This morning we will finish up our look at the Mets’ position player prospects with center field, that glamour position.
In 2013, by wRC+, a measure of offense only, the Mets’ centerfield production was last in the Major League at 68. Juan Lagares played such superlative defense, that he moved the unit’s total contribution up to 2.3 fWAR, 21st in baseball. Lagares after all, hit .242/.281/.352 but was worth a million runs (note: 28 by BIS defensive runs saved over average, 21.5 by UZR and 2 by Total Runs) in center field. Most remarkably, he did that in under a full season. Also, defensive numbers in under a full season should be treated with fairly major error bars.
In previous entries, I examined corner outfielders, third base, shortstops, catcher, first base and second base.
1. Brandon Nimmo
2. Champ Stuart
3. Matt den Dekker
4. Darrell Ceciliani
5. Patrick Biondi
1. In his age 20-season in Savannah, Nimmo, the Mets first-round pick in 2011 hit .273/.397/.359 in 110 games. He had a hand injury in the final week of April that kept him off the field in most of May, and affected his swing when he returned. He was a different player when he was healthy in April and August than in the season’s middle months. Defensively, he was better than solid the whole year through in Savannah’s big outfield. At the beginning of the year, other teams’ scouts were wondering if he had the closing ability to play center. He tracked balls well off the bat, and showed plenty of range, with long strides and reach, into both gaps. He will fill out, but as long as he does not become significantly slower, he can play centerfield. His arm is average, but no better. On the bases, he was not a good basestealer, but improved slightly in the area as the year went on. Nimmo should start 2014 in advanced-A St. Lucie.
2. It’s pretty rare these days for me to see a Mets prospect live and think something along the lines of, “whoa, I didn’t realize his tools were that good.” That happened for me with Stuart. When I saw him in July with Kingsport, he was faster, stronger and had a much better arm – he was more physically gifted – than I realized. The Mets’ 6th round pick in 2013 out of Brevard College in North Carolina, Stuart hit .240/.388/.353 in 43 games as a 20-year-old in the Appalachian League. At the plate, Stuart saw lots of pitches; he walked a lot (18%) and struck out more (31%) and ran a .380 BABIP. His approach is very much a work in progress; I saw him fooled badly, and then chase lousy sliders. Defensively, his circuitous routes in the outfield need to improve. On the bases, he was 11-for-13 stealing bases. There’s some major upside here if Stuart can make enough contact. Stuart needs the game reps and should start in 2014 in Savannah’s big outfield.
3. A broken wrist suffered during Spring Training on March 24 kept den Dekker out until June 17. His production, by OPS, improved every month in AAA in 2013 from June to July to August. In AAA, he kept his strikeout rate to a manageable 22% but in the big leagues, he fanned in almost two-fifth (36%) of his 63 plate appearances.
Also, den Dekker became a one-sided hitter in 2013. In 75 PA vs. lefties in 2013, he hit .188/.240/.232 while attacking righties at a .301/.365/.465 rate. The left-handed hitter did not have much in the way of platoon splits in 2011 and 2012 in the minors.
Although he’s not an elite runner, den Dekker combines good reads off the bat with enough explosion to get to full speed quickly and cover plenty of ground. The question has always been whether his bat would support an everyday role or whether he’s more a 4th outfielder. If the Mets carry five outfielders den Dekker will fight with Kirk Nieuwenhuis in Spring Training to be the lefty bat off the bench to alongside right-handed Andrew Brown to complement Lagares, Chris Young, Curtis Granderson. He’s already 26. This is his peak.
4. Ceciliani, who has dealt with injuries regularly in the low minors, played in a career-high 113 games for Binghamton in 2013, while hitting .268/.322/.380 in his age 23 season. He runs just well enough (MLB average, basically) to play center for now. He actually played almost as much leftfield (48 games) as he did center (58 contests). His ability to cover center should get him some big league time. In 2013, he fanned in 22% of his plate appearances and walked in 6.3%, and had extra-base hits in 6.3%, both career-low for any of his minor league stops. That’s just not enough offense to profile at all in a corner.
5. The Mets drafted Biondi, all 5’9″ of him, in the ninth round of the 2013 draft out of Michigan. Assigned to Brooklyn, he hit .249/.348/.301 in 50 games with the Cyclones, but the speedster stole 17 of 21 bases. By age, at 23 to start 2014, he belongs in St. Lucie, but he might end up in Savannah in April with or without Stuart.
