It’s been a rough few days for the first-rounders from the 2008 draft class who are not Ike Davis. Friday, Reese Havens, the 22nd overall pick in 2008, was put on waivers and cleared allowing the Mets to remove him from the 40-man roster but keep him in the organization. Saturday morning, Brad Holt (pictured), the 33rd overall pick was released.
In parts of three seasons in AA (his age 23, 24 and 25 seasons), the 26-year old has hit .255/.357/.422. However, his numbers have declined every year from a 1.062 OPS in 18 games in 2010 to an .827 OPS in 2011 to a .691 OPS in 94 games in 2012 when he hit .215/.340/.351 and struck out 113 times in 94 games. He’s also immobile these days. It’s sad in a way how much injuries have changed his game, and what his body can do.
Like Havens, Holt’s carrer had stalled at AA, where he has been working out of the bullpen for most of the last two years with modes success. In 2012, he put up a respectable 3.40 ERA in 47.2 innings with 42 strikeouts. However, he walked 13% of the batters he faced (28 of 212) and did so with an average ish fastball and a below average slider. Given a chance in AAA, he was bombed in six appearances: 5.1 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. Yikes. There were at least a few teams interested in Holt when the Mets left him unprotected in this past year’s Rule 5 draft, so I expect he’ll get picked up somewhere now that doing so is totally costless.
The members of the ’08 draft still with the organization are Ike Davis (1), Reese Havens (1), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (3), Josh Satin (6), Eric Campbell (8), Mark Cohoon (12), Collin McHugh (18), Chris Schwinden (22).
Also released Saturday:
P Danny Herrera, P Craig Hansen,OF Mike Wilson, OF Corey Patterson, OF Pedro Zapata & INF Brandon Brown.
P Yohan Almonte, P Kyle Allen, P Andrew Wells and P Jared West.
Notes: The Mets went overslot ($150,000) to sign Allen in the 24th round of the ’08 draft.
In the New York Post, Kevin Kernan catches up with Reese Havens, the oft-injured first-round pick from the 2008 draft who tells Kernan that after back injuries twisted his 2012 season, he’s better than ever:
“I did a lot of flexibility training,’’ Havens said. “I did Pilates. I did functional baseball movements, I did speed work and I did a lot of core stuff. It was by far my best offseason of working out yet. I feel confident coming in.
As fun as it is to write “Reese Havens is healthy, and it’s thanks to a new workout routine stories” lets look at this honestly for a moment. Havens turned 26 in October and has hit a combined .255/.357/.422 in 170 games in double-A the last two years. This is his peak. Right now. And while battling back and rib ailments the last two years, he has not conquered AA. He must do so before the Mets give him a shot at triple-A Las Vegas.
It would be a wonderful story if Havens can 1. finally stay healthy and 2. contribute to a big league team. I am skeptical on both counts.
Friday: Richmond Flying Squirrels 10, @ Binghamton Mets 3
Saturday: Richmond Flying Squirrels 4, Binghamton Mets 0
Saturday, Reese Havens, who had missed eight days with a stiff back, returned to the lineup, playing second and hitting second. Havens was 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts. The 25-year old is hitting .232/.365/.370 with 100 strikeouts against 57 walks in 85 games in his third go-round in the Eastern League. He needs to play in 12 of the B-Mets last 16 games, to match his career-high of 97 games set back in 2009 in a season. His season started late while he recovered from injury, and he’s missed time during the season with back-stiffness. For the year, he’s struck out at a 27% clip. Even while hitting for a little better average (.265/.385/.426) since June 1 he’s fanned in 29% of his plate appearances.
Havens, one of three Mets’ first round picks in 2008, might still play in the big leagues. However, the chances of him becoming an impact guy, that is league average or better over any significant stretch of time, has dropped to nearly nil.
Cory Mazzoni on Saturday: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR. I like that he struck out a batter an inning, but overall, he’s fanned just 43 in 67 innings as a starter in AA, that’s 5.8 K/9. He’s thrown strikes, as his walk rate of 2.4 BB/9 is very nice, but he’s given up just too many balls in play. He mostly works around 90-91, but can reach back to 94 or 96 suggesting that his stuff would play up in a significant way out of the bullpen where he does not have to pace himself.
I saw that Havens rode the pine well this past weekend (sarcasm intended). Where is the organizations stance with him?
Since his rough first 30 days after injury return, he seems to hae performed o.k., but he still is in AA and turns 26 this fall.
Is there any value in promoting him to AAA and call him up when rosters expand under a “sink or swim” mentality to see what they have moving forward?
Havens has not played since last Thursday while dealing with a stiff back.
Toby Hyde, Mets Minor League Blog:
I can’t speak for the “organization,” with respect to Havens. I can speak for myself. The former first-round pick is hitting .234/.366/.374 overall with 13 doubles, nine homers, 56 walks and 97 strikeouts in 84 games in AA as a 25 year-old. Sure, the walks are nice, but the 28% strikeout rate for a player who is old for AAA is a monster-sized red flag. On its face, that just does not deserve a big league look. Lets look deeper.
