013, there’s funk in his setup at the plate, and decent right-handed fastballs beat him regularly.
Six-foot-three, and strong, Vaughn looks the part, and always has.
2013: A strained UCL in his right elbow kept him out of action in double-A from June 2 through August 6. His strikeout rate of 26.5% in AA was his highest at any minor league stop, while his walk rate of 8.2% was his lowest. His .156 isolated slugging percentage was his lowest since Savannah and his 6.8% extra-base hit rate exceeded only Savannah (6.7%), and even at that by only one tenth of a percentage point. For reference, the Eastern League had an extra-base hit rate of 7.2%, a strikeout rate of 20.1% and a walk rate of 9%.
Sent to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost time during the season, Vaughn hit .250/.320/.375 in 88 AB over 22 games. And he did so with those persistent platoon splits going .238/.273/.365 in 63 AB vs. RHP.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Useful platoon outfielder.
Debbie Downer Says: AAA Regular
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: Late 2014.
#36 – Logan Verrett
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 180 lbs
Acquired: 3rd rd ’11 (Baylor)
2013 Rank: #30 (2012: 35) | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Big league command and a big league slider. However, Verrett’s fastball is soft (88-90). Righties just don’t generally become big league starters with that kind of below average heat. He shows a four-pitch arsenal with a changeup and curve. The curve is really a show-me pitch that he can use to steal strikes. The changeup could be a MLB average pitch, but it isn’t good enough to off-set his fastball and keep him in a starting role.
2013: In 24 starts for the B-Mets he ran a 4.25 ERA on a 5.3% walk rate, a 22.5% strikeout rate and a 3.6% homerun rate (21 overall). That’s almost one homerun per start. When he challenged AA hitters, they put the ball over the wall.
Dr. Pangloss Says: If he moves to the bullpen, he can find a few more ticks of velocity to get to 92 consistently. That, paired with his slider and command would make him a more viable middle reliever.
Debbie Downer Says: 88-90? That sounds like MLB batting practice
Projected 2014 Start: AAA. The only question is whether the Mets keep him starting, or move him to the bullpen this year.
MLB Arrival: 2014
Middle infield prospect Danny Muno and outfielder Cory Vaughn have both been invited to big league camp.
Muno, 24, spent 2013 with Double-A Binghamton, where he hit .249 with a .384 OBP. He connected for 27 doubles, nine home runs and had 67 RBI. Muno has seen time at both second base and shortstop, playing the majority of his season at second with the B-Mets last season.
Muno was suspended 50 games in 2012 for testing positive for a metabolite of Drostanolone.
Here is an SNY.TV video diary on Muno from last October...
Vaughn hit .267/.346/.424 with nine doubles, 10 homer and was 9-for-10 stealing bases in 71 games with AA Binghamton in 2013 in a season that was shortened by an elbow injury. Vaughn has had a heavy platoon split each of the last three years. In 2013, he hit .309/.406/.531 in 96 PA versus lefties but just .233/.329/.357 in 287 PA against righties. It’s pretty easy to envision him as a piece of a corner outfield platoon.
Here is an SNY.TV video diary on Vaughn from last October...
I wanted to point out the video above for Cory Vaughn’s swings. In particular, take a look at the swings from the angle just outside the cage.
Watch the end of Vaughn’s swings. He cuts his hands off. It’s very apparent from the 0:58 mark through 1:18 or so. It appears to me as though he’s stopping his hands early. In doing so, rather than accelerating through the ball which will give him more power to drive the thing, he’s decelerating early, and sapping power.
Maybe he’s just working on something in batting practice and this is some kind of bat control drill, but it sure looks odd to me.
He appears to do it in one of his swings captured in this Minor League Report from the 2013 season with Binghamton.
Vaughn popped 10 homers in 71 games in Binghamton in 2013. Were he to have played a full season, that’s about 16-18 hoemrs. Maybe he’s big and strong enough that he doesn’t need a full extension in his swing, and he’s working on other priorities. On the other hand, I think this answers a question that has nagged me (well, a little bit): can Vaughn, who is big, and strong and as John Mayo says in the embedded video “looks the part” hit for more power in games? Yup, let those hands go! Full extension and follow-through will tap into his natural strength.