Former Met farmhand Collin McHugh wrote in depth about his nomadic 2013 season on his blog. It’s a great read and a nice look into the life of a player on the fringes of the big leagues.
I was told that I was being sent down and needed to report to Las Vegas again in 24 hrs. This was less than 24 hrs since we had moved into the apartment. Less than 24 hrs since we made the gut defying decision to settle down into the expectation of staying put. So 24 hrs later I was back in the desert.
After 10 days of getting re-acclimated to Vegas, the phone rang.
We’ll do our second-to-last group of position players: corner outfielders. I divided the players in this group in tiers to make their rankings easier to follow. Basically, it’s Cesar Puello, some lottery ticket youngsters and some organizational depth.
We covered the infield in five parts: third base, shortstops, catcher, first base and second base.
Tier 1 – Everyday Players and Soon?
1. Cesar Puello
Tier 2 – We have questions
2. Ivan Wilson
3. Jared King
4. Cory Vaughn
Tier 3 – Young and Interesting, but Far Away
5. Wuilmer Becerra
6. Ricardo Cespedes
Tier 4 – Org Guys
7. Dustin Lawley
8. Travis Taijeron
9. Joe Tuschak
10. Gilbert Gomez
1. At age 22, Puello was the best player in the Eastern League for the first 91 games of the season until he accepted a 50-game punishment for a connection to Biogenesis. He has the skills to be a Major League rightfielder who hits for power, steals a few bases and plays solid defense and do so soon. He hit .326/.403/.547 with 39 extra-base hits, 28 walks and 82 strikeouts while going 24-for-31 stealing bases. Oh, sure, his .391 BABIP is wildly unsustainable, but he had finally smoothed out his swing to leverage his strength into hitting for power: his .221 isolated slugging was a minor league career-high. His walk rate of 7.4% was triple his 2.8% walk rate in 2012 in the Florida State League. Sure, his increased patience was connected to his better power numbers. For what it’s worth, Puello went down to the Dominican this winter and hacked at everything, hitting .200/.252/.261 with 30 strikeouts against five walks in 41 games. I don’t know what to make of it other than a stark reminder that he’s no sure thing.
He will start 2014 in AAA in Las Vegas and should make his MLB debut in 2014.
2. Wilson, the Mets third round pick this year from high school in Louisiana, hit .219/.321/.300 with 8 extra-base hits, 22 walks and an alarming 65 strikeouts in 47 games in his professional debut in the GCL. He’s big, strong and supposed to a plus runner. From Baseball America’s Draft Report: “Wilson also has big raw power that shows up most in batting practice. Scouts see a sound swing and set-up in the batter’s box, as well as present strength, so they haven’t figured out why his power doesn’t play in games. His athleticism and solid-average arm help him profile as a potential right fielder…” He’s still a long way away, and might be headed back to extended spring training and then Kingsport or Brooklyn in 2013.
3. The Mets drafted King in the fifth round in 2013 out of Kansas State. In his professional debut with Brooklyn, he showed strike zone control and gap power: .266/.365/.347 with 15 doubles, 35 walks and 49 strikeouts in 63 games. That’s a reasonable 18.6% strikeout rate and a very strong 13.3% walk rate. King played all but four of his games in 2013 in left field. To profile there, he will need to demonstrate home-run pop, otherwise he will be a resident of tweenerville/4th outfielder land. He will begin 2014 on a full-season team either in Savannah or St. Lucie.
4. I think Vaughn is a platoon outfielder and bench bat. He hit .267/.346/.424 in his 71 games in double-A with 20 extra-base knocks, 24 walks and 78 strikeouts in his age 24 season. 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.He’ll be a big leaguer, but it will be in a limited role. He should break camp in 2014 with Las Vegas.
Young and Interesting
5. Becerra was hit in the face by a baseball in his first go-around in the GCL in 2012, and the 6’4 kid hit .243/.351/.295 in round two with 20 walks against 60 strikeouts in 52 games.