Kevin is right however, that Havens has been better in the last two and a half months. In his first 27 games in April and May he hit a punchless .153/.318/.235. Since June 1, in his last 57 games, he’s hit a much more productive .269/.388/.433. His extra-base hit rate is up, but even in his “good” period, he’s fanned at a 28% rate and run a .368 batting average on balls in play. That won’t work in the big leagues.
As far as “sink or swim” for Havens now, I just do not see a point. Sure, he’s on the 40-man roster already, so they would not need to make a roster move to add him. The team will not learn that much more about him in four weeks of big league games and there is no point in taking away playing time from Daniel Murphy to play a guy two years younger, who might never be as good as Murphy.
Believe it or not, Murphys has actually been an above average offensive performer at second base. His .296/.339/.419 line with 33 doubles is good enough for a 108 wRC+, good enough for eighth among all MLB second basemen. wRC+ adjusts for ballpark and 100 is league average. Sure, there are holes in Murphy’s game. He gives away some of that value defensively, he doesn’t walk much (6.1% of the time) and he does not hit the ball over the wall (four HR in 2012). On the other hand, he makes lots of good contact as his 12% strikeout proves.
You could argue that this is the peak of the 27-year old Murphy’s value. That could well be true, but Havens is not a better player now, and the odds are not particularly strong that he’ll ever be a better big leaguer hitter and overall second baseman than Murphy.
The 2012 Mets have had many problems, and the front office will have to work very hard to avoid a very similar set of issues on the 2013 Mets. Second base is not particularly high on the list. Murphy is no star, but he’s a capable enough Major League player. Transferring a September’s worth of playing time from Murphy to Havens does neither player nor the Mets any short-term or long-term gain.
Who plays where in AA? This became a question last week, when the Mets promoted Wilmer Flores, who had been playing thirdbase at advanced-A St. Lucie all year, and SS Wilfredo Tovar, the system’s best defensive shortstop, to join Binghamton incumbents 3B Jefry Marte and 2B Reese Havens.
Tovar’s easy. He plays short, as he did Thursday through Saturday before he got a day off Sunday in favor of back up Sean Kazmar.
And everyone else?
This all looks reasonable. Flores played third base twice, second once and DH’ed once. Marte played third twice and DH’ed twice while Reese Havens played three games at second and DH’ed once. Scouts who saw the 20-year old Flores at third in St. Lucie generally did not speak well of his defense in his first year at the position. More than one said, “he’s not a quick-twitch guy,” or some very close variant of the phrase, to describe why they were not fond of his work. Flores took an 0-for on Saturday, but bounced back with four hits and two doubles Sunday and is off to an 8-for-17 (.471) start with three doubles in his first four games at AA.
Havens picked up two hits and two walks Saturday and homered and walked on Sunday and struck out twice. The 25-year old is now up to .197/.332/.318 with 30 walks and 53 strikeouts in 48 games in AA this year. His days as the Mets’ “second baseman of the future” are just about over.
After a hitless weekend with a pair of walks Saturday, Marte is sitting at .269/.336/.401 in 66 games of AA.
The one thing that has not happened yet that I figured would be part of this rotation is that Marte has not played first base. In the Arizona Fall League in 2011, he played 11 games at first and 10 at third. I would wager it will happen soon enough for Binghamton, although he has never played first in a regular season minor league game.
One of the reasons that Marte has not yet played first has been the resurgent Eric Campbell. The 25-year old played first for Binghamton each of the last four games. He’s enjoyed a terrific bounce-back year in his third go-round in the Eastern League, hitting .330/.440/.503 with 33 walks against just 29 strikeouts in 54 games. He’s third in the Eastern League in batting and first in on-base percentage. Originally a thirdbaseman at Boston College, the right-handed hitting Campbell has also played 15-25 games in leftfield annually since he was drafted in the 8th round in 2008.
Campbell actually had two different 2011 campaigns with a markedly better second half than first half. He hit .210/.334/.272 in 257 AB before the AA All-Star Break in last year and .311/.364/.466 after. Anyway, it’s probably time for Campbell, who has played just three games in leftfield this year, to mix in some starts out there. That, and then see what he can do in Buffalo as a 1B/LF/3B, for a Bisons’ team that could use a little help.
If you want to do your own box-score diving, here’s Saturday and Sunday.
AAA: Pawtucket Red Sox 6, @ Buffalo Bisons 1
The first place PawSox finished off a four-game sweep of Buffalo to drop the Bisons to 37-33 and eight games back in the International League North.
Designated “bullpen answer” Jenrry Mejia certainly was not the answer on Sunday, retiring just one of the five batters he faced. He threw under 50% strikes (10 of 22 pitches overall) while giving up a run on two hits, a walk and a HBP before manager Wally Backman pulled him to avoid running his pitch count any higher. He just did not throw enough strikes, although Backman noted that his velocity was up to 96 mph. In his two relief appearances versus Pawtucket, he allowed a run on three hits in 1.1 innings. Even if he does eventually take well to relieving, he has not yet.