As a 24-year-old, Vaughn hit .267/.346/.424 in 71 games in AA. An elbow strain kept him out of the AA lineup from June 2 through August 6.
I no longer view Vaughn as a potential everyday contributor for the Mets. The move to AA really exposed him. His strikeout rate of 26.5% in AA this year was his highest at any minor league stop, while his walk rate of 8.2% was his lowest. His .156 isolated slugging percentage was his lowest since Savannah and his 6.8% extra-base hit rate exceeded only Savannah (6.7%), and even at that by only one tenth of a percentage point. For reference, the Eastern League had an extra-base hit rate of 7.2%, a strikeout rate of 20.1% and a walk rate of 9%. So, Vaughn hit for below average power, walked at a below average rate and struck out way above AA average. His season line looks better thanks to a .345 batting average on balls in play, his best rate since Savannah, and one he seems unlikely to replicate with consistency against upper level competition.
Again, in 2013, Vaughn displayed extreme platoon splits that have been present in his performance in the last three years. In 2013, he hit .242/.327/.374 in 198 AB against righties and .344/.403/.578 in 64 AB against lefties. In the last three years, through the full-season minor league levels, he has bashed .296/.401/.528 in 409 PA against lefties and .231/.335/.383 in 1047 PA against righties. At this point, it seems extremely unlikely that Vaughn will magically figure out how to hit righties.
Can a Major League team afford to roster a corner outfielder who only hits lefties and does not play centerfield? Sure, straight platoons are possible, still, right? Oakland?
Binghamton Mets 6, Erie Seawolves 1
LF Cory Vaughn (.293/.368/.480 – 53 gms): 2-5, HR, 4 RBI, 3 K
RF Travis Taijeron (.253/.328/.529 – 48 gms): 2-4, 2B, HR, RBI
Beyond batting average, those lines for the 24-year-olds are actually fairly similar. Vaughn has 15 more hits than Taijeron (pictured), who has six more doubles and two more homers in five fewer games. Vaughn has better strike zone control – 55 K/20 BB (2.75) – while Taijeron is a little worse at 58 K/17 BB (3.4).
Mark Cohoon gave the B-Mets a quality start: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
@ Auburn Doubledays (TOR) 7, Brooklyn Cyclones 0
Brooklyn Cyclones 4, @ Auburn Doubledays 3 (7 innings)
In game one, the completion of Wednesday’s suspended game, the Cyclones had four hits, all singles to go with three errors. That’s not a good ratio. The offense rapped out 13 hits in a game two win.
R (APP): Kingsport – ppd by rain
They’ll play two on Friday.
GCL Cardinals 7, @ GCL Mets 6
@ GCL Cardinals 4, GCL Mets 3
Well, lookee here, a Cory Vaughn rehab appearance in game two. Vaughn, who has been on the shelf in AA with an elbow strain since June 2, was 0-for-4 as the DH.
CF Ivan Wilson had a couple of hits in game two. I had a Mets’ person praise the team’s third-rounder’s size and strength to me on Thursday. He’s listed at 6’3″, 220 lbs.
@ Binghamton Mets 9, Akron Aeros (CLE) 2
The B-Mets won despite committing five, count ‘em five, errors. Sure, that stuff happens in a-ball. It should happen less in double-A.
There are three performances worth discussing.
1. RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 4.86): 7 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. This was his second-longest outing of 2013, and his best since his AA debut on April 17. In 37 innings, he’s fanned 25 and walked 10, but given up 42 hits. I suspect that, while he was able to overpower a-ball hitters on his strength of his sinker, AA hitters are eliminating his breaking ball and timing his fastball better.
2. DH Cory Vaughn hit a grand slam in the B-Mets’ six-run fifth inning. It was the fifth homer, and fourth against a righty, for Vaughn who is now up to .294/.379/.500 in 28 games.
3. Cesar Puello was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. He’s up to .288/.357/.510 in 30 games, and is two years younger than Vaughn. Puello struck out 17 times in 15 games in April (too much) but has cut that back to eight whiffs in 15 games in May. On the other hand, fewer strikeouts have come with fewer walks – five in April and two in May. He remains very much a work in progress, but it is working now.