When he saw him early in 2013, Jeff Moore wrote: Becerra is already built like a grown man, … He has quick hands and generates good bat speed, an indicator of future power. He demonstrated a patient approach at the plate, doing a nice job of selecting out a pitch he could drive instead of just swinging at the first fastball in the strike zone. On breaking pitches, there were some inconsistencies …There is sill a lot of work to be done with Becerra, but the talent was evident and he stood out among the other players his age.
6. The Mets signed Cespedes to a $750,000 contract in August when he turned 16. Baseball America wrote, “6-foot-2 lefty with a good set-up, a nice swing and a line-drive, gap-to-gap approach. Cespedes doesn’t have the athleticism or raw power that Rosario had, but he has a cleaner stroke while showing solid speed and arm strength.” If he doesn’t have top line athleticism, he’s probably not a centerfielder, although I probably could have left him on that list for a little while longer.
7. Lawley had a big year, earning the FSL MVP Award and the Mets’ Sterling Award for St. Lucie as part of a .260/.313/.512 year with 33 doubles and 25 homers in 122 games at age 24. Now the bad news: none of the guys who have led the FSL in homers at age 24 and higher in the last eight years have played in the big leagues. Lawley is strong, aggressive and will follow a very aberrant career path if he’s to become a useful big leaguer. He will likely start 2014 in AA.
8. Taijeron earned a mid-season promotion from St. Lucie to Binghamton where he continued to do what he’s done in the system for the last three years: hit for power and strike out. His final counting totals over 120 games are strong: 38 doubles, 23 homers to go along with 131 whiffs. He ran a 29.5% strikeout percentage in double-A in 2013 and he’s been above 25% nearly his entire minor league career except for a the first half of 2013 when he repeated the Florida State League. His deep load means he must decide early on every offering, leaving him exposed against good fastballs and chasing breaking balls. He too will likely start 2014 in AA.
9. Tuschak, the Mets’ 6th round pick in 2011, has a nice, smooth swing. In a return engagement in the Appalachian League at age 20 in 2013, he hit .271/.313/.376. He will not be young, rather at age 21, he will be age appropriate, if he breaks camp in the South Atlantic League with Savannah.
10. Gomez hit .216/.309/.262 in 115 games with St. Lucie in his age 21 season. He played 66 games in center, 25 in right, and 16 in left, but I did not see the speed, reads or closing speed to think he’s an everyday centerfielder.
Almost there… we can finish the infield by looking at Mets prospects by position with third base. It’s thin here.
It’s a much shorter list than the compilation of shortstops. We began with catcher, first base and second base. So, off we go to the hot corner…
1. Wilmer Flores
2. Aderlin Rodriguez
3. Pedro Perez
4. Jhoan Urena
1. I could have made Flores the Mets top first base prospect. However, I placed him here because I think his value would be maximized by playing third, which he began doing regularly stateside in 2012.
Flores was not great at third in 2013, but I think a team can play him there everyday. He should have enough arm for third, and the hands for the position. However, his relatively slow feet will put him out of position occasionally, and put him at a higher risk of throwing errors. It’s possible he winds up playing mostly first base in the big leagues.
Flores, who will be 22 on Opening Day 2014, can hit. He’s hit at every minor league stop. However, in 2013, he posted a career-best .210 isolated slugging percentage in Las Vegas and a walk rate of 5.4%, his lowest since his Florida State League in 2010 and 2011. Once in the big leagues, his walk rate slipped to 5.0%. That is below average. It is extremely difficult to be a valuable offensive player with a walk rate that low. A quick flip through Fangraphs’ “Offense” stat, suggests that no player in the Top 30 in baseball had a walk rate that low until we get to Starling Marte at #31. Flores has been better in the winter, running walk rates of 8.2% and 9% in the last two winters in Venezuela and 7.3% in 2012 in the AA Eastern League.
Anyway, Flores won’t play third base for the Mets, unless David Wright is hurt. So, he will likely begin 2014 in Las Vegas working largely at second, with games at both first and third to stay sharp at both in case the Mets need help at either.
2. Rodriguez hit .260/.295/.427 with 14 doubles and nine homers in 62 games for St. Lucie in an injury-shortened campaign. He followed that up with a .194/.205/.222 line with zero walks and 18 strikeouts in 19 games in the Arizona Fall League. There’s real power here, but maybe nothing else.