SS Ronny Cedeno was 1-for-4 from the #2 spot in the order. He’s 2-for-11 in three rehab games with Buffalo.
CF Matt den Dekker was 1-4 from the #3 hole. The single was his first in five games with the Bisons. It was the second straight game he hit third after hitting third five times in 58 games in double-A.
Garrett Olson: 2.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR – 5.00 ERA
AA: Altoona Curve (PIT) 15, @ Binghamton Mets 6
The Curve, who sported the fourth-lowest OPS of any team in the Eastern League pounded out a season-high 15 runs on 20 hits in a game in which the B-Mets made matters worse with four errors.
The pitching offenders:
Greg Peavey: 5 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HR. (It’s never a good day when a pitcher allows more home runs than he has strikeouts) – 5.22 ERA
Adrian Rosario: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR
Robert Carson: 0.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Carson’s ERA rose from 1.61 to 3.57 now in 22.2 innings after his disaster of an outing.
One bright spot in the game: 2B Reese Havens (.173/.306/.293) was 1-for-3 with a double, his seventh and two walks. He’s walking a ton, but the hits are not falling for the former first-rounder, who’s now 25 years old.
AA: Binghamton Mets 7, @ Erie Seawolves (PIT) 1
Welcome back Reese Havens. In his first game outside of extended spring training of 2012, with his first swing in AA, Havens connected on a two-run home run. He finished Sunday 3-for-4 with a homer and a walk.
Havens’ homer was more than enough run support for Zack Wheeler who finished off his fourth straight in which he allowed one run or fewer. If you’re into that kind of thing, Wheeler picked up his first double-A win while lowering his ERA to 1.75. The 21-year old has succeeded on the strength of his pure stuff: Eastern League hitters have not homered off him and have just 17 hits off him in 25.67 innings for a .198 batting average against while he has fanned 30. However, his peripherals suggest strongly that he is not ready for AAA yet. He has walked 11 batters in his last 16.2 innings and for the year has walked 14 in 25.2 IP for a 4.9 BB/9 or 13% walk rate. Once the walk rate drops, then he will be ready for the minors’ final challenge and its most patient hitters. However, he still must refine his command, and for now, the place to do that is in AA.
At the top of the order, CF Matt den Dekker (.292/.356/.528) was 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and two more strikeouts to give him 24 whiffs in 22 games.
Jefry Marte was 1-3 with a double (his sixth) and a walk, (his sixth). The 20-year old is bopping along at .365/.431/.492 with just nine strikeouts in 18 games.
AAA: @ Buffalo Bisons 8, Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 2
Dylan Owen made a really nice start in front of plenty of offense from the veterans in this one. Owen: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He threw an excellent 72% of his pitches (56-of-78) for strikes.
Brad Emaus’ Buffalo Bisons’ debut came at third base while going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Also, Bobby Scales continued his torrid April by going 3-for-5 with two doubles to lift his season line to .413/.522/.600 in 21 games. The 34-year old is leading the International League in batting average and on-base percentage and is tied for fourth in walks (17) while being the third-toughest hitter to strikeout in the League (11.75 PA/K).
Jenrry Mejia, who had Tommy John surgery in May 2011, threw two innings in an extended Spring Training game this week. He’s on a regular five-day program for starting pitchers. Barring any setbacks, he will continue to stretch out his arm and extend his outings. How his body responds over the final steps of his rehab will determine his schedule.
Reese Havens has been playing all nine innings in extended spring training games for the Mets, and has been doing so for about a week and a half.
Reese Havens, who started the season on the AA Binghamton Mets disabled list is currently sidelined with a strained upper left back. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that he played five innings in a minor league inter-squad Tuesday. That should put him in Binghamton in relatively short order.
- From Adam Rubin of ESPNNY after Terry Collins’ opening remarks yesterday:
Collins is eager to see solid-hitting second baseman Reese Havens, who was taken in the same first round as Davis in 2008. Havens … will work exclusively at second base in camp. Collins said once he gets to the minors to open the year he would be exposed to other positions, too.
Havens was a college shortstop at the University of South Carolina, before moving to second base early in his professional career because he lacked the range to play short everyday. Where will the Mets have him play? Third? First? That seems to be the default. Patrick Flood had an amusing rant about the Mets’ defense yesterday on Twitter with the Mets slated to have four former 1B in their everyday lineup in 2012.
- At Amazin’ Avenue, Eno Sarris asks, Are the Mets truly Saber? It’s a worthwhile read, and promises to be the start of a series, and it quotes me, which makes it doubly good.
- At the Platoon Advantage, Chris St. John explores the relationship between prospects with extreme walk and strikeout rates at the lower levels and their (lack) of big league success. This too is the beginning of a series. So far the gentle conclusion is: strikeouts not good, walks pretty good.
- This is just damn funny. James Bates’ stool breaks, prompting him to say, “That’s not a big time stool.”