AA: @ Binghamton Mets 7, Akron Aeros (CLE) 3
Double-A is the first level where the baseball really starts to look like the big leagues sometimes. And often it does not. Such was the case in the eighth inning on Tuesday when the B-Mets scored four times on four walks, two infield singles, a passed ball and a wild pitch.
On the offensive side, LF Cory Vaughn (.299/.387/.485 – 27 gms) was 2-for-4 with two runs, an RBI and a strikeout. One of the hits was a grounder to short in the B-Mets big eighth inning. Vaughn’s making a run at .300 and is hitting .313/.436/.469 in his last 10 games. The 24-year-old still an extreme platoon split guy 1.321 OPS versus LHP in 24 AB and .723 vs. RHP in 73 AB. His overall line is supported by a .365 BABIP after back-to-back years in advanced-A of .247 and .274 BABIPs. My opinion on Vaughn has not changed: he could have big league value as a platoon outfielder/pinch-hitter, but he’s not an everyday guy.
Logan Verrett was solid: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
LHP Jack Leathersich fanned four in his two innings for the win. Leathersich has struck out 33 of 69 (48%) of the batters he has faced while walking 15%. I certainly did not expect he would strike out this many hitters in AA.
Manager Pedro Lopez moved struggling CF Alonzo Harris (.230/.284/.345 – 37 G) down to the #8 spot while 2B Danny Muno (.228/.371/.342) moved up to the leadoff spot. The 24-year-old Muno is tied for second in the EL in walks (25) but has done relatively little when he has made contact (9 extra-base hits).
AA: @ New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5, Binghamton Mets 2
Erik Goeddel was hittable on a night when the wind was blowing 20 mph out to left field if the box score is accurate. Goeddel’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR. He was in the strike zone plenty, throwing 65% of his pitches (57 of 88) for strikes, but he was hurt in the zone. Versus his 2012 performance in advanced-A St. Lucie, his strikeout rate is up a little, his walk rate is down a little, but he’s been hurt on contact. His BABIP has risen from .334 a year ago to .375 this year and his opponents’ isolated slugging is up from .079 to .160. In part, this is a reflection of allowing two homers in a game Friday – half the number he allowed in 22 games in 2012 at a point in the season where everything is still subject to small sample size warnings. But you know, that happened.
The B-Mets had six hits, no one had more than one, and five of the six were singles. RF Cory Vaughn (pictured) did hit his second homer of the year. The soon-to-be 24-year-old is hitting .277/.358/.489 in his first 13 games in AA.
There are still three regulars hitting under .200 in the Binghamton lineup all with some degree of prospecty-ness:
LF Darrell Ceciliani – .192/.222/.269, 3 XBH, 1 BB, 15 K, 52 AB – 13 G
2B Danny Muno – .156/.321/.222, 3 XBH, 10 BB, 14 K, 45 AB – 14 G
SS Wilfredo Tovar – .146/.212/.167, 1 XBH, 1 BB, 6 K, 48 AB – 15 G
AA: Binghamton Mets 4, @ New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) 3
The B-Mets scored three times in the top of the sixth to come up with the win. 2B Danny Muno doubled home two runs to tie the game, and then CF Alonzo Harris doubled home Muno. Muno was 2-for-3 with a walk, his 10th (!) in 13 games to push his season line to .167/.340/.238. Three of his seven hits have been doubles.
LF Cory Vaughn added a couple of hits to take him up to .279/.367/.442. Vaughn will turn 24 on May 1, and has struck out 16 times in 12 games. At the moment, he’s running a .423 BABIP, so either he will strike out less, or his average will come down.
RHP Tyler Pill was ok, nothing more: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
After Pill, RHP Jeffrey Walters finished the game with a scoreless inning of relief for his fourth save. He allowed a hit and did not strike anyone out. He’s fanned eight of the 33 batters to face him (24%) which is nice, while walking just one (3%). He’s a fastball/slider guy who seems to have added a little life to his fastball. All of a sudden he’s a bullpen sleeper to pay attention to. He struggled with his command in college, but he seems to have that now well under control.