3. I saw the best game of Pedro Perez’s life, when he smacked two home runs on July 4th. He’s a big kid who hit .264/.314/.365 at age 18 in the Appalachian League where he picked up all but nine plate appearances against pitchers older than himself.
4. Urena, who the Mets signed for $425,000 in 2011, hit .299/.351/.376 in 47 games in the GCL in 2013, while turning 19 on September 1. He drew nice reviews from
1. Baseball America’s Ben Badler “Switch-hitter who can drive the ball from both sides … he’s made a lot of strides with his pitch recognition and hitting approach and the raw power is definitely in there. He’s a big-bodied guy so he’s going to have to work to stay at third base, but the bat potential there is very intriguing.”
2. Jeff Moore (now at BP): “Urena stood out on the field because of how he moved for a guy his size. Listed at 6’1″ 200 lbs., he’s probably put on a few additional pounds since then. The additional size helps him generate a powerful swing, but he handles it well, especially at third base. Despite his size, he shows good range at the position, and while he still has the inconsistencies that come with being 18, his hands are soft enough to become a good, consistent defender there. He has a plus arm that fires the ball across the diamond with easy action.”
Our 2013 year-end lists have drifted into 2014. Today we go to shortstop.
This is the fourth in the series which began with catcher, first base and second base.
1. Amed Rosario
2. Gavin Cecchini
3. Wilfredo Tovar
4. Luis Guillorme
5. Matt Reynolds
6. Yeffry de Aza ($475,000)
7. Luis Carpio ($300,000)
1. Rosario is the prospect with the highest variance in the Mets’ system. If everything clicks and he’s really a shortstop who can hit in the middle of the order, he’s a star. And then there’s the chance that he will move off of shortstop to second or third, or not hit enough. Signed for $1.75 million in 2012, Rosario is, at best, many years and lots of work away from his ceiling. I have a pretty good idea what I’m looking at and for in young professional baseball players, but Rosario challenged me when saw him, because he was the youngest player I have ever really tried to focus on. The best thing he did in a brief look was show surprising strength driving a ball the other way. Even so, I expected both more eye-popping athleticism, or failing that polish, as his swing mechanics were rough. I’ll spend a lot more time on him in my Top 41 writeup. For what it’s worth, Rosario hit .241/.279/.358 with 15 extra-base hits, 11 walks and 43 strikeouts in 58 games in the Appalachian League in 2013.
2. The Mets first round pick in 2012, Cecchini put together a 16-game hitting streak in Brooklyn as part of a .273/.319/.314 campaign in his age-19 year that was limited to 51 games by a sprained ankle. He was one of the youngest players in the NYP – all but seven of his plate appearances came against pitchers older than he. Cecchini should be an average-ish defender or a little below at short stop. From there, it will be up to his bat to determine whether he’s a AAAA guy, a utility guy, starter, or All-Star.
3. The diminutive Tovar made his big league debut on September 22, which is cool. While repeating AA Binghamton, he hit .263/.323/.340 in 133 games with 22 extra-base hits, 33 walks and just 49 strikeouts. He makes lots of (soft) contact. He’s likely a defensively-oriented backup in the big leagues.
4. The Mets drafted Guillorme in the 10th round in 2013 out of high school in Florida. He hit .258/.337/.283 in 41 games in his debut in the Gulf Coast League as an 18-year-old. Baseball America called him, “on of the best middle-infield defenders of the 2013 draft class.” I suspect he will start 2014 in extended spring training and then head to Kingsport.
5. Reynolds, the Mets second round pick in 2012, hit .226/.302/.337 in 117 games in St. Lucie in 2013 in his age 22 year. Reynolds mostly played third base in college, but moved to the more demanding shortstop spot as a pro. His walk (7.4%) and strikeout (16.4%) ratios are similar to what he put up in limited time in the SAL in 2012, but his 2013 line was dragged down by a low .263 BABIP. Still with little power (.111 Iso) and unexceptional work defensively, perhaps Reynolds can grow up to be a utility guy.
6. I know very little about deAza other than that the Mets paid him almost half-a million bucks to sign out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.
7. Baseball America ranked Carpio, who did not turn 16 until July 11, their #30 international prospect in 2013. They noted that he showed ”good bat control and pitch recognition, with a level swing that allows him to make a lot of contact. … Carpio has improved his strength, bat speed and running times.”
While catcher and first base were pretty simple, second base gets more complicated, primarily by eligibility issues.
First, I need to explain what I’m doing here. I’m listing prospects by one position only, and at that, the position where I think that the player fits best on a Major League roster.
Second, second is often a second-choice position. Most of the guys who play second were shortstops at some point in their lives. They move to second because, with a much shorter throw to first, it’s an easier position. All the same, second is not ojectively “easy.” A good second baseman has, at a minimum, almost as much range as a good shortstop, sure hands, and good footwork around the bag for doubleplays and stolen base attempts.
Whereas I could have credibly listed Wilmer Flores as a first baseman, I did not. I am not listing him as a second baseman either. It is not his best position. I suspect that were he to play it everyday, it would result in a Lucas Duda in leftfield type of math, where he would give back much of the offensive gains he provided with his limited range.
1. Dilson Herrera
2. Danny Muno
3. LJ Mazzilli
4. Philip Evans
1. Herrera was the minor leauger the Mets acquired from the Pirates with Vic Black for John Buck and Marlon Byrd. He played the entire 2013 as a young 19-year-old in the SAL and more than held his own, bopping 11 homers. He’s a good enough athlete for second, but does not have the arm for short. As a player with a reasonable shot to be an everyday guy in the big leagues, he’s comfortably in the top 15 Mets prospects. He should start 2014 in the Florida State League.
2. Muno looks like he has a utility guy ceiling to me after a .249/.384/.379 season in 127 games in Binghamton after his age 23 season. Remember, he beat up on lower the lower levels, bopping .355/.466/.514 as a 22-year-old with Brooklyn in 2011. He’s a very high walk player (16%) in AA, so even if his pure hit tool is a little short, he found his way on base.
3. Mazzilli, the Mets’ 4th round pick this year out of UConn has Mets in his family blood and hit .278/.329/.381 as a 23-year-old in the New York-Penn League. I suspect he will start 2014 as an older position player in Savannah.
4. In his age 20 season, Evans hit .203/.268/.262 for Savannah in 106 games in a year that ended early with a strained back. Evans worked his way into better shape as the 2013 season went on, but I just don’t see him as a shortstop if he makes the big leagues. Although his performance hardly screamed “promotion,” with Gavin Cecchini likely headed to Savannah to play shortstop everyday, Evans either has to move up to St. Lucie or move off of short.
If you thought catcher was simple, first base is even cleaner: it’s Dominic Smith and everyone else.
1. Dom Smith
2. Jayce Boyd
3. Matt Oberste
4. Alan Dykstra
1. Smith, the Mets first round pick in 2013, who signed for $2.6 million, is comfortably one of the top position player prospects in the system. Adding in his four doubles in three games in the Appalachian League, he hit .301/.398/.439 in his first 51 games as a professional in 2013 and .372/.443/.526 in August with nine extra-base hits, eight walks and 11 strikeouts in 22 games. He’s a very nice prospect.
2. Boyd, who uses rightfield well for a righthanded hitter, beat up South Atlantic League pitching at a .330/.410/.461 rate in the first half as a 22-year-old. Promoted to St. Lucie, he hit .292/.372/.421 with four home runs in 58 games in the second half spent DHing almost exclusively. He had off-season surgery to fix his thoracic outlet syndrome. He’s a good hitter, but first basemen have to outstanding hitters who add power to be impact big leaguers.
3. Oberste was the Mets’ 7th round pick in 2013 who hit a poor .208/.245/.286 in 68 games for Brooklyn while turning 22 in August. Baseball America’s Jim Callis thought he was good value in the seventh round at the time of the draft.
4. Dykstra won the Eastern League MVP award for hitting .274/.436/.503 with 21 homeruns in 122 games in his age 26 season. Given his age and skills, I do not view him as a starter for a big league team. He’s a bench-piece only and given that National League teams rarely carry 1B-only I do not see a role for him with the Mets.
The Caribbean Winter League regular season ended in the Dominican Republic on December 22, and in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela on Monday, the 30th. This will be the last full Winter League update.
- Wilmer Flores (Bravos de Margarita – VWL) – Two doubles on Sunday night in a 3-for-4 effort were his first extra-base hits in eight games. In three games in the last week, he was 3-for-10 with those pair of doubles, no walks and a strikeout. The 22-year-old Flores is sitting at a healthy .375/.434/.545 with nine extra-base hits, nine walks and 10 strikeouts in 23 games in Venezuela this winter. This week, Flores DHed once, and played one game each at second and at third, where he committed his fourth error overall, a throwing miscue.
- Juan Lagares (Aguilas Cibaenas – DWL) – Out of action since December 2, resting his knee.
Can You Be the 25th Man in the Bullpen?
- Joel Carreno (Escogido - DWL) – Carreno finished the regular DWL season at 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 17 relief appearances. In 17.1 innings, he fanned 20, walked six and gave up 12 hits.
- Jeurys Familia (Gigantes del Cibao – DWL) – Familia finished the DWL regular season at 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six appearances. In 6.2 innings, he fanned 12 and walked three while giving up four runs, two earned, on eight hits.
- Gonzlez Germen (Toros del Este – DWL) - The 26-year-old was 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 10 appearances. In 9.1 innings, he walked five and struck out five, while allowing three runs on 12 hits. He did not appear in a game since November 30.
See You in Sin City (Projected Las Vegas 51s on Opening Day 2014)
To read more of this story, click here
Let’s wrap this year up with Mets prospect lists by position. Then, early in 2014, we’ll synthesize the whole into a 2014 Mets Top 41 Prospect list.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, this year, to prepare my Mets Top 41, I first created lists by position.
I’ll put up a list for each position, with a few light comments on the position or individual players. Each player who makes my Top 41 will get a longer profile as part of that process.
So, we’ll go around the diamond, starting today with Catcher, one of the more well-defined positions for the Mets.
1. d’Arnaud will be the Mets’ Opening Day starting catcher. I expect him to be an above average Major League catcher pretty much right away if he can stay on the field.
2. Plawecki will begin the 2014 season at AA. He’s a fine prospect, who will likely see the big leagues. At the plate, he’s more aggressive than I think is commonly recognized: a low-strikeout, moderate walk player with gap power. He maintains high on-base-percentages with many hit-by-pitches (24 in 2013). Defensively, he’s ok, but his arm is his weakest tool.
3. The Mets added Centeno to the team’s 40-man roster at the end of the 2014 season. He has as little pop as any player on a big league roster, but makes contact and draws a few walks. He’s also a strong defensive catcher who threw out about 40% of opposing runners in 2011 and 2012 and over 50% in 2013. He’s never been a primary catcher on any team he’s played on, instead performing well in a time-share or as a backup.
4. Nido hit .185/.218/.261 with four walks against 21 strikeouts as a 19-year-old with Brooklyn in 2013. The Mets signed him for a quarter of a million dollars in the 2012 draft to keep him away from a Florida State commitment, but the raw catcher, who I had ranked #29 in the system coming into 2013, has done very little as a professional.
5. After a nice 2012 with Savannah (.300/.403/.408 in 93 games), and earned my #33 prospect ranking, Maron flopped in St. Lucie in 2013 (.235/.327/.295). It’s not just that his batting average on balls in play dropped from .366 in 2012 to .284 in 2013, his extra-base hit and walk rates dropped as well. While his caught-stealing rate climbed from 13% in 2012 to 27% in 2013, opponents still stole 76 bases against him in 2013. Basically, teams ran on Maron, and his pitchers, a lot.
- Wilmer Flores (Bravos de Margarita – VWL) – Another week, and more of the same from the 22-year-old: more hits. He had multi-hit gamesWednesday, Thursday, and Friday and “slacked” Saturday by going 1-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to five games. He’s hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, and is hitting .429/.478/.714 with three doubles and three homers in his last 10 contests. In 20 games overall, he’s hit .385/.449/.551 with four doubles and three homers to go along with nine walks and nine strikeouts. He’s pretty batting average dependent (he owns a .166 isolated slugging) but he’s also hitting .385. If he had enough at bats to qualify, his .385 batting average would be second in the Venezuelan League and his on-base percentage would be tied for second.
- Juan Lagares (Aguilas Cibaenas – DWL) – Out of action since December 2. Still resting his knee, which was scheduled to keep him out for three weeks.
Can You Be the 25th Man in the Bullpen?
- Joel Carreno (Escogido - DWL) – Carreno threw twice in the last week, with four strikeouts against one walk in 1.1 inning while allowing a run, his fifth in 17.1 innings to take his DWL ERA up to 2.08. He’s fanned 20 and walked six.
- Jeurys Familia (Gigantes del Cibao – DWL) – Appeared in games on Monday and Wednesday, and recorded 10 outs, nine by strikeout. He walked one. Now in 6.2 innings in the Dominican, he’s running a 12/3 K/BB ratio.
- Gonzlez Germen (Toros del Este – DWL) - The 26-year-old has not appeared in a game since November 30.
See You in Sin City (Projected Las Vegas 51s on Opening Day 2014)
- C Juan Centeno – (Gigantes de Carolina – PWL) – The 24-year-old was 7-for-17 (.412) with no extra-base hits, no walks and two strikeouts. In 24 games in the PWL, he’s hit a batting average-heavy .309/.351/.397 with four extra-base hits and four walks.
- LHP Chase Huchingson (Aguilas del Zulia - VWL) – The 24-year-old made one appearance in the last week, giving up a run on two walks in 0.2 of an inning. In 5.1 innings over nine games in Venezuela, he’s walked eight and fanned five.
- OF Cesar Puello (Toros del Este – DWL) – Puello was 3-for-15 with a double, a walk and two strikeouts this week in six games. The 22-year-old has hit a light .200/.252/.261 with a double, two homers and five walks against 30 strikeouts in 41 games in the Domincan this winter. He has cut down on the strikeouts in the last few weeks, but is certainly not hitting for much average.
- SS Wilfredo Tovar (Bravos de Margarita – VWL) After 15 undistinguished games for Navegantes del Magallanes who apparently let him go, Tovar has joined Braves de Mararita, the same team that Wilmer Flores plays for. He was 5-for-15 this week with a double, two walks and a strikeout.
- RHP Ryan Fraser (Leones de Ponce – PWL) – No appearances since November 17.
Bingo Bound/Hoping to break camp in AA
- INF TJ Rivera (Indios de Mayaguez - PWL) – The 25-year-old was 1-for-3 with a homerun last Monday in Puerto Rico to push his winter line to .308/.357/.538 with a homer, a walk and one strikeout in nine games.
… The non-drafted free agent has worked his way up the Mets’ system in the last year culminating in a .289/.348/.351 line with two homers for St. Lucie while playing 111 games at second base and backing up 15 games at shortstop. He’s a pretty safe bet to begin 2014 at NYSEG stadium.
- C Xorge Carrillo (Aguilas de Mexicali – LMP) – The 24-year-old was 7-for-22 with a double and a homer in Mexico this week. In 50 games in the LMP, he’s hit .291/.353/.400 with nine doubles, three homers and 12 walks against 33 strikeouts. He’s an aggressive hitter, who has never played more than 36 games in a single US season. His nice winter should help him earn a job backing up Kevin Plawecki in AA in 2014 or maybe even Juan Centeno in AAA. One issue here: I think the LMP plays like an a-ball league, or lower.
- Jon Velasquez (Cangrejeros de Santurce – PWL) – The right-handed who the Mets just grabbed in the Rule 5 draft at the end of the Winter Meetings made a couple of outings last week. He’s pitched well in Puerto Rico with 20 strikeouts against six walks and just 17 hits allowed in 23.1 innings.
-RHP Miller Diaz (Leones del Caracas - VWL) – A starter in Brooklyn in 2013, Diaz will likely open 2014 in the Savannah rotation. He made two relief appearances this week, walking three and fanning two in 4.1 innings in Venezuela.
- TJ Rivera (Indios de Mayaguez – PWL) – No action since December 9.
- Juan Carlos Gamboa (Caneros de los Mochis – Liga Mexicana del Pacifico) – After hitting .195/.269/.271 in 32 games with Brooklyn in 2013 as a 22-year old while repeating the NYP League, Gamboa has bopped the Mexican Pacific League at a .340/.429/.472 clip in 21 games. He was 7-for-20 this past week with three walks and three strikeouts.
And Our Player of the Week…
I like strikeouts and the Mets’ bullpen in recent years has been in general, a low strikeout group. Familia, if he can throw strikes could really help the big league team in 2014.